Thursday, 31 December 2015

I'm Going to America - Trek America 2017!

Long time no speak!

It's been a while since i've posted, and I feel terribly guilty about it. I've felt quite uninspired recently, and had quite a few things going on in my personal life that have prevented me from putting my whole heart into my posts. I know I could have thrown things together if I really wanted to, but they wouldn't have been something I was proud of. I'd like to say in 2016 i'll get this blog up and running again, but it's a work in progress and i'll work on it when the time is right.

I do, however, want to write a post as I finally did something that i've wanted to do for six years. I booked a tour across America! Los Angeles to New York, to be exact. I cannot tell you how excited I am for this to happen - anyone who knows me will tell you that i've been playing with the idea since I was 18 and had a gap year in-between college. It started with Camp America, then I planned to do it alone, then with one of my sisters, and i've finally taken the plunge and booked the Trek America Southern BLT with my younger sister for July 2017. We'll be visiting Los Angeles, San Diego, Las Vegas, the Grand Canyon, Monument Valley, Sante Fe, New Mexico, San Angelo, Austin, Louisiana, New Orleans, Nashville, Memphis, Virginia, Washington DC, Philadelphia and New York. Dream!

Why now? To be honest, if I waited any longer I wouldn't have ever gone. You may or may not know that i'm engaged, and i'll be looking to move into a bigger flat in the summer, so there's just expense after expense after expense. Ever since i've started working full-time I haven't really treated myself to anything, so I think now is the right time before I get bulked down with too many adult responsibilities :P

Yes, 2017 does seem a long way away, and I completely agree. But waiting for 18 months is the sensible option as my sister will turn 21 a few days before we leave, and it will give me plenty of time to save the £5k needed. It's going to involve me budgeting and saving like crazy, but I was willing to pay the extra money to sleep comfortably in accommodation instead of camping like many of the treks involve. We'll be going in the height of summer, which isn't very sensible, but it'll be amazing to see America in the sunniest season (the only time i've been to America was in winter and it was difficult to see anything through the snow). Note to self: Bring 100000000 bottles of Factor 50!

So yeah, this is happening. The next step is to book our flights in July/August (as we're mega keen it's too early to book anything!) and then from there we're able to book our accommodation for before and after (we're planning on staying in New York for a couple of days afterwards) and then get the transport sorted. As i'm a bit of a spreadsheet geek i've already made a two page breakdown of predicted costs and a savings plan :P Can you tell i'm excited?! I think in preparation i'll be doing a series of posts to document the run-up, from budgeting to checklists, as when I was doing my research all of the blog posts and YouTube videos I found were extremely helpful. Is anyone else doing a trek in the near future and have some advice? I'd love to hear from you!

SEE YOU IN 2016.

Sunday, 21 June 2015

Post-uni Life Lessons

In honour of Father's Day, here's me and my dad (looking all smart!) at my graduation :) 

So it's been about a year since I left Bournemouth, and to say my life has dramatically changed has been an understatement. While i've seen plenty of my peers enjoy their post-uni freedom by going travelling and taking trips, i've settled into a full-time job and my own place with my other half. Although not envious at all, it's definitely made me reflect on this past year and the thing's i've learned, and some i'm still struggling to wrap my head around:

I've learnt...

That living in a student house isn't the same as living in your own place
Living in student accommodation has the advantage of having someone else taking care of your bills. Yes, you need to pay them, but no one has to deal with meter readings and all that rubbish. Now it's all down to you - from setting up the internet to making sure the direct debits come out on time. It's stressful at first, but when you get the hang of it, there's a sense of responsibility and confidence that's totally new. Is that sad? Quite possibly!

That being broke is just a way of life
When I was practically living in my overdraft I thought of having no money was part and parcel of being a student. It wasn't until I moved away I realised I wasn't exactly going to be swimming in cash after my first 'proper' paycheque. Accumulating savings is hard, and although my parents have been a great help, there comes a point when you can't simply run to mum and dad whenever you need a bit of extra cash. You're an adult now, jeez.

How to cook without using a packet mix
I never used to really bother about eating well during uni as I lived so close to home I would just head to my mums for a good meal when I fancied it. But since they now live 100 miles away, i've learned to make my own comfort food. I now know what foods to make when i'm feeling sad or sick, and i've started actually getting excited when Rob brings home a new kitchen appliance for me to play around with (fresh pasta maker? Yes please!).

