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Monday, September 26, 2016

It's been a while since I've really gone off on one about Korean beauty, mainly because now my days are spent telling Anna what to buy, that I'm forgetting to use up my own stuff whilst living vicariously through her. There are worse problems ;)

Seeing as it's been nearly a year since I picked up some of these products, I thought I'd give a few more thoughts on what I've gotten use out of, what I'd buy again and which I'd happily pass along.

Let's start with the loves and skincare up; after a long break, my love for Missha Time Revolution Night Repair Ampoule has been rediscovered and it's probably one of the best serums I've used. My skin switches from dry to it's own combination of I don't even know anymore, but this serum always hydrates and balances the right amount and keeps my skin feeling super smooth.

The first Korean product I tried was Nots CC Cream* and it's more of a tanned/summer colour on me, but the formula and coverage is great - it has SPF 50 and an almost medium coverage which is buildable especially with a second layer. On good skin days it's one I turn to along with cushion compacts, and if you love a dewy finish, this one definitely gives that glow.

Speaking of cushion compacts, I think one of my favourite formulas and finishes has to be Laneige BB Cushion Pore Control, which again has a natural dewy finish too it but also helps preventing the skin from getting too oily. Cushions are great because you can buy refills to top up the compact and they fit easily in your bag, and I personally love that there is a more diverse range of paler colours with more yellow base to them which suits me perfectly through winter and summer.

For things I'm trying to get more use out of, I'd definitely have to say the Missha Time Revolution Essence and Innisfree Sheet Masks; I've only just recently pulled the Missha Essence out again and popped into my morning routine to see how it helps with hydration pre-winter, but it's a lovely light watery formula that sinks in slowly and really works in deep (it's also just as good and half the price of SK II). I'm all about a face mask but usually prefer clarifying or thicker hydrating masks, but I do have a fair few Innisfree masks left over - they are cruelty free and have a lovely serum soaked within, it's just more remembering to use them once a week to get through them all. You do get a lot of product left over, but if you're dry or need a bit of glow, these do the trick!

Talking of thirsty skin, when my skin turned super dry a few months ago, cracking back out the Laneige Firming Water Sleeping Pack really did wonders to my face overnight; going to sleep it was dry and tight and flakey, but in the morning after using this, it was smoother and softer, more manageable to wash and not as dried out as before. Definitely one for dry and dehydrated skin types!

In terms of makeup, well I do wish I'd gotten more use out of the Innisfree No-Sebum Primer - it really does keep extra oily areas matte and help makeup cling for longer, but as my skin flits between normal and some dry areas, I've been skipping past it over more hydrating bases. Again, cruelty-free and probably one of the best primers I've tried for longevity, so I won't be knocking it off just yet ;)

Finally a product I've personally not got along with, The Face Shop Pomegranate + Collagen Emulsion*; it's similar in fluidity to an essence but closer to a serum, and whilst it softens and plumps the skin I just didn't find it did much to my skin overall and was an unnecessary step in addition to other products. I think if you had normal skin and need a little boost, this could work well, but for deeper hydration and glow I think there are better and more penetrative products on the market to choose from.

A mixed bag if you will, and I still do believe that certain K-Beauty products make life and skin a lot better (non-smudging mascara any day!) so maybe I'll have to dive back into some research and plan another haul... ;)

What are your thoughts on K-Beauty? Have you heard of any of these brands?

Lots of Love,
Lauren x

Some products in this post may have been sent for review or gifted, and will be marked with a * or c/o. All opinions are mine are not influenced by brands or companies. Please see my full disclaimer for more.

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Friday, September 23, 2016

Hvar marks the third time abroad this year, which for me is definitely adventurous as I usually go away once, but they say third time's a charm when it comes to tanning right? I will say my tan looks much better than my previous two trips, however I have spent the last week in bed sick because of air-con - I'm cold-blooded, I don't need more cold!

I digress, as this trip was a fab balance of relaxation and exploring; before now Croatia was never on my to visit list but since our trip I'd definitely return and, of course, recommend you stay as well.

The island of Hvar is beautiful albeit a little tricky to get to, and something you need to plan ahead and be prepared for; it is best to fly to Split airport and take an airport shuttle straight to the port. From plane to getting a seat on the bus takes 10 minutes, it's just a quick passport check and then you stroll right through the exit. The bus costs 30 Kunas (Kuna is currently 10 to the £1, so £3 for a 30-40 minute air-conditioned bus journey. Trust me. You want air con then) and it is best to take the shuttle which leaves in sync with arrivals, but roughly twice an hour.

