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Monday 25 May 2015

Selena Gomez Met Gala Inspired Look ft. Elizabeth Arden

Hello My Lovelies, 

I hope you are all doing well and you have all had a fabulous bank holiday. The last few days for me have consisted of a major spring clean and I dropped off a total of 10 sacks of goodies to my local Cancer Research store. Not only does it feel incredible having a complete refresh and being more organised but it feels amazing knowing I have done something small that can help with this constant Cancer fight everyone is trying so hard to conquer. I know everyone has their preferred charities but this one is close to my heart and I really hope we beat it one day! 

As you all know the Met Gala hit our screens at the beginning of the month and as per usual everyone looked absolutely amazing. The Met Gala, formally called the costume Institute Gala and also known as the Met Ball, is an annual fundraising gala for the benefit of the Metropolitan Museum of Arts Costumer Institute in New York City. It marks the grand opening of the Costume Institutes annual fashion exhibit. Each year's event celebrates the theme of that years exhibition and the guests are expected to match the them on the evening. This years theme was China: Through the Looking Glass and I have teamed up with Elizabeth Arden to bring you one of my favourite looks from the evening. After much deliberation I decided to re-created Selena Gomez's flawless red lip look. She just looked incredibly flawless on the evening and that bold red lip just wowed me!

A little disclaimer before we carry on into the post...I just wanted to say that I am in no ways a professional and the way I have learnt to do my makeup is from what I have picked up at home, from reading blogs myself and watching YouTube videos. This was a really fun post to get involved in and I really wanted to share with you a selection of incredible Elizabeth Arden products...ones I have tried and tested before with the added bonus of a few new gems. The majority of the products featured in this post are identical to the ones used for Selena for the Met Gala with a few alternative shades etc. My look is very similar but I decided to go down the 'inspired' look with the lips being the main focus. The eyes are very wearable so I feel this could be worn so many different ways and of course you can change out the lip to so many different options. I really hope you enjoy this makeup look - I had so much fun creating this post for you all!

"Selena's slinky Vera Wang dress called for an elegant look with a pop of colour. I kept her skin fresh and relatively matte for a porcelain effect, and elongated her eyes with a sharp black line and lots of lashes and mascara. I finished the look with a classic matte red lip." 
Jake Bailey - Celebrity Makeup Artist

Before I got into the makeup look I decided to prep my skin and moisturise my lips to ensure the bold red lip would sit perfectly. I used a small amount of the coveted Eight Hour Cream | £26* and massaged this into my lips to ensure they were silky smooth. We have had Eight Hour Cream in the Meola household for as long as I can remember and I pretty much use it for everything and I know it actually does the trick. I remember when we were in New York a good 7 years ago and we managed to pick these up for £10 with the exchange rate in Macy's or naturally we stocked up haha. The skincare classic smoothes, restores, calms and helps relieve chapped, cracked and dry skin. It also soothes roughness, redness and minor skin irritations. There are literally a million and one ways to use this product so if you would like to see an in-depth post about this fabulous product please let me know. 

After prepping the skin I decided to go straight into the foundation as Selena used no primer on this occasion. I took a small amount of the Flawless Finish Perfectly Satin 24 Hour Foundation in Sunbeige | £29* on my Real Techniques Buffing Brush and blended the foundation into my skin quite well to ensure a real natural look on the skin. This foundation claimed to have a medium to full coverage application, however, I definitely feel it was more on the medium side with one average application. If you are looking for more coverage I would go in with a second layer - I did do this on some blemishes and the second layer did not cake up at all which was fabulous. Boasting time release technology, the foundation works to detect the sebum levels in the skin and it helps to control the amount of excess oils produced by your skin throughout the day. After reading into the foundation this was something I was very exited about, I mean it sounds pretty perfect to keep you makeup looking fresh and flawless all day long right?! The SPF 15 formula protects your skin from UVA and UVB damage whilst vitamin E, which is a rich antioxidant, helps to shield the skin from any other environment aggressors. After researching into the foundation and trying it out for myself I am really impressed - I definitely think I need to try it out a few more times before I give your my full two cents but first impression wise I am very impressed. I was a little worried about the shade at first (Sunbeige), however, after it settled into my skin it looked perfect. I did have to go back in a spot conceal ever so slightly but other than that I was really pleased with the end result of the foundation. 

