Florabundance: September 2011

30 September 2011

New Make-Up Station!

Hi everyone!

Just a quick little post today because I don't have much time but I'm too excited to not blog! Recently, as you probably know from previous posts, I've been doing a bit of a revamp to my bedroom back at home with my parents. My old furniture was basically too big for my room and left me with very little floor space, so it has recently been replaced! Yesterday we put together the chest of drawers, and it has now become host to my make-up collection... well, just the top of it and the top drawer :)

Here's a closer look at what I keep out on show:

On top it is mainly my necessities and every day products.

And here's a sneak peak at some of my make-up/perfume collection! If you would like a proper collection post then let me know - I might be able to manage it, although not sure how to go about it! That kind of stuff always works best with videos, eh?

I keep products separated with plastic trays and some of my old GlossyBox boxes! Makes finding things SO much easier, and prevents it from becoming a mess.

Next thing on my list is put the wardrobe together this evening and then my room is almost complete!

Where is your 'make-up station'?

Lydia xox

24 September 2011

How I Grew My Hair...

After getting quite a lot of emails over summer from people asking how I managed to grow my hair out so quick, I decided to do a post to explain a few things and give some 'tips'. But I have to say - there is no easy or quick solution with hair growing, and most of my tips are nothing new.

Below is a photo of my hair right now (Sept 2011):

Here is a (gross!) photo of my hair length this time last year (September 2010):

And here is my hair in July 2008 (on holiday in Egypt!), when it was bleach blonde and would not grow:

Okay so now that the photos are out of the way, on to the good stuff...

As you can see, my hair has grown quite substantially in the past year but I honestly believe it is down to all the things I have been doing for the past year and a half.

1. Cut down the dye/bleach in your hair:
As you can see, I used to have white bleached blonde hair. I loved it, it was part of who I was and I found it very hard to make a change but it had to be done. In spring 2009 I decided to get rid of the white. I had a bunch of 'bronze brown' lowlights scattered through my whole hair to tone it down. Eventually, as the colour toned down I began to get highlights done instead of touching my roots up with bleach. It was a gradual journey that did take quite some time but I have to say it was worth every minute to get my hair the way it is now. These days, instead of getting my roots bleached every 6 weeks, I get half a head of highlights and lowlights every 8 weeks. The colour usually only touches the root too.
I think my change in hair colour is the absolute biggest factor in my hair growth.

2. Get your hair cut every other appointment:
Instead of getting my hair cut at every hair appointment, I now get it cut at every other. So instead of every 8 weeks it is cut every 16 weeks. This lets my hair get rid of all the split ends whilst also giving it a chance to grow between cuts. I don't believe in stopping getting it cut altogether - it will only make your split ends snap off, resulting in shorter hair anyway.

3. Wash your hair less often:
I used to wash my hair every day, which meant my hair got dried with a hairdryer and then straightened with my GHD's each day. NOT GOOD! No wonder my hair was fried. Now I wash my hair every 2-3 days. I use a gentle clarifying shampoo (Aveda Brilliant Shampoo in case you're interested) which helps me last longer between washes as it gives a deep clean and gets rid of build up. I also use dry shampoo when needed.

4. Limit the heat you use:
To begin with, I changed from straightening my hair every morning to just straightening it every time I had clean, freshly washed hair and leaving it off for the other day or two. For the past 6 months though I haven't even been straightening it all - maybe once a week at the most? Sometimes I use my Babyliss Waving Wand, but again it is a rarity. I have began to love my natural hair - it isn't as frizzy or wavy as I had once thought. I think this has come from the lack of bleach and extra hair length too! In that top photo of my recent hair, it has not been straightened - I'm pretty proud of that :)

5. Use a hair oil:
I'm as massive fan of hair oils! I truly believe that using Moroccan Oil on my wet hair every time I wash it has hugely helped get my hair in a good condition. I also use it on hair that's just been blow-dried to add shine.

6. Be patient....

And that is it! Like I said, nothing revolutionary or new but really there is no quick fix. Hope you enjoyed this post and it answered some of your questions.

Lydia xox

23 September 2011

My Favourite Mascara: Covergirl Lash Blast

My search is well and truly off for the perfect mascara. I have only just realised this, but I already own it!

