UK Beauty and Lifestyle Blog

September 28, 2013

Life in Leeds #2

After a long day out and about I like to come home and change straight into my pyjamas. Replacing zips and buttons with elasticated cotton and jersey is an every day kind of bliss. But when the fire alarm unexpectedly starts trumpeting in its full glory, in a student hall where you don’t know anyone yet, a social nightmare begins to play out. No-one, especially not complete strangers, needs to know that I sport last year’s Primark fleece Christmas-themed pyjamas to bed in September. What’s more, strangers certainly don’t need to find themselves being introduced to me sans any form of tinted moisturizer. I’d go as far as saying that this sort of thing might top my list of worst possible social scenarios.

However, Leeds isn’t being too kind to me when it comes to social engagements. So this is exactly what happened to me last week. Hounded outside by an alarm that felt like a troll was hammering on my eardrums with a bone-club, I made it to the first floor landing before the raucous was replaced by a patronizing automated female voice that reminded me that “in cases of fire one should exit the building”. As if anyone but the demonically possessed could remain inside the building given the blaring siren.

Once outside it begins to dawn on me that it’s night-time, and that given it’s night-time it is cold. Not ‘nippy’ either. We’re talking full on, northern, galacial cold. And you know what I’ve gone and done (or more specifically, not done) I haven’t picked up a jacket and I’m not wearing shoes. I felt like some sot of cave woman who’s stumbled through time into polite, accessorized company. My immediate reaction is not humour, which in retrospect would have transformed my state from tragic to endearing, no. I was just quietly angry; I was angry at the incompetent cook or reckless smoker who had engendered this social disaster. And if you didn’t already know, anger isn’t much of a social lubricant among polite society. Thus, my first meeting with all my new neighbours was entirely wasted on me. When you don’t know more than three people in a city it pays to be chilled out, even if you’re freezing cold, braless and in snowman pyjamas.

....and since I finished writing this post the entire situation has happened AGAIN. Angry caps-lock. But at least I remembered shoes this time. I guess this is where I cut to the moral of the story- life is all about learning and growing, but mostly about remembering to wear shoes.


September 27, 2013

Discovering Biotherm: Purefect Skin Micro Exfoliating Purifying Toner and Targeted Solution

chemical exfoliaters

After getting my teeth into chemical exfoliating face masks I decided to try a couple of other skincare products that I thought might do my face some good. I stumbled across the Biotherm Pure.Fect Skin range in Boots and I picked up two products from the range, one is the Micro Exfoliating Purifying Toner and the other is the Imperfection Targeting Solution. I used both of these products over July and August and after more than eight weeks of use I feel ready to tell you how I found them.

With Pixi Glow Tonic and Alpha H's Liquid Gold getting a lot of attention back when I bought these Biotherm products I was really excited to try out an exfoliating toner. In the past, I've always chosen very gentle toners because my skin has a tendency to be quite sensitive. However, I've found that although Biotherm's Pure.Fect Micro Exfoliating Purifying Toner is very effective I could just about get away with using it (although it did occasionally leave my cheeks, which are sensitive, a little rosier than I would have liked). What I found was that cutting out manual exfoliation from my routine did my skin a lot of good, and with the help of an exfoliating toner (which I use every evening) and a weekly exfoliating treatment (such as Elemental Herbology's Facial Glow Radiance Peel) my skin was left in really good condition. This exfoliating toner has helped keep my skin from looking dull and I do think that it has helped reduce the size of the larger pores on my nose. I don't think it is a miracle in a bottle but when incorporated into a skincare routine that you are otherwise happy with, I think it is a very effective addition.

The Biotherm Pure.Fect Targeted Solution is essentially a very similar product but it is a little stronger and is meant to be applied topically to blemishes. It definitely helped reduce the size of spots when I used it, especially under the skin lurkers. However, the job it was best at was dealing with dark marks that spots can leave once they're treated. The exfoliating power of it is quite intense (so it is definitely not suitable for sensitive skin) and I only used this on the oilier parts of my skin, which is where I tend to get spots anyway. Despite the fact that it does a very good job, the packaging really puts me off using it. The little tube is very small and handy for travelling with and is quite hygienic to use. However, the product itself is very liquid in consistency, it is a very liquid gel formula. When applying the product it is incredibly difficult to only get a small amount of product (which is all you tend to need) to come out of it's very fine nozzle, meaning that more often than not a lot of product goes to waste. Considering that this small tube cost me around £15 the amount of wastage really upset me and put me off using it unless I really needed to. 

