Tuesday, 27 December 2016

NYX Full Throttle Lipstick in Jolt, Locked and Loaded. Review, Swatches and Wear Test - Cruelty Free Cosmetics

A while back a colleague mentioned picking up one of these lipsticks in the colour Night Crawler to me. I hadn't even heard of them, I'd focused everywhere else on the NYX but had someone managed to overlook these. Night Crawler wasn't my colour but I picked up shades 09. Jolt, 10. Locked and 11. Loaded. 

LtR. 11. Loaded, 10. Locked and 09. Jolt.
Their packaging is a bit different to the standard stuff. Its weirdly long and thin. You also don't get a lot of product with these, you get 2.4 grams of product and they cost £5.50. The NYX butter lipsticks are also £5.50  and you get 4.5 grams in them. 

So this is what a brand new one looks like. Its really thin and the top has a lot of weird edges. Kind of reminds of the twist up pencil type lipsticks you get but in bullet format.

I've chosen to swatch these in the order above as I thought it made the most sense and would result in the least weird staining. Now lets get looking at my face.

09 Jolt.

11. Loaded

10. Locked.

These lipsticks claim to be waterproof and according to the NYX website "covers your lips with super-saturated matte colour". From playing with these and wearing all of them I've noticed the formula is inconsistent between shades. Jolt and Locked are softer and creamier than Loaded and apply better, even if you heat it up by swatching on your hand first. It also feels very waxy when applied and is patchy if you don't apply a really heavy coat.

 In between photographing them and writing up this post, I actually dropped all of these and Loaded snapped. When I was trying to fix it, it slid out my hand and got smooshed as well. Unlike the Ripe Berry Butter Lipstick that also snapped, I won't be repurchasing this.

As this lipstick claims to be waterproof I decided to test it out the same way I would a liquid lipstick that made similar claims. I was already wearing Locked and its a pretty distinct colour, so I decided to roll with that. 

The rest of my makeup seems to have given up in this photo...yuck.

So I had this on for about six hours and ate a full plate of dinner and there's very little wear and tear. I'm really impressed that a bullet lipstick lasted this well. You can see that it has worn a little thin on my lower lip but its all still there. One small sweep and it would look immaculate again.

Over time, like most lipsticks these will begin to breakdown and transfer. This one was getting to the stage where it was beginning to powdery and if I touched my lips or drank things I'd get colour transfer. This is pretty typical of Jolt as well, I've worn them both a couple more times since photographing. They're great for work though, as they don't breakdown or smudge throughout the morning and still look good after lunch although they are beginning to break down.

Overall I like these. The last a long time and don't dry my lips out at all. They're definitely some of the better long wearing lipstick from the high street, along with the Sleek Matte Me Lipsticks and are are really affordable, even if you don't get tonnes. Plus I'd estimate that with regular eating and drinking I'd need to top up my lipstick three, maybe four times if I was going all day and then to then going out for food and drinks. I would need to top this up twice total, so that's a saving right there. 

XOXO Scruffy

Other NYX lip product reviews 

Monday, 19 December 2016

The Worst Nights Sleep in a Very Long time - Sleep Paralysis, Anxiety and Accidental Blue Eyeliner

This wasn't the post I was planning on writing/posting today, Mondays are always busy and I was going to go with a review I had already written for Blogmas. Last night really wasn't a good night for me and since publicly admitting to my sleep issues I've been trying to be more honest about what is going on, so this felt like a better, if harder to write post for today. 

I feel like crap right now, grade A, worn out crap. I didn't sleep well at all last night, woke up to sore eyes and then had to have a cold bath because my boiler isn't working properly. Then I had to go to work and survive a day in the office. I am now on holiday though, so that's a silver lining I guess. If my sentence structure or spelling is a little weird and off, let me know and I'll come back and fix it later because I can barely focus on the screen right now.

So last night didn't start out horrible. I followed all my own steps that usually help ease me into a better nights sleep. I went to bed when I felt sleepy and at a reasonable time, I curled up, got comfy and then got hit with the worst sleep paralysis I've ever experienced. It wasn't the usual terrifying made up horror in the room, this was like someone was crushing me against the bed. I couldn't move at all. I was just pinned there. Awake and unable to move at all. And it seemed to last for an eternity.

Once I managed to free myself, I turned the lamp on, and sat bolt upright in the bed with my back against the headboard heavy breathing and trying to process what was going in. It was the most scared I've ever felt in my life. 

