The Dummies Guide To Makeup Brushes

 Who needs makeup brushes when you can use your fingers right? 


The thing with makeup brushes is, they don’t just apply the makeup; they can achieve a make-up artist look. With the right tools, our makeup regime can become effortless: we can use less product, blend, sculpt and perfect our faces.

We can dream!  Pic from L'oreal

We can dream!
Pic from L’oreal

But as we know, makeup brushes can be daunting with their different uses, shapes, sizes and types.

And my first experiences with makeup brushes were disastrous.

With every sweep, I’d have bristles on my face instead of foundation. Instead of having a so desired ‘airbrushed’ look, you could actually see the brush strokes on my face. NOT COOL.

So I thought today, I’d try and decode makeup brushes and their uses… to make it a little easier for you makeup brush newbies, and to avoid any BMD’s (bad makeup days)!

When you are thinking about buying yourself makeup brushes, you need to ask yourself these questions:

Which brush is right for me?!

First things first, think about the types of makeup you use. Liquid and cream makeup will require different brush materials than powder makeup. Natural brush fibres (such as horse, squirrel etc)  are best for the powder products as they trap the makeup better, meaning more product on your skin rather than lost in the air! Synthetic fibres (taklon or other man-made materials) are best for liquid or cream products. Synthetic fibres are also much easier to clean, meaning less bacteria, and kinder for people who suffer from animal allergies! So if you have sensitive skin, it is probably best sticking to synthetic.

Personally, I hate the thought of an animal dying for the sake of a makeup brush so regardless of the end product, I’d never buy a natural brush. So I guess another question you need to ask yourself is… how animal friendly are you? ha ha..

Squirrel hair is extremely soft, and most popular with makeup artists... who knew!

Squirrel hair is extremely soft, and most popular with makeup artists… who knew!

My personal favourites are the taklon brushes. They are what I’d like to call… superior synthetic brushes. They are manufactured to mimic the properties of a natural brush without the obvious cruelty factor. They are ultra soft, and like the natural brushes give a more flawless finish. And they feel great on your face – always a bonus.

How much coverage do I like?

Second of all, you need to ask yourself the type of face coverage you would like because each coverage demands a different brush density. For example, I like a lighter coverage with my liquid foundation, so I use a stippling brush because the looser brushes create a light, airbrushed finish. In contrast, if I were to seek a medium to high coverage, a flat foundation brush would be better because the flat denser brush means it will cover the skin rather than being buffed into it. Basically, the higher the coverage you want, the denser the brush you need.

Flat brush vs Stippling Brush: Which do you prefer?

Flat brush vs Stippling Brush: Which do you prefer?

What are you using the brush for?

Different brushes have different uses, which seems fairly obvious, but I feel that it is worth investing in a few key brushes rather than using one ‘do-it-all’ brush. As you can see from the picture below the blush brush is purposefully angled in that way to ‘sculpt’ your face, creating contours where there may be none. Another example is the eyeshadow blending brush, it is sparse  (not very dense) to smudge and scatter rather than apply. If you aren’t so confident about reading makeup brushes in this way, the only thing I can recommend is research, research, research! Most online stores will tell you what the brushes are good for, or if you prefer, ask the sales assistants in store.

Key makeup brushes, great for beginners!

Key makeup brushes, great for beginners!

Expensive >/= inexpensive?

Do not fall for the big brand trap! There are PLENTY of good makeup brushes on the market without using all of your hard-earned cash! Personally, I love ecotools as they apply flawlessly with very little effort on my part but I’ve also heard equally as amazing things about the realtechniques brushes. They were designed by Samantha Chapman (a makeup god) and so you know you can trust them! And they’re made from taklon (hurrah)!

This is the real techniques EYE starter kit, buy this and you won't need anything else to do eye makeup!

This is the real techniques EYE starter kit, buy this and you won’t need anything else to do eye makeup!

