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The Exit Interview Series: Volume #9

Time for my monthly appointment to share with you the products I have used up this month! There are no products that are part of my Project Ten Pan but I am working on finishing up a few of them by the end of June so stay tuned for an update later on.

As you can tell from the photo, I have mostly used up skin care products this month and I already have backups for the Effaclar cleanser and the scrub which I am afraid to stray away from because they do such a good job on my skin. I still get occasional break-outs but ever since I have started using Effaclar, I get them less frequently.  Just for your information, the cleanser has lasted me for almost a year.  I have also used up this Crystal Masque from Montagne Jeuness which by now you know that it is my favourite brand for natural skin treatments. I like the texture and smell of this masque and I am currently looking for a replacement.  Lastly, I have used up this Coffee Club Soap from Body Gourmet Malta which is a local soap manufacturer and I had won the soap in their Christmas competition. Obviously I took the photo before I used the whole thing up and I really like the effects of this soap in scrubbing my skin and help keep cellulite at bay. What I don't like is that it makes my skin feel taut and dry so I shower with shower gel after I cleanse my skin with this soap.

This is all I have used up this month ladies, stay tuned for more of these posts at the end of each month!

May Collective Haul ~ Part 2 Clothing & Accessories

Catching on from Part 1, here are the clothes and accessories I bought in May, starting with some impulse purchases from New Look.  I got this belt just because it has leopard print and it was on sale for only €2 and I also bought a pair of floral shorts and this cute sheer floral print top for €24.99 each.  I love the knot and button detailing on the top. Lastly, I bought this cute Polka dot skirt for €17.99.

I bought this cute elephant necklace from ebay for €7.58 (shipping and handling included) and I like how it looks with a plain vest top in summer to give it a totally different look without looking like you tried too hard.

I also bought this cute bracelet for €5 (an identical one was being sold on Asos for a much higher price) and this moustache ring which was a total bargain at only €1.24!

What did you get your hands on this month?

May Collective Haul ~ Part 1 Skin Care & Cosmetics

Time to show you my purchases for this month ladies :)  I'm going to start with skin-care and cosmetics in this post and then move on to clothing and accessories in another post. So, let's jump right into it!

The first cosmetics purchase this month was from an unusual store... Lidl supermarket! They were stocking some make-up and body care items so I went with the intention to buy a few items but only ended up getting three items, namely a pack of exfoiliating Jojoba facial pads, a pack of make-up remover pads with Sea Minerals and a Cocoa Butter body butter which smells exactly like chocolate! I really wanted to get the Coconut and Mango versions too but this was the only one left. The facial pads were €2.99 per pot and the body butter was €4.99 for 400ml which is a total bargain!  My neighbour gave me two pots of Satsuma Body Butter from The Body Shop so I can be sure that my skin is hydrated while smelling gorgeous all summer long!

Skin care purchases from ebay include a back-up of my Witch Hazel Skin Toner and the much hyped Bioderma Sebium H2O Micellar Solution which is specifically targeted for Oily/Combination skin. The toner cost me €6.62 while the Bioderma cost something around €10.  I also bought a Witch Blemish Stick and a Witch Anti-Blemish Skin Clearing Primer to keep zits under control for a total of around €12. 

I also bought my first Essence Cosmetics lipsticks this month from a pharmacy in Rabat.  I chose the shades 02 Sparkling Romance which is a light brownish pink full of silver shimmer, and 53 All About Cupcake which is a light coral with a glossy creme finish.  I also picked up another lipgloss from the Stay With Me range and this time I got the shade Berry Me! The lipsticks were €2.20 each and the lipgloss was €2.19 while the facial sponges were €1.75 each.

I also got a Souffle' Touch Blush from Essence in Cold Wildberry and I also bought two more lipsticks from Catrice, namely Ultimate Shine Lipstick in Shy Flamingo and Ultimate Colour Lipstick in Frozen Rose.  The blush was €3 while the lipsticks were €4.50 each.

