Friday, 30 September 2011

September Favourites

Hi Everyone!
We have come to the end of September 2011 so it is time for my monthly favourites post where I share my most used and loved items from the last month so let's get started!

Jessie's Girl Julie G Nail Polish Collection:
I am such a big fan of Julie G 713's YouTube channel and in particular her nail tutorials so when she announced that she had her own range of nail polishes coming out with Jesse's Girl Cosmetics I knew I had to order them. The colours are amazing and the polishes are such great value for money. My favourites so far have to be Cupcake Frosting and Mermaid's Lagoon. To read my review of the collection and to see swatches please click here.

Urban Decay 15th Anniversary Palette:
This palette was my big make-up splurge this month and I love it! The palette is full of great quality shadows in such a great range of colours. I have been using this so much over the last few months. My favourite shadow from the palette is Omen which is a gorgeous purple colour. To read my review of the palette and to see swatches please click here.

Vera Wang Lovestruck Perfume:
Vera Wang is one of my favourite fragrance designers and I own both the original Princess and the Preppy Princess so Lovestruck was bound to be on my wish list! As you can see, it has the most gorgeous lid design and I was also drawn in by the fact that one of my fashion idols, Leighton Meester was in the advertising campaign! I am not the best at describing perfume smells but to me this is quite a light flowery and fruity scent.

Nails Inc Magnetic Nail Polish:
Well I totally got sucked into the whole magnetic polish craze this month! I couldn't believe how easy it was to do and how great it looked! I imagine that this will take over from the Crackle coat for the most wanted nail art! Click here to read my review of the polish and to see swatches.

Maybelline Falsies Black Mascara:
Any of you who regularly read my blog will know that I am a huge fan of L'Oreal mascaras but I have heard so many good things via YouTube about this mascara and seen as it was on offer in Superdrug I thought that it was a good time to give it a try and I have to say that I am impressed. I particularly like the curved shape of the wand and it does a good job at volumizing my lashes. Would I permanently swap my L'Oreal mascaras for this? Probably not no but it comes in at a close second!

MAC Viva Glam V Lipstick:
This lipstick has been in my collection for quite a while now but, for some unknown reason, I don't seem to have worn it all that much. It is a neutral rosy pink colour that just warms up your lips without being too obvious. As I have started at college this month I needed to hunt out my more subtle lipsticks so this fit the bill perfectly. I forgot just how nice it is plus, as with all of MAC's Viva Glam products, the full RRP, less the VAT goes to people affected by HIV and Aids which is amazing.

MAC Woodwinked & Mulch Eyeshadows:
As I mentioned above, I have recently started back at college so needed to tone down a bit for classes so I dug out my old faithful eyeshadows, Woodwinked (a warm antique gold) and Mulch (a Red-brown with bronze pearl) which are such a classic combination in my opinion! I like to apply Woodwinked all over my lid over MAC's Rubenesque Paint Pot (a Golden peach with gold pearl) and then add Mulch into the crease with a little Espresso ( a Muted golden brown) in the outer corner just to darken it up slightly.

MAC Peachykeen Blush:
This is a baby peach coloured blush that looks lovely paired with the above eye look. This is one of my most recent MAC blush purchases and I have been using it a lot over the past month. I love how it warms up your face without being too much.
I hope that you have enjoyed this post and don't forget to look out for my October favourites at the end of the month!
Maz x

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Revlon Facets of Fuchsia Nail Polish - Review & Swatch

Hi Everyone!
Today I applied one of Revlon's new nail polishes called Facets of Fuchsia from their Autumn/ Winter 2011 collection. This is a really eye catching polish, it has a really dark, black-purple base packed full of a mixture of small round shaped and larger hexagon shaped fuchsia glitters. I haven't tried any Revlon nail polishes before, but have heard good things about them so I have high hopes for this one.