After leaving the foundation to settle I then went in with the Ceramide Skin Smoothing Loose Power in #03 Medium | £30*. Believe it or not but I could most probably count the times I have used a loose powder on one hand - I very rarely use them but it is something I want to venture more into. This ultra lightweight, luxurious powder delivers advanced Ceramide anti-aging benefits and your complexion looks and feels younger, smoother and perfectly finished after application. First impressions as this is yet again another product I am extremely pleased with, it set my foundation in place without making my skin look cakey or even appear like I am using a setting powder. The only negative thing I can think of is the fact that loose powders can be messy and can cause spillage but if this is a product that does the trick then I am totally willing to take those chances!

After leaving my base to settle for a little while I then went in to add some colour and radiance to my cheeks. The makeup artist used no bronzer on Selena to keep in with the theme of the evening (shock horror as bronzer is my saviour). The blush I had was slightly different to the one Selena used, however, they looked very similar. When it comes to blush I usually go straight for the powder based products - I think this is down to habit and the fact that my collection consists of mainly powder based blushers. However, I had to opportunity to try this gorgeous Ceramide Cream Blush in Honey | £27* and I was very pleased with the final result. This luxuriously creamy and soft, Ceramide Cream blush glided onto and blended into my skin effortlessly. I was a little worried with the application as you have to make sure you blend cream products quite well before they set, however, this blush has completely changed my opinion when cream blushers are concerned - I simply used my fingers to apply this product and it blended perfectly and it set to a very natural finish. It delivered a weightless moisture and nourishment to my skin whilst adding a natural long lasting flush to my cheeks. As I had no bronzer on my face this shade added the perfect amount of colour to warm up my skin tone. 

When it came down to recreating Selena's eye makeup I did find it a little difficult not to go straight to my beloved liquid eyeliner. The eyes we very subtle and had very little product on the lids minus some kohl eyeliner and some mega eyelashes. As the makeup artist used no eyeshadow primer I decided to add a tiny bit of the foundation on my eyelids to create a flawless base and I found this helped smudge out the eyeliner very well. I then went in with the Smokey Eyes Pencil in #01 Smokey Black | £17* and smudged this along my lash line and upper tight line. I then took the smudger side of the pencil and blended out the line in an upwards motion to create an almost gradient effect. 

After smudging out the eyeliner I curled my eyelashes and added 2 to 3 coats of the Maximum Volume Mascara in #01 Black | £22*. I found this mascara really defined my lashes and even thought I added a good three coats of product they did not clump. I don't really mind whether a mascara wand is thin, small, large, chunky - I judge a mascara based on how well it coats and transforms my lashed and of course the formulation throughout the day. I found this wand perfect at grabbing all of my lashes and really giving them some added umphh they needed to go with the makeup look. First impressions wise I am very pleased - it might not knock some of my favourites out of the park but I think something for everyday or layering up for the evening it is perfect. 

After I finished my eye makeup I noticed that my eyes were missing something. As I decided to opt out of using false eyelashes on this occasion I decided to add a tiny amount of a copper and grey eyeshadow mix together into my crease. Adding that tiny amount of eyeshadow really helped blend everything together and made the look even more smokey. 

I don't think no makeup look is complete without defining your brows, well I personally think so. I used the Beautiful Color Natural Eye Brow pencil in Natural Beige | £17* to fill in the spare areas of my brows. Selena's eyebrows were very fluffy and brushed upwards for this makeup look so I decided to fill mine in a little thicker than normal - I found this related added a youthful affect to the overall look. The natural beige shade was a tiny bit light for my natural eyebrow shade, however, it has really grown on my. I really loved that the pencil came with a grooming brush on the opposite end to help shade your browns and blend out the product. The ultra-fine tip of the retractable pencil was perfect at creating hair-like strokes to define brows. If you are looking for a dupe to the Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz then I think you should definitely consider giving this one a try. 