From ebay, I bought the larger bottle of Orly Nailtrition as I will through with the 9ml bottle soon. I really like this nail treatment because it does improve the nail strength so I think that €9.54 is money well spent in this regard (even more so when considering that the local distributor sells them at a higher price).

The last cosmetic item acquired this month is actually something I won in a local newspaper mag competition.  It is the Rimmel Lasting Finish 1000 Kisses Transferproof Lip Tint + Balm in the shade 710 Stay Sandy.  There was also a little clutch bag included in the prize.

And last but not least, a purchase from I ordered more nail foils and this time I got Gold Dots, Honeycomb, English Rose, Peacock Feathers and Gold Foil Nuggets, all for a total of £10.75 with free shipping.

Part 2, i.e. Clothing and accessories is coming up shortly :)

OOTN: Le Moustache

Finally I'm at home unwinding after a busy day at work! Just wanted to share with you what I wore last Friday night in this quick post since I will soon be off to bed as tomorrow I have quite a busy day starting with a driving lesson and some clients later on for gel nails.

White blazer, Zara | Red denim pants, Peacocks | Rope print cami, Bossini
Sandals, Zara | Earrings, Peacocks | Bag, local store
Moustache ring, ebay

As for make-up, I opted for a pin-up inspired look with just some black eyeliner and a statement red lip. Here is a list of products used:

NYX HD Foundation in HDF02 Soft Beige
Essence Stay Natural Concealer in 01 Soft Beige
E.L.F. Studio Translucent Mattifying Powder
Essence Vampire's Love Blush Gelee in Bloody Mary

E.L.F. Eyelid Primer
Wet 'n' Wild Coloricon Eyeshadow in Brulee
E.L.F. Studio Cream Eyeliner in Black

NYX Long Lip Pencil in CLPL20 Plush Red
Givenchy Rouge Interdit in 20 Illicit Raspberry

Review & Tutorial: Born Pretty Store 18pcs Hair Styling Roller Curlers (curl-formers)

With summer paving its way back, and my hair much longer that it ever was, I am constantly researching new hair styles that are easy to do and maintain in the hot, humid weather typical of Maltese summers.  The thing is that although my hair is oily, it is quite easy to frizz up and curl at the first signs of humidity so it is useless to straighten it when this will only hold for a couple of seconds. Therefore, curls are the way to go in summer for me so it is understandable that I am always looking for new tools that help me in my quest of having frizz-free curly hair.

Earlier last month, I was offered the chance to review these curl-formers from Born Pretty Store and I was quite excited as I had already seen them before on YouTube but never in shops or online. The package arrived around two weeks after it was shipped and I was a bit deluded by the contents to be honest, as they are very different to what is shown on the website.

In reality, I got 20 rollers which were all the same size (there were a little short for my hair) and they are not vertical as the ones shown on the website.  You also get a hook (in two pieces which you click together) which is needed to put the hair through the rollers.

Anyway, I still wanted to make these rollers work for me so I started experimenting a little and soon figured out that the curl can be tighter or looser depending on which way you roll the plastic curl-former. I like my curls loose for a nice and effortless beachy-look so I always roll the curl-formers anti-clockwise.

One thing I like about these curlers is that they are very easy and straight-forward to use.  However, it is important that you work with damp hair (70% dry is good) as it is much easier to work with and the curls will last longer.

Basically, what you do is insert the hook in one of the curlers and then, working your way through your hair in small sections, hook the hair into the hook (!) and gently pull the hook downwards while holding the curler from the upper end to open it and facilitate the hair going through it.  I like to leave the hair rollers on for around 2 hours to get softer curls. Otherwise, you can opt to leave them on for longer for a more defined curl.  I also found that lightly spraying the hair with some hairspray before, helps hold the curls for longer.  Here is a step-by-step picture tutorial:

Overall I like the curls that I ended up with but I think I would have preferred if the contents were the same as those shown on the website especially if you're paying $13.99 (get a 10% discount if you use the code EBABK31 at checkout on all products including nail art supplies).