So in summary, think about why you are buying the makeup brushes. What product are you using them with? What sort of makeup do you want to achieve? I think the best advice I can give is to research what the brushes are good for before you buy them and read reviews! There is always something new on the market, and I can guarantee you that even the most experienced of makeup artists still research brushes every now and then 😉

I hope this has cleared some of the mystery of makeup brushes and their uses, and if you have any of your own makeup tips, feel free to comment 🙂 you might save someone from the odd BMD!


‘The Perks of Being a Wallflower’ novel review

‘Even if we don’t have the power to choose where we come from, we can still choose where we go from there.’

I love the cover!

I love the cover!

*WARNING: Do not read this book if you are heart-broken, overtly-cynical or just plain miserable. It might just push you over the edge!


Charlie thought that people didn’t notice him. He felt invisible: a spectator to his own life. But tomorrow he had to start high-school, and he vowed that year was going to be different. So, he started to write letters to this ‘friend’, a ‘friend’ whom he’s never met, and who’s never met him. Little did he know, that people would notice him at school, and he was soon to be let in.

It’s here that we’re introduced to snippets of his past and it’s clear that Charlie’s personality has been shaped by it. He misses his Aunt Helen, whom he remembers as his favourite person in the whole world. His lifelong friend, Michael, died unexpectedly. Rumour has it, that the neighbours heard a gunshot. And the rumours are usually right. But the thing with Charlie is, his most painful memories are hard to remember.

Cue high school. Despite Charlie’s promise to himself, things start off the same. His first ‘friend’ is called Bill. Bill is his advanced English teacher.

So things are the same, until he meets ‘Nobody’ (Patrick) and Sam. They too, are misfits, but more popular ones. They introduce Charlie to unchartered territory: the world of first dates, college parties, The Rocky Horror Picture Show and Charlie’s most cherished experience, friendship. As the letters go on, they become more exciting. Yet Charlie is torn from wanting to experience the world… and wanting to run from it.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower is an unforgettable read. Charlie’s voice is naive and full of innocence, and so you don’t expect the hard-hitting themes that feature throughout. What seems more disturbing is the way he puts it so matter-of-factly; as if he feels that this is just how the world is. We almost grow up with him, as we see people for who they are, not for what they seem.

This links in with the second factor; the twists and turns will take you by surprise. As an avid reader, I thought that I’d seen, heard and read it all. But I hadn’t. And the final twist did not just shock me… It affected me. And it took a whole lot of Ben & Jerrys ice cream for me to recover.

Yet, Chbosky writing style is optimistic, and at some points.. uplifting. Charlie’s take on each person he sees is inspiring. He knows that one day, our experiences will be a story, our faces an old photograph, and that one day, people will look at us and think: how did their life go? I have never come across so many lines that I’ve thought ‘I must quote this!’… so here’s one to tease you with:

This moment will be another story one day.’ 


The DIY hair revival mask

Revives your hair? Check. Minimal cost? Yes please!

So this week, I wanted to try out a natural-remedy hair mask. Not only are they extremely cheap to make, it’s also fun to do! My hair is naturally coarse and frizzy thanks to my Mediterranean heritage AND I am a GHD-addict. So as you can imagine, it is difficult to maintain healthy, super-shiny locks that I so crave! But, I found a little recipe that did make a surprising difference in my hair condition. My hair was also easier to manage afterwards.

Pssstt… Miranda Kerr uses honey and olive oil in her hair too! If it’s good enough for her, it’s good enough for me!

Lovely, shiny hair!

Lovely, shiny hair!

The first thing you want to determine is your hair type, because the mask’s ingredients will vary accordingly. Do your research! For my hair type: honey, olive oil and lemon seemed to have the best properties.

Olive oil is the thing to use if you have dry or frizzy hair as it smooths out the hair follicles without leaving buildup; buildup would be found in heavier, chemical treatments and it makes hair limp and dull. I hear you, thats the last thing we want! I recommend using extra virgin olive oil as this type has the highest levels of vitamin E. Vitamin E should quicken the rate of  hair growth. Fingers crossed!

