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Makeup Worth The Money

Before I indulge in a makeup purchase, I typically search the internet to see if it really is worth the dollar. Some products excel in quantity by providing great value for money and some (Tom Ford) will always be worth the splurge because the shade, consistency or packaging just can’t be beaten.

I have a drawer filled with disappointing products that just didn’t work for me and so today, I’m talking about what’s actually worth the money! As you can see from the photos, each of these products have been well loved in my makeup drawers for over a year thus, my opinion is an informed one.

Tom Ford Blush

First on my list is the Tom Ford Cheek Colour in Ravish – I did a full post about this last year if you want a more detailed review. TF blushes contain 8g, which is amazing and the powder has a buttery consistency that blends into the makeup effortlessly. Not only is Ravish a really versatile shade that compliments a nude or red lip, it also lasts all day and so for £48 it really is worth the splurge.

Another blush from TF that is worth the money is Pink Sand from the Soleil collection. This compact is a hybrid between a cream highlight and a cream blush and looks absolutely stunning blended across the high points of the cheeks. It’s illuminating and provides a beautifully pigmented pink flush that melts into the skin. At £52, this is slightly more spendy than the powder blush but it has such a unique finish that gives such a luxuriously radiant glow and you can’t really put a price on that… can you?

Guerlain Powder

I feel like Guerlain is a really underrated brand, I rarely see any coverage of it on social media and yet some of my favourite products are from this French sensation! The Météorites Compact contains a radiance enhancing and light reflecting powder unlike anything I’ve ever tried. Its colour corrective shades blur imperfections and create a delicate halo of luminous light. I particularly enjoy using it with a fan brush to set my under eye. For 10g of product, this retails for £38 and is worth every penny.

Kevyn Aucoin Skin Enhancer

The Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer has been a regular in my makeup bag for over 3 years. It’s a high coverage, pigmented and creamy foundation/concealer that creates the most flawless finish. Mixed with your favourite skincare, you can create a dewy tinted moisturiser with personalised coverage. Lightly blended under the eye, your dark circles will be perfectly concealed and at just £38 for 18g, this product is the best makeup money I’ve ever spent.

Charlotte Tilbury Matte Lipstick

When I need a matte lipstick, I know I can count on Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution. I have 5 shades and I can honestly say that no other matte formula compares. My favourite is Lost Cherry, but The Queen and Pillow Talk are equally as divine. This creamy lippy has a hydrating and long lasting formula that is so comfortable to wear. Going matte never felt so good and at £24 you might as well buy 3.

Makeup Forever and Chanel Bronzer

Two of my favourite bronzers are the Makeup Forever Pro Fusion Bronze and the Chanel Les Beiges Healthy Glow Colour. Pro Fusion is a waterproof formula with a slight shimmer; it’s perfect for those beachy days as it glides effortlessly over the face and creates a natural glow. The Chanel Les Beiges is so finely milled and has such a natural finish, you’ll look like you’ve just got back from Ibiza. At £28 for 11g, the MF Bronzer is a buildable dream I never go a day without and the Chanel Les Beiges is a makeup bag must-have, well worth the £42 price tag.

 

There really is nothing worse than beauty buyers regret and so I hope sharing the products that I believe are well worth the money will help you to avoid any spendy sorrow!

EKD X

 

 

Fun and Fearless

It was July 2011, I was 16 and Rihanna was the only girl in the world finding love in a hopeless place. I had just bought my first Cosmopolitan magazine and if I remember correctly, neon tribal patterns were rife in River Island.

In the editor’s letter of August 2011, Louise Court wrote that ‘Cosmo’s mantra is all about helping women get the most out of life’ – between that and noticing FOR FUN FEARLESS FEMALES printed along the magazine spine, I was hooked and consequently added a new issue to my shelf every month.

Whether it be beauty, style or career advice, the Cosmopolitan empire has me covered and lately I’ve been turning to cosmopolitan.co.uk for some late night reading –  check this out by the way, Laura Capon always makes me LOL!

