Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Review: Legally Blonde: The Musical

Legally Blonde The Musical Review

For something a little bit different, I thought I'd review a musical I saw recently - Legally Blonde. Everyone's seen the 2001 film starring Reese Witherspoon (and if you haven't, where have you been?!) so you'll probably know the plot already - sorority girl Elle Woods follows her ex-boyfriend Warner to Harvard Law School to get him back after he dumped her. There are a few minor differences in the musical, but none of these differences are jarring.

First thing to say is that I personally have already seen Legally Blonde: The Musical multiple times via the MTV recording of the Broadway show on YouTube, starring Laura Bell Bundy (who became as iconic in the role as Reese Witherspoon). I get periodically obsessed with watching it, but usually skip to my favourite bits, partly because it's over two hours long, but also because (despite my love for this musical) there are one or two songs I find a bit 'meh' - although none of the songs are bad.

I've also seen it on stage in the flesh before as well, back in 2015 in Aberystwyth, starring Rebecca Stenhouse as Elle Woods. So having seen it before, I was curious to see how this version would compare. I love Lucie Jones (known from The X Factor and for being our Eurovision representative this year) and was really curious to see what her Elle Woods would be like. Sadly, Lucie was off sick on the night, but Rebecca Stenhouse (who usually plays Margot) was on hand to step in, and she did amazingly well. While it's a shame to not see Lucie perform, I found Rebecca even more impressive as Elle than she was in Aberystwyth in 2015. She has a beautiful voice and if she was nervous about any part of stepping in to play Elle, you certainly couldn't tell.

There are certain notes in certain songs where I felt a bit nervous for the actor because I know they're difficult: the final, long note in 'So Much Better' which is held for about 16 seconds, and the high note Vivian sings at the end of 'Legally Blonde Remix'. Both were incredible. Laura Harrison as Vivian nails that note spectacularly, while Rebecca made the 16 second note look easy - I just wish she had done a 'yeah!' jump at the end in the same way Elle usually does at the end of 'So Much Better'. It's an iconic song and I loved Rebecca's pure joy in the role of Elle.

Also, I have to give huge credit to Helen Petrovna, who played Brooke. In her main song, 'Whipped Into Shape', which opens Act 2, she literally sings whilst exercising with a skipping rope. Yep. I have no idea how she does it, but she does it effortlessly.


(Seeing Rebecca Stenhouse in her usual role as Margot in this trailer is strange for me!)

The only thing I was slightly underwhelmed by was the sets - some set changes could be smoother and Elle's friends have to stand in the court scene, but your enjoyment is by no means spoiled. A few other minor points are to do with the song 'Positive': Elle's friend Serena sings that 'both her (Vivian) hair and shoes are flat' but Vivian is wearing heels, and there was an awkward pause where the line would be 'you and he will reunite'. I thought this was a mistake at first but then later on it was left out again in the medley - seems like a strange line to skip?

Anywho, Rita Simons, known for playing Roxy in Eastenders, was absolutely hilarious as Paulette (my friend Milly particularly loved 'Ireland' - with its brilliant lines ('I'm not sure where this metaphor's going') and Bill Ward, known for playing Charlie in Coronation Street, makes a memorable and suitably snake-like Professor Callahan. I never knew either of these soap stars could sing so well! The hot UPS guy was definitely a scene stealer, even if does use a strange pronunciation of 'route' (like 'rowt').

And the dogs! Anyone who knows me knows I love dogs, and the two in Legally Blonde are adorable.They're not on stage that often, but when they are, both dogs receive a lot of love.

It wouldn't be fair to do a review on Legally Blonde: The Musical without mentioning how hilarious it is. I'm used to the delivery of certain lines being a certain way due to the fact I've watched the Broadway one so much, and the cast didn't disappoint - especially in 'Gay or European', which had everybody laughing their heads off. The show doesn't take itself too seriously, it's joyful and silly and especially good for otherwise dreary Mondays (I went to see it on a Monday) or for getting the weekend started with a blast on the Friday! At the end the cast donned pink graduation outfits (it was a shame they didn't throw their caps into the air actually) and performed a medley of the songs, getting everyone up on their feet clapping along.

Your cheeks will be aching from smiling after seeing Legally Blonde: it's incredibly fun and feel-good. Go see it! I guarantee you'll love it.