Overall, I think that the quality of both of these products is really good and on that basis I would definitely recommend them. However, the packaging of the Targeted Solution is ill thought out and I wouldn't personally repurchase it, despite liking the product. I am, however, entirely satisfied with the Micro Exfoliating Toner and would definitely use it again but I'd definitely advise a patch test before use if you have sensitive skin. You can find the Biotherm Pure.Fect range in Boots (there are a few other products in the range) and the Micro Exfoliating Toner is £15.50 as is the Targeted Imperfection Solution.

What do you use to exfoliate your skin? Do you use any chemical exfoliating products? 

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September 26, 2013

Review: Garnier Ultimate Beauty Oil Skin Perfector

It's no secret that I love a good body oil. There's something really satisfying about just how moisturising they are and how long the hydration they give lasts. I picked up the Garnier Ultimate Body Oil Skin Perfector after reading a couple of very positive reviews. I know you might have read your fill about this product but I've been so impressed that I really wanted to write about it.

Garnier's Ultimate Beauty Oil immediately impressed me because it has a spray. An oil with a spray saves so much product from going to waste and also makes it really easy to apply it lightly - which is usually all you need. The only downside to the packaging is that the shape of the bottle makes it difficult to hold when you have wet or oily hands (from rubbing in the product). So I like to spray this all over my body and only then go back and rub it in. It makes the whole process a lot easier and also a lot quicker.

The oil itself, if applied lightly, sinks in very quickly but stills gives you enough time to massage it into your skin. You won't need to wait around for it to dry or absorb and it leaves your skin really soft. I usually have to moisturise every day because I have quite dry skin but when I use oils, and this one was especially good, I can usually go two days without needing to apply anything. The Garnier Ultimate Beauty Oil also smells gorgeous, and you get a good whiff of the different oils that make it up. The scent does linger on the skin but I think you'll be glad of it because it's a very sophisticated scent that isn't at all overwhelming.

Using this every other day for about two months I had used about four-fifths of it up. I've sadly left the rest in London because it wouldn't fit in my bags but I'll be finishing it up when I go home for Christmas. I really love it and it's great for those who don't like heavy, greasy products because it honestly surprised me at how quickly and easily it absorbed into my skin. I'm a convert and all the positive reviews I've read hit the nail on the head. This is a drugstore beauty and at £7.99 (and often reduced from that price) I think it is quite the bargain! 

Have you used this body oil before? What moisturising products do you love?

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September 23, 2013

Life in Leeds #1

This is a new lifestyle post series that I'm going to be writing throughout my final year at University. I'll be writing about anything interesting, especially if it is embarrassing or funny, that happens to me. Hopefully these posts will be entertaining for you to read. Or if you're also at university then maybe they'll help remind you that everyone has issues and gets embarrassed but that the most important thing about life is to be happy, even if that means laughing at ourselves from time to time. I would love to hear your feedback on these posts, whether it is you telling me how you can relate to them or letting me know (hopefully politely) if you don't like them. 

On September 16th I moved back to Leeds to undertake my final year at University (my “lets postpone getting a job” postgraduate degree). With the vast majority of my close friends having left Leeds, and knowing first hand the reality of Leeds’ student accommodation shit-storm, I opted for university run housing.

Now, university housing isn’t all bad but my previous experience was awful. As a literature student being housed with four, verging upon alcoholic, scientists in my freshers year was not exactly my cup of tea. The difference between what I did on a day to day basis, especially how and when I studied, to what they did on a daily basis was huge and I felt very misunderstood and left out. Two years after living through it I was incredibly wary about returning to a university flat where I wouldn’t know anyone.

