Beauty: Makeup Brushes - How Many Do We Really Need?

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I absolutely love watching makeup tutorials on YouTube but the one thing I'm always amazed by is just how many brushes are used in the process of achieving a look. Most of the videos I watch are filmed by professional makeup artists, so it makes sense that they have a broad range to ensure that they can achieve the finish they want. But for the rest of us, I wonder just how useful a few hundred pounds worth of MAC brushes really are?

If you're anything like me, your morning makeup application is probably time-limited (there's somewhere else to be) and possibly happens on the train, in between traffic lights or somewhere else that requires a reasonably compact, portable makeup bag. The idea of carting around a range of brushes for every contour of my face doesn't seem especially practical. 

I probably own about 20 makeup brushes, yet I only use four with any regularity. Perhaps more tellingly, three out of the four cost less than £5, and I don't think my makeup looks any better or worse for it. The other 16 sit in a little pot, tucked away in a cupboard, probably never to be used again. Sure, I could pick a MAC 217 out of a line up, but my E.L.F blending brush doesn't do too bad a job and for the fraction of the price. As for the crease colour brushes I own (yes, I have two: both exactly the same), well, let's just say I can think of better uses for the money!

My makeup bag big four are:
How do you feel about makeup brushes? If you have a vast collection, do you use them all? Do you see a difference between expensive and cheaper brushes? And hands up who's bought a brush because they saw it in a tutorial and never really used it? *raises both hands*!


Style: The Shoe I Can't Forget

Two years ago. It was like any other average weekday in London. After work, I decided to pop into Zara before heading home via Bond Street tube. I wandered around until my eyes fell upon the most beautiful black suede shoes. They were so elegant, so unlike anything else I'd seen with their deep cutaways on either side that I had to try them. I slipped out of my ballet flats and onto those wonderful arches, yet when they were on, I felt the cutaway was too severe, and disheartened, I put them back onto the shelf and after a wistful glance back, I made my way home.

In the weeks that followed, the shoes appeared on all of my favourite style blogs, and my heart leapt at their beauty again. They looked just the same as they had on me, and I resolved to track down a pair. But as we all know, the cocktail of a beautiful, affordable shoe on the foot of a world-renowned fashion blogger equals just one thing: total sell out.

To this day, I still have pangs of regret that I don't own those shoes. Even if I'd never worn them (which I would have), they could simply have been a thing to admire. Until that day that they appear on ebay for anything less than double, and sometimes triple the price, I'll have to content myself with those fleeting moments that shoe and shoe lover were one.

Do you have a similar story? Which item do you regret missing out on?


Craft: Painted Eggs

I'm looking out of the window at the falling snow and feeling very satisfied that my day involves nothing more challenging than relaxing and staying cosy under my favourite knitted blanket. These weekend snow days feel so decadent!

Although the weather doesn't feel much like spring, easter is just around the corner. My plans involve an annual road trip for a friend's birthday, and preparing for this relatively new tradition made me think of some old ones: notably, painting eggs when I was little. This was one of my favourite things to do, and I'd spend hours focused on painting the perfect face, my name, some flowers or anything else that inspired me. It's a great activity for kids, but a search on Pinterest turned up some ideas that I may be tempted to try out...

How amazing are these Lichtenstein-inspired eggs? I'm not sure any attempts I make will turn out so well, but they'd certainly be fun to try. You could use any artist as inspiration - maybe a bit of Mark Rothko for an easier start!


I love these chalkboard painted eggs, and am already thinking of planning a dinner party just so I can use them as place markers. These would be great to make with children as you need fewer eggs for unlimited designs. Throw in some different coloured chalk and the possibilities are endless.


Finally, I think these moustache eggs are so fun. I'm going to scribble a few of these onto boiled eggs in the morning next time I have friends over to stay and see who's awake enough to notice!

Are you tempted to try any of these out?


Life: Creating Space

I don't know about you, but over the past few years, I have so often been guilty of criticising myself for the things I've neglected, left undone or just plain forgotten. A much-needed night spent quietly at home somehow becomes a missed opportunity for doing something constructive, seeing friends or even blogging (generally the first thing to be neglected!), and it's soon apparent that there is no peace in anything.

Recently, however, I've found that I've been able to completely let myself off the hook for the choices I make, and in so doing, I've opened up space for the kind of peace and contentment that I can't ever remember feeling: it's fantastic!

This feeling has coincided with discovering the wonderful Tara Stiles, otherwise known as the 'Yoga Rebel'. My yoga practice has never advanced especially far, and I have been one of the many people who've tried every branch of yoga yet never quite found anything that delivers on the promise of calmness of spirit combined with perfect posture. Tara's approach is to go only where your body allows you, using your breath to create a little more space with each exhale. After four days of practice with Tara's videos, my breathing and heartbeat have slowed at the same rate that my overwhelming sense of calm has increased. My arms are showing new definition, and I'm managing to get into postures I never thought possible, all because the pressure to create the 'picture of the pose' has been removed. I read a wonderful passage on Tara's blog where she explained that when we achieve something with the help of somebody else, we often want to give them all the credit when really, we've always been capable of the change on our own. It's reminded me that my capacity to enjoy my life is all within me, and that adding unnecessary pressures and focusing on the negatives doesn't achieve anything. From now on, if it makes me happy, it's the right thing to do!

How do you create space in your life?

You can read more about Tara (and see her videos) here.


Style: Apple Latte Gold Jewellery

Browsing Etsy occasionally turns up the most stunningly talented people and the most covetable things. I stumbled across Apple Latte after a friend at work wore an adorable Pac Man necklace. She couldn't remember the seller's name, but a quick search brought up this wonderful shop, and added a whole list of beautiful pieces to my wish list, starting from under £10. Want, want, want!

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