Sunday, 22 March 2015

Glowy Bases




Dewy and glowy makeup seems to have gotten extremely popular in the past couple of years, and you can really see why! Using products that give you a nice glow can instantly help make your skin look more awake and vibrant, whilst making your makeup look fresh and pretty. I have a few go-to products for when I want to achieve this look, which I'm going to talk about in this post!

Chanel Poudre Universelle Libre Natural Finish Loose Powder - £36* - This is a very pigmented and glittery highlighter, so you only need to apply a tiny bit! I prefer to use this in a C shape along my cheek bones and a little under my brow bones, however I wouldn't use this anywhere else on my face, purely due to it being fairly glittery. Although on my cheek bones it just gives a really pretty glow, and the nude colour of the highlighter seems to give you even more of an enhancement!

NARS Illuminator - Orgasm - £23 The NARS Orgasm Blush must be one of their most talked about products, since it's a lovely shade, however I rarely hear anybody talking about the illuminator version! It's a pretty, slightly pearlescent, deep pink shade with a nude tinge, which I love to use as a blush-highlighter combo, making it great to apply if you are in a rush. The application is very nice too as it's a really light and creamy liquid formula, so it's easy to blend in!

Clarins Instant Light Radiance Boosting Complexion Base - Rose - £26.50* This is a weightless liquid that you quickly apply before your foundation, or by itself! I love the concept of this as it applies beautifully, and even works well on dry skin, plus it doesn't give a glittery look at all, more of a pretty sheen. I'm definitely going to start wearing this more in the summer!

Estee Lauder Double Wear All-Day Glow BB Moisture Makeup - £29 This gives a gorgeous radiant glow, without looking at all oily! I am definitely one for light coverage foundations/BB creams, especially during the summer, I mean who really wants a thick layer of makeup on when it is hot? Speaking of which, this is also SPF30, making it perfect for protecting your skin against UV rays. The name doesn't lie either because it really does last all day!

Estee Lauder Pure Color Illuminating Powder Gelee - Heat Wave - No longer available* This was released way back in 2013 and people went absolutely mad for it! I can really see why because it is seriously beautiful - a shimmery and glowy champagne coloured highlighter, with a smooth powder feel that applies perfectly.  I've heard that Estee Lauder is actually re-releasing this in their summer collection, which is great for those of you who wanted it previously but never got a chance before it sold out!

So they are a few of my favourites for creating a glowy base! I'd love to know if you're one for a glowy and dewy look, or whether you prefer to be more on the matte side.

What are your favourite products for a glowy base?



Sunday, 15 March 2015

How I Edit My Instagram Photos // PHOTOGRAPHY




I did a post a week and a half ago about "DSLR basics", which seemed to go down really well, so I thought I'd do another photography tip related post, this time about Instagram! Since the start of this year I've been really trying to keep to a theme on my Instagram account, which is bright photos with a white background (most of the time)!

I'd say that it's working out quite well as I currently have 524 followers, compared to the 348 I had two months ago. I know that this may not seem like a huge amount, however I had gained that 348 over about two years of using Instagram, so to gain 176 more followers over two months I'd say I'm quite happy with! I've also had a few people asking me recently how I edit my Instagram photos, which is exactly what I'm going to talk about today.

I take pretty much all of my Instagram photos using my iPhone 6 because the camera really is amazing! I will occasionally use my Canon 600D, however if those need editing I use the same process as I do when I edit my blog photography (which is a post I am going to do in the future). Using my phone to do all the taking and editing of Instagram photos is just far more convenient and quicker too, hence why I use that! 

For taking my photos I use a piece of white paper, as this is an easy and quick thing to do! I just snap my photo, then usually want to increase the brightness, so I then import the image the app Snapseed. To brighten it I use the "tune image" section and swipe left, until it's at the level of brightness I'd like!

I rarely use filters, as I prefer to just make the image brighter and leave it at that, however if I want to I usually use the VSCO Cam app! This is great because there are lots of filters, and you can alter the level of them.

I prefer not to have my Instagram photos in the regular square shape, so once I've finished editing the photo and it's in a rectangle shape, I go onto the Squaready app! This adds a white boarder onto two sides, turning the image into a square! Hopefully that makes some sort of sense, but if not have a look at my Instagram and you'll see what I mean. Once I've used those apps, I just upload the finished image to Instagram!

