Monday, 20 April 2015

Some new lipstick additions

Even though I haven't actually been able to wear lipstick recently because of a problem with really dry skin along my lip line this hasn't stopped me adding a few new lipsticks to my collection. I haven't used any of these yet, because of my dry lips problem and also because I was waiting to take some pictures, but I thought I'd show you my new additions.

NARS Audacious Greta, L'Oreal Collection Exclusive Pure red by Julianne and Burberry Kisses in Military red

NARS Audacious Greta, L'Oreal Collection Exclusive Pure red by Julianne and Burberry Kisses in Military red
A couple of weeks ago I hit my 10th anniversary with my boyfriend and although we don't really have any spare money at the moment he gave me £30 to buy whatever I wanted. Before I started blogging he would actually buy makeup for me, but since I started my blog he's been far too scared that he might get it wrong so he usually just gives me the money. First I headed into House of Fraser, but they didn't have the brands I was really interested in at the time, so instead I headed across the road for my first trip into Space NK. Yes, seriously, I haven't been in a Space NK store before! Although even for a beauty obsessive I guess this might not be that unusual as Space NK isn't like Boots with a store on pretty much every high street. I didn't have anything in particular in mind so I just wandered round and really enjoyed discovering what they have stocked in there. I think my boyfriends local store is quite a small so there's not an awful lot in there, but they do have a reasonable sized NARS stand. I spotted the lipsticks, had a quick swatch, and the NARS Audacious lipstick in Greta came away with me as my first Space NK purchase.

After Space NK I had a little bit of money left so we headed down to Boots. I would have taken advantage of the 3 for 2 but the third product I wanted I couldn't have because all the products on the display were tested and all smushed. So I just went with the one product I've had my eye on for a while now and that was the L'Oreal Collection Exclusive Red by Julianne. I originally wanted Blake's red but looking at the shades again I thought Julianne's might be better for going into summer.

Finally, as you're probably aware I didn't actually buy the teeny tiny Burberry Kisses in Military red as this is a sample from the campaign that's been all over Twitter for the last few weeks. I have to admit that at first I was wary of the campaign thinking it might be some kind of scam, but once the Instagram pictures of received samples started popping up I nominated my boyfriend and of course claimed it for myself (I'm not sure Military red would suit him!). The sample is so cute and tiny, but there's still a reasonable amount in there to be able to test it out properly.

I'll report back when I've given each one a try.

Have you added any new lipsticks to your collection recently?


Friday, 17 April 2015

Working as a freelancer #nofreework

I recently followed The Freelancer Club on Twitter and shortly afterwards they wrote to me to tell me about their campaign #nofreework. As some of you may know I work as a Supporting Artist (or extra as it's also known) in TV, film and music videos. This is freelance work that I get as and when a casting director decides they want me for a particular role, even if this is just 'background'. Therefore this campaign is very appropriate to me, especially so far this year, which I'll explain more below.

Ed Sheeran - Give me love (role - forensics officer)

When I first started out I did do two roles that were unpaid to gain some experience, but this is something that I'll no longer do for four reasons. The first is that I have quite a lot of experience now, including several featured roles (where I know I will be on camera playing a particular role rather than just being part of the background), so I don't need to gain more experience. The second being that in my current financial position I can't afford to work for free. The third is that I'm doing a job that I'm apparently at least reasonably good at, so I should be paid for doing it. Finally, if freelancers work for free this then encourages people to offer further work for no pay in the future.

As you can probably imagine a lot of this sort of work is based in London and I'm based outside of London, either in Derby at my house or in Cheltenham at my boyfriends house. I'm willing to drive to London for shoots and have done this many times, but whichever house I'm staying in at the time the journey to London and back is a four hour round trip and with petrol, parking charges and tube fares this costs a reasonable amount of money. In the past the minimum pay I would accept for travelling to London was £50 as this covered travel and left me with a small amount of profit. More recently I've upped this amount, as I really could do with actually making some money as well as covering costs, but travelling to London for no pay? Not a chance! So far this year there have been several shoots I haven't even bothered to apply for in London because they are low or no pay.

Call the Midwife series 3 (role - laundry worker)

Although a lot of work is in London, increasingly there is more and more of this type of work popping up around the country. Last year I actually spent more time working out of London than in and worked on shoots in Manchester, York, Bristol, Oxford and Port Talbot in Wales. Even if a shoot is based much closer to me than London it's likely I'm still going to have to travel some distance and that is going to cost money in petrol, possibly parking charges and then there's wear and tear to my car. So if I'm working on a shoot, unless it's based within walking distance, it's going to cost me money. Some shoots are not paid but they do offer travelling expenses. Okay so you've made sure I'm not losing money by working for you, but I'm still working for free.

