Friday, 1 August 2014

The Best Of Benefit Cosmetics

I suddenly realised the other day that I have a lot of products from the same brand. I know that sometimes when you want to try different brands and you're thinking 'right where do I even start?' So I thought I might start doing some best of brand posts, of course not an original idea when I've seen other bloggers do this, but I thought I could add my take too. Although DB is mainly about more budget beauty, I do like a splurge now and then, but I do hate wasting money on things that I haven't quite gotten on with. Today I'm going to be focusing on Benefit, a cosmetic brand that I'm sure we all have at least one thing from them in our collection. I remember my first Benefit product was the Bad Gal eyeliner, which I actually got in a Glamour magazine. It was when I was going through my 'let's wear as much eyeliner as possible' phase. Fast forward a few years and I'm very lucky to have a lot more from Benefit in my collection, and I have some absolute favourites that I use every day.

They're Real Mascara: I'm pretty sure there's some crazy statistic that one of these is bought every ten seconds in the UK, it's really popular and one of the most famous mascaras out there. I love this, it makes your lashes super long, but be careful that wand is like a medieval torture device, poking yourself in the eye with that wand will take you a week to concur your fear of mascara's. It doesn't budge anywhere, heck you could get caught in a monsoon and this wouldn't budge. As much as this is a good thing, I could never get the damn thing off in the evening's! I'd wake up with Alice Cooper eyes in the morning which I'm sure startled Henry a few times. However that leads to my next product....

They're Real  Remover: I was obviously not the only Alice Cooper lookalike walking around, so Benefit invented a eye make up remover to ensure we ended up waking up like ladies. This is an almost lotion that really does take off every last scrap of eye make up. It makes your lashes feel soft and doesn't leave that horrible oily/sheeny residue on your eyes that some removers do. Be careful if you get in your eye though as it does sting!

Posie Balm and Lollie Balm: These pretty lip balms are perfect summer lip products, light and fruity with a swash of colour, they're perfect for taking on holiday. Although they aren't super pigmented they do add a nice sheen of colour, think YSL Rouge Volupte Sheer Candy lipsticks. Posie Balm is my favourite being a peachy pink (duh) but they're something that I've been applying vigorously in this hot sticky weather we've been having.

It's Potent: Eye Cream: Very recently my Mum and I were very lucky to receive the whole skincare range from Benefit to try, which was super kind of them! I think it literally made my Mum's year. The stand out product for me has to the eye cream, very few eye creams do what they say with me. This one is soothing, cooling and actually lightens the area. It helps to eradicate my puffy eyes and means I don't have to spend 45 minutes applying concealer to my eye bags. However my Mum didn't get on with this at all, it made her eyes sting, so maybe see if you can get a sample first as eye cream's work differently for different people.

Hoola Bronzer: Gosh this bronzer is just a cult bronzer isn't it? I didn't know if it would really be worth the hype, but when Benefit sent me one with my name on... I was sold. Hey when you've got a weird name like me, it's not often you have things with your name on. You have to settle for special person or great girl, it's really not the same. This matte quite warm toned bronzer, is perfect for faking that post holiday glow, you can layer it up to look like you've been in Barbados for a three weeks or use a gentle swash to get a golden 'just been sitting in my garden' glow. It's also great for contouring too and one that I'm sure would work with all skin types. My only gripe? The box, I wish it was a circular shape so I could really get my brush in there, but it's a very good bronzer and totally worth the hype.

Gimme Brow Mascara: Oh you guys know my woes of my eyebrows, I can make a spot disappear but eyebrows? I'm just not talented in that area. The Gimme Brow mascara is perfect for eyebrow novices like myself, it does the hard work for you. I use the lighter one at the moment as my hair is a bit lighter and it just holds the brows in place all day. No more stray brows trying to make a run for it, just well polished brows.

Coralista Blush: Again another super hyped up blush but rightly so too. I've been using this every day since May and I've hit pan :( that is how much I love it! It's a coral, peachy blush with a little shimmer. Great for holidays, and for the summer. I just love it.

Other Things I Like But I Forgot To Photograph Cause I'm A Doughnut:

Porefessional Powder: This is great for keeping oil at bay and setting concealer, a must have in this hot sticky weather.

