Cosmetic Sponges - worth the hype?

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Okay, I know I’m super late to the party with cosmetic sponges, but I’ve recently fallen in love. Sure, I was well aware of them when they first became popular, but I wasn’t convinced. Having tried to apply foundation in the past with one of those triangle sponges, (you know the ones that were available from Boots / Superdrug that you were obsessed with when you were a teen) I found that they soaked up more product than they applied and weren’t the most hygienic. As a result, that’s what I associated with the cosmetic sponges that were becoming popular so I was reluctant to go out and buy one.

However, last month, I was in Boots with my mum, helping her to choose some Real Techniques brushes and there was an offer on the Real Techniques range and as I didn’t need any other brushes (and I’m a sucker for promotions), I decided to bite the bullet and buy the Real Techniques MiracleComplexion Sponge. I’d heard so many positive reviews about this sponge so I was keen to know what all the hype was about, but was still a little sceptical about it. How wrong I was. I love it, it’s completely changed the way I apply my make up.

Admittedly, I’m still a little reluctant to use it for my foundation, but that’s mainly because I love using the Zoeva 103 Defined Blender Brush and not a lot will convince me to switch. However, I have been using the Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge for my concealer and it’s made a huge difference. I use the flat side to initially ‘dab’ the concealer into my skin, using quite a light touch. I then use the pointed end for the corner of my eyes to ensure all of the concealer is blended in well. I find that it blends the concealer into my skin so much better than any brush does and it leaves me with a more flawless finish. Not only that, but I find that it blends the concealer into my skin so much quicker and more effortlessly than any brush. Also, it doesn't soak up loads of product so I definitely don’t feel like I’m losing lots of concealer into the sponge. I know there are lots of different brands with this style of cosmetic sponges, but at £5.99, you really can’t go far wrong with the Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge. Having been someone who was dead against them a few months ago, I now can’t recommend them enough! Do I think they're worth the hype? 100%!

Have you tried any cosmetic sponges likes these? Let me know your thoughts.

NARS Velvet Shadow Stick | Review

Sunday, 26 March 2017

I've wanted to try an eyeshadow stick for a while now and have had my eyes on the By Terry Ombré Blackstars, however, I was recently at a NARS counter and came across the NARS Velvet Shadow Sticks which I thought looked really pretty and was keen to try. I bought the shade Oaxaca as I thought it was quite a versatile shade that I could wear with quite a few make up looks. 

What do I think of it? 

I really like how creamy this is. Often with cream shadows, I worry that they're going to be too drying or 'crack' throughout the day. However, this definitely isn't the case with this, it's also super easy to blend so there's no harsh lines once you've applied it. 

I've worn this quite a few times for work and I must admit, I've been pretty impressed with how long it lasts. I normally wear a primer under eyeshadow, but don't with this and it lasts so well.

As with all NARS packaging, I love how simplistic this is. I really like the minimalist look of the packaging and it's super easy to carry around with you.

At £21 the NARS Velvet Shadow Stick isn't the cheapest eyeshadow stick in the world. KIKO's Less is Better Long Lasting Eyeshadow Sticks are £6.90 which are a really good dupe and for a much cheaper price, however, having not tried them, I'm not sure how long they last.

Would I recommend the NARS Velvet Shadow Stick? 
I'm really pleased with the NARS Velvet Shadow Stick. It's so easy to apply and blend and is a gorgeous colour. My only criticism is that it's not as shimmery as I first thought, which is probably my fault for picking the wrong shade. However, if you're looking for a mid range eyeshadow stick that makes applying eye make up 10x quicker and provides an effective look, I really recommend the NARS Velvet Shadow Stick.

Blogger Recognition Award

Thursday, 23 March 2017

It's been ages since I've done a tag, so I was super excited when Caz from Call Me Caz very kindly nominated me for the Blogger Recognition Award, so a big thank you to Caz.

What does this tag entail?

The Rules
1./Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
2./Write a post to show your award
3./Give a brief story of how your blog started
4./ Give two pieces of advice to new bloggers
5./Select 15 other bloggers you want to give this award to
6./Comment on each blog and let them know you have nominated them & provide the link to the post you created

How I started Ramblings of a Blonde
It all began back in 2013 when I was really starting to become interested in beauty and wanted to share my thoughts and findings with others. However, it wasn't until 2014 that I actually made my blog public as I was super scared about what people would think about it! Now it's become a huge part of my life and is something that I really enjoy doing.

Two pieces of advice for new bloggers
1./Interact with other bloggers - this is something I wish I'd done a lot sooner, but whilst it sounds so naive, I wasn't aware of the huge blogging community that was out there. I've made some lovely, supportive friends and I wish I'd met them sooner.