To get across, it is best to take the catamaran by Jadrolinija - it is 100% necessary to book as far ahead as you can to get the best time as popular times fill up quick (usually 3pm to Hvar and 8am from Hvar to Split). You can however visit the individual ticket stands both in Split and Hvar and see if there is space 24 hours before, as the hold back some availability for island hoppers, and this costs 11 Kunas to change the booking (£1!!)
There are boards updating information regularly and a map plus ticket office which can point in the right direction, and I'd suggest you want to arrive 15-30 minutes before departure, so take that into account with flights and bus etc. The price is also between 55-90 Kuna (£5-10) and takes an hour from Split to Hvar (plus, there is wifi! Well, if you get the good boat that is)

So you've got to the island and the main city of Hvar, a small yet very architecturally pleasing city that smells one moment of salty seaweed and the next of fresh potent lavender - which the island is famed for growing, and I can confirm the scent is unbelievable. There are several hotel couriers awaiting, so if you're staying at a specific chain or resort they can whisk your luggage up the winding roads for you whilst you explore the seafront, the restaurants and main square - I do have some food recommendations coming up soon, don't worry ;)

Also coming soon is a closer look at where we stayed - Amfora Hvar Grand Beach Resort - which is a 10 minute walk along the seafront, passing lovely views of blue sea and active crickets, but not a chance to wear your new shoes the first time, or heels. Too many cobbles for that.

The architecture is a true delight also; I love photographing buildings and people and culture, and Hvar had more than enough to get me away from the pool and snapping happily. The island was once a port for Roman Emperors and traders, hence the influence in architecture and even the people - there's plenty of Italian restaurants and influence to keep your stomach happy ;)

Although we mainly stayed by the pool, there is plenty to explore - the old fortress that surrounded the city from attack is visible on top of the many green hills, boats and water taxis offering snorkelling and island hopping trips to the smaller nearby islands, and several other trips including the various churches and monasteries, but also a great mix of nightlife if that's your thing and quiet areas to fall asleep with a good book - 22 going on 90.

As I mentioned, I've a few little recommendations up my sleeve so keep your eyes peeled for those; in the meantime, have you ever been to Croatia or Hvar? And how cute is that dog??!

Lots of Love,
Lauren x

Thank you to Amfora Hvar Grand Beach Resort for hosting us on our trip.

Some products in this post may have been sent for review or gifted, and will be marked with a * or c/o. All opinions are mine are not influenced by brands or companies. Please see my full disclaimer for more.

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Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Is it too soon to start thinking about Autumn makeup? I do feel bad for betraying the last few weeks of sunshine and heat, in wanting to wear jumpers and berry tones - can we just have longer lighter days minus a few degrees? That's all. Thanks. Note, it turns out Autumn officially starts tomorrow, huzzah!

Regardless, I am looking forward to using more of my beauty drawer - throwing on a cranberry eye, mixing in more greens and browns (I just remembered brown lipstick and I'm so excited) so what better way to start the Autumn train than a round up of my favourite rich and warming 'grab a hot chocolate and kick some leaves' makeup picks?

Lips, eyes are nails are where I mainly mix it up - new foundation and blush comes into play in the winter when I'm pale af and need some serious colour all over - and all three are items I can't stop purchasing! Lipsticks in particular, and I've narrowed it down to a few brown based faves; for a liquid lip option, I am obsessed with NYX Liquid Suede in Sandstorm - not completely matte so a little blot is needed, but it's the perfect mix of rose, brown and neutral warmth that flatters several skin tones. It's like the 90's brown/burnt red older and chicer sister, perfect to rock Autumn to Spring but a great daytime option or a more muted evening choice. For pencil lovers, NARS Bahama is one I need to get more wear out of; a bit more red/burnished tone than Sandstorm, it's very matte so make sure you've applied some balm first but will stay for hours. Similarly 90's, it's great as the Autumn warm tones roll in and we move to Winter reds, but a great soft alternative to the classic red - cannot go wrong! Finally, the lipstick to top all lipsticks - Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution in Birkin Brown; this is a serious brown beauty, if you are all for an alternative deep lip that can still rock in the day too, this is it. No yellow teeth here (thank you 2016 gods) and the matte is just the perfect amount, not too drying but sticks around long enough, my ultimate favourite of favourite end of year lipsticks I can't wait to wear daily!

Now in all honesty, I have a few palettes not included in this that I'm excited to use more of (some good berry shades and lots of shimmer ;) ) but I'm still going to be sticking to my mix of shadow sticks and powder, mainly the Laura Mercier Caviar Sticks with Amethyst and Cocoa being Autumn choices and Copper a perfect Christmas, winter sparkle (but more on that another time) and not only do they blend out easily or build up more pigmentation, their creamy formula also makes them a great base for eye shadows - I've been waiting to use this olive/moss Lord and Berry number all summer and now I'm imagining all the colour combinations of outfits and makeup I can rock with this!

