Friday, 28 September 2012

About Me: 2nd Year University Room!

Hey everyone,

I haven't done a personal post in a while, so I thought i'd post a few pictures of where I will be spending the majority of my days for the next 9 months. Although I loved living in halls (As dirty and loud as they may be!) I much prefer living in an actual house. It's nice to actually have a living room where everyone can all sit comfortably, a spacious kitchen and equally spacious rooms with double beds. The house i'm living in is technically a 9-bedroom house, but it's split into two floors so all the boys live upstairs and the girls and I get the bigger flat downstairs! So here's a few pictures of my room:

I thought i'd give you a sneak-peek into how much wardrobe space I have, which isn't a whole lot sadly :( But as you can see, I have plenty of space for my makeup, skin and haircare (I also have a small plastic crate under my bed where all my shampoos and conditioners are!). I only moved in yesterday so everything is a work in progress, but my favourite thing has to be my patchwork duvet from the vintage collection in BHS (That and the corner pillow my sister insisted I buy from Ikea, which is literally the most amazingly comfortable thing ever.).

The only negative I have on my new bedroom is that it's really dark due to the two windows I have being on the side of the house out of the sunlight, resulting in me having to have the light on the majority of the day. As well as it being really cold (I'm glad I have my onesie, cable-knit blanket and slippers) I love it - and it being so spacious means a lot more space to take photographs and a lot more space for more products to post onto here! 

So there you have it! Normal posts will resume over the weekend after I finish my induction in John Lewis (I am now working in the Audio & TV department!), and i'm going to get to grips with my university schedule and schedule in blog posts so I can have some more consistency. 

Have a great Friday! x

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

No7 Stay Perfect Foundation in 'Calico' and Foundation Match Made Experience!

Finding the right shade of a new foundation can be a daunting task. As we are all aware, no skin colour is the same, making it sometimes extremely difficult just to simply point at a shade and say: "That's me!". Sometimes you can be surprised at how your foundation matches up - it can seem too light, dark or even have pink or yellow undertones that you hadn't noticed before. Like I said, it can be a challenge (A bit like venturing out to find the right pair of jeans!), so No7 have taken it upon themselves to do the job for you.

I'd wanted to try this service out for sometime, purely because I was fascinated by the little gadget they use to match your skin up with one of their 17 newly developed shades. I didn't manage to get a picture, but it is essentially a small machine that's held up to your skin and with one click takes 27 photographs of your skintone. It then matches you up to one of their foundations - simple! The whole process took less than a minute, and within 5 I had walked away with one of their 8 liquid foundations.

I was matched to Calico, which in the bottle looks quite dark, but when swatched both online and on my hand is pretty much EXACTLY my skin tone. I don't think i've ever had a closer match. I ended up with the Stay Perfect foundation, as I wanted to achieve long-lasting oil-free coverage with minimal shine, and that's definitely what I got with this product. I've always thought of No7 as a drug-store brand, but I now choose this foundation over my designer foundations such as D&G and MAC. I've found that you can build up coverage quite well (I use a pump and a half if I want serious coverage, otherwise one pump is quite enough!) and after 12 hours the foundation hasn't budged. With such a close match i'm no longer worried about it not blending into my neck, the foundation simply looks like a layer of skin - it's so precisely matched. It also has added SPF 15 in it, which is always a bonus for skin protection. I also love the glass bottle, it gives a designer feel so a more inexpensive product (This beauty is just £14 - an absolute BARGAIN!)

It's advised to just be dotted onto the most neccessary areas with either your fingers or a sponge as it could just balance out your blemished areas, so really I use it as a concealer and foundation in one. Such a brilliant, unique service achieving excellent results. I now know my colour, so I can explore their other foundations and if they're anything like this one, my make-up bag's about to get a whole lot bigger.

You can purchase the Stay Perfect Foundation in your local Boots for £14, and be sure to check here whether or not your local Boots has a Match Made Service!

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Guest Post: Peter Pan Collar Nails by Charlotte Daisy Lewis!

