Wednesday 26 September 2018

Primark's Berry Velvets (Huda Beauty Dupe)

There is no denying Primark have invested a lot of money and time into their beauty section over the last year. I often visit their huge store in Manchester, and the aisles of beauty products seem to grow every time I go in. That obviously means that every time I go in I need to investigate any new items. There is no denying that they produce products so fast to keep up with trends just like their clothing, however I think their recent releases definitely got me thinking about the whole dupes/copying high end brands issue which is often talked about in the beauty industry.

When I went into Primark at the start of August and was browsing the aisles of the makeup, my eyes were drawn to a small stand of eye palettes in quad shapes. I picked up berry velvets and I was instantly happy with the colour scheme within this quad. Hence the name, the shades are all themed around berry tones which are my favourites during the Autumn. I was drawn to these petite quad shaped palettes, as I had been longing after a Huda Beauty quad eyeshadow palette for the longest time. If you look at Huda's mauve obsession palette, you will be able to instantly see the resemblance between them. The 9 shades are definitely based around the same shade range, and also come with a mix of mattes and metallics. However, Huda's palette is £25 and the Primark version is £3.

There was a sample quad which I was able to swatch and I was surprised at how pigmented they looked on first impressions. The problem with Primark makeup is consumers do not always use the swatch palette on the display to test the colours, meaning many of the products get ruined. I was glad to see that they have started coating their palettes with a plastic layer which needed to be cut off after being purchased. This was only £3 which I thought was an absolute bargain so I put it into my basket and headed on my merry way.

I have been playing around with this Primark berry velvets palette for a few weeks now, and I am very happy to report that you need to run down to your local Primark and pick it up. I have tried and reviewed many Primark beauty products over the last year, but never any eyeshadows and I have to say they have done exceptionally well with this range. I do love buying high end eyeshadow palettes, I think Urban Decay's heat palette is my most used palette which I own. However, I am definitely not a beauty lover who only buys high end products, as I definitely buy more from high streets shops. I love finding products which are great high end alternatives for a fraction of the price.

My favourite two shadows which I have been wearing together are sweetness (mid toned pink) with wild hearts (pink metallic) blended together. Devotion is a copper metallic and is such a beautiful and well pigmented shade. There are three shades which on swatch look a little bit chalky, they are peace (white pearlised), selfish (mid toned purple metallic) and tough love (dark plum mettalic). However, the two darker purple shades selfish and tough love look great when applied to the eye. Pearl is a little bit light for me as I love using this kind of shade for under my brow bone, and it does not quite give me the pop I wanted. Although, humble (light pink metallic) is perfect for this and has beautiful pigmentation.

Overall, for £3 this is one of the best high street palettes which I have tried for a while. Normally, on the high street this palette would cost £8/9 at a minimum, so I am not quite sure how Primark has managed to produce such a good quality palette for such a small price. The packaging is card and the corners will probably start to ruin after a few uses, but I have noticed a lot of palettes are now coming in card packaging. I think that this will be a brilliant palette to travel with as it is so dinky and portable. I am very impressed with this and there was two other palettes in this range, one had smokey brown tones and the other was bright and vibrant. I will definitely be looking out for them on my future visits to pick up and try.



Sunday 23 September 2018


I haven't been this excited to write a blog post in ages. My trip to Madeira was honestly one of the best, and I have so many memories which I know I will treasure forever. Before going on this trip I really did not know much about the island in the slightest. My parents had visited 25 years ago and always had such fantastic things to say about it. As I went with my parents on this trip I kind of just let them plan it, and was just happy to having our annual family two week summer holiday booked.

I did do some research before we went and we always buy a guidebook which I think is a staple for any trip. We noted that there were a few tourist attractions and places which we definitely wanted to visit. My parents still love to go holidays where you have a rep. This year it was very useful as we attended the welcome meeting and we were told a lot about the city of Funchal which is where we were staying. We stayed about the Hotel Girassol which was located just on the outskirts of the city. There were lots of hotels in this part of the city as it was just a little bit away from the main city action, but there were still lots of bars, restaurants and shops.

We were told by the rep that getting into the centre of Funchal would be a 30 minute walk. Most of the time we opted to use the local buses which costs €1.95 per person each way. It was a 10 minute journey and the buses were every 15 minutes. This was the first holiday where we have ever been all-inclusive and I have to say it was definitely good value for money. We usually go self-catered and I did the miss being able to stroll and choose the restaurant and have a more varied selection of food. However, the hotel did provide a good variety of food, but by day 14 as I think with any all-inclusive holiday we were a little bit bored. On two of the nights we choose to eat out of the hotel but just stayed in our smaller resort and the food was great. One thing we did notice though is that the food is not cheap. A meal for 3 would cost €60-75 depending on if we wanted wine or not. We did all say though that the food was delicious so we did not mind paying it, but if you were self-catered it would have been a large expense. We also ate in the centre of Funchal when we went in for either the attractions of to look further around the city. Once again the food was great, and there was a wide range of food on offer. If you like fish then Madeira is perfect for you, as they catch all their fish locally and it is one of the main trades and incomes for the island.