Legally Blonde: The Musical is touring the UK until 30 June 2018. (I'm very tempted to go see it again actually!) You can buy your tickets here

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Review: MAC Plumful Lipstick

MAC Plumful Lipstick

Simply looking at my very low tube of Plumful by MAC can tell you that I'm a pretty big fan of this lipstick, but read on to find out more...

So back in 2015, I wrote a blog post about my MAC lipstick collection as it was looking at the time, and explained that I hadn't really reached for Plumful, despite thinking it was a pretty colour. But over the past year I've found myself using it more and more. It's a fail safe, especially for every day wear. I think it might be my all-time favourite MAC lipstick, even beating some of my other favourites like Show Orchid or Ever Hip.

MAC Plumful Lipstick
Plumful swatched

It applies well, has a glossy sheen, and the colour itself is a beautiful plummy-pink (as the name would suggest). It looks much darker in the tube than it does when on the lips, and it lasts pretty well. It doesn't survive food and drink but if you went four hours without eating or drinking anything messy I think it would last.

I think the colour is really nice with my pale skin, but it's quite neutral so it would also look very pretty on darker skin tones. Plumful is a lustre finish, which are normally not that pigmented, but actually it's semi-opaque.

MAC Plumful Lipstick
MAC Plumful Lipstick on my lips

All in all I'm extremely happy with this lipstick and think it's worth every penny, however if you're on a budget I do think this is quite a dupeable shade, so it's probably quite easy to find a similar colour on the high street (Glossypolish found some dupes here). I'm definitely going to repurchase it though, when my tube inevitably runs out - and I've never used up a lipstick to the end of a tube before.

MAC Plumful lipstick is £16.50, available on maccosmetics.co.uk.

Have you tried this lipstick? What's your favourite MAC lipstick, or lipstick from any brand?

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

The Perfect Summer Blush: Benefit GALifornia

Benefit GALifornia


Benefit's boxed blushes are pretty much cult products and I was very excited to try my second one - GALifornia, the newest blush in the lineup. I bought it back in February and have applied it almost every day since I started using it (for a while I couldn't bring myself to use it, because it's so beautiful!)

Benefit GALifornia is a beautiful shade of peachy pink (a 'sunny golden pink' as Benefit call it) which really flatters and brightens up my pale skin, and I think it would look gorgeous on a a wide range of skintones. It's bright without being unwearable and is really easy to apply and blend. It's also just the right amount of pigmented, allowing you to easily control how much you want it to show up on your face.

Benefit GALifornia

The packaging is also bright and eye-catching, with 'artwork inspired by vintage California surfer girls', while the actual product is beautifully presented in an Aztec sun design, alongside a gold overspray which fades after a few uses (which is great if you're worried about the product being too shimmery). Benefit has been criticised for always using cardboard packaging, and while it does make it more vulnerable to damage, I personally find the packaging sturdy enough. Included within the box is a built-in mirror and a small, soft brush. Again, most people aren't a fan of these brushes but I actually think it's quite decent, especially for travel (and if you've misplaced/been too lazy to wash your normal blush brush).

Something else I love about this blush is the smell - Benefit describe it as having 'notes of pink grapefruit & vanilla' but to me it smells quite tropical. Either way, it smells amazing, and is another factor that makes a joy to use.

Benefit GALifornia swatch
Benefit GALifornia swatched

I'd also say that GALifornia has good staying power, lasting probably up to eight hours on my skin (so I'd probably need to top it up after a full day at work).

Any downsides?
I think it's quite cheeky of Benefit to shrink the size of their blushes but the keep the price the same* - and at £24.50, it's not exactly cheap. GALifornia is the same price as Benefit's CORALista blush, but you get 3g less product, so that's not great. However, while this blush is expensive, I've already got a lot of use out of it (and it's not showing the slightest dent, as far as I can tell). I think this will be a staple in my makeup bag and I could potentially see myself using it all up. If this happens, I'll definitely feel like I got my money's worth!

To sum up, this is an absolutely stunning blush, especially for summer, so if you feel like treating yourself to a new blush, I'd highly recommend getting this. It looks beautiful and brightening on the skin, lasts well, applies well and smells great. I'm going to be wearing it on my cheeks all summer, and beyond.

