Pregnancy Update and Current Beauty & Lifestyle Favourites

Long time, no see!

Quick life update: I’m now in the third trimester of pregnancy and things have been going well so far… (touch wood).

We’ve found out we’re having a girl and she is a very active little madam indeed. The shopping list is big but we have made a dent with getting the pram, car seat and Isofix base in a helpful bundle deal from Mamas & Papas. We’ve also been investing in some second-hand sleep suits and the like from Depop. I’d thoroughly recommend checking these out if you too are expecting!

vivify baby @ 20 weeks

Once again I’m sorry for the lack of updates. Working full time and growing a new life has left me very tired indeed. I hope to have more time to blog now I am using up my holiday at work to go almost part time during the last couple of months before maternity leave.

Whilst I’m here I thought I’d share my current beauty and lifestyle favourites with you:

  • Dove Summer Revived: As we come out of the colder months it’s nice to have a bit of a glow. If you’re pale skinned like me and burn to a crisp within five seconds of basking in the sun or are just sensible about skincare, it’s better to fake it. This is a gorgeous gradual tanning lotion which leaves a subtle glow without streaks or making me look like an Oompa Loompa. I go with the fairer variety but there is also a darker offering.

 

  • Maybelline Lash Sensational Mascara: Yes, the bloggers’ fave, but for a reason. I’m all about the quick and effective products (even more so these days!) and this ticks all the boxes for me when it comes to mascaras. I would happily pay more for it, but don’t tell Maybelline. This mascara beats or at least competes with every high-end version…

 

  • Emma’s Rectangle: I’ve only just discovered Emma’s channel but I love everything I’ve seen so far. She’s a lovely down to earth girl and I thoroughly enjoy watching her tutorials and hauls. Check her out here.

 

  • Bloglovin’: I am addicted to swiping through my favourite blogs on my tablet during my lunch break at work. It’s just so convenient to have everything in one feed rather than hopping through different links! You can follow this blog here!

 

  • ASOS maternity jeans: I have tried them all and nothing fits me like ASOS. Personally, I was highly disappointed in the New Look maternity range as they come up too large. H&M are amazing for tops but the jeans are too expensive. So the responsibility fell to ASOS! I am lucky enough to be able to wear jeans to my office job so I NEED a reliable few pairs to see me through pregnancy. Look out for special offers!

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I’ll be back very soon hopefully with more single product reviews amongst some other stuff!

laura

PS Don’t forget to follow vivifyblog on Instagram where I am trying out instastories! The above picture is lifted directly from my “story” from a few days ago.

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High-End Heroes

Recently I have been dipping my toes in the very shallow end of the high-end beauty pool and it feels so naughty. Subscription boxes and places like Depop have opened doors to the sampling of luxury products without the high price tag.

I am yet to pay full price for a high-end product but I may repurchase first-hand replacements for the following products (my High-End Heroes)…

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Starting with the face, I have two wonders here (both purchased from trusted sellers on Depop:

Diorskin Nude Air Serum

This feels like a dream on the skin. It comes in the form of a liquid with a dropper and all it takes is two drops for skin perfection. A lightweight, medium coverage foundation that lasts all day. Though be sure to shake before use otherwise you will get foundation dripping between your fingers…

Estee Lauder Double Wear All Day Glow BB Moisture Makeup

This is a slighter thicker consistency than the Dior serum (think traditional foundations and BB creams) but provides a similar lightweight result. This contains SPF 30 and vitamin E as an added bonus.

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Now onto the eyes:

Stila Stay All Day Liquid Liner

I’ve mentioned before that seeing me without my signature cat eye is a privilege, and it’s mainly thanks to this product. It really does stay all day and is by far the most pigmented black eyeliner I’ve ever used. And at £13 it doesn’t break the bank!

Mac Mascara

Scrolling through my Depop feed I saw this mascara from Mac. I’ve only ever tried their lipsticks up until now, so thought I’d give this a go at a knock off price. It both lengthens and volumises my lashes, but I believe it’s been discontinued as I can’t find it on their UK site! If anyone knows if this is still in circulation please comment below.

