Monday, 27 November 2017

MAC STUDIO FIX &
STROBE CREAM

I've been flaky about foundation for years, drifting from one to the other based on what was on offer in Boots, or whatever vaguely matched my skin tone (and looking back on old photos, I think I was generally unsuccessful with my guesses). I'm wary about full coverage foundation (it just feels too heavy!), but I have wee red cheeks, and feel like I've forever been looking for something that balances out my skin, but doesn't feel too intense on my face.

Enter MAC. I was invited along to 'rediscover' their Studio Fix foundation and get properly colour-matched for the first time. I've only tried MAC foundations once, and didn't get on well with them, although this was back in the day when I used my fingers to apply foundation (the horror), so on reflection, I think I was definitely part of the problem.

MAC Strobe Cream and Studio Fix
Strobe Cream* - £25
MAC Studio Fix* - £23.50
Studio Fix is billed as a modern foundation that combines a natural matte finish and medium to full buildable coverage with various UVA, UVB and SPF protections. I was matched with shade NW10, and learned where I've been going wrong all these years - I've always tested foundations on the back of my hand, and the make up artist explained that really you should be aiming to match the tone of your neck and chest, so the colour all blends perfectly. 

I flagged that I was not a fan of heavy coverage (and that had put me off MAC in the past), and then was introduced to my new favourite thing, Strobe Cream. This is a super shiny hydrating moisturiser that is packed with iridescent particles to give you a lovely glow. You can either put it on before foundation, or mix it with Studio Fix for a lighter application.

MAC Strobe Cream before and after
Left - bare face
Right - after applying Strobe Cream
I left MAC with a full face of make up feeling lovely and glowy, but I knew the real test was whether I could actually do this at home with my scrappy make up techniques. Turns out, I totally can!

I've been using these products for just over a month, and I'm in love. My new routine is to moisturise as usual (using Aveeno, the very best moisturiser), and then use Strobe Cream instead of a primer. You can hopefully see above the effect it has - my skin goes from flat and dull to seriously glowy, and it provides a really good base for the rest of my make up. I use a damp make up sponge to apply foundation, which solves all of my coverage woes - Studio Fix is really easy to build up so I can get it just how I like it, and using a sponge means it applies really evenly. 

MAC Studio Fix and Strobe Cream

I add cream blush, and a bit of powder using the make up sponge (just under my eyes and around my nose/bits where it might start to slip) and that's it. The end result looks really natural, it feels light on my face, I've been really pleasantly surprised by how it lasts pretty much all day, and I think I've found a colour that actually looks like my skin. I'm so pleased!

I'll admit that at £25, it's unlikely I'd have tried Strobe Cream without prompting (as I am make up stingy), but now I have I am HOOKED. It's so great, it works so well under foundation, and you only use a tiny amount, so I reckon it's going to last quite a while. You can buy mini versions and I'm pretty sure MAC counters will give you a free sample to try, so I'd totally recommend giving it a go.

Monday, 20 November 2017

LUSH SPA: THE GOOD HOUR

I'm a big fan of Lush, and ever since they opened their first spa in Edinburgh, I've been steadily working my way through their treatment menu. Lush is animal-friendly, with fresh, 100% vegetarian products that are never tested on animals, and they use simple, minimal packaging. I know it's not everyone's cup of tea, but I love the signature Lush scent, and I'm easily won over by their quirky, cool style, which is reflected in their spa design and the treatments they offer.

Over the years, thanks to my family's tendency to get me a Lush gift card at Christmas,  I've had the chance to try quite a bit of what the spa has on offer: Synaesthesia (loved it!), Hard Days Night (not for me - turns out I am not that much of a Beatles fan), and the Comforter (loved it so much I've had it twice!).

This time round I was seriously considering getting a Comforter treatment for the third time, but as I'd been getting plagued with a really achey shoulder, I thought it was good opportunity to go for The Good Hour - Lush's only deep tissue massage.

Lush Spa Good Hour massage

The Good Hour promises 70 minutes (a good hour indeed!) of full-body, deep-tissue massage using trigger point techniques and jelly discs to set you free from long-term areas of tension. It's also themed around ships and sailors. Of course.