The first attraction we did was the cable cars. This is definitely one of the top tourist attractions which Madeira has to offer to visitors. The cable cars take you into the hills and when I say it goes high, it goes high! I'm not a huge fan of heights, but this shocked me as on the way up I felt queasy and scared. Once at the top you arrive in Monte which is a small village, we planned to go around the Botanical Gardens which you can only get to by taking the second cable car half way back down the hill. This was opened in the 1960's by the Reid's family (who I will come onto later). The gardens were lovely to walk around as the sun was shining and it was a pleasant, but steep walk. We then went to a lovely little cafe that has the most fantastic views overlooking the island.

When we go on holiday I always think the sightseeing buses are worth paying for. They give you a great insight of the city, you learn about their history and also you can hop on and off to sights which you want to see. We chose to go on the city sightseeing bus as it went to all of the places we wanted to visit. On the first day we decided to get the blue line which took us to Monte, where we went to the Monte Palace Tropical Gardens. Out of the two gardens if you only have time to visit one, I would definitely choose this one. It is absolutely huge in total is covers 70,000 square meters, and it took us hours to go round. This is also fairly steep, as it is set in the hills but it was so beautiful. There are waterfalls, bridges and tropical houses which have exotic plants from all over the world. It is kind of like a spiral down and when you reach the middle you get to the museum which so beautiful to look at, it is surrounded by such an array of plants and trees and has a lake running throughout the middle of it.

Monte is also where you can get on their famous basket carts, they are basically big wooden woven baskets which two people sit in. You start at the top of a very steep hill and two men push you down and it's basically a big slide, but in fact it is down one of their regular roads with cars. We were considering doing this but we thought it was expensive and we did not have a real desire to do it, although it would have definitely have been fun.

On the second day of using our city-seeing bus tour ticket, we visited a place called Camara de Lobos. The bus which takes you here are much smaller as they have to get up the narrow winding roads into the very edges of the island. When you reach the top there is a large fishing port and a picaresque stretch of shops and restaurants. We spent an hour or two looking round and then sat down overlooking the port and had some lunch. On the way back down we finished off by swapping buses and seeing the other parts of the tour which we had not yet done.

Reid's Palace was somewhere which my mum had mentioned quite a few times, and was definitely at the top of her must visit list. The rep informed us of what it was and its location, my mum was determined for us to go during our holiday at some point for their famous afternoon tea. There was so much to write about that I have actually written an individual post all about it here. To give a very concise round up, Reid's Palace is a five stars hotel which is in Funchal, they offer an afternoon tea where you sit on their balcony which overlooks the entire island. It is a must visit trip from me, and it is a memory which we will all be telling people when this holiday is brought up in conversation.

The city of Funchal itself has a lot of exploring on offer, as it has an old and a new town. Within the new town they host many well-known shops, and I definitely did more shopping than I expected! The city also has a cathedral which is open must times of the day, and has some stunning stain-glass windows to view. The city is perfect for strolling and stopping off for a tea and cake every hour. Funchal is a popular destination as the first stop on a lot of European cruise liners, meaning that some days the city could be very busy with a large amount of tourists. This is great for the locals and their businesses as it brings a lot amount of income for them.

Overall, I had such a fantastic holiday and I have recommended to everyone who will listen that they should visit Madeira. They live such a lovely and relaxed lifestyle, and I definitely de-stressed and relaxed from the usual hustle and bustle of everyday life. I don't think I would rush back as I feel as though we thoroughly explored a lot of the island. I love to discover new places and I cannot wait for my next adventure.


Wednesday 19 September 2018

Reid's Palace for Afternoon Tea - Madeira


My latest travel adventure took me to Madeira and wow what a beautiful place it is. I did not know much about the island at all before visiting, but since returning I have been telling everyone who will listen to visit. Whilst staying in Funchal which is the capital of the island, we were recommended to visit the five stars Reid's Palace Hotel for their afternoon tea experience.

We decided to go one afternoon and it was so delightful, we all had such a wonderful time. We had been told that it is pretty fancy, and it really was. Even during the day it is evening attire and they are pretty strict with their dress code. We arrived for our afternoon tea and we were a little bit early, so we were told we could take a wander around the hotel and their grounds. It has some beautiful decor and we were all wishing we could afford to stay at the hotel. After a quick Google search we discovered that it was very much out of our price range starting at €340 a night for a classic room going up to €900 for a suite, but if you want a luxurious trip then this hotel would be perfect.

