Thursday, 19 April 2012

Reunited with my Urban Decay NAKED Palette after Lent and finding my Sleek Storm Palette

Hey loves!

I hope you're all having a great day, whether you're at work, school, college or whatever! :-) isn't the weather SO miserable! Where's spring gone?!

OK so other than giving up carbs for Lent, you may remember that back in February (wow that feels long ago now!) I blogged about giving up my Urban Decay NAKED Palette for Lent, too. I was basically stuck in a rut, using the same shades from the NAKED palette every day (Naked, Buck, Smog FYI) and leaving all my other eye shadows unattended. The point of giving up my Urban Decay NAKED palette for Lent was to force me to utilise the other eye shadows in my make-up collection.

So, I said goodbye to my NAKED palette for 40 days...
and embarked on a mission!

So... did it work?

To an extent, yes.

I didn't succumb and use my NAKED palette at any point... However I found I relied heavily on my Sleek Storm palette instead.

Giving up my NAKED palette taught me a few things...
  • I can live without my NAKED palette, and in fact the shades I was using aren't exactly suited for me anyway, I was just using them out of habit
  • I really really want the NAKED2 palette! I think the shades and formulations in the NAKED2 palette would be more suited to my skin tone and complexion ie. more matte shades and less shimmer
  • I rely very heavily on eyeshadow palettes. Whether it's the NAKED palette or the Storm palette, it's just so easy to use the colours that are right in front of you and not have to reach out and find different brands/shades instead
So, as I mentioned, I definitely became re-acquainted with my old love, the Sleek Storm Palette.

I got this a number of years ago after reading one of my fave bloggers, Anna Saccone, say she used it. I used it religiously, pretty much up until I got the NAKED palette!
It contains 12 shades, mostly matte but there's a few shimmery ones too. It also features a double ended doe foot applicator brush, and a handy mirror for touching up on the go. It retails for just £6.49 on the Sleek website, or you can pick it up from Superdrug.

Over the 40 days I was banned from using my NAKED palette, I found myself reaching for 2 specific shades in the Sleek Storm palette each day.

The first one was this matte taupe shade (3rd from left, top row):
and the second was this matte medium brown shade (2nd from right, bottom row):
It was so quick and easy - I simply loaded my Cosmopolitan Base Brush with the taupe shade and covered my lid with it, before using the matte brown shade in my eye crease and outer edge to create a smokey eye look.

Here's a couple of swatches of the 2 shades mentioned (taupe - top, brown - bottom):
(left - without flash, right - with flash)

Are you stuck in a make-up rut? Have you quit certain make-up products in order to utilise others more? What's your favourite palette?

Let me know in the comments below!




Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Giving up carbs for Lent!

Hey guys!

I hope you enjoyed reading my 'products I'm currently using' post :-) I always love reading other peoples' so let me know if you liked mine!

So you may or may not know that I gave up carbs this year over Lent! Last year I gave up caffeine (coffee, coke, chocolate, etc) and this year I decided to ditch the carbs instead. I was initially going to ditch all carbs but after much research I found that carbs have considerable health benefits (including releasing energy) and so I decided just to cut out the...

refined complex carbs!

Which meant, I quit:

* White pasta
* White bread - including rolls, pitta etc
* White rice
* Pizza
* White flour

So I continued to eat wholemeal bread/pasta, and the natural carbs in fruit and veg etc.

So how did I do it?


I didn't eat much white bread before Lent, but over this period I specifically ate wholemeal bread and pitta instead. One of the easiest substitutes I found for white pasta/rice was this microwavable wholemeal rice by Uncle Ben's. It was healthy and filling, but in hindsight I would rather have a bowl of 'real' pasta or rice!


Eating out I found to be more difficult, as there was a very limited choice of carb free dishes in restaurants!

Bella Italia:

I had one of the few wholemeal pasta dishes on the menu which was Rigatoni Pollo e Spanaci (Rigatoni with Chicken and Spinach).
(picture taken from as I forgot to take a picture of the dish!)

