Tuesday, 30 September 2014

I Heart Makeup #SELFIE Eye Shadow Palette by Makeup Revolution

Okay, Okay, admittedly I'm a little slow off the mark with this one. I'm pretty convinced that the majority of people have heard us bloggers chirping on about purse-friendly brand, Makeup Revolution and their bloody fabulous range of high-end looky likey products. Here's some of my previous reviews relating to the brand: Blushing Hearts Peachy Keen BlusherAmazing Lipstick and Lip Power Duo and Vivid Baked Highlighter in Peach Lights

Today, we're taking a look at the #SELFIE eye shadow palette, and here it is in all its glory:

First off, I was a little bit surprised at the size of this palette. I don't know why, but I expected it to be bigger than it is. Saying that, I wasn't necessarily disappointed. It's about the size of my hand, which isn't huge but nevertheless, it isn't tiny either. I guess it's the perfect compact size for taking on your travels or shoving in your handbag if you like to 'makeup' on the go. 

I'll hit you with the swatches:

From left to right:
Check Us In,
 Me Me Me!,
and #Awks

From left to right:
Share This,
and How Many Likes?
Eagle-eyed readers will have counted ten shades right there; and with the palette retailing at a penny short of a fiver, (£4.99) that works out at just under 50p per shade! Bargs. 

So let's chat about the shadows themselves. You simply cannot argue with the quality of these, the shimmer shades in particular. They are fantastically pigmented, (Phew, that's a mouthful!) and they blend like an absolute dream. It must be said that the matte shade #Chocfix and the black #Club, aren't on a par with the other shimmery shades in terms of the pigmentation and colour payoff; however they are still usable and welcome additions to the overall lineup. 

My favourite shades are Check Us In as a great base shade, #Awks, #Love, Share This and How Many Likes? - So not many then! I'm a big fan of warm, bronzy, neutral shades and there really is so much to love in this palette. For me, it's a great smokey-eye companion, and the full size mirror on the inside lid is perfect for getting up close and personal with when applying your eye makeup. 

The I Heart Makeup #SELFIE palette also comes with a free mini eye primer, which admittedly, I've used less as a primer and more as a lazy, quick swipe over the eyes, product when I don't really feel like doing much with my face. The palette also comes equipped with a spongey brush, which I can't say I've used but it feels pretty sturdy and would no doubt do the job. 

Would I buy this palette again second time round? Absolutely. Would I recommend it to a friend? A big, fat YES. It's a great palette, despite the teenybopping name and the fact that whenever I look at it, I get the Selfie song stuck in my head, but I'm willing to live with all of that for something I literally reach for most days because of its versatility and just down right, bloody lovely shades. Should you go out and buy this palette? Without a doubt! 

Here's a Face of the Day post that I did recently using the #SELFIE palette - Click me! 

Have you tried any of the I Heart Makeup or Makeup Revolution eye shadow ranges/palettes? What are your thoughts? 

Monday, 29 September 2014

Boredom Busters!

Is there such a thing as a candle-sniffing addiction? I mean, I get the whole glue sniffing thing, well, I don't entirely get it, but I know it's a thing... Phew, what did I just get myself into there? Anyway, I'm currently sitting in what can only be described as my office. <- Ha, hark at me. It's basically the dining room of our apartment that we've turned into a sort of office area because it was pretty much redundant space. We have a rather large living room in which our dining table sits comfortably, so we thought we'd act like those posh folk and go and create ourselves a little study. Oo-er. 

Ah yes, the candle. I have been sat here, nose deep in SINNLIG 40h, also described as a strawberry IKEA candle, for the last ten minutes and I'm pretty sure I can hear my brain cells dissolving as I do. I'd go as far as to say I've got a headache and the lining of my nostrils feel like they've been rushing to go out and had a dry shave. I guess I should put it down but it smells so damn good. Is anyone else a real sucker for a scented candle, and by sucker I mean sits there like a junkie inhaling every last precious whiff? 

I need to get a life. 

Here's a list of things you can do, instead of candle-sniffing, to prevent yourself from sliding down this slippery slope:

- Carve sculptures out of cheese - Goes away to Google if cheese sculptures are a thing.

- Create an artistic masterpiece using numbers and punctuation on your phone. My proudest moment, pre university, was creating a bear holding a flower on my Nokia 3210. Skills.

- Order a heap of stuff online and then sit in a corner, silently sobbing whilst cutting up your credit cards.

