Sleek Solstice Highlighting Palette – Swatches & Review

I’ve had this palette since Christmas so I’ve had enough opportunity to test it out and gather my thoughts. This is the Sleek Solstice Highlighting Palette (£9.99) that you can buy from various retailers like Superdrug, Boots and Feel Unique. It contains two baked powders, one cream formula and one shimmer powder.

I love all the shades but I must admit I’ve not actually used the cream formula on my face yet. Creams are not really something I reach for on a daily basis but it swatched nicely so I might get around to using it one day! My favourite is probably Subsolar (the shimmery, yellow shade) closely followed by Hemisphere (the pinky shade). I’ve found that they last well on my face.

As you can see in the swatches, this palette has some pretty intense colour payoff! However, the swatches are with my finger so of course this is not the effect you get on your face when you use a makeup brush. I use a fan brush from EcoTools to apply these highlighters and I find that works really well and picks up enough pigment to still deliver a very intense highlight but not leave a ‘stripe’ of product. I’m sure some people would find it too much but for me I love the finish!

The highlighters are encased in a beautiful gold case which is quite unusual and luxurious for an affordable, ‘drugstore’ brand! Yes, it may be prone to finger prints but it’ll look beautiful on your Instagram feed. 😉 Speaking of which, follow me @nicolelauraxo!

If you want an intense highlight for an affordable price and that is easy to get hold of in the UK, then you can’t really go far wrong with this palette from Sleek.

Love Nicole xxxx

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Hourglass Ambient Lighting Edit – Surreal Light Review

While it’s still available, I wanted to do a quick review of the most recent Ambient Lighting Edit from Hourglass. You can still buy it from Space NK (£69).

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To look at, the palette is undeniably gorgeous. Encased in luxurious, matte marble, plastic packaging are 5 different ambient lighting powder products. There is one all-over setting powder (that’s the largest pan), two blush shades, a bronzing shade and a strobe powder. Here is the description of the different powders taken from the Space NK website:

“• Surreal Light: a sheer nude powder evoking the magic hour of perfect lighting

Surreal Bronze Light: a neutral tan shade fused with Surreal Light, for a subtle, natural warmth

Surreal Glow: a pale peony pink blush mixed with Surreal Light for a delicate flush

Surreal Effect: a cool, pink rose fused with a soft, warm peach for a pop of flattering color

Surreal Strobe Light: a glimmering peach powder imparting an alluring highlight”

The palette is a perfect travel companion too as it’s got all you need in terms of complexion powders.

One thing I will say is the pans are pretty small so using big brushes is not the easiest. Especially with the setting powder and the bronzer, where you tend to use a bigger brush, you have to kind of squish your brush so you don’t pick up product from the neighbouring pans! It’s not a big deal though and I’ve gotten used to it. 🙂

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L-R: Surreal Light, Surreal Glow, Surreal Effect, Surreal Bronze Light, Surreal Strobe Light

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I really love this palette! When used all over my face as a setting powder, the Surreal Light shade makes me look so healthy and glowy – it’s beautiful. These ambient lighting powders are gorgeous because they don’t look particularly ‘powdery‘ on your skin. This means you can set your makeup without having to look completely matte or cake-faced.

The blushes are beautiful shades and give a pretty, healthy pop of colour to your cheeks with an added glow.

I actually really love the Surreal Bronze Light shade! I’m fairly light-skinned so what I love about this shade is that I find it almost impossible to go overboard with. I know it’s pretty pale as far as bronzers go but that’s what I like about it. It just warms up my complexion and has no orange-ness to it. It looks so natural and gives me such a gorgeous, healthy colour! However, I can see this being pretty useless as a bronzer on medium-dark skin tones.

The last shade to talk about is Surreal Strobe Light, which is my least favourite in the palette unfortunately. It’s a gold toned shade to be used as a highlighter. My problem with it is how glittery it is! There is a lot of glitter in here. I feel like when I apply it to my cheekbones there’s not all that much colour pay-off or sheen, the overriding effect is glitter, which is not really my vibe for highlighters. I’ll still use it, it’s not terrible, it’s just not my ideal highlighter.

Overall, I am very happy with this palette and don’t regret buying it! Hourglass’ powders are beautiful and I love how convenient this palette will be for when I’m staying overnight at my boyfriend’s or going on short trips and need to pack light.

Love Nicole xxxx

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Anastasia Beverly Hills Modern Renaissance Eye Shadow Palette – Review

I had resisted buying this palette for so long! But there is such fuss (and it is frankly unavoidable on Instagram) whenever it is restocked that the latest time it was restocked on Beauty Bay I caved and paid my £41 for this hugely hyped palette.

So, what do I think of it and do I have any regrets? It’s not exactly a cheap palette after all!

The short answers to those questions are: it’s beautiful and no, I have no regrets.

I would say this is predominantly a warm toned palette and the colours very much appeal to me. I think it is a very thoughtfully put together palette; it has a fantastic range of colours that can be used to create all sorts of different looks. There are plenty of matte brown-y shades that make great crease colours or all over lid colours for a neutral look. Also, there’s the dark brown ‘Cyprus Umber’ if you want to make things a bit darker and more smokey. Then you have non-neutral options in the form of the reds, pinks and purples. Finally, there’s ‘Tempera’ and ‘Vermeer’ which are gorgeous ‘highlight’ type shades. ‘Tempera’ I find is beautiful under the brow and ‘Vermeer’ is a lovely inner corner highlight. But of course, you can do whatever the hell you want with each colour!