Every tiny noise made me jump out my skin, if I moved and anything brushed against me I tensed more than should be possible. I've had a lot of nightmares in my life, but this was like being awake in one. My bedroom was scary but the rest of my flat felt like a world of unknown terror, I knew I'd have to face before I'd manage to finally fall asleep.

It took me a long time to get from the bed out into the hallway, which always has a light on in it. When I threw the covers off in an act of sudden determination it caused a draft that made the pendant pieces that hang from my light shade clang together horribly, giving my a horrendous fright and making me want to cry. I don't understand why I feel so scared in my own home sometimes. 

Once I made it into the hall I still didn't feel any better. I went round and methodically switched on every light, checked the door was locked, the cooker was off, took some Kalms from the cupboard (they don't help but its nice to think they might). Checked the cooker and the door again, used the toilet, turned all the lights off in the same order I turned them on in, kicked off my slippers, turned off the light and curled up in bed again.

I didn't feel any better though. Every time I rolled the duvet hit my skin, I shuddered. I couldn't settle and my terror level was still through the roof. I gave up and turned the light back on, hoping the lamp light would calm my nerves, convince me whatever I was imagining was 100% imaginary. 

It didn't work, my window is directly above the door into my block of flats and every time it banged closed, I was awake again. When I was finally drifting off, the fear of what happened earlier on the night crept back in and I was awake again. When I got comfy and rolled over, the covers scraped against my legs and I was awake again.
In the end I gave up and broke one of my own rules. I just wanted to forget I was so scared of whatever was going on in my mind. I found Going Postal, one of my favourite books of all time, and curled up in bed with it. I've read several times before so I was hoping the familiarity would offer me some sense of security. 
It actually worked, kind off. Within twenty pages my eyes were feeling heavy and I wasn't sure if I could read much more. I put the book down, rolled back over and half crashed with the light own. It wasn't sleep, I was stuck in the moment before sleep when I couldn't tip myself either way. But I wasn't paralysed, I didn't feel crushed or scared, there wasn't an imaginary monster in the corner. Without any of that stuff its actually a weird, kind of cool feeling, but just not when you know you need to be awake in a couple of hours and haven't slept yet. 

This happened a few times, I'd wake myself back up, roll over, rinse and repeat. At some point, I'm not sure when exactly, I turned the lamp out and managed to dose off. I'm estimating that it was about three I actually slipped off to dreamland, but looking at my phone is the worst thing I can do when I'm trying to fall asleep, so I didn't check it. Maybe I should have, maybe if I'd seen the world outside my flat wasn't imploding it would have calmed me down a little. Thinking back I would have taken more away and calmer over the tired, terrified mess I was. 

When my alarm went off at 6am it felt like I hadn't been asleep at all. I had to force myself out of bed and into a lukewarm bath as the boiler had crapped out again. I could barely focus on anything and my eyes stung like I'd rubbed soap in them. 

So that about sums up today. Everything before lunch time is a blurry haze. I know I went out and bought new foundation, I couldn't honestly tell you anything more about it other than its a liquid one and I bought it in Boots.

I hope to never repeat a night like that again. I know I probably will though. I will be going to the doctor and actually seeking some kind of medical help regarding my sleep although it probably wont be till after Christmas. I probably won't post anything else about sleep or a sleep update until I've had that appointment, unless something big or groundbreaking happens. Also I don't recommend putting off seeking medical help, or not seeing the doctor, I'm just on  holiday from work right now and if my sleep schedule gets a little messed up, or I have a couple of sleepless nights it wont be the worst thing in the world, although it feels like it at the time. 

Sorry if this post makes me seem crazy. I just want you to know if you have the same issued I do, you are not alone.

Fun side note - I just took off the full face makeup I put on to compensate for how tired I felt today (way more than I normally would because I felt so drained and didnt want to look it) and I've been wearing blue liquid eyeliner all day. That had been on my face for over twelve hours and I hadn't even noticed it wasn't black. I only noticed as the cotton wool pad had blue on it, which I thought was odd, so I went and checked the pen. Its not just blue, its obviously blue. It says blue on it and has a blue end. I actually don't know how I missed it but I'm beginning to wish I hadn't bought foundation today if my colour judgement was that off.

XOXO Scruffy

Enquiry? Message me ascruffyduck@gmail.com 

Sunday, 18 December 2016

Milani Baked Powder Blush in Berry Amore and Luminoso Review - Cruelty Free Drug Store Cosmetics

I've been obsessing over blush recently. It was always a neglected area of my makeup collection, I owned a lot but only ever wore one or two of them. Recently I discovered Milani (a brand you have to order online in Scotland), and decided to give a couple of theirs a go as well. 

