High Street v High End: Lip Crayons

I love this sudden influx of easy to use lip colours in the form of chunky crayons - lipstick for dummies! The Chubby Stick from Clinique was the one that kicked off the trend and I'm going to compare it to a cheaper high street offering.

High Street: Bourjois Colour Boost in Proudly Naked - RRP £7.99

This is a lovely pink-toned nude which is great for everyday wear. It's got a slightly glossy finish to it, which I wasn't expecting and I'm not hugely keen on, but that's just personal preference. I'm not massively impressed with the staying power - if you do any eating/drinking it's gone within a second! It's very easy to touch up though and can be done without a mirror. One thing that I do love is that it somehow manages to make my lips look fuller than they are. I've already bought this in a different colour!

High End: Clinique Chubby Stick in Super Strawberry - RRP £17.00 

The staying power of a chubby stick is pretty good for a lip crayon and I only need to touch up as often as I would if I was wearing a lipstick. As with the Bourjois crayon these are really easy to touch up on the go. The main thing I love about these is that they don't dry out my lips as they are quite moisturising which is an important factor for me. The price of these do put me off, but I've had this for ages and used it quite a lot so I do think you get value for money.

Winner: Clinique Chubby Stick - I love these too much for them not to win, but if you are looking for a good high street alternative I would definitely recommend the Bourjois Colour Boost.

Have you tried either of these products? What did you think?

Amy x

Why TX Maxx is the best place to buy nail varnish from

I recently discovered the nail varnish section of TX Maxx and I really don't know how I haven't heard about it before! It's got so many good brands at such bargain prices. I'm not one to spend a lot on nail varnish as I think cheaper brands such as Barry M are just fine so it's quite exciting to try out some that I wouldn't usually buy! I'm going to have to not go in TK Maxx for a while now as I walked out with quite a few!

Nails Inc in Kensington Square and Marylebone Road - £2 and £3.99

Essie in Ruffles and Feathers, Haute in the Heat and Roarrrrange - £6 for all three

Illamasqua in Load - £3.99

These are all perfect spring colours so I won't need any more nail varnish for a while! Have you seen the TK Maxx nail varnish section? What do you think of these colours?

Amy x

Milan Outfits

As you may have seen in my previous posts here and here I recently went to Milan for a couple of days (I'll stop banging on about it after this post I promise!). I wanted to show you what I wore while I was there - the weather was beautiful and sunny, but not too hot so the perfect temperature for walking around and enjoying the sights!

Day 1

Top - Topshop 
Sleeveless cardigan - Tu at Sainsbury's (not online)
Jeans - Topshop (here)
Shoes - Hoxton Chic at TX Maxx (not online)
Bag - Primark
Sunglasses - Primark
Necklace - Primark

Evening 1

Top - Next (old)
Trousers - H&M (here)
Shoes - Asos 
Bag - Primark
Sunglasses - Primark

Day 2

Top - Topshop 
Shirt - Topshop 
Trousers - H&M (here)
Boots - Topshop (similar here)
Bag - Primark
Sunglasses - Primark

Which outfit is your favourite?

Amy x

Two Days in Milan

You might have read in last Sunday's post (here) that I went to Milan for a couple of days last week and in this post I wanted to share some pictures of the trip as well as recommendations of things to do if you fancy going yourself!

I went with two friends from work and we chose Milan simply because it was the cheapest place on Skyscanner (anyone else love going on Skyscanner and searching for 'Everywhere' as your destination? Yep, that's how it happened). We were there for two nights and almost two full days, which actually was enough to see and do everything that we wanted to.

The Duomo

The Duomo is a beautiful building, the highlight definitely being the roof terrace - the roof itself is beautiful as are the views you get from it!

Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II and la Rinascente

There are two shopping centres off Piazza del Duomo worth a visit - the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II is just beautiful especially the glass roof and la Rinascente is lovely for lunch as it has a roof terrace with a choice of three restaurants with a view of the Duomo and piazza. I wouldn't recommend actually doing any shopping in either of them though unless you're a millionaire!

Castello Sforzesco and Parco Sempione

Down the road opposite the Duomo is the Castello Sforzesco which is well worth a see and out through the back is Parco Sempione which is such a pretty place to stop and have an ice cream!