Turns out that this year I’m the dick in my flat. Everything was going so perfectly (the flat is gorgeous, it’s really close to university and the flatmates I’ve met so far are really lovely) and then I go and spoil it all by completely forgetting one of the girls’ names. We’ve all been there at one point or another but most people don’t forget the names of people they live with.

Instead of facing this problem head on (it really is just too embarrassing)  I’m going to casually suggest we add one another on Facebook. Or better yet haunt the mailbox we share as a flat until a letter or parcel arrives addressed to that one name I don’t know… Seriously guys, I’m embarrassed. Freshers, don’t make the same mistake as me. Write that stuff down as soon as you can and then you can’t forget it.


September 22, 2013

My Top 5 Beauty Products for Under £5

I personally really enjoy reading these sorts of posts so I couldn't resist writing one of my own. I have a special place in my heart for affordable, good quality beauty products. I've been a university student for three years now (about to enter year number four) and my budget has been, and continues to be, limited. The "drugstore" or, as I prefer to describe it, the high-street is where I tend to part with my cash but I still have high expectations. Brands are constantly in competition with one another to win our attention and with it our money. The result is that some of the products available to us are simply wonderful, and many of them come in under this post's £5 budget. 

 17's Mirror Shine Lipstick (Swatch in the shade Shouty)
I'm a big fan of 17's Mirror Shine Lipsticks - they're glossy and feel weightless on the lips. There's also a massive shade selection so there will be colours to suit everyone's tastes! In addition, especially given that these come in at under £5, the packaging is really fantastic as it is not only sturdy but comes with an in built mirror making reapplication super easy. I have two shades Shouty and L.A and have reviewed and swatched them both here.

Sleek's True Colour Sheen Lipstick (Swatch in Barely There)
Sleek's True Colour Lipsticks are thoroughly underrated, in my opinion. "Barely There" is one of my most worn lipsticks and I absolutely love its formula. It is creamy, doesn't settle into the lines of your lips and it lasts relatively well given how moisturising it is. What I love about it though is that it gives opaque colour whilst still feeling pretty weightless. There's nothing worse than really feeling like you're wearing a lot of make-up, and with Sleek's Sheen Lipsticks you can be packing a pretty serious pout and still feel like you're barefaced! 

Collection Extreme 24 Hour Felt Tip Eyeliner (Swatch in Black)
After a lot of trial and error with a lot of felt tip eyeliners I've come to the conclusion that for under £5 you really can't do any better! Fine nibbed (although not super fine), long lasting and incredibly black - this will get you through both daytime and nighttime. I've grown to like it quite a lot! 

Rimmel Scandaleyes Waterproof Kohl Kajal (Swatch in the shade Bronze)
I am thoroughly impressed by Rimmel's Kohl Kajals and I actually own three of them - Bronze, Nude and Taupe. They are creamy, incredibly long wearing and they do not smudge! I have hooded eyes and wearing pencil eyeliner on my tightline used to be impossible for me because it would always smudge, but not with Rimmel's Kohl Kajals. Honestly, if you like wearing eyeliner regularly then you need to try one of these.

Maybelline Colour Tattoo (Swatch in the shade On and On Bronze)
I think everyone and their mother has raved about Maybelline's Collour Tattoos, so I'm sorry about that. I've posted about them before here with lots of swatches and a full review. To make up for it, I'll include a bonus recommendation. 

Collection's Shimmer Shades (in the shade Way to Glow)
Four cheek shades for £4.19 is a good deal in itself, but it's an even better deal when I mention that I've used this little quartet of powders at least two or three times a week ever since I bought it. It has had a lot of blushes to contend with but it still manages to hold on to its place as one of my favourite beauty products. The shades are really flattering and easy to wear, it has survived being dropped (numerous times) and in a pinch you can double up some of the shades as eye shadows. It really is worth trying! And if you don't love the look of the bronze shades there is another palette called "Blushalicious" which is all pinks. You can read my full review here and see a make-up look I wore using it.

I may have unintentionally done a post on my six favourite products for under £5 but there's no harm in throwing one extra little beauty in there. I'd highly recommend each of these products to anyone, not just those who like bargains, because I honestly think their quality stands up against more expensive products. 

