Monday, 29 June 2015

Favourite High-End Concealers: Mac, Nars, Urban Decay Review


Urban Decay Naked Skin Weightless Complete Coverage Concealer | £17.50 | Link |
This is the newest concealer in my collection and it's almost at holy grail status. I absolutely love it. It's permanent to Urban Decay's line and I highly suggest you head out and buy it now, if you haven't already.

It is a liquid concealer with a perfect sized wand applicator. The formula is very creamy but not thick, it blends out effortlessly and gives a medium coverage. I have mine in Fair Neutral and I love the colour, (as you can see it's a lot lighter than Mac) it's great for my porcelain skin tone, I use it under the eyes and anywhere that needs a bit of extra coverage. It's quite common for make up junkies to use a lighter concealer colour under the eyes, down the nose etc. to highlight but when you're as fair as I am, that's not likely to happen; I'd need something stark white.

I have combination skin and this lasts a good six/eight hours when set with powder. I find it really easy to apply, it doesn't crease, settle into my fine lines or look cakey. I love the Urban Decay Naked Skin concealer, I've been reaching for it a lot.

Mac Pro Longwear Concealer | £17 | Link |

I didn't think anything would ever knock my Mac Pro Longwear concealer out of my hand, it's been a favourite by many for years, and let me tell you, the hype is real. It's bloody marvellous.

It's a liquid concealer with a tiny pump that can be difficult to control; I used to find that I ended up wasting quite a lot of concealer due to the pump, but if you press it really slowly, you can dispense as little or much product as you like. It's medium to full coverage and excellent at hiding the gigantic bags under my eyes, can't complain about that. Mac Pro Longwear concealer is longwearing, has a matte finish and it has never, ever creased on me.

It is great at covering redness, blemishes and dark circles - what more can you ask for? The product lasts a long time if you get the knack of the pump. My only criticism is that the lightest colours are too dark for very fair skin; I wear NC15 and although it's great for under my eyes, I can't really wear it on my face as it's much more yellow than my foundation. I still love it and it won't stop me from repurchasing.
Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer | £22 | Link |

My Nars concealer is in the shade Vanilla but I really need to get Chantilly as it's much lighter and will suit my complexion better.

This is also a liquid concealer with a wand applicator and is a much more creamy consistency than the Urban Decay and Mac concealers. This is also supposed to be used for illuminating the skin but like I said, I'm too pale for that. It has medium/buildable coverage that is extremely easy to blend and dries really quickly - have your powder at the ready! I find the longevity is great as is the concealing blemishes and acne scarring properties. I especially like the Nars concealer under my eyes as it is buildable and nicely gets rid of the suitcases living beneath my eyes. As it is so opaque, I only ever need one layer for adequate coverage.

I love Nars and the Radiant Creamy concealer is every make up junkies dream. Despite it being a thicker consistency, it doesn't settle into any lines, accentuate pores or feel heavy.

My application is the same for all liquid concealers; with Mac Pro Longwear concealer - I pump some onto the back of my hand and apply it to the areas with my fingers; with Urban Decay and Nars I apply directly from the wand, then I pat the product into my skin with my ring finger. If I've used too much, I go in with my damp Beauty Blender to help pick up any excess product and blend it into the skin.

I've mostly been using the Urban Decay concealer as it's newer to my collection and the colour is damn near perfect, but I love all three of the products mentioned.
What are your favourite concealers? Have you tried any of these?

Sarah x


Friday, 26 June 2015

Pre-Assessment Time: Stanmore Pain Management and Rehabilitation Programme, Part Three

The day of my appointment finally came, my anxiety was through the roof, I was in a lot of pain and a bad mood. I'm usually in a bad mood when I have a hospital appointment but this was worse as I knew I'd be there for up to two hours and this was the last leg before the three week stay.

Three weeks in hospital. Three weeks sounds a lot but patients get to go home at Friday lunchtime and return Monday morning, so it's only twelve nights in total. I shouldn't be that bothered, but I am.

My boyfriend came to Stanmore with me (as he always does), he pushed my wheelchair into the Jubilee Ward and I instantly felt like I wanted to cry. I don't know what came over me but I felt sick and the rebel/diva in me demanded we leave.