Fake Up Concealer: You either love it or you hate it, I loved this concealer as it was great for under the eyes. Super moisturising and not cakey at all. Make sure you set it with powder though as it might slip around your face like flubber.

Things I'm Not Sure About:

They're Real Liner; I just can't seem to get this liner to work for me, I think it's cause I'm not the best at eyeliner so the gel formula needs a bit more work than the usual liquid liner consistency. I know a lot of people love this, but I'm just not sure about it.

The Porefessional Primer: I think this primer broke me out, although it did make my skin feel very soft. However this product is one that both my Mum and sister love, so different people and preferences again.

Things Left To Try:

Watts Up Highlighter: I had a sample of this somewhere and loved it, I think it's time to commit and buy the full size version as I remember it being a lovely champagne colour highlight!

So that's my favourite Benefit products, what's yours?

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Tips For New Graduates

It seems that we've got to that time of the year where most universities are having their graduation ceremonies. It's that time where graduates don a Harry Potter style cloak, and practise smiles as those graduation photos will be on parents mantelpiece's for everyone to see for many years. I actually read the other day, that a photo company are editing graduation photos by whitening teeth and airbrushing them so they're perfect! How shocking eh! Anyways, I graduated almost two years ago and going from a student to a graduate was quite a strange transition for me. First of all my student discount stopped (rude) and second of all, I just wasn't quite prepared for my life post university. I hadn't quite anticipated that I'd have to stop having afternoon naps. No one really tells you, well I didn't get told just what being a graduate is actually like, maybe I'm a bit naive, but I thought I'd come out of university, waving my 2:1 degree in my hand going 'coooeeee hire me!' I'd get a dream job and before you knew it, I'd have a grown up briefcase and I'd be like Carrie Bradshaw. If only.

Me at graduation...

First of all let's start with Graduation, I may of missed the boat, but if you haven't graduated yet and well I graduated in November then here's some tips for the day;

  • Plan your day accordingly, give yourself plenty of time for getting your gown, having pictures etc. 
  • Take with you; a safety pin to attach your gown to your dress (sshh you don't need to wear a shirt with a button!) Hair grips to keep your hat in place so you don't have to worry about it flying off. 
  • Wear your hair down, as there's no point wearing a pretty up do for it to be covered by your hat
  • Wear natural make up that won't date, a subtle smokey eye and nude lips is what I went for 
  • Also remember try to use SPF free/low SPF foundation for no flashback, I know it's not wise in this hot weather, so in this case try to avoid flashes by having photos taken in natural light outside 
  • If you're worried about falling over on stage, pack some flats with you to wear, it'll take the stress of worrying about tripping up 
  • Have a wee before the ceremony (they're long) 
  • Enjoy every second! You'll never feel more like a Harry Potter class member so enjoy the day! :) 

With my tips for the actual graduation day out of the way, let's talk about what happens after the ceremony. As soon as you graduate it seems that an insane amount of pressure is put on you to get a job. Some people are lucky and know exactly what they want to do and some even have jobs already lined up for them. I didn't to both of these things, I didn't know what I wanted to do and I didn't have anything lined up.  I wasn't really sure what to do, luckily I had some of my student loan still saved up so I was able to live off that for a good month to give myself some time to think about things. 

I studied at Southampton Solent University on a course called Media Communications, after discovering a love for Media Studies at college, I decided that media was a route I wanted to go down. I've always been interested in media, and it seemed a natural course for me to take. My university course was totally different to my college one. If you study media, you'll know how people say 'Oh isn't that a degree on watching films?' Erm no. I think we watched one film in the whole three years. My course wasn't what I expected but in a good way it covered all aspects of the media; PR, Marketing, Media Comms, Journalism, it covered everything and I was drawn into Digital PR/Social Media. Doing different modules meant I could work out what I liked, and what I didn't. I discovered I wasn't that keen on Marketing, but found a new interest in PR.  Although I started my blog a few weeks before uni, I was learning new things from my course which helped with my blog. I learnt new skills such as editing, how to communicate with PR's and of course just how to write better which all helped massively. Thanks to my diverse course, I knew I wanted to head down the social media route. I just wasn't quite sure how to get on the right path. 

