Essence Sheer & Shine Lipstick Review

You know me and my love for sheer, buttery lipsticks. Nine times out of ten, they're the ones I choose over the bolder options, purely out of convenience, and the ones I've been reaching for this winter are Essence's Sheer & Shine numbers. Well, I've been reaching for one of them, but more on that later. 
Essence Sheer & Shine Lipsticks Review

As always, let's start with the packaging. In my opinion the sheerness of it looks a bit cheap, but I love that each shade sports a differently coloured cap, which makes it very easy to find the shade you're looking for. I really do appreciate when companies do that, because there's nothing I hate more than having to flip around every single lipstick when I'm in a hurry. Speaking of cheapness... When I first saw these, I had a feeling the caps would start breaking and falling off after a while, but lo and behold, this is some high quality plastic we have over here! Even after four months, the packaging still feels sturdy and that satisfying click you hear when you close it hasn't disappeared either. 
Essence Sheer & Shine Lipsticks Review Close-up
L-R: My First Love, Sparkling Miracle, Hidden Secret

To my disappointment, the formula is not exactly buttery or moisturizing, but it is by no means uncomfortable to wear or drying. If anything, I would describe it as a bit waxy. Sorry, that's as good as my explanation gets in this case. I really don't know what other word to use. Another thing I find hard to describe is the scent. It's almost that kind of an old lipstick kind of scent, but with a bit of vanilla thrown in? Sounds about right in my head. I can't say that I'm a fan, but I'm not a hater either. I'm... Switzerland. 
Essence Sheer & Shine Lipstick Swatches
L-R: My First Love, Sparkling Miracle, Hidden Secret

The result they give is exactly what the name suggests - they are sheer with a shiny finish, but they aren't too shiny. I would say they're almost frosty, as they do all contain glitter. Having said that, some of them have bigger particles, resulting in a full-blown frost effect, while others don't contain as much and come off creamier, which I prefer. Due to their sheerness, they're not long-lasting by any means. I have to re-apply them very frequently, but I'm personally not bothered by it, because most of my on-the-go lipsticks share the same quality and I guess I just got used to it by now.
Essence '01 My First Love' Sheer & Shine Lipstick Review
My First Love
I currently have five different shades in my posession, but since two of them are very recent additions I haven't managed to photograph just yet, I'll be introducing you to my oldest three only today. Number one in the queue is '01 My First Love', which definitely wasn't my first or second or third love. It's that concealer type of a shade I've never been a fan of and I really can't imagine it suiting anyone to be completely honest. It's just way too light and way too frosty. The only time I wore it was when I took this photo and then it went straight to the 'get rid of it' pile. I just can't... Maybe I'll cut it up and use it to tone down some super bold colours whenever I decide to get creative again and mix up some new shades of lippies for myself. 
Essence '07 Sparkling Miracle' Sheer & Shine Lipstick Review
Sparkling Miracle
The second shade, '07 Sparkling Miracle', is a lot better, but it hasn't sweeped me off my feet either. It too contains a lot of glitter, so it's rather frosty, and comes off a lot lighter on my lips than it looks in the packaging. I expected  a berry shade, but it's more of a toned down fuchsia if you ask me. 
Essence '04 Hidden Secret' Sheer & Shine Lipstick Review
Hidden Secret
 And now the hidden secret... Get it, get it? I know, I'm lame. If you didn't get that, the shade is called '04 Hidden Secret', pretty much. I didn't expect to like it, because it looks very brown in the tube, but oh my lord! This is literally the perfect beigy nude for me. I love it so much I already got myself a backup! 

Have you tried any lipsticks from this collection yourself? I'd love to hear your thoughts in case you have. 

Christmas with Sandra

I know what you're thinking right now - why the hell is she mentioning Christmas when it's clearly long gone by now, am I right? Don't worry, I'm not stuck in time, nor have I discovered a time machine, unfortunately, I'm simply late with the updates yet again. 

