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28 August 2015

Beauty Haul & First Impressions

I've collected a range of new beauty products since the start of the summer so instead of showing you the products the day of purchase, I thought I'd use them for a couple of months then share them with you to let you know how I've been finding the products so far. This haul is from various trips to both Boots and Superdrug over the past month or two.


The Maybelline Master Sculpt is my first ever contouring/highlighting product and I've been using it every day to sculpt my cheek bones and to highlight underneath my eyes and down the middle of my nose. I don't have much luck when it comes to bronzers/contour kits as I'm extremely pale and the sets are either too dark for my skin tone or barely show up. The light/medium shade is the only shade I've found to compliment my skin tone perfectly and I'd definitely re-purchase this product again in the future.

Having typical Scottish (pale) skin, it's a struggle finding a concealer that matches my skin tone perfectly. After finishing the L'Oreal True Match concealer, I realised it wasn't the best shade for me and was really yellow on my skin, which I didn't particularly like. The Maybelline FitMe concealer is of the same thick consistency as the L'Oreal concealer, except the palest shade is more suitable for my skin tone. I use the shade 01 light and although it is still slightly too dark, I've been using it really sparingly and it still does a great job in covering any imperfections. I'm still on the hunt for a good coverage concealer that matches my skin tone perfectly, but the FitMe concealer is one of the best I have tried so far!

I don't own many expensive beauty items, but I thought if I was to slightly splurge on a product, it would be on a good quality foundation. I purchased a Bare Minerals foundation and I'm in LOVE with it! I have extremely acne prone skin and I haven't broken out majorly since using this product. The shade (Fair) matches my skin tone perfectly and I love the coverage it gives. After battling with acne over my teenage years, I was left with quite a lot of acne scarring and this product covers absolutely everything. The only down side of a powder foundation is that is does tend to cling to any dry patches, so I probably wouldn't recommend it if you're prone to dryness.

I would also recommend pairing this product with a primer as it can begin to disappear off my face at the end of the evening if I wear it for a full day primer-less. When I purchased the product, the lady at the Bare Minerals counter applied their primer to my skin before the foundation, but the smell was so terrible I couldn't bring myself to purchase the primer too. If anyone has any good primer recommendations (with no horrible smell), please let me know!

I was on the hunt for a pale eyeliner to wear on my lower waterline. After seeing mixed reviews for shade recommendations online, I decided to buy both a nude and white eyeliner.

As I am very pale, the nude shade doesn't suit me at all. It is very orange and makes me look a bit ill when worn on my water line! I love the white eyeliner though, it really defines my eyes and makes them stand out.

I will find another use for the nude eyeliner, but if you're pale skinned and looking for an eyeliner to make your eyes stand out, the white shade if definitely the one to go for!

I'm always trying out new waterproof mascaras and after using the Max Factor Masterpiece Max mascara on my lower lashes for years, I thought I'd give the Masterpiece waterproof version a try. Firstly, the wand is not the same as the Masterpiece Max mascara. The bristles are a lot thinner which makes it harder to coat every lash in one swipe. It's a very wet formula and takes a while to dry, which I find quite irritating. The mascara is also quite difficult to remove compared to other waterproof mascaras I've tried in the past.

I had such high hopes for this mascara, but the formula is a bit sloppy and the wand doesn't compare to the Masterpiece Max. Max Factor - please release the Masterpiece Max in a waterproof version!


I purchased the CoverGirl Lash Exact waterproof mascara in the beauty section of TK Maxx. After hearing raving reviews on the Lashblast mascara over the years, I thought I'd give a CoverGirl mascara a try. I love the wand and the mascara does a great job in making my eyelashes look very volumised. It is, unfortunately, very difficult to remove, so I've only been using it when I know I can spend a fair amount of time properly removing the mascara as it requires a lot of soaking and scrubbing!

This is actually an angled eyeliner brush by Barry M, but I've been using it with an eyeshadow to fill in my eyebrows. I don't really tend to shape my eyebrows when i fill them in, but the bristles on this brush are quite firm so it does a great job of filling in any sparse areas with ease. This brush is now a staple product in my eyebrow routine.

