Month in Review / September 2015

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

September has been kind of a weird month; we've settled into our new flat but have been without internet for most of the month, and I haven't seen tons of the Other Half because he's been out and about all over the place every weekend for the past few weeks.  The weather has also been kind of in limbo, caught between summer and transitioning into autumn, which is nice but I'm also trying not to get my hopes up for it to really be autumn now!  I remember last year it was still absolutely boiling through much of October, and was annoyingly mild through November and December too.

In any case, you can tell that summer is nearly over.  There's that autumn smell in the air in the evenings and early mornings now, leaves are just about starting to change colour and autumnal trends are out in force.

This month...
  • We actually got the house just about set up to look nice - it's not quite as big or as fancy, but it feels much more like a home than our last place.
  • I took the plunge and I'm now vegan.
  • I bought some great new clothes, including a black midi cardigan, some new The Force Awakens t-shirts and the cute striped jumper from my August wishlist (dreams do come true~).
  • I got to Skype my best friend Kate for the first time in ages.  Having a long distance soul mate sucks, but it's amazing to think that it's been literally years since we've seen each other in person and we still talk, even if only briefly, pretty much every day.
  • I got my first The Vegan Kind lifestyle box!
  • After several weeks without internet, we're finally connected at our new flat.
Post of the month: My review of Lily Lolo's awesome pressed eye shadows.

Films & TV...
  • Started watching Lost again with Chris.  I'm not nearly as into it as he is, but it's still an enjoyable show to watch.
  • I've been catching up on a lot of Star Wars news and spent a lot of time watching all of the Force Awakens panels from recent cons.
  • Chris and I watched The Muppets: Most Wanted.  Seriously good movie!
  • Saw Malifecent for the first time, and was really pleasantly surprised.  Without any spoilers, parts of it were tired and predictable but others were really refreshing and heart-warming.
  • Since we didn't have internet for most of September, I've been binge watching Air Crash Investigation again.  Best show ever.
  • Watched Run Fatboy Run for the first time in years.  Still pretty funny, but man I must not have realised how ~teenage~ a lot of the humour was because, er, I was a teenager at the time!
Edible things...
  • Chris and I went to the Woking Food & Drink Festival and I got to have a delicious Vietnamese noodle dish and some kick ass churros.  We also bought an amazing strawberry gin cordial (yes a cordial made of gin that tastes like strawberries, I know) and three incredible chutneys.
  • I made pumpkin spiced cinnamon buns!  They were delicious but need a bit of tweaking before I share the recipe.  Plus I burned the tops of them so they weren't exactly photo-worthy...
  • Baked some tasty ginger shortbreads with a spiced ginger fudge topping too.
  • Tried out a recipe for Indian spiced chickpea and carrot burgers that were delicious (inspired by this recipe, although I didn't follow it).  I definitely need to start experimenting with more burgers like those, it was a nice change and there's so many different options.
Worth a read or watch...

Now that September is over and done with, I have a few things planned for next month that I'm hoping will be enjoyable for you guys, so roll on autumn!

Are you as psyched as I am for October?

Review / Barry M Flawless Light Reflecting Concealer

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

When I saw that Barry M had released a new liquid concealer, my heart practically skipped a beat.  I found out a while back that Collection isn't as cruelty free as I thought it was, and that meant that my beloved Lasting Perfection Concealer in Fair - a holy grail concealer for tons of beauty bloggers and the only damn concealer good enough to cover my dark circles and not look like crap - would be a no go once my last tube ran out.  I was hoping that Barry M had stepped in to create a good dupe for it with their Flawless Light Reflecting Concealer, available from Superdrug for £4.49.

As far as first impressions go, I was a little bit disappointed.  The consistency is a bit more liquid-y, and the applicator is a slightly awkward brush rather than the spongy doe foot applicator that I've been so used to for so long.  The packaging is otherwise nice though, and it feels good quality, sturdy and seals properly with ease.

