Saturday, 20 February 2016

MAC: SPLURGE OR SAVE?



I've been shopping in Mac for years. It was the first high end foundation I ever bought and I got into the lipsticks pretty quickly after that. I'll always have a special place in my heart for Studio Fix foundation, but like all brands, Mac isn't the be all and end all of high end cosmetics. I've spent a bit of time putting together some dupes and other options for Mac if you love the brand but just aren't sure if you want to spend £20 on a powder or £12.50 on a lip liner every time you fancy a treat.


STROBE CREAM: The strobe cream is a popular 'must have' for beauty gurus and make-up artists. It's a moisturiser that can be used as a base for make-up and also for highlighting under or over foundation. It gives a healthy glow to the skin and contains lots of great ingredients too, such as plant extracts. It's £24.50 for 50ML or the travel size version is £10 for 30ml, so the travel size works out a lot cheaper and is better value for money. I love this and would recommend anyone to splurge on this, as it gives such a gorgeous glow to the skin. However it's not a primer: I recommend L'oreal's Lumi Magique Primer for that if you want a glowy base that's also primed. However, that is actually more expensive than the strobe cream at £12 for 20ML. One upside to the L'oreal primer being in the drugstore is that there are often deals on; the other day I picked up True Match and the Lumi Magique for £12, essentially BOGOF!


LIP LINERS: I will always love Mac's lip liners for the choice of colours, but I feel disappointed that they aren't easier to glide onto the lips. I like to use lip liners for an all over colour sometimes and not just lining, and they can feel quite 'hard' and I find it easier to use my Topshop or Rimmel liners for an all over colour. I have also got a couple of Pro Longwear lip liners which are £15 as opposed to £12.50 and I couldn't see any difference except the fact that they were easier to glide onto the lips, which I loved. I wouldn't say anyone needs to splurge on Mac's lip liners in order to have a good make-up collection in my opinion. Save! Rimmel do some great colours and some dupes for Mac's popular colour Spice.

LIPSTICK: I'll keep this part short as I am a die hard fan of Mac's lipsticks. They are truly my favourite and I have a little collection started up. I find them to be long lasting and a great formula. At £15.50, they're not too expensive like YSL or Tom Ford and the actual lipstick itself lasts for a long time too. I would definitely splurge on these as they're a great asset to any make-up collection and I haven't found a cheaper lipstick that gives the same finish or longevity.

POWDERS: Mac powders are average. They're expensive and don't give a flawless finish. I prefer my Topshop bronzer to Mac's brozer selection and there isn't a shade that can be used for contouring either. My cheaper alternatives I love to use are Rimmel's Stay Matte Pressed Powder, Too Faced Chocolate Bronzer and Topshop Bronzer in Sandcastle. Save your money and give the drugstore a go for your powders.


I've also written about a dupe for the FIX+ spray by Mac if you want to give that a read here
What is one Mac product you can't live without?


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Natasha Kendall Blog
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Thursday, 18 February 2016

5 TOP TIPS TO SURVIVE YOUR FIRST YEAR OF UNIVERSITY

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People don't usually 'know' how to survive university. It surprises me how many students forget that they are there to study and not to go to Revs 4 nights a week. As I enter semester two of my first (technically second) year of University, I figured I would share some tips on how to survive your first year. I have done a previous year of Media and dropped out after semester one because I didn't like the course. I am now on a different course and I am taking it way more seriously, so I figured I would share my top tips with you to help you get by!

Scheduling/Time Management
Ultimately, you have to get a schedule together and understand that if you can't be bothered to attend most lectures, you're going to get a pretty rubbish grade. I study English Literature so I try to attend as many lectures as possible or I can fall behind on the reading I need to do and that affects my essays. If am one text down, I am also one text down that I could use for critical analysis... and that could have been the easiest text to analyse! See my point? Try to attend, because it's not always enough to access powerpoints after class. Lecturers might give you a website to go on to access reading material or just some handy tips for your essay such as what texts not to do. (Yes, that happens!)

Organisation
If I could give fresher me one piece of advice, it would be this: Don't use your laptop for uni note taking. Don't use one notepad either. When you come to revise or write an essay and need the information, it'll be very hard to find. How are you supposed to take good notes on a computer? And how are you supposed to organise a notepad? Folders are 10000% the easiest way to organise your uni handouts and life, trust me. (I used a laptop in my fresher semester and it was a huge fail.)

My favourite way to organise is to have a different folder for each subject/module and organise the folder in 3 ways.

1. The first section is essential 'stuff' like handouts, course module guide (this contains my assignments and reading list etc)
2. A printables section with pages such as 'definitions', 'essay plan' sheets etc.
3. .. then I have my lectures and seminars. I put a sticky tab by each one so I know if the notes are from the seminar or lecture. Sometimes I just merge this stuff together for classes where I don't write a great deal.