It was a wholewheat rigatoni with sliced chicken breast, field mushrooms and baby spinach in a creamy gorgonzola sauce and it really was yummy! You couldn't taste that the pasta was wholewheat, which is one of the qualms I have with substituting pasta. The gorgonzola sauce was VERY strong, though! Otherwise the only other carb-free dishes on the menu were salads, which I didn't fancy.

You can visit the Bella Italia website here.


The thing I really liked about Wagamama is that you could substitute any of the noodle dishes for the wholewheat version instead! Luckily the dish I chose was made out of wholewheat noodles anyway so I didn't have to make any requests. I chose the vegetarian Yasai Chilli Men.

It contained stir-fried tofu, courgettes, red onions, peppers, mushrooms and mangetout in a spicy tomato chilli men sauce and was served on whole wheat noodles. This was absolutely delicious! Firstly you couldn't tell that the noodles were wholewheat, and secondly I didn't notice that it was vegetarian, either! It was so full of yummy ingredients that I couldn't stop eating it. I would definitely have this again!

You can view the Wagamama menu here.


The bf wanted to visit Nando's, and I tried not to kick up a fuss, but really there was little to eat on the menu that was carb-free! I mean, come on, it's Nando's! In the end I opted for a salad and, coming from an Italian family, I chose the Mediterranean Salad with Chicken.
It contained mixed leaves, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, celery & olives, and was topped with feta cheese and chicken. It was then splashed with olive oil, garlic & lemon juice. I have to say this salad was actually MUCH tastier than I was expecting! I wasn't even tempted to nick some of the boy's chips! To be honest though, next time I go to Nando's, I will definitely having me a 'proper' chicken dish!

You can view the Nando's menu here.


As you can probably imagine, McDonald's is NOT the best place to eat carb free! After all, it's essentially a glorified burger bar!!! The trouble is, my fam eat there quite a lot (ashamedly) and so I often had to eat there, too. I would always choose a Grilled Chicken Salad.
This is actually really yummy! It's the only salad I like on the menu, as I don't like the bacon there and the crispy chicken doesn't take my fancy. I have to cover this grilled chicken salad in caesar dressing though as it's way too dry otherwise, but it's really filling and I will definitely get it again!

Btw, did you guys know that there's more calories in the deli wraps than a big mac?! (Aside from the veggie one!)

You can view the McDonald's salad menu here.

In conclusion

For me, the hardest part about cutting carbs wasn't the cravings (which were very infrequent) but more the inconvenience. As I mentioned, I've grown up on a fresh, Mediterranean diet all my life (plenty of pasta, pizza, fresh tomatoes, olive oil, etc) and so cutting out pasta is a massive inconvenience. When everyone else was having spaghetti bologanise, I was having bolagnaise and wholemeal rice. It just didn't make sense to me. I think more than anything I've learnt it's silly to try and cut full food groups out of your diet. Can you imagine the cavemen sitting there saying they don't eat carbs? No, they hunt, they gather, they eat! Food was primarily for survival. I agree that to maintain a healthy weight you should eat less of some foods over others (eg less sugar and fat, more fruit and veg) but overall a balanced diet is a healthy diet and there's no reason to cut out food groups unnecessarily!

Rant over :-)

Did you give anything up for Lent?

Let me know!




Products I'm using at the moment!

Hey loves!

I hope you're all having a FAB Wednesday! I don't know about you, but I cannot wait for American Idol later! :-D

OK so I've not done a 'products I'm currently using' post on this blog before! I'm not exactly sure why - I've done a similar post for the Bournemouth Echo but never here. I personally find these posts really interesting to read, and I like to be able to skim through peoples' lists quickly - I just like to have a bit of a nosey really! So these are the products I'm using, day in day out...