To this day, the editor’s letter is still the page I look forward to reading as it always inspires me and this month is no exception. The August 2017 issue is such a good read and this time, Farrah Storr details her own career struggles and the benefits to failure, which I personally found very empowering.

Earlier this year, I attended the Cosmopolitan Self Made Summit, an event which really brought the Cosmo mantra to life. The Summit not only confirmed my career desires but also led to numerous opportunities. 6 years and 50+ issues later, Cosmo is still my favourite glossy monthly and one of the only magazines I religiously read cover to cover – Elle Woods did declare it the bible, after all.

 

EKD X

A Night Cream That Wins

Last month I urgently made a facial appointment because my skin was dry, breaking out and oily, all at the same time.

After 4 weeks, 2 facials and 1 new addition to my evening routine, my skin is looking and feeling so much better and so I thought I’d talk about my new game changing night cream!

My mum picked up the Vichy Liftactiv Nuit Supreme but found it too rich and so when I was sprawled across her bed complaining about my skin, she kindly gave it to me to see if it would work better for my skin type.

The Liftactiv Nuit Supreme is a rich and nourishing night cream that firms, moisturisers and smoothes my combination complexion. It has a light scent that I like and isn’t at all greasy or sticky. Once applied, it feels lightweight and leaves my skin firmly hydrated. At £30 for 50ml, I think it’s pretty well priced and since Vichy is available at Boots, it’s super easy to source.

I never expected Vichy to perform so well; my skin hasn’t looked this good for a long time and so I just had to recommend it! I don’t think I’ve ever had a night cream I really loved and so for me, the Vichy Liftactiv Nuit Supreme wins.

What night cream do you swear by? I’d love to know!

 

X EKD

Tips For Shopping Luxury

It’s no secret that my idea of a perfect afternoon involves a meander around Dior, a glass or three of Moët and a ribbon wrapped box of Pierre Hermé macarons thus, I feel like it’s about time I share some of my tips for shopping luxury.

As a former luxury sales associate, I can offer advice from both sides of the till and ensure you not only have a memorable experience but also avoid buyers regret!

Make Friends

Frequenting the same boutique or concession and building a loyal relationship with a sales assistant is essential in ensuring you get the most out of your shopping experience. Not only will you receive fantastic customer service whenever you pop in, you’ll be emailed when new collections arrive and receive invitations to exclusive in-store events.

Furthermore, I’ve also found my amazing SA’s to sway me from being lured by seasonal pieces and thank goodness because otherwise I’d be clutching a suede turquoise Givenchy Shark right now instead of a Lady Dior.

Start a fitting room

When sashaying around your favourite luxury department store, start a fitting room! Instead of lugging clothes around the shop floor, take the sales assistant up on their offer of putting them in the changing rooms for you – this will not only free your hands to stroke the Valentino, but it will also pair you with an SA who can help you find what you’re looking for.

Ask for help

When shopping luxury, the sales assistant has the product and brand knowledge to ensure you spend your money wisely. When you’re approached, ask for help and detail your needs so that they can share the knowledge and assist you properly; this will ensure you enjoy your luxury experience and make the purchase that’s right for you.

Go in-store

Recently, I read that shoppers generally prefer to make luxury purchases online – I found this somewhat surprising as I believe the shopping experience is all part of the fun and so going in store is always a priority when I’m buying luxury pieces. I actually went to Dior 3 times to look at and try on the Lady Dior before I made my purchase and so this would be my biggest tip. Go in store multiple times to look and try various sizes, colours and styles to make sure you’ll not only love it next month but next year too.

If you’re unsure – don’t bother

Buyers regret is the worst and so is dealing with a customer who is umming and arring for 3 hours. If you’re unsure, don’t bother buying it – walk away and if it’s still on your mind a few days later, go back. Most luxury stores will hold items for a period of time, which takes the pressure off and allows you to make an informed decision. I once left Chanel feeling unsure with a new purchase, only to be accosted by a relentless wave of regret the second I got home – I sold it 3 years later.

 

Shopping luxury should be fun and by going in store, making friends with an SA and asking for help, you’re guaranteed to get the most out of your experience and if not, the glass of champagne will definitely take the edge off!

