Monday, 9 November 2015

MAC Soar Lip Liner Dupe

One of the many benefits of beauty blogging, as a reader or a blogger, is hearing about beauty 'dupes' - drugstore alternatives (or duplicates, hence the name!) of higher end products. 

Today, I have a great dupe for the infamous MAC 'Soar' lip liner. A Kylie Jenner favourite, 'Soar' is a dusty nude with brown undertones. MAC lip liners retail for £12.50 which I don't think is super expensive, but my dupe, GOSH's Velvet Touch Lip Liner in '001 Nougat Crisp', is only £4.99.

The packing is very similar, dark matte finish, sample of the colour at the end, branding in metallic writing. When I photographed them, the caps were even so similar that I couldn't work out which belonged to which! The MAC liner comes in a box, whereas the GOSH one doesn't. But then again, who ever keeps the box? 

Colour wise, they're very similar. Nougat Crisp is ever so slightly pinker, but not enough that you'd probably need both in your collection. If you're wearing them alone all over your lips, there's a slight difference, but as just a liner, there's hardly any. From my MAC collection, I'd say the GOSH liner would be a great match for MAC's Brave, while Soar would match 'Velvet Teddy' better. (There is actually a 'Soar' lipstick though, but I don't own it!)

The formula of the MAC liner is creamier than the GOSH one, which makes it more comfortable to wear all over the lips and doesn't look dry on, whereas the GOSH one is a little harder and more waxy, which works better to actually line the lips, and acts as a better barrier to stop lipstick bleeding around the edges.

To be honest, I love both and reach for both regularly, however I do think if you're on a budget that GOSH lip liners are incredible value for money.

MAC 'Soar' is available from MAC stores, counters and online here, while GOSH 'Nougat Crisp' is available in most Superdrug stores and online here.

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Blogging Events : Confidence & Anxiety

I've had my blog for a little over 4 years now, and have actually thought of myself as 'a blogger' for over half of that yet it still it comes as a surprise to me when anybody besides myself takes any interest in my little slice of Internet magic. Whether that's people reading my posts or following me on social media. brands wanting to work with me or companies inviting me to their events, it's truly amazing. I'm still surprised because those things signify that my blog is actually a real thing and that it means something, even something tiny, to people other than me. I'm truly grateful for every opportunity that my blog has allowed me so it always comes as a shock to me when I decide not to out of going to events like I did recently.

I remember the first blogging event that I ever went to. It was a Lush event for the launch of Mira Manga's book 'Cosmetics To Go' and I was absolutely petrified. I didn't know what to expect, what to bring, what to wear. I was awkward, scared to talk to anyone new through fear of feeling inferior and hung around the few bloggers that I did vaguely know like flies around...yeah. It was a great night and like most things that make me feel anxious, I look back on it with good memories and I don't regret going at all, it was a great night and probably kick started me being 'a blogger' rather than someone who just so happens to write a blog. 

Since then, I have been to a ton of events for loads of amazing brands and companies and while I always have a good time, often the daunting prospect of entering a room of people alone puts me off. If I was immune to that feeling, I'd have definitely been to a lot more blogger events. I work with the general public, luxury fashion retail to be exact so while I'm great at making small talk with total strangers, I could go for hours, when it comes to people I sort of know (ie. follow on Twitter but have never actually met in real life) I freeze.

You see, while I don't suffer with 'anxiety' as such, as in the medical condition, 'anxiety' as a feeling rather than a diagnosis is certainly prominent in almost every aspect of my day to day life, particularly my life as a blogger. I'm a worrier, tiny things play on my mind for days or sometimes weeks and really eat away at me and I'm great at talking myself out of things if I feel uncomfortable or nervous about them. Better safe that sorry, right? Or usually in my case, better safe at home than sorry out in the big bad world. 

Recently, I was invited to an amazing blogger event which I was flattering about and had every intention of attending right up until the day before it. Then, after finishing work, I was hit with a bout of anxiousness and dread. I couldn't quite put my finger on why (which isn't uncommon for me when it comes to anxiety) but I just feel nervous and drained. 

