Blushers for that Summer Glow

It may seem a little odd to be doing a post about "*that* summer glow" at the end of August, but here in the UK it seems like our summer has only just received the memo as the temperature has been a scorching 28 degrees most days which has seen us melting towards the tail-end of summer so I thought it was only right to keep this summer skin dream alive with this little post. Now, considering I'm the pale girl that I am, I always think it sounds odd for me to talk about having a tan or a "sun-kissed glow" but surprisingly, I actually quite enjoy that glow only summer seems to give the skin. I might not fake tan and I 100% only leave the house if I'm smothered in at least factor 30, but since ditching foundation and only wearing concealer, I've enjoyed using the odd product to give my skin a boost in radiance and colour. I've already talked about a heavenly budget bronzer and highlighter duo that can make you seem like you're glowing from within but the ultimate product for me when trying to look "healthy" and "radiant" has got to be blush.

Blusher has been a staple for me since my early teen years when I used to exclusively wear those bubblegum bright pink shades as two rather large and pigmented streaks on both sides of my face because you know, that porcelain doll look was the aim. But I've since toned it down slightly for everyday wear and have a few firm favourites which do a grand job at making me look healthy. The reason blusher is always something I reach for is because I'm so pale and don't have a natural flush to my cheeks (even when I'm embarrassed) so a lot of the time my skin can be quite monotone and team that with my black hair and you're guaranteeing the "you don't look very well" comments will spill in thick and fast. Blush helps me get that little bit of colour injection which helps lift my complexion but it is also so so handy in the summer months to help compliment your sun-kissed skin or the other makeup products you are sporting on a particular day.

Max Factor, Rimmel, and Sleek Blushers

It will come as no surprise that my favourite blush products are all from the drugstore. I like to try a lot of different blushers and find the higher end you go, the more you're paying for a product I just won't get the wear out of. That's not to say I won't splurge where I see fit (the Hourglass Ambient Lighting blushers are a firm favourite for example), but when I know there's a decent dupe for a fraction of the price in the likes of Boots and Superdrug I'd much rather test those out. With that being said, today's post is covering six different cheek products (mostly powders and one honorary non-blush product mention will be thrown in there too!) which I think can give you a lovely summer look for pennies.

Max Factor Creme Puff Blush (shade: 25 | Alluring Rose) | £8.99 - I figured I'd mention this one first because it's the darkest shade of all the blushers I'm going to mention and also probably the most glowy. I've talked about these blushers before and how they're a great dupe for the Hourglass Ambient Lighting blushers, but seriously I think I like these more. These Max Factor blushes are so good for giving colour to your face without looking fake or patchy as they're really pigmented and super blendable. Alluring Rose would be gorgeous for darker skin tones but with a light hand, I like dusting it on my cheeks and on my temples/forehead as the deep shade is a great bronzing colour so perfect for summer skin. It does has a shimmer in it too which isn't chunky or glittery so it only adds to creating that lovely sun-kissed look.

Natural Collection Blushed Cheeks (shade: Peach Melba) | £1.99 - Now to the other end of the spectrum both in finish and price. This super cheap blush is possibly my favourite if not, it's at least in my top three (as you can probably tell as I've hit pan and this certainly isn't the first time it's happened with these guys)! These very cheap blushers shouldn't be shied away from as they've got great colour pay-off, last the majority of the day, and I just *love* the small shade selection. Peach Melba is my favourite shade all year round but it's particularly nice for summer as the peachy tones to it give you a nice natural flush which looks slightly bronzed too. As the formula of these blushers is completely matte, it's a lovely one to wear with highlight if you don't want to go full disco ball with your makeup somedays.

Natural Collection Blusher

Essence Silky Touch Blush (shade: 100 | Indian Summer) | £1.oo - Another cheap blush I love love love is this powder blush from Essence. Essence are great for affordable makeup as I've mentioned before here, so naturally over time I've picked up more and more products - including this blush. This shade is kind of similar to Rimmel's Santa Rose blush (which I'll mention in just a mo) but slightly darker and more pink. It's quite corally when on the cheeks and has a subtle shimmer to it so if you want low maintenance summer makeup - this is the one for you. It doesn't apply patchy, it lasts all day, and it costs next to nothing I mean come on, it's a quid. One whole pound. Unbelievable Jeff.

Essence Soo Glow! Cream to Powder Highlighter (shade: 20 | bright up your life) | £2.80 - Whilst we're talking about Essence, I need to give an honorary mention to this little product. I've talked about these cream highlighters before but basically this is one of the few cream to powder products I actually like. This shade in particular is worth a mention in this post because if you're a minimal makeup girl or like those "no makeup" makeup looks, this is a lovely product to use. As it's a cream, it applies really quickly and easily and the finish of it is very natural despite it being a highlight and if you're a pale guy or have especially pink-toned skin, this will certainly be wearable everyday stuff for you. As it has those pinky pearly shades to it, it is a great one for those of you who might not want to/like wearing blush or who often skip the step because it gives you a subtle colour pay off whilst also giving you that dewy glow which ticks so many boxes for summer skin.

Essence, Sleek, and Natural Collection BlushersDrugstore Blushers

Rimmel Lasting Finish Soft Colour Blush (shade: 010 | Santa Rose) | £3.99 - So I've talked about these wee blush offerings from Rimmel before but this shade is a new favourite for me. I've tried to get my hands on this shade for I don't even want to know how long, but I finally scooped it up in Newcastle Airport and it is now a favourite. This peachy shade is very natural and great for summer makeup but it's also great for you fellow pale pals because its peachy in an almost bronzing way so it really warms up the face and again - like all the shimmery blushers in this post - has a subtle shimmer that isn't chunky that just helps add a tiny bit of dewiness and natural glow to your cheeks. As I've mentioned in a previous post, this one is amazing for just slinging in your bag or for packing for travelling as the packaging is so tiny and compact yet durable. Best combo.