The two I got were Berry Amore (top left) and Luminoso (bottom right). Also how amazing is the packaging. It is only plastic but it feels sturdy and doesn't look cheap, much love for it. 

And here's what the pans look like. They are so, so pretty. Berry Amore is a gorgeous, soft, taupe based pink with tiny flecks of gold glitter through it. I like it a lot and have worn it almost every day since I bought it. Luminoso is more of a shiny peach colour, it has a sheen but doesn't appear to have any glitter in it. I really like it but Berry Amore is just more my colour,

And here are some finger swatches. As you can see they're very pretty. The powder is really finely milled and blends out beautifully. From experience they also last all day and I feel they are amazing quality for a drug store blush.

My only issue with these blushes is the packaging to blush ratio is insane. You can see from the photos the pan of blush is far smaller than the packaging itself. and is actually really thin. It flips open it reveal a mirror and a tiny, plastic brush that really isn't worth what its made out of. 

I'm never going to use this part of either of them and actually really wish they weren't there. I'm considering gluing this part shut as there's no catch keeping it closed and when you try and open the blush it has a habit of coming open. Its not a deal breaker and it wouldn't stop me buying more. It's just annoying. Also I wish brands would stop including low value, mini applicators with products (like the super cheap brushed that come with some eyeshadow palettes). If we're buying your stuff online and paying shipping and so on, we have a means of applying it to our skin.

Overall, despite my packaging complaints, I do really like these products, am considering getting more next time I order from Milani and would highly recommend them. Each blush contains 3.5g of product and at £7.49 off the Milani Website and £8 off Beauty Bay I think they're fantastic value for money.  If I do get another one soon I think it'll be Rose D'Oro which looks gorgeous. Also the photos of the colours are far better on Beauty Bay, but the direct website (in the UK at least) ships DPD who now deliver to an assortment of high street stores you can pick up from. So it might be worth checking anything you want on Beauty Bay to confirm the colour then ordering direct. One of the shops they deliver to is Matalan so I got my order sent to the Jamaica Street store in the centre, very handy and the staff were really nice (even thought they had to run about and look through their delivery whilst I waited).   

Do you have a favourite Milani product I need to try? Or anything you'd like to see me review? Please let me know in the comments.

XOXO Scruffy

Other blush products

Enquiry? Message me ascruffyduck@gmail.com 

Saturday, 17 December 2016

Sleek Onto The Horizon Ltd Edition Palette Review with Arm Swatches - Cruelty Free Drugstore Makeup

Earlier this year Sleek released some limited edition palettes: Onto the Horizon, Nordic Skies and Goodnight Sweetheart. All of them are still available and over the past month I've somehow acquired all three. I've spent a bit of time forming an opinion on them and now I plan on reviewing them all whilst they're still available on Sleek website.

The first one I got was On The Horizon palette, and I believe it was a Superdrug exclusive in the UK. Sleek have a habit of splitting collections down the middle in the UK and making half of it Boots and half Superdrug. They've done it more recently with the Rockstars Collection and you can find my review of the Hidden Gems palette from that here.

This is also one of the products I thought I'd lost all the photos for when my laptop died. Luckily I managed to find some on my backup hard drive, and I've chosen to use them as I've already binned the box and can't re-photograph it.

They all have gorgeous outer packaging that is themed around the colour selection. On the Horizon is a mix of forest greens,burnt oranges and brown tones. I've been wearing a lot of nudes recently but on Saturday I cracked into Lightyear from the Moondust palette I bought on Black Friday and I'm in love with greens again.

So the actual palette is just standard Sleek packaging. It comes with the usual sponge applicator and sheet with the names printed on it. I now have a stack of these in my palette drawer just from Sleek and Makeup Revolution, and I have no idea which one goes with what palette.

Here's a better photo of the shades themselves, you get 9 shimmery metallic shades and 3 mattes. The shimmer shades are where Sleek always excel so its a really good breakdown.

So here's the top row of the palette, as you can see the first shade and last three are gorgeous but two and three (Sugar Maple and Beech) didn't swatch very well.  It's a shame because Sugar Maple is such a pretty rose gold colour and looks really nice when its blended.  Beech on the other hand is just mehh.. and blends away to nothing.

