2018 Make-up Favourites

By Elle.

I love make-up. I buy far too much of it, yet I also don’t have hundreds of pounds to spend on it. What this means for you is that I’m a discerning expert on the stuff – everything I mention here has been thoroughly tested, and most-likely repurchased again and again. I’ll list my favourites in the order I apply them – and hope this doesn’t cause too much consternation. So if you’re one of those weirdos people that applies concealer before foundation, please leave now apologies.

PRIMER – MAC STROBE CREAM, £25

I have dry skin and am forever fighting a battle against it sucking up my foundation, leaving it patchy and dull. So I’m not interested in mattifying/pore-filling primers, but those that will leave me glowy and radiant all day. This product does just that – it’s not cheap, but a tube lasts AGES, or you can purchase the mini (£12.50) first to see if you like it. I’ve always used the original shade, but it now comes in several others, which I’m keen to try. Ultimately, it’s not even really make-up – more skincare – so the colour doesn’t matter too much. I mainly use it under foundation, but you can also press it on top like a highlighter.

FOUNDATION – REVOLUTION FAST BASE STICK FOUNDATION, £5

I can’t express how delighted I am that my favourite foundation ever costs A FIVER. I’m really hard to please when it comes to base, as those with dry skin will appreciate – you just can’t slap any old drugstore one on. This comes in 18 varied shades with great undertones – I use F6, and has a high-coverage formula that still manages to look like skin. The stick design makes it so quick and easy to apply – I just swipe it on then blend out with a sponge. It’s creamy, glowy and comfortable. If you have oily skin, this might not work for you – but at a fiver, you can always try it with powder and see how you get on. I wear it every day and go through one stick every 2 months or so.

CONCEALER – REVOLUTION PRO FULL COVER CAMOUFLAGE CONCEALER, £5

My love affair with Revolution Beauty continues. If you want affordable products that perform like luxury ones, you can’t go wrong with this brand. I tend to find that Fast Base offers more than enough coverage for me, so I’m more likely to use this to spot conceal on days where I’m not actually wearing foundation. It’s thick but creamy and a little goes a long way.

BROWS – REVOLUTION BROW POMADE, £6

This is my favourite brow product of all time. I’d imagine it’s an excellent dupe for the Anastasia one, but I wouldn’t know as I’m too tight to try it (£19!). It lasts AGES. Probably a year. I use a small angled brush to fill in my over-plucked brows and it doesn’t budge all day. The shades are great – mine is Medium Brown, a perfect cool tone that looks natural.

BROWS – MAYBELLINE BROW PRECISE FIBRE FILLER, £7.99

I complete my brows by brushing this through it – it has little fibres that bulk them out, and sets my own hair in place. Another product that really does last ages – I use it daily and have only had to repurchase once in 2 years of use.

EYESHADOW – URBAN DECAY NAKED PETITE HEAT, £26

This is the first Urban Decay palette I’ve owned and I totally get the hype. The shadows are pigmented and smooth, and last well. This is the perfect size for travelling and you can easily create everyday or more amped up looks. Worth the money.

MASCARA – BENEFIT ROLLER LASH, £22

You absolutely do not need to spend this much on a mascara, but I’d be lying if I said this wasn’t the best one I’ve ever used. I’ve tried to find a cheap dupe, but have yet to be successful. There’s something about this brush that separates and lengthens, but gives thick volume at the roots of the lashes. It’s also the only mascara that I’d be happy to use without lash curlers beforehand. Like, if I forgot my lash curlers and had no choice.

BRONZER – MISS LYN BEACH PLEASE! £7.50

This new-to-me brand really surprised me with this bronzer. I was expecting a bit of a poor imitation of Benefit Hoola, but it’s genuinely great. It has just the right amount of pigmentation – strong but not so strong that you spend 10 minutes trying to un-apply it and ruin your foundation. The powder isn’t drying, and the shade I use (Vitamin Sea) is perfect – not too warm, but not so ashy that it looks grey.

