Loosing My Matte Virginity | NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream

Until recently I had never owned a matte lip product. I think it's because I am always so worried about my lips being dry or chapped that I thought they would look terrible. But one day I saw the mother of all swatch videos from Emily Fox that made my forget my prior worries and I ran to boots to purchase one of the famous NYX Soft Matte Lip Creams.

With so many shades to choose from, I decided that my first of many should be something that I can wear every day. I opted for Stockholm, a nude peach shade. Surprisingly it's quite warm against my pale skin, but I like that. Paired with a light base this brings out blue in my eyes and just screams summer.  

I decided to test this at work, with four hours left of my shift and a renoundly destructive air-con it was pushed to its limits. And I'm happy to say it was still intact by the time I took my makeup off that evening.

The formula is almost weightless. You can feel the texture of the brush on your lips, but not the product. It feels silky, in a matte way. And the pigmentation is amazing. Flawless in fact. At first, it has a creamy look to it but within minutes, it dries to a completely matte finish. And gives off an amazingly sweet scent. Not as powerful as the butter glosses, but just enough to notice as you apply.

I can't believe that I avoided matte formulas for so long, it's not drying at all. Of course I make sure that my lips aren't dry or flakey and with a good base this wears like a dream. When drinking this hold up surprisingly well, and after lunch I did have a ring of sorts around the inside of my lips, but this was is no way visible unless I stuck my lips out like the kiss emoji. I simply smoothed it out with a lip balm and I was good to go. You could reapply, but I wouldn't worry about it.

I know that I will be adding more to my collection, in fact, I have a whole list of shades that I'm dying to get my hands on. Firstly Zurich a darker nude pink, Cannes a mauve nude, Antwerp a subtle coral and finally Amsterdam a soft pinky red.

Have you tried any of the NYX Soft Matte Lip Creams? What do you think of the shade Stockholm? 

Gem. x


A Cruelty-Free Wishlist

If you read Wednesday's post then you will know that I have made the decision to go cruelty-free. I've had a massive clear out and got rid of over half of my makeup collection. It's actually quite shocking to see how many brands still test on animals, but the market is changing so hopefully we will see a lot more brands going cruelty-free in the near future.

So with empty draws, It's time to refill them with lots of new products. I've already purchased a few things from NYX, Barry M and a few independent brands but I thought on this lazy Sunday I would show you what else is on my shopping list.

I am already a massive fan of the Pixi Glow tonic so I think it's finally time to delve into their makeup offerings. This is a water based tinted face gel, it's lightweight, moisturising and perfect for summer. It's supposed to even out your skin tone and give a 'flawless' no makeup look. I still expect to have to use concealer with this, but I've read a lot of reviews and this seems very promising.

I don't even need to explain this, who doesn't want Mary in their lives. I have seen hundreds of swatches and each one is breathtaking. I've been umming and ahhing about this for a while but my skin needs the glow. It needs it!

Okay, so I'm not ashamed to say I only want this because Kim Kardashian raved about it. Since then it's exploded and every beauty guru has a hold of it. It's essentially a liquid moisturiser that helps to set makeup and gives your skin a healthy glow. It can be used as a base underneath a tinted moisturiser or on top of makeup to keep your skin looking fresh throughout the day.

This claims to be a miracle in a jar, a radiance boosting powder leaving a luminous finish. I know, insane. I haven't used a setting powder in months just because it tends to set in my under eye creases and leaves them looking heavy and dull. This could just be the miracle I need.

Another cult product that speaks for itself. My lashes have always done their own thing, they're naturally long but it's the volume I look for. This is a collagen-fueled formula that promises full, dramatic, multidimensional lashes. Yes please!

Now this may look autumnal, the cranberry red and deep purple shades may throw you off. But sat next to two shimmery shades of champagne and antique gold they look fresh as a daisy. I will most definitely be experimenting with these over summer. And as a mega plus the palette comes with a cream eyeshadow base, it may not end up being the best but it's the thought that counts.

I have wanted to delve into the world of Josie Maran for so long, and this is the product to introduce me to all things Argan. The oil has been spun into a unique creamy butter to improve skin texture and give it a silky smooth finish. My skin has been so dry recently and I need a some serious hydration to be summer ready.

And last but by no means least, the budget bronzer of all budget bronzers. With four shades this has multiple uses in one pan. Swirl together to get a healthy bronzed glow or mix and match to suit your needs. I can definitely see myself relying on this, If I could use one product to do everything I would. I can't decide whether I'm lazy of just efficient. But I'm happy to run with either. 

