Hello and happy Friday to you all. TGIF! Today's post is an attempt to get through the backlog of beauty bits I have waiting to be shared on the internet. Some of these I got quite a while ago but as I said, backpile, working through it etc. I genuinely rate all these products quite highly and think you will like them all too. They're rather fabulous...
Lancome Grandiose Liner*-Lancome is earning its place in my heart as one of my favourite luxury brands. I'm particularly fond of the Grandiose range actually, more on that next week as well. Today though, it's all about one of their newest releases, the Grandiose liner. This is another Lisa Eldridge approved gem and is designed to be user-friendly. It has an angled, swiveled wand which helps you get as close to the lashline as possible and make feline flicks a breeze. It's without a doubt the easiest liquid liner to use and I love how it's easy to build up the thickness of your line as you go. If you're wanting to splurge on a new liner, this is the one for you.
MAC Viva Glam Ariana Grande Lipglass-This is the lipglass that came with Ariana Grande's first MAC collaboration. I don't wear gloss religiously but every so often I like to wear sheer, iridescent colours like these over the top of matte lipsticks to give them a bit more dimension. It also makes wearing matte lipsticks a bit less uncomfortable too. This gloss isn't too tacky either which I love. Also props to MAC for donating all the proceeds from this gloss to their MAC Aids Fund. The matching lipstick benefits the charity too. Wins all 'round.
Maybelline Master Conceal*-Around this time every year Maybelline seem to do a big drop of new products here in NZ. One of their newest offerings is the Master Conceal concealer. I have this in the shade Light/Medium which is right in the centre of the five colour variations they have. I thought it'd be too dark but honestly it seems to match me okay. It's pigmented and lightweight yet it's still heavy duty in terms of coverage. You could get away with using it under the eyes or dotted around the face. I love that this comes in a tube rather than a concealer with a wand. Now if only Maybelline would bring their Age Rewind concealers here...
Physician's Formula Butter Bronzer-Bronzer is one of those products I've always liked the idea of, especially since I'm less enthusiastic about fake tan. Usually I use this bronzer but it's a little too dark for me at the moment. A few of my favourite beauty bloggers have been singing this one's praises so I had to try it myself. This bronzer, in the shade light is the answer to my complexion-warming prayers. It's a bit sheerer so I can just use it for a light dusting, to stop things looking ghostly. It smells like tropical drinks too which is a bonus although I'm not going to lie, I do find that a bit bizarre. Nonetheless, it's still a great product, I just wish the packaging was a little less bulky**.
Colourpop Super Shock Shadow in Weenie-I love Colourpop's shadows. They're easily some of the best cream shadows out. It just sucks that their shipping costs are so ridiculous. Qualms aside, Weenie, one of the shades from their KathleenLights collaboration is a stunner. Colourpop describe it as a 'pinky-rose gold with a pearlised finish'. It definitely leans more on the coppery side of things, on my 'lids at least. It's not as intense as colours like Sequin, also from Colourpop but it is still very beautiful.
-What beauty bits have you been using and loving lately? Anything I need to try right now?
**I'm really fussy about packaging, if it's bulky, difficult to travel with (glass, cardboard box packaging) and/or comes with those throwaway brushes I'm like 'ugh'. I blame Marc Jacobs for spoiling us with their compact, slimline packaging for virtually all their products.
Lately I've become a lot looser with the structure of this blog. By that I mean I'm more willing to change things around, take a risk or two and not stick so religiously to my schedule, whether that be posts or what I want to stick on Instagram. Life's too short to analyse the minute details. With that in mind, I saw a similar post over on Rebecca's blog, which I love and you should all bookmark it because her content is top notch. Lists are such a perfect way to round up things and moments etc that you love so here we have it. Nine things I am loving currently in no particular order...
An abundant stack of books beside my bed. This is hardly a current love, rather more of a permanent love. During the week I usually read last thing at night and there's always something comforting about coming to bed, propping up several pillows and then choosing a book. As I am a bit of a serial-reader when it comes to books, I'm always reading more than one thing at once. At the moment that means I'm drifting between: On The Other Side*, How To Be A Woman, The Course of Love and Girl Up*.
Listening to Fleetwood Mac's Rumours album. Rumours is hands down one of my all-time favourite albums. I'm terrible at reviewing music but this album is just perfect. It's my go-to when I want a bit of escapism. You can't beat a bit of Stevie Nicks, let's be honest. My favourite songs are; Second Hand News and Gold Dust Woman but the whole thing is fantastic.
Lush Baths. Whilst there's a lot to detest about Winter, baths are one of the many blessings. More so if you have a bath bomb, book and candle burning in the background. Utter bliss. You cannot beat Lush's bath bombs and while some of them are a bit pricy, I do love them. My favourites are; Frozen, Avobath and Butterball.