BLUSHER – MAX FACTOR MIRACLE TOUCH CREAMER BLUSHER, £6.99

This tiny pot with a cracked lid and all its writing rubbed off is my favourite blusher ever. I use the shade Soft Copper, which is more of a bronzer – I’m not really into blusher as such. The cream formula keeps things glowy and fresh – it’s gorgeous on holiday skin.

LIPS – SMASHBOX ALWAYS ON MATTE LIQUID LIPSTICK IN STEPPING OUT, £19

I actually just own a sample size of this, but I’ll definitely be purchasing the full-size in this shade – it’s the perfect tawny nude. It’s not just the shade that I love, though – I’ve tried so many liquid lipsticks and this is by far the best formula; not drying at all, lasts all day, doesn’t flake off, super-comfortable.

LIPS – NARS LIPSTICK IN SCHIAP, £22

I had a voucher for SpaceNK to use, otherwise, I don’t think I’d spend so much on a pink lipstick. HOWEVER. I’ve very glad I did and think this is worth every penny. It’s a gorgeous hot pink that I honestly think would make anyone look amazing. For me, it makes my brown eyes richer and brighter. Shocking pink is a great alternative to red – go and buy yourself a cheap one first if you’re unsure.

LIPS – B. Cassie Lomas Liquid Lipstick in The 90s, £6.99

Oh God, I just went to add the link to this and I think it’s been discontinued. It’s the most vivid, orange-red and I love it. It looks like there’s a really nice hot pink similar to Nars Schiap though (Lulu), so all is not lost.

ALL-ROUNDER – CHARLOTTE TILBURY INSTANT LOOK IN A PALETTE IN BEAUTY GLOW, £49

Let’s finish on a high with another thing that’s also sold out, shall we? Sorry. But it might come back, and if it does, I highly recommend it. This was something else I spent some vouchers on, hence the high cost, but it’s such a great, multi-use item that justifies its price. Great colours, fantastic formulas, and perfect for travel. Let me also point you in the direction of a very similar one from Beauty Pie – here. Wait. It’s also out of stock. I’m done. Bye.

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Why Happiness Doesn’t Exist

By Elle.

It’s taken me 31 years, but I can confidently say I no longer believe that true happiness is attainable. And the irony is, once you realise this too, you’ll instantly feel more content by default. ‘Content’ – that’s the key word here. My brain keeps reading as ‘CONtent’ because that’s all we ever think about now. As in, is this gin-in-a-tin I’m drinking on the train right now good Instagram content or nah. But no, I’m talking about contentedness – ‘being in a state of peaceful happiness’.

So, what’s the difference? For me, I can feel when I’m content – it’s a far more tangible emotion that happiness. It’s sitting on the bus listening to a new album you haven’t had time to listen to till now. It’s a glass of wine on Friday evening, drunk standing at the kitchen worktop while chopping veg. It’s the feeling of the sun on your face after days of frizz-inducing grey rain.

No-one craves contentedness, but we’re all forever hungrily chasing happiness. Working our way down a list, ticking things off that we believe are bringing us closer to ‘happy’. If social media is to be believed, that list looks something like; go on holiday. Buy a new car. Drink lots of fancy cocktails. Get a house. Get married. Have a baby. Have another baby.  The danger is that when you get to the end of the list and feel no different, panic sets in.

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My own list-fear set in about a year ago. My boyfriend and I decided it was time to move up the property ladder and sell our flat so we could get a house. A proper house! With loads of rooms to decorate! And a garden – I could finally get a chimnea and one of those outdoor corner sofas! And while I know I’m fortunate to be able to have a nice house, it was quite shock to realise it didn’t automatically make me feel settled or like I was suddenly ready to start popping out babies. Perhaps I’d subconciously subscribed myself to the life to-do list I’m always slagging off… It also made me realise that I’d never been happier than in our old flat – suddenly it dawned on me; hindsight is the only real way one can know true happiness.

