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Fun & Fabulous Friday Finds #2


This one is going to be short as I have been given a staggering amount of work hours this past week due to four staff being on holiday (!!!) but the links will be very fun & fabulous nonetheless.

Self-Improvement

The Happiness Project: 5 Common Happiness Mistakes - I already knew these were bad news, but I also know a lot of other people who respond to bad experiences in these ways

Travel

Ten Strange Places  - if this doesn't give you the travel bug, I have no idea what will

Ten Strange Places Where People Live - Just a bit of house hunting

One-Page Packing Checklist  - If you've listened to the newest Gala Darling podcast you will know already about this one, but I felt it needed to be shared again.

Home & Living 

10 Habits of a Clean Home is very good for anyone looking to keep their home as clean as possible

How To Get A Good's Night Sleep  - I've never had much of a problem sleeping but hopefully this article will help the insomniacs amongst you!

Recipes

Cucumber Juice might sound weird, but I think it's at least worth a try (& it's full of vitamins!)

Crafty-ness

DIY Wooden Wax Seal - how brilliant would it be to send of your job applications or college applications like this?
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Confessions of a Concealaholic: A Review


Having never had brilliant skin, finding a foundation, concealer & other fancy beauty products to help conceal my dark circles, blackheads, spots & a small operation scar (tbh, the last one doesn't bother me that much!) was never straightforward. For years I kept to drugstore brands hoping that if I used enough it would help (& last!) & even tried the healthy-looking-after-myself lifestyle approach. The latter one helped, but not completely. So, with much research I decided to purchase Confessions of a Concealaholic by Benefit.


The box itself is extremely cute & very dinky. It is 10cm wide x 11cm tall and is 3.5cm in height which means that it is small enough to slip into your day bag. But I don't think it's small enough for a night out bag, at least not the ones I like to take out! Though the products themselves are very small so they themselves can be slipped into a clutch.

Inside the box, as you can see, there is a small mirror (which is very clear & slightly magnified) and a small booklet on what to use each product for. The booklet does not give out any insider info on how to make the best of their products but instead only tells you which product in meant for which part of the face.

So let's take a proper look at what products are supplied:



Firstly there is "that gal" brightening face primer [1], followed by Erase Paste [2]. After that we have the Boi ing concealer in both shades 01 & 02 (items [3] & [4] respectively). Then we have eye bright [6] and lemon aid [5]. The kit also comes with four brushes, which are all pre-labeled so you do not mix your products up!

The first product that I tried (I used them in the order that the booklet explained them) was the face primer. I did not take any photos of this stage as I didn't see much change. I have quite oily skin, so if anything I need a matifying primer rather than one that makes my face any more glossy.

The second product was the Erase Paste, which was just fabulous. Words cannot describe how much I loved this & that I think I may have found my ideal under eye/dark circle concealer! Because I cannot put this adoration into words, I'm going to let a photo do the talking:


The difference in clearly there! And for the purpose of this review I have not done what every make-up company/fitness DVD/cosmetic sturgeon do & airbrushed or added more make-up to enhance the look. What you see there is me wearing Erase Paste on my left eye (your right!) & nothing else. No mascara, no eyeshadow, no nothing! Me in all my un-made glory! All kits comes with shade No.2 which I had worried would be too dark for me, but I think it works just splendidly.

So after that excitment, what about the Boi ing concealers?

You get two shades, with the idea that somewhere between the two you will discover your ideal shade. Again, I am going to use photos to help illustrate the results.

Here is the before:


Check out those spots. It's like they knew this review was coming.

And the after:

Again, very good results. You can still tell that there are spots there, but by no means were they as obvious as before. I mainly used the 01 shade as I am naturally very pale, & when I make myself up I actively try to make myself paler (a fake-tan free girl here!).

Finally for the lemon aid & the eye bright. The lemon aid is a colour correcting eyelid primer & while I was skeptical at first I believed that there was some point to this sweet looking product. The Eye Bright is sold as a instant eye brightener (usually sold as a pencil), which definetly has some bragging rights.

And to back myself up? Why it's more photos of course!

Here is one with me wearing the lemon aid across one of my eyelids:

On my right eye (again your left!) is the yellow pressed powder. As you can see there is definitely some improvement, but not entirely enough to rave about (I had also removed all erase paste from my left eye for this photo).

The eye bright also proved to have similar effects. Here is me wearing both the lemon aid and eye bright:

Again, there is definetly some brighteness there, but enough to buy it again on it's own? Maybe not.

My overall opinion?
While I have no regrets about buying this I have to admit that when it runs out I will not buy the whole kit again. This kit is perfect for trying out all the products before you commit to a big tub & it has helped me decide which is best for me. I will without doubt be buying the Erase Paste again, as will I buy the Boi ing in shade 01. However, despite the slight improvement that the Lemon Aid and the Eye Bright gave my eye area, I doubt I'd spend more money buying my own tub. I will continue to use what has been supplied to me as it is good stuff, but I feel a white eyeshadow would have a similar effect. I am not buying the face primer again, but that may be more to do with my skin type rather than it not being a good product.