Lancome Grandiose Eyeliner

This seems to be a Marmite product (you either love it or hate it) but I sit firmly on the love it camp. I reach for this over the Stila liquid pen when seeking a matte finish. Just don’t bother with setting the applicator at an angle. For me, this is a gimmick.

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Chanel Eyeshadow

I received this last year in the Cohorted beauty box and it was the first higher end beauty product I ever owned. This is a beautiful midnight blue shade that I use as an eyeliner but could be used to create a sexy smoky eye. I can’t find this exact shade on their website, but it looks like it falls in their Illusion D’Ombre line.

Urban Decay Eyeshadow

If you’re not yet ready to step up into the world of Naked palettes, then why not start with single shades for a fraction of the price? Half baked is my most used shade from Naked 2 and this is a handy pan to take for touch ups on the go. I smear all over my lids paired with my cat eye for an easy desk to dancefloor look.

Clinique Colourpop (Nudepop)

Yet another Depop buy, this time from YouTuber Tamara Kalinic aka The Glam and Glitter. I love this lipstick as contains primer so you can get long lasting colour in one step. This is a near perfect match for my natural lips which I find easy to wear. Plus Tamara donates all profits from her Depop sales to charity, so definitely worth checking out!

What are your high-end heroes?

laura

PS please ensure that any sellers you are considering buying from are trusted and always pay in app! You can find my shop here

Sally Hansen Love

Do you want a range of colours that are pretty chip-resistant which come at drugstore prices? I thought you might.

Let me introduce you to the world of Sally Hansen. I’m sure lots of you are already familiar, but I’ve only welcomed these top-notch polishes into my vanity cabinet about six months ago.

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From the very first application, I instantly fell in love. I have never found another nail polish which glides on so easily. Gone are the days of peeling off dried polish from my cuticles. One stroke of these leaves a highly-pigmented, stay-all-day colour.

My favourite range from the brand is their “Complete Salon Manicure” which comes as a very reasonable £6.99. It boasts seven benefits in a bottle, including growth treatment and a gel shine finish. I rock the shade “All Fired Up” which is a gorgeous, orangey-red. I have been asked at work whether they are professional and shellac – so that’s all the endorsement needed!

I also use the nail strengthener and fast drying topcoat but, in all honesty, you could easily go without these.

What are your favourite nail polish brands?

laura

 

Don’t Believe the Hype: Disappointing Mascaras

These have to be some of the most hyped mascaras of 2016. And I dislike them both.

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Firstly, the L’Oreal Paris False Lash Sculpt Mascara – which every vlogger and blogger seem to be raving about. I don’t get it. The weird brush clumps my lashes, even by the first stroke. I have tried this many times, willing myself to love it, but I just can’t.

It dries my lashes out, leaving them brittle, and I actually find it quite uncomfortable to wear. It doesn’t tightline my eyes as per the promises it makes. Maybe it’s the almond shape of my eyes, or maybe it’s because my lashes are already quite long, but this just isn’t for me.

Now onto the Maybelline Push Up Drama Mascara, of which I have very similar complaints. This is slightly less hyped but has still been a prominent product of 2016.

Of the two I slightly prefer this one as it leaves my lashes less clumped (if you are very careful not to apply too much) but mush more so than other drugstore offerings. The Lash Sensational is my holy grail drugstore mascara, and if you’re thinking of picking something up from Maybelline, I would 100% recommend this over the Push Up Drama.

The Lash Sensational is my holy grail drugstore mascara, and if you’re thinking of picking up a mascara from Superdrug or Boots, I would 100% recommend this over the Push Up Drama and False Lash Sculpt.

I have come to the conclusion that I dislike any mascara with those plastic bristles, which is a shame as they appear so popular these days. I acknowledge the Lash Sensational has a hybrid version, but perhaps the curved shape of the brush compensates somehow.

Do you love these mascaras or am I alone in my dislike for them?

laura

Olay Complete BB + Moisturiser Cream

I thought I had it all worked out. I thought I had found my holy grail drugstore foundation. And then I discovered this BB and moisturiser duo from Olay.

