A/W Makeup Essentials.

Before I initiate my extensive rambles, can we just take a moment to appreciate my snazzy new makeup bag? Frankly, I'm gonna go ahead and say I don't think I've ever owned something that sums me up so darn well. T'is pretty cool, no? Good ol' Marks and Spencer if you were wondering, and I actually located it in the stationary section when waiting for my sister to return from the store toilet. Fun fact for you there. Oversharing aside, it's time to spill the details on my current A/W face essentials...

When it comes to the complexion side of things, I like to crank it up a notch this time of year. I still reach for the Nars Pure Radiant Tinter Moisturizer (review here) on a weekly basis, but for the times I'm in need of a little extra coverage, the Clinique Perfectly Real Makeup Foundation is my BFF. Weightless, perfecting and buildable, with a somewhat generous shade range. Shockingly, I'm the fairest on offer. Concealer wise, I'm still having a love affair with the Clarins Instant Concealer (review here). This bad-boy was a serious talking point within the blogging world earlier in the year, and for a good reason. Ideal for blemishes and those pesky eye bags, it covers without looking cakey and most certainly lasts your everyday 9-5. Plus, extra brownie points for the hygienic packaging.

To add a little extra somethin' somethin' to my complexion, Mac's Lightscapade Mineralize Skinfinish (retro review here) is all kinds of awesome. I guess you could say this is a similar, cheaper alternative to the glorious Hourglass Ambient Light Powders in that it adds a subtle luminosity to the skin without mattifying. If we're talking contour, however, the Illamasqua Cream Pigment in the shade Hollow (mini review here) is an must-have for pale skinned gals (and boys!) like myself. When teamed with the Real Techniques Contour Brush you've got yourself some serious definition goin' on. It's a yes from me.

Of course, no Autumn makeup bag is complete without a trusty blush, right? Though again, I am 95.2% faithful and in awe of mHourglass Ambient Lighting Blush Palette, (review here) I've found myself repeatedly reaching for the Nars Blush in Deep ThroatHorrific name aside, it is in fact a stunning pink shade which livens up the face and perfectly complements a deep berry lip.

Talking lips, for me it's all about Mac's Pink Plaid Lipstick (mention in my recent 'What's in my handbag' post). A natural looking cool-toned pink, it gives a matte finish and is the perfect finishing touch following a quick swipe of the Rimmel Exaggerate Lipliner in Eastend Snob

Lash wise, I'm still exclusive to the Pixi Lengthy Fiber Mascara* (review here) for natural, long looking peepers. I'm also still very delighted at the Pixi brand now being stocked at Marks and Spencer. Exciting times all round!

So there we have it. A speedy round-up of the contents within my groovy looking makeup bag. I hope you've enjoyed having a snoop.

What makeup essentials are you reaching for now we've reached the Autumn season? I'd love to know any recommendations you may have!

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New In From Pixi by Petra #2

Happy Friday all! I hope you're looking forward to the weekend ahead (I know I am!). So last week a pretty snazzy parcel landed on my doorstep, courtesy of the amazing, Pixi by Petra. If you're a regular round these parts, you'll know I'm a huge fan of the brand, and was lucky enough to be sent a package full of skincare (and chocolate!) back in the summer. This time round I was treated to a range of the A/W Pixi cosmetics, and holy guacamole, they.are.serious.

The item I was most giddy (yes, giddy) about when opening the box was this gorgeous Mattelustre Lipstick. Plum Berry* (£14) is a deep berry red (as the name would suggest) and the perfect shade for this time of year. Rock with a bare face, a strong brow or even a smokey eye, it's capable of complementing a whole host of  different looks. Though it's on the cool side of things, it's one that'll suit pretty much every skin tone. Long-lasting, matte and pretty packaging to match - basically, I'm in love.

If brighter shades are more your thing then you will seriously dig the Mattelustre Lipstick in Pure Fuchsia* (£14). Again a matte formula, this one's ideal for days you're not looking your best to really add some life back into your face. Throw on a pair of shades (how awesome is this weather though?), your best pout and you're good to go. 

A gal can never have too many eye products in her stash, and this Cat Eye Ink* (£12) is well worth a mention. Not only is it a seriously intense black, but the slanted felt tip makes application easy as pie for liner noobs like myself. Just make sure you have a waterproof makeup remover at hand come bedtime as this stuff doesn't.budge.