Concealer - Maybelline Pure Cover Mineral / Estee Lauder Doublewear
Blusher - When I remember... Probably NARS Orgasm
Highlighter - None!
Eyeshadow primer - Urban Decay Primer Potion
Eyeshadow - Sleek Storm Palette (taupe and brown shades)
Liquid eye-liner - Soap & Glory SUPERCAT
Pencil liner - Avon Color Trend Kajal Stick
Eyebrow pencil - MAC Dirty Blonde
Lipgloss - Usually just Carmex lip balm - otherwise Missguided nude
Lipstick - I don't really wear lipstick during the day, but if I do, I usually reach for MAC Cosmo

Shampoo + conditioner - Schwarzkopf Gliss Colour Protect
Conditioning masque - TRESemme Intensive Recovery Masque
Detangler - Aussie Leave-in Conditioner (amazing!)

Shower gel - LUSH Honey I Washed The Kids soap

Cleanser - Garnier Pure Deep Clean Foam Wash
Toner - Neutrogena Visibly Clear Lotion
Moisturiser - Neutrogena Oil-Free
Mask - Usually The Body Shop Seaweed
Make up remover - Superdrug Vitamin E Hot Cloth Cleanser
Eye make up remover - Superdrug Vitamin E Eye Make Up Remover Lotion

As you can see, I've added links to my previous blog posts, but if there's anything you'd like to see me review in full, just leave me a comment or tweet me, @smoir :-)

I hope you enjoyed this post!




Monday, 9 April 2012

Weekend OOTN, FOTN and NOTN: Celeb inspired New Look cut-out shoulder dress

Hey loves!

I hope you've had a fab Easter Weekend :-) I've certainly eaten more chocolate over the past two days than I have done in the entire year! LOL

So recently I read a blog post by Jenni Farley, AKA Jersey Shore's JWOWW, titled 'Fresh To Death: Sexy Shoulders' where she discussed the trend of cutout shoulders. Here's what she had to say...

"Baring sexy shoulders is a slimming look because it elongates your figure and brings more attention upward. I went with a cutout look when Snooks and I were on Good Morning America back in February and more recently was snapped taking this style to the gym, so it’s definitely versatile."

I did some further research and noticed some of my fave celebs have rocked the trend recently...
From L-R: Kim Kardashian, Sammi Giancola (Jersey Shore), Fergie (Black Eyed Peas) in cutout shoulder dresses

Seeing these sexy ladies rock the trend inspired me to do the same, and I worked the look on Saturday night with friends in town. Here's my OOTN, FOTN and NOTN :-)

Cut out bodycon dress - New Look (link!)
Black waist belt - Moschino (vintage)
Nude patent heels - Barratts (link!) (see blog post)
Nude patent clutch - New Look
Tan - St Tropez Wash Off

Accessories detail:
Shoulder cut out detail; Nude patent accessories; Hot pink make-up

FACE: Aldi Lacura Shimmering Day Cream (applied using MAC 190 Foundation Brush), Benefit Boi-ing Concealer (02 Medium), YSL Touche Eclat (#1), Benefit Some Kinda Gorgeous Foundation Faker (02 Medium), Benefit Dallas Bronzer (applied with unbranded bronzing brush), Clinique Up-Lighting Liquid Illuminator (02 Peach). Set using TIGI Bedhead Masterpiece Hairspray.

EYES: Urban Decay Primer Potion (Original), Sleek Storm Palette (taupe shade as base - black shade in corners, both applied using Cosmopolitan Smokey Eyes Base Brush), Soap & Glory SUPERCAT Carbon Gloss liner on top lid, Avon Color Trend Kajal Stick (Black) on bottom lid, 2 coats of CoverGirl Lash Blast Volume Mascara (Black).

EYEBROWS: Ruby & Millie Brow Enhance (Brown) applied using W7 Angled Eyeshadow Brush.

LIPS: LUSH Bubblegum lip scrub and Carmex Original lip balm to prime, Rimmel Vinyl Jelly Gloss Lip Liner in 002 Be A Star to line, Rimmel Moisture Renew Lipstick in 320 Funtime Fuschia (all applied using The Body Shop lip brush). Lipcote to seal.

HAIR: Curled using GHD Original Irons, brushed through and then set with TIGI Bedhead Masterpiece Massive Shine Hairspray.