So there it is, my current shopping list. Some of these products are definitely an online order and others I can pick up on the high-street, perfect for a cheeky little pick me up mid-month. 

What beauty products are on your wishlist at the moment? Anything I should be looking at?

Gem. x


The Casual Trainers

I've never been the kind of person to wear trainers. My wardrobe is filled with ankle boots, brogues and loafers. But recently I've been leaning towards a more casual offering and bought my first pair of New Balance trainers. 

These are the 420's. A slimmer style with grey suede panels and wedge of burgundy. I have worn these almost every single day and for two reasons. 1. They're super comfortable 2. They go with everything. Honestly, jeans were a given. But I've been paring these with tailored trousers, cotton dresses and mini skirts.

With so many New Balance styles and colour ways the choices are endless. And why stop there? I've dug out my silver Superga's and classic Converse to wear during the warmer months. 

Comfort is king, and I feel like I've been converted.

How do you feel about trainers? Should they remain in the gym, or are they part of your daily staples?

Gem. x


My Cruelty-Free Journey

Over the past couple of weeks I have undergone a rather significant change in my life. After lots of research I have cut all dairy and meat from my diet and have made the transition to cruelty-free cosmetics. I honestly thought it was going to be hard. I thought I would have to change my entire lifestyle but it's been seamless. 

I have been wanting to make these changes for a while now. I organised my makeup collection and tested alternatives until I set myself a date. So I thought I would share some tips for people wanting to make a similar change. I won't to go into specifics because everyone makes different decisions, improves themselves in different ways and have different ideals. But I am a firm believer that any of these changes can be accomplished with the same mindset and techniques.

Do your research

I watched documentaries, read plenty of books and spoke to people I knew to gather as much information as I could. I wanted to know exactly where I stood and what I believed in. It's been the biggest help for me knowing where I've drawn the line.

One of my main resources is Cruelty Free Kitty. I found Suzi's blog almost a year ago now and have had all of my questions answered by her posts. She explains certain laws, parent companies and updates her cruelty-free lists regularly. I was so happy to see some of my favourites listed and cannot wait to explore new ones. 

Prepare yourself

I did a lot of preparation and planned as much as I could weeks in advance. I stopped eating meat, cut out all dairy, and then slowly stopped eating foods which contained animal products. I tested lots of dairy alternatives and sorted my makeup collection into cruelty-free and not so cruelty-free piles. Pinterest has been my greatest tool during this transition. I have been pinning lots of vegan friendly recipes and found new brands, dupes and cult cruelty-free products. But remember it is a journey, it will take time. 

Inspire yourself

So you've planned and pinned to your hearts content. Now it's time to harness that energy and inspire yourself. I subscribed to lots of vegan YouTubers, found some fantastic quotes and bought a few ebooks for light reading. And by doing that I've started researching so much more. Places to eat, ethical clothing sources, different ways to recycle and outdoor festivals and events. I feel like I've caught the Eco bug and it feels fantastic.

Allow yourself some time.

Nothing changes overnight. It's great to make these changes but it does take time to adjust. For me it's been fairly easy, the only thing I've struggled with is substituting snacks. I'm a very snaky person and dairy is in a lot of things. After reading a million labels in stores I know what I can easily grab, but it has been tough and not all alternatives are readily available. But things are looking up, brands are introducing vegan alternatives, cruelty-free brands are expanding and the high street has become a lot more accommodating.

I am so exited to be embarking on this new journey and I can't wait to share it with you. Expect lots of new makeup looks, reviews and launches. I've made it one of my aims to not only explore high end and high street products but the independent ones as well. 

Let me know of any cruelty-free brands or products that I should be using!

Gem. x


I understand that I posted a review of the Bourjois City Radiance Foundation two weeks ago. This was a scheduled post, and although I stand by the quality of the product (I have several tubes) I will no longer be using it. Bourgois claims to be a cruelty-free brand however they sell their products in mainland China, which by law means they must be tested on animals.

I have been writing on Slightgem for a few years now, and will retain all posts that feature non cruelty-free products. However from May 2016 I will only mention products that do not test on animals and products mentioned prior to this will be marked.


Welcome To The Family | Bourjois City Radiance Foundation

Every so often you come across a foundation that has it all. These moments may be few and far between, but when they happen each use brings back all those feelings of relief, joy and unbelievable looking skin. My latest obsession is the Bourjois City Radiance Foundation. A lightweight formula that blends beautifully, has an SPF of 30 and gives off a fabulous glow without looking greasy. 

