2 March 2015

Real Techniques Bold Metals Collection

Real Techniques brushes are designed by the well known make-up artists Nicola and Samantha Chapman who together host the Pixiwoo Channel on YouTube which is full of amazing tutorials, ideas, reviews and really useful information.

I love the original Real Techniques brushes that I own and I always recommend Real Techniques brushes to friends (as well as Zoeva kits for those with no proper brushes at all) as their products are comparative to high end designer brushes but with a super low price-tag. 

When I saw online the gorgeous new Bold Metals collection of brushes in Gold, Silver and Rose Gold I knew I had to add at least one to my rather hefty make-up brush collection.  They are more expensive than the regular line of brushes, but as you can see, they are much more luxe.   You can never have enough brushes in my opinion and I personally invest in good tools to apply products, if you only have a bit of money to spend on make-up or brushes I would recommend spending the money on the brushes, as the application can make even cheaper make-up apply just as well as expensive make-up.

The Bold Metals collection has recently been launched online and in Boots in the UK, I believe it's available in Ulta in the USA.  It is a more luxe version of brushes specifically designed with the make-up artist in mind.  The handles are tapered so they slide easily into a brush belt, weighted for enhanced precision of product application and angled so they don't roll around or fall off your dressing table, which are all really cool design additions.  The white bristles of the brushes were chosen to show exactly how much product is on the brush and the really dense but soft bristles and tapered design are to ensure advanced pick up of product and to make blending easier.

The brushes I have are the rose gold ones (my favourite metal), and are part of the 'finishing' collection.  I have the 301 flat contour brush £22.00 and the 300 tapered blush brush £24.00.

My overall thoughts 

My favourite hands down is the 301 flat contour brush, this is the absolute easiest brush to use to contour your cheekbones, it's the perfect size and shape in my opinion, picks up just the right amount of colour and makes it so so easy to blend, if you only buy one brush from this collection and obviously if you like contouring, then this is the one to get, it gets right into the hollows of your cheeks and gives you that Kim K look without half an hour of blending.

From the picture below you can see how easy it is to use the contour brush to get a precise line and then the blush brush to put the colour just where you want it, so it all blends together seamlessly.

The 300 tapered blush brush is really great, it picks up so much colour from the pan of your blush, colours I can barely get to show up using other brushes appear vivid and bright using this, it's amazing, it just grabs so much colour, and it puts it precisely where you want it.  This does mean that you need to dust off any excess or give it a practice run the first time you use it so you know how sparing you can be with your product, before you end up looking as red in the face as if you'd run a marathon!

At first I thought it was a shame that the different brushes come in different colour ways (gold for face brushes, silver for eye brushes and rose gold for finishing brushes) as I wanted all rose gold! However, I realised that if you bought all of them it would then be really easy to find the right brush just by the colour, especially for make-up artists who would have many brushes and need to work quickly and find the right brush in a hurry so I can see why they did that.

The only negative comment I have is about the glue used to stick them to the box, I am sure there is a reason it's so strong but I had to wrestle with both brushes to get them out of the packaging and was a bit terrified I would chip or scratch them (as I had read reviews about the handles chipping and scratching for other girls).  This is quite a minor thing though and overall I would give the range of brushes 8/10 and the contour brush definitely a 10/10.

You can read more here Real Techniques Website

And purchase here in the UK: Boots

24 February 2015

Sk:n Clinics Glycolic Peel Consultation

Further to my post earlier in the month about getting older and looking for products and treatments to slow down the aging process my next step after Retinol products is to try a glycolic face peel.

I decided to go for my glycolic face peel with Sk:n clinics as I have only ever had positive experiences with the company and have used them for laser hair removal and botox previously, so I felt that they were the best people to go to.  I go to the London Wall branch of Sk:n clinics which is right near Holborn tube station and a short walk from my office.

After a previous Sk:n appointment
First of all you book a consultation, as they do not do a new treatment on you without talking to you and assessing what your requirements and needs are and that the treatment is safe for you to have and will likely give results.  I like that they do not just book people in for treatments without having their history, looking at their skin and having a chat with you to see your expectations and that they have  great aftercare support  Other companies do this and I just find it very money orientated and not so much client focused. I have always felt that I have been treated well at Sk:n.

You fill in a health form prior to your consultation if it is your first time or if you have been there before they go through everything in your file with you and check that nothing has changed, and then they get you to sign off a form, to confirm that what information you have provided is definitely correct and from you.

First you start with having a visual assessment, then they look at your skin through a scanner/Visia machine, which shows them any sun damage, pigmentation, areas of dry skin or dehydration, blemishes and similar issues. You will then be advised, after your assessment, how many peels you are recommended and what break in between them, for example 4 peels with a week's break in between each treatment to let your skin renew.  As a glycolic peel is much gentler than other harsher peels you can have a series of these treatments with one or two weeks break in between as there is not downtime like with a harsh peel where your face might be very red.

