Monday, December 12, 2016

INSTAGRAM: MY FAVOURITE BLOGGERS TO FOLLOW & WHAT I HAVE LEARNT FROMTHEM

















We’ve all heard the famous phrase that ‘a picture speaks a thousand words’ and so it is easy to see why an app like Instagram has become everyone’s favourite photo sharing app. In June of this year, Instagram announced that they had more than 500 million users worldwide, 300 million of which use the app every single day. This is a truly remarkable feat, especially when you consider it is just six years old.

As a blogger, self-promotion is key to building your brand and an Instagram presence is essential. It has been reported that 75% of users will visit a website after seeing a post on Instagram, so it is the perfect way to guide more traffic to your blog.

That said, Instagram is far from easy; the dreaded algorithm has only served to make it more difficult. Believe me, I know.

If you found this post from the handy link I left in my own profile you will see from my stats that I am certainly not Instagram royalty. And, if you were hoping reading this would enlighten you about how to get hundreds and thousands of followers, I’m sorry. It isn’t.

While I am clearly no expert, I am certainly a trier and over the past few months I have really been challenging all of my energy into improving my Instagram. In this post, I wanted to share with you five of my favourite bloggers to follow and more importantly, how they inspire me and what tips I have picked up from poring over their feeds.

So, lets start…

Sarah Ashcroft (sarahhashcroft)

It was inevitable that Sarah would be included in this list, as she is someone whom I am just endlessly inspired by. She is not only a hugely successful blogger, but has collaborated with top brands such as Missguided to create fashion pieces her following just can’t get enough of. On a more personal level, she motivates me to actually make an effort with my makeup at 5.45am in the morning – as she literally never has a hair (or lash!) out of place.



Sarah’s Instagram has taught me, not only that it is time bin my baggy workout wear and select some cuter sets, but also the importance of posting frequently.

I used to post once or twice a week but now, I share a new picture at least every day – sometimes even twice a day. With it getting darker in the evenings it is pretty impossible for me take any good pictures, so at the weekends I really prioritise shooting for my blog and Instagram.

Since the introduction of the Instagram algorithm (did I mention, I hate it?), it can be even harder to keep followers so I feel that keeping my page fresh and up to date is a great place to start when it comes to keeping people interested.

Kayleigh Johnson (kayleighjcouture)

Kayleigh has fantastic taste in fashion and I really love everything that she wears. If I’m looking for fashion inspiration, her Instagram is always the first place I go and I’ve discovered so many fantastic different brands since I’ve been following her.



Once of the things that I love the most about Kayleigh’s feed is how there is a real theme to it. She always uses a filter on her pictures to remove yellowy tones and I love how consistent all of her pictures looks as a result. It has been reported that 60% of top brands use a filter to make their photos more recognisable and it certainly works.

I have worked really hard on ensuring there is some consistency with what I am posting. I love bright white photos and marble backgrounds, which you will see in my Instagram shots. To create these, I have learnt to work with the natural lighting that the British weather gives you and forced myself to get to grips with editing software I previously found too daunting.

Milly (millydaydreams) 

I came across Milly’s blog on Facebook when I was just starting to get into blogging about two years ago. Back then, she had a modest 3,000 odd followers whereas she now boasts nearly 11k!
Milly is a fantastic photographer and her images are always so crisp and bright. While I enjoy scrolling through her feed and perusing the latest fashion items she has picked up, I also love her scenic shots of Cornwall, which is my home county.



One of the things I like best about Milly’s photos is their composition. She is the queen of flatlays and her pictures always have a multi-dimensional feel in the sense that they are telling you a bit of a story. She always thinks outside the box with her shots.  

When I started out, I used to take a photo of one product against a bright background and think I was set. Now, I try to include other props in my photos to make them a bit more stimulating to the user, because you are giving them other things to engage with. I think images like this seem much more natural quality.

Liza Prideaux (lizaprideaux) and Milly Naomi Charlotte (millynaomi_)
I haven’t grouped these two ladies together because they are some kind of double act, but due to them both having taught me the same thing. Liza is forever posting flawless makeup photos that I am dying to imitate and Milly has a lipstick collection of dreams. There is always a new one on her Instagram I really want to get my hands on.



Both blog across multiple areas; from beauty to fashion, lifestyle to parenting – sliding seamlessly between each. I love that their pages are so varied and that there is a real personal feel because they are sharing, not just the latest products they’re loving, but their real lives too.