First I applied 2 coats of OPI Matte Nail Envy as my base followed by 2 coats of Facets of Fuchsia. The polish isn't too pretty after the first coat to be honest! It is almost grey in colour and streaky. The consistency of the lacquer is quite thin and watery which doesn't make it all that easy to apply but it isn't a complete nightmare. The second coat, however, completely transforms the polish into something really stunning. The thin, water-like appearance turns into a gorgeous jelly look with evenly dispersed glitter. I found that the polish dried pretty quickly as I usually find with most glitter polishes. Despite the glitter being quite chunky the finish doesn't feel too gritty which is great. I then finished off with 1 coat of Seche Vite Fast Drying Top Coat which added a gorgeous shine to the polish.

I have read online that this polish is a close dupe for Deborah Lippmann's Bad Romance Nail Polish so I'd perhaps skip this one if you already own that one! However, Deborah Lippmann polishes are priced at £16 in the UK ( sold at House of Fraser Online so if you have wanted to try Bad Romance but have been put off by the high price tag this could be a great option for you!
Overall, I really love this polish and the poor first coat and application is totally forgotten when you see the finished look. The price tag is also a great plus point for me as I am used to paying around £11 a bottle for Essie and OPI. Maybe I'll have to take a look at the other new polishes from the new collection.

I purchased my bottle of Facets of Fuchsia from Superdrug for £6.49. You can also get it from Boots. Look out for special offers on Revlon cosmetics as both stores often have them!
Maz x

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Coastal Scents 88 Color Eye Shadow Palette Review

Hi Everyone!
I have recently purchased the Original 88 color eye shadow palette from Coastal Scents and thought that I would share it with you all. My reason for buying this palette is that I am training to be a make up artist and need as many eye shadow colours that I can get my hands on to practice. I do own quite a large collection of MAC and Urban Decay shadows but I am saving them for my portfolio pictures at the end of the course. I was drawn to this palette for several reasons, one being that it has every colour you can think of, secondly the affordable price (88 shadows for less than £24) and lastly because I have seen Coastal Scents palettes refereed to on YouTube so many times! CS is not a brand that is all that well known in the UK but is becoming increasingly more available through online retailers such as Amazon UK.

So on to the palette itself, it is made from black plastic and has a snap-shut lid. The inside of the lid features a handy mirror and 2 double ended eye shadow applicators. There are 88 shadows which are all roughly the size of a 5 pence coin. There is a massive selection of colours going from neutral shades on the left into browns, greens, blues, pinks, purples, orange, golds, reds, silvers, greys and finally blacks so the amount of looks that you can create are pretty much endless. Here are some close up pictures of the shadows for you:

I swatched a selection of the shadows for you and tried to include a wide variety of shades, some of the shadows have a high level of pigmentation and some are more sheer which I like.

Most of the shadows have matte finishes but a few have more of a satin finish which is great as it reduces the chance of having any fall out which is a massive plus point if you are short on time or inexperienced at applying eyeshadow.
Overall, I think that this palette is great value for money (even better in the US due to the lower price) and is ideal for a make-up artist, student or general enthusiast. It would also make an ideal gift for someone who is just getting into makeup and building their collection. I read on a few online sites that the glue that holds the shadow pans in place is a little weak and some may fall out over time but I can not comment on this as I have only had the palette for about a week.
I purchased my palette from Amazon for £23.99 and you can also get it from the Coastal Scents website for $18.99.
Maz x

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Top 5 Bobbi Brown Products

Hi Everyone!
This is the latest in my series of top 5 products from various beauty brands, this one focuses on Bobbi Brown. This is a very expensive brand and I tend to purchase the odd product from them as a treat so if, like me, you can not afford to buy lots of items from the brand, you may find this post helpful when picking out what you want to spend your money on! You can purchase the entire range of Bobbi Brown products from their official website.

