New Bourjois Spring Beauty Launches

Friday, 6 March 2015

Bourjois is definitely one of my favourite drugstore beauty brands so I'm always very excited to hear about their new releases. I was very kindly sent some of their new Spring beauty bits recently so I thought I'd give you a little overview of the new launches you can expect to find at your local Bourjois counter. There's new products for face, eyes and lips and I've been very impressed by some and not so impressed by others! I hope you enjoy finding out a bit more about them. 

First up is the product I was most excited about, their brand new 'colourband' eye shadow and liner pencils. The reason I was so excited to try these is because I'm all about convenience when it comes to my makeup and I love using products that I can swipe and go and that's exactly what these are. Due to the crayon style applicator you can swipe them across the lid and you're good to go. The shades are all fairly neutral so will suit all skin tones. 

I have 'Beige Minimaliste' which is a peachy champagne shade, 'Mauve Baroque' which as the name states is a pretty mauve colour, 'Brun Dadaiste' which is a gorgeous bronze and finally 'Noir Abstrait' which is a jet black and can be used to create a smokey eye or as a liner.' My two favourites are Beige Minimaliste as this is lovely for creating the inner corners of the eye or as a wash of colour all over the lid and Brun Dadaiste is stunning worn underneath the lower lash line for a smokey evening look as I find the bronze shade really compliments my blue eye.

Next up is a few new additions to the Color Boost lip crayon line up. I absolutely love these lip crayons - they're pigmented, glossy and moiturising on the lips so perfect for day to day wear. I really like the new colour additions too - they're more grown up and mature than the previous range. The shades I have are 'Proudly Naked' which is a beautiful pale Peach, 'Sweet Macchiato' which is a gorgeous brown nude (very Kylie Jenner) and finally, 'Pinking Of It', a beautiful berry toned pink which is right up my street! I love all of them!

Finally, there's two new liners and a face powder. There's both a liquid and pencil liner and both are labelled 'Ultra Black' so if you like a super black liner look, these are for you. I have to be honest and say I'm not keen on the liquid 'Liner Pinceau' liner as it has a brush nib which I find really hard to use. Unless you're very good at applying liquid liner, I'd stick to a pen style applicator. However, the Liner Stylo pencil is lovely - its a super black shade which is just how I like my pencil liner to be and it applies nicely to the waterline. I also like that its a twist up style as that means I don't need to mess around sharpening it. 

As for the 'Silk Edition' face powder, I'm in two minds about this one. I really like the compact it comes in and the fact it has a 360 rotating mirror but I'm not entirely sold on the powder itself. Bourjois claim the formula is inspired by silk and that it blurs imperfection and mattifies the skin whilst providing ultimate comfort and a bare skin sensation. I'd definitely agree that it feels very light on the skin but my problem is that its just not very pigmented and doesn't transfer very well. I feel I have to apply a lot of it before I get the matte effect it claims and even then, I wouldn't say it does an excellent job at setting my makeup. Its not a terrible product but when compared to my MAC Mineralize Skinfinish natural, it doesn't even compare and I'd much rather spend the extra on that!

L-R: Beige Minimaliste, Mauve Baroque,  Brun Dadaiste, Noir Abstrait, Proudly Naked, Sweet Macchiato and Pinking Of It

I hope you enjoyed having a little look at Bourjois new releases - do you like the look of anything in particular?

Lots of love,

Monthly Favourites | February

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Happy March guys! How on each it is March already in beyond me - wasn't it only just Christmas? Anyway, I'm not complaining as Spring is now well on its way and the weather should hopefully *fingers crossed* start warming up soon. It also means I'll be able to start wearing BB creams, cream blush and pastel nail polish again very soon. Yay for Spring beauty. For now, here's my Feb faves ...

Clarins Everlasting Foundation+* | Link
I love trying new foundations but I'm quite difficult to please as I don't like anything too matte or anything too shiny, it has to be somewhere in between. I also like it to have a good coverage but also let my natural skin show through so my face doesn't look caked in makeup. Well, I'm in luck because Clarins new Everlasting+ foundation does all of those things perfectly. It has a gorgeous Satin semi-matte finish, great coverage and is really long lasting. I love it!

NARS Copacabana Illuminator* | Link
I recently featured this in my favourite highlighters post as I've been really enjoying mixing it in with my foundation to give my skin a radiant glow. Its a beautiful champagne silver shade with a metallic finish and it has a really light texture. I also love using it on my collar bones and down the fronts of my legs! I'd love to try the multiple version of this now!