Morag x
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Fun & Fabulous Friday Finds


Disclaimer: I wasn't planning on writing this entry until I perused the RSS Feeds on my Firefox browser & remembered that old tradition of displaying a weekly round-up of cool things you've found that week. Unfortunately this means that I have not actively been collecting pictures, news articles & cool inspiring quotes so I decided to do some digging through my Delicious and StumbleUpon accounts to see what was lurking there.

Inspiration & Self-improvement
Gala Darling is having  a half-price sale on her Love & Sequins Podcast. I took the plunge & bought a years subscription last night! And while I've only listened to a one of them (no 3!) I can say I'm already impressed. I'm planning a full review once I get through them all. 


Sarah Von is releasing an e-book soon called the Wanderlust Workbook which is all about travelling! I love the advice on her site as it is always realistic, practical & real-world friendly, so I'll definitely been looking into this. 


Dating Tips for Introverted Woman is well worth a look if, like me, you're not a natural born charmer!

An Introvert's Guide To Networking  again is brilliant if approaching people isn't first-nature to you. 


Pop Culture 
Ever wondered why Ke$ha wakes up feeling like P Diddy? Now you know!


Design & Advertisement
Do typefaces really matter? from the BBC Magazine. Why yes they do!

Gentlemen, always use a condom or your penis could look like this unfortunate banana

Feminism & Equality

I Wish Men Could Have Babies Me too, Rachel Hills, me too. 

Men's Health Knows You're Interested, Ladies from Jezebel on just how assumptive men can get.  


Twilight: The Franchise That Ate Feminism Just cause I'm a big old femnazi who hates sparkly vampires. 


Feminism Doesn't Sparkle: What Twilight Teaches Young Girls And because of my hatred of Twilight is also due to the effect that it has on young impressionable girls. 

Style & Fashion
Dressing Like Harry Potter Houses I'm a Ravenclaw, what are you?


That was obviously very quick for my first Friday Finds post as I forgot to plan it in advanced (naughty!) & I have work in half an hour. Hopefully I'll keep my eye open & bookmark everything I find interesting next week so I'll have all categories filled extensively.



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Welcome to My First Post (About Cononuts!)


Hello there & thanks for stopping by. I'm Morag, a nineteen year old business student from Aberdeen currently attending the University of Abertay, Dundee in hopes of obtaining a Bachelor's of Art's in International Management (fancy!). Having left the blogging scene for about two years & having fantasised about building a Gala Darling type enterprise for the last year, I thought it was maybe time to get the ball rolling! This blog will a mash-up of various things, mainly food, happiness & self-improvement (this is what most of the blogs I read focus on, so mine will probably take a similar approach) but I refuse to limit myself to specific topics, 'cause I'm not a one-trick pony.

I know most blogs concentrate on one topic, & the general advice from most successful bloggers is to create a niche & stick to it. But fuck that man. I 100% understand the concept of developing a target audience & catering to it with your every post, but I believe that people are far more complex than marketers seem to understand & that not every-one can be pigeonholed! Like myself.

Overall, Smiles & Sparkles is a lifestyle blog that aims to encourage women (& men) to live life just that tad more magically. Aptly named because I love to smile (not that long ago my old flatmate christened me "The Grin") & it's not unknown for me to wear glitter eyeshadow on a casual night out to play pool with my boys!

And now that I have removed myself from my soapbox, let's start with a post about food....

I love food. I love most food in fact. There's very few things I wouldn't eat. If you invited me round for dinner you could serve me something simple or something extravagant & I'd eat it anyway. But if I was to pick out an item of food that I love above most other it would be the coconut.

So much in fact, that both courses of tonight's dinner (for me & my parents, that I lovingly prepared) contained the word coconut in their title.

Let's start with the main course shall we?



This is a Coconut & Prawn Stir Fry which I made following the recipe from From Pasta To Pancakes: The Ultimate Student Cookbook (which, despite raving about this recipe, I cannot claim to 100% recommend).

Somewhere in that bowl lies prawns, coconut milk, spring onions, ginger & garlic. It was also supposed to contained green chillies & coriander, but to contradict my statement earlier there are some foods that I wouldn't put into my own dishes. This recipe was very easy to make & only took about ten minutes, plus me & my parents both thoroughly enjoyed it. Though I will admit that while the cookbook says it serves 2-4 people, I think the amount made could easily be enough for one person.


 And for dessert? Well we have this lovely coconut sorbet (recipe can be found here) which is served in coconut shells which I stole from a Chinese restaurant when I was 16 (you gotta love a bit of teenage rebellion!). This was prepared yesterday evening as it needed to be frozen (obviously) but also because it's at the end of the day that I like to do most of my baking & dessert preparing, before I settle down for the day. This recipe was also very easy to make, but my only complaint (which may have been my own cooking skills, not the fault of the recipe author) is that the dessicated coconut doesn't magically disappear. Maybe it's my blender, but dessicated coconut is very shredded at already & would be hard to smooth out using a blender. But the actual taste was lovely & refreshing!

And that's it for my first post! Let's hope I stick to it this time! I have the next two days off work so I'll concentrate on maybe developing my own theme/layout (plus some studying, finalising my flat for next year & other slightly more important things like that!).

Ciao! x

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