Sleek Blush (shade: 926 | Rose Gold) | £4.99 - Of course I was going to mention this guy. This guy is an almost perfect dupe for Nars Orgasm and is your typical natural flush pink with a gold glitter shimmer running through it. I find the shimmer more noticeable in this blush but its still natural if applied with a light hand. Sleek blushers are fantastic for their pigment pay-off and I'd say this shade is perfect year-round but is super great in the summer sun due to the glitter glow it gives you. I tend to stick with more peachy blushers nowadays but this one is my go-to when I want a more pink tone to my cheeks. It can go a little clowny if you're heavy handed with it, but I really can't rate it enough. It lasts all day and if you want a budget-friendly blush that looks more expensive, this is the one because the packaging looks much more luxurious than it's price-point.

What's your favourite blushers and shades to wear during summer?

- A.
Follow me on Bloglovin'
Twitter & Instagram xo

Vatican City

If there was one place I was desperate to visit during our holiday to Rome, it was Vatican City. Having previously not had a huge desire to go to Rome, the one thing that swayed my decision to make it the destination for Matt & I's first holiday was the thought of visiting the Vatican Museums and St. Peter's Basilica. The artwork in the Vatican Museums was said to be astonishing and of course, I'd get a chance to stand in the Sistine Chapel - what more could an art/art history/RE teacher want ey?

So, one day we got up bright and early and started on the short walk over to The Vatican from our Air BnB flat. After roughly 15 minutes, we started to see a the tail-end of the queue for The Vatican Museums and oh boy was I pleased that I had booked our tickets online. Before Matt & I went to Rome, we debated over what we should and shouldn't book in advance and after almost booking nothing, for some reason, I decided to at least book The Vatican tickets and it's such a good job I did. The tail-end of this queue was around a corner and as we turned it, we realised the queue stretched the length of at least 1,000 people if not more. There were small groups, families, large tourist groups with a guide, individual backpackers... It was insane. I've never felt so elated but almost guilty as a swanned past them all, knowing we didn't have to wait in the 4+ hour line because we could just go and pick up our tickets and that would be that. The whole process was ridiculously quick and after a quick walk through a security scanner and stop-off at the toilet, we were ready to be awed by everything we saw.

The VaticanCeiling Artwork, The VaticanStatueCourtyard, The Vatican, RomeSculpture at The VaticanSculptureMinotaur, The VaticanVatican MuseumsVatican DomeVatican Museum ViewVatican Museum Mosaic FloorThe Vatican Staircase

The first *area* of the Vatican Museums to stroll through is very grand - it is full to the brim with sculptures and statues mostly, ranging from famous bronzes to mythological minotaur busts and more. Each room is so bright and airy and more grand that the last so they're a pleasure to wander through despite the insane buzz of people shuffling through the museums' almost one way route (if you get claustrophobic, you genuinely might want to look into visiting the museums during the evening as you can request a look around after hours as it is super busy - even at 9am on a weekday morning!).

As we slowly made our way out of these marble-filled rooms, we suddenly started to spill into the areas I really wanted to look at - the grand painted ceilings and corridors. The amazing thing about walking around these museums is the majority of the rooms and hallways are what you actually need to look at, not necessarily what they contain. Many of the corridors and rooms don't actually house any artifacts or static artworks but they each boast the most beautiful paintings stretching from floor to ceiling well actually, the ceilings are included too! I'm pretty sure Matthew was sick of me after the 50th time I walked into a room and went "*gasp* how pretty *gasp* look!" but it is honestly such a breathtaking place. It's worth saying at this point the Vatican Museums are huge so be prepared for walking a fair few miles during your visit because there's so much to see and you need to go through it all to get to the main attraction: The Sistine Chapel.

Jesus Christ Tapestry, The Vatican MuseumsThe Vatican ArtworkVatican MuseumVaitcan Museums PaintingsArt in The Vatican MuseumsCeiling Art at The VaticanFrom Where I StandCeilings of The Vatican

The Papal Basilica of St. Peter from Vatican MuseumsVatican PaintingsVatican Museums Ceiling ArtStained GlassPaintings at The Vatican MuseumsMosaic Floor Detail, The VaticanView from Vatican Museums Gardens

- A.
Follow me on Bloglovin'
Twitter & Instagram xo

Paisley Midi

A couple of weeks ago I had a wedding to go to and after scrambling around for something to wear last minute (whenever there's anything remotely formal, I really struggle to dress for it) I settled on this midi number I picked up from Asos during their summer sale. This quite heavy jersey midi was perfect for the indecisive British summer weather but also for someone like me who often has "t-shirt" acne breakouts that can look pretty horrendous in a more revealing dress. The paisley pattern and the cut of this dress is what drew me to it as the pattern is a gorgeous bright orange and bright but deep purple which is a little different to the usualy navy or red paisley we commonly see. The midi cut instantly makes it more formal if worn with heels and the scoop back gives it a little something to draw away from the fact that this could easily just be a day dress too. I paired it with a pair of black lace up heels because I'm so still not over the lace up leg trend and the black tied in lovely with the pattern and my hair! Finished with an orange lip to match the print and I was good to go.

Asos Paisley Midi Dress (and similar) | Oasis Gold Clutch (similar) | Truffle Lace Up Heels via La Moda

- A.
Follow me on Bloglovin'
Twitter & Instagram xo