We were ushered into a conservatory next to the ward, other patients and their families waited and I couldn't look up. I can't explain how badly I wanted to go home.

One of the psychologists, a physiotherapist and an occupational therapist gave a talk on what to expect from the programme and how each day would run. I could feel myself panicking even more and couldn't make eye contact with anyone because I knew I was sporting 'snotty bitch face.'

On the programme patients will get up at 7:30 (I didn't like that), have breakfast, go for physio (or OT), have lunch and then OT (or physio, depending on which way round you had it). There would also be group psychology sessions as well as individual ones. Visitors are allowed each evening until 8pm.

Then each patient was taken away by a member of the team and their specific needs were discussed. My assessor was an OT and she was lovely, she listened to all my concerns and reassured me that the programme really would benefit me. Deep down, I knew it would but being away from my boyfriend and on my own terrifies me.

I made five goals that I wish to achieve on the programme and was told that at the end of each week I'd make more.

My goals are:
  1. Improve sleep routine
  2. Improve general fitness
  3. Help come to terms with my disability
  4. Learn to pace myself and know my limitations
  5. Adopt a more positive way of thinking

Despite not wanting to be there in the beginning, I felt much more at ease after I'd had a one-to-one and the positives outweighed the negatives; don't get me wrong, I'm still really nervous but if I reach my goals and find various ways to help manage my pain, it's worth a try. I'll be in the best place with amazing professionals that know about my condition, so wish me luck.

Sarah x

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Bare Minerals Compexion Rescue Review

Bare Minerals Complexion Rescue Tinted Hydrating Gel Cream | £26 | Link |

I was on the fence about this, I like a medium to full coverage foundation as my skin can be quite problematic and I have a few acne scars on my chin. However, I read a lot of reviews and decided to pick up a sample from Boots. The sample wasn't one of those little teeny ones that you can barely cover half of your face with, I got three days out of it and after the first day, I knew I had to have it.

The product is basically a lightweight tinted moisturiser that has a lot of benefits for the skin, electrolytes, antioxidants, SPF 30, no oil or fragrance. It's said to have all the benefits of a BB cream, CC cream and tinted moisturiser.

Let me tell you, it's bloody good. This product is so light that you forget you're wearing it. I touch my face more than I probably should and it feels like you're actually touching skin.

As soon as it's applied it gives a radiant dewiness to the complexion that is so fresh and youthful, it looks like you're glowing. It is a light coverage but it's enough to even out the skin and offers much needed hydration.

I got the colour Opal, which is the lightest of all 10 shades and find that it works well if I apply one layer with a damp Beauty Blender. I'm extremely fair skinned and when I tried to build up the coverage, it certainly covered more but it was too dark for me. I don't want Complexion Rescue for coverage as I have plenty of foundations for that; I want this for the warmer months, to even out my skin and offer a light base; it does that perfectly. If I need to cover any blemishes or redness, that's when my concealer comes in and takes over.

I can't rave about this product enough. Definitely pick up a sample if you're interested in it as it'll be great for Summer or those 'no make up' make up days.

Have you tried Bare Minerals Complexion Rescue? What are your thoughts?
Sarah x

Monday, 22 June 2015

Game of Thrones Season Five Finale

Season Five of one of my favourite telly shows ended last week and I was speechless. I don't get speechless often (much to my boyfriends disappointment), but my jaw was grazing the floor and I wasn't impressed.

I don't really know why I'm surprised by the demise of the beautiful Jon Snow as it's been a running theme that George RR Martin kills off everyone's favourite characters, but I really wasn't expecting Jon to die. I mean, how could he? WHY? Why did this happen? What will I do with my life? WHERE THE HELL WAS GHOST?

Jon was betrayed and stabbed by members of the Night's Watch after he sacrificed his men to save the Wildlings in an epic battle with the White Walkers in Episode Eight. When the first blade was plunged into Jon, I gasped and sat in silent horror; he lay dying in the snow and I was gutted, I couldn't believe it.

Me - I'm never watching this again. I hate it.
Bf - You will.
Me - I'm not. A world without Jon Snow is a world I don't want to live in. And I'm not being dramatic.