Benefit Galifornia is available at FeelUnique, normally £24.50 (but look out for occasional offers to get it cheaper!)

Have you tried this blush? What do you think of Benefit's boxed blushes?

 *It's happening with chocolate too :'( 

Monday, 10 July 2017

My Number One Foundation?



Sorry for the clickbaity title, although it may not be too far from the truth!*

Although I haven't tried that many foundations, out of every single one I have tried I think I've found my favourite, and one that I'm happy to keep using until I feel like trying something new. It trumps even Bourjois' Healthy Mix Foundation and 123 Perfect Colour Correcting cream (reviewed here), as well as YSL's Touche Eclat Foundation (all three of these I still really like and would use). I've also recently repurchased it - something I never usually do with foundations.

Revlon's ColorStay Foundation is one that I'd heard great things about for years from various YouTubers and bloggers, but decided to put to the back of mind to try sometime. I ended up deciding to buy it in December last year, as my No7 Beautifully Matte Foundation (reviewed here) was running out and I needed a new foundation to suit my oily skin (as the aforementioned Bourjois and YSL ones are very good, but don't give me enough coverage or oil control when my skin is breaking out). I think it was also on offer at the time for £3 less than the usual £12.99 in Superdrug, which was a nice extra. 

Something I really like about this foundation is that it comes in two different forms depending on your skin type - normal to dry and combination to oily. When I was swatching the foundation in store back in December, I was trying to decide between the palest shade (which is what I usually am) and the second-palest. The swatch for the lightest shade, Ivory, came up very light - so I took a slight risk and got the next one, Buff. It's perfect for my skintone and it's great to see a foundation offer a good range of shades (13 in all) including one for truly porcelain skin.

But what I find unbeatable about Revlon ColorStay Foundation, compared to other foundations I've tried, is its staying power. Once it's on, it stays put all day - even though:

1. I might be sweating profusely due to a heatwave (sorry, TMI)
2. I have a bad habit of touching my face during the day (especially at work)
3. I rarely use primer or setting powder.

Of course, it does wear off a bit due to these things, as would any foundation, but it still stands to reason that with most foundations, there would be little to no product left on my face at the end of a long, hot day, whereas with this one, it lasts extremely well.

Shade 150 (Buff) swatched
It's also worth noting that it's not a good idea to apply several blobs of this foundation on your face and then blend in - it sets very quickly, so it's better to do a section at a time. Also, it has SPF 15, which means it's ideal for daytime wear - but not so much for nights out if flash photography is involved.

Aside from its great shade match, finish and staying power, this foundation honestly makes me feel a lot better about my face on those really bad skin days. It gives me fantastic coverage and a natural, 'velvet-matte finish' (as Revlon describe). Its packaging isn't anything too fancy, but has a pump dispenser and allows me to see how much product I have left, which I like.

Are there any negatives? Well, I do think it is a bit pricey for a drugstore foundation, at £12.99. However for me it's worth every penny because I'm extremely happy with it overall. I also think that every now and then if I have a dry area on my face (which isn't often) it can look a little bit cakey in that area. So obviously it's a good idea to stick to the normal/dry version if you get dry patches. It also has a relatively strong foundation-y smell, although this doesn't put me off using it at all.

Final thoughts - if you're looking for a new foundation for oily/combination skin that lasts all day, gives you great coverage and looks natural, I'd really recommend Revlon ColorStay. If the £12.99 price tag is a bit steep for you, there are plenty of offers to look out for at Boots/Superdrug throughout the year - for example 3 for 2 offers or a £3 off offer. 

Have you tried this foundation? What's your number one foundation right now? 

*I didn't want to say 'Holy Grail' because idk, it seems a bit cheesy haha

Monday, 16 January 2017

My Contraceptive Implant Experience

Hi everyone and happy 2017!

I know it's been a long time since I last blogged, but I'm back yet again and with something a little different for my first post of 2017...moving aside from beauty/fashion to talk about contraception - because I know from experience, choosing the right type for you can be confusing. So I really hope this is helpful in some way!

I did a post on my contraceptive implant experience over on my other blog, but frankly that post is super long and probably a bit of a slog to read, so I'm going to try and keep it more condensed over here.

Also - like my other post - this may get a little TMI, so sorry about that!