The one thing I did realise, is that in this kind of field, you need experience. If you ever have the chance to carry out an internship or do work experience, do it. I wish I'd looked more into this when I was at uni and when I could of afforded to work free for a couple of weeks. Living away from home as a new graduate with my loan dwindling away but still having rent to pay meant that working free wasn't an option for me. I found myself getting turned down for jobs as having a degree just wasn't enough. That's when I found graduate job websites which advertised jobs looking for new graduates who maybe don't have an awful lot of experience; I used Graduate Jobs South which was super handy, but also check your local university's website as they might advertise local graduate jobs. 

I would also check out local social media agencies and send them an email, explaining how I was a new graduate and my passions in the hope they may consider me if they ever get a graduate role. I actually emailed the agency I work with now, funnily enough. After a good few weeks, I was starting to lose hope, I just didn't know what to do. I knew I had to get some money somehow so I decided to just get a job. I ended up working in retail for 18 months, people would say to me, 'so you went to uni, and you work in a shop?' As if it was a bad thing, not that at least I was working and earning money. 

I feel that there is incredible pressure is put on new graduates to start their career. You're told you should be in the same field as your degree and you should be earning at least 20k a year, if not you're a failure. Honestly this is all rubbish. Don't feel pressured, you've just worked your bum off for three years, have a breather. Go travelling (it looks great on your CV FYI) take some time off (heck I wish I'd taken another month off) or just go get a job, it doesn't matter what it is. Although I knew working in retail wasn't for me, you know it's not for you when you fantasise about hitting a rude customer with a clothes hanger. It was a stop gap, I earned money, I made good friends and I grew up. I also realised exactly what I did want to do, social media was still the passion I had, and I wanted to do something with blogging/bloggers. 

The job hunt was stressful, but sites such as Indeed and Reed, helped me find local jobs. I uploaded my CV online to job sites such as Monster, and I'd search social media jobs on twitter to see if anything came up. I joined LinkedIn, something we were told at uni was super important to do, and I listed basically everything I've ever done. Get on there and connect with influential people, bring yourself to their attention.  I ended up coming to an interview for my current job, in fact it wasn't the job I had applied for but my passion for social media and blogging I think meant they still wanted to see me.  From studying my degree and then having a break for a year and six months, I knew what I wanted to do, I'd done my research, and I took everything I learnt from my university course, knowing now was the right time to start my career.

Six months later, I now have a job in a field I wanted to be in, it's a graduate role essentially but I'm learning all the time and I'm hoping one day I can progress. I'm even learning now what I want to do even further in social media, I've learnt social media strategy is not for me, but community management? That's something I'm definitely interested in. This has been a long winded blog post and I'm sorry for that, but if you're a new graduate, try to not stress too much. I promise that you will find that job that you are looking for, I found mine 18 months after university. Don't be afraid to do something new, give yourself time and try to get as much experience as you can. Perhaps talk to your university tutors? Mine were all super helpful and one of mine even gave me a list of agencies to research. I promise if you don't get that dream job straight away, you're not a failure. You're a superhero, you got that degree and that's something no one can ever take away from you. 

Good luck in being a new graduate, it's a scary but exciting world out there. But one thing you'll never get used to? Leaving behind student discount :'( 

Monday, 28 July 2014

Cheryl's StormFlower Fragrance

StormFlower Fragrance 50ml* & StormFlower Body Wash*

A few weeks ago, a very exciting invite landed in my inbox. I won't lie to you but I squealed and let out a little wee at the same time. TMI? Probably, but it was only an invite for formerly known Cheryl Cole's fragrance launch. AH MY GAD. You all know of my love for Cheryl. A love so deep that I waited for nine hours on a cold October day to meet her, totally worth the wait though as it's not everyday Cheryl says she likes your hair. Yep that one will definitely be on my tombstone. The 23rd July finally came round, and I booked the afternoon of work and tootled down to London to go to the launch of StormFlower. This is Cheryl's debut fragrance, and I'm amazed she hasn't done one before. She actually said at the launch that now was the perfect time, as previously she didn't want to just put her name to a fragrance. Not just a pretty face, our Chezza is she?