Ivory is the lightest shade available and seemed to match my skin tone quite well.  It's a tiny bit lighter than the skin on my face; I'd usually prefer something a shade lighter still for a concealer, but as this particular one is supposed to have brightening effects I figured it might not matter as much.  It says it's also infused with aloe and cucumber extracts, so supposedly also gently treats your eyes within, on top of just covering up problem areas on the surface.  It blends out very nicely and gives a smooth coverage with no settling into lines or pores, and it does seem to give the skin a bit of a soft glow.

I've found I need to layer this a bit to get the kind of coverage I want, and it's particularly good for under the eye but less so for nose, blemishes etc.  It doesn't offer a whole lot of cover for redness or inflammation, but it does lift the under eyes and gives a lovely, dewy radiance to the skin.  I think this would even be a good, subtle highlight for wearing underneath mineral or blended over liquid foundation.  After a couple of layers, my dark circles appear noticeably brighter and less visible, and I look much more well-rested, although I find that neither this nor the Collection one could banish them completely!

I find that this lasts all day with no problem, but I don't have particularly oily skin under my eyes.  I also like to to pat a little bit of my Lily Lolo Mineral Concealer in Blondie over this to set it before applying my mineral foundation over the top, which not only brightens and conceals further but helps to keep it in place.  So, if your skin is on the oilier side and you find that this concealer doesn't stay quite as well as you'd like, this might be an option for you!

In the end, this concealer wasn't quite what I was hoping for but it turns out that I actually love it for what it is!  I've really been enjoying using it and I think it will look lovely over liquid foundations once the weather cools down, and it's certainly doing a good job of making me look less like the walking dead.   At only £4.49, it's pretty great for the price and does the job better than plenty of more expensive concealers and it doesn't contain any silly shimmery or glittery bits like a lot of brightening concealers (thankfully!).  I think it's also vegan as well as cruelty free, but I'm new to spotting non-vegan ingredients so someone please correct me if I'm wrong!  I think the only major downside otherwise is that there are currently only three different shades, so there's little to no variety and no options for people of colour, but hopefully they'll introduce some more in the future.

Not bad Barry M, not bad indeed!

What's your favourite cruelty free concealer?

So I'm a Vegan Now

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

If you’d asked me ten years ago if I’d be vegan one day, I would’ve laughed in your face and probably told you that I’d rather die than give up my chargrilled beef burgers and salty cheesy takeout pizzas.  Fast forward to when I was about 19, and I developed Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and started to react very badly to many foods, red meats in particular.  I cut most meat out of my diet and only had it on the odd occasion, and then by January this year the only meat I was eating once in a blue moon was fish.  Now, another few months and a lot of thought and internal debate later, I’ve essentially been vegan for a few weeks, give or take the odd bump in the road here and there.

My health problems were what triggered the change in diet initially.  Although meat wasn’t the only thing that triggered my symptoms, certain meat dishes were almost guaranteed to make me ill to the point where I would have to plan meals out to make sure that I could immediately go home and lay down afterwards.  Eventually, as much as I had originally loved meat, it wasn’t worth it anymore and after many months of rarely eating it my tastes had changed and it no longer tasted as good as I remembered anyway.  When I started to learn the vague, softcore facts about the environmental impact that the meat industry had on the world, I finally decided that I should just cut it out of my diet completely and only eat fish and seafood, which I then believed to be environmentally friendly and sustainable.

The thought of dairy and eggs being problematic at this point wasn’t even on my mind, and as far as I was concerned nothing was harmed in the making of them, especially here in the UK where animal welfare for livestock is apparently rated the best in the world.  My opinion of vegans was also not a particularly high one either, since most of the vegans I’d encountered online and in person came across as aggressive and fitting of the angry vegan stereotype, and from a feminist perspective they were also often extremely privileged and narrow-minded when it came to people who weren’t vegan and the circumstances behind their non-veganism.  That kind of gross denial of the fact that, no, not everyone is you and able to make the same choices as you are, was kind of a turn off.