Your Instagram is extension of you, so show that. The photos on my Instagram used to purely reflect what material I shared on my blog, but I’ve strived to make it a bit more personal. Now I share shots of me doing my favourite things, wearing my favourite things and generally, what I am getting up to.
I am yet to share my favourite people, but baby steps. I do still like to maintain a little anonymity as a blogger - 90% of my friends and family still don’t even know I am one!

One of the great things about being a part of this wide community of talented bloggers, is that there are so many people you can look to for inspiration.

Who inspires you as a blogger? What Instagram tips could you share?




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Monday, December 05, 2016

MY FAVOURITE EYESHADOW PALETTE: URBAN DECAY NAKED 2

"Standing in the sunlight laughing, hiding behind a rainbow's wall, slipping and sliding, all along the water fall, with you, my brown eyed girl…"
- Van Morrison

Apart from the fleeting moment in my teenage years when I wished for them to be blue, I have always rather liked having big brown eyes. Certainly, there are more exotic colours, but Van Morrison never wrote a song and my mother never subsequently sung to me, about those.

When it comes to framing them, my dark eyes combined with my pale skin tone, have always led me to select the warmest browns and sparkling golden eyeshadows. Perhaps that is why, nearly two years after I first received it on Christmas morning, the Urban Decay Naked 2 Palette is still my favourite.
Comprising of both dark and light matte and shimmer shades, there is an array of neutral options for the daytime as well as deeper metallic to really vamp up a more dramatic evening look.

From left to right: Foxy, Half Baked, Bootycall, Chopper, Tease, Snakebite, Suspect, Pistol, Verve, YDK, Busted, Blackout

In the time that I have had this palette, my confidence when it comes to creating different makeup looks has really soared. I really enjoy experimenting by putting different shades together to give different effects. One of the best things about the popularity of the Urban Decay palettes is that there is also an abundance of tutorials to be found on YouTube, to give you more inspiration about what to do with these hues.

If I had to clear out all of my other makeup palettes and live with just one, this would be it. Aside from the sheer range of options colour-wise, the quality of these shadows are impeccable. I tend to wear these with UD eyeshadow primer underneath, but even without, these stay on so well. The morning that I woke up after one to many cocktails the evening before and realised I had shamefully forgotten to cleanse, tone and moisturise, only to find my eye makeup completely intact, was certainly testament to this!

Aside from the super staying power and the fact the shadows are also super pigmented, another winning aspect is that UD has paid close attention to the detail with the brush that is included. With Naked 2 retailing at almost £40, it feels that you are getting a little more value for your money when the brush is of a good quality. The bristles are soft but firm, so it’s easy to blend.



I would undoubtedly recommend the Naked 2 palette and, given that I am so well-acquainted with this one, I think that it is probably high time that I invest in another.


What are your favourite Urban Decay palettes? Which one should I be buying next? Let me know in the comments...
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Friday, December 02, 2016

The Perfect Christmas Range from JewelleryBox

December is officially upon us; ‘tis the season to be jolly and, in my opinion, to add a little bit of extra sparkle. I certainly felt like JewelleryBox were a brand who shared my sentiments when they sent me a beautifully wrapped little parcel.

Based in south London, JewelleryBox is an online retailer on a mission to show the world that you don’t have to fork out big money for good quality jewellery. Having only launched in June 2014, it is especially impressive that they now stock around 10,000 unique pieces of sterling silver and 9 ct gold jewellery and have customers in over 100 countries worldwide!



This Christmas, they have a host of wonderful items that will dazzle your friends at all your festive parties this December. From snowflake necklaces to stocking earrings, there is a little bit for everyone.

One of my favourite pieces are these Frosted Ball Hoop Stud Earrings. I have wanted a pair of earrings in this style for absolutely ages and these are just perfect and they remind me of the glittery baubles that adorn my Christmas tree.



This style of earring is very versatile. I would wear this day to day, but I also think it’s a really delicate and classy style which works really well with a chic up-do for an evening out.
One of the best things about this brand, aside from the fact that overindulging in a few items wouldn’t cost me the earth, is that they are Assay Assured which means that their products have been audited and scientifically tested.

So what are you waiting for? You can find your perfect Christmas style here. The range retails at between £3 and £60 and there really is something for everyone!

*Includes gifted products
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Sunday, November 27, 2016

THE NOVEMBER 2016 GLOSSYBOX

November’s Glossybox had a variety of things to try, the majority of which were from brands I haven’t heard of before – so that is always exciting.