I hope that you liked this post and found it useful! I'd love to know what your favourite Instagram accounts are and if you use any of the three editing apps that I do.

What is your Instagram?



Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Lush Mother's Day Collection


It's no secret that I absolutely love Lush, to the point where I have a huge double-depth cake box absolutely packed full of their products! Whilst this probably isn't my smartest idea, considering how much money I must have spent in that shop (which has got to be atleast £150, oops!), I just can't resist.

That reason is why I was really excited to test out a few products from their Mother's Day collection! I personally think that a few bath products would be amazing to pop into a present, as it would give somebody a good excuse to have a relaxing bath.



Bubblegrub Bubble Bar - £2.95* The Bubble Grub is quite a cute looking bubble bar! Mine only came with one vanilla pod antennae, however it does usually have two, thought I'd mention that. It does have quite an odd smell, which I'm sadly not sure I really like! It's smells quite strongly of sandalwood, mixed with an earthy scent, so it's not really my sort of scent. Scent aside though this leaves your skin feeling really soft and soothed, meaning it's great if you're after a moisturising bubble bar!



Mother Superior Bubble Bar - £3.75* This is a pretty big bubble bar, so you get a good few uses out of it, which is great considering that it is less than £4! As the name would suggest, this is supposed to look like a nun, but instead I see it more as a baby wrapped up in a blanket. Maybe it is just me but the funny face it is pulling just reminds me of that of a screaming baby's haha!

This one has quite a delicate floral scent, with some citrus nodes, so it's a lovely scent. One of the things I love about this is the fact that it turns the bath water a pretty sky blue, whilst leaving my skin feeling really moisturised! Definitely pick this one up!



Secret Garden Bath Bomb - £2.95* I believe that Secret Garden is a bath bomb that has been around since the Mother's Day collection in 2013, meaning it must be good to bring it back for two further years! It has a rose and orange oil scent, however it also smells like it has some sort of herb in it - I'm not exactly sure what. It isn't too overpowering though, which is nice!

Once it has all fizzed away you are left with a nice emerald green coloured bath, making it quite calming. This is a great little bath bomb considering the price, so I'd really recommend giving it a try!

Anything from the Lush Mother's Day collection would make a fantastic present, incase you're a bit late buying anything! You could even do a little spa-esque package and buy your mum a few toiletries/bath products, then get a nice box (or wrap them in one of the Lush scarves), as this would make a lovely present.

What's your favourite product from the Lush Mother's Day collection?



Sunday, 8 March 2015

Case App & GIVEAWAY




Back in January I bought an iPhone 6, and seeing as I'm pretty insistent on keeping my phones protected, so that they don't get damaged, getting a case was my first priority after buying the phone! I was asked whether I would like to feature a lovely Case App case on my blog, and after looking at their Instagram page which is filled with case design inspiration, I had to say yes.

If you hadn't heard of Case App before, they are basically a brand that create cases and skins for a big range of technology, but they can be completely designed by you! They also have several pre-made designs and clip art, incase you can't come up with a design on your own or need some inspiration.

Before this, I had spent atleast 2 hours looking for a marble print iPhone case, however most are from the USA and would cost a lot to post, then the ones in the UK were far too much money or didn't have the right marble look I was after. This situation had obviously meant that there was no doubt in my mind that I wanted to have a marble print on my lovely Case App case! I ended up choosing the iPhone 6 "tough" case*, which is a regular hard case but with a silicone lining, to provide more protection.

It arrived a couple of days after I ordered it, and it was exactly the design that I was looking for! I decided to go with a matte finish, so the case feels really robust and good quality, which is great. I also adore the pretty white and grey-blue marble design I chose! The image transferred really well onto the case, and the colours didn't look at all different (which is one of the things I was worried about, as printing images onto something often weakens or alters the colour).

My only negative about the tough case is that the silicone lining can only be black, which may clash with your design! It would be good if you could also choose, say, a white silicone lining as that would look better with some cases, such as mine.

Now for the exciting bit - I've kindly been given a Case App voucher to give away to one of you lucky people! If you'd like a chance to win then enter by the 22nd of March 12am GMT, via the Rafflecopter form below, but first the boring terms of the giveaway!