Finally, it's time to talk brow. Though I religiously reach for my Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz, I get through it pretty swiftly. Luckily for me, the Endless Brow Gel Pen* (£14) is all kinds of awesome. I use the shade, Medium, a neutral ash brown which matches my hair rather accurately. A lot of brow products fail to get the whole ashy tone right, but this manages to get it spot on. The gel-textured pencil gives just the right amount of product and lasts all day. If you're looking for an extra boost through any unruly sparse areas or are after a fuller brow, this is your BFF. 

Are you a fan of the Pixi by Petra? I'm very excited to say that as of this week it's now stocked in Marks and Spencer!

If you fancy reading up on what the brand has to offer when it comes to skincare, head to my previous post, here, however if you're after snapping up some beauty goodness for yourself, head to the Pixi website, here.

Will you be sporting a berry lip this season? I'd love to know your A/W makeup recommendations!

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Current Skincare Saviours.

If you're a regular visitor to my wee blog, you may remember my recent 'Haircare Heroes' post. So, with the whole 'hair' side of things covered, it's time to talk skincare. You may have seen the above featured in the past on Bryony Laura, however after really relying on my skincare regime as of late, I thought I'd post a quick refresher spilling the details on why you should add them all to your shopping basket.

If you're entirely new to Neal's Yard, head here for the 411 on their Award Winning Skincare Kit (a total bargain at £20), however if not, stick around while I sing this serums praises. Scientifically formulated to support your skin while you sleep, using this is not only a total treat thanks to its calming scent, but I find that daily use keeps any unwanted blemishes and redness at bay. Also, dry, dehydrated skin will love this.

Ah, Origins, will you ever release a duff product? It appears not. A long-time love, this moisturiser is reserved exclusively for night time use in my regime (following the NY Beauty Sleep Concentrate, naturally). Rich in consistency, the product nourishes deep into the skin, leaving it soft and hydrated come morning. Like all Origins lotions and potions, you only need the smallest amount per use, making the admittedly steep price more bearable. 

I'm pretty picky when it comes to exfoliators. Too grainy, it's an instant no-no. Too gentle, kind of a pointless process, no? The Bee Good Honey & Camelina Facial Exfoliator however, gets it spot on. A recent addition to the Bee Good brand, this moisturising treatment sloughs away the dreaded dry skin leaving a soft and radiant complexion.

I've coveted this serum for well over a year now, so if you're a fan of more in-depth reviews, head over here to hear my full thoughts. Holding up to 1,00 times its weight in water, Hyraluronic Acid is something of a cult ingredient in the beauty world, and, unsurprisingly, packs a serious punch in the hydration department.

Have you tried any of the above? Have I tempted you? What are your top skincare recommendations? 

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5 Minutes With: Ellen McCrimmon.

A couple of months ago, somewhere among my daily internet scrolls, I came across the exceptionally talented Ellen McCrimmon. Ellen is an artist and illustrator originally from the Isle of Wight, and boy is she damn good at what she does.

Using a combination of charcoal, paint and pencil throughout her work, she creates everything from sea creatures and puppies, to people and avocados (and who doesn't love avocados?).

I was lucky enough to be sent a few of her stunning pieces (which will be flaunted up on my wall soon as I find some snazzy frames) alongside the chance to have a little chat about all things art...

So I’ve gotta ask, when exactly did you realise how bad ass you are at drawing?
Haha! Well I’ve always loved drawing and painting since as long as I can remember. I liked the idea of being able to produce something that wasn’t there before. I’m super critical of myself and the work I make however, so I don’t accept compliments easily. It’s something I need to work on more. 

How did you get into illustration?
Well I was originally going to do art at uni, but after stressing out about the thought of more education after A-Levels, I took a gap year and decided to do primary school teaching instead. Turns out I wasn’t actually into it very much and started to get bored of the course. So in my spare time I just started to draw again, mostly charcoal sketches to get back into the swing of things. I put a few pictures of what I did on instagram and I was surprised by the kind of response I was getting. This motivated me to draw/paint more often, and I eventually started a separate instagram account for my work and it kind of went from there. 

What motivates you? Where do you gather your inspiration?
My biggest motivation is other artists, and not just the works of the ‘famous’ ones, but more so just ordinary people who spend their time creating amazing things! I’m actually part of a group called ‘artists of instagram’ which has a whole bunch of lovely people in it from all across the world where we take part in an art trade each month to help promote each others work. They’re all so talented and seeing the work they do helps me to stay motivated. 