The music for the treatment fuses folk music with heave-ho sea shanties (think - hipster pirate songs), and your therapist massages you in time to the rhythm of the tide, as the sound of waves fills the room. I know that does sound a bit ridiculous, but if anyone can pull it off, it's Lush.

When you arrive (in the super cute spa that's hidden under their busy store), the therapist talks you through the treatment, inviting you to pick out a massage bar that they'll use (I selected the Hottie, a ginger and black pepper bar specifically designed for the treatment). When you go into the treatment room they put a Big Blue bath bomb into dry ice to give it all a misty, seasidey vibe, and the ship sound effects are in full flow - I thought it might be a bit cheesy, but the creaking ship and gently splashing waves are really atmospheric, and totally set the scene.

Lush Spa Edinburgh

The massage itself was great. Because I was keen to get the knots out of my sore shoulder (and I'm brave) I told my therapist to be pretty hard with the pressure (they ask you at the start, so you can flag if you are looking for a lighter touch!). Deep tissue massages are quite intense, but I could feel all the crunchy bits being worked out of my back, and particularly knotted bits were soothed with cold jelly discs which felt amazing.

I was really sensitive afterwards, and was advised to have a few baths over the next week, as my muscles were likely to be pretty tender. I was a little sore, but it didn't last long, and my grim achy shoulder has been great ever since!

The Good Hour is £90 for a treatment, which ain't cheap but it is good, so think of it as a special occasion treat. It was good to get a massage that felt like it was fixing something, but I think next time I'll go for one that's all about relaxation... I've got my eye on the Validation Facial, and I can but dream of Karma (definitely out of my budget!).

Friday, 17 November 2017

WHAT TO WATCH THIS AUTUMN

'Tis the season to be cosy! It's finally starting to get cold and frosty and I am here for it! I love winter jackets (especially after the horror of dealing with mild not-quite-jacket days), I love when it gets properly dark in the evening, I love cosy autumnal cooking (roasts! pies! soups!), I love frosty rooftops, and I love love love the total joy of being curled up on the sofa when it's grim outside.

It's been two years since I moved into my little flat and I still love it. My living room is colourful and full of plants, which helps distract from the fact that 99% of it is from IKEA or hand-me-down stuff, although I keep telling myself that some point soon I'll save for some of the things on my proper grownup wishlist... aka new balcony doors, a fiddle leaf fig, and a shiny 4K tv (if anyone's asking I'll take a Panasonic HDR 4K TV, thanks very much!).

As it's officially peak tv-watching time, I thought I'd put together a little round-up of the best things I've been watching, most of which can be found on Netflix or Amazon. Let me know if there's anything amazing I've missed!

Crime


I am a big fan of a crime drama, so it didn't take me long to get through Mindhunter, a show set in the early days of criminal psychology and profiling at the FBI. It's quite a slow burner, but once you're on board with that it's an engrossing and creepy look at serial killers.

Alias Grace is the newest Margaret Atwood adaptation, and it tells the tale of Grace Marks, a housemaid and immigrant from Ireland who was imprisoned (possibly wrongly) for the murder of her employer. It's based on a true story, Sarah Gadon is brilliant as Grace, and it keeps you guessing the whole way through as she recounts the events leading up to the murder.

I'm also excited that the newest season of Broadchurch is coming to Netflix at the end of the month! If you haven't seen the first two series they are both on Amazon, and Olivia Coleman is wonderful.

Comedy


Ever since I finished Parks & Rec (the greatest tv show of all time), I've been looking for a comedy with short episodes (under 30 minutes) and recently discovered Brooklyn Nine-Nine, a comedy with Andy Samberg set in a Brooklyn police station. W1A is also good for a quick comedy fix (although, working in media, sometimes it feels a bit close to home!).

I absolutely adore Jane the Virgin, which is a lovely funny satirical romantic comedy telenovela, and the perfect show to lift your spirits. Equally funny is the musical comedy Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, a super smart show that is full of excellent and accurate songs (hi Let's Generalise About Men & Heavy Boobs), and is also handling mental health in a thoughtful, honest and funny way this season.

Documentaries


I'm going to assume you've all watched Making a Murderer already (if you haven't, get on it!), so if you are into crime documentaries, The Jinx is incredible. It is a fascinating look at the story of mega-rich real estate heir Robert Durst, who has long been suspected in the disappearance of his wife and the murder of a family friend. He's interviewed in the documentary and it is SO creepy.