The mascara is Covergirl's Lash Blast Volume in Very Black. I have used it on and off over the past 2 years, more so the past year as I stocked up on multiple tubes of it when working in Boston last summer.

Despite knowing that this mascara worked for me and I liked how it made my lashes look, I never stopped buying different drugstore mascaras that would let me down again and again (especially you Maybelline!). Today I think I realised that I wasn't going to get any better than Lash Blast and subsequently threw out all my others/donated them to my mum.

The reason I like it so much is that it lengthens and separates my lashes, giving a defined look that still looks voluminous at the root. It is also probably the ONLY mascara I have used that I am actually able to layer without my lashes clumping together! I like to apply two or three coats of this, depending on how long I have to spare!

Below: To compare, one coat of mascara is on the left eye but the lashes on the right are bare...

I purchase this mascara from ebay for £8 from the seller kashtone and I think it is good value for money. If you were to buy the so-called UK equivalent by MaxFactor it would cost £12.99 and I don't feel it does as good a job as Covergirl! So I am happy to continue to order from the USA.

What's your favourite mascara? Have you tried LashBlast?

Lydia xox

14 September 2011

Move Over Patina, There's a New Favourite in Town!

Hello everyone!

As I was putting on my make-up today I became inspired for a blog post. It was when I was applying my eye make-up that I realise I have been consistently choosing to apply MAC's Sable eyeshadow almost every day for months now. That's when it hit me - Patina is no longer my go to, most loved MAC eyeshadow. Sable has well and truly taken her crown! I find this so hard to believe as well, because Sable has been in my collection for almost 3 years and it is only now I have noticed how gorgeous it is.

So this post is a little spotlight on the wonderful Sable...

Natural lighting swatch...

Me wearing Sable eyeshadow yesterday....

Why do I love Sable so much, I hear you ask? Well... it's so multi-faceted. On first look it could be seen as your run-of-the-mill chocolate brown eyeshadow. Nothing special, just a medium brown. But if you look at it properly, you can see undertones of red and purple in Sable. I find it hugely complementary on my eyes and I wear it most days alone - it is so simple but looks like I have made an effort!

As for combinations, I think Sable can work well with a whole range of other MAC eyeshadows. In particular my former favourite, Patina. Other favourites include Jest and Mythology.

What's your favourite MAC eyeshadow?

Lydia xox

12 September 2011

New Skincare Additions: Liz Earle

Hello everyone!

Today I just felt like blogging, and it just so happened that on Saturday a Liz Earle package dropped through my letterbox. I take this as a perfect blogging opportunity, particularly because they are Liz Earle products that have not been in the spotlight so much as others!

Now we all know Liz Earle. If I have to watch one more Cleanse and Polish review I may literally pull my eyelashes out one by one (I kid...)! I have used Cleanse and Polish on and off for the best part of 2 years now, and whilst I like it I don't LOVE it. I have also gone through three or four pots of their face cream (combination skin version) and also liked it, but again never LOVED it.

So whilst everyone else is wittering on about the more popular products that never wowed me, I decide to scour the Liz Earle website and see what else was on offer.

Face Scrub...
I have began to dislike my St Ives more and more recently, as I feel it is a bit abrasive on my changing skin (it gets a bit less oily in A/W). So I plumped for the Gentle Face Exfoliator . The website describes this as a "gentle exfoliator to buff away dead skin cells and impurities for smoother, clearer skin. Contains purifying eucalyptus, softening cocoa butter and fine jojoba beads."
My thoughts so far: I have used this twice since getting it and really liked the effects. It is very gentle and leaves my skin feeling comfortably moisturised and soft. I think this is a great scrub because it really is so gentle and does not leave the skin feeling tight.

Face Mask...
I haven't really experimented with face masks much, I only really use Origins Out of Trouble mask and as it works for me I haven't ventured out. However, I'm about to run out of the Origins mask and don't want to fork out almost £20 for a new tube. This is where Liz Earle comes in.. at £13.25, the Deep Cleansing Mask is a bit more affordable for me! I also LOVE that it comes with two sponges especially created for this mask. I found it very intriguing and can't wait to report back to you all about it.
Liz Earle says of the mask... "Naturally active ingredients include green clay to draw out impurities, soothing manuka honey and propolis and rose-scented geranium to help tone and balance. Leaves skin balanced, calm and clear."

