Thursday, 27 November 2014

Film Review: The Hunger Games - Mockingjay Part 1.

So I finally got to see the new Hunger Games film and I'm so glad to say that it did not disappoint at all. First of all, I love the poster for this movie.. Jennifer Lawrence looks powerful yet somehow still vulnerable being the teenager she is and burdened with the pressure of being the symbol of freedom.

First a bit of background, this is the final instalment of Suzanne Collins's best-selling The Hunger Games, split into two parts. For 123 minutes, the film is after Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) is rescued after destroying the Quarter Quell and is adapting to life in the complex beneath a ruined District 13. Her home, District 12, has been bombed and blown to bits while Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) has been brainwashed and taken into captivity by President Snow (Donald Sutherland). During all of this, Katniss also learns of a covert rebellion that is rioting throughout all of Panem and she finds herself at the centre of a plan to bring down Snow.

I've read the books and I think the movie did fantastic to follow the plot and told the story well. The film delves into propaganda and how the media uses images to relay certain messages which is vital for this day and age especially when this film is intended for a young audience. All of the actors did well to play their parts, small or large, and Jennifer Lawrence was always perfect to play Katniss. She portrays the emotions fantastically and in the way any teenager would be going through if they were put in this place. Josh Hutcherson shines in the scenes he has and creeps you out with his cold, dead-like eyes; amazing acting by him. It was sad to watch Philip Seymour Hoffman knowing that this amazing actor no longer walks among us but he was really the driving force of Mockingjay through his performance.

All in all, I absolutely loved this film. It leaves you wanting so much more and the frustration that you literally have to wait another year to see Part 2. Go and see it now!

Here's the trailer:

Have you seen it? What did you think?

Thankyou for reading.

Monday, 24 November 2014

AMAs 2014: Red Carpet Review.

So the celebrities were out for another star-studded music event and this time in Los Angeles at the Nokia Theatre for the American Music Awards 2014. The occasion was surprisingly hosted by rapper Pitbull and it was a spectacular show with performances by Taylor Swift, One Direction, Lorde, Fergie, Jennifer Lopez, Iggy Azalea, Ariana Grande, Nicki Minaj, Jessie J, Lil' Wayne, Selena Gomez, Sam Smith, Wyclef Jeans, MAGIC!, 5 Seconds of Summer, Mary J. Blige, Garth Brooks, Charli XCX and Imagine Dragons.

However I'm reviewing the amazing dresses and suits from the red carpet beforehand. There was plenty of leg showing and stunning, sparkling dresses; there was literally so many that I loved but I managed to narrow it down to these:

 Hair slicked back, Jennifer Lopez shows that age doesn't mean you can't still look fantastic and she does as she shows off her toned abs this pale pink Reem Acra gown paired with Christian Louboutin shoes. She adds a bit of sparkle with Norman Silverman Diamonds earrings in her ears and rocks a gorgeous smoky eye.

 This is without a doubt one of my definite favourites from the night. Rita Ora picks a bright and beautiful yellow Zac Posen gown which she admits she picked at the last minute. I'm not entirely a fan of how her hair is done, it isn't as immaculate as it could be and it ruins the look a little. However, she finishes it all off with a lovely, vintage Swarovski clutch.

Another 'wow' from me as Charli XCX opts for a sultry look with a draped fit and off-the-shoulder cut dress designed by Vivienne Westwood. With a bold red lip, she looks like a complete goddess.

Kira Kazanstev changed my opinion on crop tops as she pulled off this crop top and ball skirt combo beautifully. Miss America chose a perfect colour for this event and her earrings, cuff and bangle by Erickson Beamon completed the look.

In true Angelina Jolie fashion, Fergie shows off her legs in a striking, black Halston dress and decorates her hands with Loree Rodkin jewels. Her strappy Versus heels makes the outfit all the more better.

I simply cannot get over how beautiful Kate Beckinsale looked in this low-cut, figure hugging Kaufmanfranco gown. Her Bulgari snake necklace is one of the best pieces of jewellery I have ever seen in my entire life and I want it! The Underworld actress finishes it all off with a Lee Savage clutch, Brian Atwood shoes and looks like utter perfection.