Obviously there are a few nail options, because even though I'm a blue girl I do like a dusty-rose-mauve shade as the seasons change ;) My all time fave? Butter London in Toff, it just nails the mix of dusty, muted tones with rose and pinks without feeling too pink, and lasts 5-7 days too. Of course there is a blue option in the form of Rimmel Stormy Skies, a more grey and again muted version of my usual bold blues that still feels summery even when the temperature cools - a great transitioner. I do like a bold dark pop sometimes, and one such shade in my fave formula is Maybelline SuperStay in Berry Stain which adds much needed colour to darker, crisper weather and compliments all the rusty, red and gold tones as well as the browns. Another fab shade (but sadly not a formula to match) is Nailberry Fashionista, which similar to Toff has a lovely dusty undertone with more pink to it, just doesn't last as well and is very thin. One for those who change up shades a lot or prefer more control, but this will literally peel of your nail!

Well, I think I've talked myself into a full face of moss greens, browns and berry shades today, let's put these beauties to good use...

Are you ready for autumn makeup? Have you tried any of these products? What are your fave autumn beauty picks?

Lots of Love,
Lauren x

Some products in this post may have been sent for review or gifted, and will be marked with a * or c/o. All opinions are mine are not influenced by brands or companies. Please see my full disclaimer for more.

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Monday, September 19, 2016

I'm very grateful to be working in such a creative industry, from the writing process and filming, to photographing flatlays and other bloggers, but I've had an inkling for a while to get back into other media as a hobby, to reignite the 'art' flame so to say. At college, I enjoyed illustration and graphic design, printing and those odd occasions I could just go a bit abstract with drawing or painting, but over time I've discontinued it and left all my materials in a dark drawer 'just in case'.

This month I wanted to try a new activity, and had been pondering watercolours as a little recreational fun, so when Paperchase's Project Craft workshops with Fashionary came up on my Twitter feed I thought 'why not?' and booked myself a spot on two of the Fashion Illustration sessions on Saturday (it was £30 for two, bloody bargain!).

I've been to a few Paperchase events before, and I've always enjoyed crafting and getting creative each time with something new, plus drawing the female form in textiles was always my weak point so was excited to give it a go and dip my brush in some colour again. As usual, it was a lovely small group of us who wanted to pick up skills in illustrating textures and fabrics (timely for LFW) and our teacher Connie was fabulous - her illustrations are simply stunning, and has worked with various designers including Bulgari and Guerlain whilst also lecturing at LCF. Personally, if she did private lessons and workshops I'd definitely be attending as her method is so relaxing yet informative!

Connie and Fashionary combined worked a treat - Fashionary offers a range of sketchbooks and organisers among other products to help with fashion drawing at any level or department, thanks to the delicately dotted outlines to guide drawings and allow imagination to run wild without constant erasing to get it 'just right' - like me and my whole drawing process! With that, it was easier to add in facial details and get the shape of the fabric to flow as close to the photograph as possible, and then to let our personal styles flourish.

The sessions were an hour long (although we overran slightly as everyone was thoroughly enjoying adding layers of wash and texture, I could have fixed mine for hours!) which is perfect for either starting out or dipping back into the practise, and I really wanted to take the knit and leather workshop which ran yesterday but, hey, another opportunity to try in the future ;)

There were so many techniques I'd never thought of before or practised, and even though so simple they made a huge difference - by building up light washes of colour it was easier to create tone, and by following and outline and then adding flicks and dots after for texture or to suggest materials present made it look more realistic and loose rather than brushstroke on brushstroke. I personally loved the outcome of my pink chiffon layers, and I loved that everyone followed a different technique after learning the basics - I preferred washes of colour, in varied shades and then the darker colours I clumped in the middle and then stood the paper up to allow the paint to naturally run down the drawing for unique shape and movement.

I'm so glad I went and tried something new (despite being in the midst of post-holiday cold, as I type this I'm surrounded by tissues which is most attractive) and it's really got me wanting to improve my drawing and illustration skills, even if just for relaxation and fun rather than projects. I'd highly recommend keeping an eye here for Paperchase's various upcoming events (including scrapbooking and making cards) and if you want to dabble in fashion illustration or have some beautiful illustration grace your feed then definitely check out Fashionary and Connie!
I really hope there are some more illustration classes in the future, and seeing as the Christmas collection has already come into store (squuee!) you can guarantee there will be some fun festive holiday themed projects to look out for!

Have you tried Paperchase's Project Craft workshops? Are you a fan of illustration? What have you tried new recently?

Lots of Love,
Lauren x

Some products in this post may have been sent for review or gifted, and will be marked with a * or c/o. All opinions are mine are not influenced by brands or companies. Please see my full disclaimer for more.

Website | Flickr | Tumblr | Twitter | Bloglovin | Instagram | Pinterest

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