Normally I'd have loved to go, but I was searching for any excuse in the book why I was unworthy. I was supposed to be working 11am-7pm on the day of the event and it started at 7pm. 'Nope, I simply couldn't go if I were going to be late,' I thought. Did I mention the location of the event is literally less than 5 minutes walk from my work? Then I had to go into work a hour early. So naturally that hour had made me so completely exhausted that the thought of doing anything after work was too much to bare. And of course my hair wasn't looking it's best. And didn't have my camera with me. The tiny little things all began to mount up and like clock work I'd talked myself out of it. I walked past the location that the event was being held in on the way home and gazed in the window from afar like a kid in a candy store. Any normal person would think 'Um...well, just go in then?' but I couldn't bring myself to. I still now don't know why and that's a really frustrating feeling. 

I love my blog and as I said, am still incredibly grateful for all the opportunities which I get as a result of it, so it really tears me up when I feel like I just can't bring myself to take up these opportunities and worst of all, I don't even know why. As a beauty blogger, do I feel I should I be more attractive? Or as a writer, do I feel I should I be able to walk into any social gathering and come across as intelligent and well versed as I effortlessly engage in idle chit-chat with glamorous strangers? Is it maybe that because my friends and family don't know about my blog, I perhaps feel conscious about actually vocalising it, even amongst other bloggers? It could be a combination of those factors, or it could be none of them, I really don't know. 

For the duration of my time as a blogger, anxiety has dictated what I post. In the past year or so, I've been more open on Twitter about certain aspects of my life, health etc. but still worry constantly about judgement from people in my life or from blogging friends. 

This wasn't intended to provoke sympathy (I'm not sure it would anyway, as it's basically just been me complaining about the amazing opportunities which I get and coming across as super ungrateful) but I find it funny (albeit ironic) how something like blogging that gives me so much in some ways is so affected by anxiety in others...

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Mini Lush Haul

Hi all - hope you're all having a lovely Wednesday!
Yesturday I was out shopping for my sisters' birthday present when I might have happened to stumble into Lush. Accidently, I promise!

I was initially in to have a look and sniff of their lovely new Hallowe'en and Christmas ranges but I picked up three products, none of which are from their seasonal ranges...

I heard about this soap from the lovely Rose Keat's recent Lush haul video. She described the scent like 'a stick of rock, fresh, zingy and uplifting' which sounded exactly like my type of thing. I like soaps that wake me up and energise my skin and this is sweet but minty too, containing peppermint oil and Canadian maple syrup. I love the colours too which although isn't enough to persuade me alone, it certainly looks nice in the shower! 

Next, a product I've been meaning to try for quite literally years, the Mask of Magnaminty. Once again, a super fresh and minty smelling product as the name suggests, the mask is quite thick and chunky and promises to lift dirt out of the skin and then exfoliate it as it washes it away. In my experience, the more horrible and off-putting the colour, the better a face mask is so I can't wait to have a go of this murky green mixture!

Finally, I picked up the highly commended Grease Lightning spot treatment. My skin is generally pretty good, but it does go through phases whereby it kicks up hell and breaks out like a hormonal teenager. I've read wonderful things about this and I used it last night. It's a thick gel which stings your skin when you apply it (in a good way!) and smells like a blend of lemon and lavender. I love the bottle too, it really helps you dispense just the right amount.

I adore Lush products but relatively speaking to other beauty bloggers, I haven't tried a huge variety of their products, so if you have any recommendations of their lesser known goodies, please leave some suggestions below or find me on Twitter at '@Filthy_Paws'

Monday, 12 October 2015

A day in Edinburgh - Roy Lichtenstein & David Bailey exhibitions

Hi all! 
One of my favourite ways to spend a chilled out day off, is to visit exhibitions and galleries. I've always been a very visual person a with a huge passion for art and photography so last Sunday, my mum and I decided to take a day trip to Edinburgh to see the Roy Lichtenstein and David Bailey exhibitions. 

For anyone who doesn't know, Roy Lichtenstein is hugely influential figure in the pop art movement, while David Bailey is a amazing photographer, mostly celebrity shoots from the 70's and 80's but also fashion images and portraits. I'm a big fan of both their works so we exciting to see both in one day.

The Roy Lichtenstein exhibition was in the beautiful Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, just outside of Edinburgh's city centre. Beautiful buildings and grounds house a small but inclusive collection of Lichtenstein's work, including one of this most famous pieces, 'In The Car', which the gallery purchased in 1980. 

The exhibition is completely fee of charge and is on until 10th January 2016. More info on it here.

After visit it the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, we headed to Wannaburger for spot of lunch. I've heard great things about their food from friends who live in Edinburgh, comparing it to Five Guys. In reality, I'd say it's better! I had the cheese and bacon burger with Cajun fries while my mum has a spicy grilled chicken burger. Oh, and they serve Minute Maid lemonade too, my absolute favourite! Such a delicious lunch before heading out for a little shopping and off to see David Bailey.