The formula of the shadows is quite powdery however I don’t find this a problem when applying them to my eyes. I don’t find I get much, if any, fall-out under my eyes after I’ve applied them. They are a gorgeous texture and super pigmented; the swatches were so easy to do, that is what they look like with one swipe! I don’t think there are really any ‘dud’ shades as such, I initially had a few problems blending ‘Warm Taupe’ but I’ve learned it’s better to build that one up slowly. Overall they are pretty dreamy eye shadows!

A word on the packaging: I bloody love it! I don’t think it can get anymore ‘up my street’ than pink velvet (give me pink velvet boots, skirts, cushions…) so this palette is a thing of beauty to me inside and out. I can see how it can potentially get very dirty and be difficult to clean but I am going to treasure mine and keep it as clean as possible in its box.

The only downside I can find with the palette is that it says it has a 6 month expiry. What is that about?! That seems really short for a powder product so I don’t know what’s in the shadows that has warranted such a short expiry date. However, I view the dates on products as a guideline and if there’s still plenty of shadow left in this palette after 6 months, which I suspect there will be, I’ll just be using my common sense as to whether it’s still okay to use. I’m not going to just chuck a £41 palette in the bin! However, it has made me conscious to use this often and not be precious about it.

So, do I recommend buying this palette? If you like the colour range and have the funds, then absolutely! I was prepared to be disappointed after all the hype I’d read/seen about this one but I have been pleasantly surprised by how much I love this palette!

Love Nicole xxxx

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P.S the brush that comes with it is actually not half bad! A usable brush in a palette for once – shocker!

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Cult Beauty Haul

As you may or may not know, if you have an account with Cult Beauty, they will email you a 15% code to use during your birthday month. I, of course, wanted to take up this offer, and this is what I chose to buy. As with my previous post, this post is mainly just to show you what I’ve bought and I will do some detailed review and swatches posts in future when I’ve tested out the products. 🙂

I absolutely love trying new foundation and I’ve been eager to try Charlotte Tilbury’s Magic Foundation (£29.50). Unfortunately, the discount code does not apply to Charlotte Tilbury products (there is a selection of brands that Cult Beauty don’t allow discounts on) so I paid full price still, but for a high end foundation it’s not too badly priced. I found it very difficult to pick a shade and was deliberating for ages on which one to go for. I eventually went for Shade 3 and it’s not an awful match, but it’s not perfect either, I think one of the others may have been better but hey ho, I’ll make it work. I’ve used it a few times and I actually really like it! I’ll explain more in a more dedicated post.

Next, I’d been wanting to try a Zoeva eyeshadow palette for a long time. They have an amazing array of choice, but, trying to sensible I tried to think what I was lacking in terms of eyeshadow shades. I realised I had very few cool toned sort of shades, so I ended up going for the En Taupe Eyeshadow Palette (£18). It is such a gorgeous palette and I love the colours!

Lastly, I decided to go for a fancy hair product. I don’t very often invest in hair as I find makeup and skincare much more exciting, but Jen Atkin’s new brand ‘Ouai’ has been all over instagram and the blogosphere so I wanted to give a product a try! My hair is often pretty flat so I thought a texturising spray would be a good choice. I bought the Ouai Texturising Hair Spray (£22). It’s okay so far, but I’m not sure it’s going to live up to my expectations of its high price tag.

Love Nicole xxxx

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A January Space NK Haul

As I also did last January (see what I got in 2016 here), I had a little spendy time on the Space NK website to spend some of my Christmas and Birthday money. This post is just to show you what I got really, but I’ll be sure to do some more detailed posts, with swatches, at a later date when I’ve had a proper play with the products.

Firstly, try as I might I just could not resist the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Edit in Surreal Light (£69). The palette is absolutely stunning and encased in gorgeous marble packaging. It was ridiculously expensive but I have tried one of Hourglass’ powders before (in the shade Diffused Light) and it was gorgeous and I had recently run out of it. So as well as a new setting powder I also get to try some of the ambient lighting blushes, a bronzer and a highlight. So far I am loving it.

Secondly, I had been wanting to try the Amaretto + Prosecco Pop duo of the BECCA x Jaclyn Hill Champagne Splits (£32) for ages. I was really happy to see it was in stock when I was browsing the Space NK website so it was a must-buy! The packaging, again, is so pretty. It’s the same as their permanent Shimmering Skin Perfector Pressed Highlight packaging, however, it has gold casing – so gorgeous! The colour of the blush is lovely and I don’t own anything else like it.

Lastly, because it was on sale for about £24, I bought Kevyn Aucoin The Contour Book Vol. 1.0 (£47). I thought it was a good opportunity to try a number of Kevyn Aucoin products as I’d never tried anything from the brand before, and particularly The Sculpting Powder which is a favourite of many. The pans are relatively small so using a big-ish brush can be difficult but I’ll make it work. The ‘book’ comes with some step by step guides which look very helpful and informative as I’m still definitely not a contouring expert.

As I said, I am sure I’ll do separate posts on each of these products in future to give my thoughts on them. Thankfully, so far though, I have no regrets!

Love Nicole xxxx

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