111SKIN – Bio Cellulose Facial Treatment Mask
The first, which really attracted my attention, was a Gold Brightening Face Mask. I love to include masks in my skincare regime, as they tend to contain a higher concentration of active ingredients than your average moisturisers, cleansers and other products.
This one has been designed to fit to your skin like a second skin and has a cooling effect. It has three key ingredients; arbutin, silk amino acids and centella asiatica. These combine to brighten and regenerate your skin while also stimulating collagen production to reduce the appearance of fine lines.
It’s one of the brand’s most popular products and it’s pretty clever too. The time it takes to dry on your skin is indicative of how healthy your skin is. If it dries before the allotted twenty minutes of wearing it is up, this draws attention to the fact there are areas of your skin which need a little more attention.
My skin is looking a little tired lately, so I am excited to see what this can do in terms of livening it up a little.
Usual price: £20                Available here

RUBY PROFESSIONAL – Large Tapered Blending Brush
Next up, a new eyeshadow brush from Irish brand Ruby Professional. Lately, I have got a bit more experimental with my eye makeup, stepping away from the safe shades of golds and browns that I usually favour and getting a little bit more colourful. I definitely think I have picked up a few more tips and tricks and I think part of that is learning which tools to use to get the best results.
This brush is quite big and fluffy, but the bristles are still quite firm which makes it perfect to blend out your shadow and soften your look. The brush is also cruelty free, which is fantastic too.
Usual price: €8                   Available here

NANOGEN – Root Boost Hair Thickening Spray
I had never heard of Nanogen products before and certainly not this spray so naturally, I did a little research.
Nanogen have been producing hair thickening products for ten years, establishing themselves as a worldwide leader in hair care. They have worked with a host of A listers and people in the public eye, striving to achieve thicker and healthier hair. The spray I received is just one of the products from their range, which also includes thickening heat protection spray, shampoos and conditioners.
I haven’t tried this yet, but I am intrigued to see the effect it has on my locks. I have always been lucky enough to have quite thick hair although, it has definitely thinned as I have got older. It’ll be interesting to see if this offers a little restoration.
Nanogen currently has 25% for Black Friday. You can find the rest of their products here



DE BRUYER BEAUTÉ – Jumbo Eye Pencil
As soon as I pulled the lid off this product, I knew it would be a favourite over the next few months. This eye pencil, which comes in the colour ‘Bubble’ is a metallic grey gold shade which is great for the festive season.
It has a lovely creamy formula so is really blendable and it feels so light to wear. Certainly one to try if you are looking to up the ante with your smokey eye, I am really pleased with this product.
Usual retail price: €15                     Available here    
              
WILKINSON SWORD – Quattro for Women Disposable Razors
The only brand in this month’s box I’ve ever tried – and already knew I would like! A girl needs a good razor and Wilkinson Sword have long been my go-to brand. Disposable razors are definitely my preference; the price you pay for razors and blades, I just find it so much easier to go with throwaways which do just as good a job.
I haven’t used these exact ones before, but I can say from experience that the Quattro razors are very good. They are high performing, giving you a close shave and super soft skin afterwards. I can’t be the only fans either, given that these are the winners of the Pure Beauty Awards 2016! Just opening the packet of these as well, you are met with the super fruity raspberry scent as the handles are specially scented. I’m ‘berry’ happy with these babies!
Usual price: £5.69 for 3                  Available here

Lastly, I received a little Raffaello sweet. Certainly my least favourite, as it contains nuts! Yuck…

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Tuesday, November 22, 2016

My Nivea Skincare Routine*

A few weeks ago, I was lucky enough to receive some wonderful products to try from the kind people at Nivea. 
As you may know, I was really impressed with the Nivea anti aging cream that I wrote about in a previous post, but I had limited experience of using the rest of their range.
Since receiving these items, I have reworked my skincare routine and I'm excited to share this with you. 





Keep on reading for an overview of the products that I've been using...

Nivea Lip Butter – Vanilla & Macadamia
I start the day with this lip butter - and then apply it repeatedly throughout the day!
I’ve tried countless balms and butters but I can say categorically, I have never smelt one quite so delicious as this. The combination of vanilla and macadamia is truly delightful and invokes thoughts of freshly baked homemade treats; it really smells good enough to eat. This leads me to apply it excessively and my lips are certainly thanking me as a result. 
At this point of the year, I am usually conscious of the dread chapped list but that issue is definitely a thing of the past. Needless to say this, has not left my handbag.

Nivea In-Shower Body Moisturiser 
Sometimes, there really aren’t enough hours in the day so I am all about multi-tasking. I do not know how I have only just discovered this, but I can’t imagine not using it. It is just so easy and after all, you condition your hair in the shower, so why wouldn’t you condition your skin?
After washing in the shower, you apply the moisturiser before rinsing it all off. I was dubious at first about whether something which spends such a small proportion of time on your skin could have much effect, but I needn't have been. This stuff certainly works and it's fantastic performance has cemented it's position as my favourite product of this bunch.