I'm not over exaggerating when I say this lasts all day. I've left work with full confidence that I can go for drinks afterwards without any touch ups. Of course the radiant finish means that you can't walk around rubbing your face all day and expect it to remain in tact. A light dusting of translucent powder around the nose, on the forehead and chin will keep you secure for the most part. But keep those pesky little fingers away!

When it comes to concealing blemishes this okay but don't expect it to work miracles. It's not heavy as it has a light to medium coverage. On good skin days I can wear this alone with confidence, but on those when I need a little bit of help I use the Bourjois Healthy Mix Concealer, these two are a match made in heaven.

What I love most about this is the finish, just look at that glow! My skin is illuminated all day and the finish is as airbrushed as your going to get for a standalone lightweight product. No primers, no magic sprays, all you need is one thin layer. 

As you may know, I like to keep an eye out for new products and hardly ever repurchase makeup items. But I already have a reserve and a second shade for days when I'm wearing fake tan. For me that's a big deal. I have only ever repurchased 3 foundations in my life and they're a part of my concrete collection. Looks like this has made the cut.

Welcome to the family.

What brands do you find yourself continuously reaching for? Have you tried the Bourjois City Radiance Foundation?

Gem. X

Dressing for Happiness

Since when did fashion have so many rules? Short girls can't wear this, curvy girls can't wear that, blah blah blah. I'm short and I have big hips and even bigger thighs, I look like a human pear but thats okay. I'm going to wear what I want and how I want it. I will defy all the rules and enjoy what's in my wardrobe.

And you should too! What's the point in having wonderful clothes if you can't enjoy them. Don't hold back because someone somewhere told you to. I have always been told that shorter girls can't wear midi skirts. That they should avoid anything high waisted. Well one of my favourite spring pieces is just that. The Engineered Stripe Silk Skirt - £129 from Jigsaw is everything and more. I've paired this with ankle boots, trainers, slouchy blazers and even a trench coat. 

Every time I step out of the house in this skirt I am met with gleaming compliments. Yes, It's a beautiful skirt, well made, fantastic quality and has a unique print. But it's the smile I style it with that makes all the difference. When something makes you feel good, you look good. 

Rules are made to be broken. And fashion is meant to be enjoyed. So the next time you go shopping just try it on. It may not look right and it might not work out, but it could end up being the best thing you've bought all year. 

How do you feel about the rules of fashion? What item from your wardrobe makes you smile the most?

Gem. x


Falling In Love With Rose

I was never a great lover of rose. There was something not quite right about it, too floral and too overpowering. But over the past few months, my opinion has flipped, I can't get enough of it and I think It's down to the British Bloom Rose Bath And Body Trio*.

I have completely immersed myself in all things floral. My new home has flowers in every room, there are floral pillows on my bed and I have a constant smell around me that makes me smile. Yes, me, I smell of roses all day long and I love it.

In the mornings I shower using the Body Wash, as It's vibrant and uplifting. Suddenly the mornings don't seem as daunting. The scent mixes with the steam and my whole bathroom smells like a florist. 

I then use the Body Lotion before I get dressed. The heat from the shower allows my skin to absorb every last drop. My skin feels silky and smooth, even with the crisp February air. By this point, my bathroom smells heavenly and I can stand in front of the mirror with a smile on my face.

Throughout the day I pick up subtle hints of mellow roses, it's incredible. And as the afternoon creeps in I top up with the Fragrance Mist and the cycle continues. I never thought I would enjoy the scent of rose, fresh and clean has always been my go to but this is a new chapter.

To be honest, we're all friends here, so I don't mind mentioning that I've put on a bit of weight over Christmas. I was feeling down and unattractive, opting for baggy tops and comfy jeans. But this trio helps me to feel pretty and feminine. It gives me hope instead of dread when I get dressed in the morning. It reminds me that those negative feelings aren't permanent.

But one thing's for sure, my love for rose will be. I've already looked at scented candles, lip balms and soft shades of blusher. I think this is a turning point, a happy positive 'I feel like a flower fairy' kind of point. I know it sounds like a lot from some scented body products, but with the right frame of mind it's the little things that make the biggest impact.  

This trio is available at Tescos, so I would definitely keep an eye out next time you're doing your weekly shop.

How do you feel about rose as a scent? What do you turn to when you need a pick me up?