When I started to read more online and become more involved in the cruelty free community though, that opinion I held started to change.  The overlap between the cruelty free and vegan communities is pretty large, and I started to see plenty of intelligent, thoughtful blog posts, articles and so on by vegans who –shock! – weren’t at all like I’d been told all vegans are or as I had experienced them to be previously.  I started being exposed to more information about veganism and about the livestock industry in general, and after a while I started to wonder if maybe being just pescatarian wasn’t the right choice for me.

The first thing to go when I started doing my own research was the fish, after discovering that no form of fishing on the scale that we need to meet to demand is truly sustainable, and that even fish farms can have a severely negative impact on the ocean environment.  After that, I spent a few months mulling over whether or not cutting out all animal products was the path I wanted to go down.  I read a book, read articles, watched documentaries and eventually came to the conclusion that I wasn’t okay with contributing to any aspect of the livestock industry.  This wasn’t necessarily for the animals either; rather I’m now what you’d probably call an environmental vegan.  I don’t think that there is anything inherently wrong with killing and eating animals for food as long as they are happy and well cared for throughout their lives, but I do think that the industry is broken and that our world can’t support the ever growing demand for more and more cheaper and cheaper meat, eggs and dairy, and I think that the amount of valuable resources we waste on rearing animals to feed wealthy, privileged nations that could go to poorer, developing ones is illogical and selfish.

The hardest part wasn’t making the decision though; it was actually telling the people that I cared about.  I know that omnivores don’t think much of vegans because I was one of those people who boxed them all up into one nasty little stereotype myself once, and even when I was pescatarian and vegetarian, or even back when I just ate very minimal meat and had to be careful of what I was eating, people were awkward about my diet.  It was easier to say I didn’t eat x, y, z before because at least I could just attribute it to illness and shut everyone up; now I have to worry about confrontation and justifying a choice I’ve made.  Thankfully though, the people whose opinions actually matter to me reacted fine.  My other half was supportive, albeit disappointed that we’d no longer be able to share food and go to some of the same restaurants, and that was something that disappointed me too.  I’m a huge foodie and I get great pleasure out of food and dining out, and trying new things with him has always been one of my favourite things to do.  My mum lamented how difficult it would be to cook for me, but ultimately said she thought it was an admirable decision even if it was something she felt too set her ways to do herself.

It certainly hasn’t been as difficult as I thought it would be so far, but I think part of that is down to how slowly I transitioned into it.  It was a gradual thing for me, experimenting with vegan cooking while I was a vegetarian, trying to get a feel for it and see if it was going to be a realistic lifestyle choice for me.  I’m lucky though, because I’m not a fussy eater at all.  I like most foods; I love vegetables, beans, pulses, fruit and more so the majority of healthy vegan staples are things that I adore anyway.  I have a feeling it’d be a very different story if I didn’t like any of those things.  I’m still making mistakes – I didn’t check the ingredients on the damn muesli I’ve been eating for the past few weeks because I just assumed it wouldn’t have any non-vegan ingredients because, well, why would it need any?  Lo and behold I glanced at it the other day and it has freaking whey powder in it, god knows why.  I’m also still polishing off the odd non-vegan things I still have hanging about, like Belvita I keep in my desk at work or the non-vegan Quorn and store brand free-from stuff we have in the freezer.  Much like my journey to using only cruelty free cosmetics, I’m not going to just waste something that I’ve already paid for; the damage is already done, I just have to move on and not repurchase it.

I feel better for it so far, both physically and mentally.  I’m happy with the decision I’ve made and it’s nice to know I’m doing my bit for the planet, and I’ve only usually been experiencing my IBS symptoms when they’re hormonal lately, rather than because of what I’m eating.  I’m not sure what the long term effects will be yet; the obvious concerns are iron, protein and other deficiencies, so I’ve been trying to make sure my diet is as balanced as possible without any pills or supplements other than my vitamin B12 pills.  So far so good, but I’m tempted to get myself checked out with my GP just to make sure and I'm looking into daily supplements I can take to give me that extra peace of mind.