Nail art can be a fun and original way to join in with the latest trends - Peter pan collars have been very popular this summer and I have seen them every where, on the most stylish celebs, and now, on my nails! I am really pleased with the overall effect and think it looks pretty cute. So here's hows to do it:


 Paint your nails with a good base coat to protect them (I use China Glaze). Allow to dry.
Then, with white varnish (Natural Collection), paint the top part of your nails leaving a sort-of semi-circle clear at the cuticle. Repeat on all nails, or on just one hand if you want to re-create the black/white contrasting look I have. Allow to dry.
Using black nail varnish (Rimmel) and a very small paint brush create a line down the middle of the nail (excluding the semi-circle) and a sort-of 'm' shape on top of the white and paint the rest of the nail, this should leave a little white collar under the plain semi-circle (this is going to look like skin, so the neck above the collar). Repeat. Allow to dry.

For the little buttons I used a gold polish (OPI) and a dotting tool (the head of a pin will do) and carefully placed three very small dots under each 'collar'. Repeat and allow to dry. Cover all nails with a decent top coat (China Glaze). If you want to create the contrasting look just use these same instructions but with black for the collar instead of white etc.

And you're done!  

 There you have it, a super-easy design that you can recreate in any colour combination - although the classic white and black is a must-do for trying it out first time. I've never really thought of doing guest posts, but seeing Charlotte's (We call her Chaz!) amazing nail art designs, I knew I just had to get her to do something for Sophie Says! Hopefully she'll be back to do some more guest posts, but if you want to keep track of her latest designs, you can follow her Facebook page - trust me, you need to see what this girl can come up with!

Follow Charlotte Daisy Lewis Nail Art on Facebook HERE!

Monday, 17 September 2012

Nails in 'Junk Yard' By Louise Gray

I'll admit, before her collaboration with Topshop, I had never heard of Louise Gray. Since educating myself, i've learnt that she is renowned for her love of colour, texture and all things fun and this is definitely echoed in her makeup collection.

An eclectic mix of nail polishes, eye colours and lipsticks (With a gorgeous pastel brush set thrown in for good measure!) I was instantly drawn to the bold colours - though I must admit the purple and pink eye cream duo's are a bit too 'out there' for my liking. However, the nail polishes are what really caught my eye. Blue is a key colour this season, and instead of jumping straight to the eyeliner or mascara, I thought i'd start small with this pop of colour.

'Junk Yard' is a gorgeous electric blue mixed with different sized flecks of blue glitter. This polish can be worn alone or ontop of another polish, so in order to ensure the strength of the blue I generously applied two coats of 'Junk Yard' over Rimmel's I Love Long Lasting Finish in 'Azure' so my nails were thoroughly coated in glitter. They are quite attention grabbing, so be sure that your nails are of equal length and stay chip-free with a quality top coat - this shade isn't for the faint hearted! This is generally a gorgeous colour that also looks amazing on the shelf (I especially love the snowflake shapes on the bottle, it reminds me of christmas!), and for £6.50 i'll definitely be treated myself to the other shades in the collection.

On a personal note, I attended the Louise Gray show at London Fashion Week today along with Mark Fast, it was my first show and I loved it - so fun, unique and playful, along with free champagne and Pixie Geldoff in the front row! I took plenty of snaps, so check out my twitter!

You can purchase the Louise Gray Topshop range online here, or in your local Topshop store.

Friday, 14 September 2012

My Brow Essentials!

I've been going au naturel lately (don't ask me why) and wearing practically nothing except primer, a sweep of mascara and a tinted lip balm. However, come rain or shine I never skimp on my brows - they seem to complete my look whatever i'm wearing that day - so I thought i'd share with you my day and night brow products and the extra bits I use to keep them in the best condition possible.

MAC Brow Pencil in 'Lingering'
This is the product that I use practically on a daily basis. In my opinion a brow pencil gives a more natural finish as oppose to using an angled brush, as it allows you to simply fill your brows, following their natural shape. I've never been a great artist, so it's practically impossible for me to angle off my brows like I would do with an angled brush, but it's great for during the day when you don't want to draw attention to overally strong brows. What I find great about pencil is that it's incredible soft and easy to build, which is great if you accidently smudge it or accidently line your eyelid - just simply wipe away with your finger and start again. It's quite lengthly so it's easy to grip and basically use like a regular pencil, there's nothing worse than a sharpened down pencil eyeliner or brow pencil that's been sharpened so much it's barely useable as it's practically a stub!