• The prize is for a £22 "Case App" voucher.
• You must follow my blog on Bloglovin'.
• This is an international giveaway.
• You must be 16 or over to enter, otherwise you must get permission from your parent or guardian.
• Entries from competition accounts and multiple entries will not be accepted.
• The giveaway closes on the 22nd of March at 12am GMT and I will contact the winner via Twitter and/or email.
• The winner must reply within 3 days of me emailing/tweeting them, otherwise I will pick a new winner.
• Once you have replied to my email/tweet letting you know that you've won, I will email you the voucher code.
• I am not responsible if the prize gets lost or damaged in the post.
• Using your voucher, you must order your case/skin via the Case App website yourself, I won't do this for you.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
If you're not the lucky person who wins, there's also something for you too! Case App have given me a 20% off discount code for you all to use until the 31st of March, so if you'd like to save some money then use the code: "HIDDENBEAUTY20".

Good luck to all of you entering, and congratulations to whoever wins! Remember that this giveaway ends on the 22nd of March at 12am GMT, so make sure to enter before then. Also I'd love to know what you think of the case design that I went for, as I personally love it!

Had you heard of Case App before now?



Wednesday, 4 March 2015

DSLR Basics // PHOTOGRAPHY


At the start of this year I decided that I wanted to do some tips/guide posts on my blog, as I love reading them because they are so useful! Without a doubt the number one thing that I get the most compliments about, when it comes to my blog, is my photography. That's why I asked on Twitter whether or not you would all like me to do a post on some DSLR basics, and a lot of you seemed really interested, so that's what I am doing today!

This post isn't about how I go through my whole photographing and editing process (that's a post for the future), but instead covering some of the tips that I have learnt when it comes to making the most of my DSLR! I'm not saying that my photography is perfect, nowhere near it infact, but once I got my head around these following aspects it got a lot better than it was.

I believe that you can use most of these following features on a non-DSLR, however I'm fairly sure that they are optimised on DSLRs, so for the sake of things I'm just naming this post "DSLR Basics", to clear that up!

Just a little note too before I get into everything - all of the following instructions, when I talk about certain buttons etc, are referring to those of my Canon EOS 600D, so if you are using a different camera you will have similar buttons and functions! If you're having troubles finding them maybe have a look on Google or in your camera's user manual.

Be prepared for a long post here, as I'm going to cover 4 basics - white balance, ISO, aperture and shutter speed! All of these things mean that you will have to leave the nice comfort zone of auto, and move onto manual. It took me quite a long time and practising to get used to this, but now I never use auto since I could see such a difference in my photos when I switched to manual! 

|WHITE BALANCE|

White balance is strangely one of the things that I hadn't heard about until recently, but it's now essential for me! When I first heard about white balance I was fairly confused, as the name would imply that it is something to do with the level of brightness in photos, I was wrong though.

Infact white balance is basically the colour balance in your photos - e.g an incorrect white balance for your setup may result in your photos coming up with a grey or pink tinge, which you obviously don't want! Whenever I used natural light for my photos I would often find that all of my photos would have that pinky-red tinge (which you can spot in some of my older photos, when I didn't use a softbox), but since sorting out my white balance this doesn't happen at all. I believe that the problem you experience is because natural light isn't a pure white colour, meaning the camera misinterprets the light and alters the colours of the items in the image, whereas a softbox bulb is a very white light so you don't get the same problem!

The way correcting your white balance works is that the camera knows what the colour white is! By taking a photo of a white surface (you'll see why in a minute), the camera realises what levels would need to be altered to make the image appear completely white, and remembers this for future photos. This means that when you come to take your next photo, the camera will apply those conditions that it noticed needing changing previously, to help retain the colour balance of the photo!

The white balance only needs correcting once during your photographing session! However I'd say that you obviously will need to correct it whenever your natural light changes aswell, but only for significant changes, such as a cloud going infront of the sun and making the place you are shooting in much darker than previously.

How to: To set the white balance, take a photo of a white surface, in the place you're going to be taking photos. For this you could need a flat, white surface, such as a piece of white paper or a white balance card! You must make sure that you take the photo, of the white surface, in the place you are going to be taking your normal photos, because if you don't, the light will be different so would defeat the object of correcting the white balance.