I think this red lip combination has now become a favourite of mine. I remember before I started blogging at how scared I was of a red lip because I thought it would never suit me and that I would never be able to pull it off. When it comes to makeup there are no rules (something blogging has taught me) so I would definitely recommend you give a bold red lip a try if it is something you are a little wary of trying. I first applied the Precision Glide Lip Liner in #01 Red Door Red | £17* to my natural lip line and feathered it in every so slightly. This creamy, high pigmented liner contours and defines lips for a fuller, more voluminous look that lasts for 12 hours with a water-proof, smudge proof, transfer proof and colour extending formula. I found the liner extremely easy to apply and coming from me that is saying something as I very rarely use lip liner (I am slowly adding more to my collection and being adventurous). I also really liked how there is a hidden sharpener on the other side of the pencil. Yes, the lip liner is retractable but the sharper is used to ensure the ultra-fine tip is precise to get that perfectly lined look every time. 

Once I had applied the lip liner I then went in with the show stopper lip colour - this was one of the most exciting parts about re-creating this makeup look. The Beautiful Color Moisturising Lipstick in #41 Bold Red (Matte) | £21* applied like an absolute dream and was a perfect match for the lip liner. The lip liner and lipstick combination are just incredible and my lipstick has not budged since applications...and I have eaten a BBQ and a stodgy pudding in the process. The new Beautiful Colour Moisturising Lipsticks provide a long lasting colour and satin-matte finish that can last up to 12 hours. I found the lipstick incredibly easy to apply and even though the formulation is matte my lips do not feel dry at all. These lipsticks provide you with a medium to full coverage application and the formula is packed full of vitamins and shea butter which helps to protect and soothe your lips. I just love how this lipstick combination looks and I can't wait to pick up a few more shades to add to my makeup collection. 

This is the final inspired makeup look. Like I said it is not perfect and obviously Selena was super glammed up on the evening in her gown and stylish up-do but I had a lot of fun getting involved and creating Selena's makeup look from the Met Gala. I have uploaded a close up version of the eyes on my Instagram (@SophiaMeola) if you want to take a peek at that but I definitely think this look is all about the bright and bold lip. I was very impressed with all of the products featured in this post and I am sure you will see a few full reviews your way win the future. I would love to hear your thoughts on the products used above and if you liked how my inspired look came out. Like always lovelies, if you have any questions, requests or if you just want a chat you can contact me via my social media or leave me a comment below. I love hearing from you all and I make sure to ready every single comment...they really make my day! 

Lots of Love
*PR Sample

Sunday 24 May 2015

The NEW Renault Twingo Review

Hello My Lovelies, 

If you have been a regular reader of my blog since the very beginning then you will know that predominately my blog is beauty, fashion and lifestyle based. When Renault Retail contacted me in regards to collaborating on a few projects this year I really could not turn down the opportunity. I have mentioned it a few times that I set myself a new years resolution to write more diversely over on my blog and I don’t think you can get more diverse than reviewing a car on a beauty, fashion and lifestyle blog! However, I have been quite fortunate growing up with lots of different cars around me and my Dad has taught me so much over the years that I thought I would love to get involved.

The NEW Renault Twingo has only been on sale in the UK since September 2014, but Renault’s new Twingo is already dazzling so many with it’s new features, versatility and it’s cute and compact design. I had the opportunity to test drive the new Twingo for 2 weeks and I have to say I was really impressed. It did take me a few days to get used to the feel of the car but once I had there was no stopping me on the road. It was so funny because within the first few days of me receiving the car, the Twingo itself was featured on ‘Fifth Gear’ (a show my Dad is constantly watching) and I actually sat through the show to see what hidden goodies the car had to offer that I may not have found yet. It actually helped me figure out how to open the boot – how shameful of me to admit but I swear the boot had some hidden button that none of us (including my parents) could find! Every cloud has a silver lining though as this would make a great security feature.

Rightio, onto the specification. The Renault Twingo I had the opportunity of test-driving was a 0.9 TCe Dynamique 5dr (start/stop) in Artic White with red accents. Some of the specification included, Cruise Control and Speed Limiter, Stop & Start technology, 2DIN Radio with AM/FM/DAB Tuner, 2USB sockets, Smartphone Cradle and Handsfree Technology, Bluetooth, Electric Front Windows, Hill Start Assist, Type Pressure Monitoring System, Air Conditioning, Airbags, Alloy Wheels, Electric door mirrors, Folding rear seats, Remote central locking, Traction control, Power steering, Lane departure, Auto climate control, Auto lights and Wipers with four seats! All of that for a little pocket rocket seems quite impressive don’t you think?!