How to appreciate the weekends
I actually get two days off in a row now! I never had the luxury of being able to go without a job during uni, so I didn't get to have hangover fry-up's on sunday's at Wetherspoons or go shopping with my friends on a Saturday. So now, I make every weekend count. Sometimes I need the two days to recharge my batteries, but I try to make use of my time by not sleeping in, going on day trips and visiting friends and family whenever I can.

How to make a Netflix series stretch for more than a week.
During the summer between second and third year of uni, I watched nine seasons of Grey's Anatomy. Nine. Oh, those were the days! I've now learned to ration my programmes to give myself something to look forward to when i've had a particularly stressful day at work. Deadlines are a lot less daunting when there's new Pretty Little Liars to look forward to when you get home!

That living with a boy is hard!
During the last two terms of uni, Rob and I were basically living at each other's houses, making me think that living with another person would be a breeze. But be warned: You will argue about the washing, paying the bills and not cleaning up after each other. You don't want to become a nag, but sadly, it's inevitable. But the good definitely outweighs the bad and I couldn't imagine it any differently now :)

How much you need family your family and friends
You lean on your family and friends more than you ever thought you would. When I was at uni, I was still close to my family but I could go a fair few days without making contact. Now, I try to speak to at least one of them every day, and i'm constantly making plans to visit. Living on your own is hard, but living 100 miles away from everyone is even harder. It's important to stay in contact with everybody and ensure that the effort is equal from both parties.

I still need to figure out...

How to separate washing properly
Colour catchers are my new best friends, but yet the thought of turning something pink still terrifies me. I have a red and blue top that's been sat at the bottom of my washing basket for the past 4 months - what do I wash it with?!?!

How to make a bed
There's nothing quite like having your mum make your bed for you. Why are my sheets so creased? Why do they keep pinging off of the mattress? Are my children destined to sleep in crappy, half-made beds as i'm not blessed with the bed-making gene? These are the questions that keep me up at night.

What I even want to do
I thought i'd have it all figured out by the time I graduated. However, I see so many people straying from the traditional path of 'uni, work, house, marriage children' and completely making up their own rules. At 23, i'm incredibly lucky to have the life that I have and for the opportunities that have arisen for me - but it scares me to think where my life could be another year on from now! I suppose it's okay not to have all of the answers, but it makes me nervous all the same.

Monday, 25 May 2015

How I Clean My Make-up Brushes

Cleaning make-up brushes is boring as hell. No one wants to spend their evenings scrubbing countless fluffy eyeshadow brushes, but unfortunately it's something that must be done if you love wearing a full face of make-up every day - so I thought i'd share how I clean mine!

There are two different combinations of products I use to clean my make-up brushes, each being really simple and using products that are cheap to buy. Instead of forking out the cash for a branded 'brush cleanser', I pay no more than a couple of pounds and the products really do last for ages! To be honest, I do have lots of make-up brushes with different bristles and i'm not entirely sure what sort of cleaner is recommended, but these seem to work just fine with my brushes :)

Option One: Johnson's Baby Shampoo

If it's good enough for a baby, it's good enough for me! I love this stuff because it's really inexpensive, comes in a squeezy tube and leaves my brushes feeling super soft and smelling amazing.

1. Wet brush with warm water and squeeze on a small amount of baby shampoo.

2. Massage the shampoo into the bristles - don't be scared of losing the shape or getting a bit rough with it!

3. Rinse with warm water until the water runs clear (You may have to repeat the second step for foundation brushes or any dense brush that picks up a lot of product.)

4. Dry off the excess on a clean towel, reshape if needed and place on another towel on a flat surface. I like to have my brushes hanging off the edge of something or facing slightly downward so that the water runs off and doesn't loosen the glue that secures the bristles.

Option Two: Washing Up Liquid and Olive Oil

I love this combination as it contains everyday things you'd find in the kitchen. The olive oil helps break down the make-up and softens the bristles whilst the washing up liquid gives them a good old clean!

1. Combine two parts washing up liquid and one part olive oil into a small bowl.

2. Swirl each brush into the mixture until it's completely covered.

3. Massage into the bristles and rinse with warm water until clear.

4. Exactly the same as option one - dry off the excess on a clean towel, reshape and place on a another towel.

Leave to dry for 24 hours and there you have it! Lovely, clean brushes. If you can, (as I know we're all busy!) try to do this once a week to keep your brushes bacteria-free and in the best possible condition.