Chanel Incandescente Rouge Allure Lipstick* | Link
I love a red lipstick and this one from Chanel with its beautiful orange undertone has definitely been my favourite since receiving it at the start of Feb! As I said, its the most gorgeous orange toned red and the formula is beautiful too - its matte without being too matte (lets call it a Satin finish) and don't even get me started on the packaging. Totally swoon worthy! 

 photo January Monthly Favourites 2_zps0eos18fd.jpg
 photo January Monthly Favourites 4_zpsssz2wq8c.jpg

Bourjois Colour Boost Lip Crayon* | Link
I was recently sent a selection of Bourjois new Spring beauty releases (keep your eye out for a post on those soon) and I've been really enjoying giving them a try. I already loved their Colour Boost Lip Crayons so when I saw they were adding some new shades to the range, its safe to say I was excited. I've been loving the shade 'Sweet Machiato' recently as its a nice brown nude - a very nineties and Kylie Jenner kinda shade!

The Vintage Cosmetics Company Eyelash Curlers | Link
These are the best eyelash curlers I've ever used, hands down. There's not a great deal to say here other than they curl my lashes really well and hold the curl nicely too. Plus, they're rose gold, what's not to love?
Zoeva Powder Polish brush* | Link
I'm a big fan of Zoeva brushes and lately, my favourite has been their relatively new Powder Polish brush as its perfect for applying liquid foundation. Before I got this brush I was using my Real Techniques Buffing brush of Zoeva Silk Finish but I find this one works better than them both. The bristles are quite dense but exceptionally soft on the skin at the same time which I love as the dense bristles mean product doesn't get sucked into the brush instead of going on the skin. I can't explain what it is I love about this brush in writing - its just one of those things you need to try for yourself. All I'll say is that if you want a flawless finish, this is a little gem!

 photo January Monthly Favourites 3_zps2cwh0d2n.jpg
Invisibobbles | Link
Throughout the week, I always have my hair tied up. I'm really lazy in the morning and would rather have that extra ten minutes in bed - don't judge me. With this beign said, I'm absolutely loving using Invisibobbles instead of regular hair ties in my hair as I find they're more gentle and the clear ones in particular are great as they blend in with the hair nicely. I don't find they leave my hair kink free like they claim to but I'm not too bothered about that as my main reason for using them is to prevent my hair snapping from wearing my hair up too often.

Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream* | Link
This is a bit of a cult product in the beauty world and for good reason, its such a great little multi-tasker. I've featured this in a previous monthly favourites so I do apologise if you're bored of hearing me talk about it but I've been loving it this past month to keep my lips in good condition. Admitedly it doesn't taste great but it does such a good job at hydrating my lips - better than any lip balm I've ever used before. However, I'd recommend keeping this well away from boyfriends - mine decided he'd smear it all over his face and hands last night as they 'felt a bit dry' - what a waste! Haha!

Philip Kingsley Daily Damage Defence | Link
I bought this from Feel Unique at Christmas time as it came with a sample of Elasticizer too and was only £5 - total bargain! Since then, I've gone through a whole bottle of it and have bought another. I'm not sure why I love it so much but I think the scent alone plays a big part. It smells absolutely gorgeous and I love spritzing it on my hair before using heat to ensure its protected. I'm not sure if it actually works as its hard to tell but I like to think its doing my hair some good!

What have you been loving lately?

Lots of love,

My Tips for Better Blog Photos

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Beauty Blog Photography, Blog Photography Tips, Blogger Photography Tips, Canon dos 600D Photography Tips, My Tips for Better Blog Photo

I get a lot of emails from my readers asking how I take my blog photos and whether I can share any tips. Its also the thing I get the most compliments about which is so flattering as I certainly don't consider myself a photography pro. I often look at other blogs in total awe of their photography so trust me when I say, we're never happy with our own photography! However, I know when I first started out, and even now, how useful photography tips posts can be so I thought I'd put one together and hopefully offer a bit of inspiration. With this being said, I hope you enjoy reading ...

Before you start taking any photographs for your blog, you're going to need a camera. I feel like one of the biggest misconceptions about blogging is that you need a big fancy pants DSLR to take good photographs or to be considered a 'proper' blogger. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not denying the fact that DSLR's are amazing - I use mine daily and can't imagine blogging without it. However, I didn't start blogging with the intention to get a DSLR or buy one specifically for blogging. I was actually very lucky and my dad managed to get me the Canon eos 600d through his business while I was visiting him in Australia a couple of years ago. However, before receiving the camera, I'd been blogging for almost a year and not doing a bad job with the Canon IXUS HS 115 - a standard digital camera. Yes my technique was a bit dodgy looking back at older posts but the image quality itself was perfectly acceptable for someone starting out in the blogging world. I've even used my Iphone for quite a few posts (the main photo in this post was taken with my Iphone) and as long as you get some decent lighting (which I'll talk about soon) and focus, it works perfectly fine. I also don't think there's a huge need for fancy lenses - yes they can help add a different look to your images but other than the 50mm lens which I use for outfit photos, I manage just fine with the basic kit lens.