1. Pot Rouge:
I am a huge fan of the Bobbi Brown Pot Rouge. This is an amazing, award winning cream product that can be used on both your lips and cheeks and comes in 5 colour choices. I love the colour Powder Pink which works so well with my skin (I am an NW20) and is so quick and easy to apply. Powder Pink is a really subtle shade that gives you a lovely flush of colour to the cheeks. Pot Rouge costs £18 which is very expensive but it is a very versatile product and you get a decent amount for your money.

2. Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner:
This is probably my favourite product from the Bobbi Brown line. The liner glides onto your skin really easily and gives you the effect of a liquid liner. I use the Black Ink liner on a regular basis and have never found any problems with smudging or flaking, even when I do not set the liner with a black powder eyeshadow such as MAC's Carbon. The gel liners cost £16.50 each.

3. Corrector:
I think that the Bobbi Brown Correctors are a pretty unique product, they are pink or peach based and are designed to correct under eye darkness and intended to be used before your concealer. I use the colour Bisque for my skin and concentrate a small amount of it onto the inner corners of my eyes as that is where I get the most discolouration, I then add my concealer over the top of it. I would highly recommend this product if you suffer from a lot of under eye darkness as you can really notice an improvement compared to when you are only wearing concealer. The Corrector costs £17.

4. Long-Wear Cream Shadow:
I really like Bobbi Brown's range of cream shadows which are really quick to apply and I have worn them alone over a eye primer and found that they wear pretty well. There is a really nice colour range, my favourites are Slate which is a medium grey colour and Heather which is a warm mauve colour. These shadows also make great bases for pressed shadows. They cost £17 each.

5. Books
OK so this may seem like a rather strange addition to this post but Bobbi has written several make up books including the one I own which is called The Makeup Manual. This is a great book to have in your collection if, like me, you are training to be a make up artist or if you just love make up in general! The pictures are gorgeous and there are lots of helpful tips, guidance and demonstrations. The book is priced at £20 on the Bobbi Brown website but you may find it a little cheaper from other retailers such as Amazon.

I hope that you have enjoyed reading about my top 5 Bobbi Brown products and hope that you have found it useful. Please check out the rest of my top 5 series by clicking on the brand names below:
Top 5 MAC products.
Top 5 Urban Decay products.
Top 5 NARS products.
Top 5 NYX products.

Maz x

Monday, 26 September 2011

Too Faced Bronzer's Series - Part 1 - Pink Leopard

Too Faced Pink Leopard Mini Bronzing Powder 1 ea

Hi Everyone!
This is my first in a series of 3 posts about Too Faced Bronzers. The first bronzer that I will be reviewing is their popular Pink Leopard Bronzer. This is such a pretty looking bronzer that I am sure many of us are drawn to. Too Faced describe it as Golden Bronze/ Gilded Pink/ Neutral Fawn. Here is a swatch of the bronzer shown on NW20 skin.

This is a fairly standard bronzer. Its is a light bronze shade with no shimmer which is great. It is not matte, it is more of a frost finish which I like as I think that you could also use it to contour your cheekbones if you have paler skin. I really like the pinky tones that the bronzer has as I find that it blends into your skin easier and looks more natural. Due to the paleness of the powder I wouldn't recommend this for darker skin tones, if in doubt I would suggest swatching it in store before purchasing.
I purchased my bronzer from Boots for £22. You can also purcahase it from Amazon here: Too Faced Pink Leopard Mini Bronzing Powder 1 ea
Look out for part 2 of my Too Faced bronzer series coming soon!
Maz x

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Lemon & White Chocolate Cookies

Hi Everyone!
I love lemon and white chocolate and have been looking for recipes combining both of these ingredients for a while now, I came across this recipe for cookies recently so thought I'd give it a go!