Now, you might be thinking that the overall design looks quite familiar? One that resembles a Fiat 500? Well, there is no way around it because it does, however, the Renault has it’s own little unique features also. Just how we dupe our makeup the Renault Twingo would be a great alternative to the Fiat 500 – if you were looking for something quirky and unique instead of the classic Fiat 500. Instead of the classic front-wheel-drive, front-engine layout that is favoured by the majority of Renaults rivals, the Twingo’s three-cylinder engine resides beneath the boot floor and powers a rear wheel drive. The Twingo itself brings various benefits one of which is the tiny 8.6-metre turning circle to help make a light work of u-turns and tight parking. I definitely loved how easy this car was to park and drive!

The interior of the Twingo itself was very spacious, however, the high seats were quite daunting and blocked some view when sitting at the back of the car – however, this did not stray away from the fact that the car was extremely comfortable and spacious. If you know me personally then you will know that I will fall asleep on long car journeys – so naturally I tested this little gem and it was super comfy haha.

 Glossed plastic edging highlights the driver dash, which is available in a few different variations (red, blue or white). Feature areas such as the speakers, storage and air vents are given design love, which makes you think that the entire design process was thought out really well – it is the little things that make the most difference. One thing that left me a little weary was the back seat windows as they only ‘pop out’ and this can sometimes make me a little unsettled when travelling long distances. However, this does not take away the fact that this is a lovely little car and in some instances a safety feature.

There are plenty more tricks to the five-door Twingo, including a phone dock that – courtesy of a free ‘R & Go’ app allows you to use your android or apple smartphone as a navigation and media interface. One extra feature I love on a car is when I can plug my phone in and blast my favourite music…queue Taylor Swift and One Direction.

I hope you all enjoyed taking a closer look at the NEW Renault Twingo – I would love to know your thoughts on the car itself. If you would like to find out anymore information you can check out the new Twingo section on the website here and their pre-reg section here for some great deals!

Lots of Love
*This Post was NOT Sponsored

Sunday 17 May 2015

Glossybox | May 2015

Hello My Lovelies, 

I hope you are all doing well and have had a fabulous weekend so far. I know the weekend is coming to a close but here is to the start of a brand new week. I have had a week that will definitely not leave my memory anytime soon. Since we last spoke quite a few things have happened - if you follow me on various social media platforms then you might already know. I won't go into too much detail on this post but I am thinking of writing a post about it all as I find writing everything down and speaking about everything can really help. 

Anyways, back into today's post. Given I have been a little late showing you my previous Glossybox's I thought I would get back into my blogging schedule and bring you the new May edition box as soon as possible. This months Glossybox is back to its original pretty in pink colour scheme and it is all about calling on the Summer time! This months box has beribboned all the essentials you need to prep for the balmy days ahead! I was pleased to see a variety of different products in this months box - both from brands I know well and some newbies. 

Zerreau Towel Off Shampoo Foam (Deluxe Sample) | RRP £7.95* Full Size

Zerreau is a completely new brand for me but I was excited to see that this product was dubbed a 2014 festival essential, which naturally left me wanting to know more. Now, I wish I had known about this product when I was at Reading last year! I did bring my beloved Batiste Dry Shampoo with me but I am intrigued to see what this would have done. The Zerreau Towel Off Apple Shampoo is the best way to wash your hair without water. This is the next generation of dry shampoo and according to Zerreau this product gently cleanses your hair leaving it silky soft and fresh. I received a 70ml deluxe sample but I feel like it would go quite a long way. and the apple scent reminds me of the Chewit Xtreme Sour Apple candy! 