So, now we’ve collectively shattered all our illusions about the meaning of life (no biggie), where do we go from here? I’ll be honest – for a while my happiness ‘epiphany’ left me treading water in a ‘well-what’s-the-point-of-anything-then’ kind of headspace. Combined with a lot of shit things happening to several people I care about, the timing of my new mindset wasn’t ideal. And then came clarity.

All I could do was take things a day at a time; a cliche I’ve always loathed. There really is something in all that ‘living in the moment’ shit everyone keeps going on about. I realised I was so guilty of trying to plan eternity in my mind – it’s when you hold yourself to a lifetime of uninterrupted bliss that things will never measure up. But in small moments, you can be happy – everyone can, even in the darkest of times. I believe that Yin and Yang is an actual thing, so when said dark times feel unsurmountable, it can only mean a peak is to follow. So indulge in the little things – when you add them up, they’re worth so much more than a vanilla life unpunctuated by highs or lows.

 

 

 

3 THINGS WE GOOGLED THIS WEEK.

By Riley.

Aside from our 5 Things We Talked About This Week post, I figured it was time to expose the humiliating reality that is our browsing history with 3 Things We Googled This Week. The internet is a black hole of information for better or for worse and let’s be honest — we look up weird shit. Sometimes we’re looking for answers to life’s biggest questions, sometimes we’re looking for inspiration… sometimes we’re just looking for advice on whether the three-day old pakora we’ve reheated is about to kill us.

Does translucent powder work as dry shampoo?
I’m not ashamed to say that dry shampoo has become an emotional aid in recent months. When you’ve got a lot of shit going on, the thought of having to wash and dry thick hair is enough to pull a Britney ’07 (Disclaimer: Just googled ‘When did Britney shave her head’ to fact check). Needless to say as soon as I have the week from hell, I run out of dry shampoo and life as I know it crumbles around me. Panicked, I google.

Answer: Yes, it bloody does! Takes a bit more grafting to get rid of the powdery residue, and stings a little to rub £30-a-tub powder into your scalp just to avoid the £3-a-bottle shampoo, but works a treat if you’re a mess like me.

Why is there mould in my plant soil?
OK, I’m curious. How and when do people just suddenly know how to live in harmony alongside plants? If there’s one thing that screams functioning adult, it’s maintaining house plants — and judging by my recent search, I’m obviously still in a transitional period.

Answer: Too much water or too little sunlight. I’m basically over-compensating and neglecting, simultaneously. STORY OF MY LIFE. Apparently you can scrape off the top layer of decay and act like nothing ever happened (STORY OF MY LIFE, PART 2).

Can you get period pains when you’re pregnant?
Having recently broken up with ingesting unnecessary hormones, we’ve binned the pill — and as a thank you, our body has hurled every symptom imaginable at us with force.

Answer: Scrolling four pages deep on mumsnet to a thread from 2008, we can confirm that while you could suffer an array of symptoms likened to the menstrual joys we feel each month, it’s highly unlikely we’d be pregnant while we have a period. Yes, it took us the best part of two hours to be absolutely sure of basic biology. Yes, we’ll check again next month.

It’s Over…ish.

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I won’t drunk text you for a shag. Pinky promise.

By Riley.

Well, shit. One day you’re in a relationship and the next you’re not. I tried to think of a clever, wittier way to open this post but to be honest, what’s the point? Time to be real here hun, you’re going through a break up. Grab a cuppa. Download Tinder. Let’s do this shit. Except, you don’t want to do this shit. You want to do that other shit – texting eachother about picking up bread, saying goodnight, Sunday afternoon delight. You want your normal back.

Breakups can entice a change in behaviour that’s as cliché as they come. Yet it knocks the wind out of you, as if you haven’t heard it a million times before in some doomed love song. You lose weight. You can’t sleep. Hermitic tendencies ensue, wrapping you in a forcefield of self-preservation. Friends quickly learn when to force entry armed with coconut milk lattes and when to sit on the sidelines. The words ‘order confirmation’ become synonymous with ‘break up’. Appetites — for food, for socializing, for life — are suppressed by something entirely different that fills your gut. While you could be tempted to find comfort in your banging break up bod, the quiet moments are there to remind you that you’re not out of the woods yet. Not even close.