What do you guys use to clean your make-up brushes? :)

Sunday, 10 May 2015

Making a Change

I feel like i've been walking around with my eyes closed for 23 years. I've spent ridiculous amounts of time and energy fretting about my weight and my health without acknowledging the fact that I literally have no idea what i'm putting into my body. It came to me after i'd been using MyFitnessPal for 3 months, eating 1300 calories a day and beginning to get a bit bored with having to measure everything down to the last gram. One day I saw I had 60 calories left over and went to reach for a banana, when I realised how many calories it contained and went for a Weight Watchers digestive biscuit instead. It was then I realised - how ridiculous is it that I would choose a processed concoction of chemicals and sugar instead of a piece of fresh fruit?! I was starving my body without even realising it. I knew then I needed to change what I consider to be the healthier option.

I did some reading, followed some blogs, subscribed to some YouTube channels, watched some documentaries and started paying attention. I've now opened the floodgates to this some-what terrifying world of healthy eating and now I know too much to close them. My attitudes towards food have completely changed. I'm fretting a lot less at how my body looks and more about how I feel. The idea of eating a McDonalds or KFC repulses me (although walking past it I can't beat the fact that it smells delicious!) and I now know if I work on taking care of my body instead of repriving it of the nutrition it really needs, the results will come. So today I thought i'd share with you the kind of 'rules' i'm trying to live by. I'm definitely not an expert and i'm not saying there won't be a ton of slip-ups, but the more I try the easier it will be:

Measure in goodness
This is the thing i've found the hardest to do.
Calories are the most confusing and misleading things ever. They don't take into account the good or the bad ingredients that make up what we eat - in my opinion, a calorie is just an irritating number. An avocado has round about the same amount of calories as a bag of Malteasers, but which one do you think is better for you? It's a no-brainer. I keep telling myself to measure in goodness instead of calories and that if I want to eat pure almond butter straight from the jar then it's not going to kill me. We've all been programmed into thinking that we must 'eat less, move more' when it comes to leading a healthy lifestyle, and although I agree with getting lots of exercise, it's definitely more about providing your body with the nutrients it needs instead of ensuring you don't exceed a silly number. 

If you don't understand it, don't buy it! 
Next time you're in the supermarket, grab your nearest 'fat-free' item and take a look at the ingredients. I guarantee they'll be a few things you can't pronounce, let alone understand. This does involve some reading to understand what certain ingredients are used for, but i've come to the conclusion that if something is made with a ton of chemicals I don't understand, then I have no business putting it in my body. On the other hand, if it grows in a garden, i'm gonna eat it.

Shop locally
I really enjoy knowing where my food has come from. I love knowing that i'm contributing to the local economy and that i'm eating something that was in the ground just a few miles away from me. It's far less likely to be processed, meaning it contains lots of lovely nutrients.  Obviously when things are out of season this is different, alongside sometimes it's difficult to find time to shop in multiple places, but this is something i'm looking to do a lot more. It's also often much cheaper to shop locally than in the supermarket, meaning you can really load up on veggies without denting your bank account.

Love your freezer
The freezer has to be one of the best inventions ever made. Seriously. It just saves me so much time and money! One of my favourite things to do when cooking is to double up on the ingredients, portion it out and stick it in the fridge or freezer for future meals. I love knowing I have another portion to look forward to for tomorrow's lunch if the meal was extra tasty and means that I am less likely to end up at the supermarket grabbing a pre-packed sandwich or pasta pot. It also means you can stock up on frozen vegetables when you can't get to the supermarket - most are picked and frozen within the first 24 hours so most of the nutrients are still there. 

Prep, prep, prep!
I think the greatest thing about processed food is that it's so convenient. It has a crazy-long shelf life, meaning it can just sit out waiting for you whenever you're hungry. So really, cooking things from scratch does feel like a bit of an effort at times. This is why I like to set aside a weekend afternoon (or weekday evening if i'm away or busy) to prep things for the week. Last weekend, for instance, I made a big batch of vegetable stock that I then split into freezer bags to keep for whenever i'm cooking, as well as a container of granola for the week ahead. I also made a tray of sweet potato brownies for whenever i'm feeling peckish. I actually did such a good job of prepping last weekend i'm set for the next few days! I find if I put something on Netflix in the background and just get on with it, you stop paying attention to how long it takes you and it's hugely satisfying to know you have lots of goodies to show for your hard work.