- Invent time travel because I did a whole bunch of shit whilst drunk that I'd like to go back and ctrl-alt-delete. 

- Wow someone with this egg in a bottle trick. Most bottles with a narrow neck will do. 

- Teach yourself to beat box and then apply for Britain's Got Talent, or a similar talent contest. 

- Try to fold a piece of paper more than seven times - apparently it's pretty much impossible. (Unless you use a piece of tissue paper the size of football pitch or something) Go on, try it!

- Choreograph a routine to Taylor Swift's Shake it off and perform it in front of your bedroom mirror, and the unsuspecting window cleaner and/or nosy neighbours. 

- Re-write the Fresh Prince of Bel Air rap for your unsuspecting partner/friend and marvel at your own lyrical genius... (It's a winner - speaking from experience!)

There you go guys, you now no longer have any excuse to develop a sniffing habit or any other disturbing byproduct of boredom. I'll accept written thanks in the form of a comment below. 

I'm also going to wave my hands at you all and take this moment to put the feelers out for anyone who may be interested in guest posting over here whilst I'm away on my jollies. I'll be gone from late October to mid November so if you're interested, feel free to contact me via effortlesslyexcessive@hotmail.com, I don't bite... promise! Many hugs and thanks in advance. 

Happy Monday everyone!

Friday, 26 September 2014

L’Oréal Color Riche Collection Exclusive - Eva's Nude

Trying to find the perfect nude is a bit like walking into a Topshop sale and resisting the urge to part with your cash - in short, it's difficult and takes a fair bit of commitment and dedication. I remember all too vividly the, 'concealer lip trend' of a few years back and it's safe to say, I wasn't a fan. As a result, I've been a bit wary of the nude lipstick. I didn't think we would get along nude lippie and I and so I've probably been more picky than I would be given any other colour. 

If you caught my post from earlier in the week, you will have seen that I spent the previous weekend in the city of Tallinn, in Estonia (Link here) Whilst there, I managed to pick up this lovely nude offering from L’Oréal. It's part of the Color Riche range and these limited edition Collection Exclusive lipstick shades are custom made and selected by some of L’Oréal's iconic ambassadors. 

I opted for Eva Longoria's - Barely Golden Nude which is a gorgeous beige/peach colour. Now, I've swatched a fair few nude lipsticks over the past few months and none of them blew me away like this one did. A great first impression. 

The pigmentation is great and you get a generous dose of colour with just one swipe. The Color Riche applies like a dream and is very comfortable to wear. It's creamy and rich, my favourite type of formula. It sits well on the lips and feels soft and moisturising. The finish is similar to a MAC Cremesheen, it's fairly glossy but not overly so. My absolute favourite part of the formula however; is the fact that it smells like Parma Violets - seriously! Ahhmazing. (Cue me pulling ridiculous pouty expressions when wearing it to catch a whiff.) In terms of longevity, I'd say you will get around 3-4 hours worth of wear out of this before you're going to want to touch it up. Not bad for a drugstore brand. 

Let's talk presentation. I'm such a visual person and I think for me, a good-looking product is essential to get me to part with my cash. I must confess, I did briefly consider purchasing a similar shade to this from Maybelline; however the packaging felt so flimsy and to be frank, it was pretty, darn ugly. The Color Riche Nude Collection come in sleek, black and gold cases which feel more akin to higher-end products; and even the engraving across the stick resembles the likes of Clarins Joli Rouge and Nars Audacious. The packaging feels secure when fastened and so it's unlikely that the lid is going to run amok in your handbag - Hooray!

Thoughts? I'm smitten with this product. It's a perfect nude shade for me and the quality certainly rivals that of some of the pricier lipsticks on the market. Once again, L’Oréal have pulled it out of the bag with their products and they have firmly secured their place as one of my ultimate fave high-street brands. 

If you're interested in the Color Riche Nude Collection, which you bloody well should be by now! Then they come in a variety of six shades which are suited to specifc skin tones. Eva's nude is described as being for light-medium skin tones, but they cater for fair skin, all the way to more olive and deeper skin tones too. You can check them all out right here

Have you tried any of the Color Riche Collection Exclusive lipsticks? If so, what are your thoughts? Do you rate or hate a nude lippie?

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Sigma Makeup Brushes - First impressions

When it comes to creating a masterpiece, the saying goes that you're only as good as the tools you hold in your hand - and well, if this isn't a saying, then it damn well should be! You're never going to recreate the Mona Lisa with a trowel and a toothpick - unless you're a genius, in which case I'm all ears for a few tricks, and with all the will in the world, you're never going to apply your slap to the best of your ability with shoddy brushes. 