Having spent years coaching my own friends through their messy breakups, I had no idea where to begin with my own. One thing I’d never accounted for when imparting my wisdom onto other broken hearts was the obvious — the searing pain felt when a heart has been broken. Not just an organ that pumps blood around the body, it becomes a vessel that holds a piece of someone else in everything it does. Without warning, mine had broken down and signed a DNR without my consent.

You start changing things. Recklessly, with no real plan. New clothes become new hobbies become new paint on the walls. You find yourself walking down the street looking at any man that passes thinking, what is my type? The thought of dating is about as painful as the break up itself. Then there’s the aftershock. What happens when you start to tell yourself that you’ll be fine without him, that maybe this was meant to be… then he asks you to lunch one day and he looks terrible, and before you know it you’re flirting via text and his toothbrush is back in your bathroom…or, our bathroom? What do you call a break up that never fully broke?

There comes a point (spoiler alert: it’s about 8 weeks later, sorry) where you see yourself differently. You’re not the girlfriend, or the breakup. You’re something entirely separate that you were the whole time. A person. Who is mind, body and soul entirely on her own. And whether this crazy thing called love works out or not, you can find comfort in knowing that there’s a best friend in there who’s got your back through all of it.

WHO YOU NEED TO FOLLOW ON INSTA RIGHT NOW

By Riley.

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Sophie Brampton @sophierosebrampton
I’ve followed Robin Eisenberg (LA artist who draws colourful space babes) for a while now, so when I came across Sophie and I found that same cool, unapologetically female art that I love – I was like a pig in shit. Tits EVERYWHERE. SkinnyDip girl by day, bad ass illustrator by night, her page makes for a fun scroll.

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Sherrie Silver @sherriesilver
I first came across Sherrie’s page when I was nosediving into one of my favourite pastimes — looking at AfroDance videos on Instagram (I got all this junk in the trunk and no rhythm to shimmy it, such a waste). I was quickly drawn to her dance but she does a whole lot of activist work too… and at just 23, I bow down to her insane work ethic. A few weeks ago I was watching a video of a dance party she was hosting, then she struts through with THIS IS AMERICA and the world looks up. Hun, you’re gonna need a bigger booking team.

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Every Outfit On SATC @everyoutfitonsatc
The most fashionable fandom around has gone viral in recent months and I’m here for it. I’m not sure whether it’s run by Carrie 2.0 or the queen of all queers but either way they are doing a FINE job. Kirstin Davis and SJP are fans too, so we’re basically all sitting scrolling through it together over breakfast martinis at Sunday brunch in The Magnolia Bakery, right?

RELATIONSHIP PMS.

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By Riley.

You know what I mean. Those niggling pains (aka full-blown meltdowns in aisle 23 of B&Q between the what-the-fuck-is-this-wrench and the who-the-fuck-cares-spanner) that inevitably hit us every month. We know they’re coming, we know we will get through them (with wine)… but shit, do they test us.
We’ve all experienced the honeymoon phase — been there, bought the package holiday to Tenerife — but what happens when the exciting part is over and you’re just two people waiting for the other to forget to buy loo roll? Here are some of the ultimate trials to challenge your relationship staying power… and how to survive them.*

IKEA
The mecca of all relationship breakdowns. Those tiny pencils and paper slips they give out at the entrance might as well be a compatibility test you fill in on the way round and drop into a box on the other end where IKEA finds your new suitor — because guaranteed it’s not the person you walked in with.
STEP AWAY FROM TINDER: How relaxed would you be watching his favourite club in a championship match in the pissing the rain when a football suddenly hits you in the head and scores an own goal for the opposing team in the final minute? MEN. IN. IKEA.

