Saturday, 19 July 2014

Wish list: Makeup Geek

Wish list: Makeup Geek  
Z-Palette  //  Shark Bait  //  Ocean Breeze  // 
Unexpected  //  Burlesque  //  Fairytale  //  Unicorn 
Cosmopolitan  //  Crème Brulee  //  Latte  //  Mocha

For some reason, even though I have a lot of eyeshadow palettes, I have the urge to build my own. I was thinking about MAC, but after reading Lilit from Makeup and Macaroonsreview on these eyeshadows, it seemed silly to spend all that money on MAC when I could buy Makeup Geek for a fraction of the price! Makeup Geek's eyeshadows are $5.99, compared to MAC's ridiculous $26 for a pro-pan refill, or $33 for a single shadow (which makes the $80 it costs to buy a Naked palette here actually seem reasonable!)
After browsing the Makeup Geek website, and variousblog posts with swatches, it was really hard to narrow it down. It's not possible. They're so cheap that it seems almost silly to just get a few. Instead, I would really like to get a large Z-palette (ideally the pink one), so I can have up to 27 shadows. Or even a medium one would do. Seem excessive? Not for $5.99 a pop! These shadows are at the top of my wish list, but they also do a eyeshadow starter kit ($49.99, you save about $4), which includes some of these shadows, along with a few more that would make my palette perfect.

Greens are something I'm new to. I don't have any, and I've never used them, but Makeup Geek sure have some beauties! If I could get them all, I would, but
that would be silly. To start off I would love a beautiful turquoise like Shark Bait, and a deeper sea green like Ocean Breeze would be pretty to use with it. Makes me think of mermaids and tropical islands.

As for pinks, Unexpected is a lovely matte dusty pink shade, which looks quite similar to Nooner from the Naked 3 palette, but possibly even nicer. Burlesque is a shimmery plum colour, quite similar to MAC Cranberry, which is something I already own. But hey, it's pretty!
Purples are another colour that I own a fair few shadows of, but am yet to find the perfect ones. Fairytale is a dusty matte violet shade, which would go with a whole range of looks, but also look really pretty with Unicorn. Or Burlesque's purple cousin Drama Queen.

Expensive Pink is a MAC shadow that I've had my eye on for a while, but Cosmopolitan is a pretty great dupe. It would look lovely layered over Crème Brulee, the first of the neutral matte shadows on my wish list. I have a lot of neutrals, but not a lot of decent matte neutrals. Together with Latte and Mocha (great shade names, don't you think?!), you could create a gorgeous neutral matte look.

Have you tried Makeup Geek shadows before? What do you think of them?

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

iHerb haul ft. Real Techniques and e.l.f.

Over the past year or so, my makeup collection has really grown. It's huge, considering towards the end of 2012 I was only just starting to get into wearing makeup. Now I have eyeshadow palettes, blush and lipsticks all over the place. One part of my collection that hasn't grown that much though, is my brushes. I only have a handful of them, and of that handful, only a couple are actually decent quality. Where do you go to for affordable good quality brushes? iHerb, of course!

I ordered the Real Techniques starter set and blush brush, which have both been on my wish list for a while now, but also decided to pick up some e.l.f. brushes too. I chose the stipple brush and powder brush, so I had some face brushes to leave at the boy's house.
 deluxe blending brush, base shadow brush, accent brush, liner brush and eyebrow brush

The Real Techniques starter set is pretty great! I'm a huge fan of the deluxe blending brush, it really makes blending eyeshadows a dream, and it's lovely and soft. The base shadow brush is a little too big and flexible to really pack on eyeshadow. However, I find the shape is great to use in the outer corner to add a darker colour and start blending it out. I haven't found myself using the accent brush much, except to smudge out eyeliner on both top and bottom lashes, which it's great for. The liner brush is great for gel liner, although I haven't perfected using it to create a winged liner look. Lastly the eyebrow brush is great for brows, but think perhaps it's a little big.
Blush Brush, Stipple Brush, Powder Brush

On to the face brushes, the Real Techniques blush brush is fantastic for blush! It's so much bigger than the brush I was previously using, which I thought might mean it would be harder to use, but nope! It's not. It's so soft, but still fantastic and blending.
These 2 e.l.f brushes were a bit of a spur of the moment choice. I did a little bit of research into the stipple brush, after I got it, and found that the mini stipple brush is way better than this one. This stipple brush is way less dense than my RT one. It sheds, and you really have to work to make sure your foundation doesn't end up looking streaky. It is soft however, and is great around the eye area.
The powder brush is fantastic, dense and soft. It's great for using with powder foundation, or setting your foundation with powder. Although I haven't used it for liquid foundation, I think this brush would work for liquid too. It's dense enough that it could be used to buff it in.
l-r: Powder Brush, Stipple Brush, Blush Brush

What are your favourite brushes?