Etre Belle Aloe Vera Ultra Moisturising Gel (Full Size) | £15.93*

Yet again Etre Belle was another completely new brand for me but I do love being introduced to new products and brands by Glossybox! According to Etre Belle prepping your skin for summer has never been easier. For an instant rescue when skin needs a little TLC, this cooling gel hydrates by delivering moisture deep below the surface, in turn relieving your complexion. What's more, aloe vera makes for the perfect post-sun soother and I find using an aloe vera also helps pro-long your tan (well for me personally). In terms of price I do feel that £15.93 is a little pricey for a 40ml product, however, if this is a real game changer for you then you might be willing to spend a little more for a product you know will work for you. I personally love the Banana Boat Aloe Vera gel and you can pick that up for under £5 depending on the bottle size. 

SASS Intimate Perfect Skin Concentrate (Deluxe Sample) | RRP £12* Full Size

I have said it twice so I might as well say it again...this is another new brand for me to try. I must admit when I first read the label ' Intimate Perfect Skin Concentrate' I thought this was going to be more a repressing skincare spritz for your face, however, I was totally wrong! According to SASS this is the perfect treat for your skin post-shade or wax which makes it perfect for a summer box as it is something we all do! The SASS concentrate soothes the skin and reduces hair regrowth, whilst exfoliating ingredients including salicylic acid and fruit enzymes delicately exfoliate to ensure ingrown hairs are a thing of the past. To be honest I was a little shocked to see that this product was stocked in Boots purely because I havenever seen it on the shelves before...and I spend quite a lot of my time in Boots! Even thought that is the case it just means that if it is a product I like then it will be easy to get hold of. 

Collection Cosmetics Field Day Lipstick in #2 Tulip (Full Size) | £2.99*

I was so pleased to see this and the below product in this months box because they are brand I have used many times before and really enjoy. Collection Cosmetics houses some of my favourite holy grail makeup products - the Lasting Perfection Concealer and my beloved Extreme 24 Hour Felt Tip Eyeliner. Step into spring with a slick of on-trend pastel pink across your lips with Collection Cosmetics Tulip lipstick. The formulation applies like a dream with a creamy consistency, however, once dried leaves a matte finish to the lips which makes it perfect for longevity during the summer months. Collection Cosmetics is an extremely affordable makeup brand and I have used many of their products from when I first started getting into makeup (I remember collection their glittery eyeliners).   Price wise this lipstick is a complete steal coming in at £2.99 and the packaging looks super fresh and chic. I was very pleased with this lipstick and I would love to pick up a few more shades from the range. 

MeMeMe Enchanted Eyes Dual Ended Eye Wand in Midnight Storm (Full Size) | £6.95*

MeMeMe is a brand I was introduced to last year and was pleasantly surprised with (see my brand overview here). My first impressions of this dual ended eyeliner was how creamy and pigmented the formulation was. Blue eyeliner is a key trend for spring, and this eye product is all you need to create an effortlessly smokey look. With two tones of blue to choose from you have the option to create a subtle everyday look or alternatively intensify the eyes for a evening look. I really do love dual purpose products and this is perfect for on the go day to day and for traveling. After giving this shade a try (which is dazzling) I am so intrigued to give a few other shades a try! Price wise I think £6.95 is a great price; not only because it is a dual ended product that I know will last quite some time but also because I know how great the formulation is. You can see full swatches below. 

I hope you all enjoyed this evenings post and diving inside this months Glossybox, I would love to hear your thoughts. Overall, I was really impressed with this months box and with this months spoiler I am looking forward to trying next months festival chic inspired box! In total this months box works out around £30+ and for a £12.95* box (inc p&p) you are getting you money's worth which is great. I quite liked how this months box was focused around catapulting into summer. If you would like to see any in-depth reviews of the products mentioned above then please let me know. Like always lovelies, if you have any questions, requests or if you just want a chat you can contact me via my social media or leave me a comment below. I love hearing from you all and I make sure to ready every single comment...they really make my day! 

Also, the Glossybox team have been ever so generous and offered me a discount code to share with you all. How does 15% off your first box and a free gift sound?! If you use the code SOPHIA15 you can get just that. 

What do you think about this months box? What would you like to see in next months Festival Chic edition?

Lots of Love
*PR Sample
*Discount offer ends 31/05/2015. 15% off the first box only with any subscription plan. Limited availability free gift. Full terms and conditions apply at the checkout. 

