REVIEW: Barry M Gelly Hi-Shine Nail Varnish

I apologise firstly because this range has been blogged about repeatedly so sorry to be part of that annoying craze but it's worth the blog post. Barry M is possibly the best value for money nail varnish range. Don't get me wrong, OPI,  Sally Hansen and Essie are all brilliant but quite expensive for a student. In my opinion, Barry M's Gelly Hi-Shine Nail Varnish is brilliant and long lasting. These are my four favourite colours from the Gelly Hi-Shine range. 

Colours above are: Rose Hip, Prickly Pear, Sugar Apple and Papaya.
These are so cute and such a workable look throughout the warmer months. Each of these colours is gorgeous and I haven't come across a Barry M shade I dislike. Rose Hip is very girly and basic, Prickly Pear is more interesting and bright, Sugar Apple is a really durable colour and Papaya is very summery. I have been wearing Rose Hip for the past week and it has not chipped at all. It dries quickly when applied and stays shiny and strong after two coats. For £3.99 you can't really go wrong can you?

Benefit Mini Haul

I'm not likely to spend a lot of money at once, I have this huge pang of guilt afterwards. So I'm very lucky to have a mother who likes to treat me every now and then. When in Debenhams recently, I was recently stopped by the lady at the Benefit counter. She was trying to promote the new 'they're real! push up liner' and offered to do a makeup trial for me. I'm not one to refuse a free makeover especially if I like the brand anyway. I've always loved benefit products as I think they accentuate your natural beauty, not mask it.

This is a mini haul of five products from benefit that I have picked up recently, despite the fact that it was expensive for me and I usually spend all my money on drug store products.

This is my basic daily go-to foundation. With a light to medium coverage, it blends really nicely and leaves a dewy illuminated finish that I really love. It feels light, allowing your skin to breathe and glow. I use the shade 'honey' which matches very well meaning if my skin is doing well I don't need to cover my whole face which is a treat in the summer. It's a little on the pricey side for someone like me, however totally worth it. With SPF 25 it's a great product for the warmer months meaning great protection against the weather. I also love that it doesn't dry your skin at all, it stays quite well and looks fresh all day long.

I didn't expect to love this product as much as I do. It's such an amazing pink colour and seems to last very well. Unlike most lip tints that I've tried, it's not overwhelming and is quite watery. I didn't actually buy this for the full price, it came as part of a kit with the bronzer featured below for the same price. I think this is a colour that work all year around and is a new favourite of mine.

This is the newly released product that has been receiving a lot of mixed reviews recently. In all honesty, I do love it but I find it a little difficult to work with. The pen is supposedly gel but to me it seems more like a crayon substance which can be seen in the line I drew with it in the picture above. Don't get me wrong, it does it's job but is very difficult to draw evenly with. I think the best thing is how well it stays. I can't complain about flaking or smudging because it really doesn't and its a great liner. A tad pricey for it's little flaws but well worth it if you worry about smudging during the day.

Eeek. I love this bronzer so much. I'm not a massive bronzer fan at all. I think too many people apply it wrong and use too much so it kind of put me off for a while. However, this is the best bronzer I have ever used. It doesn't contain any extra glitter or shimmer which is great for natural looks. It blends surprisingly well and looks so gorgeous on. It's buildable, quite matte and long lasting. It works with so well with flawless foundation and is a definite must have considering the price if you want to buy a durable, everyday bronzer.

Possibly the most reviewed benefit product on beauty blogs and it lives up to it's hype. This is honestly one of the best mascaras I own and as it's the UK's No.1 bestselling mascara I'm not surprised. It's lengthening and leaves very few visible clumps as well as adding a little black colour. It really seperates and lifts your lashes so well. It's always been my go-to daily mascara and is well worth the price. Just like the eyeliner it's got great staying power and benefit now sells a specially created remover for the they're real products. 

So there you go, a little benefit loving review for you all. I am such a huge benefit fan and next on my shopping list is their powder, concealer and cream eye-shadow. What's your favourite benefit product and are there any others you would reccommend?

My First Car

Just a short one because I'm very busy at the moment. Well, I have a car now. I think that's just about the scariest thing ever. It means I'm old and I have to be grown up and independent which are two things I'm not sure that I'm capable of. This past week, I've been driving around the field with Dad and I'm already confused and worried. I can't get it right and it's been too hot. Considering I'm a bit of a perfectionist, driving makes me angry because I can't do it. I'm dreading the lessons and I've already downloaded the theory test app. On the positive side, I'm very lucky my Dad didn't buy me a bright yellow van with purple flowers, I actually like my first car. (How many teenagers can say that with 100% certainty?) As a family, all our cars have names however, I still don't know what her name is because I can't think of anything. I will love the freedom but not driving my friends and brother around so much. It'll be nice to say 'hey, I'm just going to the shop, I'll be back' and to leave the house when I'M ready.