Here's the bottom row. Again not all of them swatched very well. The first shade, Chestnut is a really beautiful brown with a blue/purple sheen. Willow (third from the right) swatched really intensely but isn't as vivid and vibrant when blended out and the two shades to the right of it Dew Drop and Pine Cone are really nice shimmer shades that just need building a little. The only shade in this palette that I would say is bad is Fawn (the yellow shade third from the left). It's far chunkier than any other Sleek eyeshadow I've ever seen and just skips and highlights skin texture. 

The one thing I really like about the outside of this palette is that it has the name of the palette stamped on the front on clear lettering. My biggest criticism of these palettes has always been that I can't tell them apart from the front and need to flip them all over or open them to see which is which. I like that they all come in a hard plastic shell and have a large mirror, it helps make all their products feel like they're extra good value for money.

I've also been using this palette for a week straight now and I do love the shadows but I was limited by the colour selection and had to mix it in the Naked Ultimate Basics palette as the week wore on. I liked mixing the shiny green and brown colours together but found I didn't use the orange even though I thought I would. I also didn't find a use for the lovely navy blue and feel sad I couldn't be more creative in the mornings. 

XOXO Scruffy

Other Sleek reviews

Enquiry? Message me ascruffyduck@gmail.com

(Just a wee note. I live in Scotland and we're currently in Winter. Right now we're getting less than eight hours daylight a day and I spend that in work, so sorry about the badly lit photos).

Friday, 16 December 2016

Urban Decay, First Hit Travel Kit. Review and Swatches - Cruelty Free Delux Samples, Perversion Mascara, Primer Potion

If you've read anything I've written, ever, you'll know I'm a sucker for cute things, trying new stuff and tester packs. Urban Decay are a higher end brand that's semi new to me, but since I started buying their stuff I've fallen in love. I now own a good mix of products from them, but I still like trying new things. When I saw this pack (which I got in the same Debenhams order as the Love at First Kiss from Too Faced and a Kat Von D one I need to type up), I knew I wanted it. 

In this you get a mini primer potion, 24/7 Glide On eye pencil in Demolition, Perversion mascara in black, and an All-Nighter setting spray. I've previously tried the setting spray and a different eyeliner from this range and really liked both, several youtubers I follow rave about the eye primer and I've heard lots of good things about the mascara .

Look at how cute these minis are. Perfect for handbags.

So the eyeliner is a really nice dark brown, I've used this a lot, usually on my upper lashes and actually really like it. I will be buying a full sized one of these when this is done as it stays really well, 

The primer potion is a nude colour and although I don't normally use eye primer (I like to just use concealer) I've used this a couple of times under more elaborate eye looks and the shadow has never budged. I don't know if I'd get a full sized version of this, but I would not say no to another sample size to try it out some more. 

So this is the brush from the mascara, its huge compared to the tube and this is the kind of brush I like. Big and traditional. The mascara itself is really good as well, very black, long lasting and dries fast so it doesn't get everywhere if you sneeze right after applying it ( I do this at least once a month so I have to factor it in when choosing mascara).

I didn't take photos of the spray because its a clear spray. I like this setting spray but I'm not 100% sure its worth the money. The NYX one I recently finished as part of my 17 by 2017 project is really good and far cheaper than this. Again I wouldn't say no to another sample. 

The whole box costs £15 and I think its really great value for money. A full 24/7 eye pencil is £15.50 so if you want to try a wide range of Urban Decay products is definitely cost effective. 

Tried out any cute mini sets you think are worth while? Please let me know in the comments so I can check them out. 

XOXO Scruffy

Enquiry? Message me ascruffyduck@gmail.com  

Thursday, 15 December 2016

Alba Botanica Hawaiian Body Oil Review - Cruelty Free Skincare Body Moisturiser

Back when I was in the states I fell in love with the Alba Botanica Hawiian Spray Sunscreen. I ended up buying a back up before returning to the UK as I knew Alba wasn't a brand that was easy to get in the UK. Imagine my surprise when I was browsing in TK Maxx and came across some of their products in the beauty section. 

This is their Hawaiian body oil with kukui nut. Its one of those oils that you apply when your skin is wet from the bath, rub in and then dry yourself off. Also it smells like nutty biscuits, which is amazing. 

So along with being a moisturiser, this product can be used as a massage oil and also added directly to the bath if your skins feeling extra dry.

The bottle boasts it is hypo-allergenic, pH balanced and vegetarian. Theres no artificial colours, parabens, phthalates, sodium lauryl/laureth sulfate or sodium myreth sulfate. I looked up the things there I hadn't heard of and they were either irritants or potentially carcinogenic so yay for it not having any of them.