Be brave
I think one of the biggest steps is accepting that the way you look at food is going to change. The foods that I used to comfort myself are now my worst enemy. It's also about accepting the fact that's it going to be a bit more of an effort to get to where you want to be. Re-educating yourself about food is scary, but it can also be really enjoyable. I've recently discovered medjool dates - which are absolutely beautiful. They look gross, but my god are they sweet. I'm now hoping they will curb my sugar cravings, but only time will tell. On the flipside, don't force yourself to like something just because it's good for you. I tried a dairy-free almond shake from Pret the other day which was supposed to be really amazing, but I hated it (Far too sharp and waaay too much banana!). Find what works for you. I'm not a massive fan of celery and tomatoes, so I just choose something else instead. But at least give it a try!

I still crave pizza massively, and to be honest, I can't promise i'll never have a Domino's again in my lifetime. When I see my friends and they want to go to a restaurant that isn't super-healthy, i'm not saying I won't go. But I think making even the smallest change is a massive leap in the right direction. You hear so many people say "It's not a diet, it's a lifestyle change" and they are totally right - a diet is inevitably temporary and this certainly is not.

I'm always seeking new recipes to try or any information that will help guide me in the right direction so any help will be greatly appreciated :)

Sunday, 26 April 2015

My Most Used Make-up Brushes

Contrary to what you might think, I actually don't have a lot of make-up brushes. I use very few on a daily basis, so I thought i'd share with you my all-time favourites:

Foundation Brush
I use a Real Technique's Expert Face Brush as I love the way it works the foundation into my skin. It buffs product into the skin instead of painting it on and allowing it to sit on top. The brush itself is quite dense so it does distributes a lot of product but without losing control. I also use this brush to gently tap concealer under my eyes and on blemishes, blending in seamlessly with the rest of my base.

Contour Brush
I know loads of people use huge brushes, whack bronzer all over their face and end up effortlessly sun-kissed, but I need something a bit more precise so I don't end up looking like i've rolled in mud. Real Technique's Contour Brush (Taken from their Core Collection) distributes enough product to create a soft, chiselled finish. It does take a lot longer if you want to bronze all over the face, but great if you want something subtle or have a paler complexion and want to ease yourself into contouring.

Powder Brush
I've been using the Real Technique's Buffing Brush (Also from their Core Collection) for about three years now and it's still going strong today. It's great for setting my make-up with powder and I also use it to ensure everything's nicely blended together once I add my contour, blush and highlight. It doesn't pick up too much product and I just find it really easy to use!

Angled Brow Brush
If you're a fan of strong brows, an angled brush is essential. I use the MAC 266 Small Angle brush - it's really precise and the bristles retain their shape really well, even after loads of washes. It picks up just the right amount of product and distributes really evenly. It's quite a stiff brush so it's great when you want to achieve a statement brow, but soft enough to keep it natural if you keep your hand light. It can also be used to apply gel eyeliner - I find it's the only brush that gets the wing just right!

Base Shadow Brush
I don't like to fuss when it comes to eye make-up, usually two colours will do it. Therefore, a brush that applies a quick wash of colour is great for when you've got no time. I use one by EcoTools - however, as it's so old I can't seem to find it, but there's a similar one here. It's simple and nothing special if i'm completely honest. It's just massive and makes applying a base colour really quick and easy. If i'm precise enough I do use it in the crease, but it's not really designed for detailed make-up.

Fluffy Blending Brush
If it's one brush that I regret not buying when I started getting into make-up, it was this one. I cannot emphasise enough how much it transforms an eye look. It makes creating a smokey eye really easy to achieve and makes it a lot to easier to rectify mistakes. The Zoeva Luxe Soft Definer Brush has become my favourite brush out of all of these, as it makes blending out eyeshadow an absolute dream. There are bigger blending brushes out there, but i've found this suits my eye shape perfectly. I'm thinking of buying a few more of these so I don't have to be constantly washing it, and at only £6.50, it won't break the bank to treat myself to a few more! 

What are your most-used make-up brushes? Are there some that I should be using? Let me know! :)

Sunday, 29 March 2015

Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation

(Cheeky cameo from Rob!)

I'm a bit of a foundation hoarder. I think I use my skin tone as a bit of an excuse, as not all brands stock foundations in my shade, so when I do find a brand that does I feel the need to buy. Right that second. But that doesn't mean i'm not picky when it comes to what I use daily. I'm ashamed to admit that 75% of the foundations that I buy are rarely used. See, I tend to have unrealistic expectations when it comes to what I use as a base. I want it to look natural, but provide enough coverage to cover blemishes; hide the redness of my skin, nose and cheeks, but allow my freckles to show through; give me that 'glow from within', but only shine in the right places. Tall order, right? Not for Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk.