Nivea Daily Essentials Double Effect Eye Make-Up Remover
I do not know why, but since as long as I can remember, I've always taken my makeup off after showering. After a long day, I can't wait to get in the door and relieve my tired eyes so eye makeup is the first thing I remove. 
This came into my life at exactly the right time especially given that my current micellar water, which is apparently suitable for use all over your face, leaves my eyes stinging when I attempt to wipe away the days mascara.

I am pleased to say that this is far kinder – and twice as effective. I saw it advertised a lot around Halloween, when dramatic eye makeup is everyone’s staple. In just a few swipes even the darkest liners and shadows are lifted and you only actually need a couple of drops of the formula to do this. 

Nivea Daily Essentials Crème Care Cleansing Lotion
I take my makeup off and moisturise religiously, but I never seem to make quite so much time for cleansing. Naughty, I know.
Lately, I have been making much more of a concerted effort to do this. Since ditching face wipes for micellar water, I've barely used anything else. I am most certainly a skincare creature of habit.
When I received this product, it was immediately apparent how different it is to my beloved micellar, but after scanning the back of the bottle I was really keen to try it out.
What has impressed me most about this lotion, is just how sensitive it is while at the same time, thoroughly cleansing any impurities. 
The consistency isn’t too runny or too thick, so it doesn't feel gloopy on your skin. I start off with a pea sized amount and wipe this all over my face. I cleanse until the cotton wool comes back clean and so, if I'm rocking slightly heavier makeup, it make take a couple of goes to remove everything. I find it so much more effective to build this up gradually in this way. 
Nivea Daily Essentials Crème Care Cleansing Cream Wash
I'm not sure if I use this and the lotion the wrong way round, but this way just works better for me.
After taking off my makeup, I follow up with the cleansing lotion and then this wash. I usually go on to moisturise my skin although, I've found the combination of these two to be really nourishing, so my skin doesn't need it quite so much. 
Cleansers I have used before have left my skin feeling a little bit dry afterwards but, as I say, that is not the story with this product.  This does it's job while protecting skin’s natural moisture balance and I will definitely continue to use this.

Have you tried any of these Nivea products? Let me know in the comments!

*This post contains PR samples.


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Wednesday, November 09, 2016

NYX Cosmetics Haul

I first came across NYX products in a YouTube video from My Pale Skin Blog. A year and a half ish later and I've finally got my hands on some of their makeup bits and I can't tell you it was worth the wait. 


In the U.K, NYX wasn't an easy brand to get hold of. That was until Boots began stocking it. While it was possible to order online and collect in store, I really wanted to be able to try things before buying. I was completely ecstatic then, when NYX became available in their Plymouth store. 

I now live in Hampshire but when visiting home for my birthday in August, I grabbed my sister and we perused the aisles like kids on candy shops. After exhaustively swatching various products in a rainbow of different shades all over our hands, we ended up leaving the shop with some lovely things. Well, we'd spent enough time choosing them!

I thought I'd give you a bit of a rundown of the things I have, considering I've picking up a few other products since...

 

Hot Singles Eyeshadow

I now have three of these shadows; Dayclub, Gold Lust and Sin. Dayclub is a lovely rose gold shade, Gold Lust is a rich gold and Sin a shimmery pink. I was completely drawn to the metallic hues and they are beautifully pigmented and blend really well. 

At only £3.50 a shadow, these are a complete bargain and I envision adding many more to my makeup collection at that fantastic price.


Matte Soft Lip Cream

I had seen these all over Instagram and naturally, I wanted one for myself. I now have Milan, Cannes and Stockholm and I can see what the fuss is about. 

These have a really creamy formula and so silky smooth to apply. When dry, these are super comfortable to wear – and I just love all of the different names. Again they are very reasonably priced, at just £5.50 each.

Side note: Have you seen the Soft Matte Lip Cream Vault? Its available in Selfridges and is the dream Christmas gift! It’s also £85, so just a little on the pricey side…

 

Micro Brow Pencil

So many different brands have brought out brow pencils in this style but I can say without doubt that this is my favourite. I previously used the Soap and Glory Archery 2 in 1, but I just prefer this one. 

There are 8 different shades available so it’s easy to find one that perfectly matches your brows. The brush allows you tidy brows and the thin liner then allows you to coat hairs precisely.

These retail at just £7.00 and last really well.