In some ways, it’s kind of exciting to be embarking on a new stage of my life.  I’m learning a lot about the food industry, and I’m also getting to grow and challenge myself as a cook which is something I’m especially loving (a love a good excuse to try something new in the kitchen).  I’m sure I’m going to have hiccups along the way, make my own mistakes and encounter plenty of people who might upset or annoy me by questioning my diet.  But, if I’ve learned anything from the past few months of pottering about in cruelty free and vegan cyberspace, it’s that I’m not alone and there are plenty of resources and plenty of kind, lovely people out there to help support me.

If you have any tips for baby vegans like myself or want to share your own story, I'd love to hear them!

Review / The Vegan Kind Box TVK23

Sunday, 13 September 2015

This month was my very first The Vegan Kind lifestyle box!  I'd ordered the first beauty box that The Vegan Kind released ages ago on its own, and I loved what was in that one but decided against subscribing since I'm kind of finicky about beauty products and like to be able to choose my own things and read plenty of reviews etc. before making a purchase.  Snacks on the other hand, I am always up for.

This was box number 23 and included 7 different items all for £10 plus postage (so £13.15 altogether).  All of the products they include in the boxes are 100% vegan, duh, and as well as a mix of snacks and drinks they also include lifestyle products like soaps, detergents, candles and so on that are all equally as lovely and equally as vegan as the snacks.

Each box comes with a little sheet explaining all of the products and the companies that make them, latest news from The Vegan Kind, and their featured campaign of the month, to which 10p from every box sold is donated.  They also include a great little recipe card with every box, which is something I'm pretty excited about since I'm trying to learn more varied and interesting vegan dishes.  This month's was a chocolate mousse made from chickpea brine which I'm looking forward to trying since the last time I tried to make a mousse out of aquafaba it lost all it's mousse-ness...

I love me some popcorn and Nom Salted Maple Popcorn (25g, RRP £1.49) was right up my street!  Nom Popcorn is wholegrain popcorn made from ethically sourced ingredients, and is low in calories, high in fibre and made without refined sugars.  This was basically an all around win for me, I love maple flavoured things and I really enjoy sweet things that are complimented by a hint of salt.  Despite initial my reservations about the size, it also turned out to be a perfectly sized snack portion - 25g is actually a fair bit of popcorn!  I'm really interested to try their other flavours now because they also do a Cinnamon Maple one and, um, cinnamon guys.  Cinnamon.

When I first saw the inSpiral Smokin' Coconut Pecks (25g, RRP 99p) I just thought 'ooh yum, coconut pieces!' but then when I actually read what was in it, I was honestly kind of sceptical.  These are air dried coconut chips (not toasted, so they retain all their raw, nutritious goodness) but they're seasoned with a smoked paprika sauce and a twist of lime, which made me double-take.  Really, coconut and smoked paprika?  I had these with my lunch at work and I wasn't totally convinced by them at first, but it's one of those things that I found I enjoyed more the more bites I tried and once I was over my initial wtf reaction.  I'm not sure I'd recommend them to anybody who's a picky eater though as they're quite a unique, acquired taste.

The Designed2Eat Fudge Brownie (100g, RRP £2.25) was the first product I tried as a sweet after dinner treat, and holy shit this is one rich ass chocolate brownie.  It's a paleo snack cake made from 100% natural ingredients (I checked the ingredients list, there's literally like 5 ingredients and no additives) and is described as guilt free because everything that's in it is actually healthy.  Whether or not that's true is up for debate since dates are still pretty darn sugary, but this brownie was delicious, gooey, sticky and very chocolatey.  If you don't have much of a sweet tooth though you'd probably find it a bit much; if I were to have one again I'd definitely make sure I was in a mega chocolatey mood.

As far as first impressions go, this is probably the item I was least excited about.  Dried fruits don't really do a whole lot for me, and knowing that this little bag retails at £1.25 when I could grab a banana and maybe even an actual box of fresh strawberries for that didn't really impress me.  Nothing But Strawberry and Banana (10g, RRP £1.25) were surprisingly tasty once I tried them - the strawberries had a bit of a sour pop that was delicious and complimented wonderfully by the sweeter banana pieces.  Although I did enjoy it, this isn't something that I'd really repurchase myself; it was nice but I prefer fresh fruit and there isn't really enough product in the pack to tempt me back.