110g Unsalted Butter
100g Caster Sugar
55g Soft Brown Sugar
Pinch of Salt
Zest of 1 Lemon
1 tsp Lemon Extract
1 Large Egg, beaten
170g Plain Flour
1/2 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
200g White Chocolate, cut into chunks

1. Pre heat oven to 190C and line a baking tray or sheet with baking paper.
2. Cream the butter, caster sugar, brown sugar and salt together until fluffy.
3. Beat in the lemon zest and extract.
4. Beat in the egg until well combined.
5. Now sift the flour and bicarbonate of soda into the creamy mixture and mix until just combined.
6. Next add the chocolate chunks and mix until well combined.
7. Drop well spaced, heaped teaspoonfuls of the dough onto the tray/ sheets and bake for 7-8 minutes until the cookies are golden in colour and starting to brown around the edges.
8. Remove from the oven and allow them to cool on the tray for 1 minute before transferring them to a wire rack to cool fully.

This recipe makes up to 25 cookies depending on how big you want them to be.
This is such a tasty recipe and the cookies have just the right amount of lemon flavouring and are nice and light. I found this recipe on the following website: A Spoonful of Sugar
Maz x

Friday, 23 September 2011

Nails Inc Magnetic Nail Polish - Review & Swatch

Hi Everyone!
OK so hands up anyone who has fallen for the magnetic nail polish gimmick! Guilty as charged! I just couldn't help myself from pre-ordering (very sad, I know!) one of Nails Inc's new magnetic polishes. They have just released 3 shades, all named after major London landmarks/ buildings:

Trafalgar Square: Metallic Silver/ Chrome
Houses of Parliament: Metallic Purple
Big Ben: Metallic Gold

As my favourite colour is purple I went for Houses of Parliament, plus as a politics student, I thought that it was a sign! As you can see in the picture below the polish comes with a double cap, the magnet is in the first lid.

How to apply:
1. Begin my applying a base coat, I used Seche Base, to clean nails.
2. Paint your nails with one coat of the polish and allow them to dry.
3. Next apply a generous coat of polish to one nail and hold the magnet over the nail aligning the clip against your cuticle and hold for a few seconds, then repeat this step for the rest of your nails making sure that you are doing one nail at a time.
4. Finish off by applying a top coat of your choice, I used Seche Vite Ultra Fast Drying Top Coat.

I love how this looks! It's so unusual and almost watery looking! I went to the shops this morning and had 3 comments on how nice they look! I was so surprised at how easy the polish was to use! It applied really nice and smoothly, like your average polish and the magnet is simple to use and gives a great effect every time. The polish is a bit dearer than the average Nails Inc polishes but I think it's worth it for this unusual fun look. I expect that these polishes will sell quickly so order soon!
You can purchase the magnetic polishes from Nails Inc for £13 each.
Maz x

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Top 5 NYX Products

Hi Everyone!
This post is about one of my favourite brands of make up, NYX cosmetics. They offer a great range of products which are all at really affordable prices. The brand isn't very well known in the UK but it is easy to buy via the UK NYX Website. These are my top 5 picks from the brand.

1. Powder Blush:
NYX blushes are amazing! They are great quality, apply smoothly and blend out well. They come in a great choice of colours too. My favourites are Angel, Pinky, Peach and Silky Rose. As you can see I have de-potted my blushes and put them into a Z palette, I wouldn't recommend this though as they are really hard to depot! NYX blushes are £5.50.

2. Lipgloss Mega Shine:
The mega shine glosses are amazing! My favourite colour is Sweetheart which is a perfect pinky-nude colour. The glosses are shiny but not too shiny or sticky. They also taste and smell great too. I really like the packaging as they have a bow on the lid which is really cute. Again, there is a wide range to choose from and they cost £7 each.

3. Slim Lip Pencils:
I am a huge fan of lip pencils and often use MAC and Urban Decay, I decided to give the NYX ones a try as they are much more affordable at £3 each which means that you can buy a pencil to match every lipstick you have without breaking the bank! They are great quality and apply and blend really well. There are lots of colours to choose from, I especially like Nude Pink and Rose.