What are your favourite things to capture within an image?
I really enjoy painting animals, and recently I’ve been inspired by the sea, it’s beautiful range of colours and the creatures within its depths! I’m originally from the Isle of Wight so I’ve grown up by the sea, and I like to use this theme within some of the things I create. 

What are your must-have art pieces? 
Ahh there's just so so much out there that it’s hard to narrow it down, but for me, I have to have a decent watercolour paint set, as well as my ‘Spectrum Aqua’ watercolour pens. They are a DREAM to work with and they have such a range of beautiful vibrant colours. They are pricey, but totally worth it. I also use a normal water brush to blend the colours together. This alongside a good pad of watercolour paper and you’re good to go! 

What advice would you give to gals and boys looking to get into illustration?
So it’s really good if you can identify your work with a certain style, this will help people to recognise your work without it always necessarily having to be labelled with your name. Also networking! Get yourself a separate instagram or facebook account for whatever to use as a primary place to promote your work. As silly as it sounds, sometimes having a ‘theme’ to your feed really helps. I mean this in terms of how you present your work and the colour schemes etc. It just means people are more likely to look through if your feed leaves a good impression. Also finding other artists and liking their work, and annoying as it is, but hashtags haha!

Where do you see yourself in 10 years time? Do you think your art and its focus areas will have changed significantly?
Oooh I have no idea. I want to experiment more with the types of art I do, to help develop my own work and move it forwards. Though I’m already struggling to find time to do illustrations within a 9-5 job, so it can be really tricky to stay motivated when you’re tired! But I love doing my art, and I would love to be able to make some kind of money off what I actually enjoy doing. So we’ll have to see I suppose!

What’s next for Ellen McCrimmon?
Haha who knows! What I can say is I have a few exciting art related things potentially on the horizon… so I guess just watch this space! 

Thanks so much to the lovely Ellen for taking the time to answer my questions, and of course, sending over her lovely work! Will you be snapping up anything from her site? Head here to go check it out and be sure to take a peek at her Twitter, and Instagram pages.


The Beauty Brands Worth Investing In (& What To Buy) #2

So aloha and welcome to part two of this beauty-themed post - I was originally going to just limit it to one, but frankly, it turned a little too wordy for my liking. If you fancy checking out the first, head here to read-up on some seriously awesome skin and haircare treats, but if not, stay tuned for a good 'ol beauty chat.

S&G are a gal's one-stop-shop for makeup, skin, body and suncare. Yep, basically, they do the lot, and by golly, do they do it well. My first dabble with  the brand was unsurprisingly their classic, Righteous Body Butter, and since then I've been hooked. Affordable, high-quality, and delightfully scented. Oh, and don't even get my started on the packaging...
What to buy: Girligo Body Moisturising Mist for fuss-free, silky skin, Make Yourself Youthful Sunshield Superfluid SPF50+ for high sun protection and Clean On Me Shower Gel, just because.

Balance Me.
A blogger and celebrity favourite, the Balance Me brand is well worth a try if you like natural, sophisticated products. I first tried my hand last year with their Radiance Face Oil, and both myself and my skin were pretty damn pleased. Again, their products are also tip-top when it comes to the whole scent department.
What to buy: The Radiance Face Oil for a nourished, clear complexion (review here), Radiance Face Mask to brighten and cleanse, and the Super Moisturising Body Oil for silky skin.

Arran Aromatics.
Thanks to many holidays in Scotland throughout the years, I've developed a serious addiction to all Arran Aromatics products. Based on the Isle of Arran (just in case the name didn't give it away), the brand crafts together everything from skincare and scrubs, to candles and bath oils, all lovingly handmade at the company's home farm. Lovely stuff.
What to buy: The Sandalwood & Lavender Bath Oil for a soothing, sleep-inducing soak, Pure Shampoo thanks to its gentle, and beautifully scented formula, and Apothecary Aloe Vera Soap to clean 'yo self.

Liz Earle.
The Liz Earle brand is a bit of a classic in the beauty industry, and I guess that could be down to the fact the products are so darn awesome. I've been using the brand for a long time now - even so much to get the 2013 Advent Calender (it was bad ass) - and I always go back for more. Check out my various L.E themed posts, here.
What to buy: I'm sure it's gonna come as no surprise that I'm gonna recommend the Cleanse & Polish right about now. Wondering why? Click here. The Eyebright Soothing Eye Lotion is also a godsend for sore, puffy peepers and the Healthy Glow Cream Blush for a hint of dewy glow - that's right, LE rocks the makeup side of things, too.