At time we had booked we were invited onto the balcony for our afternoon tea sitting. It was beautiful and the balcony overlooks the island which was so pleasant and tranquil. The first course was the sandwiches and all the staff were lovely and very accommodating as we did not like all of the fillings. We were informed at the start that you can order more of the same course if you want to. I think we got swept up in all of the excitement and we decided to go in for round two with the sandwiches.

Next up, were the scones. They were just how I like them and they came with a variety of jams and a perfectly made clotted cream. This was probably my favourite round! When you first arrive at your table they give you a menu with lots of different types and blends of teas. You are able to have other drinks if you prefer. I decided to go for the Reid's traditional tea which I really enjoyed, as you can see from the picture the teapot is rather large. You also get bottomless tea which was great as you could different types throughout the afternoon.

After the scones came the cakes. I have to say me and mum were originally the most excited for this round for all the reasons you would expect. The cake selection was massive, and we didn't know where to start. The little fruit tarts were my favourite. As you would expect they were all very fancy, and some of them a little too much and I just couldn't face them all. Don't worry though between us all we at least managed to try them all!

When you book for the afternoon tea which costs €35 per person you do get told you get 2 hours at your allocated table. They were really relaxed with this which was really great as we still had a few cakes to get through at the 2 hours mark. They were not offering you another round of cakes which is obviously totally acceptable, as they do have three set times of sittings for the afternoon tea in a day. It was not a cheap but it was a lovely day out and we all thoroughly enjoyed it. The food and tea were all lovely, and the view was the perfect setting. We all went back to the hotel very full, but all very happy. It is located just on the outskirts of the centre of Funchal but it is very easy to get to as throughout Madeira public transport is great. We were very lucky that Reid's was only a 10 minute stroll from our hotel.


Sunday 16 September 2018

Wanting to Explore

I feel like recently I have had the urge more than ever to just pack up a bag and head off on a lifetime trip. I am not in a stable relationship, I am saving for a house- but that can definitely wait, and there will always be work for me when I get home. In all honesty, if I could make just a small a wage from my blog and social media I would be off in a no time.

I feel like turning 24 has been a bit of a defining point in terms of my feeling like I need to make something of myself. I am not sure if that is going on an adventure, but I do feel as though I need some escapism. Everyone at work literally says to me 'you are always on holiday', the fact is I get 6 weeks a year off and my 2018 goal was to use all my annual leave for holidays. I don't need to use my holidays for child care, I use them for enjoyment and for me that is to leave my house and get on a plane. I did take a gap year and I never did the travelling thing, I worked the entire year and there was no way with the wage I was on I was travelling anyway! The furthest I made was 10 days in Ayia Napa! I was definitely too young and naive to have gone travelling then anyway, I doubt I would have latest very long. I think after going to university a lot think that your life is now just work, work, work. In reality, after being in education for so long and now working full time for two years I have definitely got that urge to just pack up and go.

The thing is I haven't got a burning desire to visit somewhere in particularly. I have always wanted to go to New Zealand and Australia, but I know I will need to save up a lot to be able to even afford my plane tickets, that is definitely something for the bucket list. I have enjoyed this year just using bits of annual leave here and there and going off on shorter city breaks, rather than a week or two weeks at a time. This year I started off by visiting Hamburg in February and Guernsey in April. I have recently been on a two week break with my family to Maderia which was beautiful. I am hopefully heading away in October, then Edinburgh in December for the Christmas markets. Within the last few weeks my travelling agenda for 2019 has been coming together very well. Disneyland Paris is finally happening in February (eek!), Centreparcs in March and hopefully Copenhagen in April. My friend from university and I are hopefully going on an adventure possibly to India for 3 weeks at some point, which is so exciting!

In order to save for my trips I have a saving accounts and I use that for partly saving for a house and the other half for travel. I have also opened a help to buy ISA which is proving to be working very well. Say I save £400 one particular month, I will decide and make a note depending on that month's plans how much is going for trips and how much is going towards the house. It is a very simple method. My kind of rationale is I have worked hard for my money, and I will spend it on whatever I want as long as I am sensible.

I have never really been a spontaneous person, I always like plans and to be organised to a fashion. I think I am somewhat easy going but I like to know times and places of things I am doing. Even though I would like nothing more than to pack up and leave. However, I have so many worries in my mind, and I am not sure that just taking 9 months off and going on this huge adventure is going to be the answer to what I am looking for. So I think for now my 2019 goal is going to be the same as 2018, to use all my annual leave to the best I can. I think with where I work its great as it is not Monday-Friday, I can use requests to my advantage so I only use a small amount of annual leave at a time. I know it is only September but there is nothing more exciting than having a holiday to countdown too and already cannot wait to book my next adventures!