4. Jumbo Eye Pencils:
The Jumbo Eye Pencils are probably one of NYX's most loved products and I can totally understand why. They are chunky, creamy eye pencils that can be used as either an eye liner or eyeshadow. I really like to use them as an eyeshadow base as they really make the eyeshadow colour pop. Milk has to be my favourite as it is a white colour that is great to use as an inner corner and brow highlighter, I also really like Black Bean, Strawberry Milk, Purple Velvet and Gold. They are priced at £4.50 each which, I think, is great value for money.

5. Concealer Stick:
NYX offer a brilliant selection of concealer stick colours that suit every skin tone and also offer lavender and green coloured sticks which aren't that easy to find from drugstore priced brands. The sticks are retractable and creamy and they can be blended out using your finger, a brush or a sponge and can be used under the eyes or anywhere else on your face to cover any blemishes or discolouration that you may have. I especially love the green one as it covers any redness on my face really well. They are priced at £5 each.

I hope that you have enjoyed my post about my top 5 NYX products. Check out my other top 5 posts too, click here to see my Top 5 MAC products, Click here to see my top 5 Urban Decay products and here to read about my top 5 Nars products.
Maz x

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Anti Shine Primers - Makeup Forever, Smashbox & No 7

Hi Everyone!
I, like many of you I'm sure, suffer from shiny areas on my face which I hate. I know that powders and blotting papers can help to reduce the appearance of these shiny areas but I would prefer to prevent them from happening so I looked on the market for products that could do this. I found 3 that I purchased and have tried each of them out quite a few times over the course of 6 months to see how they each perform. I bought the Makeup Forever Matifying Gel Stop Shining +, the Smashbox Anti Shine and the No7 Shine Free Make-up Base. Here's how the 3 of them appear on your skin before blending them in:

(L to R) Makeup Forever, Smashbox, No 7

Makeup Forever Stop Shining +: This is a gel product which has a narrow tip on the end of the packaging which allows you to squeeze out the exact amount that you need and reduces waste. You can apply this product before or after your foundation, I like to apply it before. The gel blends easily into your skin and is invisible under your makeup. I found that it definitely reduces the oiliness of your skin but does leave some shine. Overall 8/10
Smashbox Anti Shine: Similarly to the Makeup Forever product, you can wear this under or over your makeup but I always wear it underneath. This is a gel to powder product that claims to control oil leaving your skin matte. Firstly, I do not like the way that this product applies to the skin, I used the suggested patting motion but find that it balls up rather than disappears into the skin however it does do a good job of controlling the oil but is visible under your makeup. Overall 5/10
No 7 Shine Free Makeup Base: This is the cheapest of the 3 products that I have tested and is the most easily available across the UK. The product claims to help minimise your blemishes and blot away shine. I did not feel when wearing it that it minimised my blemishes but it did reduce the oiliness of my skin slightly compared to when I was not wearing it. Overall 3/10

So to conclude, my favourite product of the 3 that I have put to the test has to be the Makeup Forever Stop Shining + as it reduced the shine on my skin the most and was not visible underneath my foundation, it did not appear cakey like the Smashbox product and did a much better job and controlling the oil than the No 7 product. The MUFE product cost £14.50 which I don't think is too expensive for the amount of product that you get and the tiny amount that you need. I have found that if I apply the MUFE gel to my oily areas (T-zone, tip of nose and chin) and use the odd blotting paper I stay shine free all day!
You can purchase the Makeup Forever Stop Shinning + from Guru Makeup Emporium for £14.50.
You can purchase the Smashbox Anti Shine from Debehams for £21.50 and also from Amazon here: Smashbox Anti-Shine Powder-Gel, Neutral 1 ea
You can purchase the No 7 Shine Free Makeup Base from Boots for £11.
Maz x

Monday, 19 September 2011

What's In My Bag/ Purse?

Hi Everyone!
I have seen so many beauty blogger's and YouTube guru's posting 'What's in my bag' posts and videos and really enjoyed them so I thought that I would join in and share the contents of my handbag with you all. I hope that you find this interesting!