 

Lip Lingerie

The lip lingerie lipsticks come in a range of seductive ‘colour-kissed’ nudes. I have the shade ‘Push Up’, which has a slightly pink undertone. 

These lipsticks have a creamy, mousse-like consistency and the flat applicator makes it far easier to to apply. The lipstick dries very quickly and settles on the lips well and is quite long lasting. 

These are slightly pricier than the matte lip creams, but still only £6.50.

 

High Definition Blush

I don’t normally indulge when it comes to blushers; I don’t tend to wear all that much of it, so never tend to get through them very quickly. I have the shade ‘Hamptons’, which is quite pink. Usually, peachy tones work best for my pale skin tone, but I was pleasantly surprised by this. 

A little of goes a long way and it isn’t half as bright and intimidating as it appears before trying. It blends well and is easy to build up slowly.

The High Definition Blush retails at £5.50.

 

You might notice a bit of a recurring theme here, in that NYX products are incredibly well priced. The products above are all items I have spent much more on in the past, but NYX certainly match the quality.

I'm already eyeing up my next products, with a few featuring on my Christmas list! 

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Monday, October 31, 2016

The New Rimmel Matte Lipsticks You Need To Know About*

Let me start by saying I am matte mad. I have so many matte lip products and I am forever buying more. I like the look, the staying power and really, can you EVER have too many?


I can tell you that the answer to that question is a resounding ‘no’ and I feel that Rimmel really shared my sentiments on this when they kindly sent me their new Only 1 Matte Lipsticks. That’s nine new shades to add to my collection and they are all truly beautiful.

What I like best about this range is the selection of colours. I can be a creature of habit when it comes to picking lipsticks and if I am being totally honest, the last five shades that I’ve bought have probably been nudes. An injection of colour was long overdue and these lipsticks are certainly that. From brights to darks (and even including a purple, which I cannot wait to have an occasion for), there is a range of colours for everyone.

In terms of the formulation, I have cannot pick any faults. I have tried matte lipsticks before that feel that they are completely draining all moisture from my lipsticks, but that definitely isn’t an issue with these. I found that they have quite a creamy texture, glide on easily and are non-drying.

Given this, I was interested to see how well they would last. I have been alternating between the different shades at work and seeing how far through the day I get before the colour starts to wear off.

Most days I have my makeup on by 7.30am, but by lunch time, my lipstick was still intact. They offer high coverage and yet feel so light and comfortable that at points I’ve even forgotten that I have any on.

The colours are all so flattering, but if I had to pick a favourite, I think that might just have to be Salute. It’s a really subtle and versatile pinky shade which works well against my pale skin tone. All of the lipsticks have great names but I also especially like this. It reminds me of the Little Mix song, although luckily for anyone in my vicinity doesn’t induce any singing!

I’ve swatched the other lipsticks for you to see below;

From top to bottom: Looks Who's Talking, The Matte Factor, Leader of the Pink, High Flyer, Salute, Take the Stage, Trendsetter, Call the Shots, Run the Show


Which is your favourite?



You can now pick these lipsticks up for yourself at Superdrug stores for £6.99 which I personally think, considering how fantastic these are, is an absolute bargain!

*This post contains PR samples.




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Wednesday, October 26, 2016

How To Have A Happy Halloween with Lush

With Halloween right around the corner, naturally I've been getting into the spirit with one of my favourite activities - perusing the aisles of Lush for ghoulish bath time goodies!





Read on for my top picks...

Monsters Ball

I used this on Sunday night and I can already say I'm gutted that it won't be part of the usual range. When dropped into the water, it fizzes and bubbles to create a beautiful array of colours.

As well as containing a dash of lime oil and nerolio oil, the eye in the centre of the bath bomb is made using cocoa butter which means that you get a really smoothing bath. The combination of ingredients means this one also has a really lovely fragrance - and I am definitely going to buy another (five) before this stops getting stocked!


Lord of Misrule

I bought this bath bomb in the Oxford Street Lush branch. I'd never been there before and I just couldn't believe the size of the store - two floors of Lush products is almost too good to be true.

I asked one of the members of staff which of the Halloween products she would recommend and she reached for this one, then demonstrating it for me on one of their big sinks.

Once this green bath bomb hits the water it begins to fizz around furiously as expected, before slowly starting to change colour. After a few minutes, the pale green shade had turned into a deep blood red. I was suitably impressed!

This has an almost earthy scent, undoubtedly the result of the use of pepper oil and patchouli, which I really like too.


Boo

I picked this up purely based on its cuteness, but it was definitely a good choice.