At your consultation you are also told more about the peel, they explain that Glycolic acid is the smallest naturally occuring Alpha Hydroxy Acid which means it can penetrate into the skin more effectively, it helps to lift the top layer of dead skin cells away to remove the fresher skin underneath, it helps to smooth the skin so fine lines, wrinkles and blemishes look much better.  They advise that the treatment takes roughly 15 minutes and shouldn't hurt, just mildly tingle.  You need to wear SPF after having a peel as your skin will be more sensitive to the sun than usual.  A SPF50 with a good UVA/UVB cover is a good bet.

After the peel you can easily go on to work or out, as it is not really noticeable.  During the next few days you will notice a slight peeling of the skin but you can apply makeup to cover any redness if there is any.  If there is redness it will quickly fade.  A month after your final peel you should really see the overall results, with each peel your skin will get progressively clearer and more vibrant looking.

I am looking forward to my peel and will post more next month once I have had one and update you on my treatment journey, you can check out more about the clinic and how the consultation process works here Sk:n Clinics Treatment Journey

20 February 2015

Getting Started with Project Life

Project Life is a fairly simple way to get into scrapbooking, with kits readily available online and in Hobbycraft in the UK,

I am not into scrapbooking and I am not into crafting really, you can make this system as complicated or as easy as you like and use it for anything you want.

How do you 'do' Project Life

My use for it is a photo album, and a handy way to keep my holiday memories and souvenirs together, rather than leaving all of my photos on my computer and never looking at them.  I decided it would be a nice thing to make to look back at when I'm old, to have memories of all of the places I have been, it's all very well putting them on instagram but I doubt that will still exist when I am that old!  You can use it for whatever you want! Recipes, photo album, baby book...the list is endless. Some people document their life on a weekly basis with a page for each week but frankly in my house, ain't nobody got time for that!

Photos from PersniketyPrints
How to Start

I bought some clear pages with different sizes so I could put different types of pictures and things on different sheets.  This means that you can put different sized pictures in different pockets, they just slide in sort of the same way as a punched pocket.  I bought a black and grey chevron album and two sets of cards, one for travel and one black, white and gold as I love that colour scheme.

Think of what type of theme you want and go with it. I like clean designs, inspirational quotes and my album will be of travels, so I stuck to black and white, pictures, not much writing and some travel based cards.

What about all of the extras?

There are so many different things you can use to enhance your Project Life album but really you don't need them to make it look nice, it depends how far you want to go. I use my Dymo label maker to write the titles of places or things to stick onto cards or pictures so I remember when or where the pictures on a certain page were taken, but that's about as fancy as I have got.  You could also just write notes on the blank or lined cards available, or type them on the computer, print them out and slot those in too.  Some shops to buy crafty things to use in the UK are below but you can google and find so many more.

  • Hobbycraft (online and in store)
  • Papermaze (online)
  • Paperchase (online and in store)
  • Crafty Charlie (online)
How to fit two 3x4 photos onto a 4x6 for photo printing

Many of the Project Life pockets for photos are 3x4 which appears impossible to get printed online or at machines in Boots or Snappy Snaps.  Instead you can use photo editing software app's on your phone, I use A Beautiful Mess, to create one photo, but split in two.

You upload that to Boots or whatever photo printing site you are using, and have it printed on a 4x6 sheet.  Then you can simply chop it in half using scissors or a guillotine for a sharp edge.  Or when I am feeling extremely lazy, I order photos from the fabulous Persnickety Prints as they will print in any size and even print your photos so they look like polariods.

My very blurry Hong Kong page

How to cut out one large picture to fit in all the separate pockets

It really stands out when you use one big photo and cut it out to fit all of the pockets, it is a bit tricky but you can find a tutorial here. I suggest their tutorial as I haven't done this myself, I think it looks nice but I don't want to cut up my photos to be honest, it looks like too much effort!

How to make the corners of your photos rounded

You can purchase a little tool to do this, just slip the picture into the tool and make sure it is level, press down and voila, your square corner is shaped into a rounded corner.  I bought mine from Crafy Charlie but you can get them on ebay, at Hobby Craft and many similar places online. It does make the album look really cute.

Do I need to buy a core kit?

If you are making a simple photo album then you don't need to buy a core kit unless you want to. Just find a few sets of cards online that you like and use those.  Most of the pockets will be taken up with the photos in my one so I didn't bother.

What can I include?

I included photos, stuck restaurant cards to some of the cards I had with glue dots, used some instagram photos I printed on photo paper, menus, a friendship bracelet I was given in SaPa.  You can use anything that you think will remind you of your holiday and bring back memories.

I will update when I have completed a few more pages.

Let me know if you have a Project Life album, or send a link to your blog posts about it, I do love looking at other peoples too.
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