I'm hoping that Jon will return, I'll miss him too much if not. Perhaps he is a Warg, like his younger brother Bran and that's why Ghost didn't come to his rescue or maybe Melisandre will bring him back from the dead. Fingers crossed.

I'm obviously going to watch the next season but if Tyrion is killed off, shit will go down.
Surprisingly, I found myself feeling sorry for Cersei Lannister during the final episode, it was a strange experience as I loathe her character with a passion. Cersei confessed to adultery, had her hair cut off, stripped naked and made to walk barefoot through the streets of King's Landing being jeered at and having civilians spit and throw things at her. It was really difficult to watch and the scene was too long for comfort. I was relieved when she arrived at the palace because the humiliation and treatment of her was painful to watch.
Not only was I speechless during this episode, I was on edge; Sansa made her way to the tower but just as Brienne turned away from watching, the candle signifying Sansa's need for help was lit. I might have shouted 'NO, TURN AROUND,' twice. I despise Ramsay Bolton and was so relieved that Theon grew another pair and  assisted Sansa in her escape from Winterfell.
Tyrion was left to govern Mereen with Grey Worm and Missandei, whilst Jorah and Daario go in search of Daenerys who was flown off to safety in the previous episode by Drogon (my favourite dragon). Drogon is injured and I wasn't happy to see him in pain but Dany leaves him to go off and inspect her surroundings; suddenly she is circled by an army of Dothraki. Do they remember her? Do they know she is the Khaleesi? She drops her ring which suggests she fears she will be captured.
What else? Brienne stabs Stannis, but is he dead? Arya kills Meryn Trant and she goes blind. Myrcella dies on the way home from Dorne with Jaime.
What happened to Bran? I hear you ask...he was having a season off, simple as that. I'm pretty sure he'll be back next season and I can't wait to watch his journey.
All in all, I enjoyed Season Five, some parts were slow but the epic battle with the White Walkers made up for that. I'm still in shock of the rape of Sansa, and Stannis burning his daughter Shireen alive, I'll gladly never witness those episodes again.
Do you watch Game of Thrones?
What were your feelings towards this season?
Sarah x

Friday, 19 June 2015

I Loved them before Kylie Jenner: Mac Soar and Whirl Lip Liners

I've always loved Mac Cosmetics; as a make up addict, loving Mac comes with the territory. It was one of the first high-end brands I ever bought and I keep going back for more.

I love a lip liner, I sometimes don't bother with lipstick or gloss and just fill in my whole lip with a liner. I lose the plot and use four colours when doing an ombre lip because make up is there to experiment with.

Mac Lip Pencil | £12.50 | Link |

The Mac Pro Longwear lip pencils are my favourite as they're extremely creamy, don't budge and the longevity is amazing. However, I love the original pencils too, especially Soar and Whirl...and I'll let you in on a secret, I was wearing these colours before Kylie Jenner; as I'm sure most make up junkies were. Due to the speculation about Kylie Jenner's lip combination, Soar and Whirl sold out EVERYWHERE! They were highly sought after and it was a nightmare trying to get hold of them. I was running low on mine and had to set up a stock notification email but it felt like I waited 200 years before they were available again.

Soar is a mid-tone pinkish brown, it's a beautiful colour and although it looks quite pink, it is very neutral and it can be worn with most lip colours. My favourites to pair it with are Mac Brave, Faux, Crème Cup, Nars Audacious Anna, Claudia, Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick in Patina, Gerard Cosmetics Buttercup and Berry Smoothie.

Whirl is described on the Mac site as a 'dirty rose' but on my porcelain skin it's a light brown. I like to pair it with Mac Myth, Velvet Teddy, Modesty, Nars Audacious Raquel, Brigitte, Gerard Cosmetics Nude, and Kat Von D Lolita.

Soar is definitely my favourite out of the two, just because I tend to gravitate towards more pinky shades. If you haven't managed to get your hands on these, I highly recommend them but if you're willing to spend a little bit extra, the Pro Longwear lip pencil line has very similar shades with much better staying power.

Have you tried these liners? What other brands do you recommend?