The Pain Of The 'How I Met Your Mother' Finale

WARNING: This is not something I would usually post. It's not beauty related at all, it's a little rant about a tv show I needed to get out of my system. If you have no interest in the title, feel free to not read on. Plus spoilers alert.

I'm not one to complain really. I'm the type to deal with what happens and I never send food back in a restaurant. This has been the only time I have wanted to make an official complaint about something and to demand for something better I know I won't get. My favourite television show has for about three years been 'How I Met Your Mother' which is crazy because it's a sit-com and would be frowned upon by many people. I remember the first episode I watched ('The Stinsons') and I thought it was brilliant. Since then I have bought all the dvd's as I live in the dark ages of no netflix. I own a yellow umbrella too. I know everything about it, the cast and crew, the story lines, the way it's made, the music. This show has been there for me through so much, it's realistic (most of the time) and true and above all makes me happy... Well, it used to make me happy. When I learned that season 9 would be the last season, even though I was sad I didn't want it to drag on any further. I knew that the writers Carter Bays and Craig Thomas whom I'd always trusted because of their wonderful work would handle it wonderfully and send the show off with an emotional but satisfying bang. Not what we got.. I've just watched the finale because I live in the uk. To sum-up, Barney and Robin separated. Everyone stopped being friends. Lily and Marshall got thrown an un-named third child, as well as one for a returned womanizing Barney. The Mother died. Ted and Robin got back together.

Hm. The How I Met Your Mother finale was the most crushing thing I have ever seen from a television show, movie, novel or general entertainment. I was not entertained, I felt quite insulted really. I'm so angry and confused. In a few minutes they threw away 9 years worth of hard work, character development and a lot of fans for a ending they had planned since 2006. We as fans were supposed to love it, it should have made us proud. We weren't supposed to care that that episode ruined the whole plot of the show for us. Carter and Craig went against their own previous amazing writing to give us a pile of poop. I'm pretty sure they wrote this at 2am and nothing good happens after 2am. Let's think about this. People who accept this ending literally (not figuratively) accept that everything that came before this finale meant nothing. All of the story meant nothing. 

My first concern is Barney and Robin. If Barney and Robin weren't supposed to be together, why make me feel like they should be? Why dedicate a two part episode to their engagement and then the WHOLE of the last season to their wedding weekend? Why keep bringing them back together, show that they had worked through all their problems and then destroy it with a 3 second 'We got divorced'? If they had known the ending they wanted since 2006, why bring Barney and Robin together in the first place? Because they were a good couple. They were just as messed up as each other. They were dysfunctional together. And it worked. I feel like somewhere, in the middle, the writers knew that too. That's why we got amazing moments between the two and a relationship that was confusing but REAL. I believe that the writers originally disliked that Barney and Robin became the favourite couple on the show. After all, they only got together in season 3 to avoid cancellation. But after a while it was clear that they both liked the couple enough to write some amazing scenes. They played on the center of the show which accidentally became their love story. That's why the wedding was so right. They had cold feet and worries but it was in character and it made sense. But the wedding itself, that was right. I was happy. That's how it should have stayed.

The finale that Carter and Craig had planned since the beginning didn't fit this story anymore. The show had become better and bigger than they could have imagined. But because it had been planned, they kept it like some sort of ritual or need. It didn't fit with 2006 ideas so they had to break Robin and Barney up (because he had bad internet connection, what?), a few minutes after the wedding. They were the loves of each others lives and it took a while but they knew it. He was 'hopelessly, irretrievably in love with her'. She wasn't 'just another number to him', with her 'the trouble didn't seem so troubling', he called her 'the greatest woman on the planet' and we can't forget 'holy crap, you're beautiful'. She made him a better person, showed him that there was more to life than being a heartless womanizer. So why throw away all those years of writing and incredible character development for him to go back to his old ways? That broke my heart. He learned so much from Robin and became a loving, respectful, changed man. He would not instantly revert back to his careless and rude 2006 self. He had grown too much, it made him feel 'empty and broken' being what he used to be. Above all, 2008 forward Barney would still love her. If the show had ended after two seasons in 2008, Robin and Barney wouldn't have happened, the ending would work. But it's 2014 now and they don't care. Let's just give him a child with an nameless woman and that'll make everything okay. Sure, it was incredibly cute and I felt this strange pride in him for being a great dad but it doesn't make it all okay. Why did he need to have a kid to grow-up? I thought Robin was the catalyst for his transformation, we'd already established that. You can't contradict 8 years of writing in 20 minutes. (Did anyone else notice that Barney said 'ooot' instead of 'out' as if he's still clinging to the Canadian part of him, because of Robin? Or is it just my broken shipper heart over thinking?)