David Bailey's exhibition, Bailey's Stardust, is on in the Scottish National Gallery, a spectacular building right in the middle of Edinburgh's busiest streets, Princes Street. 

Having worked a photographer since he was a teenager and now in his late seventies, David Bailey sure has shot a huge range of well known people from music (The Beatles, Noel Gallagher, Damon Albarn and The Rolling Stones) to film (Michael Caine, Susan Sarandon, Jack Nicholson and Meryl Streep) to fashion (Kate Moss, Twiggy, Alexander McQueen and Zandra Rhodes) and everyone else in between, The Kray twins, Desmond Tutu, Margaret Thatcher and The Queen and it's all here. Plus, family portraits, photos from his travels to Asia and Africa and photos from the streets, pubs and clubs of London in the 60's. Overall, an amazing exhibition, with such a variety to see. 

Bailey's Stardust is on in the Scottish National Gallery on Princes Street in Edinburgh til 18th October 2015 and costs £11 (£9 for students) but it's worth every penny. More info on it here

Visiting exhibitions, museums and galleries is such a lovely way to spend a day off, soaking up a little culture and in my experience, you never leave disappointed. If you're near Edinburgh and fancy something fun and cheap to do, I highly recommend both of these shows - and Wannaburger!

Friday, 2 October 2015

September Favourites

Hi all! It's been a while. Although I hate that first day of anew month 'Hello *insert month here*' tweets, I can't quite wrap my head around the fact that it's October and that there's a quarter of 2015 left. Like, what? 

It's been bloomin' ages since I did a only favourites post, mostly because some months there's nothing new I'm obsessing over and I don't want to write about something I don't really love. However, September saw a lot of amazing things come my way so that I wanted to share!

The Body Shop Vitamin C Microdermabrasion Facial Scrub
I'm not a spa girl at all, but one thing I would absolutely love is to get microdermabrasion. Problem is, it's really expensive, so when I saw this scrub in The Body Shop, I thought I'd try the at home version. It's very finely milled but leaves my skin, especially my nose feeling so smooth and clean. It says to use once a week, but I'd say every few days is better.

Soap & Glory The Righteous Butter Body Butter
An old favourite that I've rediscovered recently, Soap & Gory's Righteous Butter. The scent is strong and perfumed which might be too much for some people, but I really like it, it smells luxurious and comforting and the formula of the product itself is rich and creamy. A great allrounder for a drugstore product! 

Lush Snow Fairy Shower Gel
Oh my, is it really the time of year for Lush snow fairy again? Sorry folks, I'm afaid it is. If you cast your mind back to my January sales haul way back at the start of the year, you'll remember I stocked up on Snow Fairy for the year ahead and this half a mini bottle is all I have left. It's a product I never ever tire of and I know I'll be stocking up again this year. Sweet yummy sugary goodness, it's hard to believe it's not edible!

Yes To Cucumbers Daily Calming Moisturiser
If there's one thing my skin often needs, it's to be calmed the hell down. Much like myself, it's always irritated by something. This moisturiser is all natural and really cools and calms my face down. It sinks in really quickly and doesn't feel at all greasy. Added bonus too - it smells amazing! 

H&M Beauty
I'll keep this short and sweet. You may know that H&M have recently relaunched and hugely expanded their beauty line. I did a launch and review of some products here and I cannot get enough of the collection. 

Real Techniques Buffing Brush
Back in August, I jumped aboard the bandwagon and purchases the Real Techniques Core Collection while it was half price in Boots. I'm not normally all that passionate about face brushes and before this, had always just used my fingers for my foundation. This little baby though has totally changed how I apply it. It creates such a smooth and even finish and keeps everything else is place all day long. I've gotten so many compliments on my skin since I started using this too which is always nice. The only downside if that it needs watched quite regularly (every 4 or 5 days) but I absolutely adore it, I can't believe I've only just discovered it.

What products have you been loving throughout September?

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

My A/W Fashion Picks

Hellooo! If you know me well, you'll know that when it comes to fashion and style, Autumn & Winter are my favourite seasons. I much prefer clothes for this time of year. 

Although it's only mid September and the odd sunny day still leaves me with a false sense of hope that it's still Summer, it's getting colder and colder every day. I even wore a parka to work yesturday. A parka! 