I've been hearing about cacao for months, since way back when I started eating healthier at the start of the year, and I still hadn't jumped on the bandwagon and given it a try.  As nice an alternative to chocolate as it sounded, upwards of £6 for a tub of cacao powder wasn't really that tempting to me when I could have a cheap ass Tesco brand tub of cocoa powder instead.  Since I hadn't tried it yet though, I was excited to see that this box included a cacao product, which was a 100% raw, cold pressed Creative Nature Heavenly Cacao (38g, RRP £1.00) bar.  This little bar was made from cacao powder, cacao nibs, oats and a variety of dried berries including goji berries, and it was delicious.  It was sweet with a bit of bitterness, and just plain lovely.  It's not really like a solid chocolate bar, but if you've ever had Nakd bars it was kind of similar but without any dates.  I'd definitely love to have another one of these!

I've heard a lot about Faith in Nature as a brand recently and had become quite interested in trying some of their products, so I was really pleased to see that this Faith in Nature Coconut Shampoo (400ml, RRP £5.50) was included in this month's box.  It's even for normal to dry hair, which is perfect for me at the moment as my hair is still dry and recovering from chemical damage.  I tried it for the first time after toning my hair and I'm still kind of undecided about it.  It smells fantastic - it's less of a sickly sweet coconut smell (which I love) and honestly smelled more like Malibu than any other coconut things I've ever used, which was also a good thing!  This shampoo cleaned my hair really well, and it feels wonderfully soft and smells great now, but it did feel a little bit like my hair was dryer than usual at first.  I'm not sure if that was the dye I'd used or not, but that brand previously hadn't caused me any problems before so I'll have to reserve my judgement until I've used the shampoo a bit more.  In any case, I've mostly enjoyed it so far and I'm happy it was included in this month's box; I might do a full beauty review post of this after I've had a chance to use it a bit more.

I am a huge lover of green tea and cold tea drinks, and the Iced Tg Green Tea (330ml, RRP £1.39 - £1.69) reminded me a lot of some of the drinks I'd chug when I lived in Japan.  The company Tg uses real green tea leaves with a bit of ginseng in every bottle, along with other ingredients for some interesting infusions.  Mine was Jujube & Ginseng, and I totally googled what the heck jujube is - apparently it's a red date!  I really enjoyed this, it has a distinct but subtle green tea flavour, so is probably mild enough even for people who hate green tea, and it was also nicely sweetened without feeling like a soft drink.  I'd love to try their Mandarin flavour one day.

I'm very happy with my first The Vegan Kind box, and looking forward to next month's now too!

Do you subscribe to TVK?  If so what was your favourite product from this month, and if not which would you love to try if you had the chance?

Review / PHB Ethical Beauty Firming Eye Treatment with Organic Aloe & Strawberry

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

I bought this eye gel from PHB Ethical Beauty quite a while back... I think almost a year ago when they had a sale on!  I only started using it a few of months ago because I've been working through all of my skincare products that I'd been hoarding, and I'm sad to say that they don't seem to sell it any more but I thought I'd post a review anyway since it might help people make up their minds about purchasing some of their other products.

Anywho, the Elixir of Youth Firming Eye Treatment with Organic Aloe & Strawberry is an eye treatment gel that's supposed to have anti-aging properties designed to firm up the skin around the eye area.  I can't remember how much this little pot was, but I think it was selling for around £10 - £13 or thereabouts.  It's only a small pot - I can't for the life of me find a measurement on the packaging that I still have, but it looks about 15 - 20ml I think!  Despite its size, the product lasts a very long time and I've been using it every morning for quite a while now and still have tons left.  All I do is dab my ring finger in, pat the product onto my opposite ring finger to distribute it between the two, and then just gently pat it in around my eye area.