Juicy Couture Daydreamer Handbag: This is my favourite bag and is probably the bag I carry around with me the most. It is a great size and has compartments in side to store things plus a mirror. I purchased this from ASOS last year and have been really pleased with it. The only downside to it is that it is pretty heavy but that is often the case with larger bags!

Pretty Little Liars Book by Sara Shepard: I am obsessed with the Pretty Little Liars TV show so I thought that I would read the books, this is the first one and I am around half way through it at the moment. Season 1 of the TV show finished in the UK a couple of weeks ago and I can't wait for season 2!
DKNY Purse: I have had this purse for ages now and it is still in one piece! I love DKNY accessories and have quite a few of their bags. I really liked the size and style of this purse.
Extra Ice Mints and Car Keys: There's not much I can really say about these 2 items! These are my favourite mints and I drive a Toyota if anyone is interested!

Hello Kitty Hairbrush: I purchased this mini hairbrush from Claire's Accessories a couple of weeks ago as I love anything from Hello Kitty!
Leighton Denny Crystal Nail File: I have to have a nail file in my bag as I hate it when my nails chip or split when I am out and there is nothing that I can do about it! This file is really good and I love that it comes in its own little case as it stops any of the left over nail dust from going all over your bag!
Hello Kitty Melon Lip Balm: I got this lip balm from H & M in Manchester last week, I didn't really need another lip balm but I got sucked in by the leopard print Hello Kitty packaging!
Carex Hand Gel: Wherever I go I have to carry hand gel with me! I hate getting dirty hands!

Pout Make-up Bag: I purchased this make up bag several years ago from Pout cosmetics which I think no longer exists! It is such a nice size and is made from really soft materials, I also love the colour and pattern.
MAC Lipsticks: I usually carry around 3 lipsticks with me, a pink, a red and a more neutral one and these change from month to month. I like to have this choice in my bag so that I can change my lipstick on the go according to my mood! This month's 3 lipsticks are Marquise'd from the Wonder Woman collection, Barcelona Red and Please Me.
MAC Prep and Prime Lip: I love MAC's Prep and Prime Lip and have been through several tubes of it. I definitely notice a difference as to how long my lip colour stays in place when I have this on, compared to when I don't.
MAC Lip Pencils: I always like to line and fill in my lips before applying lipstick as I think it makes a big difference as to how easily your lipstick goes on and how long it stays put. Obviously I match my pencils to the lipsticks I have in my bag, I used Subculture with Marquise'd, Chicory with Barcelona Red and Dervish with Please Me.
NYX Mega Shine Lipgloss in Sweetheart: I am more of a lipstick person than a lipgloss person but this is my most worn gloss so I always like to have it with me! It looks great on it's own or over a neutral or pink lipstick.
Stila Eyeliner in Topaz: This is a flesh toned eyeliner that I use in the water line if I feel that I look a bit tired, it also makes a great change from my regular black liner.
MAC Smoulder Eye Kohl: Smoulder Eye Kohl is my favourite black eyeliner and I wear it all of the time especially on my waterline.
ELF Blotting Sheets: I suffer with quite a lot of shine on my t-zone, cheeks and chin so I always like to have a pack of blotting sheets in my bag.
Chanel Compact Mirror: OK so I know that this one is a bit of a show off item but I love it! I bought it over 10 years ago and had wanted it for ages! Inside it has a plain mirror on one side and a magnified one on the other which is really handy.

So there are the contents of my bag! I hope that you have enjoyed having a nosy!
Maz x

Friday, 16 September 2011

Jesse's Girl Julie G Nail Polish Collection Swatches & Review

Hi Everyone!
I am so excited to share this collection of nail polishes with you all! I am a big fan of Julie G 713 on YouTube (click here to visit her channel) she is an amazing beauty guru who regularly posts beauty, nails and fashion posts. She recently teamed up with Jesse's Girl Cosmetics to launch her own range of limited edition nail polishes which she designed and named herself and I have purchased the entire collection. Jesse's Girl Cosmetics is a really fun and affordable brand which is readily available to buy in the US but not so well known here in the UK however the website does offer international shipping.