Monday, 14 July 2014

Ulta3 nail colour review: Block it Out, Strawberry Sundae and Palette Play

Ulta3 polishes. They're a cult product in Australia. $2, fantastic shades, and great quality. I used to find my way to a bin at least weekly to dig through the polishes and find a new gem. Some of my favourite polishes are Ulta3 - Earl Grey, Watermelon, and Lollypop Lilac. So when I was looking through a bin recently and saw they were buy one, get one free, I couldn't say no. I ended up with Block it Out, Strawberry Sundae, and Palette Play. It was a hard choice, I had some pastels in my hands, but these bright colours caught my eye. My mum got a clear polish, which is why I only got 3.
Unfortunatley, these 3 polishes were a little bit of a letdown. They're just not up to the standard I expect with Ulta3. For $2 (or even the $2.50 that this shop sold them for) they're not bad, but they're not as good as other polishes I have from the brand. I heard some bloggers were unhappy when Ulta3 started making their polish in the PRC and the quality changed, but my bottle of Earl Grey was made in the PRC and I never had a problem with it. Now I can kind of understand the annoyance.

Block it Out is probably my favourite of the 3, even though blue is not my go to shade with nail polish. The quality is the best. It applies more evenly and more opaque than the others, and you could even get away with 1 coat. It's a deep blue with a kind of shimmer finish, not really noticeable until you look closely though.

Strawberry Sundae is the next best polish in terms of quality. It applies a little bit streaky, but is opaque in 2 coats. It's a bright pink, and I think a little too fluro to coin the name Strawberry Sundae, which I was a little dissapointed about.

Lastly, Palette Play, a dark 'violet crumble' purple. This was the polish I was least impressed by, taking 3 coats to apply evenly. Maybe it was because I didn't shake the bottle though, because after I did it applied a little bit better, but it wasn't fantastic. I'm not sure where the name Palette Play comes from though...

They didn't last very long on my nails, and all chipped within a day. However, you can tell how bad my nails are in the photos below, so it's pretty common to get chipping so soon even with more expensive nail polish. The quality isn't bad enough to stop me buying Ulta3 polish, and my local chemist just put up a really awesome Ulta3 nail polish display, which was completely untouched and had all their polishes on it. I'm not going to lie, it was kind of like Christmas. Hopefully it stays that stocked so I can attack it myself when I get some money, haha.
Excuse how horribly I applied these!

What do you think of Ulta3 polishes? What's your favourite colour?

Saturday, 12 July 2014

My life in pictures #10

1. There's a little diner in Moss Vale that I love to stop at when visiting my grandparents. They've got great burgers, but they also have a damn good pecan pie! It was a huge slice too.
2. I've been giving my KitchenAid a bit of a workout recently, baking lots. It really does make great cakes, and makes baking so much easier.
3. My friend got a job at Guerlain recently and is learning how to do makeup. I got to be the one she practiced on, yay! It was fun and she did a fantastic job.
4. On the way to finding some snow, we stopped at Adaminaby to have a look at the big trout.

5. The boy bought me a giant cupcake tin, and here is what I made. Delish.
6. Puppies. I love them.
7. Finally got to go skiing for the first time this season! Was such a fantastic day, blue skies until around 2pm, lots of great snow, and it was so warm! Brilliant. Can't wait to go again.
8. I've got a lot of free time at the moment, so what do I do? Make a trio of pancakes. Plain with maple syrup and bacon, choc chip with cherry coulis, and raspberry with mango, lemon and sugar. So good.

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Lime Crime: Mint to Be and Poisonberry!

Ever since I decided I was going to buy my first Lime Crime lipstick, Poisonberry was at the top of my list. I'm a huge fan of dark purple lipstick, so it had to be mine. Unfortunately it was out of stock everywhere when I made my first order, so I had to skip it. Until late one night, I was searching the web I happened to come across it on Princess Polly. I found a promo code to get $10 off, so I decided to buy Mint to Be as well!

Monday, 7 July 2014

Wish list: More than just makeup

Wish list: more.
Clinique Extra Mild Liquid Face Soap $29   //    The Body Shop Aloe Eye Defence $26.95
   Toni And Guy Classic Wave Memoriser $15.99  //  Toni and Guy Cleanse Dry shampoo $15.99

I've never really paid much attention to my skin or hair before. Just bought basic products and left it at that. Now that I'm using make up regularly, I need to put more effort into skincare. I usually just use face wipes, but am thinking I need something more. The Liquid Facial Soap in extra-mild from the Clinique 3 Step Kit seems like a fantastic cleanser, especially for my sensitive skin. I get really dry skin around my eyes, so a hydrating eye cream is definitely in order. I've tried and liked other items from the Body Shop Aloe line, so this would be great. As for a good moisturiser, Benefit's Total Moisture Facial Cream is pretty fantastic. I've tried a sample size, and it lasted for ages and I really did love how much it moisturised my skin. The only thing that's stopped me buying it is how expensive it is here ($57!!), and how much I would need to spend to get free shipping from the Benefit's US website.