 

EKD X

 

Blogger’s Guide to Writer’s Block

It’s been two weeks since I began posting 4 times a week (Monday-Thursday at 7pm) on EKD and I just knew writer’s block would strike sooner or later. So instead of driving myself crazy trying to create content that I don’t love, I thought I’d share my tips for when you’re creatively stifled.

Stop right now, thank you very much

If you’re struggling with what to write, be it a blog post or essay – walk away. I find taking a few hours off is the best way to refresh your creative juice. I also try to keep my mind busy, which may include binge watching Pretty Little Liars – Hey, whatever works for you.

Check yourself before you wreck yourself

When I can’t find the words or the creative to begin a blog post, I read my own blog. Going back through old posts really helps me to get back into my groove and usually inspires something new. This way, I am reminded of my writing style, which stops me from pushing out content that doesn’t suit my vibe.

I’m sooo Cosmopolitan

Sometimes I whip out my favourite magazines and read them cover to cover, starting with the Editors Letter. This is my go-to inspiration because they always leave me feeling motivated and inspired. And let’s be honest, the beauty and fashion editors are the ones that truly know #ChicVibesOnly!

I’m going to take the rest of the evening off, read the new issue of Cosmo and hope that tomorrow, writer’s block doesn’t kill my vibe… What do you do when writer’s block strikes ? I’d love to know!

 

EKD X

My Beauty Secrets

It was August 2014 when I bought my very first jar of Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream. A pop-up counter had just arrived in Selfridges Manchester and I was absolutely desperate to try the mystical potion of wonder for myself. 3 years on and countless different creams later, I find myself right back where I started – infatuated with Magic Cream. From Embryolisse Lait-Crème Concentré to Clarins HydraQuench and Kiehls Ultra Face Cream, nothing compares to CT MC, despite all my eager efforts.

My secret to beautiful skin is a thorough skincare routine; this sumptuous crème has a light and illuminating formula like no other and instantly hydrates my lacklustre complexion. Magic Cream exudes a decadent rose aroma that is delicately feminine and as the glamorous jar resides on my vanity, I can’t help but think that this cream will always be worth its mighty £70 price tag.

As I discussed here, I love using cream products especially in the summer because they create such a radiant and skin-like finish. Thus, when I spied the Nars Orgasm Liquid Blush whilst wondering around Space NK, I knew immediately that this would be one to try since my secret to long-lasting and natural looking makeup is using cream products and layering.

I bought the cult Orgasm Powder Blush back in 2014 when I first started blogging and it’s one of my most used blushes to date therefore, I felt confident that the new liquid blush would be just as epic and I was right. The Orgasm Liquid Blush is incredibly pigmented and blends effortlessly into the skin with a brush or fingers for a long-lasting glow. Paired with the Chantecaille Gel Bronzer, my skin looks sun kissed and luminous.

It was about 7 years ago when I became enchanted by Tom Ford Private Blend Parfum. My mum had read about Black Violet in Marie Claire and so we popped into Selfridges to sample it. I had never smelt anything like it in my life consequently, Black Violet became the scent of my dreams and continued to be until I actually went to purchase it years later… Which was when my violet dreams were shattered in a mere minute because I discovered Black Violet had been discontinued. (Apparently, BV was Tom Ford’s favourite and he wanted to keep it for himself. Terribly selfish if you ask me…)

And so, that is when I discovered Noir de Noir – my signature and the fragrance that makes me feel like myself. Season after season and year after year, Noir de Noir is the only Eau de parfum I buy and I utterly adore it.

When it comes to my perfect highlighter, I would typically seek out Becca or Tom Ford however, when Estée Lauder launched their extremely successful collaboration with Victoria Beckham last year, I instantly picked up the Modern Mercury Highlighter and I was not disappointed. This rose tinted illuminator is housed in the most luxurious packaging and has quickly become my makeup bag secret weapon.

Modern Mercury is unlike anything in my collection and it’s absolutely glorious swept across the highpoints of the cheeks – I like to think of it as a hybrid between a blush and a highlight and who doesn’t love a multi-use product?