Beauty Blog Photography, Blog Photography Tips, Blogger Photography Tips, Canon dos 600D Photography Tips, My Tips for Better Blog PhotoImage source: Link

Look at your settings
The biggest photography game changer for me was working out how to actually use my camera and how to achieve the kind of photos I want - light, bright and clear. Although the auto settings on a DSLR work perfectly fine, they won't create the light and bright images you want, despite the lighting / equipment you have. To really get a control on the lighting, you need to change your settings. I always take my photos on the AV setting and then use the AV button on the back of the camera to up the lighting. All you need to do is turn the dial on top of the camera to AV, hold in the AV button of the right hand side next to the main camera screen and then scroll up or down with the thumbwheel on top of the camera until the lighting is to your liking. I usually set the lighting to around 1 (on that dial in the right image) so my images come out lovely and bright. I know lots of bloggers take their pictures in the manual setting but that's just far too complicated for me and AV seems to work just fine!

Beauty Blog Photography, Blog Photography Tips, Blogger Photography Tips, Canon dos 600D Photography Tips, My Tips for Better Blog Photo

Take your own photographs 
This may seem like a fairly obvious one but I still see a lot of blogs using stock photos (images that can be found via google) instead of photographs they've taken themselves. For me personally, this is an instant turn-off as it looks lazy and it isn't personable. The only time I would ever use a stock photo is for a wish list post as I clearly don't have the products infront of me to take the photos. Lets face it - anyone can go online and search for an image but it shows you've put effort in and your personality if you take your own. Even if you put a lot of effort into the written content of your posts, a lack of images will reflect badly. Just something to think about!

Beauty Blog Photography, Blog Photography Tips, Blogger Photography Tips, Canon dos 600D Photography Tips, My Tips for Better Blog Photo

Lighting & Exposure
Its probably the most obvious photography tips of all but natural light is your best friend when taking photos as it allows your camera to pick up more detail and make images appear crisp. Take photos by a window or outside if the weather is nice! I take my images on my dressing table as its right next to a window and allows me to create bright and detailed images. Admittedly its harder in Winter when the weather is dreary but a bit of editing can solve that which I'll talk about shortly. Its also important to ensure your images have the right amount of light - you don't want them to be over exposed or under exposed like the images above. You can usually adjust the amount of light your camera lets in on the settings.I do this using the AV setting as I mentioned above.

Beauty Blog Photography, Blog Photography Tips, Blogger Photography Tips, Canon dos 600D Photography Tips, My Tips for Better Blog Photo

Don't shoot into the light
Its important to remember that when you're taking photos you should always shoot away from the light and not into it. What I mean by this is make sure the light is in front of the object you're shooting and not behind it. As you can see in the photos I've taken above, when the light is behind the object, all the camera will pick up is the light behind and not the product itself. However, when the light is in front of the object, it will ensure the product is the focal point and all of the necessary details will be picked up.

Beauty Blog Photography, Blog Photography Tips, Blogger Photography Tips, Canon dos 600D Photography Tips, My Tips for Better Blog Photo

Avoid Flash
Unless you really need to use it, try to avoid flash at all costs. Flash has a habit of washing things out or reflecting off surfaces and creating an unattractive glare. If you want your photos to be really crisp and pick up the true colour/detail of a product, natural lighting is key! As you can see in the example above, whilst the left image isn't bad, the flash has created a glare on the bottom half of the lipstick and reflected onto my dressing table. Its also created a reflection off my lipstick holder in the background. In the right photo, the focus is completely on the lipstick and the packaging looks nice and even in tone.

Beauty Blog Photography, Blog Photography Tips, Blogger Photography Tips, Canon dos 600D Photography Tips, My Tips for Better Blog Photo

Focus, Focus, Focus!
Another obvious one but I still see a lot of blurred/out of focus images on blogs and like the stock photos, its an instant turn off. As you can see in the example above, the out of focus image just doesn't look appealing - you can't see the detail of the product and it looks sloppy. I guess the reason out of focus images are such a turn off is because it comes across like you've not put any effort in. I always try to take at least ten photos of the same product just to make sure I've got one that's nice and crisp. It takes a bit more time but it will pay off!