Gem. x

*Gifted Item

Protect The Wolves! | Chantecaille Cheek Shade in Ella

Every girl has one product in her makeup collection that's only for special occasions. And this is mine, the limited edition Chantecaille Cheek Shade in Ella. Not only does it look gorgeous, it blends beautifully into the skin and helps out a great cause.

You may recognise this. In December I posted a Christmas Gift Guide, little did I know, the boy had used it as a shopping list. I know, he's a keeper. And so is this blush. I do not use this every day, not even on the weekends. This is part of my special occasion makeup draw.

First of all, let's talk about that packaging. As soon as I saw it I fell in love with its quirkiness. To me, it's like a silver pebble, small and flat with rounded imperfections. And that wolf. To be honest, It's the main reason I'm keeping it for special. I don't want to ruin it. It's just so beautiful my heart sings whenever I look at it.

The 2015 Fall collection was inspired by wolves and aims to raise awareness of their protection. 5% of the proceeds from each product is donated to the Northwest Conservation Group to support their efforts in protecting wild wolves in their natural habitat. But it's not just about the campaigns. Chantecaille has always raised awareness for important environmental concerns. It's actually a key part of their brand to give back to the nature that they're inspired by.

From the photo above this doesn't look like much. But in real life, this is so much more. My complexion is quite pale and this gives my cheeks the most natural subtle flush of colour. It sits beautifully on tinted moisturiser, cc creams and foundations, both liquid and mineral.The weightless formula blends effortlessly into the skin to leave a natural wash of pale neutral pink.

It's so me I can't wait to try some more products. I'm thinking bronzer, or maybe an eyeshadow palette. But right now this is all I need.

What do you think of this limited edition blush? Have you tried anything from Chantecaille, any recommendations?

Gem. x

Straight from Mother Earth | Turbliss Bioactive Face Mask For ProblemSkin

Have you ever heard of peat? No neither had I. As the first of only six ingredients in Turbliss  face masks, I just had to know more. Turbliss is a Nordic brand of bioactive cosmetic products. Their main ingredient - pure therapeutic peat.

The use of peat is in no way a new discovery, or a fad. It’s a peloid, which in simple terms is a mud or clay that is used therapeutically. Peloids consist of humus and minerals formed over many years by biological processes, the most popular being peat. And this natural wonder has been used for the past 200 years as treatment for the skin. 

Turbliss has a range of different products, and I was lucky enough to try their award winning Bioactive Face Mask For Problem Skin* After reading up on the miracles of peat I just had to understand this mask in particular and exactly how it worked with my skin. An hour and a million open tabs later, I am amazed.

The humic and fulvic acids help to boost cell renewal and restore normal functioning of the skin. Whilst the bioactive humic substances penetrate deep into the skin and regulate sebum production. Together they work to minimise pores and improve the skins texture, as well as calming and alleviating irritations.

Remember the peloids and 200 years of use I mentioned earlier? They have been used to treat a multitude of skin diseases and disorders in the form of medicinal baths and wraps. So every time I used this I just thought of it as bathing my face.

Okay enough of the history lesson, I have been using this twice a week, humpdays and over the weekend. I leave it on for five to ten minutes max and keep it wet using a spray bottle. This is the thing, the mask needs to be moist in order for the acids to penetrate the skin, otherwise it’s just dry mud. I then just wipe it away using a wet flannel.

One thing I will mention is that when using this you need to be aware then your skin will have some slight reddening due to the increase of microcirculation. After a couple of hours it fades, so I tend to use this on chill days or over the weekends when I don’t have anything particular planned.

After just a couple of weeks I have already seen a massive change in my skins texture. It’s smoother, it feels more plump and over all looks healthier. And I’ve found that I don’t need to use as much moisturiser. Actually the past couple of days I haven’t used any.

On the other hand it’s currently lady week and so I have two beautiful blemishes on my chin. They’re of course hormonal and no magical cream or mask is going to make them disappear. But this has calmed them down and helped to reduce them. It’s only been two weeks, so who knows what this is capable of.

So far I’m really impressed not only with the results, but with the product as a whole. This earth has provided it’s habitants with everything they need, everything has a purpose and works together to create this wonderful thing we call the circle of life. I am a true believer and I’m so happy to see that hundreds of years down the line we are still using the same ingredients and techniques. 

What do you think of the Turbliss face masks? Have you ever heard or peat or peloids?

Gem. x

*Gifted Item