(L to R) Girls Night Out, Cupcake Frosting, Stiletto, Beauty Guru

(L to R) Fashion Friday, Mermaid's Lagoon, Party Dress, All Things Girly

Here are the descriptions of the polishes:

Stiletto: This is a neutral grey-taupe shade, Julie is a big fan of shoes which is why she named this polish Stiletto!
Party Dress: This is another orange colour and is named after a dress that Julie owns and is her favourite colour.
Mermaids Lagoon: This is a stunning turquoise colour and is named after one of Julie's favourite make up tutorial.
Girls Night Out: This is a creamy dark blue and is named as she loves a girls night out, this is one of my favourites from the collection.
Fashion Friday: Julie usually posts fashion videos on a Friday so that is how this polish got its name, it is a beautiful purple shade that is very similar to the background that Julie has during her videos.
Cupcake Frosting: This is my favourite name from the collection and is a lovely, girly pink shade and is also named after one of her tutorials.
Beauty Guru: This one gets its name as Julie is a beauty guru and it is a lovely orange colour.
All Things Girly: This is a soft coral colour named because her channel is very girly!

Here are the swatches of the polishes:

(L to R) Cupcake Frosting, Fashion Friday, Girls Night Out, Mermaid's Lagoon

(L to R) Stiletto, All Things Girly, Beauty Guru, Party Dress
I was really impressed with how well the polishes applied especially for their low cost. All of the polishes were fully opaque after 2 coats and dried evenly and smoothly. I think that these polishes are a must have if you are a fan of Julie G like me but even if you aren't the polishes are gorgeous colours and great quality for the price. There are 8 individual colours in total that cost $3.99 each and the entire collection is priced at $25. You can purchase them from Jesse's Girl Cosmetics Online and in Rite Aid stores across the US.

Maz x

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Lemon Sponge Cake

Hi Everyone!
Today I made a gorgeous lemon sponge cake as requested by my mum! It is made up of 2 layers of lemon sponge with a lemon curd filling and topped with white and yellow icing with some white chocolate buttons. It is kind of a Victoria sponge cake crossed with a Lemon Drizzle cake! Here's how to make it.

For the Cake
225g/ 8oz Self Raising Flour
225g/8oz Butter
225g/8oz Caster Sugar
4 Eggs
Grated Zest of 1 Lemon
1 tbsp Lemon Juice
For the Filling:
Approx 4 tbsp Lemon Curd
For the Topping:
225g/8oz Icing Sugar
The Juice of 1-2 Lemons
Tube of Yellow Icing
White Chocolate Buttons

1. Pre heat the oven to 180C/ 350F/ Gas Mark 4 and line/ grease 2 sponge tins.
2. Whisk the caster sugar and butter together in a large bowl until light and fluffy.
3. Whisk in one egg at a time until all of the eggs have been added and the batter is smooth.
4. Fold in half of the sifted flour then add the lemon zest and juice and the remaining flour, continue to fold the ingredients together until everything has been incorporated.
5. Spoon the batter into the 2 tins and bake for around 35 minutes until the cakes are a golden brown colour and are springy to touch. A skewer should come out of the cake clean. Allow the cakes to cool.
6. Once the cakes have cooled spread the lemon curd onto the top of one of them and then sandwich the other cake on top of it.
7. To make the icing simply empty the icing sugar into a large bowl and add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and mix, adding more lemon juice slowly until the icing becomes smooth and not too runny. Spread this over the top of the cake.
8. Allow the  icing to set for a couple of minutes and then use your tube of yellow icing to create a pattern on the top. I just drew straight (ish) lines across the cake and then added chocolate buttons!