(I know that isn't me, it's my little sister but I just wanted to give you the gist of what my brows look like whilst using Brow Zings!)

(Sorry about the bad condition of this, I use it all the time!!) This little box of tricks is my faithful best friend on every night out, special occasion, or on the days where I want to direct the attention away from any blemishes to my brows. Brow-Zings has been a bestselling product from beauty giants Benefit for many years, and comes with everything you need for perfectly groomed brows. A pigmented wax for shaping, a powder for setting, hard-angle and blending brushes and a mini pair of Tweezerman tweezers (Possibly the Queen of Tweezers, which are usually priced between £20-£25 alone!). Although powder is great (Sort of an in-pan equivelent to the soft brow pencil), the wax is perfect for sharply defining brows, and you can use the hard angle brush to mark the angles of your brows for even more detailed definition. However, with a wax it's easy to get carried away and go too dark, which is why I think it suits more at night when you tend to apply more makeup.

MAC Brow Set - Use to set the brows, keep them in shape all day or even push up the hairs for a 'high fashion' feel. Full review here.
Tweezers - Although in the evenings I tend to use my mini Tweezerman tweezers, when my brows need more attention I use my full length tweezers from quirky London shop Octopus - I forgot to take a pic but they are in the shape of a woman!
Brow/Lash comb - An essential for when you need to comb down those brows before application, and also great to rid of excess product if you've accidently applied too much pencil - just run the comb through a few times a wipe off on a tissue or wipe. Sorted!
High Brow/A Highlighter shadow - To accentuate the brows, lift them and brighten your eyes.

So there you go, my essential products for perfect brows!

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Why Do You Wear Makeup?

 (Black and white filter time - I'm feeling weird tonight!)

I got this idea from a post from Llymlrs and I thought it was a really interesting to read peoples reasons for diving head-first into the world of beauty, so I thought i'd write a little bit about my reasons. 

I didn't wear makeup properly until I was at least 17/18. When I went to my prom or on an occasional night out I would wear powder and some mascara, but anything more than that i'd shy away from. I always thought i'd go without it and then when I wear makeup on a night out people would really notice the difference, which they did. But slowly, as I became more absorbed in fashion, discovered new brands and secured internships that involved expanding my knowledge in both the fashion and beauty world my makeup bag began to build. There was a moment when an ex-boyfriend of mine (Who shall remain anonymous) told me that I was becoming superficial for wearing makeup; and that seriously stuck with me. Obviously I didn't see it that way, I saw it as someone who was comfortable enough to enjoy experimenting with new things and actually began to take pride in her appearance.

I don't rely on makeup in the slightest, I wear it most days but if I feel that my skin needs a break or I just generally can't be bothered I can go out bare faced (And my skin has thanked me for it!). Hunting for new products excites me, and I actually looked forward to putting on my makeup in the morning - there's something about getting dolled up on a daily basis that really boosts my mood. Makeup is supposed to enhance your natural beauty, so I never cake it on. I was always the tomboy in school, always the bare faced one who forgot to run a brush through her hair in the mornings, so the fact that I love makeup now is quite funny and unbelievable to some people - and it's strange to think that something that is 'unnatural' can make me feel more like me than I ever had done.

Why do you wear makeup? 

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Montagne Jeunesse's Blemish Mud Face Mask

It's got to the stage now where vegetarian skincare brand Montagne Jeunesse doesn't need an introduction or explination. I have done many reviews in the past of their various products, but I always get excited when i'm introduced to something new of theirs.

Blemish Mud is part of their Mud spa range and aims to brighten the skin whilst combating imperfections. As you've noticed I have pale skin, so any small blemish is noticeable so this masque is perfect for me.

Containing soothing Aloe Vera and Willow along with Witch Hazel and Rosemary, this product has a thick consistency (hence the word 'mud') which makes it quite difficult to remove from the packaging. It doesn't have a particularly nice scent, but to be honest this masque's aim is to target your problem areas, not to be fruity and fragrant so it didn't really make a difference. I'd also found that the masque was so thick that you could get away with stretching the packet to two applications. Instantly cooling, at soon as it was applied it felt as though it had been left in the fridge for hours in preparation - it definitely woke me up and the thickness felt really luxurious and indulgent on my skin!