I'm a really big fan of bath melts; they soak right into the water and always leave my skin feeling fabulous because of the super moisturising cocoa butter.

This melt also contains floral and citrus oils, ginger and sandalwood which combine to calm, cleans and condition. I can't wait to use this one!

Sparkly Pumpkin

They certainly weren't lying when they called this one sparkly!

Without doubt, this bubble bar is the glitziest Lush product I have ever bought and actually, it does remind me a little of the coach from Cinderella - mid fairy godmother magical transformation anyway!

Bubble bars aren't something I have really got on well with in the past; I can never get enough bubbles and always seem to make a big mess when using them. Given the amount of glitter on this bar, I imagine this time mess will still be an issue, but one of the shop assistants gave me all her best tips on how to get the best bubbles so I am hopeful that this time my bath will be as frothy as I want it to be!

The addition of grapefruit and juniper oil is used to leave skin feeling banished and refreshed. The glitter will just leave you looking glitzy for the rest of the day!



Have you headed to Lush yet? What are your top bath time recommendations?


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Monday, October 24, 2016

Rimmel London Scandaleyes Reloaded Mascara*

Rimmel products have long been a favourite of mine, right from when I first began to take an interest in makeup while navigating my early teenage years. From foundations, to blushers, to eyeshadows and lip products they had just about everything, at a great price for great quality. The topic of today’s post though is mascara which, like many other women out there, is my absolute staple.



I want a lot from a mascara. My natural lashes are pale, long and straight. I’m fussy with brushes, because I want one that will enable each of my lashes to be coated evenly. I want to be able to apply it in the morning and I don’t want it to budge until I’m reaching for the makeup remover at bedtime.

I feel like Rimmel, my much relied upon beauty brand, have completely understood all of my desires without me even needing to utter them, with the relaunch of their already popular Scandaleyes Mascara.



Evidently designed with the busy working woman in mind, Scandaleyes Reloaded has been engineered to deliver up to 11 times more lash volume, last throughout day with no smudging and then be easily removed with warm water when required.

The mascara has quite a big brush, slightly tapered towards the end. This is not something I usually favour, however, means that this combined with the patent-pending formula leaves lashes clump free yet bold.

I’ve been alternating between the two mascaras for the last couple of weeks; the extreme black version is perfect if you want a slightly more dramatic look for an evening out, for example. I like the look these mascaras create, darkening my lashes giving them really intense volume. The shape of the brush makes it really easy to get the same effect with my lower lashes too, as I can use the thinner end and ensure the smaller ones in the corner of my eye are captured.

I’ve been pairing my new mascaras with the Thick and Thin and Micro Scandaleyes Liners. The Micro Liner is definitely my favourite, because the thin tip allows me to draw a really precise line which is close to my lashes and really perfect that feline flick at the end!



You can see how I’ve used it, with the mascaras, in this everyday look below.





You can buy the Scandaleyes Reloaded mascara from Boots and Superdrug for £6.99. The 
Scandaleyes Liners retail at £5.49.

*This post contains PR samples.
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Monday, October 17, 2016

The October 2016 Glossy Box - Estée Lalonde Edit

Last month, completely taken in my September’s offering, I reinstated by Glossybox subscription. Fast forward to this month and I had completely forgotten having done this and was only reminded when I received the little red slip informing me I had a parcel awaiting collection at the Post Office. Well, I do like surprises!
This month’s box was guest edited by award winning beauty and lifestyle vlogger Estée Lalonde to coincide with the launch of her new book ‘Bloom’ and contains a handful of her favourite products to experiment with.

Let’s take a look in the box…


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Tuesday, October 04, 2016

When Is The Right Time To Start Using Anti Aging Products?



Like the stuff in my makeup bag, the items included in my skincare routine have changed quite considerably over the years. That said, one thing that, until very recently has remained consistent, is that it has never included any anti-aging products.

Why? Well having just turned 24, it is fair to say that my shopping trips for new cosmetics are still far more centred on searching for sparkly eyeshadow palettes and matte lipsticks, than lotions and potions which claim to cause wrinkles to fade.

In all fairness, at my age, I am some way off having skin that may be considered ‘mature’ and in need of such tonics, however, when I was invited to try out an anti-aging cream for myself recently, I did think that perhaps there might be some benefit to starting early.

While the appearance of our skin as we age is in part simply down to our genetics, the way that we take care of it does of course have a significant impact. Research suggests that once we reach the age of 21, our skin’s natural collagen production can decrease by up to 1% each year. This causes skin to become more fragile, leading to fine lines becoming more visible.