Has anyone of you ever used some kind of curl-formers? What do you think of them?

PR Sample

OOTD: Flowers, Butterflies and Mint Jeans

Last Saturday the weather was kind of dull and grey but that didn't put us off going out in the evening. We headed to Bugibba for an ice-cream and a nice walk on the front and then we drove all the way to Cirkewwa (the northern-most part of our 316 square kilometre island).

I still have a lot of clothes which I haven't yet worn as it is still a bit chilly in the evenings but I wanted to wear something new still so I opted for my mint denim trousers and this cute sheer flower and butterfly print cami.  Needless to say, I wore my acid wash cropped denim jacket to beat the evening chill.  This outfit was also a good excuse to wear my new metallic pumps and the Catrice Shy Flamingo lipstick which I had just bought the day before. Here are the pictures:

Acid Wash Cropped Denim Jacket, Tally Weijl | Chiffon floral top, New Look
Mint Denim Trousers, Stradivarius | Metallic Pumps, Stradivarius
Raffia Clutch Bag, local store | Chanel Logo Earrings, ebay

Since I had so much going on with my outfit, I kept my make-up fairly neutral with just a pop of bright colour on my lips courtesy of Catrice Ultimate Shine Lipstick in Shy Flamingo and some brownish hues on my eyes for which I used Wet N Wild Limited Edition Palette in Baked Not Fried (rust), Wet N Wild Single Eyeshadow in Brulee and Covergirl Double Espresso eye enhancer from Cafe Au' Lait trio.  On my face, I used NYX HD Foundation in HDF 02 Soft Beige and Essence Stay Natural Concealer in 01 Soft Beige and finished the look with E.L.F. Studio Blush in Candid Coral and Peachy Keen.

What do you think of this look? Hope you all have a beautiful week :)

Review: Essence I Love Stage Eyeshadow Base

A little after I started blogging (almost two years ago now), I have discovered a little wonder of the make-up world known as eye shadow primer.  The first one I bought was from e.l.f. cosmetics and soon after the first use, I wondered how on earth did I manage to go all these years of using make-up without applying a primer first! Hence, it comes naturally that I always make sure that I have an eye shadow (and foundation) primer or two in my stash.  In fact, I have another tube from e.l.f. but I still wanted to give the Essence one a go seeing that I am currently obsessed with this brand. 

Let's start by having a look at the packaging first! The product comes in a transparent plastic tube with black writing and a black twist-off cap and a doe foot applicator.  The tube holds 4ml of product and I bought mine for a little over €2.

The product is only available in one shade (skin colour) and has a very thick texture which I personally like as the eye shadows stick better to the eyelids and hence, fallout is minimised.  This primer has no scent whatsoever.  It blends easily and a little goes a long way so there is no need to apply a lot of it on your eyelids. One more point to note is that since it has such a thick texture, I think it will work even for those who have oily eyelids (those who have oily eyelids and have tried this primer, please share your experiences in the comments!).

I like how the primer dries quickly to a nice matte, velvety finish and I like it even better for not having to tug at my eyelids to remove the make-up but everything still stays put until I take it off.  Moreover, the colours are intensified and they don't budge or crease at all! Here is a picture with two eye shadows that normally wouldn't show up without a primer base:

Essence I Love Stage Eyeshadow Base (unblended, left)
Essence African Queen Collection Eyeshadow in Fata Morgana over Eyeshadow Base
Essence Whoom Boom Collection Eyeshadow in You've Got The Art over Eyeshadow Base

Lastly, here is a quick comparison of the Essence I Love Stage Eyeshadow Base vs the E.L.F. Eyelid Primer.  With regards product amount and price, the E.L.F. one is surely the best value for money (€1.70/£1.50 for 4.8ml) but with regards texture, I prefer the Essence one since the Eyelid Primer from E.L.F. is less thick.  They both enhance eyeshadows with respect to colour and staying power but I prefer the Essence Eyeshadow Base just because of the texture. The E.L.F. primer comes in more shade varieties while the Essence one is available in just one shade. For the full review on the e.l.f. Eyelid Primer please click here.