Background info
So in case you didn't know, the implant is a 40mm tube that's inserted under the skin of your upper arm. It works by stopping ovulation and lasts for three years. It's an extremely effective method of contraception (more than 99%) but doesn't protect you from STIs.

So why did I get the implant? The main reasons are:
  • I'm in a long term relationship with my boyfriend (I will say no more...)
  • I don't want to have a baby just yet 
  • I am forgetful and would probably forget to take the pill and freak out about getting pregnant!
Insertion
I had mine inserted on 30th April 2015, so I've had it a while now! I was *really* nervous about the insertion - I am very squeamish, and not good with needles. However I can honestly say that the insertion really isn't much to worry about. It's over very quickly. I looked away and endured the pain of the needle (this is really the worst part, but no worse than any other injection) which numbed my upper arm. I could still feel a little bit of twinging as they actually inserted the implant but then it was over and they bandaged the wound up.

This is what my bruise and wound looked like four days after insertion.
You need to keep the bandage on a few days to keep the wound clean, and in this time my arm did start to feel a bit sore. I also had some bruising around the insertion area (as seen in the picture above) but it wore off quite quickly and I would say the post-insertion pain/bruising I had was very manageable.

My experience from there
I started getting light bleeding around a month after insertion which lasted two weeks - pretty long for a period but it isn't technically a period as I no longer ovulate. This was pretty annoying, and over the next months I had on and off periods that could be around 10-14 days long. These were neither painful nor heavy but it did get on my nerves so I went to my G.P who prescribed Norethisterone (a drug that can be used to delay your period). I took it every day for three weeks then had a week off where I'd bleed - essentially like having a normal period again. I stopped taking it in September 2015 because I was no longer having a period in the week off, and I didn't get any bleeding again for several months. Norethisterone also tends to make my skin break out (and I already get the occasional hormonal breakout on Nexplanon). I went back on it briefly just before my May 2016 holiday to Rhodes as I wanted to be 100% sure I wouldn't bleed.

Now it's kind of the same story - I can go for months without having a period and then bam, I bleed for two weeks - however it's mostly very light. It is quite inconvenient though, and especially so in December when I bled twice with only a week in between, which hadn't happened before. I was hoping I wouldn't be bleeding during my New Year's Eve plans but thankfully it had stopped by then! Depending on how this carries on, I'm hoping I won't need to go back on Norethisterone to control these infrequent periods.

Basically every woman is unique and reacts differently to the implant - some women will be lucky and have no bleeding at all (jealous) while others may be constantly bleeding on/off. There's no way to predict how your body will react to it and no way for me to know when I might next have a bleed so I must carry pads/tampons with me everywhere! (You just know that the one time I forget, I'll bleed.)

Overall thoughts
Aside from the infrequent, annoying periods, I'm really pleased with my experience. The implant is extremely convenient - I won't need to think about contraception until April 2018 when my implant is due for removal and I may or may not get another one there and then. I'm not anxious about becoming pregnant, which is great as I'm anxious about a lot of things, but I know the implant is working and its side effects for me are pretty mild. Like I said, you don't know how your body will react to it, so it's not going to be for everyone, but you never know until you try, and you can easily ask for Norethisterone to control crazy bleeding, or ask for the implant to be removed at any time.

Thanks for reading and I hope this was helpful and not too long! For professional advice on the implant, please take a look at the NHS website.

If you have the implant I'd love to read your thoughts, and feel free to ask me any questions below in the comments as well :)

Sabrina xxx 

Monday, 25 July 2016

Recent Beauty Buys


Hi everyone, hope you're all well! Today I have a post on some items I snapped up from Superdrug the other day, yet again in one of those times where you go in to buy an essential and end up buying some things you didn't really need...in my case, I can (sort of but not really) justify it as I haven't purchased much new makeup so far this year at all - I've been trying to use up what I have and then only buy the makeup I need (a new mascara every six months is fair game, right?) and save money, and this plan is going well for the most part!

Anyway, having picked up my essential items I noticed that Superdrug were doing a 3 for 2 offer across all makeup, so you can guess what happened next...

As a side note, I like it when the 3 for 2 isn't restricted to one brand! I don't always find it easy to pick three things I'd like from just the one brand. Anyway, the first thing I picked up was the Bourjois Radiance Reveal Concealer in Ivory.