COOKING
You’ve moved in together and spent the past however many years agreeing on and enjoying meals. Suddenly you’re cooking the chicken for too long, he uses too much pepper, and you’d rather Insta live a bikini wax than try to cook a meal together. Takeaway it is then.
MATALAN IS BAE: 
Their home section is the shit right now and they have some really nice memo boards/kitchen menus that can save even the Donalds and Melanias out there. Plan your meals, take turns cooking, and banish eachother from the kitchen while you get your cous cous on.

DECORATING
Moving in together can be an exciting time — until two weeks later when you have to empty that vast new space of all hopeful romance, and instead fill it with overpriced furniture and hostility. No amount of hot water bottles, family pack galaxy bars or chick flicks is going to ease the pain of fighting over that horrendous rug.
VLOGGERS ARE NOT YOUR FRIEND: Either their Insta husband is giving them the run of the place or you’re watching them buy a marble topped drinks cart that’s worth more than your car. Meanwhile you’re choosing between teapots in Home Bargains. Stick to Pinterest for inspo, keep your relationship. Win win.

*I am not a relationship guru. I’m not an anything guru. I only fake tan the 3% of my body that’s on show and hide my ASOS orders from my boyfriend on a weekly basis. DO YOU, BABY GIRL.

Red Carpet Round-up: Met Gala 2018

By Elle.

I haven’t done one of these posts for aaages because red carpet attire of late has been dull AF. If I don’t feel an immediate urge to type out my feelings, then I refuse to pull proverbial teeth over crap outfits. Surely the Met Gala won’t let me down…?

Each look is scored out of 10 on a) strength of urge to type out my feelings b) embodiment of the theme; Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and Catholic Imagination. Dreamy.

Rihanna
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My Rihanna obsession means she could wear anything and I’d offer my undying approval, but this really is good. If I was being super-picky, I’d say that I expected more from her beauty look given the noise her Fenty range is making RN. And the shoes need to be more dramatic – this is where a pair of Alexander McQueen hoof platforms would’ve been perfection.

Riri scores a) 8 and b) 9.

Janelle Monae
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Now, this is a lewk. It embodies the theme while staying true to her own personal style – and manages to look stunning to boot. Her skin is utter perfection.

Score: a) 8 b) 8.

Kim
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Kim’s efforts last year were woefully disappointing so this is a much welcomed return to form. Let’s face it, she’s never gonna go all-out conceptual couture, so although this could be a little more exciting, she looks banging, and true to brand.
Score: a) 8 and b) 6.

JLo
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The styling is what makes this look. The dress is beautiful but pretty obvious really, so the hair and makeup upgrades it and gives it that trademark JLo slick & sexy look. As do the shoes, which Rihanna should take note on.
Score: a) 8 and b) 8.

Cardi B

Embed from Getty ImagesThis look screams bow down, bitches. For her first Met Gala experience, Cardi went all out, hooked up with a designer who’s perfectly matched with her ethos, and even nailed dressing a baby bump to boot. Time to sack off Fashionova, Hun.

Score: a) 9 and b) 9.

Diane Kruger

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Diane’s appearance seemed to almost go unnoticed – I only spotted her once I was about 657 outfits deep, but I’m delighted I did. This is so pretty and so effortless. She rarely disappoints me. Except for when she broke up with Pacey.

Score: a) 7 b) 5.

Olivia Munn

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I think this might be my favourite…which is unexpected as I can’t say Olivia is usual on my fashion radar. I’m not even wild about the dress as a standalone piece but combined with the hair, make-up and headpiece, I’m finding it quite breathtaking. She looks ethereal.

The Letdowns…

No tea, no shade, but….
Amal
Wtf Amal, seriously. You’ve let us all down, but worst of all you’ve let yourself down. Luckily you’re still clever and pretty.
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George knows.

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Kylie

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I wish she’d just relax and be herself. She’s turning into a Kim caricature – she should’ve gone for something far younger and fresher. Maybe Kim vetoes anything nice.

Who was your fave when you debated with your colleagues over the Daily Mail this morning? Do share.