As for my hair,  I dye it regularly, so the ends are pretty frayed. Other than shampoo and conditioner you can get at Coles and the like, I've only ever used dry shampoo and leave-in conditioners on it. I've started using coconut oil weekly, and paying more attention to what shampoo and conditioner I use, and how my hair reacts to it.  Thanks to Sarah from More than Adored, who continually says good things about Toni and Guy (specifically this and this post) a bunch of Toni and Guy products are making their way onto my wish list this week! When my hair is straightened it can look a bit limp and lifeless, and I think a texturising spray like the T&G Casual Rough Texturiser spray would help add some volume to it. As for when it's curly, sometimes it can get a bit out of control. I'm hoping the Classic Wave Memoriser can define my curls and keep them looking perfect. Lastly, I always have problems with dry shampoo leaving white residue in my darker hair, and I can never brush it out properly. I hear the Cleanse Dry Shampoo is a winner, not leaving any white powder in your hair.

Friday, 4 July 2014

Food Friday: Raspberry and Rosewater Pink Velvet Marshmallow cupcake cake

For my birthday last week my mum got me a new cookbook. She told me she was going to get it for me, and I told her not to bother. I get most of my recipes on the internet now, and we have so many other cookbooks that it seems silly to buy more. She got it anyway, and I'm actually really happy with it! It's a cookbook called Indulgent Cakes by Women's Weekly, and it's full of so many awesome cake recipes. This is the first recipe I've tried, I've also made a lemon and blackberry cake (which I put blueberries in, because I read blueberries instead of blackberries, haha) and a cookies and cream cake. I only got to try the batter of both of those as I made them for my parents' work morning teas, but the batter tasted delicious!

This recipe caught my eye, marshmallow icing is something I've wanted to try for a while now. The cake recipe is also something different. The boy bought me this cake tin yesterday, and I thought this recipe would be perfect to try it out with. Nope. Wrong.

The cake tin is super difficult to use. It cooks the cake unevenly, the base took half an hour longer than the top to cook, meaning I had to awkwardly take the top out of the tin and leave the base in. It made a super dense cake too, I think because the outside of the cake was overcooked. I would seriously recommend using normal cake tins, or testing out your giant cupcake cake tin on a bog standard buttercake mix, or a packet mix. Knowing your oven is also important!!

Raspberry and Rosewater Pink Velvet Marshmallow Cake

What you need...
250g butter (room temp)
6 egg whites (room temp!)
1 tsp vanilla essence
2 cups sugar
2 1/2 cups self raising flour (recipe says plain, I used self raising without realising)
1 cup buttermilk (or a milk and yoghurt mix)
2 tsp bicarb soda 
2 tsp white vinegar
3 tsp rose pink food colouring (or less red food colouring)

Raspberry cream
1/2 cup raspberries
200ml whipping/thickened cream

Rosewater marshmallow
1/2 cup caster sugar
1 1/2 tsp glucose syrup
1 tbsp water
2 tsp rosewater
1 tsp red or pink food colouring
2 egg whites

How to...
Step 1 // Preheat oven to 180˚c if you're using 2 round tins, 160˚c if you're using a cupcake cake tin (160˚c /140˚c fan forced. Line cake tins if you're using round tins, or grease cupcake tin. Seriously, even if the box says it wont need greasing. It will.)
Step 2 // Beat butter in a large bowl with hand or stand mixer until light and fluffy. Add egg whites, flour, vanilla, sugar and buttermilk and mix on low speed until combined. It's super important that the eggs and butter are at room temperature or the butter won't mix in properly, especially if you add cold egg whites. I added the egg whites first and beat them until they'd risen a bit, but the recipe doesn't say to do this.
Step 3 // In a small bowl, combine vinegar and pink food colouring. Add bicarb soda, stir, then add to cake batter. Beat on slow speed until combined, then beat on medium speed for up to 2 minutes, or until the mixture turns a paler colour. 
Step 4 // Divide the mix between 2 cake tins, or between the base and the top of the cupcake cake tin. Bake for 45 minutes if you're using 2 round cake tins. A giant cupcake cake tin will take longer, so check after 45 minutes and keep adding 5-10 minutes until cooked.

Raspberry Cream:
Add cream to small bowl and beat with hand beaters. Once thick enough, add raspberries. Place in fridge till needed.

Rosewater Marshmallow: Don't start this until the cake is ready to be iced. This icing needs to go on straight away.
Step 1 // Add sugar, glucose, water, rosewater essence, and dye into a small saucepan and heat on low until it reaches 115˚c on a sugar thermometer. They're pretty cheap, but if you don't have one, get a small bowl of cold water, and after about 3-4 minutes drop a small amount of the syrup in. Once it starts balling up, it's at soft ball stage and it's ready. Leave aside while it stops bubbling.
Step 2 // Whisk egg whites until they reach soft peaks. Then, SLOWLY pour in your sugar syrup. If you do it too fast, it won't work and will look like it's split. A stand mixer is the easiest way to do this, otherwise get a someone else to hold the mixer while you pour. Beware, it gets messy and it's a pain to clean up!
Step 3 // Ice the cake and serve! I wouldn't recommend piping it, it knocks a lot of the air out of the icing.

Top tips: Does the marshmallow icing sound too tricky? You could make a basic butter icing and add crushed meringue nests to it. Or melt marshmallows and drizzle them on top of the cake. Or if you can find it, buy some Fluff!!