Have you used either of these products? What else do you love from Liz Earle?

Lydia xox

9 September 2011

A Belated August Favourites

Can't believe how late I've left it to write my August favourites, but better late than never right?

August's favourites are mainly all new products to me which is exciting and I am glad I love them all! Nobody likes to waste money eh!

1. Joico K-Pak Intense Hydrator: This is a hair conditioning treatment but I have been using this as a conditioner after every wash. It leaves my hair feeling ridiculously soft and healthy but not too weighed down. It is also a rather large 250ml bottle which only cost £11 from feelunique.com so I don't mind using it so frequently. For reference, after using it every other day for the past 3 weeks I still have about half a bottle left so as you can see it is quite good value for money. One more thing - it smells gorgeous!

2. Vichy Normaderm Purifying Cleansing Gel - I noticed one of my best friends using this on our recent trip away and after hearing her sing its praises I decided to buy one for myself too. I have been using it every day and night since purchasing it and I have to say I do like it. It is for oily, acne prone skin but it isn't too harsh. After using this product it is noticeable that it has got ridden of oil and shine but my skin doesn't feel stripped at all. Right now I think I would definitely repurchase this when it runs out.

3. Collection 2000 Lasting Perfection Concealer (Shade 03) - I bought this after hearing all of the rave reviews in the beauty community and I have to say that I was not disappointed. It really impressed me in fact! It gives great coverage and lasts all day. I use this on spots, under my eyes and on the discolouration around my nose. It isn't cakey or heavy either, which I love.

4. Chanel Illusion D'Ombre Long Wear Luminous Eyeshadow in Epatant - these eyeshadows are something I have been excited about for months and as soon as I saw them in store I made a beeline for them. I decided to get Epatant, a gorgeous silver pewter with a bit of a green undertone to it. This will be great for the upcoming festive season, and for nights out in general! I love the gel-like texture of these, they don't crease and are so easy to apply. I really want to get more of these before they disappear from the counters!

5. Origins Super Spot Remover - I have already reviewed this recently so I will just be brief here. This stuff is seriously amazing and has helped clear the stubborn spots on my chin. You can read my full review here!

6. Origins Starting Over Moisturiser (Oil Free version) - this is for sure my HG moisturiser and it wasn't until this month that I realised that. I had gone through two pots of this in the past and it kept my skin just right side of hydrated and also kept my skin clear. When I ran out recently, I purchase a moisturiser from Bliss instead and it broke me out. I then realised that I shouldn't dabble with other products if I have found one that works so perfectly for me, so off I skipped to Boots to pick up a new pot of Starting Over. I have used it religiously ever since and it has treated my skin well :-) hurrah.

Looking forward to reading everyone else's favourites,

Lydia xox

8 September 2011

Dior Earth Reflection Eyeshadow Palette

Recently I picked up some products from a Dior counter, a brand I haven't really dabble with much in the past, and I am really impressed with them.

I think I have tried just about every Dior mascara going, and I am absolutely in love with the Dior Forever foundation, but their eyeshadows are a territory I have never ventured in to before. This eyeshadow palette has changed everything though! I am so impressed and pleased.

For me, the Dior Earth Reflections palette is even better than the UD Naked Palette. Wow, that's almost like blasphemy in the beauty community right?! Well let me tell you why. For starters, it has all the neutrals I need in one little eyeshadow quint. It's small, portable and fantastic for travel. Sure, there is not as much choice as the Naked palette, but it covers all bases as far as neutrals go. If you are traveling or lugging this about in your handbag, what does it really matter - a neutral is a neutral right? That's my opinion anyway. I would never just casually pop the Naked palette in my handbag or dream of taking it on a weekend away!

But enough with the comparisons, that is not what I set out to do with this post. I just wanted to blog about this fabulous quint and let you all know how fabulously gorgeous it is!

Take a look... (you can click on the photos for a closer look by the way!)

Swatches taken in natural lighting...

The eyeshadow quint is part of Dior's iridescent range and therefore all of the eyeshadows are, well, iridescent, but more importantly they are butter soft and incredibly complimentary on the eyes. They are also like a dream to blend. A wonderful formula I have to say, pat yourself on the back Dior cosmetics... :)

What are your thoughts on Dior?