Olive oil for hair

I also added honey because it’s a natural humecdant, (meaning it attracts moisture) and has healing properties – perfect for heat damaged hair! Yep, looking in your direction GHDs. And honey doesn’t just smooth the hair follicle ladies, it gives the scalp an anti-bacterial wash. This will prevent dandruff and lessen hair loss. One thing to bear in mind with honey is that it will slightly lighten hair colour. I’m not complaining.

So I bet you’re wondering, why the lemon? I want to say that it has healing properties but that would be lying. Simply put, it was for vain purposes. Lemon is a natural hair lightener – my hair is nearly black and I’m too scared to make the plunge at the hairdressers haha :). It did lighten my hair slightly, but nothing too noticeable.


What I did:

I mixed 2 tbsp of honey with 2 tbsp of olive oil. Then I squeezed in half a lemon and whisked this until it was smooth – bear with this, it takes a bit of effort. You could warm the olive oil first (make sure it isn’t hot though) as this will aid the whisking process. Do NOT heat the honey. Then, I applied the mask onto damp hair and wrapped my hair into a towel. After about half an hour of tea dunking and watching a Friends episode, I washed it out! And tah dah! Smoother and easier to style hair.

You will probably have to shampoo your hair twice as the honey did not want to come out! But after you’ve done this your hair will be silky smooth and easier to manage. You should aim to do this once a week, your hair will thank you!

Chlorella: The Victoria Secret Angels’… Secret!

Miranda Kerr and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley swear by it? Check. Disease prevention? Check. Reduces body fat and slows ageing? Check. I’m IN.

RHW enjoying her superdrink packed with Chlorella!

RHW enjoying her superdrink packed with Chlorella!

The Angels have enviable skin, bodies, hair, lifestyles, husbands… the list goes on. And yet, we might be a step closer to attaining at least some of those things! Though the Angels team Chlorella with yoga and regular gym sessions, they both wouldn’t go without this ‘secret health weapon’. And, when you look at the health and beauty benefits, it’s no wonder.

Shhhh…. Chlorella’s anti ageing properties have dubbed it the new Creme De La Mer.

What is it?

Chlorella is a completely natural algae which is found in fresh water. It possesses an abundance of amino acids, nutrients and protein: twice as much protein than spinach! Chlorella has also been used to treat cancer and to protect the body from the effects of radiation treatment, proof of it’s superfood status.

Health Benefits:

According to Nadia Brydon, whom is a senior therapist in complementary medicine at Breast Cancer Haven, magnesium is one of nature’s antidepressants. And funnily enough, Chlorella is packed full of it. This means it fights and prevents mental illness, such as stress and depression. Chlorella can also prevent colds and other diseases as it boosts your immune system! Other benefits include boosted energy (due to its high iron levels), reduced body fat percentage, lower blood glucose levels and aided digestion. It is also supposed to improve your quality of sleep, which is always welcome in my book!

Yep, I'll take Miranda's hair please!

Yep, I’ll take Miranda’s hair please!

Beauty Benefits:

And to go with that healthy interior, we need a healthy – glowing – exterior… Chlorella improves skin firmness, tone and improves circulation. Improved skin firmness is key to wrinkle prevention. Better circulation will help decrease skin pigmentation, which accounts for dark circles under your eyes. Chlorella also promotes healthy hair and reduces body fat: meaning a leaner, trimmer you!

Healthy nails, happy you!

Chlorella is aid nail growth and prevent them splitting! Healthy nails, happy you!

I’ve already ordered mine and I’ll do a review on it in about two months time – I want to give it long enough to really see the extent of the benefits. Tablet form is by far the easiest way to get your intake of Chlorella and it is widely and cheaply available. Let me know what you guys think too! Have you tried Chorella?

Creating a capsule wardrobe

As a young teen, this ‘capsule wardrobe’ malarky was something I really struggled with; I bought & bought & bought, but I struggled to put things together. But now, I spend less and have more. Adding a little thought can increase your outfit scope endlessly, and here’s how:

1. The Blazer

A blazer is such a versatile piece; it can take a day outfit to night, it can transform a work wardrobe to a fashionable one and it is a big trend for Spring 2013. Personally, I’d go for something fitted and classic and I definitely advise you to look at the colour schemes in your wardrobe. Black might seem the safe option but take note at how Miranda Kerr’s mustard blazer brightens up her outfit.