Blackfish is a heart-breaking documentary about the orca Tillikum who has caused the deaths of several people while in captivity at SeaWorld. It's pretty intense and hard-watching, but had lead to really positive change - since it came out SeaWorld has announced it'll end its orca breeding programme and phase out all live performances using orcas.

On a lighter note, The Pixar Story is great (and makes you desperate to work at Pixar).

Guilty pleasures


I've always hated soaps, but there's a special place in my heart for tv that you can just totally switch off with. I started watching Outlander purely because they filmed bits of the first season in my hometown (honest!), but obviously got hooked and now here I am, glued to the show and having read all the books. Scotland does look beautiful in it though!

Skin Wars is my newest nonsense watch. Artists are challenged to take part in body painting competitions, and their work is really elaborate and impressive. My favourite total guilty pleasure is Keeping up with the Kardashians - it's such fluff, but I got hooked last summer (this is a PERFECT thing to watch post-break up) and now I can't stop watching. Help!

Sci-fi

Everyone's up to date with Stranger Things, yeah? Even if you aren't a big Star Trek fan, Star Trek Discovery is great and well worth a watch. It's got a brilliant, interesting and diverse cast, and it feels like it's really starting to find its feet - I had been worried it would be too dark and intense and non-Trek, but every episode gets better and better. If you like this and fancy delving into more Star Trek, Deep Space Nine is the GREATEST and you should definitely give it a go.

The OA ain't for everyone, but I LOVED it. It tells the story of a blind young woman who returns after having been missing for seven years, with her eyesight restored. It's mysterious and creepy and thoughtful and poetic and weird and was right up my street. I also had a really good time watching 3%, a  Brazilian dystopian thriller that I powered through in a weekend.


Disclaimer: This post contains a sponsored link.

Monday, 13 November 2017

QUIRKY CHRISTMAS
GIFT GUIDE VOL. 1

Did you know there's only six weeks until Christmas? Not to sound like an old cliche, but where has this year gone? How are we half-way through November? How is it 2018 in only SEVEN weeks? Terrifying.

Despite my total horror at the ever-accelerating passage of time, I have (for once!) managed to start my Christmas shopping early this year, so I'm feeling pretty smug that my December can actually revolve around leisurely trips to the Christmas market for hot booze, rather than panicked scrolling through amazon.

I've come across loads of lovely things on my search, so I thought I'd bring back the Ever So Juliet Christmas Guide, and point you in the direction of nice present ideas, with ideas that hopefully suit whatever budget you are on!


Stocking fillers
Quirky Christmas gift guide stocking fillers

1. I am a sucker for a lovely mug, and these gilded monogramed mugs are particularly lovely (I also like pretty much everything in Anthropologie's monogram shop, if initials are your thing!).

2. Channel some Palm Springs vibes with this super cute mid-century house enamel pin.

3. I was given a One Line a Day memory book last Christmas, and it honestly has been such a great journal! You write a moment from each day for five years, and it's so nice being able to track the little moments, and thinking about what is yet to come!

4. I also have this and it's the greatest patch I own. Proclaim your love for Jeff loud and proud with this Jeff Goldblum Appreciation Society patch.


£15 and under...
Quirky Christmas gift guide

1. Got a slightly geeky pal to buy for? This etsy shop is packed with cute and quirky anime and video game-inspired accessories & art. These Night in the Wood earrings are adorable (the game is also adorable and you should definitely play it if you haven't already!).

2. This cactus ring dish is cute and practical (win win).

3. You'll never go wrong with gifting a candle! This soy candle is particularly nice.

4. How beautiful are these zodiac journals? They're super fancy and made with vegan leather too.


£30 and under...
Quirky Christmas gift guide

1. Part of Black Heart Creatives Mid Century Modern collection, this laser cut
cheese plant necklace is so much fun, and would be a pretty perfect gift for a plant lovin' pal.

2.  How cute is this origami hippo lamp? You can get an elephant and rhino too, but obviously the hippo is the best one!

3. Get a Scottish pal something truly original, with this Irn Bru wool cushion made from a hand dyed vintage wool blanket. You can also get an Irn Bru bag to match!

