Thursday, 17 April 2014

Pink Cheeks

With my recent foray in to the world of bronzer I've been keeping things on my cheeks rather bronzed and au naturel. But for days when I've needed a slight perk up and bronzer alone just won't cut it I've been opting for a pink blush. Usually I'm a coral blush kinda girl through and through but there's just something about bronzed cheeks with pale pink apples that has really been floating my metaphorical boat recently. With both a highstreet and high end offering making their way in to my daily rotation there's something for all budgets.

Rimmel Lasting Finish Soft Colour Blush Santa Rose: First up the cheaper but by no means lesser offering from Rimmel. A gorgeous natural pale pink, I'd actually say this is more pigmented than it's high end counter part down below. It's got the slightest hint of shimmer but nothing that transfers to the cheeks making it perfect to add a really natural hint of colour. My daily choice for simply dabbing right on the apples of my cheeks. Soft, pigmented and long lasting, packaging aside this really could be a high end blush. Perfect for anyone just getting in to makeup or those with a blush phobia thanks to it's super forgiving formula and shade.

Clarins Blush Prodige Illuminating Cheek Colour Soft Peach: Wowee what a name. And what amazing packaging. Clarins really know how to make a girl feel luxe and this blush really is no exception. The silver packaging and cute red pouch are gorgeous, an absolute nightmare for fingerprints though. Packaging aside let's talk blush. The inclusion of two shades gives you a bit of flexibility between the dark and light. The lighter of the two isn't particularly pigmented but is rather shimmery and glowy so more of a highlighter- blush hybrid than blush alone for me. The darker shade packs a bit more of a punch colour wise so a mix of the two works well. It doesn't offer anything amazing though considering the large dent it left in my purse so not one I'd really recommend. Lovely for adding a pink glow but is it something you could easily achieve with a cheaper alternative? Definitely.

What's your favourite pale pink blush? I feel an obsession coming on.

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Antipodes Vanilla Pod Hydrating Day Cream

Once an absolute oil convert (Pai BioRegenerate Rosehip Oil was like my baby) I've finally ventured back in to the world of moisturisers. Being an oily skinned gal I'm always cautious when it comes to hydration, I want something nourishing but nothing too heavy that will clog my pores. Believe it or not, it's actually harder than it seems! On my hunt to find a moisturiser for morning use I stumbled across a fair few rave reviews on this little Antipodes number and decided to give it a go. All you beauty addicts raving about this have not led me wrong, I'm impressed.

I've actually been reaching for this both morning and night (I know, a day cream at night time? Naughty) for that much needed kick of hydration. Being a day cream it's designed for use under makeup so it's not too heavy but provides enough hydration to satisfy my dehydrated skin. A light layer in the morning and a little bit more for the evening routine works really well for me. I've actually noticed a real improvement in my skins texture since using this, it provides a really great base for makeup. My foundations have been applying so much more evenly, no dreaded cakey mess to be seen here. A hydrated base stops foundation being soaked right up and allows me to create a much more even base.

I've been using this fairly religiously for about two months now and I'm only about a third of the way through so it's definitely reasonable for the money. It's worth noting that it does have shea butter, a known pore-clogger, rather high up on the ingredients list so if you know you don't get on too well with it, maybe this is one to avoid. Although like I said, I do have relatively sensitive acne prone skin and I've had no problems at all.

I'd love to hear what moisturiser your loving at the moment? A night cream purchase may be on the cards. 

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

AB Bakes #1: Apple Crumble Slice

The recipe for this delicious slice was adapted from Cookies, Muffins and Cakes. A really lovely book.

Some of you may not know that I'm actually quite an avid baker. I'm rather partial to a sweet treat here and there and even more so if I've knocked it up myself. There's something oh so satisfying about munching away on something you've prepared yourself, especially when you see people going in for seconds. It's so rewarding.

Last weekend I whipped up this sweet slice for the boy. He's an apple dessert lover so I thought I'd try something a little different to match his tastes. An apple pie, bread and crumble hybrid it's oh so healthy (not...) but super yummy and easy. The book I got this recipe from is absolutely lovely, highly recommend to any other home bakers out there!

You will need..