They're also leaping bunny certified and the bottle is 100% recycled. So more yay for them.

I don't know why I attempted to swatch this. Its clear oil. 

I wasn't sure how I would feel about it as I hate my skin feeling oily or greasy and this had the potential to do both. It doesn't do either though, and actually absorbs really nicely. It leaves my skin feeling soft and smooth without leaving thick streaks of moisturiser on my skin. 

I'm also crazy about the smell, its everything I want. Light, nutty and biscuity. It sounds weird but it works really well.

If anyone out there knows a proper UK stockist of Alba Botanica, please let me know. I am in love (managed to get another couple of pieces out of TK Maxx I'll review at a later date) with everything I've tried and I want it all. 

XOXO Scruffy 

Enquiry? Message me ascruffyduck@gmail.com

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Review: Revolution Blush Queen Palette with arm swatches - Cruelty Free Cosmetics

Ever bought makeup online and when its arrived been like... What did I just buy? This palette was one of those purchases and I initially didn't love it and wasn't going to review it as I didn't want to seem negative. I now feel like we passed that point after the Natural Collection eyeshadow and 7th Heaven Argan Mask reviews. As times gone by I've given this palette more of a shot and don't hate it as much so I thought I'd dive down that rabbit hole.

So I bought this because on the Revolution website it looks like a palette of little planets for your cheeks (link here so you can see for yourself). It's very, very cute and I was excited to have it in my collection because I loved outer-space as a kid.

It's a little used not and the planet look only seems to stand up on the blush's where the accent colour is stronger. Also packing from Revolution comes in two forms, nice or cheap. This falls into the cheap camp, the nicer ones have sturdier plastic and a large mirror in the lid. The only thing that the cheaper packaging has to its advantage is that you can see through it and tell exactly whats in it, making it much easier to find what you're looking for. It just feels so plasticky.

Top Row.

Bottom Row.

All the blushes are sparkly, and some of them are very similar. So even though you're getting 13 grams of product for £6, its not over 8 pans, more like 5 (or maybe six if you really build it up). Also its not so much a blush palette as a blush topper or highlight palette. The only shades that could conceivably be used as blushes are the send and fourth ones on the bottom. 

I think that might have been part of my instant dislike for it. As its called Blush Queen I was, understandably, expecting for it to be filled with blush. Seven out of eight of them are very soft  and easy to use, and all of them blend well. That scary looking bright pink actually sheers out really nicely and gives you a gorgeous, flushed glow.

Would I recommend this as a blush palette? No. Would I recommend it as a cheek and highlight palette? Maybe. There's not a lot of blush options, and everything is baked and sparkly. If that's what you're into then go for it though. 

XOXO Scruffy 

Enquiry? Message me ascruffyduck@gmail.com 

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

BOMB Cosmetics Flutter By, Butterfly Bath Blaster Review with Photos - Cruelty Free & Handmade

Some Bomb Cosmetics are a brand that have been on my radar for a while now. I've been given a few of their gift sets in the past and I've always found them nice. When I found I had another set squirreled away in the cupboard I thought I would let you all know what I thought of the blasters and bath melts, like I have been with Lush.

So this is the Flutter By, Butterfly Bath Blaster, and according to the website this contains cocoa butter to soothe the skin and mandarin and neroli essential oils. It also is supposed to smell like a combination of fresh apples and sweet cherries.

I don't know about all that, it is super dooper cute though....

From a mix of past experience and a lot of time spent going through they're website I can say they make some of the cutest bath bombs ever. They even make one with a tiny little rubber duckie in it, which is so so cute.

Smell wise, its a very nice, sweet kind of fruity, floral smell. I don't think its particularly like apples and cherries though. It is nice and pleasant. 

I feel like over recent months I might have been spoiled by all the lovely Lush goodies I've used because as fizzing displays go, this was a bit of a let down. 

It smelled really good but apart from that it was a bit boring and flat. I would have liked it if it did something more fun. Maybe some glitter or some more colour. It was just very mehh.

Another thing I noticed is that the cocoa butter leaves a really thick film on everything that came in contact with it, my body, my hair and the bath. It felt really gross. This was also really difficult to clean off the inside of the bath. I think in previous posts when I've been talking about the bath being difficult to clean I might have been thinking of these. 

So final thoughts, this bath blaster looks cute and smells good but its not worth the hassle and the clean-up. They cost £2.99 off the Bomb Cosmetics website so for that price you could get something from Lush that doesn't gunk up the same.