Navigli District

The Navigli District is a system of canals, alongside which are lots of restaurants, cafes and bars so it's a lovely place to go for a coffee/meal/drink. We wandered down there at about 6pm and stayed until 10pm so that we could experience it both in daylight and at night time.

Those would be my main recommendations for things to do although there is obviously a lot more worth doing and seeing on top of those! As you can see from the pictures the weather was absolutely beautiful for us and I'll share some of my outfits in a post soon!

Have you ever been to Milan or if not would you like to?

Amy x

The Shirt Dress

The sun is shining hurray! So much so that most of these photos are horribly over-exposed, but I'm too happy about the sun to worry about that. I had a little splurge on Asos at the beginning of the month and these were two of my purchases. I'd been searching high and low for the perfect shirt dress and this is it - comfy, summery and stripy! Paired with my new flatforms this makes for a perfect sunny day outfit. 

Shirt dress: New Look via Asos 
Flatforms: Asos 

What do you think of shirt dresses?

Amy x

Empties #1

I've been really good recently at using things up before opening something else which means I have quite a few empties on my hands! Quite a mixture of things, here's what I thought of them:

Boots Extracts Rich Cocoa Butter Body Wash - I love this range of products and the cocoa butter scent is my favourite. It's really strong but also smells very clean at the same time. I would definitely repurchase if I didn't have a heap of other shower gels to use up! £4 here

Garnier Oil Beauty Nourishing Scrub - This is possibly my favourite scrub I've ever tried. It smells divine (kind of like honey), leaves my skin feeling super soft and the tube lasted me ages. Again, I would repurchase if I didn't have a waiting list of scrubs to use...£4.77

Burt's Bees Milk & Honey Body Lotion - I'm a big fan of Burt's Bees, but I wasn't overly keen on the scent of this. It doesn't smell like honey to me at all, maybe more like slightly sour milk with a floral hint to it. It is a good body lotion, but I'm put off by the smell! £5.99.

Topshop Nails in Rumours and Lies - I love love love this colour, it featured in my A/W nails post (here) and I literally wore it all through the winter. I won't be repurchasing yet as it's not really a S/S colour, but come A/W it will definitely be a staple again! (I've just tried to find the price and link and it's been discontinued so I'll have to find an alternative for autumn - booo). 

Smashbox Full Exposure Mascara - This was a good mascara and lasted a while, but now that I've found a high street dupe (see my comparison post here) I'll be using the cheaper option instead! £19 here (for the full size).

Have you tried any of these products? What did you think?

Amy x

What's in my Hand Luggage?

A post about hand luggage...yep that means I'm going on holiday! I'll actually just have got back from Milan by the time this post goes live, but I'll have extremely important things to do (such as sleep) so more on my actual holiday next week!

Now, when I say hand luggage, we got this holiday as cheap as we could so that means not paying for bags, ie our hand luggage is our only luggage! So this is actually everything I'm taking!

My case is one of those nifty little ones on wheels and it makes me feel a lot cooler than I am! It was £13.49 from Argos which I'm pretty pleased with! But who cares about the boring case...here's what's in it:

I'm taking two pairs of shoes, as well as the ones I'll be wearing to travel in. My leopard print pair are for walking around in during the day and my lace up flatforms are for drinks in the evening (as long as the weather is nice!)

Because we don't really know what the weather will be like I've packed layers and am taking outfits that will work with an extra layer over the top if it's cold! I've also packed a nice top for evenings. 

I can't go on a plane without some form of entertainment so I'm taking a book and a magazine for the flight (although I'm really hoping that I'll be able to sleep!) and I've also got an Italian phrasebook, which will hopefully help us slightly while we're there.

It wouldn't be hand luggage without the ugly plastic bag of liquids included! Luckily I didn't need to buy anything new apart from the mini deodorant and mini toothpaste as I already had minis from gift sets and sample sizes of things. I also had free samples of moisturiser, shampoo and foundation already which was very handy! I'm also taking some anti-bac hand wipes because you never know when you might need them!

Going away means I get to use my lovely little Cath Kidston make up bag, which has got all my non-liquid make up products in. I'm also taking a separate little plastic bag with my jewellery and little extras in like cotton pads and a nail file. 