The event was full of press and I wasn't quite sure how I'd managed to get myself an invite, there was hoards of paparazzi outside and although the venue was super hot, we were served cocktails to cool down. Cheryl soon arrived and she walked straight past me as she glided in, I had to avoid the urge to stroke her, thanks to Laura, Katie and Sabrina for not judging my fangirl tendencies too much. Cheryl did an interview with Marvin Hulmes about the perfume and we were shown the advert and heard Cheryl talk about the fragrance. She said she wanted a 'fresh' fragrance, and the name StormFlower is inspired by that 'fresh feeling after there's just been a storm.' Cheryl revealed she'd worked on everything, from the bottle design to even making sure the advert was different to the usual fragrance adverts and enlisted Rankin to help push the boundaries with dance. Even though I have met Cheryl in the flesh before, her beauty still astounds me. She is like a doll, so perfect. I've never been sure about her new blonde hair, but seeing it in the flesh, it looks amazing.

We were very kindly given our own bottle of StormFlower on our way out, I feel very lucky to have my hands on the perfume a whole month before it launches on 27th August. So I've been wearing it for the past few days and I have the lowdown on StormFlower. First of all, the bottle is completely different to anything I've ever seen before, it's a delicate exotic flower design which is in gold. Cheryl said at the launch she loves gold, it's very classy, and elegant. With no pink or tacky diamonds to be seen. There will be three sizes, a 30ml, 50ml (which I have) and a 100ml. They are all reasonably priced with the prices ranging from £23.95-£39.95 which I don't think is bad for a perfume at all. There will also be an accompanying body wash (£14.95) and a shimmering body lotion (£17.95) I imagine come Christmas time, there will be a gift set with the three items in.

The perfume itself is a perfect day fragrance, it's very fruity with notes of mandarin and nectarine yet it isn't overly orange-y as you may expect, with floral notes from freesia's and peach blossom, it's a light modern smell, not smelling too heavy or old lady floral if that makes sense. There is also vanilla to add a sweet element, with white musk and sandalwood which brings an almost warm, musky smell to the perfume. The smell does remind me of something but I can't put my finger on it, it's different to the very sweet, fruity fragrance's that I usually wear, and it has a more grown up smell than I imagined it would. The fragrance lasts all day, and in fact whenever I wear this a few hours later I can still smell it on me. I love this, as I hate when you can't smell a perfume anymore. It's very light, and perfect for daytime, the body wash adds the scent and I'd probably use this if I was going out in the evening for a more intense fragrance.

I have to say this perfume is so much more than what I was expecting, it's elegant, it's fresh, it's a perfume that I think will shock a lot of people, it's not the typical celebrity fragrance, this is something that the likes of Marc Jacobs or Viktor and Rolf could release. When this launches go give it a smell, like the One Direction perfume it will be totally different to what you're expecting. StormFlower is released on August 27th and will be available from The Perfume Shop and Superdrug.

FYI: You may think I am just saying I like this perfume because it's Cheryl's. I promise you I am not, it's a genuinely nice perfume that I would buy regardless of if it's Cheryl's or not! 

Friday, 18 July 2014

Soap & Glory's New Orangeasm Range

I've always been such a fan of the unique Soap and Glory smell that the majority of their products have. That almost sweet, marshmallowy scent is what I absolutely love about the products. So when I saw that S&G had released a new orange range, I didn't know what to think. Of course this isn't the first new scent that S&G have released, but this seems to be the first one that doesn't have that sweet sugary scent alongside the new flavours. Orangeasm is purely a zesty orange scent, and if you don't like oranges then you'd probably want to give this range a miss.

There's three new products, a Revitalising Body Wash*, which is creamy, foamy and the perfect wash to use in the shower. The orange zesty smell awakens you in the morning, and is perfect for all sorts of washing even using as a foam for shaving your legs, and let's be honest not all shower washes do that now do they? Next is the Super Rich Body Butter* which has tiny orange balls which are in fact Shea butter massage balls which burst and sink into your skin. The super creamy moisturiser rubs in super quickly and a little goes a long way. It also sinks in so quickly, with my skin just lapping it up. It also smells amazing and you can feel it on your skin all day, even in the evening my skin still feels moisturised after me applying over ten hours before! Finally in the range is the Super Tonic Fragrance*, a perfect scent for summer with citrus, mandarin, and mint to name a few tones. It's really light and lasts all day. I use it as an all over body fragrance which is fresh and fruity, and also really light. For hot days the last thing you want is a heavy perfume!

I love all three of these new products, they are light yet moisturising and the scent is just perfect for a summer body range. Have you used the new Orangeasm range yet?

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