Casualty (role - shopper)

Deciding to work freelance is risky as you don't have the security of monthly wages and have to rely on being able to find paid work and being paid on time for any work that you've done. A lot of freelancers end up having to give up and start working for somebody else to guarantee a regular income and a big factor in this is people being expected to work for free with the only benefit apparently being exposure/experience. Although I don't rely on my blog in any way for income this is also something that affects bloggers whose blog is part of how they earn money to live. I'm sure you've seen the discussions on Twitter regarding whether just receiving the product for free is enough compensation for the time it takes to produce a post and whether bloggers should also be paid for their time on top of this. 

The Freelancer Club have decided something needs to be done and have launched their #nofreework campaign. They've set up a petition over on which is currently approaching 700 supporters, but obviously they want as many people as possible to support this to try and stop free work. If you would like to support the #nofreework campaign and sign the petition you can find it here. Please note this isn't a sponsored post, I've chosen to write about this because it's something that is relevant to me and I believe may be relevant to some of my followers.

What are your thoughts on working for free in any job?

P.S. Can you see why it's a running joke that the most famous part of me is my back!


Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Bourjois Rouge Edition Aqua Laque in Fuchsia perché

A few weeks back I spotted an advert in the side bar of Jane's blog British Beauty Blogger that got me a little excited. The advert looked like it was for the Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvet's, but I noticed that the packaging was slightly different, so I guessed that a new product might be on the way. Shortly afterwards I discovered that Bourjois were releasing the Rouge Edition Aqua Laque's. As I'm a big fan of the Velvet's and have three of the original shades (three new shades have just recently been released) I knew I'd need to get my hands on one of the new Aqua Laque's to try. 

Bourjois Rouge Edition Aqua Laque in Fuchsia perche

Bourjois Rouge Edition Aqua Laque in Fuchsia perche

Bourjois Rouge Edition Aqua Laque in Fuchsia perche
As the name suggests the Rouge Edition Velvet's have a velvet, almost matte finish, but the new Rouge Edition Aqua Laque's have a glossier finish. You can just about see from the swatches above that they do have a slightly different formula/texture. The Velvet's are a bit thicker whereas the Aqua Laque's have a lighter, slightly more water like formula. The Aqua Laque formula reminds me of the L'Oreal Glamshine stain splashes and also the Dior Fluid Sticks.

These have exactly the same applicator as the Rouge Edition Velvet's but because of the difference in texture they do feel different to apply. I don't find the Velvet's heavy in any way but the Aqua Laque formula feels super light, just like water, and it has a cooling effect when first applied. I do find that this appears to apply slightly patchy at first but it then settles and evens out. Although these are supposed to be glossy I actually find that this disappears quite quickly. It doesn't become as matte as the Velvet's, but it also doesn't stay really glossy. This then fades down to leave a slight stain, but it's a stain that then fades quite quickly, it's not the type of stain you have to remove at the end of the day.

I find that the Velvet's can last all day (if you're happy with the stain that they wear down to) but the Aqua Laque lasts probably a couple of hours at the most and doesn't stand up well to eating and drinking. I have to say I'm slightly disappointed with this, but this is only because the Velvet's set the standard so high in terms of lasting power and realistically because of the lighter, water like formula of the Aqua Laque's they can't stand up to this.

I would say these are the spring/summer version of the Rouge Edition Velvet's. They're lighter, easier to apply (it's not as difficult to correct mistakes with these) and easier to reapply when required.

The Bourjois Rouge Edition Aqua Laque's are £8.99 each and are available from Boots and Superdrug.

Have you tried an Aqua Laque yet?


Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Nail HQ Cuticle oil and Protect and Repair

At the end of last year I tried the Nail HQ Rubberised base coat and Ridge filler base coat (post here). I wasn't blown away by the rubberised base coat (although I think that's more down to my nails than the product) but I do like to use the ridge filler base coat if I'm going for a matte nail look. At the beginning of this year I was again asked if I'd like to try some Nail HQ products and as there are nine products available in the range I thought I'd try a couple of different ones. I was sent the Protect and Repair treatment/base coat* and the Cuticle oil*.

The cuticle oil contains jojoba oil, apricot kernel oil, beta-carotene and vitamins E, A and D3. This is a pretty standard thin oil with no scent that I can detect. As with most cuticle oils I like to brush this on and leave it to soak in for 10 minutes or so while I type away. I then massage this in before wiping away any that is left behind and it does the job. At £6.99 I would possibly like to it to be a little cheaper but it's not a bad price and you use so little each time it will last an age.