I purchased the Maybelline Masterduo liner on a whim in the duty free section of Brussels South Charleroi airport last month. I wish I looked at the reviews beforehand, because it really is a terrible product and I definitely wasted my money.

The nib is thin and forms into a ball point at the end, which I don't really understand. It is difficult to apply and the formula smudges and even cracks in places during the day. I'm extremely disappointed with this product and will be sticking to my Soap & Glory Super cat liner from now on!

The Maybelline Eye Studio gel eyeliner is my first ever gel eyeliner purchase and I'm really impressed with this product. The brush makes the product really easy to use and I love the glossy finish. Gel eyeliner application certainly doesn't come naturally and I'm still trying to master winged eyeliner, but I've been loving using this product so far.

The first line is the Maybelline Masterduo liner. The finish is very glossy, but I find it extremely hard to achieve a straight line with the awkward nib.

The second line is the Maybelline Eye Studio gel eyeliner. Using a brush to apply the product makes it slightly harder to achieve a thin line, but with a bit of practice, I love how this eyeliner looks. I also find it to be long-lasting - it managed to endure a trip to the gym and swimming pool!


I purchased a Charles Worthington hair masque as it was on offer in Boots. I have long hair which can get quite dry at the ends, so I rely on a hair masque weekly to help my hair stay strong and smooth any split ends. This product smells amazing and the tub has lasted about two months. I much prefer masques in tubs as I find there's so much more wastage in a bottle and the product is a lot more difficult to dispense.


As I was purchasing travel products for my holiday, instead of a mini batiste dry shampoo, I thought I'd give Ruth Crilly's COLAB a try. I picked up the London fragrance and it works a treat! I'm definitely going to pick up a full sized bottle when I'm in Superdrug next.


A lot of my friends rave about coconut oil, so I couldn't resist trying it myself. I bought a small 125ml tub from Superdrug and I'm really impressed! I'm not sure if all coconut oil products are like this, but the oil in this tub is difficult to use without letting it melt for a few minutes in the sun or under hot water.

I let the tub sit under the tap for a couple of minutes to melt slightly, then I dip cotton wool pads in the product to remove my eye makeup. It works wonders getting rid of waterproof mascara. I'm yet to try it on the ends of my hair, but I have high hopes as my eyelashes always feel and look really nourished after use.

When this product was first released, it was a real struggle getting my hands on it and was pretty much sold out everywhere in Edinburgh! I finally purchased a bottle and I really love it. I'm not a fan of standing in my bathroom after a shower waiting for gradual fake tan to dry - so this product really stood out for me.

A thin layer all over gives a streak-free, healthy glow. It does have that typical fake tan smell afterwards, but I usually let it work overnight and wash again in the morning to get rid of the smell. The only downside to this is the price and bottle size - if I used this all over my body weekly it would make tanning quite expensive in the long run.

I'm a huge fan of Zoella and after hearing she released a new Tutti Fruity product range, I had to give at least one of the products a try. The fizz bar smells amazing, but unfortunately doesn't produce any bubbles at all and I was slightly disappointed. I probably wouldn't re-purchase this produce, but the price is really reasonable and I got 4 lovely smelling baths out of it!

Have you tried any new products recently? What new product ranges are you desperate to try?

24 August 2015

British Summer Clothing Haul | Topshop, New Look & Primark

We haven't had much of a summer here in Scotland this year. The weather has been so terrible that there hasn't been an opportunity to simply wear shorts and a t-shirt outside yet. My 'summer' wardrobe this year has consisted of items I wore in the spring time minus the layering, so over the past couple of months, I acquired a few more summery pieces to show you today.


I was on the hunt for a light cover up for slightly cooler evenings and found a pink kimono in the sale section of New Look. I'm not a huge fan of pink when it comes to clothing items, but I actually really love how this looks on. It's very light and adds an extra something to a simple outfit. I've been wearing this with a basic white t-shirt, jeans and boots.