XOXO Scruffy

Enquiry? Message me ascruffyduck@gmail.com

Monday, 12 December 2016

NYX Matte Lipsticks in Tea Rose and Eurotrash Review and Lip Swatches - Cruelty Free Makeup

NYX are a fairly new brand to come to the UK, however over the past 6 months they started to take over my makeup collection, especially in the lip category. 

One of the first products I bought was the matte lipstick in Tea Rose. A gorgeous soft dusky pink shade. I really liked it but it got overshadowed in my collection by the many other matte lip products I own, and to be honest I totally forgot about it. 

Then, a few weeks ago, I was in my local Boots and decided to peruse the NYX counter (still not an experience I enjoy, the standards haven't really improved since my last rant post). I've already got all the shades of Lip Suede, Lip Cream, Lip Lingerie and almost all Butter Lipsticks I could want, so I found myself browsing the other lipstick lines and that's when I noticed Eurotrash and remembered about Tea Rose.

Top Eurotrash and bottom Tea Rose
So there they are. Packaging wise these lipsticks are very similar to the Butter lipsticks, the only difference being the ends of the bullet are all matte black and not coloured plastic that matches the colour of the product. I like this style of packaging, simple and effective. I also think the window is a nice touch as it means you can tell which lipstick is which without having to check the bottom or opening them. On a tangent, I've noticed NYX also print the name of the product down the body of the product as well, which I like too as it saves squinting at the bottom.

And here are the swatches. As you can see Eurotrash is very nude whereas Tea Rose is far more pink. They are both however, very nice wearable everyday colours.

Lip Swatch : Eurotrash
Lip Swatch: Tea Rose
Formula wise these lipsticks are really nice. They're soft and easy to apply with a good pigment pay off. And although they are maybe not truly matte in the same way a liquid lipstick would be, they are far more matte than a standard lipstick and far more comfortable than any liquid lipstick I have tried, even the really comfortable ones.

They don't last a really long time, however they wear off evenly and don't smudge that much when you kiss. They also feel really moisturising and leave my lips feeling in great condition. I've placed these two in my work makeup bag as they're lovely, wearable, "office appropriate" colours (although that never stopped me wearing dark purple). Ideal for applying after lunch when other products have worn off or started to flake and I need something for the afternoon.

I'd be really interested in trying more colours from this range as there are some gorgeous burnt oranges and dark reds. I'm just a bit worried they may suffer from the same formula inconsistancies that other NYX lines do, like the Full Throttle lipsticks where some are lovely and others are waxy and stiff. These two are absolutely lovely regardless.

XOXO Scruffy 

Enquiry? Message me ascruffyduck@gmail.com

Sunday, 11 December 2016

Too Faced Love at First Kiss Delux Mini Review with Swatches - Cruelty Free Deluxe Mini Blush and Lipstick

A while ago (maybe early October) I placed a large order from Debenhams Beauty. In amongst the Kat Von D and Urban Decay, I picked up this lil guy. Too Faced aren't a brand that I'm super familiar with and all I had from them was a couple of mini bronzers I picked up in the States. 

I'd heard good things about the blushes and was interested in trying them, however at £25 they seemed excessively expensive for a product I've never given a huge amount of thought to. I tend to focus on my eyes or lips and use the same NYX HD blush day in, day out (in the colour Amber). I've never heard anyone talk about the lipsticks but I thought they'd be worth a try too. 

This is the box and its kinda cutesy and tacky but not too much. Recently Too Faced relaunched the Sweet Peach palette and that was wayyyyyyy to much. OK the gold lips aren't to my taste but I don't hate it and can see where they were going,  It fits with them.

These mini's are the ittiest bittiest things ever. The lipstick is the same length as my super stubby lil' thumb. I actually think they're really really cute, and I'm not the most  girly of people. It reminds me of the makeup I would have gotten with my dollies as a child, but on a very classy level. From watching older reviews of Too Faced on Youtube it seems to be this kind of that people used to really love about them, classy, cute but with kind of a risque, burlesque twist. Its also something that seems to have been lost recently with the constant re-releasing of "limited edition" palettes and marketing that seems to be aimed at younger and younger children. 

This was one review I managed to loose all the images of in the great laptop crap out of earlier this year. I had to retake them and that's why both products look a little used. 