Beauty Blog Photography, Blog Photography Tips, Blogger Photography Tips, Canon dos 600D Photography Tips, My Tips for Better Blog Photo

Angles & Composition
I'm a very creative person and love photography so playing around with different angles is something I enjoy. However, if this isn't your thing it can be easy to fall into a trap of plonking a product on to a plain surface with no thought put into the angles or composition of the image. Its so important to remember that a photo speaks a thousand words so let it tell a story. Add props (flowers, candles, ornaments) into the surrounding areas and take your images from various angles - a birds eye view shot, one straight on and a close up are always good ones to go for. A range of images will make your blog post a lot more interesting! This also brings me on to composition which basically means how much space there is around your image. As you can see in the photos above, the left picture isn't focused on the product - there's too much space and distraction around it whereas the right image is focused in on the product which is what my blog post is about.

Beauty Blog Photography, Blog Photography Tips, Blogger Photography Tips, Canon dos 600D Photography Tips, My Tips for Better Blog Photo

Background & Props 
Its important to think about the background you're taking your photos on as this is the basis for the whole photo and will give your images a personal touch. I've done a lot of experimenting with image backgrounds since I started blogging as I often like to change things up and make my images more interesting. A few backgrounds I'd recommend include a glass or plain white surface, a wooden floor or some pretty bedding. I used to take my photos of the TV stand in my living room because its glass and I now take them on my white dressing table. I find glass or white backgrounds look lovely and bright which makes the overall image more pleasing to the eye. Bedding, wallpaper and tile samples, fluffy rugs, flowers and cute items blurred in background all look lovely too!

Beauty Blog Photography, Blog Photography Tips, Blogger Photography Tips, Canon dos 600D Photography Tips, My Tips for Better Blog Photo

As I mentioned in my previous point, its sometimes nice to add some pretty accessories in the background of your photos but there's a huge difference between strategically placed accessories and clutter. By clutter I mean general mess that we don't really need to see in the background of an image. You can see what I mean by the photo above. Make sure you find somewhere clutter-free or have a tidy up before you start snapping. For example, the dressing table I take my photos on is often covered with makeup, perfume bottles, cotton pads and what not but I make sure I tidy most of that away before one of my photo taking sessions.

Beauty Blog Photography, Blog Photography Tips, Blogger Photography Tips, Canon dos 600D Photography Tips, My Tips for Better Blog Photo 

Beauty Blog Photography, Blog Photography Tips, Blogger Photography Tips, Canon dos 600D Photography Tips, My Tips for Better Blog Photoresized to same width as the post

Most of my favourite blogs have one thing in common - large images. Images are one of the main features of a blog and the first thing our eye is drawn to so make sure they're large and clear. You can resize images using the standard 'Large' 'X Large' tabs when you hover over a photo but the way I increase the size of my images is by flicking over to the HTML tab when composing a post and changing the 'widths' and 'heights' of my photos. Its best to have a play around until you find a size that suits you and the design of your blog. For reference, the width of my photos is 765 as this matches the width of my post header. 

Keep it Consistent
I also think its important to ensure all images are the same width. I'm not sure why but I find it really off putting when reading a blog if the images aren't lined up nicely. What I mean by this is that some of the images will be wide and line up with the font and others will be tall and skinny so they don't match up with the others. If you look at my posts you'll see that all of the images are the same width across as I find it makes my blog look more symmetrical and pleasing to the eye.

Beauty Blog Photography, Blog Photography Tips, Blogger Photography Tips, Canon dos 600D Photography Tips, My Tips for Better Blog PhotoBefore cropping and adjusting brightness, shadows and contract on PicMonkey

Beauty Blog Photography, Blog Photography Tips, Blogger Photography Tips, Canon dos 600D Photography Tips, My Tips for Better Blog Photo

After you've taken your photographs, the next step is to edit them! I don't spend a great deal of time editing but I do make a few basic changes such as cropping, brightness, contrast, shadows and highlights. I do most of these thing on iPhoto but I also use PicMonkey as I find I can get my pictures nice and bright without over exposing them. I also use PicMonkey if I want to add text / a shape to my image or make a collage. I edited all of the images in this post using PicMonkey. Its super simple to use and does the job well. 

Beauty Blog Photography, Blog Photography Tips, Blogger Photography Tips, Canon dos 600D Photography Tips, My Tips for Better Blog Photo

Not a lot of people realise how important it is to rename images. I never used to do this when I first started blogging but I read a post about SEO and it mentioned that search engines won't find or list your images if it has a name like 'D54802' which is standard with most cameras. If you want someone to find your post about a MAC lipstick, rename your images 'MAC lipstick Review' so google and its little spiders that crawl our blogs for info will know what the image is. I also like to add a little summary of what my post is about into the 'properties' section of my images too. I've popped an example from this post above!

So there we have a few of my photography tips! I know most of them are fairly simple but sometimes its the simple things that really do make all the difference. Let me know your top tips in the comments below :)

Lots of love,