Each folder is labeled with the day, time and room I have that subject in. It takes a while to get done, but it is worth it once I have amazingly organised folders that take all of 2 minutes to locate a handout or set of notes in! As an example, I have 4 core subjects in English Literature: Imaginative writing, Greek Tragedy, Literary Criticism and A History of English Literature. If I had just one notebook for all of these, I would find it difficult to cope when it came to referring back to each lecture and seminar I have been to. It would get very messy, very quickly. My folders don't stay neat all the time but I try to staple things together when I can and include what week it is, the date and make sure the notes  or handouts I get go into the right section. I also write like a toddler in lectures and seminars, but once I am home, I re-write my notes with colourful pens and make sure to add any other important info I may have missed. I'm a little bit obsessive over my notes, but again, colourful notes make for fabulous revision material. 

Printables
As mentioned, I use a lot of printables. I have essay plans, definition pages where I am able to quickly refer back to any words I am unsure of, weekly planners, to do lists.. I use ones from a popular tumblr blog called The Organised Student. There are lots of others on Pinterest that you can find and believe me when I say your future self is grateful when you have a list of words to look back to use in your essays when you're stuck! I also ask my lecturer to give me some points I could possibly use from a text, and I note these down in my essay plans. It really doesn't hurt to start early, which is why printables are so great.

Starting Essays Early
Let me repeat that. Start your essays earlier than the day before they're due. I won't preach about this too much as I started two of my essays in semester one, four days before they were due in. Making an essay plan early and even starting the introduction 3 weeks before the essay is due makes life so much easier in the long run. Print out an essay planning sheet and write some key points down. Take down feedback from your lecturers about what you can do to improve your essays next time and apply that criticism to your next essay. I know it hurts to look at a marking of your essay and read a lecturer called Graham who talks about his wife's love for Waitrose pain au chocolat saying how crap a section of your essay was (we've all been there) but just do it, read it and then apply to the next essay.
Money Management
It's way too easy to look at a chunk of cash in your bank and forget how long it has to last you. When you get your loan, an easy way to budget is to move it entirely into a savings account and transfer over the funds you have allotted for each week on the Sunday. That way you're never tempted to spend it all on a bomber jacket and joni jeans in Topshop and you won't be starving the last 2 weeks. Think of the money in your savings as 'not there'. Act like Sunday is your payday and you will honestly have a way better system to manage your money. I'd also recommend getting a job to all students, even if you don't need to work. It will give you cash flow and a sense of responsibility that you can pop onto your CV for the future.

Great jobs at uni:
Restaurants (tipstipstipstips)
Starbucks, Costa etc (Free coffee, food to take home at the end of the day etc)
Food stores such as Tesco superstore/Local Co-op (Great rates of pay)

Bad jobs at uni:
Bar Staff (Zero work life balance)
Nightclub work (Same as above, with the added extra pressure of working til 4/6am)
Promoter/ticket seller (Really?)


Do you have any helpful tips for your past or present student self?

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Saturday, 13 February 2016

THE £10 MAC FIX+ DUPE THAT EVEN KYLIE JENNER IS USING

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Finishing sprays are a boring but necessary part of my make-up routine. I have dabbled with paying £17 for Mac's famous Fix+ but after seeing Kylie Jenner's make-up artist use the Mario Badescu Rosewater and Herb Spray to finish her make-up, I was instantly amazed at A. The lovely dewy finish she had and B. The price when I looked it up. At £10 from BeautyBay.com, I had to try it out!

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Friday, 12 February 2016

HOW TO DEPOT A MORPHE 35O PALETTE INTO A Z PALETTE

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Firstly, I wouldn't recommend doing this unless you really feel as though the Morphe palette is way too big, which I did. It didn't even fit into my acrylic drawer storage which isn't exactly small, and it's totally inconvenient to travel with. I thought I'd write a little blog post about how I did it as I know a lot of people feel that the Morphe palette is way too big.

The 35O palette has an inner plastic area which is easy to lift up at one corner using something slim and strong. I gradually worked my way around the edge with tweezers and scissors, prising up each part that had been glued down. Once the entire base was out of the palette, give or take a few areas that I had to cut around as they were glued down too strongly, I simply stuck my tweezers underneath the pan and gently prised the it out. The glue used to stick the thin plastic base to the plastic outside packaging is very thick and it didn't seem to budge with a hairdryer, so I was stuck with the good old-fashioned prising method, whilst hoping for the best! Z Palette say that you can depot eyeshadows using a hairdryer but you'll be sitting there all day with the Morphe palette. They're cheaply made in China so don't expect a miracle when you depot them.

One I was done, I used a baby wipe to clean the pan as it was quite dirty afterwards but other than that, most of them were fine! I stuck a magnet on the bottom because Morphe eyeshadows aren't magnetic, which is something I find really annoying and kind of backwards given that most people use magnetic eyeshadow palettes these days... It's also worth noting that some of the eyeshadows will break if you do this, I managed to break four :( Two of which I really wanted to keep, but I guess that's the price you pay.

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This is my finished palette, minus the colours I didn't want to keep and sold on Depop.
I'm hoping to get some Makeup Geek pans to fill that bottom row!


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Natasha Kendall Blog
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