TAN: St Tropez Wash Off applied with The Body Shop Tanning Mitt.

Nails Inc - Shoreditch

I loved adding a pop of colour with the hot pink nails and lips - the outfit would've been a bit bland otherwise!

Have you been inspired by any celebs this week? What look did you rock over the weekend? Send me your links!

Thanks for reading.




Saturday, 7 April 2012

OOTD: Rocking my George at Asda coral jeans in the sun

Hey guys :-)

Just a quick post this afternoon! I don't know about you but I'm pretty gutted about the poor weather we've been having so far this Easter weekend! :-( at least yesterday was slightly warmer! I decided to sport my recently purchased coral skinny jeans from George at Asda (I included them in my coloured jeans collection post here).


  • Striped tee - New Look
  • Coral jeans - George at Asda (link!) (see blog post)
  • Nude bag - Next (link!)
  • Tan leather moccassins - Dorothy Perkins (see blog post)
  • Tan leather watch - River Island
I love teaming a loose tee with these jeans, it offsets the tightness slightly! Haha. I also had to roll these jeans up as they were too long, but you can hardly notice :-) I need to get me some nude pumps to match the bag, too!

Are you loving coloured skinnies this spring? What're your favourite pair?

Let me know!




Massive ELF haul part 2 - Nails and NOTD!

Hey loves!

I hope you're all having a FAB Saturday! I've been working out & catching up with my fave telly (Idol all the way baby!) so it's been a pretty chilled one for me :-)

Now I hope you all enjoyed reading the first part of my ELF haul (make-up) which I posted on Thurs :-) I promised you the next part, so here it is!


I did indeed make a cheeky nail polish haul, too! However they were SUCH bargains! As I mentioned before, I made my haul when ELF were offering 50% off the entire website. So their nail polishes, which were usually just £1.50 each, were now only 75p each! So my nail varnish haul came to a bargain 3 QUID! :-D Here's what shades I picked up...

Red Velvet:
(left without flash, right with flash)

The first of the shades I selected was Red Velvet. I'm a big red lip/red nails person, and I couldn't resist this shade! It's a very bright tomato red, but with fine shimmer that glistens in the light. It's actually VERY shimmery, and to be honest that's not really up my street - I prefer my nail colours creamy and bold!

(left without flash, right with flash)

On the website, this shade looked very similar to Red Velvet (above) but I couldn't distinguish between the two, so I bought them both! Cranberry is actually much more suited to my taste than Red Velvet, as it's a darker shade of red - leaning towards burgundy. I will definitely get more wear out of this, so I'm really glad I picked it up! Also the shimmer isn't as apparent which suits me :-)

Metal Madness:
(left without flash, right with flash)

Aah, I love this shade! It's an absolute BARGAIN at just 75p! To be honest this shade wouldn't look out of place within an OPI/Nails Inc range as it's that good. As the name 'Metal Madness' suggests, it's a metallic gunmetal silver shade with VERY fine shimmer in it. It's so creamy and pigmented that you need just one coat for full opacity - this is the shade I would recommend the most and it's what I'm wearing on my nails today!

Golden Goddess:
(left without flash, right with flash)

This was probably my least favourite shade of the bunch if I'm honest. It's VERY similar to my Saffron Gold nail polish (that I blogged about here). They both feature chunky gold glitter particles (alongside silver particles too) - it's a shade that doesn't really look right on its own. It would definitely look better on top of a black or gold shade. It's just not very eye catching otherwise!

Overall, I'm half and half about the ELF nail polishes - but for what I paid for them (just 75p each!) I can't really complain. If you're thinking of investing, I would definitely give them a try though!

As per usual, I used OPI Nail Envy (Original) as a base coat, 2 coats of colour, before applying my Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat to finish! These are absolutely necessary items for me!

Have you bought anything from ELF recently? What are your suggestions? I would love to know!

Thanks for reading.




Thursday, 5 April 2012

Massive ELF haul part 1 - Make-up and FOTD!