2./Don't be ashamed of being yourself - so many bloggers feel like they can't write what they want or feel like they will be judged if they do. Remember, your blog is about YOU and what YOU love, don't create content you're not happy with, just be yourself and if people don't like that then it's their loss.

I nominate (sorry if you've been nominated already)
5./ Lottie
6./Anyone else who hasn't done it, but would like to

Mother's Day | L'Occitane Gift Guide

Sunday, 19 March 2017

Is it me or does Mother's Day always creep up on you and before you know it, you're panicking about what gift to buy your mum? This year as I'm now in full time work, I wanted to get my mum something really special that I knew she would love. I was recently on the L'Occitane website browsing through to look for a Mother's Day Gift that would be perfect for my mum and came across some of their gorgeous gift sets. It's been quite a tough year for my mum so I wanted to get her something really thoughtful and L'Occitane ticked all the boxes.

L'Occitane have some of my favourite skincare and bath products. Their Shea Intensive Hand Balm is one of the most moisturising and nourishing hand balms I've ever tried and I can't recommend it enough. Therefore, I knew that whatever I chose from their website, my mum would absolutely love. On their website, L'Occitane have a wide range of gift sets that suit everyone's needs, with varying price points so you're bound to find something you love. I have my eye on their Relaxing Lavender Collection for my mum as Lavender is one of her favourite scents. They have some gorgeous products in this gift set including a foaming bath, shower gel and hand cream - everything my mum needs to relax after a busy day at work! (Really hoping my mum doesn't peek at this post and give the surprise away!)

If you're stuck for ideas of what to get your mum for Mother's Day this year, I really recommend you take a look at the L'Occitane Website, as they have some really lovely products and some great deals at the moment. Also, they have a section dedicated to Mothers' Day gifts, so it's really easy to browse through and find something your mum will love!

What are you planning on getting your mum this Mother's Day? I'd love to know your ideas!

(this is a paid for post, but all views are my own)

Nutella and M&M Cookie Pizza

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Towards the end of last year, I blogged about The Hummingbird Bakery Chocolate Muffins I'd made for my work's 'Bake Off' and this year, 'The Bake Off' at work is back and last week, it was my turn to bake. The theme for the week was pizza and as much of a pizza lover as I am, I was a little bit sceptical about taking pizza into work as I was worried about the cheese going really congealed and it being a bit of a disaster. So instead, I opted for a sweet pizza (because y'know I kinda love chocolate) and I thought this would be a bit different and give me the edge over the other bakers.

I scoured the internet for sweet pizza recipes and finally came across this this Nutella and M&M Chocolate Chip Cookie Pizza recipe from Food Fanatic and I thought it would be perfect. It was super easy to make as the base is just a cookie dough mixture with chocolate chips and whilst that was baking, I made the nutella ganache. The recipe calls for thick cream and nutella, but I used warm whole milk instead and left it in the fridge overnight to set. The next day, I spread it over the cookie and scattered M&Ms over the top, before finishing it off by drizzling melted white chocolate. I was really pleased with my finished pizza, but it wasn't the easiest to slice into pizza slices (hence the lack of photos of the sliced up pizza).

It went down really work and I actually WON, which made me super happy! Now I'm through to the next round of the 'Bake Off' so I'm sure I'll blog about that too.

If you're after something that's a bit different as a snack or a dessert for a dinner party, I really recommend this recipe. If you give it a try, let me know your thoughts!

The Body Shop Seaweed Oil Balancing Clay Mask | Review

Sunday, 12 March 2017

If you're a follower of my blog, you'll know how much I love The Body Shop and am always on the look out to try any new products they have. I particularly love their face masks and when I was recently in store, I came across the Seaweed Oil Balancing Clay Mask which I was really keen to try. Having tried and loved a variety of The Body Shop face masks I was excited to see what this had to offer. 

The Seaweed Oil Balancing Clay Mask is aimed at combination to oily, young skin, so is perfect for my skin type. It's a purifying and balancing seaweed oil clay mask that claims to leave your skin feeling revitalised and pure, which I must admit, I do agree with. The Body Shop recommend using it up to twice a week, but personally, I prefer to only use a face mask once a week so have typically been using it on a Sunday evening whilst enjoying a relaxing bath, preparing for the week ahead!

I really love clay masks and the Seaweed Oil Balancing Clay Mask is no different. You apply a thin layer to a damp face and leave for 10 minutes whilst it hardens and gets to work. I really like the consistency and smell of this. It's easy to apply without being too thick and isn't too heavily fragranced which is really off putting in some other face masks. Once it's washed off, my skin feels so clean, refreshed and soft which is always a good sign that the product has worked. When I first used it, I did find that I had a few breakouts the following day, but to me, that just shows that it's doing its job and pulling out all the impurities in my skin. Therefore, I wouldn't recommend using this the day before any big events in case you do suffer a slight breakout the next day.