This has the perfect mix of hydration and coverage, which is oh-so-important at this time of year. It doesn’t crumble around any dry patches (and if anything, prevents them), it’s a perfect match for my skin tone (fair), and also contains SPF 15 which is still important in the winter months.

The coverage is medium, yet buildable. Olay worked in collaboration with Max Factor to produce this tinted moisturiser and so you expect quality at affordable prices. These are two of my favourite brands. Therefore it is not surprising I love it.

Grab yours whilst it’s half price at Superdrug (otherwise it’s £9.99 which is still a bargain!).

laura

L’Oreal Paris Nude Magique Cushion Foundation

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This has to be one of the most highly hyped products of 2016. I watched my favourite vloggers receiving their samples long before it hit shelves and I for one could not wait. A few months after its release, is this a firm favourite in my makeup routine?

The answer is no, sadly. There is nothing particularly bad about it, I just find myself reaching for it much less than anticipated. Turns out I still use my regular liquid foundations despite the convenience of a sponge and applicator in one tidy package. The one time this comes in handy is on the go. I keep this in my bag for those nights out, work day top ups or unexpected post office pub trips.

I would say this is medium coverage but is very buildable. I have the shade porcelain which is a good match for my pale skin, but there are better matches out there for me. I would say L’Oreal could make a huge improvement by including darker shades so every skin tone is catered for. They did make huge leaps forward with their True Match range earlier in the year and it would be nice to see all products/brands following suit.

But would I repurchase? Probably not. I don’t think I have the need for such a portable foundation when I use so little as it is. It’s a fine product, and perfect for so many, just not needed by me. And at £14.99 it is on the pricier side for a drugstore piece. I prefer to spend a little bit more on a higher end liquid foundation that will stay in place all day, leaving these products redundant.

It will be interesting to see if this a gimmick that will pass with time or whether more brands will take up the cushion trend. Have you tried any of these products? Where do they sit in your makeup routine? I’ll be very interested to hear about your experiences in the comments.

xoxoxo

On a side note, I am selling lots more items on depop including makeup bundles. Check out my store here.

 

B. Pure Sensitive Micellar Cleansing Wipes

STOP PRESS! I have found The One. I’ve looked far and wide, met some promising candidates, but finally had that “this is it” moment when these gorgeous cleansing wipes from Superdrug reached my face.

Yes, I’m talking wipes here, what were you thinking?! Look, I know these products are frowned upon by many skincare experts, but I use them in the initial stage of my multi-step skincare routine and my skin is blemish free (without bragging). We all have different skin that each has different needs, but I find these convenient and time saving.

 

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I use wipes to take makeup off BEFORE cleansing with a proper remover and/or micellar water and/or cleanser. Sometimes all four. Sometimes only two.

That’s not to say these aren’t effective but it is important to double cleanse: the first step is to remove makeup and the second to actually clean your skin.

I have tried similar products from Simple, Olay, Nivea, Garnier – even Primark – but nothing beats these. It demonstrates that drugstore own brands can be just as good as the prominent players in the skin care industry, producing their own holy grail candidates.

Unlike the dry and flimsy nature of some of these brands, I find the Superdrug version have the perfect balance of moisture and roughness.  Thanks to the addition of micellar water, these wipes actually remove even waterproof makeup and not just smear it around your face!

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B. Pure Sensitive Micellar Cleansing Wipes retail for £2.99 from Superdrug and are currently two for one, so hurry!

Do you love the convenience of facial wipes or are they a big no in your skincare routine?

xoxo

Ride or Die Make-Up | The Travel Edit

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It was only a matter of time before the beauty bloggers’ tag of the moment reached Vivify. Back in July, we spent three weeks on the other side of the globe for our honeymoon with limited baggage. Having to choose one product per category was a real life decision of my holy grail products.

I’m sure anyone who has gone long haul will be familiar with the woes of liquids and air travel. You can’t just chuck your usual makeup bag in your suitcase. The limitations of what you can and can’t take in your hand luggage mean you have to be picky with products. So here’s what made the grade:

Foundation: Bourjois Healthy Mix Serum
A lightweight, natural looking, medium coverage foundation. My skin, but better.

