A REALLY handy tip to help make your products last longer

Trick Diagram

I learned this trick from a Sprinkle of Glitter vlog in mid-2014, and just realised that I’ve hardly ever passed it on.

But it’s GENIUS.

You know when you’re coming to the end of a tube of moisturiser, or a tube of foundation, or a tube of body lotion?

And you know how you squeeze it and squeeze it for weeks on end, trying to make the most of your money?

And you know how you eventually throw the bottle out, with that niggling feeling that there’s still loads of product still in there?

Well here’s the bad news: there is loads of product still in there.

And here’s the good news: it’s really easy to get it out.

  1. Just grab some scissors – strong kitchen scissors are probably best – and cut straight across the middle of your bottle.
  2. Enjoy the glorious product you’ve just released.
  3. If there’s still loads left (which there will be) shove one half of your bottle inside the other half until it’s vaguely airtight again. If that made zero sense, just look at the lovely diagram I drew for you.
  4. The remaining product shouldn’t dry out, and you can keep using it for weeks on end until it’s actually all gone.
  5. Like actually, all of it. Make the most of that dolla chicas.

I have successfully used this trick on so many products it makes my brain hurt. Estée Lauder Double Wear Light, Vichy Dermablend, La Roche Posay Effaclar Mat, La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo, Factor 50 sun lotion (I was desperate on holiday), and about half a dozen different body moisturisers.

It works. And it saves you money. Do it.

The BEST Eyebrow Pencil for Blondes – Mac Veluxe Brow Liner Review

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I have found it.

I have found the perfect eyebrow pencil for blondes.

I have found the perfect eyebrow pencil for blondes and it doesn’t make us look ginger.

Oh. My. Giddy. Aunt.

There’s nothing wrong with having ginger eyebrows, of course, but if you hair isn’t ginger it can be distracting. My natural hair colour is quite a dark brunette, but weirdly my eyebrows are an ashy blonde, so I struggled to find the right eyebrow pencil for ages.

Eventually, I went to film the quiz show Pointless in London with my Dad (it won’t be on telly until the Autumn I’m afraid!) and the makeup artist used Mac’s Veluxe Brow Liner in ‘Strawberry Blonde’ on me.

When I saw the name of the shade, I instantly thought “This is going to give me the dreaded gingeybrow again”, especially as a strawberry blonde is essentially a redhead.

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Left: eyebrow coloured in with the Mac pencil. Right: bare brow. It’s made my eyebrow slightly darker so it stands out more, but still looks natural.

Instead, it was the perfect light brown – not too grey and ashy, not too red, not too dark for blondes, but enough to make your brows stand out. It was absolutely ideal. So naturally, I went out and bought it afterwards.

After a good couple of months using it, I thought it was about time for a review. Below, I’ve outlined (accidental excellent pun) a few pros and cons of this saviour of blonde eyebrows:

PROS:

  • The Colour is Just Right: I’ve found with a few drugstore pencils that the lighter tones either go too grey, too dark, or too red. It was really difficult to get a decent pencil for blonde brows, until this one came along. Rejoice!
  • Blends nicely
  • Good colour pay off & not too waxy: it’s totally matte and has a nice soft, almost powdery texture
  • Glides on smoothly without getting chalky
  • Double-ended product with a handy spooley brush on one end. This is good quality, with lots of soft bristles to comb and neaten your brows, whilst blending the product evenly through the hair for a softer, more natural look. Lovely.
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Both eyebrows done. I’m not very good at applying it – especially not first thing in the morning – but you get the idea!

CONS:

  • Breaks Easily: It sharpens well, but a few times I’ve sharpened it and the “lead” (as it were) has fallen out of the top of the pencil. It must have been beaten up a bit in the store, because the product seems to be broken in several places. Shame.
  • Can’t really sharpen it to a fine point: this doesn’t matter so much for me, as it’s more about filling in with colour, but for those who like to do fine lines just like hairs with their eyebrow pencil, it might be tricky.
  • Price: It’s normal for Mac, but I still winced a bit. £15.50. Still, would purchase again.

Which eyebrow pencils do you prefer to use? This is my first high-end choice, so I’d be interested to hear of any others – or of course any drugstore gems!

Massive Ikea Haul!

20140517-232348.jpgNot so long ago I mentioned that I have recently been in the process of flying the nest. I’ve driven for five hours, found a job and a little flat in Manchester, and settled myself in one of those cute urban villages not far out of town.

As is the grand tradition of first homes, I have been feathering this new nest with Ikea. I’m renting the flat on a furnished basis, but dammit, I wanted a bookshelf.