After the 15 minute application time, the mud had transformed into a hard clay that made me look like a character out of 13 Ghosts when I tried to smile and loosen up the masque. It was relatively easy to remove, and my skin immediately looked brighter, felt smoother and was squeaky clean. It had definitely brought the redness out in my blemishes, but since application more blemishes have actually appeared - it didn't seem to help reduce them in any way. It is advised to be used weekly, but i'm not convinced after my first application that it has actually done anything. For just £1.09 its great for a general pampering masque, but i'm not overally satisfied with the results it promises.

I have been advised by Montagne Jeunesse to follow up this deep cleanse with a Cooling Cucumber Peel-Off Masque - so stay tuned to see whether this next product lives up to expectations!

You can purchase the Blemish Mud Face Masque for £1.09 at your local supermarket, Boots and Superdrug or on their official website here.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Review: MAC Clear Brow Set

I recently read somewhere that in order to achieve that 'fresh-faced, all-natural' look, you would need a clear brow gel, and since then i've been on the hunt to purchase one to see if this was infact true.
It's no secret that i'm an eyebrow girl, and I love anything that gives them definition and that perfect arch. However, I also love the natural look and there are times where I go out completely make-up free so I don't become reliant on my products. So when I saw that MAC did infact stock brow gel, I jumped at the chance to give it a go.

For anyone who hasn't heard of brow gel, it's a brush-on gel that holds hairs in place, adding shine in the process (Think of it as a setting powder for the brows!). MAC currently stock three different shades: Beguile (Full bodied taupe), Show Off (Rich brown) and clear. Now I wasn't aware that gels came in shades and instantly went for the clear but I am curious about how it compares to other brow products i'm a fan of.

The product comes in a tube, with a simple mascara wand for application. It doesn't really have a strong scent, but has a slight cooling element to it, making it feel refreshing on your skin.

This product is perfect if you have quite unruley brows, but it's generally great for anyone that doesn't want a single hair out of place throughout the day. I'll have to admit, for me it's not a necessity - but it's always good to have a great finish on eyebrows. The one thing I dislike is that the clear product has eventually turned a murky brown colour due to the eyebrow pencil I use to fill them in, but I suppose that is unavoidable and doesn't affect the quality of the product - it's just not as aesthetically pleasing as it is in the picture above.

I've also found this product to be quite versatile, by being able to tame flyaway hairs while in a high pony or a bun - it's great to use the wand just to gently slick back the hairs. There is also an option of going for a more high-fashion look by using the gel to comb the eyebrows upwards (if anyone is daring enough!),m as well as using it on your lashes to set your mascara. Overall this product is great for gaining a more polished look to your brows, giving them a more defined shape - but for £12.50 it won't be something i'll desperately run out and buy after i've run out. It just seems that for me personally my brows do quite well without them, and there isn't that much of a noticeable difference for me to feel the need to reach for it every day.

You can purchase MAC Clear Brow Set for £12.50 online HERE or at your local MAC counter.

**On a more personal note, voting for the Cosmopolitan Blog Awards has now closed and i'm so grateful for everyone that's taken the time to vote or even just to have a look through my posts! My aim isn't to win - i'm ecstatic just to even be nominated and winning definitely isn't everything in this case! So basically... thanks!**

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Mark Hill 'Vava Voom' Volumising Blow Dry Mousse

Ever since i've been in London, i've become quite obsessed with changing my hair. I've always had it styled exactly the same: side fringe, layers and poker straight. However, since my side fringe started growing out i've decided to have a centre parting and start working on making my hair thicker and generally have a lot more volume! 

Mark Hill 'Vava Voom' is part of the Mark Hill Love Big Hair range, aiming to add body, volume and bounce to your hair.  A volumising mousse is one of the foundation products for achieving bouncier locks, due to it being so simple to apply, its versatility and is generally quite inexpensive for the results you can achieve.