 Wearing a Halston Heritage dress, Dolce & Gabbana shoes with Orka Mesic jewellery, Jordin Sparks definitely shows Jason Derulo what he's missing! This rose gold sequin gown with a plunging neckline is just the right thing for Jordin Sparks and her ombre locks come down in lovely, bouncing curls that just sit beneath her shoulders.

Unfortunately not many men were favourites and I can't even begin to describe was Ansel Elgort was wearing, it was a show.
But here's my three favourites from the boys this year:

To be honest Ne-Yo's jacket is screaming at me not to like it but somehow I really appreciate this all blue ensemble. Wearing all Anthony Franco with Prada shoes, Ne-Yo keeps it cool and looking very dapper.

I've never really been a fan of One Direction but I've never hated them either. I thought the boys looked pretty good last night with their black ensembles. I don't like Zayn or Harry's hair but I can push past this and not only that, it was pretty much their night as they scooped up 3 awards for Artist of the Year, Favourite Pop/Rock Album and Favourite Band, Duo or Group in the Pop and Rock category. Well done, boys.

Lastly, Sam Smith kept it simple yet smart in a cropped black pant-suit and cobalt blue button-down short with patent leather shoes. The Stay With Me singer won Favourite Pop/Rock Male Artist as well as performing. Go, Sam!

Photos: source | source | source | source

So those were my favourites of the night!
Who were your favourites of the night? Did you enjoy the show?

Thankyou for reading.

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Skin Product Review: Simple - Oil Balancing Exfoliating Wash + Facial Scrub.

Hey everyone, hope you're all doing well. I am having the worst time ever with my skin at the moment. I am suffering a terrible breakout of spots which I'm tackling with these two Simple products which are my favourite things ever to use to clean and exfoliate my skin with. So I'll be reviewing them and suggesting them for anyone else who is perhaps having the same problems as me.

So as I said I'm currently suffering from an annoying breakout at the moment but I also suffer with oily skin which does not feel nice at all. It just feels like you're not clean enough and my skin is easily irritated by most things so I have to be careful with what I use, especially face washes. But I've been using Simple's range of skincare for a few years now, like their moisturiser, cleanser, toner and eye make up remover (which I've reviewed here and here if you want to check those out too) and I'm really impressed with how well they make my skin feel and look. 

Now let's get into the actual review:

 This is the Oil Balancing Exfoliating Wash containing a 'blend of active ingredients' with two nutrients that do great for your skin: Witch Hazel - this reduces blemishes and Natural Zinc PCA - this gently absorbs oils. It also includes Pro Vitamin B5 which actively 'restores, softens and smooths' and there is, thankfully, no scent to it and no chemicals or colours that can upset your skin. It is dermatologically tested and approved which is always a good thing!

All I do with this product is squeeze about a 50p sized amount onto my hand and massage onto my wet skin until I feel happy that it is ready to be rinsed away. The Zinc PCA really does absorb all that excess oil and eradicates any unwanted shininess and that nasty feeling of greasy skin. The product contains no oils or soaps so it just nicely moisturises into my skin and removes the excess oils without drying out my skin.

After using this on and off for quite time now, I always notice the difference and it's amazing. This leaves my skin feeling clean, soft and oil-free! It's consistently good every time I use it and leaves my skin no longer having that greasy or oily feeling. This helps my breakouts immensely which is always a bonus obviously. Some people use it to remove make-up with, I don't do this personally but if you'd like to have a go, feel free to but beware of getting this in your eyes as it may sting if they're especially sensitive.

The packaging is pretty cute, lovely shades of blue blending into each other. The only slight problem I have is the price.. Simple is one of the, if not THE cheapest skincare range I've ever come across so I can sort of bypass this issue especially when sometimes there's a 3 for 2 offer on.

You can get this at Superdrug and Boots for £4.29

Next, the Oil Balancing Facial Scrub! Now this consists of more or less the same ingredients as the Wash but it also has Vitamin E and Rice Power in its mix too. All of these combine and 'exfoliate and cleanse your skin whilst gently absorbing excess oil and controlling shine'. It is a great product for removing dead skin cells, dirt and impurities so it's perfect to lessen the number of blackheads and blemishes on your face. Again there is no scent to it or anything else that irritate your skin.