I've been lacking nice evening wear in my wardrobes, so I decided to pick up this white shirt from Topshop. The fit is really nice, slightly on the baggy side, but looks great paired with skinny jeans. I was a bit worried it would make me look like I was wearing a school shirt, but it's a completely different material and I'm looking forward to wearing it on special evening occasions.

I finally got my hands on a pair of black slim leg dungarees from Topshop last week. Every time I went into the store, they were always sold out or didn't have my size. I tried on the size 6 in store and they were quite big around the waist, so I ordered a pair in a size 4 on line. They are still fairly big on me, but I'm in love with them regardless!

After living in hooded tops for the majority of this year, I thought I'd pick up a cardigan instead. Topshop are currently selling this cardigan in green and grey. It's really cosy and I've been loving wearing it to lounge around in and also wearing it out paired with jeans and a black crop top.



I rarely go into Primark nowadays. There hasn't been a lot in there recently that has caught my eye and I'd much rather pay a bit extra for something of better quality and will last longer in H&M or New Look. However, I came across some basic t-shirts I fell in love with and pretty much almost bought them in every colour. They are slightly cropped and have a tight fit. I can't remember how much they were exactly, but they were incredibly cheap and ranged between £2-£3.50.

What has been your staple summer outfit this year?

2 August 2015

Visiting Leuven & Brussels

As you may already be aware, I'm hoping to move to Leuven next month as part of my Erasmus year abroad. My family and I thought it would be good to visit Leuven beforehand so I could familiarise myself with the main parts of the town and find my bearings for when I move in September. Towards the end of July, we did exactly that and spent two days exploring Leuven and a day in the center of Brussels.

I had already made a list of everywhere I wanted to visit before, one of those places included finding the KU Leuven law school. It is located in the center of Leuven with the rest of the University campus nearby. The law school here in Edinburgh is very picturesque and I'm delighted the law school in Leuven is simply beautiful too.

Next, we found the University library. It's free to access for KU Leuven students, but we had to pay to visit the library as well as either/both the bell tower and the library exhibition. We bought tickets for the bell tower and we were all terrified! The bell tower comprises of a good few set of spiral staircases with small exhibitions on each of the landings. I was the only one of my family to actually step outside at the top of the tower as it was very high up - but we were all rushing to get back down as we were warned the sound of the hourly bell was extremely loud.

The square which the library is a part of seems to host various events throughout the year, when we visited it was beach volley week.

We didn't try a lot of Belgian foods whilst in Leuven. On our first night we actually ordered a Dominos takeaway to have in the hotel as we were all knackered from walking all day. This photo was taken at a restaurant called 'La Vignette' on our last night in Leuven. I'm not a fan of beer/lagers, but as there was a Stella brewery behind our hotel, I had to give it a try.

Belgian National day is celebrated on the 21st of July every year. We assumed this was a national holiday as all of the shops in Leuven were closed and the town was pretty dead, so we hopped on a train to Brussels central. The city was packed on this day with the emergency services showing off their vehicles, police dogs and hosting activities for the public.

After spending the morning walking along Rue de la RĂ©gence, we headed in the opposite direction to Galerie Du Roi. The shops here are very expensive, but it was nice to have a look in all the Belgian chocolate shop windows and the shopping centre itself is very beautiful.

Around from Galerie Du Roi is Brussel's Grote Markt where the guild halls can be found. Anything named 'grote markt' in Belgium is definitely a place to visit, both the squares in Leuven and Brussels are stunning!

The visit was short and sweet, but I have learnt a lot about both Leuven and Brussels and I'm excited to head over there again in 6 weeks where I can temporarily call it my home for 10 months. 

Apologies my blog posts have been very infrequent this summer. Life is hectic at the moment - I have two resit exams in the next couple of weeks (sigh) so a lot of my time is going towards studying for those. I won't be able to move to Leuven unless I pass my exams, so they are most definitely priority for me at the moment.

I have already started a list of blog posts I'm planning on writing when I'm free again towards the middle of August. I can't wait to start taking photos and writing up blog posts properly again!
Copyright @ Alix Staines.