2 teaspoons dried yeast
2 tablespoons lukewarm water
125ml milk
60g caster sugar
50g unsalted butter
340g plain flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
160g apricot jam
2 tablespoons water
800g tinned pie apples

For the crumble topping..

95g brown sugar
40g plain flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
60g unsalted butter, cubed

1. Dissolve yeast in warm water and set aside until frothy. Combine milk, sugar and butter in a saucepan, stirring over medium heat until melted.

2. Sift 310g of flour and salt into mixing bowl, make well in centre and add yeast and milk mixture and egg. Beat until well combined and add enough of the remaining flour to form a soft dough. Knead on a lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic. Rest in a lightly oiled bowl covered with lightly oiled plastic wrap in a warm place for an hour (may take longer to rise if not very warm). 

3. Lightly grease a 30x35cm (or there abouts) baking tin. Knead the dough for another minute before dividing in to two, making one half slightly bigger than the other. Roll out the larger section to fit the base of your prepared tin. 

4. While you wait you can prepare the crumble. Simply combine all ingredients and using your fingertips rub the butter in until it resembles coarse bread crumbs. 

5. Combine the jam and water in a small pan and stir over low heat until jam is slightly liquefied. Spread half over the dough before topping with apple and remaining jam. Roll out remaining dough to make a lid and place on the apple mixture. Scatter crumble thickly on top, cover and leave to rest for 1 hour.

6. Preheat oven to 210° and bake for 5 minutes. Reduce to 180° and bake for 30-40 minutes until the dough is cooked and golden.

Best served warm with ice cream but is just as delicious cold the next day. That's if it lasts that long ;)

Monday, 14 April 2014

Embracing Bronzer

Recently I've been reaching for the fluffy brush and bronzing powder on basically a daily basis in an attempt to embrace a golden glow. With my fairly pale skin tone it's taken a bit of experimenting to find a bronzer that adds a hint of colour without crossing over in to Oompa Loompa territory, but, without getting too ahead of myself, I think I may have found the one...

I wanted something matte to keep things natural and nothing too dark so I could get away with dusting all over. After a quick root through my drawers I surfaced with The Body Shop's Honey Bronzer (Shade 02 Fair Matte) in tow. Matte? Check. Light brown? Check. The perfect shade to bronze things up without looking tangoed? Fast forward two weeks and I can happily say yes, yes it is. Pale skinned gals, listen up.

Now you've probably heard me mention this around these parts before but it's not until recently that I've really learnt to embrace that bronze glow. I've simply been swirling my Ecotools Powder Brush in the pan and applied following that traditional '3' shape. Temples, cheeks, jaw. My fav application trick is to take the bronzer just below your cheek bones for a not quite contoured buy nicely sculpted look. With barely any blending required here, it's hard to mess up. They've got a 4 shade strong range so hopefully you can all find your perfect shade.

Bronzed, glowy and sculpted. I think bronzer's here to stay. Just don't forget to dust over your neck, you don't want anyone to notice that your gorgeous glow is faux now, do you?

Sunday, 13 April 2014

The Sunday Notes #1: The 10 Minute Pamper

Welcome to a new little segment over here on Anna Blush; The Sunday Stuff. Every Sunday I'll be popping up a little post about primping, preening and indulging in some well deserved pampering. There will also be the odd bit of lifestyle and yummy food thrown in there, you know, the usual Sunday Stuff. I'm starting off the new series by sharing my top tips for a 10 minute pamper for times when your Sunday just doesn't fit the 'day of rest' bill.

I like to start things off in the shower, ain't nobody got time for a bath. To kick off the pampering I reach for Soap and Glory's Breakfast Scrub and get to work on any dry patches. Elbows, knees, heels... you know the drill. It helps buff away any dryness and leave things feeling nourished and smooth. If time permits I'll also give my hair a quick wash (slightly cheating the 10 minute rule already, oops). I'm not too fussy when it comes to hair but recently I've been trialling VO5's Nourish My Shine shampoo and conditioner combo and it's been doing well. Not too heavy for my fine hair but nourishing enough for those dry ends.