Lydia xox

5 September 2011

Illamasqua Theatre of the Nameless

Hello everyone! Today I am going to do a little post on Illamasqua's new collection, Theatre of the Nameless. You can check out and purchase the whole collection online here!

On Thursday 1st September I was lucky enough to attend the launch of the collection in London. It was the first blogging event I had actually ever attended - after 3 years of blogging I decided that it was about time I should make an effort! Safe to say I was super excited for the event already but Illamasqua totally exceeded my expectations at the event and blew me away with their new products and the conception behind the collection. I also had a wonderful day beforehand meeting lots of bloggers - how very exciting!

I know that there are a lot Theatre of the Nameless event and product posts floating around so I don't want to bore you by making mine too similar - I promise to keep this as short and sweet as possible!

Theatre of the Nameless...

"Descend into the riotous scene of erotic adventure that is The Theatre of the Nameless; a nocturnal den of the dissident leaders of underworld subcultures."

I firstly have to apologise at my lack of photos. As seen in the photos below, the convention room used was beautifully lit by candles which added fantastic atmosphere and set the scene well, but unfortunately it made it hard to take photos of the products. I had hoped to photograph everything but alas this post will only be about the products I received in my goodie bag. Sorry about that!

Below (L-R): Shimmer Blusher, Pure Pigment, Cream Pigment.

The Shimmer Blush in Ambition is my favourite of the one I received and I have been using it daily since! Below is a photo of the product in natural light, as you can see it is a light, dusky pink with gold shimmer. It applies effortlessly, although a very light hand is needed as it is crazily pigmented! I have used this every day since Thursday and if I hadn't received it I can honestly say I would have purchased it. The other blush in the collection, Morale, was a deeper more hot pink and I am also tempted to purchase this!

Next is a Cream Pigment in Depravity , a gorgeous magenta purple. Cream Pigment's are intensely colour-rich and a crease resistant matt formula. I will be using this for lips, cheeks and eyes - love a multi use product!

Finally, there is no photo as you cannot really see the product in it's packaging, there is a Pure Pigment in Zeitgeist . It is a dark, almost black, shimmer with a high-shine metallic finish. This is a really great and versatile product to have in anyones collection. I have already used it all over the lid, blended in to the crease and pressed in to my lash line as eyeliner. Love it!

Other stand out products for me was the Pure Pigment in Berber (an auburn red shimmer, ridiculously pigmented too! <3) and the Precision Ink in Havoc. I cannot wait to get my hands on either of these! :)

What do you make of the new Illamasqua collection then? Anything you are buying/have bought? Would love to know...

Lydia xox

2 September 2011

FOTD Feat. Illamasqua Ambition Blush

Hello! Today is essentially a day of doing nothing for me, so I decided to have a little play with my make-up. Nothing too drastic but I love it - and it's very different to what I'd normally go for! I think I feel a little inspired after the Illamasqua event last night. So many gorgeous, innovative products.. but more on that to come this weekend!

FOTD with flash:

FOTD without flash:

Products used:
Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer in Bisque
Chanel Loose Powder in 020 Clair
MAC Eyebrow Pencil in Fling
Benefit Bad Gal Eyeliner
Covergirl Lashblast Mascara
Chanel Tan de Soleil Bronzing Base
Illamasqua Blush in Ambition (Theatre of the Nameless collection!)
MAC Lip Liner in Naked (no idea what collection but LE)
MAC Lipstick in Rebel - Satin Finish - LE (again, no idea what collection)

Stand out products for me were...

The Illamasqua Blush in Ambition, which I got at the event last night. It's a shimmer finish and the most gorgeous muted, neutral pink.

The MAC lipstick in Rebel. I was instantly drawn to this colour, and it is not at all as scary looking once applied on the lips! It has strong staying power too, which is great - I'm not one for reapplying when out and about!

And finally, my hair is in a messy bun - not quite a topknot as it has sunken down since this morning! Sorry for the terrible photo, but do you know how hard it is to take photos of the back of your head? Very!

Hope you like this post,

What do you all think of the blusher and lipstick?

Lydia xox