Miranda Kerr's blazer makes her outfit seem more effortless chic and wouldn't be out of place shopping or in a bar

Miranda Kerr’s blazer makes her outfit seem more effortless chic and wouldn’t be out of place shopping or in a bar

2. A classic winter coat

As tempting as it is to splurge on the latest season coat, think about the future. Stylist Louise Roe advises to ‘look for pieces that will translate into the next season’. I recommend a trench coat; they are timeless and flatter most body shapes (due to the belted waist).

3. A collared blouse

I know what you’re thinking… why so specific? Here’s why: A collared blouse will spruce up even the plainest knitwear: and of course is perfect for spring and summer. Here’s some inspiration…

Shhhh…. Monochrome is a key trend for Spring-Summer 2013

4. Cosy knitwear

Oh so comfortable, I live in knitwear. Especially since the English weather is set to drop to -15 very soon.. *sobs! Knitwear is off duty style, just what you need for those cold mornings. My advice is to team loose-fitting knitwear with skinny jeans or a pencil skirt, as otherwise you risk looking too boxy.

5. Printed scarf

Scarves can add interest to plain outfits, which is perfect if you are pattern shy. Or if you can’t be bothered (me most mornings). I love Alexander McQueen’s skull scarves but I’m on a student budget! Luckily River Island have a few variations; at a wallet friendly price.

Olsen rocking Alexander McQueen

Olsen rocking Alexander McQueen

6. The Power Trouser

Define power trouser: The trouser that shouts… take me seriously! They’re all about high structure, straight leg and tailoring. Great for your work wardrobe and can be dressed down with a printed blouse. The power trouser can take you straight from work into a bar.

7. The Pencil Skirt

Pencil skirts are very flattering on most body shapes and are having quite the moment. I found Topshop had a large variety of prints with a fair price tag. But be warned: if you are bottom heavy, I would go for block colour rather than print; draw the eye to your favourite part of your body.

Yes, she is my ultimate style icon..

Yes, she is my ultimate style icon..

Shhhh… Pencil skirts are bang on trend for Spring 2013

8. Skinny jeans!

Hi. I’m Ayla. And I am a skinny jean junkie. It’s so bad that I have the very same jean in blue, black, grey, red and polka dot. They are so versatile and it is so easy to incorporate them into outfits; they have become the staple of my university life. Right now, I roll them up at the bottom and team them with my fierce ankle boots. Easy – I haven’t tried – chic.

9. Midi dress

I chose the midi dress specifically as they can be an outfit choice in all temperatures, which is exactly what you need in England. Plus, the midi dress vertically extends the silhouette and lengthens the legs. In the winter, rock the dress with a biker jacket, sheer tights and chunky boots. In the summer, choose espadrilles and a cheeky floppy hat.

10. Ankle boots

Protect your feet from the cold! My biggest tip for ankle boots is ensuring they are slim fitting at the ankle; this is the thinnest part of a females leg, it will be the difference between ‘to die for’ legs or chunky looking legs. Choose wisely!

11. Nude heels

Yes, okay, black heels are the safe option. But sometimes, they’re a little – office wear. I much prefer nude heels, they are just as versatile and make your legs look longer. Double win!

I have these beauties!

I have these beauties!

Top Tip! If you match your shoe and handbag, it will tie the whole outfit together…

Top Christmas Picks (For her)

Christmas panic sweeps the nation! Have you guys finished buying your gifts for everyone? If not, don’t you worry. I’ve devised a wallet-friendly unique couple of things to get the ladies in your life. Take note!


1. Marc Jacobs Iphone Case range: Start price $34

Who could resist this little cutie?

Marc Jacobs Iphone Case $48..

Marc Jacobs Iphone Case $48..