In addition to this, environmental factors also have a role to play. Of course, it might feel pretty damn nice to lay back in the grass on a warm summer’s day with the sun shining on our faces, but that big ball of fire in the sky has a lot to answer for when it comes to premature aging.
Although we can’t turn back the clock, products such as Nivea’s Q10 Plus Day Cream which I have been trailing, is designed to give you a helping hand.

In the first instance, it is worth noting that with an SPF of 15 and UVA/UVB filters, it is designed to help to combat sun-induced wrinkle formation. It also includes a number of fabulous ingredients which help to nourish your skin, such as Argan Oil, Calcium and Goji Berry Extract. Furthermore there is also Creatine, an amino acid found naturally in the body and supports skins basic functions and production of collagen and, Coenzyme Q10, an antioxidant which helps to regenerate an improve the appearance of skin.

I have been using the cream for just under two weeks, in the mornings before applying makeup. While that is by no means an extensive period, I have noticed that the appearance of my skin has improved since I have been using it; it looks fresher and healthier. While I have quite limited wrinkles anyway, the small fine lines that I have noticed on my forehead appear to be slightly reduced which is positive too.

So what’s my verdict? Although I am certainly not the best person to test the effectiveness of this cream on aging skin, I can say that is very moisturising and accentuates the youthful look of my skin. As a result, I would continue to use this not least because it is designed to prevent the formation of new lines and wrinkles (I will have to report back on that bit!).

I don't think that there is a specific best time to start using these creams, as everyone's skin type is different. However, for me personally, I think this is something I will continue to include in my beauty regime if just to maintain my skin's youthful condition. 

If you are looking to sample this for yourself, you can pick it up at your local Boots or Superdrug stores - or online at nivea.co.uk
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Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Learning to take a break with The Body Shop

I like to be busy. In fact, I thrive on it and as a result, you will often find me cramming more things into a standard 24 hours than is probably reasonably possible! While that is a choice, there’s no denying that it can get just a bit tiring. 

My full time job is pretty demanding at this time of the year and combining that with keeping up with regular blog content, my new weekly photography class and fitness classes can mean that sometimes it is a little bit difficult to squeeze in some time to unwind. When things are non-stop, it is easy to forget that it is important to give yourself bit of a break.

‘A break’ doesn’t have to mean a holiday to a tropical destination, relaxing weekend away or a trip to the spa. In fact for me lately, ‘a break’ is settling down with a good book after a nice hot shower with some fab new products. Lately, I am really loving The Body Shop range for the busy working woman.

A few weeks ago, I got some of their bath and shower products for their birthday. Such as a shower cream, shower gel and shower lily which, FYI, does not feel like you are rubbing sandpaper over your bod after just a few uses. 



I have a coconut cream and satsuma gel. Initially I thought perhaps it was a slightly bizarre combination, but actually I find they work out quite well with my moods. If I need waking up, I'm all about the fruity satsuma. When I'm looking to relax in the evening, I'll go for the softer coconut scent.

I've always admired the great quality of The Body Shop's products and the fact that you don't have to fork out a great amount for them. Side note: they are also all cruelty-free and natural, which makes them extra good. 

These products are really kind to my skin and really moisturising - basically a god send when lately I've just been throwing myself into bed of an evening with no regard for my basic beauty regime. 

When I'm tired/lazy, I am ALL about the 2 in 1 beauty bits especially when the three bits in total only cost about £10.

I've been really surprised at the fact I have found that even something as little as having some nicer shower products to use at the end of a long day, can just make you feel that bit better, lifting your mood just a bit higher.

And really, couldn't we all use that?





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Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Glossybox - September 2016

I cancelled my Glossybox membership a year or so ago, as I wasn’t impressed with the samples I was receiving, but when I saw the September box I swiftly changed my mind and headed straight to the website to order myself one. 
The contents of this month’s box was selected by Annabel Ferguson, Beauty Director for Red Magazine and the products included are certainly top picks in my opinion. 

Too Faced ‘Better Than Sex’ Waterproof Mascara 
I have been meaning to try this mascara for ages and very nearly picked it up when I was in Sephora in Barcelona back in July, but in the end, I stuck with my old faithful Rollerlash instead. I’ve seen this really raved about, so to see that it was included in the box was very exciting. 
From the first time I tried it, I was thoroughly impressed. The combination of hourglass-shaped brush and collagen-fuelled formula immediately lengthened my usually pale lashes, leaving my eyes framed without the need for my statement liquid eyeliner. 
I love how easy it is to build up the coats for a really full lash and it does last really well throughout the day. The only drawback is that, given the mascara is waterproof, when it comes to taking it off I have found it is much harder to remove! 
The full size bottle retails for around £19.