Wednesday 12 September 2018

Jaclyn Hill x Morphe The Vault Collection: Bling Boss

This announcement of this launch from Jaclyn Hill and Morphe got me very excited. As you know I was, and still am a big fan of her first palette and I did a full review here if you wish to read it. The Vault is a collection of four different palettes - bling boss, ring the alarm, dark magic and armed and gorgeous. I think the price point of these are really good, they are £15 each or you can buy the full vault for £49.

I was debating which palette to choose for a few days. I originally was drawn to the ring the alarm palette as it has all of the classic orange, yellow and copper shades which I am always drawn to. However, I do already own 20 palettes that have this type of shades it, so I decided to venture of out my norm and go for bling boss which mainly focuses on purple shades.

I was super excited when it arrived as the palette contains such a fantastic array of colours. This has a mixture of mattes and shimmers which is what I like in a palette as it allows you to create a lot of different looks. So as always being the blogger I am I start to take my pictures, and do some swatches. I really liked the texture of the shadows as they are creamy and pick up easily out of the pan. My first impressions were a little disappointing as some of the shades did not have good pay off.

The first row shades: bling bling (silvery pink glitz), hush hush (matte mauve), hem (vibrant violent shimmer), pizzazz (glittery magenta) and mystic ( matte brown toned purple).

`Second row: sparks (matte strawberry red), glitz & glam (shimmering rose gold), rockstar (matte purple), ballsy (glittery mauve pink) and berry treasure (glittery black).

The matte shades are definitely the ones which I am the most disappointed with. I wanted the dark mattes to be the true dark they should be, but they just did not perform in comparison to my other favourite palettes. You can see in the swatches that the shadows look a little ashy and the pigmentation is not the best. I feel like some of the mattes have been made well, but look at the comparison between the three matte shades in this picture. Sparks (top) has a great colour pay off which is so different compared to rockstar (third) which looks so patchy and uneven. As always I try to swatch these equally. The ones which I found patchy I reswatched, but time and time again I saw no improvement.

As I have already mentioned I was really impressed with Jaclyn's first palette with Morphe. However, the bling boss palette has not left me with the urge to buy any other palettes form this collection. There are some great shimmer shades in this palette and this is where the palette does do well. The shades bling bling and glitz & glam are great and I have reached for them the most out of all the shades. This palette has opened my eyes to the fact that I should step away from my classic go to shades and use more reds and purples and be a little more creative.

I usually write posts on all of the beauty products I am loving, as I love to find hidden gems with the beauty industry. When a product is launched which I am excited about such as this palette I want to be honest with my reviews. I really wanted to love this, but I have used it a lot and my overall opinion is simple - there is a mixture of some great and some dud shades.



Wednesday 5 September 2018

Glossier Balm Dot Com

Glossier arrived on the scene with a bang, and I thought I would let all the hype settle down before deciding what to buy. Time and time again, I saw bloggers mention their balm dot com lip balms (£10) and as a girl with very dry lips I am always willing to try a new lip product.

I ordered two different flavours cherry and birthday. They essentially both have the exact same ingredients which are very simple but effective and this is the main reason Glossier's products have done so well. They contain bees wax, lanolin and castor seed oil as its key ingredients.

This is an all purpose balm which is great as it is multi-functional. The emollient is quite thick which I don't mind, but if you don't like the feeling of any product on your lips then the balm dot come is not for you. When applied straight on to the lips I do feel an instant soothing, it is a little sticky which is not a problem for me. As someone who lips get very cracked and overly dry, this provides instant relief and comfort.

To be fair you could describe this as glorified Vaseline, but I do find that there is a different in consistency due to it being a little thicker. The cherry flavouring can definitely be tasted when applied to the lips and it comes out the tube as a red balm. When it is blended into the lips it does have a hint of redness still to it and it does not rub in transparent. The birthday flavour does in fact taste like the sweet frosting to a birthday cake, which I again like. If you do not like sweet scents then I wouldn't opt for this one. There are no colourings to the birthday balm, but it does have a hint of glitter running through it which makes your lips look a little glittery. If you want something plain and simple they do an original balm dot com, which is probably your best bet if you just want the product with no frills. They also do coconut, mint and rose flavourings in this collection.

I have enjoyed keeping this in my pocket at work and applying it liberally when my lips get extra dry due to the air conditioning and rushing around. A little goes a long way and if you need some instant re hydration with one application this does the job.

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