Essence Cosmetics is available in most pharmacies around Malta and Gozo.

Project Ten Pan | Some Quick Tips to Succeed

Hello cupcakes :) You would know that I have started a sort of Project-Ten-Pan like a month ago now and while I have finished some of the products and I am working on the rest, I thought I might share a few tips with you all on what has helped me finish up products.

First of all, here is a brief description of what a Project-Ten-Pan is; most people do this when they have accumulated a big amount of make-up and they want to finish up some pre-loved products.  You basically select 10 products you would want to finish up and you do not buy any new make-up before you finish all those products up, bar essential items and maybe a few limited edition items.

Here are some tips that I have found to help me go through this little project since this is actually my first time doing this!

Tip # 1 If this is the first time you are doing a Project Ten Pan, have a look at your make-up collection and see which products you have neglected.  Reasons can vary but most probably, you have found products that work better for you or you simply do not like the product any more.  Chuck out any expired make-up and products you don't think will ever be used again.  Next, re-assess your everyday make-up routine and select some products from the 'neglected' bundle you want to finish up and stick to them at least for everyday. They'll be used up in no time and this will give you more motivation to use up the rest of the products.

Tip # 2 Do not necessarily pick ten products. You can always pick more or less if you like.

Tip # 3 I know the whole point of a Project-Ten-Pan is to finish up products and not buying any new ones but I found that rewarding yourself with an item you really want (provided you do not already own something similar) will help. Think of it as a diet plan... you would want to treat yourself to your favourite candy every once in a while wouldn't you?

Tip # 4 I do not apply a face full of make-up for work because I don't like the idea of having foundation on my face for a full 12 hours paired with a full on dehydrating air conditioner. Instead, I enjoy putting on more make-up in my off days. What I do on my work days, is I stick to staples such as concealer, some kohl eyeliner and lipgloss and I use products I have actually included in my Project-Ten-Pan.

Tip # 5 Don't be discouraged if it's taking you forever! Everything takes time, hence the more you use a product, the more likely it is that you will finish it up in no time!

Tip # 6 Put the products you have selected in a nice make-up bag over your dresser so you grab the products easily without having to fidget much... perfect for when you're in a hurry!

Tip # 7 Do not restrict yourself to using only those products especially for going out as you may easily get bored with the whole thing.

Tip # 8 Finally, using products you haven't in a long may result in you re-discovering why you loved them in the first place but chances are if you buy them again, they will end up the same so I think it is better if you finish them up and buy something you really need instead!

I think that is all I have to say with regards my Project-Ten-Pan tips! Watch out for updates in my Exit Interview Series posts at the end of each month ;)

NOTW: Caviar Manicure with some Bling

Happy Mother's Day to all Mum's out there :) Hope you're all having a fab day :) Today, after an absence of a few weeks, I have a nail art tutorial to share with you which I wore last night to a wedding.  The manicure is inspired by the Ciate Caviar Manicure but at a much more affordable price... and a little twist!

1. Prep nails with a good base coat and apply a coat of coloured nail polish over the nails you want to apply the 'caviar' effect to. Leave to dry thoroughly and apply a second coat. I chose e.l.f. Party Purple.

2. For the rest of the nails, apply a French manicure in a contrasting colour and seal with a top coat, I used Orly Dazzle for the tips and Orly Top 2 Bottom as top coat.

3. Paint a thick coat of clear nail polish over the accent nails and apply some rhinestones. Continue with sprinkling some steel beads onto the nails and lightly tap them to make sure they adhere to the nail.  

4. Use a fan brush to remove any beads that didn't stick and apply a some top coat to seal the rest of the beads on the nail.