It was a slap in the face to the fans. I certainly feel like I just got slapped. They expected us to love it and not to question it? How would Robin be 'Aunt Robin' if she was barely around? Ted's daughter Penny didn't even know her name, that doesn't work. Robin had changed too. We'd previously established through brilliant writing that she hated travelling, she valued her relationships and friendships so much more. But oh well, let's bin some more character development. It's totally understandable for her to seclude herself from her exes however what they did after that wasn't right. Let's make her be alone and go back to her old apartment, get a weird black bob and buy five dogs again. Seeing Robin apart from the gang was the worst, the way it affected Lily was unbearable. She lost her best and only friend. And I know that happens in life, but not like that. Their reunion was anti-climatic and I wanted to see their friendship right till the very end.

Lily and Marshall were shoved in a corner and given a tiny story line. They finished their bet, had three children and Marshall became a supreme judge. I can't state how heart-breaking the scene with them all together before the wedding was. 'I love you guys so much I can't even' from an emotional Lily seemed rushed for their last moments as a gang. Marshall's 'just all kinds of stuff' referring to what and how much had happened in the bar was his best moment. They didn't give them any time but at least they lived happily ever after.

And of course, we have to talk about The Mother. The meeting of Ted and Tracy was perfect, literally perfect. The umbrella, the train station, it all worked. I wanted that to be one of the end scenes of the show.  But of course (and it was pretty certain it would happen since season 9's 'Vesuvius') she got killed off. To be honest, I wasn't even bitter about the actual death, it's just how they handled it. I fell in love with Cristin Millioti and so did 99% of the fans throughout the final season. She played Tracy so right and helped us to understand the character we waited so long for. She was sweet, fit in so well with the gang and was everything I wanted her to be. And then, with an awkward montage, she's killed off by an unknown cause. It was too rushed and without a proper funeral that it felt unfair. The character and the fans deserved so much more. I hated the way the show ended because it was supposed to be about Tracy McConnell. But even Ted's kids know that's not what it's about. It was like 'How I Stuck With Your Mother Until She Died Because She Could Have You Kids But Then Went Back To Robin Anyway'. In the writer's minds, Robin and Ted were Rachel and Ross, everyone wanted them to be endgame. But I, sorry to the Robin and Ted fans, didn't. Time and time again, they didn't work but Carter and Craig thought the 100th time would be different. The story was never about Tracy McConnell. It's all about Robin, it has been since the start. That's the most painful thing.

It hurts a lot. It breaks my heart in a way I can't describe. I want to stick that blue french horn somewhere unmentionable. It should have been the yellow umbrella, always. I don't think the cast were happy, at all. In the 'Inside The Actors Studio' interview they play and are questioned as their characters. Neil and Cobie act married and this was after the finale aired. Josh Radnor couldn't believe they were going with that ending. I doubt they had much say in the matter though, despite how much they loved their show. It truly sucks that that was the 'official' ending of the show. It doesn't matter that the season 9 dvd will have an alternate ending because the 'official' ending is 'official'. What about the pineapple? What happened in Rome? Who's the mother of Barney's daughter? What's Lily and Marshall's third child called? I accept that life doesn't always work out the way you planned. I wasn't expecting a miracle, I just wanted something believable I could live with. So when I force my kids to watch it, I wanted to show them how great it was from start to end and how much it taught me. I can't do that now. Of course I'll watch re-runs and re-cry and re-laugh at this show but it won't be the same. I just wholly reject the finale. I wanted after the Swarkles wedding, straight cut to the umbrella scene and the final scene in the bar and a montage with the 'all kinds of stuff' line. And then just a simple 'And that kids, is the story of how I met your mother'. Fade to black. Roll credits. That's all I wanted. Simple and the real How I Met Your Mother. Not the warped version we got in the Last Forever. I feel like I wasn't watching How I Met Your Mother at all. It wasn't the show I'd grown to love. There were a million and one ways the finale could have gone and I think there was so much potential. I was traumatized because in a way, we were losing all of these characters and they had such a terrible ending. I'll miss the red cowboy boots, the slap bet, Robin Sparkles, interventions, musical numbers, the booth, yousonofabitch, every wait-for-it, every high-five, every legendary, every suit up, every haaaave you met Ted?, Ranjit, Wendy, Carl, every play, the ducky tie, every scotch, every canadian reference, every flashback, the pineapple, the purple giraffe, the goat, boats boats boats, murder train, 500 miles, the fiero, the cock-a-mouse and most importantly the yellow umbrella. But not the blue french horn. But it's too late. It’s over. For good. The show has ended.