The actual gel is a thick, clear jelly and feels lovely on the eyes during summer, probably thanks to the cooling, soothing aloe in it.  I'm not sure if it really is helping me to not age - I'm not exactly old enough to start getting tons of wrinkles - but my eyes are at least as un-wrinkled as they were when I started using it!  I've also found it great for my sensitive eyes; I find sometimes if even a little product residue from eye creams gets into my eyes it can really irritate them for the rest of the day, but I've never had that problem with this eye gel.

I think this is a lovely product and I'd definitely repurchase it if they were still selling it, but I do have their other anti-aging eye gel waiting to be cracked open soon instead.  Like all PHB Ethical Beauty products, this is vegan, cruelty free, halal, paraben free and free from artificial colours and fragrances.

Have you tried PHB Beauty's eye treatments?  Are there any other cruelty free eye treatments you'd recommend?

Review / Lily Lolo Pressed Eye Shadows

Sunday, 6 September 2015

Lily Lolo is a brand I've been using for almost two years now after Kate turned me on to them.  Their products are all mineral products, cruelty free and often vegan, and work well for sensitive skin and eyes, and I've been a fan of their foundations especially ever since I first tried them out.

They've supplied loose, mineral eye shadows for a while but some time last year (I think) started to release pressed shadows too, and having tried their other ones I was excited to give them a go.  I started out with three, and in my last order I added a couple of others that I've been coveting to my collection.

The eye shadows are £6.99 each and are described as: "Silky smooth and highly pigmented Pressed Eye Shadow. Rich in moisturising jojoba oil which is kind to your skin and anti-ageing sea holly extract. Perfect for creating a natural daytime look through to a glamorous eye for any occasion." These are also one of the brand's vegan friendly products!  Not too sure if the sea holly is really working to stop my eyes from ageing or not, but it's nice to know that it's there and I do find that these aren't as powdery and drying as some other formulas, probably thanks to the jojoba oil.

I lean towards mostly neutral colours as you'll see below, but they also offer some pinkier and bronzier shades and a gorgeous looking dark denim that I keep being tempted by but still haven't purchased yet.  The shade range isn't the most varied right now, but it seems to be one of the product lines that they add to every couple of seasons, and they also have two palettes including colours that don't come in these singles.  My only sort of complaint would be the fact that there are far fewer matte shades than shimmers, and even the matte shades I find aren't truly matte and still have a little bit of a sheen to them.  This isn't unpleasant at all and I do still love them, but matte as hell eye shadows will always have a special place in my matte finished heart.

The shades I have from the top left going clockwise are: Rolling Stone, Ivory Tower, Stick in the Mud, Truffle Shuffle and Stark Naked.

As you can see, the packaging is well made, pretty high quality and each individual eye shadow comes with a little mirror.  Some people probably find that handy but I don't go anywhere without a compact or a larger mirror from a palette anyway, so it's kind of lost on me!  They're easy to open and close, and when you close them they click together and are perfectly secure.  The packaging also feels very sturdy and is able to withstand being bashed about a bit in a crowded make up bag - trust me, it's tried and tested...

Top to bottom: Stick in the Mud, Truffle Shuffle, Rolling Stone, Stark Naked, Ivory Tower.

Excuse my poor swatching skills, my lens struggles to auto-focus at the moment and it's hard to take a photo of your own arm one-handed!

From top to bottom, Stick in the Mud is actually not available on the website right now, which took me a bit by surprise!  I'm not sure if it's just out of stock or limited edition, but it's a very dark, matte brown.  It's kind of similar to their loose shadow Black Sand (another firm favourite) but I find that this one is a little bit more cool toned.  It's quite pigmented, but depending on the brush you use can take some building to get a very deep intensity, and I find it's the only one that can take a little while to properly blend but the results are still lovely.  I often use this one to deepen to my crease or as a soft liner on my upper lid.

Truffle Shuffle is described as a demi matte mauve brown.  When I first bought these, I'd never really heard of the term demi matte before but the best way I can think of to describe it is like a faint satin finish.  It's not super shimmery, but it's not fully matte either.  This one has little hints of sparkle to it (but nothing overwhelming) and is true to the description on the website.  This is great for a nice, subtle smoky eye because it's soft and neutral, but the mauve tint to it gives it a little something extra and it pairs very well with Stick in the Mud.  This one is very blendable and easy to work with.