Sunday 10 May 2015

Real Technique Sculpting Set

Hello My Lovelies, 

I hope you are all doing well and have had a glorious weekend so far. Long time no speak, I have been a little MIA from my blog recently as I have been devoting all of my spare time into decorating and organising my new room and beauty / blogging / office room. I have waiting a good year for my room to be finished after a few property development timing issues, however, we are almost there. I have missed blogging so much, however, I have to say I have been really hard on myself lately. I am not 100% if it's my photography or the fact I haven't had the time to post as much as I would have liked recently but I am glad I can sit down and write a little post today. Not only is it a beautiful sunny day where I am today it is also my Nonnas (Grandmothers) birthday - so later on we are meeting up with the family for a huge birthday BBQ which I am rather looking forward to. Even though I have been a little absent from the blogging scene the last few weeks I have been active on all my social media platforms from Twitter to Instagram (@SophiaMeola) so if you ever have a spare moment pretty please stop by and say hi. 

I am literally a sucker when it comes to Real Technique brushes so when I knew that they had recently launched a new brush set it was instantly on my radar. I was a little late with picking this set up as I believe it launched in March, however, none-the-less I needed to add it to my brush collection, especially as this set is Limited Edition. I say a recent purchase, however, I actually picked these up back at the beginning of April on a complete whim. I was browsing through Superdrug with my lovely friend Kirsty (Miss Kirsty Worsty) when I saw this new brush set sitting perfectly in plain site just screaming buy me!

True to the sets name these brushes are all about helping you achieve that contoured look that will enhance your natural bone structure. Each brush has been specially designed for this collectors edition set with a sleek, high-shine pink packaging alternative to the classic matte. The set itself was £20.99 from Superdrug with each brush coming in around £6.99. I personally feel that that the Real Technique brushes are amazing quality and worth every penny. I mean £6.99 per brush is not bad at all when you think about the NARS Ita brush which is around £43 (which I still want even though it is crazy expensive haha). 

The first brush in the set and the one I was most excited about was the Sculpting brush. Don't fear, even though the set is limited edition this brush has joined the permanent line and is available to purchase individually (yay!). If you are looking for a cheaper alternative to the NARS Ita brush or the MAC 168 brush then this is the one for you. This brush features a wide, angles head specially designed to help create defined contours and paired with the Charlotte Tilbury Film Star Bronze and Glow it offers you glorious contoured cheek bones in seconds - they are a one true pairing! 

The second brush in the collection that really stole my heart was the Fan brush as I currently don't own any Fan styles in my brush collection. Unfortunately, this is a set exclusive brush and Real Techniques currently do not sell this one individually (sobs), however, even thought that is the case I don't see why they wouldn't offer it eventually in the future. Fan brushes are perfect for softly sweeping highlighter on the tops of your cheekbones, down the bridge of your nose and also sweeping away any excess makeup for an even finish. Alternatively, this could also be a rather fabulous contour brush for a quick chiseled look down the nose and on the cheek bones. I have watched a few Gigi Gorgeous videos where she uses a fan brush to contour and it is genius - this brush can do it all!

Finally but certainly not least we have the glorious Setting brush which is a small, precise and fluffy brush that is perfect for setting small areas around the face and adding a controlled amount of highlighter to the cheekbones. This is a permanent line bush that has become a holy grail for me and you can see me using it in my recent 'GRWM' video. I use this brush on a day-to-day basis for setting my under eye concealer with my beloved Bare Minerals Well Rested - they go hand in ahead together perfectly. Even though this is a brush I already own in my collection I am so glad I have a spare in my collection as I feel this would also make a great eyeshadow brush (quick sweep application) and also a precise contour brush similar to the MAC 109. 

I hope you all enjoyed today's post, I would love to hear your thoughts on the Real Techniques Sculpting set. Contouring and achieving that Kim K inspired look has been a massive trend for the past few years so if you are looking for the right affordable tools to help you achieve that then this brush set is going to be your new best friend! I haven't been able to stop using them! Like always lovelies, if you have any questions, requests or if you just want a chat you can contact me on my social media or leave me a comment below. I love hearing from you all and I make sure to read every single comment…they really make my day!

What are your thoughts on the Sculpting Set? 

Lots of Love
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