Bourjois Radiance Reveal Concealer in Ivory
Bourjois Radiance Reveal Concealer in Ivory packaging and swatch

I didn't really need a new concealer that much so I have no excuse for this but I do like trying new ones as I have terrible dark circles and get spots quite often (although with this one I don't think I'd use it on spots, as I don't want to add radiance there and draw attention to them!) I love Bourjois for foundation (I reviewed their 123 Perfect CC Cream in my last post) and had heard great things about this new edition to their range of concealers, so I thought I'd give it a go. The shade ivory is probably the lightest shade and is a reasonably good match for my skin tone. It's also said to be a great dupe of, or at least a similar product to, the NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer, which I've tried and really like but can't afford to repurchase! This Bourjois one comes in quite fancy packaging for drugstore/high street and has a sponge tip applicator. It's a bit more than I'd usually like to spend on a drugstore concealer, at £7.99, but this is still pretty good considering the NARS offering is now £22.50. Anyway, I might come back with my thoughts on this after I've used it for a while! 

The next thing I got in the 3 for 2 deal is one of the new Rimmel Kate Moss 15 Year Anniversary Lipsticks in the shade Boho Nude. These lipsticks have been launched to celebrate 15 years of Kate Moss being the face of Rimmel, and come in gorgeous rose gold packaging which I adore. It caught my eye instantly and is definitely making its way to my Instagram...



There are three nudes and three reds in the collection and unfortunately I couldn't swatch any of them as my local Superdrug only had the sealed ones at the Rimmel section (I have mixed feelings about Superdrug using these stickers. On the one hand, they're great because it means you can be sure no one's been in and touched the makeup before you bought it. On the other hand, they're a pain in the arse to remove.) that is, until I was standing in the queue for the till and spotted a nearby mini-Rimmel stand which had a few testers. I'd already put Boho Nude in my basket after looking up swatches of it and deciding to take a risk, but when I saw the tester I gave it a quick swatch to actually confirm that I liked it.

It's a bit of a brown-toned nude, so I wasn't sure if it would suit me (I haven't really tried the recent brown lipstick trend, but I'm pretty sure it wouldn't suit me at all!) but it's unlike any other lipstick I own so I thought I'd try it. I've worn it once and my first impressions are pretty good - it smells lovely (a similar smell to my other Rimmel Kate lipstick...I don't know how to explain it. It just smells good) has a great formula, and looks quite nice. It was £6.49 which I think is reasonable, especially considering the fancy packaging.


The final makeup item I got was a Maybelline EyeStudio Color Tattoo 24hr Cream Gel Eyeshadow in Creamy Beige. I've been meaning to pick up another one of these for ages (I already own one in the shade Pink Gold) and decided to get this as my free item in the 3 for 2 - it's £4.99 otherwise.


It's not a daring colour or anything but more of a good everyday basic brown eyeshadow that will last all day and can also be used as a good base for other eyeshadows. As you can tell from the name, these eyeshadows promise to last 24 hours - I don't know about that, but they do have brilliant staying power and are just generally really great quality and stay put. They have some really bright and more interesting shades as well which look nice but I thought I'd get more wear out of this shade.

Moving on to skincare, I needed a new cleanser and moisturiser so after a bit of deliberation (looking for ratings or reviews using the free wifi) I decided to try Superdrug's own brand Tea Tree range. They had lots of cleansers to choose from but I got the Foaming Face Wash. The range had a '2 for £5 deal' on so I also got the Tea Tree Moisturising Face Cream. You only get 30ml with the moisturiser which I thought was quite small, and both products are £3.29 normally so the 2 for £5 deal is pretty good. I've only been using these for a few days but so far I quite like them, they may not have worked miracles on my spots but they work well at getting the jobs done of washing and moisturising my face - the latter leaves my face feeling nice and smooth without being greasy at all.

I always find it a bit funny how Superdrug offer a '100% happiness guaranteed' deal with their own brand skincare - if you're not 100% happy, they'll give you a full refund and 25% off your next own brand purchase. So I could just go back to the shop and say "I'm only 99% happy with this" and they'll give me this offer? Also, it's so cheap I don't think anyone would actually bother with the offer unless it was really convenient for them to do it/they wouldn't feel awkward/they really really hated the product. But I digress...another good thing about these products is that they're both paraben free and cruelty free, which I like!