I was lucky enough to be able to take a two-week-long Christmas break this year, so I flew back home to Slovenia to spend the holidays with my family. I kind of disappeared from social media while I was there (the wi-fi very conveniently decided not to cooperate with me), but that doesn't mean I stayed away from technology completely. I actually decided to give daily vlogging a go! It's something I'd always wanted to try and it just seemed like an appropriate time with me being off work and having time to actually film and edit on a daily basis. 

My initial one-vlog-per-day schedule didn't quite work out due to various circumstances, but I still managed to come out with ten videos in the span of two weeks, giving you a glimpse of my (old) life back home and showing you where I come from. 

I put my 'Christmas with Sandra' videos together in a playlist, so you can watch them all in one go below in case you're not subscribed to my YouTube channel and have completely missed them. Once you're finished with the whole series, please make sure to leave me a comment down below telling me which of the vlogs you enjoyed most, as I'd really love to know. I think my personal favourite one is from the day we went skiing!  

The Week When I Went to Sky Garden

I hope you all had a lovely Christmas! I'm currently vlogging (and putting up videos) every single day while I'm home in Slovenia for the holidays, but I still have a London weekly vlog from the previous week to share with you. I had a lot of festivities going on and had quite an unusual week for me - there were sports, parties and alcohol involved! I took a Psycle classs, went ice-skating at the Natural History Museum, attended some Christmas celebrations and visited the Sky Garden, the view from which was stunning!

My Favourite (Christmas) Cookies

I already put up a recipe for these yummy cookies years ago here on my blog, but since these are the most delicious cookies on planet Earth and are also perfect for Christmas, I decided to make a video version of the recipe this year and share it with my YouTube viewers as well! 

My Top 5 Christmas Movies

I can't believe Christmas is only a few days away, can you?! I've been so busy this month the only Christmas movie I managed to watch was Love Actually, but worry not, I'll do some catching up as soon as I get back to homeland TOMORROW! In case you're interested in which are the ones on the top of my list, check out the video below, and don't forget to tell me what your favourites are! 

Last-Minute Christmas Gift Ideas

I've been planning to put together several Christmas gift guides throughout the month of December, but as it seems to be a common theme here on my blog this year, I ran out of time. It's been a very busy month with a lot of failed plans, actually. Another one of them was getting my Christmas shopping done on time, before the frenzy began, yet here I am, still running around like a crazy person, looking for some last-minute bits and pieces. If you're the same as me, you might appreciate today's post! I gathered some of my favourite items I like to receive or give for Christmas, so fingers crossed I can help you get some ideas!
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Unless you manage to find the absolute perfect outfit for someone and get the size right as well, cozy pajamas, loungewear, underwear and cute slippers are the way to go in my opinion! Primark and Victoria's Secret are my usual destinations for such items. Primark always carries adorable and fuzzy PJs which don't break the bank, while Victoria's Secret is on the pricier side, but their PINK panties and leggings are definitely worth the occasional splurge.

If you're looking for something more basic, but still of high quality, though, check out Boody. I was introduced to this brand earlier this year, and I'm sure their eco garments would be the perfect gift for any Earth conscious person in your life. They are made from organic bamboo, are super soft and have a whole bunch of other amazing properties you can read more about here. If you do end up making a purchase, don't forget to use the code PUZZLE15 to get 15% off!

On another note, jewellery could be an amazing present as well. My sister and I love wearing dainty necklaces and you can never have too many of those. They go well with casual as well as fancy outfits and are great for layering!

Books, movies, music... you can never go wrong with that! You just have to know the person's taste and you're good. If you know any makeup addicts, consider getting them Lisa Eldridge's Facepaint. It's a highly sought after book about the history of makeup, and I'm pretty sure it's brilliant, even though I haven't started reading it yet. Lisa Eldridge is my biggest inspiration when it comes to makeup artistry, and I've been trying to get my hands on her book since its release in August! I'm glad I can finally call it mine, and I can't wait to read it from the first to the last page.