2. Boo plush: Urban Outfitters – £24

Dawg, I’m jealous of your fro!

Boo, from internet sensation to cuddly toy!

Boo, from internet sensation to cuddly toy!

3. Sarah Heart Onesie: £30

To protect her from the cold, and look adorable at the same time!

Who doesn't love a onesie?

Who doesn’t love a onesie?

4. NARs Andy Warhol Edie Set: £54

This palate colour range is subtle, so it will suit both the makeup lover and the makeup shy, perfect for achieving the natural beauty look.

Edie SetNARS Andy Warhol

Edie SetNARS Andy Warhol

5. Afternoon Tea!

It isn’t all about presents you know, experiences are great gifts  too. Afternoon tea is a luxury; she’ll get to drink from vintage looking china, eat a lotta sugar… and the best part? She won’t have to lift a finger!

This was Afternoon Tea at The Bluebell in Henley in Arden

This was Afternoon Tea at The Bluebell in Henley in Arden


Crazy people I’ve met on a train – Part 2

So guys, as you know I have a pretty long commute to uni every day. I also must have a stamp on my forehead which says ‘Vulnerable!’ or ‘crazy people welcome!’ or something, because I’ve been approached, again.

See previous post: here

This culprit was a weedy, goofy-looking guy. There I am, trying to finish a uni book that I hadn’t started – for my next seminar, oopsie – when I can feel myself being looked at. I was only 2 pages into my 324 page book. At this point, I’m trying really hard, well hard-ish, to  read some of it. Yet, it’s distracting being stared at.

*Disclaimer: I’m not normally this ‘last minute’ with uni-work, I realise I’ve probably put off any potential employers who might be reading this. *SOBS

Anyway! At long last my train came. Finally! I can be rid of this menace! As I slalomed through the crowds, it happened. He followed me down the platform. Great. He had advanced from annoying to disturbing.

Just as I thought I’d shook him off, he comes and sits beside me. WHY! A potential few rows of empty seats were before us, but no. And his first line was: ‘you’re a second year at Coventry Uni, right?’.

*Advances to stalker level.

At this point a few questions ran through my mind.

1. How does he know this?!

2. PLEASE PLEASE GOD, tell me he doesn’t go to Coventry Uni.

3. How will I ever finish this book now! Arhhh!

How I felt.

With the purpose of him getting the hint, I channelled the ‘reading my book’ stance. Every turn of the page was exaggerated, I was much closer than is deemed normal to my book. But no. He spoke at me for the whole twenty minutes of the journey – despite my clear disinterest and lack of replies.

In this time, he told me: ‘I’ve been to prison for 7 years, don’t worry, it wasn’t murder or rape.’ CODE RED.

At long last, we pulled into New Street station. I ran to the door praying it would open quicker. Then he asks:

‘Which train are you getting next?’

To which I replied: ‘I’m not, I’m waiting for a friend first,‘ (100% made up).

‘Oh okay, I’ll wait with you!’…


So now I didn’t care whether I offended this freak or not. I walked as fast as my little legs would take me to the next train – obviously not waiting for this made up friend. But nope, this guy ignored all hints. He ran beside me, still jabbering away. He then whistles over a gang of his friends – why would a person like this have friends ! – and introduces me as his ‘hometown girl’ … WHAT THE HELL.

I walk away again.

But no. He ditches his friends and follows me onto my carriage. Onto the second train. Another 20 minutes of my life, pestered away.

I managed to shake him off after getting off the train. But he goes to my uni, so I just hope he leaves/is kicked out/never sees me.

I’ll keep my stalker radar on for the time being!

Pets: Captive or feral?

In my nineteen years, I have often wondered the fate of household pets.