Because this is a smaller bottle than the first product, I usually just squeeze roughly a 10p sized amount of the substance onto my hand and apply to my wet skin. Using my fingertips, I gently massage in circular movements paying particular attention to my cheeks and avoiding my eye area. It's important you do this gently as there are little beads in it which can make it feel rough if you rub really hard. Eventually I rinse away and apply moisturiser after as it can leave my skin feeling slightly dry.

It is great to use daily! It leaves my skin feeling really fresh and smooth. Perfect for acne-prone and oily skin like mine. It's not at all greasy like some scrubs can be, it's gentle and improves your skin texture completely.

Again, the only criticism I have is the price especially when I'm buying these products together and maybe with some other of Simple's stuff but nevertheless it's completely worth it.

You can also buy this at Superdrug and Boots for £3.99

You can check out more of Simple's skincare range on their site as well. 

So those were my favourite exfoliating products to use.
Have you used these? What do you think of them?
Do you perhaps have any recommendations for me?

Please let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

Thankyou for reading.

Sunday, 9 November 2014

MTV EMAs 2014: Red Carpet Review.

 So another awards show, another star filled event. This time in Glasgow's SSE Hydro in Scotland for the MTV European Music Awards! Hosted by Nicki Minaj, all cultures, genres and styles of music came together to celebrate the diversity within the music industry with nominations ranging from Britain all the way to New Zealand. However in this post, like the VMAs, I will be reviewing celebrities' fashion on the red carpet and talking about my personal favourites. 

 Now I am not a fan of Nicki Minaj at all and I'm a little surprised she was chosen as this year's host. However, she fared well (if you put to side all the unnecessary shouting and Scottish stereotypes she was putting about), she arrived in style and changed into at least 8 different outfits throughout the show. This gorgeous floor length gown hugged her body and showed off her curves especially with the sheer panel down the front, revealing her cleavage. She also performed Superbass, debuted a new song Bed Of Lies with Skylar Grey on the piano and writhed around the stage to Anaconda in a sheer lacy corset. Not only that, she won the Best Hip Hop Act Award. 

 British model Jourdan Dunn completely blew me away, she's not a model for nothing! She definitely gave everyone a run for their money in two stunning outfits. The mum of one wowed everyone on the carpet in this showy white Mugler dress with matching pointed court shoes. The plunging V-neck just about stops at her navel, revealing plenty of her cleavage which rested above a silver bar. Her bob transformed into these beautiful loose, sleek waves and she also decked her body out in various items of silver jewellery.

Her second dress, designed by Donna Karan, dazzled me again with that hip high sexy slit up the side. This black velvet and sheer dress gave her that alluring yet classy look as she altered her hair again into a pin straight appearance. However at times this dress was a little too revealing as she suffered a cheeky 'nip-slip' during her presentation of the Best Hip Hop Act award.

  I've always loved Laura Whitmore's fashion sense. She pulls it off with this risky unbuttoned blouse tucked away into a mini-skirt, decorated with sequins. Showing off her toned figure, the MTV presenter teamed up her outfit with gigantic black heels and her blonde locks in a slightly messy fashion. Work it, girl!

I just love this outfit from Kiesza. She opted for a spectacular multicoloured feathered dress which included a mini skirt and straps across the front and back. She styled hair in a classy complex plaited updo and finished off her outfit with black and white high heeled sandals, showing off those long legs. The Canadian was also nominated for Best New Act.

  Simple yet elegant. The Hunger Games actress Jena Malone went for a cute blue high necked dress that contrasted beautifully with her flaming red hair. The A-line pretty skirt threw a glittery effect all over her as did her metallic blue shoes.

 Charli XCX has always been another favourite of mine when it comes to dress sense at award shows. The Fancy singer went for an ensemble that consisted of black and white, dotted with sequins. Her distinctive pom-pom style shoes sets the whole outfit off somehow. She also switched into a bold catsuit for her performance which had the room bouncing and singing along.