I'd heard about this foundation through YouTube (naturally), and resisting it due to the hefty £36.50 price tag. However, one day I was in a particularly good mood and thought i'd take the plunge as I walked past the counter - the 10% John Lewis Price Match was also quite a good incentive so i'd hold out for those!

I've had this foundation for about a month now, and it's safe to say i've used it practically every day. It applies like a dream - it's lightweight, medium coverage that's equally buildable and an excellent colour match. It comes in 21 different shades (Obviously I was the lightest one!) and comes in a beautiful glass bottle with a handy pump for ease. I've found that, over the top of a primer, that it lasts for ages. I tend to spend a lot of time with my hand resting on my chin at work, resulting in practically no product there by lunchtime, but with this foundation it simply stays put. I love the way my skin glows without looking oily, and that I can go without concealer if i'm feeling brave. The only downside it obviously the price. It's not something i'd buy full price, but that's just because I think paying £36.50 for an everyday foundation is a bit much for me right now, but it certainly is worth the money. I'm not saying it's the one, as i'm sure my love affair with foundation hoarding will be ongoing, but it's definitely close enough.

You can purchase Armani Luminous Silk Foundation for £36.50 from your nearest Armani counter or online.

Sunday, 15 March 2015

Mini MAC Haul

Hi everyone!

Long time no speak! It's quite difficult to blog and take photos when you work full time and it's dark by the time you get home, so I end up doing all my blogging on the weekend. However, seeing as I don't live with my parents anymore and I do have a social life (barely!), sometimes my weekends are taken up with other things meaning that blogging unfortunately takes a back seat. But i'm here now, so here we go! :) 

Rob surprised me with an amazing gift for my birthday - a make-up lesson with a MAC artist at House of Fraser, Bluewater. I was so excited, but only managed to book it in for last week as we've just been so busy. So I thought i'd share what I bought!

Cool Neutrals Palette (£65)

This beautiful palette consists of 15 heavily pigmented mate, satin, lustre, frost, velvet and pearl shades. It's the counterpart to the warm neutrals palette which I really want, but i'm afraid it may just be too dark for my skin tone. I bought this because for £65 you receive eyeshadows which, if bought separately, would cost £195. It only has one colour that she used on me during the lesson, Blackberry, but for the cost I was happy to compromise on the shades. I've been wanting to expand my MAC eyeshadow collection for a while now and this palette provides endless combinations suitable for day and night. Here's a breakdown of the shades: 

Top row (L-R): Flounce ("Chalky white pink" w/ matte finish), Sweet Allure ("Soft light pink" w/ satin finish), Sun Tweaked ("Soft frosty coral" w/ frost finish), After Dusk ("Mid-tone rosy pink with pearl" w/ a pearl finish), Blackberry ("Muted burgundy-plum brown" w/ matte finish) 

Middle row: Pick Me Up ("Pale ivory" w/ matte finish), Cozy Grey ("Cool grey" w/ matte finish), Crushed Clove ("Dirty gold olive" w/ frost finish),  Deception ("Chocolate gold" w/ frost finish), Brun ("Muted blackish-brown" w/ satin finish)

Bottom row: Silver Fog ("White with silver pearl" w/ frosh finish), French Clay ("Dirty grey charcoal w/ frost finish), Cumulus ("Cream grey with silver pearl" w/ frost finish), Pearled Earth ("Deep blue-grey" w/ pearl finish), Black Pearl ("Black with silver sparkle" w/ velvet finish)

Viva Glam Miley Cyrus Lipstick (£15.50)

This is such a gorgeous hot pink. As soon as the MAC artist swatched it, I was instantly in love. It can be applied straight from the bullet for maximum intensity, or dabbed on with a lip brush or your finger for a more subtle look. As you can probably see I started trying to apply it really precisely but ended up using the wrong brush which resulted in lots of smudging, but you get the gist of the shade! I love the red detailing on the tube, alongside Miley's signature which makes it a great collectable - the money made from this product (-VAT) goes towards helping people affected by HIV/Aids, which is a definite bonus!