Post shower I spritz on Caudalie's Divine Oil all over to pump up the moisture levels. I also like to give my limbs a mini massage as it always makes me feel so pampered, especially when using such a luxurious oil. Body care covered it's time to deal with the face. What's a pamper without a little skincare TLC, eh? My top tip for skin pampering in a hurry would be to reach for a clay based cleanser post makeup removal and leave it on for a few minutes. I love Ren's ClearCalm 3 Clarifying Clay Cleanser for this and I'll usually leave it on while I brush my teeth (oh, the glam). Don't worry if it appears to disappear into the skin, simply use wet hands to give a quick massage before wiping away with a warm flannel. It feels like you've given your skin a good deep cleanse and it's only taken a few minutes, perfect for the 10 minute pamper. Post cleanser-mask hybrid complete your usual skincare routine and your skin will thank you next morning, trust me. Finish off with a layer of your favourite lip balm, mine's Reve De Miel from Nuxe, and you're all done.

Pampered, preened and ready for the week ahead in under 10 minutes. Roll on Monday...

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Autumn Hands

I'm never usually one to notice much of a difference in my skin from season to season but this year my hands seem to have taken a turn for the absolute worse. Particularly at night time and first thing in the morning my hands feel so dehydrated that it actually hurts! They don't actually feel dry to touch but they are super itchy and tender, all the glam at Anna Blush HQ I tell ya. Being the beauty obsessive that I am I turned straight to my hand cream arsenal to get things back on track.

Pre slipping of to the land of nod I want something uber nourishing (is uber still a thing?..) and I'm not fussed if it sinks in straight away, this is the time for the big guns. First up is The Body Shop Almond Hand and Nail Cream. This stuff is nourishing and smells amazing, even the boy's a fan. In true Body Shop style it's packed with natural ingredients such as shea butter known for it's moisturising and healing properties, honey to soothe and moisturise and brazil nut oil as another key moisturiser. If the Body Shop offering isn't quite pulling it's weight and things are feeling super dry I reach for my Burt's Bee's Almond Milk Beeswax Hand Cream. Another almond offering, anyone else noticing a theme here? This is some seriously thick stuff, one you'd want to reserve for after your bedtime Bloglovin'/Instagram/Twitter scroll. Come on, I know you all do it. It almost creates a protective barrier for your hands really locking in the moisture. Not a nightly essential but when the dry hands call this has prime position on my bedside table.

Now on to my daytime hydrator of choice, the Yes Nurse! Protect Your Lovely Hands Intensive Moisturising Hand Formula. What a name. Before talking formula can we just take a minute to appreciate it's packaging? It's sleek, nice to hold and I don't even know what else but there's just something about it that makes me want to hold it, anyone else get that with beauty products? It's also a great size to throw in to even the slimmest of handbags. Made to replenish the hands of nurses who are constantly washing their hands this stuff is surprisingly effective considering how fast it soaks in. It's perfect for application through out the day thanks to it's non-greasy formula. Edit: I've just noticed that on the Yes Nurses! site you can buy little hand cream cases. They understand my packaging love.

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Matte Nails

Recently I've been making the push to try and paint my nails on a more regular basis. I'm a bit of a nail painting floozy as I find they just chip so darn quickly on me. However I'm determined and to spice things up a little I've not only been experimenting with different colours but also different finishes. From the super shiny, gel like nails to my latest dalliance with matte finishes, I'm happy to try them all. Whilst reaching for more of the Autumnal shades in my collection I've noticed that a layer of matte top coat is my preferred accompaniment. Don't get me wrong, I still love the ever so on trend gel nail but there's something just a little chic about a matte finish that I just can't quite tear myself away from.

My matte top coat of choice is Rimmel's Lycra Pro Matte Finish Top Coat. It's the only one I've ever tried but does the job so well that I've never felt the need to experiment with others. The brush is amazing, one of those one stroke per nail jobs and one coat is all you need to turn even the shiniest of polishes matte. The 10 days claim is a little steep but I get a good 3-4 days before things start to chip and some shine breaks through. Shown below over a number of Autumnal shades but girls heading in to Spring, it also looks fab over pastels.

Bourjois 1 Second Polish 28 Red, Barry M CappuccinoEssie Mezmerised, Rimmel Salon Pro Punk Rock 

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