Sarah x

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Why You'll Never see an #OOTD from Me: Pyjama Life

If being in my pyjamas all day is wrong, I don't want to be right!
As a Spoonie, I spend a lot of time in the house or in bed and I want to be comfortable; what's more comfortable than PJ's? I don't see the point in getting dressed if I'm not intending on leaving the house or seeing people. To be fair, even if people do come over, I'm usually wearing my pyjamas.
I get dressed if I go out, I'm not one of those people that pop over to Asda in their PJ's, I put actual clothes on if I'm going into the store.
This is why I'll never be posting an Outfit of the Day, I don't do outfits, I live that jarmie life.
My pyjamas consist of random PJ bottoms, usually comic book or dogs printed all over them (cool, I know) a band/TV/Marvel t-shirt and slippers. Don't all rush out and follow the trend right away.
My skin tone is very fair so I tend to make sure I don't look dead and put make up on (I'm an addict, I can't help it), even if it's just a BB cream and lip gloss, I sometimes brush my hair and I'll occasionally chuck a hoody on over my jim-jams and that's my look...I like to call it Spoonie-Chic.
Who else rocks Spoonie-Chic?
Sarah x

Monday, 15 June 2015

Liquid Lipstick Trend: My All-Time Favourites

Stila Patina, Aria, Kat Von D Lolita and Berlin

If you haven't got a liquid lipstick in your collection yet, what are you doing with yourself? It seems every brand are coming out with a line of liquid lipsticks and I have to try as many as I can to find the perfect formula.

My favourites are Stila Stay-All-Day and Kat Von D Everlasting liquid lipsticks.
Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick | £15 | Link |

The original collection of the Stila liquid lipsticks retail at £15 and I felt like I waited a lifetime for Patina and Aria to come in stock but once they did, I nabbed them and now they're mine *insert evil laugh* They come in 10 shades, have a matte finish, are so pigmented and comfortable to wear.
Patina - Dusty rose mauve. The perfect neutral pink. It's stunning.
Aria - Deep berry. Very Autumn/Winter but I like to wear it all year round as it's gorgeous.
Stila Patina, Aria, Kat Von D Lolita, Berlin
Kat Von D Everlasting Liquid Lipstick | $20 | Link |
The Kat Von D Beauty line is only available in Sephora which is devastating to UK beauty lovers but my best friend went to New York last year and picked Berlin up for me (he's the best) and I instantly fell in love. The lipsticks retail for $20 (about £13) and are bloody beautiful. There is an array of colours available and more being released next month; I'm excited. They are totally matte and very fast drying so you need to be quick when applying them but they last for hours.
Lolita - Dusty rose that comes off much darker and browner on my skin tone. The famous, highly sought after colour.
Berlin - Bright rose with warm undertones. Perfect for Spring/Summer.
I always wear a liquid lipstick if I am going out for tea as I know it wont budge and I won't be left with that weird lipstick mark on my chin. I honestly don't know what I was doing with my life before liquid lipsticks.
What are your favourite liquid lipsticks?
Sarah x

Friday, 12 June 2015

The Consultation: Stanmore Pain Management and Rehabilitation Programme, Part Two

I was really nervous; sick to the stomach nervous. I know the pain management programme is a three week in-patient stay and I'm not okay with that. I'd been trying to convince myself not to go but deep down, I knew it was the best thing for me.

My boyfriend came to the appointment with me. We spent half an hour with a lovely consultant that explained the programme to us. If I decided on participating in the programme I would undergo physiotherapy, occupational therapy and psychology, which included ways to learn how to pace, knowing my limitations and helping me improve my quality of life. I hate that phrase, it makes it sound like I'm dying - I'm in a hell of a lot of pain, not dying; the programme will help me manage that, not cure it, as it's incurable.

The consultant was impressed with how much I knew about Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome and how I'd sought treatment for other comorbidities that are strongly linked to EDS. What can I say, I know my condition. I've had to explain it enough times so I have to know the ins and outs of it.

She suggested that the three week in-patient programme would be the best thing for me and although my heart wasn't fully accepting of it, somewhere in me agreed with her.