Matchmaster Concealer (£17)

When I asked for help with my contouring, I was recommended a cream stick as it's a lot more natural and blends into the skin effortlessly instead of simply sitting on top like a powder can do. This isn't designed to act as a bronzer, although if you choose a concealer or even a foundation two shades darker than your regular colour, it works just as well! I'm actually really impressed with this. I'm wearing the matching foundation in the above and below pictures and I find it gives a really natural finish with the ability to be really buildable.

Other products used:- YSL Touche Eclat Foundation, Collection 2000 Lasting Perfection Concealer, Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz, Benefit Roller Lash, YSL Touche Eclat, Benefit Coralista Blush, MAC Shy Girl Lipstick

Here I am wearing the concealer stick and the eyeshadows. I have to say the concealer stick looks disappointing on camera as it really adds a lot of definition, however I was a little nervous about using it for the first time by myself so only used a tiny bit. I'm absolutely in love with the eye combination! I used Sun Tweaked all over the lid, After Dusk in the crease, Blackberry on the outer V and under the eyes and Flounce along the brow bone and the inner corner. It's really warming and great if you want a subtle smokey eye that can be worn during the day. Altogether i'm sooo happy with these products - they're really easy to wear, apply and I believe to be amazing value for the results. When you look at the acutal problems it doesn't look like much, but for anyone who's aware of the average price of a MAC item I think you'll agree this is a bit of a splurge! I should never be let loose on a make-up counter. Ever. Thanks so much Rob and to the staff at Bluewater MAC who helped me out loads and I can't wait to start experimenting.

Enjoy the rest of your Sunday everyone! :) 

Sunday, 22 February 2015

New Skincare Staples

For those who enjoy wearing make-up on a daily basis, a thorough skin routine is simply a must-have. As much as I love beauty products, it's no surprise that piling all these different products onto your skin can cause it a lot of distress if it's not taken care of properly. Adopting a great skin routine is great for tackling spots, redness, dullness and creates an amazing blank canvas that makes applying make-up an absolute dream. It's taken me a while to find a combination of products that work well for me as my skin doesn't react very well to change and it jumps between normal, combination and sensitive, but I think I may have finally found it! So here are my new skincare staples that I just can't stop raving about: 

Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water

I've been using this for so long now and I am absolutely in love with it. It's a one-step make-up remover and cleanser that's amazing for removing almost every trace of product on your skin, including waterproof mascara. It's not irritating, heavily perfumed or dry in any way and makes removing your make-up an absolute breeze. It comes in such a big bottle (400ml, which is crazy!) but remember that you really only need a small drop to start breaking down the make-up. The only issue I have with this is that the bottle is just so big that I wish it came in a mini size for when I travel1 Other than that, I have absolutely no issue with this product and I know for certain I won't be looking for anything else. 

Origins A Perfect World Deep Cleanser

I've been using this foaming cleanser since the beginning of the year and i've been absolutely loving it. I was sceptical at first as it was described to me as a cleanser for all skin types, which I immediately interpret that it wouldn't actually focus on any specifics, but I was definitely proved wrong. Containing detoxifying White Tea, it's an amazing antioxidant that leaves the skin feeling squeaky clean and expertly cleansed. I use it morning and night before applying my moisturiser so it takes off any last trace of make-up and preps my skin for the rest of my skincare routine. 

Kiehl's Creamy Eye Treatment with Avocado

This is my latest addition and is definitely the most luxurious. I decided to take the plunge and give it a try after hearing about it on various Zoella blogs. Containing cooling avocado, this moisturising eye cream is super thick and extremely hydrating. Sometimes I do struggle with the amount I need to put on as a little does go a long way, but i've only been using it for about a month and I already see a huge improvement. It's designed to reduce darkness underneath the eyes as well as reduce any puffiness, which it most certainly does. My eyes feel brighter and look more awake than they ever have done! I usually put on a slighter thicker layer at night and give it the whole night to sink in and then continue with my moisturiser. 

Origins GinZing Energy Boosting Moisturiser

I've gone through so many moisturisers i've lost count. I get really impatient that I don't see or feel the results straight away so I move onto the next one, but with this Origin's moisturiser I really feel like this could be the product. Enriched with energising GinZing and Coffee Bean, this light, oil-free moisturiser glides onto the skin and instantly brightens and refreshes. I notice especially in the morning after my evening application that my skin looks considerably more vibrant and effortlessly soft. It makes my skin look amazing underneath my make-up as it gives off just enough glow to shine through and make it look like i've had 12 hours sleep! It is quite expensive (Prices start from £23), but if your skin feels really dull, dark and in need of a boost, I would definitely recommend investing in this skin saviour. I've used it morning and night for around 6 weeks and i'm hooked! 