Makeup brushes are often overlooked, with people preferring to splash their cash on the main ingredients, myself included, but if you're going to shell out your hard earned cash on makeup, you want to ensure that you're reaping the rewards from a good, clean application. This is where your brushes come in. 

After doing a bit of research online, I decided to give Sigma a go. My brush collection has never been a particularly outstanding feature of my 'kit'. I own a few MAC brushes which I enjoy using, and a couple of eye shadow brushes that I picked up in Qatar which are usable and get the job done, but don't wow me. I briefly considered expanding my MAC collection; however I was swayed towards Sigma, mostly due to the flat kabuki brush, (the far right in the picture below.) I've read a number of positive reviews online regarding the flat kabuki and its ability to apply flawless foundation and I guess curiosity got the better of me. 

Here's what I ordered from left to right:

- Sigma Blending Brush E25 

- Sigma Eye Shading Brush E55 

- Sigma Large Fluff Brush E50

- Sigma Small Contour Brush F05

- Sigma Flat Top Kabuki Brush F80

So what are my initial thoughts? I haven't tried them out with actual makeup yet, and I almost feel like I don't want to because they look so perfect sitting on my dresser, untouched. Is that sad? I'm going to say yes; however they feel incredibly soft and, surprisingly, much more weighted than I anticipated, especially the two larger brushes. There's nothing worse than a flimsy feeling brush. I've also had a fair ruffle of the fibres and the fall out is minimal, in fact, I experienced greater fall out with my two large MAC brushes - but I guess time will tell with this one. 

They're good looking brushes too and it's easy to spot where Sigma got their inspiration from. Let's just say that they don't look out of place sitting next to my MAC brushes. I opted for chrome ferrules, (the metal bit that holds the fibres in places) but Sigma also offer their range of brushes in copper and 18K gold too. Fancy. Each brush features the Sigma logo engraved into the ferrule as well as along the handle; which also contains the brush name and number. Handy if you're a bit of a novice and are likely to forget what each brush is and what it should be used for. 

As it stands, the jury is out on these just yet as I'll need time to get to grips with them and see how they shape up being put to use; however first impressions have been good ones and I really hope that these brushes pull their weight. Watch this space for a more detailed review soon.

I ordered my brushes via Beauty Chamber and you can check their website out right here

Do you own any of the Sigma brush range and if so, what are your thoughts?

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Online Self-help...

Every now and again I'm overcome with the urge to take to Google and begin a self-diagnosis episode that is a one-way track to a few cold sweats and all-out genuine fear. Most recently it was my three day hangover that pretty much ruined me as a person. I'm milking this one for all it's worth because it really was the most horrific thing that I have ever had to endure; and although I'm quite partial to a bit of amateur dramatics, I'm typing this with the most serious face that I can possibly muster. Anyway, to cut a long story short, Dr Google suggested that I had pancreatitis and I was most likely going to die without some form of medical intervention. It's safe to say, I'm still here and it's highly probable that I'd pulled a muscle in my stomach from the obscene amount of sparkling wine and vodka I'd hurled into the basin of my toilet. 

*Takes a bow*

No, seriously kids, don't drink. It's not clever. Anyhoo, as I've said, it's not the first time I've tapped away at the laptop keys in the hope of finding some words of wisdom online, or the advice of a stranger sitting in a bedsit in Zimbabwe, eating french fries. Not me eating the french fries, the guy in Zimbabwe. Okay, probably both of us were eating french fries but that's really not my point.

Interestingly, more so than the weird and wonderful advice actually available out there on the interweb, is Google's remarkable ability to assume the worst in its search engine users. For example:

I'm going to go with no on this one

I don't even want to know!

Apparently it's pedo... in case you were wondering

Just eww.

One would hope that it would be before you were old enough to ask online

Wait, what? We have a 'gay' ear?

Who even worries about these things?
I can only begin to imagine what other weird, wonderful and all out disturbing questions are being typed into Google's search bar as we speak, or maybe I don't even want to? It seems that regardless of how bizarre your query is, there's an answer waiting for you out there in the deepest, darkest corners of the web. It's almost reassuring in the, one day my wee may be blue and I'll need to know why, aspect of life. Surprisingly enough, I have actually seen an article highlighting all the possible shades of wee through various diseases, illnesses etc and blue did feature. Am I alone in thinking that, that would be pretty cool? Bridget Jones soup springs to mind. 