These four swoon worthy products are just a few of my beauty secrets! Combined, they ensure I look and feel like the best version of myself and I couldn’t recommend them enough.

 

EKD X

Midnight in Florence

Giggling, I swayed down the cobbled path clutching onto the corner of my purple pleated skirt as we meandered down the dreamy streets of Florence.

It was about 12.05am and the Duomo was in sight; with each swinging stride, my gold Gucci shoes twinkled in the Italian moonlight. A few hours previous we happened upon an angelic bistro where we ate steak and drank lashing of red wine over candlelight – my first ever glass in fact.

We only arrived in Florence that morning and between a visit to the Gucci Museo and the most delightful scoop of chocolate mousse gelato, I was utterly entranced.

As we ran around the Tuscan capital, I eagerly photographed the views and then we arrived at the Duomo… In absolute awe, I FaceTimed my family because I just had to show them what I was looking at in that very moment.

Fortunately, just 3 days after my return my Mum booked a family trip to Florence and so I don’t have to wait too long to be reunited with chocolate mousse gelato!

Midnight in Florence will be a memory I shall always treasure; I can’t wait to show my family the city that took my breath away.

 

X EKD

 

My Luxury Lust List

As my style evolves, I find myself lusting after new season must-haves from Malone Souliers and Dolce and Gabbana. There are so many designers absolutely killing it right now and as a result, my luxury lust list is bursting with chic wonders that I’m excited to share with you!

My first and favourite item on my list is this Dolce and Gabbana silk scarf from the Ortensia collection. If I’m completely honest, I want just about everything from this collection as each piece exudes femininity and is the Italia statement I’m dying to make.

 

A few weeks ago, I was meandering through the Super Brands department in Harrods when I was enchanted by Ralph & Russo. Enticed by the couture, I wandered around the boutique in awe and that’s when I noticed the Eden City Bag. I need this understated wonder in my life!

 

I never thought I’d lust after a Prada bag however, when the Velvet Cahier Clutch caught my eye in Selfridges I found myself searching for it online on my way home. This is the evening clutch bag of my dreams and would be perfect paired with black flares and a men’s white shirt.

 

Like I said, I kinda want everything from the Dolce and Gabbana Ortensia collection and these Mary-Jane’s are no exception. I adore the hydrangea print and with the bejewelled clasp, I am utterly smitten.

 

On the topic of shoes, Malone Souliers are my favourite new designer because their vibe is so unique and chic. Their Maureen Mule has been top of my wish list for months; I couldn’t decide between the flats or heels however, when I tried on the flats my mind was made. 

 

Okay so this is a very recent addition to the list but I couldn’t help myself. Chanel hasn’t tickled my fancy for numerous years now but when I spied this online, I was totally besotted. This new season addition of the Chanel 2.55 in pink and red lambskin, velvet and grosgrain is the essence of Carrie Bradshaw and I combined and so I obviously need the matching shoes too, right?

 

X EKD

 

Can Affordable Makeup Compete With Luxury?

I don’t think I’ve used this many Boots/Superdrug products when doing my makeup since I was about 14, but when these new launches* from Rimmel London were delivered, I thought I’d put them to the test and see for myself if luxury makeup really is worth it.

Correcting Palette

Using my fingers, I applied the peach shade under my eyes and and the green on any redness. I found the consistency to be thin and almost slippery but, they easily blended into the makeup and colour corrected surprisingly well.

Conceal and Contour Palette

I wanted to like this, but I didn’t. If you only need a small amount of coverage this would be ideal for you but for dark under eye circles like mine, this wasn’t substantial enough and so I ended up using my Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer instead.

Duo Contour Stick

I applied the contour shade straight from the bullet and it blended like a dream, I really enjoyed using this. It was so easy and quick to apply and the results were subtle yet effortlessly sculpted.

Fix & Matte Powder

I used a powder brush to lightly set my under eye and to mattify any unwanted shine and it did the job nicely. The powder is translucent and so didn’t change the colour of the makeup or add any coverage which I liked. This compact would be great for putting in your handbag for mid-day touch ups.