Eyeliner: Stila Stay All Day Liquid Liner
Waterproof, pigmented and easy to apply; this pen ensures my signature cat eye can face anything.

Mascara: Maybelline Lash Sensational (original)
Yet to try this drugstore favourite of just about every beauty blogger? You should. The curved brush gets every lash and gives a natural lengthening and volumising effect.

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Lipstick: Mac Syrup
Nudes are so in right now it hurts, but nothing beats this near perfect match for my natural lips.  I’m not a big lipstick fan, and I’m wary of anything bold, so this was my first move into the world of lip wear!

Eyeshadow Palette: theBalm NUDE ‘tude
This is a compact palette and yet has an array of colours to create a range of looks. It’s not budget but I think palettes are worth the splurge as drugstore equivalents can be chalky.

Brows: Soap and Glory Archery
On a regular day, I tend to leave my brows alone. But when they need a little help, nothing gets the job done like this pencil. There is no need to lug a sharpener around either as the product twists up. Anything that reduces what I need to take on holiday gets the thumbs up from me!

What are you travel essentials? xoxo

L’Oréal Paris Superliner Superstar

 

If you know me IRL then you’re aware that I rock a cat eye flick on a daily basis. You might even call it my signature look. So to achieve this I need a reliable, pigmented, long-lasting liner.

Is this it? Sort of.

This felt tip liner from L’Oréal is super easy to apply, gliding on in the perfect flick in almost one stroke. What more could you ask for? Well, it does run onto my eyelids in a way that other liners do not. My hooded eyes cannot take all the  blame.

The solution: apply over a powder/kohl liner to make this product linger in all the right places. I find the payoff for ease of application warrants the extra step.

Few people seem to realise the nib is bendable which only makes the application easier. It does take some force though so be brave.

This is a liner which I have and will repurchase. Despite this, the Stila waterproof pen is a worthy investment (albeit double the price). Just be sure to avoid similar offerings from Makeup Revolution and Collection. They made me look like a panda within a minute of leaving the flat.

Reliable. To the point. Affordable. An average liner that sacrifices longevity for ease of application. Recommended, but there are better liners out there.

What are your favourite eyeliners? Do you have any bargains you rave about or do you think quality means a higher price tag?

XOXO

 

Falling out of Love with Beauty Boxes… From addiction to recovery

They were once a wonderful thing, filled with discoveries and unknown territories. But I now look around the remnants of what was, and I feel almost regretful…

No, this is not a love affair (although it could be mistaken as one). I’m talking about my relationship with beauty subscription boxes.

A year ago I was a paying subscriber to all mainstream beauty boxes and now I’ve reduced that total to only one. And that lone survivor only remains as I signed up for a year’s commitment to reduce costs!

The excitement of the postman knocking and handing me a box! The moment I opened it to see that eye palette or new launch from Revlon I was lusting over on the Boots website! It was almost an addiction.

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Why the change of heart? Read on.

Too many samples have built up. They were coming to me at an unsustainable rate. There was no way I could use all this… stuff. My bathroom still resembles a shelf at the Body Shop and no one seems to be shopping there. I am trying my hardest to use them all up, but it’s going to take a LONG while.

Money! I actually paid for this stuff. Yes, it’s great to receive a miniature of a luxury product, but what about the things I have no use for? I paid for the privilege of receiving them only to keep them buried in a drawer or pass them onto friends. This is not only costly but also wasteful.

Now I can spend money on what want. When I first began my love affair with beauty boxes, I didn’t know which products suited me. It was all in prep for my wedding and I needed experience, STAT. 18 months ago I didn’t know a BB cream from a tinted moisturiser. I loved sampling products and believe these boxes were an integral part of my journey.

I now have it all figured out: mattifying foundations dry me out. I don’t have a need to play with my already defined brows.  Yet, I’d love to treat myself to a fancy tinted moisturiser or volumising mascara.

In fact, that’s exactly what I’ll do with the money I’ve saved…

xoxox