Sort of sticking to skincare (only it's skincare for the body) I decided to try a new body scrub. My local Superdrug didn't have a huge range to choose from so I was tempted to leave it and get one from the Body Shop or somewhere instead but then I saw the Palmers Cocoa Body Scrub, which was on offer for £3.29 instead of £4.99.  I've not tried anything from Palmers before but thought they're meant to be a pretty good brand for body products and this one sounded good -"This unique formula contains pure Cocoa Butter, Shea Butter, Vitamin E and natural crushed cocoa beans which moisturise, refine and polish skin." 

I've used it once and so far I really like it, it does really well at exfoliating and moisturising your skin and smells AMAZING. Just like chocolate. I kind of want to eat it, but that probably wouldn't be a good idea. I'm sometimes a bit too lazy to use body scrubs but with this one I think I'll enjoy using it!

That's it! Hope you enjoyed my ramblings about buying some new beauty things, which I probably didn't need but what the heck...treat yo self.

What have you treated yo self to recently? :)

Sabrina xx

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Review: Bourjois 123 Perfect Colour Correcting Cream



Hello! So...guess who's back, back again. I can't believe it's been three months since I last posted here. ('I have a few posts in mind' I said, before disappearing again...) But here I am, with a review of a 'colour correcting cream' (basically foundation) I've been trying recently. Bourjois 123 Perfect Colour Correcting Cream constantly receives positive reviews, and despite not really needing a new foundation, I gave in to the hype and decided to try it. Bourjois in general seems like a great high street/drugstore choice for foundations - I've mentioned before how I love the original Healthy Mix Foundation and have used up loads of it. I have heard that they're owned by the same company who owns Chanel, whose foundations are supposed to be pretty good, so maybe we're actually getting pretty much the same products in different packaging?

Anyway, like the Healthy Mix Foundation, it claims to contain '3 colour correcting pigments':


  • Apricot for radiance
  • Melon for hydration
  • Apple to protect your youth

  • The Boots website also says that 'it is also enriched with crystalline pigments to even out the complexion while letting in the natural light for that healthy looking glow.'

    I don't really know what they're on about with colour correcting and crystalline pigments, but I can definitely agree that it makes your skin look radiant and healthy. As someone with blemish-prone skin I was concerned it wouldn't give me enough coverage, but it definitely gives you a decent amount - not too light but not full on either.

    This foundation is gorgeous - it never looks cakey or unnatural, it just makes your skin still look like skin, but better. I've found that it looks a bit nicer blended in with my fingers than with a brush. It has an oil-free formula, which is great for people with combination to oily skin.

    Another thing I've noticed about this product is how well it lasts - I have somewhat oily skin but the foundation stays on even after a long and possibly hot day, and even without a primer or powder. It doesn't really give any claims about longevity apart from that it will give you 24 hour hydration...which is tricky, because no one wears their foundation that long! But I have been impressed with the staying power - it may even stay on longer than my No7 Beautifully Matte Foundation (reviewed here) which claims to last 14 hours. 

    As usual with Bourjois foundations, the shades on offer have a yellow undertone.
    A swatch of the ivory shade
    Luckily this doesn't translate into looking like a Simpsons character when you apply it. My shade (ivory) is the lightest and is unfortunately probably going to be too dark for any super pale ladies - I'm hoping I'll be able to get away with it in the winter, but for now it's perfect. I've already worn this foundation loads and can see myself reaching for it a lot more, although on days where my skin is looking particularly awful and I need a higher coverage I'll still use the No7 Beautifully Matte.

    Overall, this is a great base for summer - lightweight, with SPF 15 (though you'll probably want to apply a higher factor on your face on really hot days) and natural-looking. Definitely worth the hype in my opinion.

    Bourjois 123 Perfect Colour Correcting Cream is £9.99 from Boots/Superdrug and is often on offer with a '3 for 2 on Bourjois' deal. I got mine in a 2 for £14 deal along with Bourjois Volume Glamour Push Up Waterproof mascara.

    Hope this was helpful for anyone thinking of buying this foundation! :)

    Sabrina xx

     

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