Rolling Stone is my current favourite and is described as a demi matte grey brown.  Again, this isn't quite matte but it's not full on shimmer either so it's more of a very slight satin finish, and it's a beautiful taupe-y shade.  This has been my go to product for very quick looks recently and looks great just washed over the whole lid, slightly up above the crease and on the lower lash line - you don't even really need to add much else for definition, it just looks really pretty on its own.  I find this one very easy to blend and it has quite a nice, buttery texture.

Stark Naked is described as a matte, nude pinky beige and I held off buying it for quite a while because I was hoping it would be a perfect match for my skin tone to just wear for natural looks but wasn't too sure if it was going to be light enough - lucky for me it's actually spot on!  As I mentioned earlier, although this is described as matte it's not quite as matte as some shadows from other brands, but it goes on like a dream, is on the more buttery end of the texture scale, blends really well and has become one of my staples.

Ivory Tower is the last pressed eye shadow in my collection, and is described as a demi matte ivory.  This is probably the most satiny/shimmery of the demi matte shades and is probably my most used because it makes a brilliant inner corner highlight and can also be used on your brow and cheekbones.  It's a great light and bright eye shadow, but because it's an ivory shade rather than white it doesn't look stark, and I think it would work well to brighten eyes no matter what your skin tone.

All five of the shades I own work very well together - I frequently mix and match and pair different ones.  For example, recently I've been using Stark Naked and a subtle touch of Stick in the Mud in my crease to create a very natural, slightly defined look, and then popping Ivory Tower in my inner corners and brow bone.  I've also used Rolling Stone all over the lid in a smoky eye with Stick in the Mud to define the crease, Ivory Tower in the inner corners and a smidge of Truffle Shuffle to add some extra colour and dimension to the centre of the lid.

Each shadow has a very slightly different consistency which is normal for mineral eye shadows as they can vary a little bit from batch to batch, but the formulas are generally pretty great (despite the Stick in the Mud being the least blendable of the bunch) and they last all day on my eyes with a primer.  They're all quite pigmented (again, Stick in the Mud requires the most work to build colour) and most importantly, they don't irritate my awfully dry, itchy eyes.  One word of warning though; they do have a bit of an odd smell which I imagine is down to the oils and other natural ingredients used in them, but it's not unpleasant and it just takes a bit of getting used to.  It's just not what you expect when you're used to odourless eye shadows!

I love Lily Lolo as a brand and since I added the latest two of these eye shadows to my collection I've been pretty obsessed with them and I get so much use out of them.  I'd definitely recommend them to anyone looking for some new shadows to try, particularly fans of mineral make up or people with sensitive eyes like myself.  I can't wait to try out some of the other colours too - the new shades Buttered Up and In For a Penny look particularly appealing.  If you also like loose mineral eye shadows, you should definitely check out Lily Lolo's loose shadows too because they're fantastic quality and come in a wider variety of shades, some of which are really gorgeous and unique.

Change to my regularly scheduled programming!

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

We just finished moving house, and with moving home comes the perils of sorting out your internet.  Unfortunately, we're going to be internetless until the 28th September when Sky decide to pull their finger out and switch on our already set up broadband (why this takes over a month is beyond me), so I won't be posting quite as regularly as usual.

I'd started a good rhythm of posting every Wednesday and then either Saturday or Sunday, but for the rest of September I'll only be posting once a week every Wednesday.  Since I only have wifi at work and can't sort out photos or transfer posts at work, I'm going to have to rely on publishing posts I've already prepared.  I'll still be around a bit on social media during weekday days, and once we get internet again, I'll be posting as normal again too.

I hope you enjoy the reviews I have prepared in the mean time, September is already shaping up to be an exciting month and I've already got some stuff I'm looking forward to sharing with you later!

UPDATE 03/09 - Typically a day after posting this, we've acquired some unexpected temporary internet!  Oops.  I'll tentatively continue with my usual schedule, hopefully all is well for now!

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