When it comes to movies and music, there's obviously more than plenty to choose from, but my personal recommendations would be Adele's 25 (no explanation needed) and Whiplash, by far the best film I've seen this year. Everything about it is brilliant.

Everyone likes food. Need I say more? To make it a little more special, I always try to hunt down some items that are not available where a person lives (yes, buying presents for my family is a lot easier now that I live in England) or just something with a twist. One of the things I brought home last year was a set of differently flavoured hot chocolates, which I wouldn't mind receiving myself to be honest. I secretly hope my family didn't drink it all, because I would love to try the vanilla one. And the cinnamon one. And the hazelnut one. And the orange one. And the white one as well. Maybe I should just go buy my own set?!

My school days are long gone now, but shopping for cute stationery is still something I do on a regular basis. Here in England we have a store called Paperchase that makes me feel like I'm in stationery heaven every time I step inside. They always have cute notebooks, list pads, desk accessories and yearly diaries, which can be super convenient gifts to receive right before the beginning of a new year.

They also carry lots of little home accessories, which is another category worth exploring when you're looking for gifts. Mugs, phone cases and candles are all great choices! If you're looking for delicious Christmassy scents, check out these. Not only do they smell amazing and last for ages, but they also look cute! Think glitters and mini crystal stones. Very festive.

I know this category doesn't apply to every single person out there (hey, not everyone is crazy about makeup), but since this is a partially beauty blog, I thought you guys might appreciate my suggestions, especially if you're not a make-up adddict yourself and have no idea what to get one!

I personally am happy with any beauty item I get, because I love trying out anything and everything, but the products I think are especially appropriate to give as gifts are eyeshadow palettes, high end lipsticks, perfumes, nail polish and hand creams, the last two being safer and more affordable options. With plenty of shades and scents on offer, they're the perfect stocking stuffers!

However, if you're looking for the 'main gift', the first three options are better choices, as they're slightly more expensive and usually considered a treat. Some of the most popular eyeshadow palettes out there are Urban Decay's Naked Palettes, the Lorac Pro Palette and theBalm's Nude 'Tude Palette, each costing around €40. But don't worry if that's over your budget. Some companies offer high quality make-up for much lower prices. These Wet'n'Wild palettes are just as good as the high end ones! The packaging doesn't look as sleek, but it's what's on the inside that counts, right?

I don't have any super specific recommendations as far as lipsticks go. They're so many different formulas and shades out there, it's hard not to find the perfect match, but if I'd be treating myself to one this Christmas, I'd probably look into Charlotte Tilbury's Matte Revolution and YSL's Rouge Volupte lipsticks. The packaging of both is drop dead gorgeous, while the formulas couldn't be more different. Bold, matte look is what you'll get with Charlotte Tilburry, whereas the YSL ones are on the shinier, buttery side. Oh, and I have one more lip product recommendation - the famous OCC Lip Tar liquid lipsticks! Most suitable for my fellow make-up artist or vegans, they come in every shade imaginable and have the strongest pigmentation!

Last but not least... perfumes. I only have one advice when it comes to fragrances. If you know the exact scent/perfume a person wants to add to their collection, go for it. Otherwise, don't bother. I'm very picky when it comes to scents, so most of the ones that were given to me or bought with my own money just because the bottle looked cute unfortunately have a decorative purpose only now. I need to give them away, really. Free perfume, anyone? My actual collection of the perfumes I use on a daily basis is tiny, and so is my perfume wishlist. The only one I have on my to-buy list right now is Jo Malone's English Pear & Freesia. I've been wanting it for a year now, but I'm not allowing myself to buy it before I use up all the others! Or at least one of them... 

The Week When I Explored Liverpool

Last Friday my friends and I headed up north to spend a few days in Liverpool! The weather went a bit mental, leaving us shivering in cold, with our umbrellas turned inside out, but we braved the violent downpour and did some sightseeing before spending the rest of the weekend consuming some copious amounts of food and hot chocolate. My jeans might be a bit tight now, but hey, at least we had an amazing time! 
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