What products would you recommend that cost less than £5?

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September 20, 2013

On My Nails This Week: Barry M Gelly Hi Shine Nail Paint in Papaya

swatch and review of gel nail polish pinky orange coral
swatch and review drugstore gel polish coral pink orange

I bought Barry M's Gelly Hi Shine Nail Paint in Papaya a really long time ago (when it first came out) and I haven't reviewed it until now for one reason, I just don't get along with this colour. I love how it looks in the bottle and I love the colour itself but it just doesn't suit me. I've been wearing it all year - mainly on my toes - because I love the Barry M Gelly Hi Shine formula and I hate being completely wrong about a purchase. However, the more I use it the more I realise that it's a unique shade. I haven't seen anything quite like it since I bought it and I think I hadn't seen anything like it before I'd bought it either - which might explain why it surprised me so much. It isn't a pink, it isn't a coral - if this was a lipstick I might feel more comfortable with it, but it's inability to be categorized does bother the part of me that obsessively organises everything.

In short, I love the formula, on my nails it lasts really well and is also incredibly glossy. I also love the colour itself. However, I'd only purchase this if you're willing to give something new a chance because this shade surprised me - and I'm still not quite sure if it was in a good way or a bad one. 

Do you like the look of 'Papaya'?

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September 18, 2013

Skincare SOS: Product Recommendations for Skin Prone to Breakouts

Like many people, from time to time I suffer from breakouts of spots. Now, I'm not talking about just one or two (I often have one or two) I'm talking about a cluster of them or like five or six across my face. More often that not this sort of skin problem is the direct result of me having eaten refined sugar or is hormonally induced iykwim.

Anyway, in the past I know have recommended spot treatments and face masks for blemished skin and those recommendations are still valid - but sometimes it feels as though you just need to try something new. It might stem from the allure of 'newness' or it might be that inkling that out there somewhere is the spot treatment of all spot treatments. I like to try new things and my first port of call is always twitter, where I go to ask for product recommendations.
I've garnered together the responses and I hope that this helps anyone like me who is looking for products to help improve their skin. There are lots of affordable drugstore recommendations as well as some more natural solutions alongside a couple of pricier alternatives. 


September 16, 2013

Amsterdam Beauty Haul

So, today is day seventy of my one hundred day spending ban  - and the day before yesterday I technically broke my ban. Over the last three months of not shopping I saved enough money (just from not shopping) to be able to afford to go on a holiday to Amsterdam with one of my friends. The cost of the whole trip was quite reasonable considering how much we did and saw, and on the last day of my trip I had about forty euros of spending money left over. On the way back to the station we walked past a shop called Kruidvat which is the Netherlands' drugstore, the equivalent to England's Superdrug. As we neared the store I made a decision to spend the leftover euros from my holiday. I knew it would make me happy to try out some make-up I can't get back home and as I knew that it was an expense that I could afford I decided to just go for it.

 The two main brands I was interested in were Essence and Catrice; Essence has very low prices (1-3) and Catrice is more expensive (3-5) but is still very affordable. I spent about 34 (approximately £28.50) and I bought thirteen products. I know this is excessive but as far as I am concerned I had budgeted to spend it anyway (and only hadn't spent it because Tom and I had skipped dinner and stayed in the night before) so to me this spending slip-up is not the end of the world, and I'll be continuing my spending ban.

Anyway, on to the make-up! I'll briefly go through what I bought and roughly how much it cost me. I hope this helps any of you looking to go beauty shopping in Amsterdam in the future!

(left to right) Essence Lisptick in All About Cupcake, Essence Lipstick in Natural Beauty and Catrice Ultimate Colour Lipstick in Matt-erial Girl.

Essence Lipstick in All About Cupcake (1.99)
This is the only piece of make-up that I've already tried out. I absolutely love the colour of this but the formula is quite sheer and doesn't wear very well. I also find it very drying! I will definitely wear this lipstick but it isn't a winner in my book.

Essence Long Lasting Lipstick in Natural Beauty (2.59)
Gorgeous colour and the formula of the Long Lasting Lipsticks is much nicer than the previously mentioned line of lipsticks. It is much more opaque and more matte. It is definitely worth the extra 60 cents. 