Once you've taken this photo, go to view the image, by pressing the play button, and find the white surface image. Once you've found this press the "menu" button, go to the second section from the left, at the top, and select "custom white balance" (which should be 4th down the list of options)! Make sure that you have your white surface image selected, press the round "set" button, and then "OK". Then you can get on with taking your photos!

| ISO |

ISO is the feature that measures how sensitive the camera sensor is to light! This is altered by changing the ISO number on your camera. A low ISO number, such as 100, should be used if you are in a very bright area, and a higher number, such as 3200, should only be used in very dark areas. There is a very handy guide, which I found on Pinterest, on which ISO number to use in what circumstances!

Using a high ISO number, normally 800 or above, will result in higher "noise". If your image has noise it will look grainy, especially if you zoom into it! This means that it is better to keep to an ISO of 800, or hopefully less, unless it is really needed.

How to: To change the ISO number go onto any of the customisable image options off the dial (A-DEP, M, Av, Tv or P), and make sure that you see all of the details on the screen, rather than any images or a view out of the lens. Then press the "ISO" button, which for me is on the top of the camera, near the dial, and select whatever ISO number you would like!

| APERTURE |

The aperture, also known as the f number, is the feature that controls the depth of field and how much light is let into the lens. This is changed by altering the aperture/f number, which in turn controls the shutter, and how open it is! A small aperture means that the shutter is kept very open, and a large aperture means that the shutter is kept quite closed (this is a good guide).

A small aperture, such as f/2.8, means that the very open shutter lets lots of light hit the sensor, however the depth of field is very shallow. Whereas a large aperture, such as f/22, only lets a small amount of light in, but the depth of field is very deep! 

For those of you who don't know what depth of field is, it's basically how far back you can see in a photo. You know when you see a pretty photo of a lipstick and the focus is on just the lipstick, then all of the background is very blurred? Well the person who took that would have used a small aperture to achieve a shallow depth of field! Then when you see a landscape photo, or an image where the background is fairly visible, a bigger aperture would have been used.

How to: Again, to change the aperture go onto any of the customisable image options off the dial (A-DEP, M, Av, Tv or P), and make sure that you see all of the details on the screen, rather than any images or a view out of the lens. After this, press the "Av" button, which is a little below the viewfinder button, and whilst holding down this button, change the number by moving the little wheel near the capture button, which is towards the front of the camera.

| SHUTTER SPEED |

Shutter speed controls how long the camera's sensor is left exposed to the light! Like the ISO and aperture, the shutter speed is altered by changing a number. A faster shutter speed means that it will an image will be sharper, as the image has had less time to be exposed to anything that may effect it. A slow shutter speed means that the sensor is left open for a longer time, which will help the image gain more light! However you need to be careful of this, and should use a tripod, otherwise the image can be effected by simple things such as the little movement of you breathing!

A slow shutter speed, such as 1", means that the sensor would be exposed for 1 second and would gain a large amount of light! Then a fast shutter speed, such as 1/1000, means that the sensor would be exposed for 1/1000th of a second to quickly capture an image, maybe a bird flying, but wouldn't catch very much light.

There's also a rule of thumb when it comes to shutter speed! This is that the second number in your shutter speed, e.g the 1000 part of 1/1000, should be atleast twice the focal length of your camera. For instance, if I was using my 40mm lens, I should use a shutter speed of atleast 1/80, and if I was using my 18-55mm lens, I should use a shutter speed of atleast 1/110! This helps ensure that the image is sharp, and should only really be broken if you need to take a long exposure image. 

How to: As with the two previous functions, to change the aperture go onto any of the customisable image options off the dial (A-DEP, M, Av, Tv or P), and make sure that you see all of the details on the screen, rather than any images or a view out of the lens. This time all you need to do is scroll the same wheel you used when changing the aperture, until you see whatever shutter speed you would like!

So they are the four basic camera functions that I think we should all know! I hope that you liked this post as it was actually really fun to write, so please let me know if you'd like me to do more photography or tips posts in the future. It would be lovely to know if my post helped you learn anything new too!

What part of your photography would you most like to improve on?



Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Yves Rocher Quelques Notes d'Amour Eau De Parfum // REVIEW






I've heard a lot of people talking about their love of Yves Rocher, but until now I'd only ever tried one of their eyeshadows! This was until I was offered the chance to test out one of their perfumes, which I jumped at. This particular perfume is the Yves Rocher Quelques Notes d'Amour Eau De Parfum*!

It has quite a woody scent, due to the Guaiac Wood essence it contains, with a floral and musky undertone! The thing that I really like is that it doesn't smell too sweet, or too bitter, so it is a lovely scent that I could imagine a lot of people liking. The thing that struck me most though was how long the scent lasted! I'd apply it one day, then could still smell it the next day, which was great.

The packaging is really pretty too! It's quite a thick glass bottle, then has a heart cutout on the corner so it would look perfect on a dressing table. It's also very dainty looking, which gives it a rather romantic look!

My only negative would be that the spray is pretty big, which you should be a bit careful of, however I'm used to this now meaning it's not that bad.

Overall I was really impressed! For £32 (although it is currently on offer for just £18) you get a lovely perfume, and it easily matches up to the quality of some of my high-end perfumes (which would cost about twice the price of this one).

Have you ever tried a Yves Rocher perfume?




My Diamond Advertiser for February is Daisy from Bluebirds & Bunting!

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Real Techniques Bold Metals Collection - 200 & 201 // REVIEW






In the past year there haven't been many launches that have made me think "wow I must own that", and I know that a lot of people would agree with me on that one! However there was one new line that really got people talking - that being the new Real Techniques collection. During the #bbloggers chat on Twitter, if you dare ask for any makeup brush recommendations you will most likely be bombarded with people saying Real Techniques! This just shows you how good their brushes must be, especially considering that they are fairly low cost brushes. I must own over ten Real Techniques brushes from their original brush line, so I really can vouch for how great they are!

This new line, named Bold Metals, is more luxe than their regular brushes, since they are of a higher quality! Probably the most attractive feature of these brushes though is the gorgeous and sleek metal handles, which are in either gold (base), silver (eyes) and rose gold (finish). There's no surprise that the brushes with the rose gold metal handles seem to be the ones that everybody wants, because we all know how popular rose gold has become in the last few years!

I was sent two brushes to have a play with, and you wouldn't believe how excited I was to try them, especially considering the amount of hype surrounding them! The first was the 200 Oval Shadow Brush*, which is a silver-handled, fairly flat, rounded eyeshadow brush. This picks up powder extremely well, to the point where since I started using it for the "base" layer of my eyeshadow I've been having to pick up less eyeshadow, than I had to with my previous brush, which shows that the 200 obviously holds the eyeshadow much better. I'd say that my only slight negative would be that it would be nice if the brush was a little smaller, as it can be a bit awkward to apply eyeshadow in the inner bit of my eyelid, but I will probably get used to that!

The second brush was the 201 Pointed Crease Brush*! This is rounded with a pointed tip, making it great to add definition into the crease, and Real Techniques also say that it is perfect to create a smoky eye with. Again this is an eye brush, so it has the silver handle! This is quite dense, but surprisingly very easy to blend with which is great.

I personally can see a big difference between the quality of the original brushes, and the Bold Metals brushes! The bristles feel much better quality and softer, which is always good. Plus the brushes weigh a fair bit, making them easier to use as it keeps balance towards the brush end, and again makes them seem more luxury!

Sadly, but understandably, this new line of brushes does cost quite a bit more than the original line! A lot of people didn't like the thought of a drugstore brand putting a high price on their brushes, however Sam & Nic (the two creators of the Real Techniques line) made a video talking about how the brushes are better quality and on par with high-end brushes, hence the extra cost, which seemed to ease everybody bit. You can honestly feel how much better quality they are, and they would obviously cost more to make, so I'd say that the extra money is fair!

Overall I am really impressed with these two brushes! I'd love to try the 301 Flat Contour Brush next, as everybody seems to love it, plus it is seriously beautiful. It would be great to hear your thoughts on this new line and what you think of the prices too!

Have you tried any of the new Bold Metals brushes?




My Diamond Advertiser for February is Daisy from Bluebirds & Bunting!