4. Perfect as a seriously swish toiletries bag or a quirky clutch, Tatty Devine's dental bling bag is ace.


£50 and under...
Quirky Christmas gift guide

1. Everyone needs a good statement necklace, and this pearl necklace is very pretty.

2. Is there someone in your life with a penchant for hipster homeware? This Oliver Bonas filament table lamp should do the trick! 

3. How gorgeous are these earrings? This etsy shop is packed with the most incredible beautiful and bright leather jewellery, I'm super into this tassel necklace and this geometric necklace too!

4. I am pretty rubbish with skincare, but I have been using Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Oil for the last few months, and it is so good and makes my skin feel happy and glowy! Kiehl's have a great gift set (featuring this very product) that is packed with their favourite essential products.


£100 ish

1.  Edinburgh designer Karen Mabon is queen of the whimsical print, and her range of silk pyjamas are no exception. I'm a big fan of the koi carp print and imagine how fancy you'd feel, sleeping in silk veg sleepwear?

2. If you want a gift that keeps on giving, a monthly subscription is a great choice. Everyone should have fresh flowers in their home, and Bloom & Wild's letterbox flowers are gorgeous, and mean you never have to worry about scheduling delivery times.

3. You can't go wrong with anything from MAC's Snowball Holiday Collection, but if you really want to impress, this MAC Classics lipstick kit is the way to go! If your budget can't stretch to that, the mini kits are cute too.

4. It's got bees on it! It's vegan-friendly! You can personalise the strap! Did I say it had bees on it?! (I love bees, this Olivia Burton watch is wonderful).

Monday, 6 November 2017

HOW TO GET
BRIGHT ORANGE HAIR

Let me tell you about one of my favourite hair products, the totally amazing Evo Fabuloso intensifying colour conditioner.

Evo Fabuloso Pro bright orange hair

I'm a natural ginger, but I've been dying my hair weird variations of this for years (you can see the various incarnations of previous hairdos here). For the longest time I had ombre/dip-dye hair, going from a bright copper at the roots, through my natural-ish colour to blonde at the ends, but this slowly merged into an obsession for getting my hair a bright copper all over.

Turns out, red hair dye is the quickest to fade (even if it's going over a red base!), so my hairdresser (the lovely Linden from Dean Jones) recommended I tried out Fabuloso  to keep my hair bright between appointments. I started using it, and was pretty quickly hooked - it made my hair shiny, the colour was definitely brighter, and generally my Peak Ginger dreams were coming true.

Fast forward a few months, and I was trying out a lighter peachy dip-dye for the summer (meaning my ends had been lightened quite a bit). On auto-pilot I used Fabuloso for the first time on my light ends and it went ORANGE. AMAZING ORANGE HIGHLIGHTER, QUEEN OF GINGERS ORANGE. So I went back to Dean Jones in total delight, got my hair lightened all over, and am now loving life with super bright hair.

Evo Fabuloso Pro bright orange hair review
Fabuloso over natural hair | Freshly applied over lightened hair | Faded application over lightened hair
I'm not sure if you can tell in the photos, but it is just SO bright! My hairdresser used a light blonde dye (so no bleach! My hair is in a very happy place), and since then I've just gone back every two months to get my roots done, which are naturally pretty light anyway.

I use Fabuloso conditioner probably once every two weeks, which means the bottle lasts for AGES! The colour really lasts too, and just goes a little peach pastelly when it needs topped up... although I really like that look too, so it's a win/win. Can you tell I bloody love this conditioner?

Evo Fabuloso Pro bright orange hair
Nails - Buff Nails
I use the copper shade, which I get from amazon (it's quite a bit cheaper here than the official website), and it also comes in loads of other shades - platinum blonde (apparently amazing as a silver conditioner), caramel, light beige, purple red, mahogany and chestnut.

It's super simple to use too, although they do recommend that you use gloves as the colour might stain your skin (I've used it without before and been fine, but I've maybe just been lucky!). You just shampoo your hair as normal, then towel-dry it, apply Fabuloso all over, leave for three minutes, and then rinse until the water runs clear. It's also a really good conditioner, so my hair always feels really glossy and lovely after I've used it.

I'm sure I'll switch back to the natural side at some point, but for now, I could not recommend this enough! Go forth and be shiny.
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