30 Jun 2012

Little updates - the anniversary edition

A slightly different little updates this week - not an instagram pic in sight!  The boyf and I have been celebrating our anniversary of the day we started going out - 10 years ago!  We're going to Las Vegas in September, which is the main thing we're doing to mark the occasion in style, but here's what we got up to on the actual day.

He got me a kitty balloon! Yay!  And yes, we have a weird obsession with the Zingy character from the EDF ads!  
Dan did so well with my presents - he wrapped them in the most beautiful paper from my favourite shop - Paperchase - then he set them alight with sparklers!  The big box was filled to the brim with snow like little balls and I had to dig in to find my presents which included perfume from L'Occitane, Lush bath bombs and The Gruffalo on dvd :)

The pics of some of the London sights were taken on a little river cruise we did along the Thames in the beautiful sunshine and the second set are taken from the London Eye, which neither of us had done before despite living so close.  I really recommend the river boat cruises - they're really reasonably priced, I learned loads of new facts about the history of London, and I love being on boats anyway.

I just wanted to share what we've been up to - I'll be back with my usual style little updates next week.

29 Jun 2012

Beauty blogging tips - coming soon!

Sooooo, as I'm a total doughnut and just accidentally published and then quickly deleted (although I can't delete it from google reader / blogger dashboards) the bones of one part of a new series of posts I'm working on, I thought I'd better explain what I'm up to. (and yes the little list in the image is a joke!)

I've decided I'd quite like to write up all that I know about the world of beauty blogging in the hope that it might help new bloggers or those thinking about starting a blog.  I know that I was extremely confused when I first started out, and my lack of knowledge actually put me off for a bit - it took me a long old time to really get into the swing of things and enjoy it enough to want to give up large chunks of my spare time to blog regularly.

Now I don't for one second think I'm an expert, nor do I rate myself as a top beauty blogger / guru.  I just see a lot of new / potential beauty bloggers asking a lot of the same questions and generally worrying about making mistakes / breaking the secret (non-existent!) codes of beauty blogging, so I thought I'd share what I've learned in my three years of blogging and I hope this series will help some people who are new to blogging or thinking about starting out.

The posts I plan to write are in no way 'the rules'!  I'm just going to be passing on my opinions, opinions I've heard from others, and information I've learned along the way and I'll be happy for anyone to have input through the comments.

These are my planned topics for each post in the series - please do let me know if you can think of something I've missed out - I'll be starting with the first post next week (unless my fat fingers accidentally publish it before then!).
  1. How do I start a beauty blog and what should I name it?  
  2. What's the best layout / font / style / theme for my beauty blog?
  3. What should I write about, how often should I blog and how do you stay organized?
  4. How do I get more blog followers / traffic and comments on my posts?
  5. How do you get PR companies and brands to send you samples for your beauty blog?
  6. What's the right etiquette / rules to follow when working with PRs and brands?
  7. How do I get invited to beauty events / what are events like?
  8. How can I make money from my beauty blog? 
Let me know what you think :)


28 Jun 2012

Real Techniques Core Collection review

I know I'm stupidly late to the party with this review, but it would be rude not to post about the Real Techniques core brush collection.  I've been using it since March, so you can safely say I've fully road-tested it!  My first real techniques brush was the stippling brush which I reviewed here.  After really liking that brush I put the Core Collection and Starter Kit on my birthday list - I'll do a review of that one soon too.

The four brushes in the Real Techniques Core Collection are ( L to R) - detailer brush, pointed foundation brush, contour brush and buffing brush.  

Detailer brush 
This is a really useful small brush.  I've found it to be good for applying a tiny amount of concealer to an awkward place like around the corners of the eyes.  It's also a good brush for a little bit of precise eye shadow work too, if you want to perhaps just add a tiny amount of a darker shadow.  I don't get a huge amount of use from this brush to be honest, it's more of an occasional use one if I'm doing something out of the ordinary with my makeup.

Pointed foundation brush 
I have to admit that I still haven't used this brush.  I just don't need it as I'm so into using the buffing brush for my foundation and I really don't want to put it down.  It seems like a huge waste of this lovely soft brush though - does anyone have any suggestions for how I could use this?