I was sent a LONG questionnaire a week after my appointment that wanted to know every bloody thing you could imagine, it even asked about my sex life. It also had those silly little body silhouettes that you have to colour in to pinpoint pain - I just scribbled all over it; there isn't anywhere that doesn't hurt.

I received an appointment for the Pre-Assessment a few weeks later. Stay tuned to see how that went.

Sarah x

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Nailed It: Gel/Shellac Nails for Spring/Summer



Every two weeks I go for a Gel or Shellac manicure. My disability takes its toll on my hands and I can't maintain my nails anymore which is a real nuisance. However, I really like the salon environment and when I have my nails done, I feel a bit more put together. I spend the majority of my life in my pyjamas so having a manicure not only makes my fingers look pretty but it gets me out of the house.

I love pastel nails for Spring - so vibrant and fun but you can't go wrong with black; it goes with everything and the little skulls are just awesome, it makes the alternative girl inside very happy. I feel a coral or periwinkle blue coming on next.

My pedicure was lovely, I haven't had one in a long time as lifting my leg onto the beauticians, over and over really hurts but I treated myself and decided on some swirling/star nail art for a change. (P.S. Do you like my tattoo?)
Do you choose your nail colour to match the season?
Sarah x

Monday, 8 June 2015

Life Update: We Moved

I've lived with my boyfriend for over a year. We lived with my parents in a town just outside of Liverpool but recently moved to Northants. It's a three hour drive away but it's where my boyfriend is originally from and all of his family live here. It's a massive change, we live in a little village with Ian's (my boyfriend) Dad and it's very different to what I'm used to. We're currently saving up for our own place and that's really exciting.

I need to stay away from Right Move as I'm obsessed with looking at houses! I also love interior design so I'm always looking at wallpapers and colour schemes for our imaginary home.

The most annoying thing is changing GP and sorting out all my hospital appointments, as I have a lot. It's certainly not easy being disabled and having to start afresh somewhere. I'm hopefully meeting my new doctor this week, so fingers crossed he's lovely and understanding.

Sarah x

Friday, 5 June 2015

I Went Shopping: Nars, Mac, La Roche-Posay and Paperchase Haul

I got a few things.

I had to take my phone to Apple as it was being a silly sod but all the department stores and Boots were whispering my name when I got there, I had to go in, it'd be rude not to.

Boots - 3 for 2

La Roche-Posay Serozinc Spray | £8.50 | Link |
La Roche-Posay Effaclar A.I. Targeted Breakout Corrector | £9.50 | Link |
Avene Eau Thermale - Thermal Spring Water | £7 | Link |
Rimmel BB Cream- Very Light | £6.99 | Link |
Garnier Nutrisse Crème 4.15 Pecan Nut (Ash/Mahogany/Dark Brown) | 2 for £9 |
House of Fraser
Nars Audacious Lipstick - Claudia and Greta | £24 | Link |
Nars Larger Than Life Long-Wear Eyeliner - Rue Bonaparte | £19 | Link |
John Lewis
Laura Mercier Matte Radiance Baked Powder - Highlight | £25 | Link |
Mac Pro Longwear Lip Liner - More to Love | £13.50 (10% off) | Link |
Bare Minerals Complexion Rescue Sample - Opal

Foot Locker
New Era Baseball Cap | £6.99 |
Raindrops Thick Sleeve A6 Notebook | £5 | Link |
Wonky Triangle A5 Pad | £3 |
Postcards | 60p |

As you can tell, I had a very good day.