When I first applied the mousse, I was hesitant as to how much the product would expand in my hand, so getting the perfect amount took a bit longer! I could rub it in both my hands with ease and apply evenly through damp hair without leaving my hands feeling sticky. As you can see, one pump distributed a reasonable amount of product which I found perfect for my mid-length hair. It's got quite a fresh fragrance, but didn't weaken the scent of my shampoo and conditioner.
I applied throughout the lengths of my towel-dried hair, paying particular attention to the root, and then tipped my head upside down and blow-dried.

When I lifted my head up after drying, it looked like i'd been electricuted - volume wasn't the word. My hair had been lifted at least 3-4cm, and I loved it. Even when I wanted to wear my hair straight, the extra lift gave a completely different finish to my regular style. I was seriously blown away by it. However, I have a feeling that i'm going to be constantly on the lookout for the product that gives me the most lift and I know there will be better ones out there. But for £5.99, it's incredible. It really does lift your hair from the root, making my limp hair look like i've just had a professional blow-dry. However, I saw no difference in my hair when I left it to dry naturally, so ensure that you blow-dry it to activate the mousse. I was afraid it would make my hair greasy, but ensuring that it was properly distributed and rubbed in that did not happen. I now use this product after every shower as it does everything it says in the bottle: Gives my hair bounce, versatility and reduces the need to pay over the odds for a professional blow-dry!

You can purchase Mark Hill 'Vava Voom' Volumising Blow Dry Mousse for £5.99 at your local Boots or Superdrug or online here.

Sunday, 2 September 2012

September Obsession: Label. M Haircare!

A few weeks back I decided to treat myself to a trim at Westfield Stratford's Toni & Guy. While the cut and styling was great (Since then i've started to slowly grow out my fringe and have developed a middle parting), the products that were used were what made the trip worthwhile. I'm not the sort of person that gets roped into buying overally expensive salon products after they've been used on me, purely because i've found the I can't achieve the same salon results - but after a few weeks of dabbling and researching on various blogs, I decided to take the plunge and buy the four Label M that were used on me:


For those of you who haven't heard of Label M, it is one of the many haircare ranges created by the haircare geniuses at Toni & Guy.

Honey & Oat Shampoo (£11.50 - 300ml) & Conditioner (£14.25 - 300ml)
As you may have guessed, it smells incredible - the honey adds warmth and it reminds me of breakfast! As well as this, it left my hair feeling really luxurious and I found that I achieved the same results at home in my shower as I did getting my hair washed at the salon. My hair smelt amazing for hours, along with being clean, versatile and moisturised my dry split ends. You don't need a lot of product, but it's difficult not to go overboard once you pop open the bottle and catch the scent. It also contains sea algae and sea cabbage, which helps achieve maximum moisturisation without heaviness.

Blow Out Spray (£11.25 - 200ml)
I should have really photographed the two styling products the other way around as i'm reviewing them in order of application, but oh well.  This spray is excellent for adding lift and volume to hair, whilst protecting it against the heat of the hairdryer as well as harmful UV rays. Enriched with Jasmine, Ginger, White Lily, Juniper and Fig, this light spray is richly fragranced but doesn't overpower. I use this on my lengths and ends (after applying a volumising mousse to the roots), working it through damp hair with my fingers and then blowdry my hair upside down to add even more lift.

Sea Salt Spray (£12.25 - 200ml)
Sea salt spray has become an increasingly popular styling product over the past few years, thanks to its ability to easily achieve effortless beachy waves. This product out of the four is the one I am least impressed with, as I have found little difference between this salt spray and others I found, only that it protects against UV rays. I like to spray this through damp hair to add a bit of texture so it's not so sleek, or spray it at the root under sections of dry hair and give it a shake to mess it up, achieving a off-duty tousled look. 

Arguably pricey when bought in bulk, I know it sounds really cheesy but these products really do make me achieve salon-standard results after every use. These products are perfect for anyone who wants to turn their next hair wash into an intensely indulgent hair treatment!

You can purchase Label. M products from your local Toni & Guy or Essentuals, or online here.

*Click here to enter my giveaway to win a MAC lipstick in a shade of your choice!*