Catrice Ultimate Colour Lipstick in Matt-erial Girl (3.99)
I think the colour is a real show stopper and although I haven't tried this out I loved the feel of this when I swatched it. It is really creamy for a matte lipstick and goes on very evenly, I'm very excited about wearing this one!

 (top to bottom) Essence Super Fine Eyeliner in Deep Black (close up is of this product), Essence Kajal Pencil in Teddy and Essence Stays No Matter What Eyeliner in Midnight Black.

Essence Super Fine Eyeliner in Deep Black (2.79 approx.)
The nib on this eyeliner is so fine. I've tried it on my hand and it gives the finest line you can imagine. I was planning on getting the newly released Rimmel fine/micro eyeliner pen once my spending ban ended so when I saw this (which is much cheaper) I thought I'd try this instead. I have very high hopes for this.

Essence Kajal Pencil in Teddy (0.99)
I've heard a lot of good things about this eyeliner and at less than a euro I couldn't say no to it. This is a very deep, rich brown which I think will be very flattering.

Essence Stays No Matter What Eyeliner in Midnight Black (1.59 approx.)
I've tried some of Rimmel's Kohl Kajals which are very long lasting but I don't have a black version. I'll be interested to see if these Essence eyeliners are a dupe - if so that will be amazing as they are so, so cheap.

 (Top to bottom) Catrice Eyebrow Filler and Catrice Eye Brow Stylist in Blond but Brow'd.

Catrice Eyebrow Filler (3.59)
Maybelline has recently come out with a tinted eyebrow taming gel that I was keen to try after my spending ban ends, so when I saw this I thought I would try this Catrice version instead. I'm very excited by this product as I haven't tried anything like it before. 

Catrice Eye Brow Stylist in Blond but Brow'd (3.59 approx.)
Again, I was keen to try the Maybelline Eyebrow Pencil that I saw over on Amy's blog (Srsly,Lou) not so long ago. However, I liked the look of this one and am hoping it will be just as good, if not better.

 Catrice Cosmetics Lip and Cheek Colour in the shade Bed of Flowers

Catrice Cosmetics Lip and Cheek Colour in the shade Bed of Flowers (4.99)
Now, I haven't used this much yet but I think this could just be the best drugstore cream cheek product I've tried. It is pretty sheer but is easily buildable and I love the colour. This comes in three shades, a coral, a true red and a purple (I chose the purple). I think the red shade could potentially be a dupe for Mac's Frankly Scarlet which seems to be getting more and more popular.

Essence I Love Stage Eye Shadow Base, Essence Metallic Eye Shadow in the shade Party All Night and Essence Shimmer Effect Eye Shadow in Cappuccino, please! 

Essence I Love Stage Eye Shadow Base (3 approx.)
I'm really happy I found this as my current eye shadow base (which is from Darling Girl) is nearing its expiration date. This Essence Eye Shadow Base is  very affordable and on first inspection seems good quality. My only concern is that it is very opaquely coloured so might not work with very light eye shadows. Still, I think this could well be quite the bargain.

Essence Metallic Eye Shadow in Party All Night (1.49 approx.)(bottom eye shadow in close up image)
This swatches very prettily but it is absolutely transformed when applied over the eye shadow base. It is gorgeous over a base, incredibly metallic but a very subtle colour which I think will be easily wearable. I love it and will probably be using it a lot now I'm back at university and will be "going out" more.

Essence Shimmer Effect Eye Shadow in Cappucino, please! (1.49 approx.) (top eye shadow in close up image)
I love the name! And the colour is very pretty and wearable. It isn't glittery at all, the shimmer is subtle but looks as though it will really brighten the eye. I'm hoping that this will be easy to wear during the day with black liner for a quick, but pretty, day-time look. 

The last item!

Labello (Nivea) Fruity Shine Lip Balm in Guava (2.39)
I often see Nivea's Fruity Shine Lip Balms in American drugstore hauls and I always really wanted one! Tinted lip balms are some of my favourite things to wear, especially if they smell good. This Guava scented one has a very sheer pink tint and it smells unbelievably good, like no other lip balm I've ever owned. I'm so glad I saw it in the shop and (I know this sounds lame) but if I had only bought this I would have honestly still been very happy.