Hey guys!

Now this post is long overdue, but recently I made a MASSIVE ELF (Eyes Lips Face) haul as they were offering 50% off their website! I bought all the stuff below for less than £20 (including delivery) - amazing!

I bought some nail polishes, which I will feature in a separate post, as well as make-up items in their standard line (all items £1.50 each) and their studio line (all items £3.50 each). Of course, as I had a 50% off code, all the standard line items were just 75p each, while the studio line items were only £1.75! BARGAIN! Check out their website here.

STANDARD line (£1.50 each)
Other than the nail polishes, I bought two brushes and a liquid lipstick from their standard line.

Luscious Liquid Lipstick (Raspberry) - £1.50
The first product I chose from the brand's standard line was one of their Luscious Liquid lipsticks. I was really looking for a glossy, raspberry shade lipgloss and this seemed to fit the bill perfectly.

Left: Without flash /Right: With flash

It's certainly not as 'raspberry' coloured as I was expecting, it's more of a glossy fuschia pink.

Lip swatches:
Left: Without flash / Right: With flash

The colour payoff is truly outstanding for just £1.50, it's not exactly what I was expecting shade wise but I still really like it! It's definitely a dupe for Stila's Lip Glaze and I would 100% try out other shades! :-)

Eye Shadow Brush - £1.50
I picked up this bargain eye brush, mainly for applying base colour to the eyelids.
It's a very short, fat eyeshadow brush and the bristles feel very tightly compacted.
Left: ELF Eyeshadow Brush / Right: Cosmopolitan Smokey Eyes Base Brush

As you can see, it looks very similar to the Cosmopolitan brush that I blogged about here. I have to admit that the Cosmopolitan brush is actually 10x better than the ELF one! The ELF Eyeshadow Brush had bristles coming out of it when I opened it and I struggled to pick up any product, so I think I'll pop it in my handbag instead of using it in my daily make-up routine.

Blushing, Bronzing and Blending Brush - £1.50
I bought this brush to apply mainly blusher, although it could also be used for contouring.
From L-R: ELF Blushing, Bronzing and Blending Brush, Avon Angled Brush, Cosmopolitan Blush Brush

It's slightly smaller than the Cosmopolitan brush and around the same size as the Avon brush, although the hairs in the ELF blush are much looser than in the other two brushes. It is perfect for adding just a pop of colour to the cheeks - I use it to apply Benefit Coralista which could look a little heavy otherwise!

STUDIO line (£3.50 each)
The studio line products are £2 more expensive than the standard/regular line, and as such I had slightly higher expectations for them! I picked up a make-up brush, a pigment eyeshadow and makeup lock and seal (which I used together), alongside a blusher/bronzer compact and a compact mirror.

Complexion Brush - £3.50
I bought this brush mainly to apply bronzer, as the bronzer brush I have at the moment is simply APPALING!
From L-R: ELF Studio Complexion Brush, Avon Powder Brush

I've actually found that the head on this brush is too big to apply bronzer really, and it's more suited to applying powder (I use MAC MSF Natural!) I definitely notice a difference in quality compared to the brushes in the standard line. You could tell that the product has been made with more care - the bristles are softer and more compact, and the effect on the skin looks much more natural!

Makeup Lock and Seal - £3.50
I bought this product on a whim (I hadn't read any reviews) but figured it would go perfectly with the Studio Pigment (see below!)
It's essentially a clear runny liquid that you can use to mix with powder products like eyeshadow so that they're easier to apply and last longer. It comes with a little pot that you can pour a couple of the drops of Makeup Lock and Seal into, before using the brush provided to mix the product around the pot. It would be perfect for use with Barry M Dazzle Dusts for example!

Pigment Eyeshadow (Golden Goddess) - £3.50
I bought this product as I required a golden eyeshadow that really stood out!
It's similar to Barry M Dazzle Dusts - it's a finely milled glistening golden powder, except this product comes with a handy brush too!
From L-R: [Without flash] Golden Goddess Pigment, Golden Goddess Pigment with Makeup Lock and Seal. [With flash] Golden Goddess Pigment, Golden Goddess Pigment with Makeup Lock and Seal.