So I guess I should talk about what you actually get in the pack. You get a mini of the Love Flush Blush in Love Hangover and a mini La Creme Colour Drench Lipstick in Naked Dolly.  You get 2 grams of blush and 1.5 grams of Lipstick, so not a huge amount but more than enough for you to work out if you like the product. 

I've got to say I really like the blush. I swatched it pretty heavily in the photo so you got a good idea of the colour but it blends out to a very nice shear wash of colour. It also seems to last all day, which is always a bonus.

The lipstick on the other hand, I don't love. It's nothing to do with the formula, which seems really nice and moisturising. Its just the colour. Super, skin tone based nudes just aren't my thing. I would be really interested in trying some darker shades in this formula and seeing if I like them more.

Overall I think this little set is great and would be an ideal stocking stuffer for anyone interested in makeup or that just likes cute mini objects. 

XOXO Scruffy 

Enquiry? Message me ascruffyduck@gmail.com

Saturday, 10 December 2016

Sleep Issues - Trying to doze off whilst the imaginary monsters watch from the shadows

I've been thinking about writing this post for a while but its always been difficult to get past the first couple of sentences. This week I finally hit a point where I thought it was time to finally type it all up, in the hope it maybe helps someone else who's been in the same place as me. 

I've never been a good sleeper, ever since very early childhood. When I was tiny it was night terrors that terrorized my parents, and as I went through primary school I was plagued by horrible nightmares. It got so bad my mum bought me a picture of a unicorn to "watch over" me, if I woke up I was to check, and if the unicorn was still there I was fine and could go back to sleep. 

I remember long, sleepless nights in my early teenage years but no distinct nightmares. The only one I really remember from the between 16 and 19 is when I got home from a night out and dreamed there was a clown curled up on the arm chair in my bedroom. After all the problems thought that seems pretty tame.

In 2011 I went through a really rough patch. I hated my job, my (then) relationship wasn't in the best place, my living situation wasn't great and I lost a loved one. It was like my body just gave up on sleep. I was awake for weeks. Sometimes catching an hour or two around 5 am, or when I got in from work, but never anything concrete. Knowing what I do now, I should have headed straight to the doctors. But at 20, and already being in a bad place, I had no idea how to look after myself or asses the situation and work out what might be triggering it. That was maybe the single worst episode in my life. 

Five years on and I like to think I take care of myself a bit better. I'm in a much healthier place mentally and know how to watch for potential problems and try and sort them before they become a big deal. I still have a lot of issues with sleep though and recently they've manifested in a new and horrible way. 

You know that feeling when you're drifting off to sleep then suddenly feel like your falling and wake up with a start. Well I've been getting that but instead of the falling feeling its been the mental image of  something horrific in my bedroom, the most note worthy examples being a giant spider with the mouth of the vampires from Blade, a four foot china doll with no face and, winning an award for most terrifying thing ever, Ronald MacDonald with Edward Scissorhand's hands. 

I don't know why this started happening, but its a royal pain in the arse. On top of that I've started developing really bad restless leg syndrome on the left hand side of my body if I haven't slept well, or am tired and unable to sleep. It's violent and highly noticeable, which can be awkward if I'm out and about. Also I've twitched really violently and accidentally kicked my boyfriend a couple of times when we've been on the sofa or just getting into bed. Not good. Luckily he understands it's involuntary and I'm not trying to knock lumps out of him.

 I've come up with some steps that seem to help me sleep, reduce my sleep anxiety and help with the restless leg syndrome a little. I thought I'd type them up incase they help someone else that might be facing similar problems.

No fluid after 8pm
This sounds like a step for old people but it really helps. Not drinking means I'm less likely to wake up during the night for the loo and I don't have to try and fall asleep again, cutting the risk of potential issues a lot.

No screens for half an hour before bed
Set an alarm, do a final check of the email and then turn them all off. A quiet activity such as knitting or reading seems to really help calm me down and get me ready for sleep. If I don't have to be up the next day I'll just knit until my eyes feel really tired and I can't concentrate any more, if not 30 minutes is usually enough.

Get into a routine with the necessary tasks
Ever lie in bed and wonder if the door is locked, the cookers off and if you blew that candle out? I've gotten into a routine to make sure all these tasks are done and checked. It sounds crazy and a little obsessive compulsive, however it really helps put my mind at ease knowing everything is done. 

If you can't sleep don't force it
This is a really big one. I don't want my bed or bedroom to be a place I'm stressed as I need it to be restful. If I'm struggling to sleep, I get out of bed and go to the living room. Once I'm there, I'll keep it to lamplight and go back to knitting or reading until my eyes feel heavy and I might be able to sleep.