And that everyone, is how I watched “How I Met Your Mother.”

*the pictures in this post are not my own.

REVIEW: Lush Silky Underwear Dusting Powder

Nobody wants to use or has the time for talcum powder. It's sadly associated with elders and carries a really sickly lavender smell. However, LUSH has a solution to getting the powdery softness of powder without smelling 50 years older than you should. LUSH's dusting powders are a wonder, a sexy and incredible smelling product.

The dusting powder named ‘Silky Underwear’ because 'you won't want to wear anything else' has 10 ingredients: Cornstarch, Kaolin, Cocoa Butter, Magnesium Carbonate, Perfume, Jasmine Absolute, Vetivert Oil, Cinnamyl Alcohol, Benzyl Cinnamate and Linalool. The fact that it's only 10 ingredients instantly makes me think, 'this won't be damaging' and even though perfumes can sometimes badly affect your skin, it seems to have no negative side effect.

It is very flexible and has so many uses. Using the powder to absorb the annoying excess moisturiser that sits on the skin is a great idea. I think the fact that it contains cocoa butter means it's very nourishing. The oils help to restore and just generally replenish you skin. I use this instead of moisturiser if I have no time or am just being lazy because the cocoa butter is rich enough to keep your skin soft. I read online that some use it before waxing as it reduces the pain and after shaving to reduce the possibility of ingrown hairs. Many use it for sweaty areas for example, if it's a particularly hot day and you know you'll be a bit sticky and smelly a layer of the dusting powder is a good idea. 

It acts as a sort of deodorant because the scent is so musky and sweet. Jasmine smells very sensual and is so much better than the old lavender. As a whole it reminds me of vanilla and marshmallows which doesn't sound sexy but it really is. The scent stays for hours. No matter how it is used, the skin will be utterly smooth and gorgeous smelling.

My only issue with the product as a whole is the container. The bottle is cheap and the cap of my lid has already broken. It's hard to keep clean and when you squeeze the bottle because it's hard to get the powder out it comes out all at once. Whilst being very effective and good value for money, 'Silky Underwear' let me down on it's packaging. I would definitely repurchase though because the reinvented talcum powder is so easy.

What do you think of dusting powders as a whole? Do you use them? Let me know in the comments below!

REVIEW: Clinique's 3-Step Skin Care System

Let's talk about my skin at the moment. Not good. Frequent breakouts, big red blotches, dry skin. To be honest with you it upsets me a lot, especially because I feel bad putting makeup on damaged skin in fear of making things worse. So I'm on a repair mission, starting with the well advertised 3-Step Skin Care System from Clinique.

Step 1: Liquid Facial Soap
I think the best thing is that it's gentle. You don't feel like you're drying your skin out or over washing it but it's strong enough so that I actually does something. It lathers really easily and I absolutely love that feeling on my face. It helps calm my acne inflammation down quite a bit. There isn't much of a scent, it's more of a soapy smell but that's okay.

Step 2: Clarifying Lotion
I'm confused about my feelings towards this step. I like the idea that it's destroying all the gunk and sebum in my acne but I'm not sure if it's doing that. It stings a little, but I expect that from this kind of product. I do feel fresh after applying it though and like that it controls my redness.

Step 3: Dramatically Different Moisturising Lotion
I've used this previously as my Mum got it in a free sample kit from Clinique. It's very moisturising but takes a while to work into the skin. Again, it reduces my inflammation and leaves my skin soft and clean. I'm not sure if it's blocking my pores because it seems to work quite deep however, I will continue to use this gentle lotion until I see evidence of blocked pores.

Overall, I think it's great for calming down my angry acne. I feel less pain and have less redness. Despite this, it has not helped me clear the skin, just calm and prevent more breakouts. I'm still on the hunt for my miracle cure. If you know of any brilliant acne treatments, home methods or products, please let me know in the comments and I will be eternally grateful.