This cake is so moist and delicious and full of lemon flavour. I love the addition of the chocolate buttons on the top too. This is a definite winner for me! Give it a try!
Maz x

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Real Techniques Starter Brush Set Review

Hi Everyone!
I recently ordered the Real Technique's by Samantha Chapman Starter Brush Set and wanted to share my thoughts and opinions on this product with you all. For those of you who haven't heard of Samantha Chapman she is a UK based make-up artist who, along with her sister Nic, post tutorials on YouTube under the username of Pixiwoo (click here to see her channel). Samantha is such a talented make up artist and I love to watch her videos and have seen her using her own brushes and wanted to try them. The brush handles are black and purple in colour, the black part has a rubberised coating which provides you with a better grip. The brush hairs are made from soft, hand cut taklon bristles and are cruelty free. There are currently 3 sets of brushes available, as well as some individual ones and I chose this set which contains 5 eye brushes.

Front of Packaging

Back of Packaging

(L to R) Accent Brush, Brow Brush, Deluxe Crease Brush, Base Shadow Brush, Pixel-Point Eyeliner Brush

Base Shadow Brush: Applies a smooth, flawless foundation of colour.
Deluxe Crease Brush: Soft, over sized design for effortless contouring.
Accent Brush: Designed for precision detailing, spotlighting, highlighting and contouring.
Pixel-Point Eyeliner Brush: Tapered cut is ideal for dense or fine eyeliner application.
Brow Brush: Distinctive shape easily defines eyebrows.

I took 4 of the brushes from the collection and compared them to similar brushes that I already own to see how they measure up. The Accent brush is the only brush that I haven't compared against another brush as it is nothing like anything else I own! I especially love this brush for applying colour to my lower lashline as it really fits under there well.

(L to R) RT Pixel-Point Eyeliner Brush, Sigma E05
First up I took the Pixel-Point eyeliner brush and compared it to my Sigma E05 brush. As you can see from the picture above, the RT brush is much fuller and longer and less pointed than the Sigma one. To be totally honest I am not sure whether I really get this brush or not! It is good for when you want a thicker line but I would rather have the more precise Sigma brush. I think that I will be using it for applying colour underneath my lower lashline.

(L to R) RT Brow Brush, MAC 208

Next up I am comparing the brow brush to my usual MAC brow brush, the 208. As you can see, the RT brush is much bigger than the 208, however, the 208 is very small, and in my opinion, a little too small. You obviously won't be getting the same precise control with the RT brush as you would with the MAC one, but the RT one is quicker to use. I have also tried applying gel eyeliner with it too and it works really well!

(L to R) RT Base Shadow, MAC 239
OK, as you can see the RT shadow brush looks nothing like the MAC 239 but they are both supposed to do roughly the same job! The RT brush is much fuller and fluffier than the 239, the bristles on the 239 brush are much shorter and more tightly packed together. The RT brush applies pressed shadows really well, but I feel that it is a bit too fluffy to apply loose pigments as you will get quite a bit of fall out. The advantage that it does have over the 239 is that it can blend out your eyeshadow as well as applying them which is great for when you are in a rush and want to apply one colour all over your lid.

(L to R) RT Deluxe Crease Brush, MAC 224, MAC 217
Finally I have compared the RT Crease Brush to the MAC 217 and 224. The bristles on the RT brush are quite tightly packed together, similar to the 217 brush but is is fuller than it, it is also much rounder at the tip. It is also shorter than both of the MAC brushes. The RT brush is great for applying colour to your crease and deposits more colour that the 224 brush would but does not give the precision of the 217. Overall, I would say that the RT brush is a cross between the 224 and the 217 brushes.
To conclude, I think that these brushes are excellent quality and are very different from other brushes that I own which is great. I love the look of the brushes, mainly because purple is my favourite colour and how easy they are to grip. They biggest plus point has to be the price, I feel that the set is great value for money especially when you think of the fact that you can easily spend that amount of one brush from MAC. I am really impressed with Real Techniques as a brand and will definitely consider buying more from the range.
I purchased my brush set from Cocktail Cosmetics for £20.95. They are also available at Ulta stores in the USA.
Maz x


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