Have you done any shopping lately?
Sarah x

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

The Referral: Stanmore Pain Management and Rehabilitation Programme, Part One

As you know I'm disabled, and managing pain is vital. I've (almost) been on two Pain Management courses in the past.
  1. I was 18, I hadn't been diagnosed with anything, I was terrified. The Pain Management course was an inpatient stay in a Liverpool hospital for six weeks. I was surrounded by much older people and I wasn't receptive. When I found out that one of the therapies was water-based, I initially began to panic and flat-out refused. I'll leave that story for another time but basically, I have a fear of water. Since, the programme required the patients to swim I was denied participation. Hence my 'almost' course.
  2. Three hours, one day a week, for six weeks, I attended a patient-based pain programme. This was probably about four years ago and it was really beneficial. I was taught coping strategies, such as meditation, positive thinking and controlled breathing which I still implement now. I met some really lovely people (I was the youngest, as usual) and I found that because the advisors suffered with chronic pain, they had a real empathy for us.
At UCLH in the Rheumatology department there is a Hypermobility clinic; I've been there twice, first to see Professor Grahame in 2007 and next for an appointment with Dr Kazkaz in 2012. During the latter, Dr Kazkaz spoke to me about the Pain Management and Rehabilitation Programme at Stanmore hospital, I'd heard about it before and wanted to go but as I'm the Queen of Anxiety, I had my reservations. First of all, I'm horrible at geography and had no idea where Stanmore was; secondly, I didn't want to be away from home; and thirdly - what the hell would it entail?

The referral was sent off and I did what any 21st century patient would do, I googled. Everything I found online was really positive and I knew the programme would be beneficial for me.

Early 2013 I received an appointment for Stanmore (it's in Middlesex by the way, down south) but I was studying for my Masters and I couldn't get time off. The Rehab Programme required three weeks as an inpatient but it wasn't the right time for me. I was more than willing to go to rehab (yes, funny) as soon as I'd handed in my mammoth dissertation.

Once I left uni I called Stanmore to discuss my options and they informed me that I'd need a new referral as it had been over a year.

I made an appointment with my GP, told her all about the programme and how I thought it'd help me manage my pain and she agreed. She sent a letter the same week. It was that easy.

That was at the end of 2013. I went for my first assessment in March 2015.

My Stanmore (RNOH) journey is going to be a series on my blog over the next few months as I want to share the process, the emotions I go through, the therapy I have, etc.

If you have any questions, please get in touch.

Sarah x

Monday, 1 June 2015

Review of my Nars Audacious Lipstick Collection

Back L-R Raquel, Brigitte, Julie, Anita, Anna.
Vivien, Jeanne, Audrey
Nars Audacious Lipstick | £24 | Link |
Oh, Nars - how I love you. Since this collection was permanently released last year I have been collecting these babies as they're truly amazing. I'm a Mac girl, I have a hell of a lot Mac lipsticks and I'll forever purchase more but the Audacious lipsticks take some beating.

I'm all about sleek, black packaging but the best thing about these lipsticks is the magnetic closure. My boyfriend spent a few minutes opening and closing the first ones I bought (Anna and Anita) because he's a child and it's such a good concept - no lids falling off whilst your make up lies at the bottom of your bag.
They are full-coverage with one swipe, insanely pigmented and leave a long-lasting satin finish. They are very creamy and apply evenly, not tugging on the lips. I wouldn't say that the lipsticks are nourishing or hydrating but they certainly don't dry my lips out, and I have terribly chapped lips. The creaminess of the lipsticks make them very comfortable to wear; utter luxury.
As you can tell, I love my nudes.
Raquel - Pink beige
Brigitte - Nude rose
Julie - Nude coral pink
Anita - Antique rose
Anna - Smokey rose
Vivien - Red plum
Jeanne - Cherry red
Audrey - Red currant
Dominque - Pink lilac
Wish list: Grace, Claudia, Silvia, Rita.I realised after swatching that I don't have enough pinks! Claudia needs to be mine.
There are 40 shades in the collection and they retail for £24. I know, I know, it's expensive for a lipstick but if you try them, you'll see that they are totally worth it. And with the range of shades there is most definitely something for everyone.

Anna and Dominique are most definitely my favourite of the nine Nars Audacious lipsticks I own.
Anna is a stunning colour for daily wear, it's a very beautiful dusty pink that is a bit bolder than an every day nude. It's one of the best-selling colours from the line and I'm not surprised.
Dominique is also highly sought after as it is such a unique lipstick. I didn't think it'd suit me when I first purchased it as it is not something I would normally wear but it's gorgeous. Dominique is a muted purple with pink undertones, it wears fairly dark on my porcelain skin and I'm in love with it.
Have you tried any of the Nars Audacious lipsticks?
Sarah x