Sunday, 8 February 2015

My Eyebrow Routine

Defined eyebrows are my beauty staple. I tend to wear quite natural make-up, but when it comes to my brows the stronger the better. I haven't quite perfected the perfect gradient so I sometimes end up with a bit of what you may consider a 'scouse brow', but I love it anyways. Until now, i've been using Benefit's Brow Zings in Medium, which I absolutely adore, but i've recently switched it up and have been really enjoying this new combination that I thought I would show you how I fill in my brows in just a couple of steps!

Here are the products I use: 


So here's how I look with a full face of make-up without my eyebrows filled in. This looks very weird to me! I never quite realised how light my brows naturally are in comparison to my hair!  They are basically non existent. Eughhh. 

Tail Definition

I start by brushing through my brows with the spoolie end of the Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz in 'Medium Brown', to make sure I don't have any stray hairs and that they're nice and flattened for when I apply product. If I feel like my brows do need a trim, I brush them upwards with the spoolie and trim them from the top with a pair of nail scissors, but I try not to touch them in-between waxes so I don't mess with the shape!

I then begin to shape them with the Brow Wiz, starting from the middle of my brows all along to the end of the tail. I use a pencil as I find it a lot softer and easier to control. I then lightly fill in the tail to give it a bit of definition, as it's significantly thinner than the rest of the brow. I love how natural the pencil is and could easily be used to completely define my brows, but I feel like because they're quite thick I would use up a lot of product quite quickly.

Finished Shape

To further define, I then use the  MAC 266 Small Angle Brush dipped into the Anastasia Beverly Hills Dipbrow Pomade in 'Chocolate'. This brush is quite new to me, and so far i'm loving it! It's the perfect width for my brows and doesn't pick up too much product. I'd read about Dipbrow online and instantly fell in love with it. Every person that used it in a tutorial had ah-mazing brows that I could not wait to replicate. The best way to use this product is to replicate individual hairs by applying with tiny brush strokes. You only need a tiny bit of product and I like to increase the pressure as I move towards the tail to create a gradient. I then take the spoolie and brush through the inner part of my brows (I have no idea what they're called!) just to ensure there's a decent amount of gradient.  

To define the shape even further - because why the hell not?! - I then clean up the edges with the Bobbi Brown Creamy Concealer in 'Porcelain' (The concealer pictured is the Creamy Concealer Kit containing the same shade, which also features a pressed powder to set concealer), using a random EcoTools brush that is so old I don't think they sell it any more. I like it because it's really easy to manipulate so you can outline the brows precisely using the brush. I then finish with a little bit of Benefit's High Brow Glow underneath the brows to lift and highlight them. And that's it! 

For those days where I don't get the time or seriously cannot be bothered with a defined brow, I use the Benefit Gimme Brow Gel in Light/Medium. When I worked there, I used to describe it to customers as "the definition of a pencil without the pencil lines". It provides natural, light coverage that achieves that 'your brows but better' effect. So there you go, my eyebrow routine! Hope you enjoyed it :)

Have a good week guys! x

Sunday, 25 January 2015

My Everyday Make-up #1

You know you love make-up when you actually look forward to putting on your face every morning. There was a time when I used to do half my face at a time just so I could see the difference the products made (I was late to everything at that time!). I like to experiment with lots of different products, especially foundation, but lately i've been sort of sticking to the same natural-ish look and just switching up my lipstick depending on what i'm wearing. 

So here is my everyday make-up. I usually put it all in a little basket with a small mirror and do my make-up in bed whilst watching an episode or two of Friends (US Netflix is possibly the best thing that's ever happened to me). I love a natural smoky eye, with a little bit smudged underneath. Strong eyebrows, purely because I love them, and cheeks with a natural looking flush. 

There are some products that i'd like to do more in-depth review on, but they'll come later on. I just feel that i've got myself a bit of a routine and found a lovely combination of products that really work with my skin, so thought i'd share it with you. 

Here are the products I use below:

MAC Archie's Girls Pearlmatte Face Powder in 'Veronica's Blush'
MAC Lustre Drops in 'Pink Rebel' 

What do you use for your everyday make-up? Is there anything I should be trying? Let me know below.