Right, I'm going to wrap this up for today before this post digresses into even stranger territory. Are you a serial online diagnoser or do you prefer to leave it to the good, old professionals?  

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Hotel Telegraaf - Tallinn Estonia

If you managed to catch my post yesterday then you will notice that Scott and I spent the weekend in the city of Tallinn. Here's the link if you missed it - Click me! Being the 'romantic' that he is, Scott booked us into the Hotel Telegraaf, a stunning 5-star spa hotel, right in Tallinn's old town. 

The location could not have been any more perfect with the town hall square a mere stumble away, and the building itself is certainly very impressive. When Scott and I pulled up with our cases, we were blown away. The pictures definitely don't do it justice. 

Evening facade via website
Inside, the hotel is as equally charming. There's a real sense of old meets new which is reflected in the decor and you absolutely get a sense of why this hotel has been awarded its five-star rating. 

Lobby via website
We arrived at the hotel far earlier than our check in and so we dumped our bags before putting our tourist caps on and heading out to explore. The receptionist was thoroughly helpful and took our number so that she could give us a call when our room became available. 

Our room was on the second floor and overlooked the cobbled streets below. It was tastefully decorated and immaculately presented - I'm a bit of a stickler for cleanliness and I wasn't disappointed. 

One of our views
I need this mirror!

Now, on to the three letter word that gets my heart a beating... S.P.A. Oh my goodness, after a day on my feet, walking around the streets of Tallinn, I could not have been more pleased to don my fluffy bathrobe and soak myself in the jacuzzi until I resembled some sort of dried plum. 

Spa via website
In addition to the pool and jacuzzi, there was also a sauna and steam room too. The facilities, whilst not being huge, were excellent. You could also call ahead and book treatments if you wished; however Scott and I thought we would skip this and save it for when we are soaking up the sun in Vietnam. 

We visited the spa both on Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning and at both times, it was relatively quiet, with only one or two other people floating around. 

On Saturday evening we had a reservation at Restaurant Tchaikovsky, the hotel's resident eatery. It seats up to 55 guests and we were advised at the time of booking that it often fills up on a weekend, so booking ahead is a must!

The food is described as a, 'symphony of Russian cuisine' which means very little to my non-foodie brain, but the restaurant features high up on the list of best restaurants in Tallinn, via Trip Advisor and so we knew we were probably in for a treat. 

Now here's the best bit - pictures of all the lovely food we ordered:

Wild mushroom pelmeni starter
Lobster soup with sugar peas and saffron cream
Mushroom puree with creme fraiche - We were given this on the house as a taster
Smoked tune fillet with asparagus and oyster sauce
Roasted duck with parsnip, chokeberries and estragon sauce
Included in the meal, we were also given a selection of breadsticks and butters, a choice of brown bread and onion muffins as well as a palette cleanser between courses. Phew. To say we were stuffed is a bit of an understatement! In fact, we had to ask the waitress to delay our main courses so that we could have a bit of a rest. That being said, the food was absolutely incredible and it's easy to see why this place was full to the brim. The waitress that served us seemed genuinely enthusiastic and knowledgeable about the food that she was serving us, which is always encouraging to see. My only regret is that we didn't leave space for a dessert as I'm sure that they would have been delicious. 

On our final day we also ate sandwiches in the hotel's outdoor terrace; although Scott and I were so hungry that we scoffed the lot before I could whip my camera out for a picture. Sorry guys. Here's a lovely photograph of the terrace anyway.

Summer terrace via website
Speaking of the service at the hotel as a whole, I honestly couldn't fault a single member of staff. Everyone seemed genuinely keen to help and there was a real welcoming and inviting atmosphere in every corner of the place. It seemed that nothing was too much to ask. Excellent customer service is something that any hotel should strive to achieve and Hotel Telegraaf have hit the nail on the head. Scott and I have had the privilege of visiting some incredible hotels during our time in the Middle East and we feel that the Hotel Telegraaf sits comfortably amongst our all-time favourites. 

If you ever find yourself in Tallinn and in need of a place to stay, you really need look no further than the Hotel Telegraaf. I would love to return some time in the near future, if not to stay, then definitely to eat in the fantastic restaurant. 

Thank you very much Hotel Telegraaf for a wonderful stay.

Logo via website
To find out more, visit the Hotel website at www.telegraafhotel.com 
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