I couldn’t get over how cheap Ikea was! When I went with my Mum, we spent a good couple of hours browsing things we didn’t need in the showrooms, whilst Dad sat in the car getting increasingly grumpy. Back home, our nearest Ikea is an hour and a half away, so having one at a significantly shorter distance felt very exciting. And Dad had his book and his iPod so it was all fine. Sort of.

Anyway, I bought a lot. Observe! (If you fancy, that is).

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These little beauties were 95p each. NINETY. FIVE. PENCE. They make my entire bathroom smell of vanilla – even when they haven’t been lit for a week. Amazing.

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This is the Benno DVD Tower. £18. Seriously!

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I was inspired to purchase this little pot by Victoria at Inside My Wonderland, as it was part of her ‘Vanity Tour’ and looked so pretty! You can find that post here.

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Practical purchases were also made. How cool are those bendy Drälla chopping boards? You can roll them up and pour things into pots much more neatly, and the malleability makes them so much easier to wash too. Oh, and a 2-pack is £1.40. Whaaat.

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So much pink! The towel, bath mat, and loo brush are all from Ikea. The towel was a bit more expensive – about £11 I think – but it’s really big, so I like that. Also beware the loo brushes if you don’t own any ridiculously tiny screwdrivers – that one screw will drive you insane!

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I’m really proud of this last bookshelf. It’s an update on the Expedit Series called the Kallax, and costs £45. I bought it after Mum and Dad left, so was on my own in Ikea. Lifting it off the warehouse floor, into the trolley was hard enough, as was lifting it from the trolley into my little car. Thankfully, if you struggle with a large cardboard flatpack for long enough, somebody will usually come and help you.

I got it out of the car ok when I got home again, and sort of waddle-walked it up to the front door, but getting it up the stairs to my flat was HARD. Especially as the package was taller than me and very heavy, and there was no obvious place to grip it without my hands slipping. It took a good five minutes to get up the stairs, and at one point I had to lie on top of it, panting and exhausted, halfway up. I got there in the end though, and put it together all by myself, so there’s a real sense of achievement whenever I look at it now!

Have you ever put flatpack furniture together? There are usually amusing stories associated with the experience, and I’d love to hear yours!

Thanks to Victoria for partly inspiring the trip! And to Dad for putting together the DVD tower while I unpacked my stuff. There seemed to be much less swearing when he Ikea-ed.

Swedish love,

Effie xx

Bristolian Beauty Haul!

Today started really, really badly. As it’s the last day of 2013, and in many ways I’ve been very lucky this year, all of the remaining bad luck seemed to swoop in and violently attack me between 8.15 and 9.00 this morning. It was pretty intense. There was blood. And swearing.

The bad luck started when I left my boyfriend’s flat to give him a lift to work. On my way out to the car, I fell over after forgetting about a particularly devilish step. My ankle gave way and I went flying, grazing my hand and cutting my knee. Oops. I had been planning to go straight to the shopping centre after dropping my boyfriend off, but instead had to head back to the flat to clean up my bleeding knee and change my ravaged tights. I couldn’t exactly go out looking as if I’d been attacked by a feral dog, after all.

In the twenty minutes it took to sort myself out, I managed to get a parking ticket. There is free parking and there are no double yellow lines on the road outside the flat, so I thought I was ok. However, being a country bumpkin, I wasn’t aware that parking “in a special enforcement area adjacent to a dropped footway” would get me a £70 fine (£35 if I paid within two weeks). I didn’t even notice that the curb dropped in that area. If I had noticed, I still wouldn’t have known it was an offence, but would admittedly have moved the car to a more considerate position, so that wheelchair users and other folk could cross the road more easily. Ugh. Massive error.

The worst part is that if I hadn’t fallen over and cut my knee, I wouldn’t have had to go back to the flat in the first place. I would have gone shopping straight away, blissfully free of dropped pavements and sore knees. Woe.

Still, after a moment of dithery misery in the car, I knuckled down and drove to the shopping centre, to look for a duvet for Boyf, a new pair of tights, and a very indulgent way to spend the money my Grandparents gave me, with which I was to buy myself a Christmas gift. And, y’know, pay my sodding parking fine…

So here’s what I bought!

Boots:

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I got a £15 Boots voucher from my Auntie and Uncle for Christmas, so spent it on the Bourjois ‘Delice De Poudre’ Bronzer (£6.99) and a Real Techniques Blush Brush (£8.99). I’m a huge fan of these brushes, but didn’t own a decent blush brush until now, or indeed a proper Bronzer. Can’t wait to use both of them!

Debenhams:

After a long hunt in an unfamiliar city, I finally tracked down the Urban Decay counter in Bristol’s Debenhams, with the hope of picking up Naked Basics. Being small yet perfectly formed, I thought that Naked Basics would be the ideal palette to take on future trips to Bristol.