Baking sweet treats. I have the biggest sweet tooth out and will take something sweet over savoury any day. Although those parmesan balls I had on Monday do challenge that. I don't get baking very often in all honesty but when I do, I am reminded how much I enjoy it. There's something very gratifying about spending an hour or two crafting something edible and then watching everyone enjoy it. Two of my go-to books for all things sweet are; Melie's Kitchen and Donna Hay's Chocolate book.
Absolutely Fabulous. "Sweetie darling. "Bitch troll from hell." "Lacroix, sweetie, Lacroix." I have a lot of love for Edina Monsoon and Pasty Stone. They're vile caricatures of fashion-types but there's just something so likeable about them. Perhaps it's because they poke fun at the world they inhabit and just genuinely have no cares to give about how they're interpreted. They have absolutely no filter either, case in point. Such a fabulous, witty show. Go give it a watch if you've never seen it.
Handwritten letters. The act of receiving and writing them. I don't do this often enough but I have friends who I don't see very often and friends that live miles, even continents away so it's really something I need to partake in more. I've made a little list of people I'm going to write letters to though as it's such an important way of keeping in touch, especially in the age of instant everything.
How To Be A Woman x Caitlin Moran. This book has been beside my bed for a while but I've finally been getting back into it properly and I am loving it. Caitlin Moran is one of my favourite writers/tweeters/people so naturally I have been immersing myself in everything she's written. I know this book came out a while back now but it's still just as relevant and worthy of attention. Her essay on feminism and discovering feminist beliefs and ideals resonated with me so much. It's the closest thing I've read that articulates how I feel on a number of points. If I wasn't worried about attracting unwanted attention, I would've done a full round of applause on the train as I read it. This is one of those books I want to give to everybody now.
Ouai Wave Spray. Ouai is the brainchild of Jen Atkin, hair stylist and the woman responsible for keeping the Kardashian's tresses, among countless others, looking so darn good. Ouai's recently been added to Sephora NZ's lineup and I'd heard a lot about the Wave Spray so I had to try it. Oh. My. God. It is so, so good. It's weightless and gives my hair the perfect amount of texture and body without taking things to the Hermione Granger levels of frizz. It also doesn't leave your hair feeling dehydrated and crispy like some salt sprays designed to create waves do. It's cruelty free as well which I love and a little goes a long way. Alexa Chung's a reported fan too should you need further enticing.
Mood boarding. This is my most recent mood board that I made and I think it has to be one of my favourites. They're the perfect visual representation of my interests and aesthetic preferences at the time. That and they're pretty to look at. I also keep a visual journal as well which is like a scaled down version of what goes on my wall. It's one of my favourite forms of escapism.
-What have you been loving lately?
-Cover Photography image c/o Tam West and Penguin Random House, Recipe photo x Nana Wintour
If you're a bit of a baking enthusiast and are one of those people who loves having pictures of stunning, edible creations in their Instagram feed, you will be familiar with Melie's Kitchen. Amelia Ferrier is the talented young lady behind the 'grams and what are quite frankly amazing looking cake creations. She's recently released her first book, also named Melie's Kitchen. It's absolutely stunning and as well as her cakes, there's a range of biscuits, slices and savoury creations featured throughout.
Today I've partnered with Penguin Random House* to bring you one of the recipes from Melie's Kitchen. It's one I made myself last week and it tastes amazing. In fact, it was only around in our pantry for less than 24 hours after I made it. For the most part it's very easy to make but if you're new to making homemade marshmallow, be patient. Mine didn't work out so I ended up abandoning it from the recipe. Otherwise, this isn't too tricky.
Here's the recipe for Puffed Rice, Peanut Butter Fudge and Marshmallow bars. Let me know if you end up making these! I'd love to see your creations as well. Anyway, recipe is below:
For the puffed rice base
2 cups puffed rice
¼ cup caster sugar
35g golden syrup
1 tablespoon milk
¼ teaspoon salt
For the peanut butter fudge
¾ cup icing sugar
25g butter, cubed
½ cup brown sugar
¼ cup cream
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ cup smooth peanut butter
For the cocoa-swirled marshmallow
4 tablespoons cold water
1½ teaspoons powdered gelatine
½ cup caster sugar
pinch of salt
1 tablespoon premium Dutch cocoa powder, sifted
250g dark chocolate (50% cocoa), roughly chopped
⅓ cup roasted salted peanuts, finely chopped
flaky sea salt (optional)
Grease a 20cm square slice tin and line with baking paper. Line a chopping board with baking paper. Set aside.
To make the puffed rice base, put the puffed rice in a large bowl and set aside. In a medium saucepan over a medium-high heat, stir together the sugar, honey, golden syrup, butter, milk and salt, and bring to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent burning. Remove from the heat and immediately pour over the puffed rice. Quickly fold into the puffed rice and spoon into the prepared tin. Press down firmly with a spoon or the base of a measuring cup, making sure the surface is level. Refrigerate while you make the peanut butter fudge.