If you need to sleep with the lamp on, leave it on
This was something I found very hard to accept, and I've had countless nights where I've laid in the dark, stressed and awake. I'm not scared of the dark and admitting that occasionally the anxiety about sleep will kick in at the level where I need a "night light" was really difficult. However once I did, and got a full nights sleep after a really bad start, it just made sense. I will have bad nights, I don't think I'll ever get a full week in my life, but if I can get it down to one bad night, and I still get six hours sleep that bad night, then I'm totally OK with that.

In less than two weeks I turn 26 and its taken me this long to get to the point I admit I have a problem with this and come up with a strategy to help deal with it. I now keep a track of how many bad nights I have, I'm trying to see if there's a trigger for it in my day to day life. Also if I ever hit 3 bad nights in a ten day period I'm going to the doctor. I don't know why I've picked that number but I have and I'm sticking to it.

Do you struggle sleeping and have anything you find helps? Please let me know, I would love to hear what you do and see if theres something I could do better?

XOXO Scruffy 

Enquiry? Message me ascruffyduck@gmail.com

Friday, 9 December 2016

Urban Decay Naked Ultimate Basics Palette Review and Swatches - Cruelty Free Eyeshadow Palette

Don't you just love it when things fall into place? A couple of weeks ago I was feeling in need of a little retail therapy (bad day at work and narrowly missing out on a job I really wanted) and at the same time Debenhams sent me through another £5 Beauty Club voucher. I initially wasn't going to use it but then I ended up on the Debenhams website and the stunning gold packaging caught my eye. I had thought about maybe getting the Full Spectrum or Moondust Palettes, but I wouldn't get the use out of them, so I decided this would be the way to go. I don't have any of the Naked Palettes, or any higher end neutral eyeshadow, so once I reasoned it out this actually began to sound like an investment more than retail therapy.

Look at how pretty it is. Both the box and the top of the palette have this glorious, ridged sunburst design. It feels really chunky and sturdy, and you'd do some damage if you chucked it at someone (why do I think about these things). 

It's so pretty. That textured writing... Dam!

Inside you get twelve 1.2 gram eyeshadows in a range of gorgeous neutral colours, a very good sized mirror and a double ended brush.

Look at all those neutrals.

Top row finger swatches.

Bottom row  finger swatches.

This is the brush and it is the devil. When I did the brush swatches below I thought I was in trouble. You can see from the see from that photo, there seems to be a lot of fallout and there was a lot of powder kicked up in the pans that did not seem good. I found that odd as there really wasn't any with the finger swatches. 

Turns out that's just this the brush though. These shadows perform beautifully with any other brushes, I usually use Real Techniques or Eco Tools brushes (and occasionally some very cheap ones from years ago) and with all of them, they're totally fine. I washed the brush and tried it with other shadows  that are usually absolutely fine (Sleek and Makeup Revolution) and it did the same thing. Even if you only use it to blend it seems to pick up and flick product. It's my least favourite thing about the whole palette. The shadows actually perform better than the picture suggests. I just felt it was important to use the brush included so you were seeing it exactly as it is.

Every time I've done a full face of makeup since I bought this palette I've used it, either or its own are as a base for more sparkly and colourful looks. The shadows apply beautifully and blend really nicely (as long as you don't use the brush that came with it). I love using nudie or comando and then blending out with a little instinct or lethal for an everyday look. For more interesting looks I've been shaking it up with the Sleek Bad Gal palette I featured in my November Favourites and did full swatches in the Smoke and Mirrors giftset review. I've been using my everyday colours and then using the purple or silver out of the Sleek palette to make them pop. 

They also last brilliantly and don't crease. I've tried a variety of different bases and primers and they still don't budge. I was so impressed. 

Final thoughts, yes this is expensive. Even with my £5 off its still more than I've spent on a single make-up item up until now. And yes, the brush is crap. The shadows though... They are so good. They apply beautifully, blend really well and last all day without creasing. If this is the standard Naked shadow formula then I want them all (maybe if I get some Debenhams vouchers for my Birthday/Christmas I'll grab a different one, please send me recommendations). I would really recommend this to anyone looking for a good quality, matte, neutral palette. 

XOXO Scruffy

Enquiry? Message me ascruffyduck@gmail.com

(Just a wee note. I live in Scotland and we're currently in Winter. We get about 9 hours daylight a day and I spend that in work so sorry about the badly lit photos)