When it comes to the Protect and Repair I have to say I'm really quite impressed with this. This contains root ginger, rice and soy protein and hydrolysed collagen. Even when I don't have nail varnish on I don't tend to use strengthening treatments (I think because I like either colour painted nails or bare nails) so I usually use this sort of thing as a base coat. The first time I used this I removed my nail varnish and was surprised to find that it appeared to have made a significant difference from the first use. I thought maybe it was just a coincidence, that my nails just happened to be in slightly better condition at that time, but I then lent this to my mum (whose nails have been really quite bad recently) and she found the same thing. She said after the first time she used it she removed her nail varnish and was impressed to find that her nails had already improved. 

It's worth noting that I got hold of a bottle of OPI's Nail Envy for my mum to try and help sort out her nails and she said she's seem a much slower improvement with that than with this. So if you've thinking about trying Nail Envy but are a bit unsure about the nearly £20 price tag (although you can find it cheaper, I think I managed to get it for around £13) it may be worth giving this a try first at just £7.99. 

Prices range from £5.99 to £7.99 and you can find Nail HQ in Tesco stores and online on Amazon.

Have you tried any Nail HQ products?

*PR sample

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Saturday, 4 April 2015

Birchbox limited edition Tatler box

When I saw the card in March's Birchbox regarding the limited edition Tatler box* I assumed this was the April Birchbox, but actually this is a separate box costing £25. If you're an existing subscriber you won't be getting this box unless you purchase it separately.

Birchbox have teamed up with British fashion and lifestyle magazine Tatler for a 'The best of British' box containing great products from British brands. 

Birchbox limited edition Tatler box

Birchbox limited edition Tatler box

Birchbox limited edition Tatler box
Birchbox limited edition Tatler box

Birchbox limited edition Tatler box
Birchbox limited edition Tatler box

The box has had a makeover for the collaboration and I really like the slightly abstract brush stroke effect flowers. When I opened the box I was greeted by products from four brands I'm aware of and two that I haven't come across before. Although admitedly Birchboxes aren't that big the box was jammed full (the lid wouldn't close properly) and it actually had to be sent in a bigger box because one full size product was too big to fit inside the Birchbox. 

The first product (which doesn't fit in the box) is the Percy & Reed Big, bold & beautiful dry instant volumising spray (what a mouthful!). Percy & Reed are a London based brand that I have come across before and I do currently have one of their shampoos. On the card in my box it claims this is a dry shampoo but going by what it says on the bottle I think it's actually just a volumising spray. I've tried a couple of volumising sprays to try and give my hair some oomph but none have impressed me so far so I'm hoping this will be a winner. This is full size and costs £14.

The next product is from another London based brand that I'm aware of and this is the Ciate Paint pot in Maybe baby. I only have a couple of full size paint pots but do have around 30 mini ones from one of their advent calenders and one of their house sets. This one isn't really a shade I would choose myself (and amazingly it's not one I already have) but I do like paint pots and if nothing else it will be useful for nail art. This is also full size and worth £9.

The last London based product is the Aromatherapy Associates Renewing rose body cream. I've heard of Aromatherapy Associates but have yet to try one of their products. I'm always up for trying new body lotions in my hunt for the perfect one so I look forward to giving this a try, although I think it's a little out of my price range. This is a sample size of 40ml (full size 200ml for between £32 and £36 depending where you shop).

I recently ran out of my first bottle of Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish hot cloth cleanser so I was really pleased to see a mini size bottle accompanied by a muslin cloth. I always find it really annoying when you get a sample of a cleanser that is supposed to be used with a cloth and you don't get a cloth! Obviously I'm already aware of Liz Earle as a brand but I didn't realise they're based in the Isle of Wight. Although this looks like a sample size you can actually buy it in this size (50ml) and it's worth £9.75.

The first brand/product I'm not aware of is the Bamford body wash from the Cotswolds. This contains aloe vera and peppermint oil, which sounds lovely, but as it also contains lavender oil I'll need to pass this one on. Sample size of 50ml (full size 250ml for £22). 

Finally, the last product from Somerset is the Dr Jackson's Natural products face oil 03. I thought the 03 might mean there are different blends of oil available but this actually appears to indicate the type of product. This is packed full of oils including almond, rosehip, evening primrose and calendula and it does sound like a lovely product. This is full size 25ml (although it is also available in a bigger 50ml size) for £30.

Although this box is more expensive than the standard subscription box at £25 plus P&P I worked out that the box is worth around £75, which is impressive. You can buy the Tatler box on the Birchbox website and if you're already a subscriber this will ship with your April box around 9th April.

Are you tempted by the Tatler box?

*PR sample