Overall, I LOVE the Seaweed Oil Balancing Clay Mask from The Body Shop. It leaves my skin feeling super clean, refreshed and purified. If you suffer from dry skin, I wouldn't recommend this as much because it can be a little drying as it is designed to target more oily skin. However, I find that as long as I use a rich moisturiser after my skin is fine.

Have you tried the Seaweed Oil Balancing Clay Mask from The Body Shop? I'd love to know your thoughts on it.

A trip to Borough Market

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Borough Market is one of my favourite places in London. I used to work just around the corner from the market, so we used to pop there occasionally for lunch. However, since we moved offices, I haven't been there for a while so last weekend Emil and I decided to take a trip there for lunch. For those of you who don't know, Borough Market is a huge food and drink market located near London Bridge. Not only can you buy food to eat on the go, you can also buy lots of fresh produce. As I mentioned it's one of my favourite markets in London as there's so much food from many different cuisines meaning that there's something for everyone. However, I always forget how busy the market is at the weekends, it's a huge tourist attraction which means that it's always really difficult to move about. Despite this, we found a really lovely stall called Hash which did a variety of dishes, I had macaroni cheese with pulled pork and Emil had the Borough Club with haloumi, pulled pork and bacon. Both our meals were delicious and very filling, I really recommend paying them a visit if you're ever in Borough Market. We then wondered around the market some more, narrowly avoiding spending a small fortune on all the delicious looking baked goods, before returning home.

Have you ever been to Borough Market? 

Styling Mom Jeans

Sunday, 5 March 2017

Jumper: M&S (similar)
Jeans: Pretty Little Thing on ASOS
Bomber Jacket: River Island on ASOS
Shoes: Converse All Star Hi Optical White Canvas
Belt: Vintage
Bag: Zoella Lifestyle 
Bracelet: Tiffany & Co.

I'm always a skinny jeans kinda girl so when mom jeans came into fashion, although I loved them on other people, I never thought they'd suit me. I then saw these gorgeous embroided jeans by Pretty Little Thing on ASOS and I couldn't resist, I thought they were worth a try. Also, I'd wanted a pair of white Hi Top Converse for a while, but again didn't think I could pull them off, so as I was feeling daring with my fashion sense, I decided to order a pair to go with the jeans. When they arrived I couldn't wait to put an outfit together styling both the jeans and the Converse. As the jeans are very detailed, I thought I'd pair them with a plain white high neck jumper. This one from M&S was perfect and a great find a few months ago. As the jeans are a little big for me, I dug out an old belt that I stole from my mum a few years ago, not only is it practical, but I think it goes really well with the jeans. I styled my outfit with a khaki green bomber jacket from River Island on ASOS which I got towards the end of summer last year. Finally, I accessorised my look with the backpack from Zoella's Lifestyle range which completed my look. I was really pleased with this outfit, as I mentioned it was a little out of my comfort zone, but I'm in love with the Converse and I think they went really well with my jeans.

Let me know your thoughts on the outfit.

February Favourites

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Was it just me or did February really drag? I'm not a massive fan of the month for several reasons, so I'm glad to see the back of it as we move into spring time. However, I've got plenty of favourites to share with you. 
I recently reviewed all my Beauty Pie purchases here, so I don't want to ramble on too much about it in this post. Whilst I've been really enjoying using the Beauty Pie products, I have been especially loving this setting powder during February, it's so soft and applies well to my skin. It's amazing at setting my make up and keeping it in place all day, I can't recommend it enough. 

Again, this is another product I recently reviewed so don't want to repeat myself too much, but I've been loving this product this month. Although the brush is a bit bigger  than I would usually prefer, it volumises my lashes so well. If you're looking for a mid priced volumising mascara I really recommend this one. 

I'm sure this has featured in a favourites post at some point, but I've been reaching for it so much this month so I had to include it. It's a very high coverage foundation so if that's not your thing, then you won't like this foundation, but I love it. They also have a really good range of shades for very light skin, so it's perfect for me. 

I have been after a pair of Converse Hi tops for a while. Having owned the low tops for years I know how comfortable they are, but I never thought I'd suit the Hi Tops, so was always afraid to buy them. However, this month, I bit the bullet and bought a pair and I'm so glad I did - I've been living in them towards the end of the month. 

It wouldn't be a monthly Favourites without a TV show! This month Emil and I have been watching Limitless which is actually a sequel to the film starring Bradley Cooper. Since starting the show we've found out it got cut after the first series which is very annoying as we've really enjoyed it. For those of you who don't know, it's about this pill called NZT which, when taken, enhances all your cognitive skills. The programme focuses on a character called Brian Finch who is a bit of a failure until he discovers NZT and ends up working for the FBI and the show follows his journey working for them. If you can bear the fact there's no second series, I really recommend it! 

What have you been loving in February? 

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