Contour brush 
No surprises that I use this brush for contouring.  It's the perfect size for contouring the hollows of your cheeks and other areas on the face.  I use this with my Sleek contour kit and it works perfectly for the contour and the hi-light.  I remember someone telling me they used this brush for blush, but for me it's to small for that - I like to use a bigger and angled brush from my Sigma kit for blush.

Buffing brush 
This is now my all time favourite foundation brush.  I use it with my Estee Lauder double wear and they're a perfect pairing.  I don't get any streaking at all using this brush with that foundation.  It's a super soft brush so I take it right under my eyes and blend concealer with it.  It's intended to be a buffing brush, so sometimes after I've applied my MAC MSF natural as a setting powder with a big fluffy brush, I'll buff over it with this brush just to make sure everything's even and there's no cakeiness.  I could probably do with two of these brushes so that I could use one for foundation and one for powder - I'm not sure if they sell this one individually so I'll have to check.

So although I don't get a lot of use out of half of the kit, the other half has become a staple in my every day makeup routine.  I sort of knew this when I decided to get the kit - the buffing and contour brush were the main brushes I wanted, and seeing as the whole kit is only £21.99 I wasn't fussed that I might not use the other two much.  

I think these are amazing quality brushes for the price (they're really soft and they don't shed at all) and I would definitely buy this kit again if the buffing and contour brushes wear out.  

You can get the Real techniques Core Collection from Boots for £21.99.

27 Jun 2012

Tangle Teezer de-tangling brush review

If you've not heard of Tangle Teezer before, prepare to want one.  I've been using mine for about 2 - 3 months now, and I love it.  It's probably one of my top hair and beauty finds this year.

The Tangle Teezer is a specially designed de-tangling brush that doesn't damage the hair even when it's wet and at it's most fragile.  I have to agree that this is the best thing I've tried for brushing my hair when it's wet, but it's also fab on dry hair too.  It's brushes out your hair without pulling and dragging like a regular brush, and I don't find that it's pulled strands of hair out like my normal brushes would either.  

It works because of the way the teeth of the brush are designed.  They're positioned carefully to give the optimum amount of spacing and the teeth are super flexible, which is why they don't drag and snag the hair.  The brush is also shaped to sit well in your hand - it doesn't have a long handle like a normal brush.  It takes a little bit of getting the hang of because you hold it so differently, but now I'm used to it I love it.  

As you can see, my Tangle Teezer is purple and glittery, but it comes in loads of other pretty colours too and they also make smaller handbag sized ones which I think I'm going to get.  

You can get the original Tangle Teezer like mine for £8.45 from Amazon here, and like I said it also comes in a travel size and a cute kid's version shaped like  flower.

Have you tried a Tangle Teezer?

26 Jun 2012

What's in my basket: Matalan

I'd not bought anything from Matalan for a while, but when looking for a maxi skirt the other week I had a peek on there and ended up with a few things sneaking their way into my basket.

Seahorse print top with detachable sequin peter pan collar - £18

Horse / pony print top with a peter pan collar in coral - £12
 Horse / pony print top with a peter pan collar in lilac- £12
Pleated maxi skirt - £12 
I loved the colour of this in the picture but in real life it was bright orange!

 Hi-low / dipped hem black maxi skirt - £14
Mint green pleated dipped hem skirt - £14

I love re-discovering somewhere I've not shopped for a while and finding some little gems.  What do you think of the bits I picked up?


25 Jun 2012

NOTD: A sneaky try of Models Own Ibiza Mix

When Models Own Ibiza Mix first came out, I decided I didn't really need it as I heard another blogger saying how similar it is to OPI rainbow connection.  I'd forgotten all about it until the other day when my friend pulled Ibiza Mix out of her bag.  It didn't look much like Rainbow Connection in the bottle, so I asked if I could have a go.

Sorry for the not so great iphone photos - I hadn't gone out planning to be taking blog photos!  I put Ibiza Mix over a purple and a pale peach to see how it worked light and dark colours.  I think I like it most over the purple - it's like a party going on right there on my nail!  

I have to say I don't think this is like Rainbow Connection at all.  The glitter is not the same size and although they're both multi-coloured glitter polishes, they're made up of different colours.  Ibiza mix is mostly gold with a lot of green, turquoise and pinky coloured glitter and I love it.  It's not like anything else I own and I think I need to pick this up for myself.  

A good lesson for me to remember that other people's opinions are just that - opinions, not facts!  I'm glad I didn't totally let this one pass me by.  