Kate Sculpting Palette

To set the contour, I used the Sculptor shade which was lovely and bronzed the face evenly. I loved the blush, it was my perfect colour and lasted really well throughout the day. The highlight was also okay albeit slightly too icy – I typically prefer a more golden tone. This is fab for travelling and doing makeup on the go.

Radiance Brick

I lightly dusted this over the high-points of the face and it gave a radiant glow. This is a fab and affordable alternative to the Bobbi Brown Shimmer Bricks!

Fix & Go Spray

I used this as a primer spray to begin with; it has a cucumber scent which is refreshing however, it smelled like cucumbers so…
I finished the look with another spritz of this and I have to say that I prefer Mac Fix+, although it was effective and did the job, the scent isn’t my favourite.

So, can affordable makeup compete with luxury?

In my opinion no, I feel like with affordable makeup you win some and you lose some however, I used the contour duo again this morning and I really like it! It’s definitely worth a try along with the Kate Sculpting palette, Fix & Matte powder and Radiance Brick.

I won’t be dropping Tom Ford anytime soon but for affordable makeup, I’m really impressed with some of these new offerings!

 

X EKD

*PR Samples

Thinking About Studying at The Open University?

I never thought I would be 16 and out of education, but I was and I had absolutely no idea what I was going to do.

Luckily, my Dad had an idea and within 2 days he had preliminary enrolled me at The Open University. Due to my age paperwork was sent out for my family and I to sign and within a few short weeks I turned 17.  It was May 2012, I had no A-Levels and yet I was about to begin a BA (Hons) Business degree. As I recall, I was extremely excited, despite not having a clue.

The OU is fantastic if you change your mind.

After my first year studying Business, I found myself wanting to study English. I put in a request, filled out more paper work and my degree was changed to BA (Hons) Open Degree, which enabled my year of Business to still count towards my qualification. This choice gave me the ability to pick and choose any module from their offering; from beginners French to intermediate Health and Social Care, my options were wide open and this prospect really helped me to study at my interest level each year… I ended up choosing only English focused courses though.

You are alone.

It’s really important to know before you enroll that you will have to motivate and teach yourself. Tutors are an email or phone call away but ultimately you have to be driven to succeed and able to work from home. All of your course material is online or in textbooks, which they post to you and there is a serious amount of reading; online forums and tutor groups are also at your disposal.

Personally, I would rather learn and study alone than in a large class; I have relished in being able to study when and how I like, which ensured I could work and socialize without restriction. A definite bonus to The OU is that you are not restrained by seminars or lectures. The downside is that you don’t experience the typical uni life, something I know many would not want to comprise.

No Exams

I chose modules that didn’t require exams and so through my 5 year study I never sat one. Every module I studied required an examinable part which was an assignment that counted as 50% of your overall yearly score but you wrote and submitted it like any other essay, it was just independently marked apposed to tutor marked. Of course, some modules did require sitting exams however, if exams aren’t your thing they can be easily avoided through OU study.

Part-Time/Full-Time

Each year, you have the option to study part-time or full-time. Part-time being 60 credits a year, full-time being 120. I did 4 part-time years and 1 full-time. Having the choice was great but ultimately studying part-time was my preference.

Study Resources

Like any other university, there is a student support team to answer any queries you may have.  PDF’s of your module books are made available in addition to your hardcopies, which makes keyword search effortless. You also have access to a huge online library. Online activities are integrated into your study but are an aspect I personally didn’t enjoy however, they were useful in implementing concepts.

I did it!

Now that my degree is over, I can confirm that it was a struggle but I can also confirm that The Open University was my perfect choice. It allowed me to rediscover the work ethic Prep School so strongly instilled in me and it enabled me to spend my days at home with my family which is a major priority. I am still awaiting my results however; my degree will be BA (Hons) Open Degree.

The fact that I was able to study my degree sans A-Levels, study at my own pace and at my own interest level was amazing. I would highly recommend it and looking back, I miss it already.

 

EKD X