Whilst I was young, I used to think that pets lived in the lap of luxury. For example, our neighbours cat begs at our door – after the neighbours have fed him – pretending that he has never tasted a morsel of food. His persistent flattery means that we usually give in.  We don’t even have a cat so he gets milk, (this is much better I assume than that meat-subsitute mush) which is very naughty of us… But lets keep it as our secret eh? And once he’s fed, he’s off. We try and convince ourselves that he popped by for the affection, ‘come on sis, he just missed us!’ but deep down we know the truth…

The overly pampered feline: Magic

So as I was saying, dogs, with one little paw shake can have endless amounts of treats and affection. When we handshake it’s often in response to a boring business meeting, and we very seldom get praise: at work, at home, from our parents…

In terms of activity, pets don’t have to work, they just roam their ‘territory’ (because lets face it, it has not been your house since they totted their way in) placing themselves wherever they see fit but no you don’t move them, because they are comfortable. In the hierarchy of the house, the pet comes top, the humans come last. Plus their whole life is ‘leisure time’, how could you not envy that?!

It’s a cats life

But then, as I’ve aged, I’ve realised that there is more to life.

It seems cruel to me that some household pets have no companions. Yeah ok, they have their owners but would we want to be friends with our boss? Hell no. Surely they want their own kind to sniff or annoy? When it comes down to it, they live quite solitary lives, under our control in the same four walls. This is where I come to the point of my article.

I went on holiday just over a month ago, and it seemed that the only animals which populated the area were not pets, but just loose on the street. Though they weren’t tame, they weren’t unfriendly. They had the freedom of the country to roam and do as they please in their make-shift packs (often we saw a group which consisted of a labrador, rottweiler and a schnauser.. who’d have thought)!

A very healthy looking stray

The people here took sympathy on these wandering animals and would feed them, and give them water. Each shop had a bowl outside their door which they would put in food and water. I’ve never seen happier looking animals.

I understand that a wild animal has a harder life, no veterinary care and has to survive day to day. But, this is how nature intended. I used to feel pity towards the roaming, animals but now I’m not so sure. They seem content, they always have companions and with a little help from the locals, don’t seem to be too skinny.

A nosy stray

Yet, saying this, I don’t want you guys to throw out your pets! I just think that since we’ve bred these animals to be household companions, new guidelines should be put into place for their quality of life. I think they should be exercised in terms of their size and breed and that this should be compulsory. If you are going to have a household pet, it should have the same priorities as the family members. It should have companions, physical and mental exercise.

What do you think? Should an animal be kept as a household pet?

‘The Time of my Life’ review

If your life was a person… what would he/she look like?

My version of the book,

Would it be an enthusiastic, happy and fun-loving individual? Or would it be tired, run-down and (dare I say it) boring?

This is the fabulous concept Cecelia Ahern has created in her book ‘The Time of my Life’. If you live well and make good choices, your ‘Life’ is happy and healthy. But, if you make bad choices, your ‘Life’ will hunt you down. (I make it sound like a murder mystery ha ha) This is the case in The Time of My Life’ as the main character Lucy Silchester is a selfish, lazy recluse and her life has had enough. He feels taken for granted, so much so that he orders a meeting with her to kick her back into shape, in the hardest, most embarrassing way possible.

After all: Life has a way of getting what it wants when it really knows what it wants.”

What I liked:

Magical realism

Sometimes with magical realism, the concepts can be farfetched and can detract from the narrative of the novel. But with Ahern’s novel, this is not the case. She ties the magic with everyday occurrences, which makes the plot believable and familiar. Ahern makes the life/person concept so convincing that she had me thinking exactly how my Life would look (I’m hoping attractive and fun-loving haha), how it would affect my ‘Life’ physically if I made a bad decision and whether they would want to meet me!


As a character, Lucy Silchester is so funny! Think of all the insults you think but don’t say: ‘nosy b*tch Louise’. Mix in a delusional way to avoid and solve problems. Then add a round of bare faced lying, on her CV and even when narrating the story, and you’ve got Miss Silchester.

The moral message

Maybe I’m old fashioned, but I like it when a book has a moral message. Taking your life for granted is something we all do and to metaphorically confront this idea by using a ‘human’ life is brilliant. And who better to fix your life than ‘Life’ itself?

Verdict: A light-hearted, reflective and inspirational read, perfect for holidays or lazy Sundays!