To make the peanut butter fudge, put the icing sugar in a large bowl and set aside. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the brown sugar, cream and salt, and bring to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes, then remove from the heat. Whisk in the peanut butter. Pour the mixture over the icing sugar and stir thoroughly to combine. Pour over the puffed rice base and spread out evenly. Gently tap the tin against the bench a few times to level out the surface. Chill in the freezer while you make the cocoa-swirled marshmallow.
To make the cocoa-swirled marshmallow, put half of the water into a small bowl. Sprinkle over the gelatine and set aside. Combine the sugar and remaining water in a small saucepan over a medium heat and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Whisk in the gelatine and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and pour into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Add salt. Whisk for about 4–5 minutes, until soft and doubled in volume. Fold in the cocoa powder to create a marbled effect. Spread over the peanut butter fudge and leave to set in the freezer for about 30 minutes, until the marshmallow is firm enough to hold its shape when cut.
Remove the slice from the tin and peel off the baking paper. Using a knife dipped in hot water, slice into bars roughly 4cm x 10cm. Refrigerate while you melt the chocolate.
Put the chocolate into a heatproof bowl over a pot of simmering water. Heat gently, stirring occasionally, until fully melted. Remove from the heat and pour into a small but deep bowl. Dip each bar into the melted chocolate, using two forks to help lower them in and out of it. Lift each bar out and carefully tap against the side of the bowl to allow the excess chocolate to drip off. Place on the prepared chopping board and carefully sprinkle over the chopped peanuts and a little salt, if desired, don the middle of the bar. Refrigerate for about 20 minutes, until the chocolate has set.
If stored in an airtight container in the fridge, these bars will keep for up to a week.
*This post is in no way sponsored however I did receive a copy of Melie's Kitchen and was provided
the recipe by Penguin Random House. All love of sweet treats and baking in general are my own.
If there's one thing Benefit Cosmetics are known for it's their attention and dedication to brows. They have the market cornered with their on-counter brow services and abundant array of brow products for us all to use at home. This year they've expanded their brow lineup to include some new brow tools in a range of new formulas, from waxy pencils through to creamy pomades. They've also given their packaging a revamp and introduced new colours for existing products like Brow Zings and Gimme Brow. I was lucky enough to attend the launch for their new products last week with Fiona and got to have a play with some of the new things. Today I thought I'd talk you through some of my favourites before they land on counters next Friday, the 22nd. As Benefit say, 'Hocus pocus, brows are our focus'....
ka-Brow in #5*: This is one of Benefit's new products and the one I was most looking forward to trying. I used to love using Anastasia Dipbrow Pomade and this is Benefit's take on a creamy brow pomade. Think of it as a cream eyeshadow for your eyebrows. What I love about this is it comes with a mini angled brush in the lid. I'm usually pretty skeptical about brushes that come with products but this one is not something to be dismissive of, it's actually very good. The product itself is pigmented but it's a bit subtler than Dipbrow. You have more control with the product and can build it up depending on how strong you want your brows to be. As my brows are already quite dark I tend to just fill them in once. It's so easy to use. I'm Shade 5 of 6 and find it matches my brows perfectly. If you've been wanting to try a brow pomade or something similar you may like this one.
High Brow Highlighting & Lift Pencil*: High Brow is a product I've had used on me before but it's never one I've actually owned. This is a light, pink toned pencil that you're supposed to apply under the brow and as the name will suggest it makes the brows look higher up than they are. This is great if you have thick brows like me as it makes them look that little bit further away from your eyes. High Brow is very creamy so it's easy to blend out with your fingers or a brush. If brightening is more your thing, High Brow Glow is just as good.
Precisely, My Brow: Benefit have bought out two new brow pencils; Precisely My Brow and Goof Proof. The latter is thicker and more angular. The Benefit Brow Gal used Precisely, My Brow on me on Friday and I loved it. It has a shorter pencil so you can draw in natural, hairlike strokes. The effect looked super natural and is really easy to achieve. I've got a couple of Anastasia's brow pencils on the go but when they run out I would consider buying this to mix things up a bit.
3D Brow Tones: After seeing Fleur and Alix raving about this product I knew it was one I had to try myself. Brow Tones is a brow-gel that is designed to soften the colour of brows and add highlights to them. It basically stops your eyebrows looking flat and like a block of colour in other words. This product is super subtle but it really does make a difference. I like how it lightened the colour of my already-dark eyebrows without looking too crazy in the process. I'm not a huge fan of clear brow gels so something like this is right up my street. I'll definitely be splurging on this one very soon.
-What are your go-to brow products? Are you going to try any of Benefit's new offerings when they're on counter?
Another month, another book haul. I kept things short and sweet this time because I wanted to focus more on the books I'm excited about and know I'll read with enthusiasm very soon. In particular I'm really looking forward to reading Billy and Me but Ctrl Alt; Delete is high up there in the anticipation stakes as well. If you want to find out more about the reads above you can check out my video here.
-What books have you hauled/acquired lately?