It was a pretty massive haul considering I'm not supposed to be buying everything but all my choices were very well thought out. I am happy with everything I bought and if you're going to the Netherlands then definitely check out Kruidvat for these Essence and Catrice make-up (or the store Douglas if you're after a more Sephora-esque shopping experience).

Is there anything you'd like to see an in depth review of? What item did you like the look of the most?

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September 15, 2013

What You Can Do With A Year

A year ago today I started a new hobby and it has slowly grown into the blog that you're reading today. My early posts were incredibly amateur (and to some extent I find them a little bit cringe worthy to re-read) but then so too I think are the posts I'm writing today! On this internet platform that I'm occupying today I am quite the newbie. Honestly, I don't know what I thought the internet was, or what was truly "going on" online, until I finally cracked into it this last year. Even now I'm discovering new things every single day. And it is so freaking exciting. I wake up every day and I am excited. People everywhere are creating content that I, despite anxiously spending a lot of my time alone and at home, can access and enjoy. 

This excitement and new found knowledge is not limited to beauty blogging whatsoever, my interests are wide and they are various. However, I do think that One Little Vice has benefited from these other interests of mine and slowly it is growing into something that I'm not only proud of but that is helping me experience the benefits of this new age of internet activity. I've spent the last year talking to a whole host of different people that I would never have talked to without having started a blog, and its kind of been a bit of a social explosion for me. I like people, I love socialising but I can also sometimes be cripplingly shy - and this is not a product of my "nature", it's the result of years of low self-esteem that have in the past put me off being a social person. I'm not saying that these issues are fixed, or that they every will be but I've become so much more aware of the kindness, and also the fragility, of strangers. Coming to realise that people everywhere are similar and witnessing other people's anxiety and nervousness (through their blogs and videos) has helped me considerably.

At my first ever blogging event last December!
The internet has also clued me into a whole host of alternate job prospects that in my graduate state of delirium is actually very soothing. There is no cookie cutter profession that I am destined for, there are only ever choices and chance. Choosing to start blogging has, by chance, allowed me to discover new possibilities and people whose writing inspires me and in turn has reminded me of the passion that I've always had for writing. I have also only truly just discovered the joys of YouTube, and I have only just begun glimpsing the infinite possibilities of this forum for creative, intelligent content production. 

I feel as though as a content producing human I'm only just getting started, and to those of you who have accompanied me thus far, thank you. Thank you ever so much for your support, your time, your words and more importantly, for your kindness. I have had so many supportive words said to me this year, many of which were from people I've never met and people I will not ever meet. All of your kindness does not go unnoticed, it is not unappreciated and it will help you reap your own rewards because your kind natures will attract happiness in turn. I hope that any of what I've said, either here on my blog or elsewhere, has helped even just one of you have a better day or feel better about yourselves. More importantly though, I'm going to endeavour to make next year an even better year and to try and continue pushing my limits, learning and, hopefully, achieving successes, however I might measure them.

In conclusion, certainly my blog's first birthday is something which I am going to celebrate, but I also want to use today to thank and celebrate some of the other people, the other blogs and the other content that has brought entertainment and joy into my daily life. So, to all of you, and believe me you are many, thank you.


September 13, 2013

Travel Make-Up: 5 Minute FOTD

If you missed my last post, or if you don't follow me on twitter (which you can do by clicking here if you want to), then you might not know that I'm currently in Amsterdam! Although, don't get too excited for me as I'll be flying back home to London tomorrow evening. Given that I'm only taking hand luggage with me on my trip there is very minimal space for beauty paraphernalia and I'm going to be wearing the same basic make-up for all of my trip. The look that I settled on was something that was really quick and simple (I can't be hogging the hostel bathroom - and there's every chance that I won't want to) but that would look like I'd made a bit more effort than I actually had. This is often the sort of make-up look that I feature on this blog so I'm sorry if you're getting bored of it! I'm now just going to give a little run down of what products I used and how I used them.

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