Here's a few pieces I've picked up for my A/W wardrobe so far which I'm looking forward to wearing over the coming months...

This baaag! I cannot tell you the joy when I saw this gorgeous black leather and pony skin bag in New Look (£29.99) a few weeks ago. You see, last year, they did this very same bag, and I always meant to go back and get it and I never got round to it. Then, one day, when I actually had an occasion for it and went in with the intention to finally treat myself, it was gone. I tried several branches of New Look. Gone. Online. Gone. I was heartbroken, so you can only imagine the whole 1 second of thought I gave it this time when they brought the same style back before I snapped it up. 

It's a great size for day time or nights out and it's real leather on one side and real pony skin on the other. I love it just as much as a clutch with the strap removed. I've added this cute little faux suede tassel from Primark (£1.50) to the zip too!

Typical of a Scottish lass, I love a good tartan scarf. I have a classic red one which I get loads of wear out of every Winter so when in Edinburgh for the Fringe recently (you can read my post all about it here!) I bought this purple and blue one as an alternative. It was only £7.99 from a Scottish tourist shop, is genuine lambs wool and I can't wait to wear it with a black or navy coat when the weathers cold!

Not the most Autumnal shoes ever, but I couldn't not mention this grey suede loafers from Primark (£14). I bought these in July and has worn them almost every single day. They are one of the most comfortable pairs of shoes I've ever worn and they go with everything. I've even bought a back-up pair for them these ones bite the dust and they come in navy too.

Another Edinburgh find, this amazing black leather and copper necklace I found in the Topshop sale (from their Premium range) for £10 reduced from £50. It's amazing quality, really heavy and sturdy and I love the chunky, industrial vibes.

Finally, my first piece of knitwear for A/W 2015 is this teal green jumper from Primark (£10). Although I'm not normally a jumper girl, this is a nice thin knit with fitted sleeves. It comes in loads of colours and I'm eying up the grey one too!

What fashion pieces are you loving for A/W 2015 so far?

Monday, 14 September 2015

H&M Beauty Haul

H&M is undoubtedly one of my favourite shops. Affordable, stylish, great selection of basics and statement pieces and fabulous accessories to compliment any look so a few months ago when I heard that they were releasing the makeup line, I was instantly excited. Technically they already did some makeup, but it was a small, low key offering which was never really what I went in for.

Last Thursday, the H&M just along the road from my work launched their new beauty department and I have to say, the collection is far more amazing than I ever dreamed. Not only is the product selection fantastic (basics like lipstick, nail polish and eyeshadow to more unusual finds like lip scrubs, a colourless lip liner to suit any shade and individual pods of face masks for travelling) but the huge variety of shades is astounding too. Here's what I picked up...

Firstly, I bought 4 of their high impact eye colour eyeshadows - left to right, we have...
Way Past Midnight- A browny purple
Anthracite - A super glitter dark gunmetal grey
Mojave - A pale warm toned taupe
Sun Worship - A bronzy gold with a slight hint of khaki

All of the colours I picked are shimmers and I tried to go for quite Autumnal shades that I can get a lot of wear out of. I adore the cream and gold packaging but the product inside is what sealed the deal for me. The colours are beautiful and blend together really well and how highly pigmented they are is amazing, especially for drugstore products. The range of eyeshadows is so huge that there's so many more I want ('Cinnamon Roll' and 'Fig Figment' are next on my list) mostly more neutrals but a few amazing glitzy blues and purples too!

I also bought 2 lip products, their lip definer pencil in 'Bramble Ripple' and their Cream Lip Colour in 'Brunetter Ambition'. I've been after a berry lip liner for a while, one that I can wear with reds, purples and berries and this colour is a gorgous in between which could work with a lot of shades. The formula is cream which I really like in a lipliner so it doesn't pull or drag and once on, it doesn't budge at all. 
The lipstick is a stunning nudey-brown. Although I love nude lipsticks, I've never gone quite this brown before but I'm so glad I did, I'm obsessed with it! Like the name of the product suggestions, the formula is so creamy and applied like a dream, but it still very opaque in colour. 
As you can see, both extremely pigmented! Over all, I'm so pleasantly surprised by H&M's amazing new beauty range. Beautifully pigmented products, huge variety of shades and pretty gold and white packaging. There's so many more pieces I want to try but for now, I can't wait to play around with my new bits and create some Autumnal looks!