Happy Sunday! x 

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Favourite 5 | Dark Lip Colours for Fair Skin


I hope everyone is enjoying their weekends, I know I am. I really enjoyed showcasing my favourite red lipsticks so I thought i'd do the same for dark lipsticks. I'll keep this intro short and sweet, but I love how a dark lip can add some drama to a look with minimal effort. Having pale skin I think you tend to stick to lighter colours that blend well, but sometimes its nice to mix things up! Whether its sheer, mate or extra glossy, i've picked my favourite five dark lipsticks that I reach to when I want to add some extra warmth to my everyday make-up.

(This background is so drab - i've somehow lost my fairylights! :( ) 

'Fling Thing' Hyrda-Smooth Lip Colour - Benefit

Oh I love this lipstick! I've been such a huge fan of their Hyrda-Smooth range since I worked there, and this shade is by far my favourite. It's described as a 'very berry', and certainly looks darker on the bullet than it does on your lips. It sounds weird, but this lipstick is one that I wore at a certain time in my life that I will always remember, so this will always be a shade that I love. It's really moisturising and you can build up the coverage without it looking cakey and fake. I really love the double-slanted bullet, which makes it really easy to apply. I think this a really great universal shade that's perfect for day or night.

'Wicked' Lipstick - Topshop

This is actually the newest lipstick I own. Absolutely terrifying in the tube as it's so dark, but applies as a rich burgundy and glides onto the lips effortlessly. Topshop lipsticks are a cult favourite amongst British beauty bloggers and I am certainly a fan. I love how creamy the texture is and doesn't need reapplication after eating which is a definite plus. I haven't found a shade anywhere else like this, so I would definitely recommend if you want a deep wine or oxblood shade that lasts.

'Aura' Rouge Coco Shine - Chanel 

This is a different sort of lipstick than the others in this collection as it's really sheer. I know it looks a little odd and I did think so too, but its nice if you want to pat on a little bit of colour but not go overboard with a dark lip. I'm not a fan of the bullet because its rounded making it slightly before difficult to apply straight from the bullet. It's lovely and glossy and hydrating and is ideal if you want a slick of dark colour without all the drama.

Lasting Finish Lipstick by Kate Moss in Shade 30 - Rimmel London

I'm so impressed with Kate Moss' range of lipsticks. The shades are incredible, the finish is flawless and its so affordable at just £5.49 a tube. This is a lovely plum shade with slight pinky tones peeking through. The colour is really rich and probably the truest shade to the bullet. I feel that this would be a shade that suits everyone and its really easy to apply so I have no issues applying it without a mirror or slicking on a bit while i'm on the train.

'Vicious Velvet' Ultra Moisturising Lip Paint - Barry M 

This was the first dark lipstick i'd ever bought. Costing just £4.49, I thought it would be perfect to experiment, as I would only lose a few pounds if I decided it wasn't for me. I love this colour; it's a really gorgeous berry shade that's really long-lasting. My one flaw is that it is really drying on the lips. Barry M lipsticks are supposedly designed to be moisturising, but that's not really the case. The colour pay-off is great though, making it a pretty decent drugstore lipstick if you want to experiment without breaking the bank.

I hope you enjoyed, have a lovely rest of the day!


Thursday, 1 January 2015

My 2014

I've had a great year. Not just great, i've actually had the best year of my life. Although these pictures don't show everyone that made this year special (Charlotte Scott, i'm talking to you!!), it gives a bit of an idea about how much fun i've had this year.

I saw in the beginning of the year in London with some of my best and oldest friends, then went back to Bournemouth to a house I shared with more great friends to finish my final year at university. In February I met my fiance, which feels really weird thinking that it's been less than a year since we started speaking. I worked for one of my favourite beauty brands, got my first car and got through my dissertation. I went on my first 'sister holiday', interned at a national magazine and graduated with a 2:1. I got engaged, got a graduate job and moved into my first flat with a guy. I spent the New Year in one of my favourite places in the world with some amazing people. I now live in a totally different city away from my family and friends and to be honest, I am a bit nervous as to what 2015 will bring. I read a quote today that said: "Starting today, I need to forget about what's gone, appreciate what still remains and look forward to what's coming next." Amongst all the irritating "New year, new me!" rubbish, this really stands out for me. So, when i'm feeling a bit lonely or doubting myself in any way, i'll take five minutes to reflect on what an amazing life I have, that has no limitations and is constantly surprising me. 2014 has been incredible to me, and I have a feeling it's only going to get better. 

Happy New Year.