However, I got distracted. Across the shop, I spotted a beautiful Too Faced palette, which could also work for travel thanks to its flat shape. ‘A Few Of My Favourite Things’ contains 20 eyeshadow shades, both matte and sparkly, two bronzes, two blushes, a ‘Better than Sex’ mascara, a ‘Colour Bomb!’ lip tint in ‘Bee Sting’, and comes with a cute bag to hold the lot. Most importantly, today it was generously reduced from £48 to £32.16. Wooooow.

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I’ve never tried any Too Faced products before, so purchasing this palette marks a strong deviation from my unbreakable obsession with Urban Decay shadows. I went shopping looking for Naked Basics and a Benefit Box Set, and came home with this.

That is the nature of beauty obsession: random, unpredictable, extravagant. Above all else, though, indulging the obsession makes you feel much better after an extremely dodgy morning.

Happy New Year!

Effie xx

How To Store Obsession: An Attempt

As we all know, one of the many problems associated with beauty obsession is storage.

Samples and freebies can be picked up anywhere, and although we can’t bear to throw them away, we also want to keep them beautifully arranged and well-organised. Hence: dilemma.

Very often, our makeup drawers are as cluttered as our brains feel when we walk into Boots and there’s a sale on. I assume you know what I mean here. It’s not pretty.

Over the last few months, however, I have made a few half-arsed attempts to organise myself. One day, my makeup storage will look like Tanya Burr‘s beauty closet, all Jo Malone boxes and stunning uniformity.

Today, however, it starts with this:20131210-211253.jpg

This is my dressing table. It used to be my Mum’s and it’s covered in stains from my contact lens fluid (oops), but I like it!

I keep the makeup I use every day in the drawer on the right, my brushes in the pot on top, and my pills (thyroxine etc) in the little box next to the photo frame.

That box is quite special, as it once contained the chocolate frog which I bought from the Harry Potter Studio Tour! I wanted to keep the box as it’s a souvenir in itself, but I didn’t want to just squash it in a drawer, so I’m glad I’ve found a use for it!

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Here’s a closer look at what’s on top of my desk. I’ve had both the glass and the pot since primary school – I bought the pot at a Christmas fair, and the glass was painted for me by a friend. I use it to store my bracelets that I wear on an everyday basis. Behind the little bear, you can just see my Jo Malone Orange Blossom perfume, which I like to wear to work.

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Here’s the inside of my top drawer. I tried to separate the makeup into “types”, as illustrated below:

Top Left: Liners and Shadow; Second Left: Mascaras (and tweezers!); Third Left: Base (foundations, powders, concealers); Fourth Left (Slotted In): Urban Decay Naked; Fifth Left: Compact Thingies (bronzers, blushers, powders).

Top Right: Skincare; Second Right: Lips; Third Right (Just Seen): Cotton Bud Pot containing current nail colours; Underneath: Uncategorised Mess.

This categorisation makes it a lot easier to find things when my brain isn’t working in the morning, and it also saves me from having one big pile of products in my drawer, which used to swish around like flotsam in a rather unsatisfactory way.

I pulled out the separators I used just to show you as well. They vary from the incredibly sophisticated and chic to the absolutely, and literally, rubbish.

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Sophisticated and chic: A Jo Malone Candle Box (I also used the lid to hold my lipsticks & glosses), a Jo Malone Perfume Box, and the box which contained my glasses case when I got a new pair from Specsavers.

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Literal Rubbish (But nonetheless useful): An Asda ice cream tub. Classy bird, me.

Moving on from makeup, I like to keep hair products on my desk, as shown below.

I have just realised that it’s probably quite dangerous to keep aerosols near a naked flame, so will probably move them away from my candles in future. Safety first, girlies.

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Finally, my out of season makeup (ie darker summer foundation), contact lens stuff, and products which I don’t use every day but can’t bring myself to throw out, all live under my desk in the Big Pink Beauty Box. Mmm, sounds intimidating.

I bought this box in The Range for cheapsies. It has come in very handy over the years, particularly when transporting my massive stash to and from university. You never know when sparkly green glitter liner is going to come in handy. 20131210-211236.jpg

I’m glad Jacquelyn at the Little Scottish Corner asked me to do this post, because it gave me an excuse to actually organise this box. So now everything is in bags within the box, rather than just floating in a big mess. Hooray! Thank you!

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So that’s it! My attempt at organised storage. With the exclusion of shampoo, which is all in the shower, ready for people to trip over. He. He. He.

How do you organise your obsession? Do you have a big beauty box lurking under your furniture? Let me know in the comments below!

Effie xx