I found the product on its own quite difficult to work with, but the Makeup Lock and Seal made SUCH a difference! I simply added a tiny bit of Makeup Lock and Seal to a brush before dipping it into the pigment, before swatching it above. As you can see, it's SO much more pigmented - it glistens in the light and lasted for hours! I definitely want to try more of these pigments!

I think the pigment looks really striking with jet black liner and thick black lashes, and it's certainly a look I will be rocking in the future!

Blush and Bronzer Compact - £3.50
This is one of ELF's most raved about products (especially in the blogosphere), and for just £1.75 I couldn't resist giving it a whirl!
From L-R: [Without flash] ELF Blush, Elf Bronzer. [With flash] ELF Blush, ELF Bronzer.

It contains a blush and a bronze in one handy compact. The blush is a finely milled, peachy-pink shade, whilst the bronzer is a shimmery tan shade.
ELF Studio Blush and Bronzer on cheeks

I love both shades (the bronzer leaves my skin with a healthy glow, whilst the blush gives my cheeks a flush of colour!)

So how does the ELF Blush/Bronzer duo compare to the NARS Orgasm/Laguna duo?
LEFT: ELF Blush and Bronzer Compact, RIGHT: NARS Orgasm/Laguna Duo

As you can see, both products look remarkably similar - it's no surprise where ELF got their inspiration from! However, upon closer inspection, they're not so similar, after all...

Both products with flash:
From L-R: NARS Orgasm, ELF Blush, NARS Laguna, ELF Bronzer

Both products without flash:
From L-R: NARS Orgasm, ELF Blush, NARS Laguna, ELF Bronzer

I actually don't think the two products are as similar as people suggest, and the ELF compact certainly is no dupe for the NARS duo.

Firstly the blush... Whilst NARS Orgasm is a very shimmery, pinky shade, the ELF Blush is more of a peachy shade with less shimmer. The two shades look completely different!

Then the bronzer... NARS Laguna is a dark brown, shimmery bronzer, whilst ELF's Bronzer is a light tan bronzer with slight shimmer. NARS Laguna is better suited as a contour, or as a bronzer on 'tanned' days, whilst ELF's Bronzer would be more suited for an all over, sun-kissed bronzed look.

Dual Mirror Compact - £3.50
Just a fab product for popping in your handbag! Best of all, it comes in a chic velvet pouch - love!

TOTAL: £19.75

How amazing is that! I bought all these products for less than £20, I'm amazed!

FACE: Aldi Lacura Shimmering Day Cream, Maybelline Pure Cover Mineral Concealer (02 Sand), MAC Studio Finish Concealer (NW15), Bourjois 10 Hour Sleep Effect Foundation (72 Rose Clair), MAC Fix+ to finish. ELF Studio Blush and Bronzer Compact (Blush applied using ELF Blushing, Bronzing and Blending Brush, bronzer applied using ELF Studio Complexion Brush).

EYES: Urban Decay Primer Potion (Original), Sleek Storm Palette (taupe shade - applied using ELF Eye Shadow Brush), ELF Studio Pigment Eyeshadow (Golden Goddess) applied using ELF Studio Makeup Lock and Seal, Soap & Glory SUPERCAT Carbon Gloss Liner (on top lid), Avon Color Trend Kajal Stick (Black, on lower waterline), CoverGirl Lash Blast Volume Mascara (Black). MAC Eyebrow Pencil in Dirty Blonde.

LIPS: Carmex Original Lip Balm, ELF Luscious Liquid Lipstick (Raspberry).

Overall I am really impressed with the quality of my ELF products, all of which I snapped up for less than £2 each! My faves would have to be the Luscious Liquid Lipstick and the Studio Blush and Bronzer Compact - but I wasn't overly impressed with their standard line of brushes.

Have you made an ELF haul recently? Tempted?

Let me know!