 I love Ed Sheeran, he always keeps it simple yet still manages to look so cool every single time. In a navy button down shirt, black jeans and sneakers he showed off his heavily tattooed arms which I love immensely. He paused on the red carpet to take selfies and to interact with fans. He also changed into a more dapper look for his Thinking Out Loud performance which I absolutely adored, swapping his shirt for a waistcoat and tie.

 Tallia Storm is now added to my list of 'Women Who Look Badass Wearing A Suit' and this picture shows you why. Her hair backcombed to the high heavens, she is rocking lacquered leggings, a sequinned blazer and studded platforms. She also represented her nationality with a flag-inscribed box clutch.

Also my new firm favourite, the band Royal Blood! The duo, Mike Kerr and Ben Thatcher, turned up looking casual and relaxed in black-on-black attire.

So those were my favourites, what were yours? Did you enjoy the show?
Please let me know what you thought in the comments below!

You can also see the winners and nominees here.

Photos: source | source | source

Thankyou for reading.

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Makeup Brush Review: Real Techniques by Nic Haste & Samantha Chapman - Brush Collection - Eyes Starter Set.

After a long time of wanting these, I have finally jumped on the bandwagon of owning my own batch of Real Techniques brushes! Literally every YouTuber/Make-up Artist I watch have this brush collection or something by Real Techniques in their make-up collection. Now that I am experimenting more with make-up, I find this collection quite charming. 

They are designed by Samantha Chapman, a make-up artist and other half of the YouTube channel Pixiwoo. Their aluminium purple coloured handles gives them the code for 'enhanced eyes' because on other Real Techniques brushes there are other colours like Gold which means 'a flawless base' and Pink means 'a perfect finish'. The 5 brushes are the Deluxe Crease Brush, Base Shadow Brush, Brow Brush, Pixel Point Eyeliner Brush and an Accent Brush - all with hand cut synthetic Taklon Bristles. They're encased in a panoramic case which can stand up by itself or be used as a travel case on your journeys.

Now I'll review each individual brush:

   Deluxe Crease Brush
Soft oversized design for effortless contouring. 
 I tend to struggle with this brush sometimes and I don't know if it's because my eyes are a bit too small for this type of brush. It is a little bit too big to be used in the crease area so I tend to use it as a concealer brush and it's great for this purpose. It sets my concealer perfectly and doesn't leave any unwanted streaks.

Base Shadow Brush 
Applies a smooth, flawless foundation of colour.
This brush has a tapered end to it, making it slightly flatter. This is probably my favourite brush out of all of them as it does well to press in eyeshadow pigments. It also works well to soften up any harsh lines or blend in the eye make-up. 

Brow Brush 
Distinctive shape, easily defines eyebrows. 
I'll be honest here, I don't like to use anything else other than pencils on my eyebrows. I did attempt a few times to use this on my eyebrows but I just wasn't getting the hang of it at all. Thankfully this brush can be used as an eyeliner brush to give me that winged line or even as a lip brush.

Pixel Point Eyeliner Brush/Fine Liner Brush 
Tapered cut is ideal for dense or fine eyeliner application. 
This is actually a little too fat to be an eyeliner brush for me and the one sold individually by Real Techniques is thinner than this so I'd probably recommend that over this one. I can't find any other use for this just yet.

Accent Brush 
Designed for precision detailing, spotlighting, highlighting and smudging. 
This is another one of my favourites from this batch and I can use this to highlight the inner corners of my eyes and brow bone. It can also be incredibly helpful on my waterline when I want to achieve a smoky eyed look.

You can watch the ladies from Real Techniques give a tutorial on all these brushes:

So I've had a fairly good time with this brush set so far and it is a brilliant starter kit for those who are experimenting with make-up or even for those who don't fancy splashing out loads of money on brushes. It is great value for your money as you can get it currently for £10 from GordonsDirect as it is on offer or from Real Techniques site for $18. I'm glad I got this because it's perfect to travel with and it's a handy set to toy around with when trying out different make-up looks.

Have you tried these brushes? What did you think of them?
Please let me know in the comments below!

Thankyou for reading.