I'm taking two bags - one bigger one for the plane, which is from Accessorize and another smaller one for walking around during the day, which is from Primark. Obvious essentials are my passport and some Euros! 

 I can't wait to show you some photos from the actual trip, but until then, ciao (I actually had to look that up in my phrasebook!

Amy x

Buying High End on a Budget

There are so many high end products that I would just love to try, but as I'm sure many of you can relate to, I just can't afford to spend all that money! It's so easy to pick up a drugstore product and not worry about the fact that you haven't tried it properly because if it doesn't work for you then at the end of the day it hasn't broken the bank! However I know I would be gutted if I spent £20 on a product and I didn't like it. So I bring you my best tips on buying high end products when you are on a budget:

1 - Samples samples samples. 
If you ask for a free sample at a counter, you will usually get one. This works in the brand's favour as well as yours if you end up buying the product! Every counter I've been to and asked for a sample has given me one and they usually give you enough so that you can try it enough times to know whether the product works for you or not. This is vital if you are buying high end on a budget as it helps weed out the products that you don't really want at all. 

2 - Free makeovers.
Similarly to free samples, getting a makeover at the beginning of the day and wearing the look for the rest of the day helps you decide whether you really want a product. This is more helpful with eye make up and lipsticks, as those are the items you probably won't be able to get a free sample of. Once you've had your makeover you can decide whether you like the products and you can also test out longevity. 

3 - Points cards.
It's well worth getting a points card from Boots and Superdrug. I tend to use my Boots card more as you get more points for your money (4 points for every £1 you spend). Having a points card means you can save up for something you really want and buy it with your points instead of shelling out the cash. Be careful that you don't just spend for the sake of saving up your points though! 

4 - Offers.
High end brands quite often have offers in certain stores such as Debenhams and House of Fraser, which will usually be a free gift/s when you buy one of their products. It's well worth waiting for an offer to come along so that when you make the splurge you end up getting another high end product to try for free!

5 - Think about it.
This means absolutely no impulse buying. It's easy to lust after a product you've seen on your favourite blog, it's easy to be taken in by sales assistants who are paid to try and make you buy things, but it's really important to not buy a high end product without really thinking about it first. Important things to think about are do you really need it? will you use it often enough? do you actually really really like it? 

6 - Once you have it, look after it!
If you spend your money on a high end product that you've decided you really want, then make sure you look after it, whatever it is!

I hope some of these tips are helpful - let me know if you have any others!

Amy x

Real Techniques Core Collection

I'm currently trying to expand my brush collection so you can imagine my delight when I won a giveaway over on the lovely Lauren's blog of the Real Techniques Core Collection. I've been trying them out for about a month now so thought it was about time I gave you the low down of what I think about them.

Firstly look at how beautifully wrapped they were! Lauren also sent a little card with them, which I thought was really lovely! Onto the brushes themselves:

Buffing Brush - This is great for applying foundation when I'm in a rush in the morning (which is fairly often!) as it's so big and just blends it all in so quickly. If I'm spending a bit more time on my face I love using it at the end of my base routine to buff my face and make sure everything is properly blended in and flawless. 

Contour Brush - This is probably my favourite of the set because it looks the prettiest and is probably the softest! I use this for powder highlight and it's just so easy to use. I used to use a much smaller brush for highlight, but this one means you don't even really need to blend afterwards because it does the job all by itself!

Pointed Foundation Brush - I actually mostly use this brush for concealer rather than foundation as I find it's very precise and easy to wiggle into the corners of your face (I'm awful at phrasing things aren't I?!). I sometimes use it after I've applied my foundation to really blend out my foundation around my hairline and my nose, which it's also very useful for, but I wouldn't use it to apply a full face of foundation as I think I'd get impatient!

Detailer Brush - This is supposed to be for either concealer or lips. I use it for lips as I find it's so easy to apply lipstick with as it's so precise. This is probably my most used brush out of the set, which surprised me as I didn't think I would get much use out of this one, but I've reached for it every time I've applied lipstick. 

All in all I love these brushes and am so grateful to Lauren for introducing me to them! Have you tried the Real Techniques brushes? What do you think?

Amy x