I like to think of ESPA as the Chanel of the beauty world. Sure, their products aren't half as pricey, but boy are they luxurious. I've featured them quite a few times on the 'ol blog (check here), and I always look forward to the days I reach for their skin-shaped treats. The packaging, the formulas, the scents - so damn dreamy it hurts.
What to buy: So if you fancy treating yourself to a luxury beauty treat, make sure it's the Optimal Skin ProSerum. Rub the oil all over your body, sit back and pretend you're at a spa. Whilst you're at it, you may as well throw some skincare into the mix, perhaps with the Optimal Skin ProCleanser - a.k.a. one of the best out there.

So there we have it, a (not so) speedy round up of the crème de la crème beauty brands and products. What are your favourite, go-to brands to use? Do you have any that you would recommend?


The Beauty Brands Worth Investing In (& What To Buy) #1

With so many new beauty brands and products cropping up every week, it can be a little hard to know what to spend your dollar on. So, if you're one to get just a little overwhelmed when walking down the aisles of Boots, you may wanna keep reading. Allow me to share my go-to brands (& their kick-ass products) well worth trying.

Ah, Bumble, my one and only hair-shaped love. I've probably tried around 50% of their products and loved every single one of them. Slightly pricier than the likes of L'Oreal and Aussie, but well worth the investment. Not only are their formulas spot on, but you only need the smallest amount per use, meaning your bottle/tube/whatever, will last you forever (which I must stress, is definitely not a bad thing). Whether you're curly haired, fine or poker straight, Bumble will have a product to tame and treat your locks. Click here to be met by approximately five thousand Bumble-themed reviews - told you I dig the brand.
What to buy: B&b Surf Spray for effortless, surfer gal waves, B&b Surf Creme Rinse Conditioner for added texture and grit, B&b Sunday Shampoo for  a squeaky-clean scalp, and 

Who doesn't love a bit of Lush in their life (answer: no one). A mention of this brand is unlikely to be a major surprise, but, on the off-chance that you've never experienced one of their bath bombs, then get 'yo little self over to Lush and stock up, stat. Check here for some serious, Lush-heavy reviews.
What to buy: Dream Cream for silky soft, sooth skin (and perfect for those with KP), Mask of Magnaminty for a cleansed, gently exfoliated complexion, and Popcorn Lip Scrub for a perfect pout. Come Christmas, however, it's all about this bad boy...

Neal's Yard is a fairly recent beauty discovery for me, but by golly am I obsessed with their products. My b-e-a-utiful Momma snapped up the Award Winning Skincare Set from John Lewis (check my full review here) a little while ago, and I was blown.away. I'm not one to go over-board when buying cleansers, but god damn, the brands Wild Rose Beauty Balm is just perfection in a tub. As soon as I've finished my mini size I will 100% be running out to buy a 50g. If multi-tasking products rock your world, you will seriously dig this. If you fancy reading up on my review of the Award Winning Skincare Set, head here.
What to buy: The Wild Rose Beauty Balm (obvs - see above), White Tea Facial Mist for a refreshing quick-fix, and the White Tea Enriching Facial Mask for serious nourishment and redness relief. 

Onto a long-time love, we have Origins. Basically, is there anything this brand can't do? High quality, natural and long-lasting skincare (oh, and makeup and haircare, of course). Not only are their products glorious, but every order comes alongside some pretty generous samples meaning a stock-up is even more worthwhile. Expensive, but worth it. Check here for reviews.
What to buy: The Ginzing Energy Boosting Moisturizer, for, well, a moisturising energy boost (who'da thunk it?), Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask for clear pores and Make a Difference Plus Rejuvenating Moisturizer to banish dry, flaky skin.

Bee Good.
I first came across Bee Good earlier in the year thanks to their Honey and Wild Water Mint 3-in-1 Micellar Water*. If you fancy reading up on the brand and their philosophy, click here for my reviews, but otherwise, their products and natural with only the finest ingredients. 
What to buy: The Honey and Wild Water Mint 3-in-1 Micellar Water* for a refreshing, easy-peasy cleanse, and their new, Honey & Camelina Facial Exfoliator* to wave buh-bye to a dull, congested complexion.

Ok so before this turns into a mini dissertation on beauty & skincare goodness, I'm gonna wrap this up and save the rest for a second post (next Sunday to be precise!).

Are you a fan of any of the above brands? What are your go-to beauty stores? Do you have any products that you can't live without? I'd love to know your recommendations!
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