Do you have Ibiza Mix - is it similar to any other glitter polishes you've come across?

24 Jun 2012

Little updates

Happy Sunday everyone, well for what's left of it anyway.  I just don't know where my weekends go, they're far to short :(  But on the bright side I have a two day week at work this week, woo!  Right now let's get on to the snooping...

Prettying up my kitchen by fluttersparkle New cups, milk jug and sugar bowl for at home afternoon teas :) by fluttersparkle
Gorgeous storage boxes in TK Maxx by fluttersparkle Which one do I get? by fluttersparkle
1 - finding a place for my new teapot to live in my kitchen and playing with the picfx iphone app
2 - new cups, milk jug and sugar bowl to go with my new teapot - I'm planning some at home afternoon tea shenanigans 
3 - ogling the beautiful storage in TK Maxx 
4 - picking out which one to get for storing beauty products for blogging

My pretty new suitcase by fluttersparkle Why did nobody tell me Asda had started selling these?! by fluttersparkle
Today\'s outfit for mooching around CostCo by fluttersparkle Biggest teddy ever! by fluttersparkle
1 - my pretty new suitcase ready for Vegas
2 - one of my favourite US snacks is now in Asda!
3 - Saturday outfit of the day
4 - me and the bf with the hugest teddy I've ever seen

Kiddie desserts for the win by fluttersparkle Stealing a bit of Ibiza Mix from @fluffypinkystar by fluttersparkle
Outfit of the night by fluttersparkle I\'m all sequins and seahorses today by fluttersparkle
1 - killing my desert with sprinkles :)
2 - playing with Models Own Ibiza Mix borrowed from my friend
3 - a little outfit of the evening from when it was a bit sunny and I wore my new dipped hem maxi skirt
4 - loving my new top - seahorses and sequins

Mmm fresh cherries by fluttersparkle Boyf got me a little anniversary present from L\'Occitane by fluttersparkle
Pub food munch by fluttersparkle Pick \'n\' mix! by fluttersparkle
1 - fresh cherries, nom
2 - the boyf bought me a little treat from L'Occitane but I have to wait until next week to get it
3 - pub lunch and I ordered a burger (which I never ever do) and the bf didn't (he absolutely always does) -these random happenings amuse us
4 - pick and mix from Wilkinsons - not a patch on good old Woolworths 

Double Wear haul and samples by fluttersparkle Thanks @fluffypinkystar xx by fluttersparkle
My beaut new shoes from daisystreet.co.uk @punkpr by fluttersparkle Nomness by fluttersparkle
1 - pricey but necessary Estee Lauder haul
2 - a choccy gift from my bestie's baby girl to thank me for her pressies
3 - my new love (no I haven't stopped going on about these yet)
4 - lasagna of dreams (sorry Zara, this is a real lasagna!) 

 Brush washing boredom by fluttersparkle As tidy as this part of my dressing table ever gets by fluttersparkle
Lipstick drawer by fluttersparkle Finally it\'s tidy again by fluttersparkle
1 - the boredom of brush cleaning 
2 - tidied my dressing table but it still looked crammed with products
3 - organising my lippie drawer
4 - my make-up tower after a big tidy-up and sort out

Breakfast has been served to me in the bath by the boyf - love it by fluttersparkle Getting into book 2 while boyf watches F1 by fluttersparkle
My favourite dinner by fluttersparkle They\'re both mine #greedy by fluttersparkle
1 - mix and match toast - one marmite one blackberry jam - so wrong but tastes so right
2 - I finished book 2.  Half way through book 3 now.
3 - Nomster steak dinner - homemade sweet potato wedges and green beans with chilli and soy
4 - mixing my drink because I'm totes living on the edge

It's actually my blog's birthday this month, so I really need to be doing something about that.  I'm thinking I might do a giveaway in two parts so that I can do a little one now and then another one after my holiday so that I can include lots of fun US makeup.  What do you think?

I've been getting back my love for pinterest this week - if you've not checked it out yet or if you want to see my pins have a peek here - http://pinterest.com/fluttersparkle/

Also I thought I'd just give a little plug to my facebook page which I now update with all of my posts, so it's a good way of keeping up with blogs if you use facebook a lot - http://www.facebook.com/flutterandsparkle

And finally a few blogs for your to browse - some are my old faves and some are brand new discoveries - enjoy :)

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