Rodial Smokey Eye Pen
I love a smokey eye and this is just the perfect tool. It is really pigmented and super versatile; you can create really neat lines or easily blend it out to get the look you desire. 
I haven’t experimented too much with this one yet, but I love how jet black and bold it is. 
Retailing at £17, it’s slightly more than I would usually spend on an eyeliner, so I don’t think this would be something I would have picked up ordinarily.

GOSH Copenhagen Long Lasting Lip Marker in ‘Soft Rose’
If you are looking to make a statement with your lip colour this Autumn, this is definitely one for you. 
‘Soft Rose’ is a very girly and slightly Barbie-esque shade. It probably wouldn’t be the first one I would pick up from the shelves, but it suits me far better than I expected it to. I love that Glossybox gives you the option to try things that you may not have normally picked for yourself. 
This retails at £8.50, which I think is pretty standard for a lip stain. I haven’t tested the longevity of this yet, but it claims to last for hours!

Revlon Gel Envy Diamond Top Coat
I love nail varnish; I have far too many and currently no intention to stop buying more. Quite simply, I am the girl with the colour for every occasion and that is why, when I found this little one in my Glossybox I was decidedly shocked that I hadn’t heard of it before. 
Formulated with Diamond Flex Technology, this top coat is designed to withstand chipping and give you a long-lasting salon shine. 
I’ve tried similar products by other brands, so I am looking forward to seeing how this one measures up to its competition. You can pick up your own in Boots and Superdrug for £7.99.

As we get ready to fully turn our backs on summer and brace ourselves for the colder weather, I am getting a head start with my routine by ensuring I continue to drink lots of water, cleanse, tone, moisturise and try out the odd face mask. 
In this month’s box there were too to try;

The Body Shop Himalayan Charcoal Purifying Glow Mask
This is a reasonably new release from The Body Shop and the vegetarian formula is designed to unclog skin and expel any impurities, leaving you with a glowing complexion. After use, skin should be deeply cleansed and appear much healthier. 
I am looking forward to trying this one evening this week, because I have suddenly found myself with a bunch of pesky spots that I could really do without! Hormones, eh?
You can purchase this from The Body Shop for £15.

Vitamasques Hydro Face Mask 
This reminds me a lot of the Garnier Moisture Bomb mask that I tried last week and if it is anything like that one, I will be certainly be pleased.
I think I will be leaving this one until my skin feels a bit more weather beaten so I can really test how good it is. Inspired by Korean technology, it is expect to keep skin moisturised for up to 120 hours – which is quite a tall order!
I will be sure to include this in another post when I have gotten around to testing it properly but, in the meantime if you are keen to test this out yourself, you can grab your own from Vitamasques online for £7.99.

I hope that was a useful round up and you enjoyed my thoughts on this months box. If you received slightly different items, I would love to hear about them in the comments below. 

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Tuesday, September 06, 2016

The Perfect Statement Lashes You Just Have To Try

I love livening up a makeup look with a great false lash, so I was really excited to be sent some new ones to try from Demure Lashes. 

I received some 'Malia' lashes, which are the perfect statement lash for an evening out. They add a great amount of length, which really gives your eyes the 'wow factor'.  



Made from 100% sterilised premium human hair, they are really lightweight and very comfortable to wear. The tips of the lashes are tapered so while they are perfect for adding a touch of drama to that smokey eye, they also have quite a natural feel too. 

Each pair of lashes come with latex free adhesive, which actually has an iridescent appearance so has an almost blue tinge when applied to the lash. It goes tacky reasonably quickly and dries much clearer than some other glues I have tried. 



In terms of the price tag, these are an absolute bargain as they retail at just £4.00! When you consider that all Demure Lashes are reusable, you really are getting fantastic value for your money. Also, If you act fast, at the moment you can buy three pairs of the Malia lash for just £12 on their website.

I really loved the look these lashes help to create and I really can't wait for the next time that I can flutter them on an evening out! 
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Tuesday, August 30, 2016

A Charming Birthday Gift

On the 22nd August, I turned 24 and I have to say I was truly lucky to have received some really wonderful gifts. 

Today, I want to talk to you about one in particular, which was definitely the best wrapped present I received.

We took full advantage of the Bank Holiday and headed out to celebrate on Saturday, when one of my friends turned up with a piñata. 

The big kid in me has wanted one for years and so I was super excited for an excuse to prance round my living room, haphazardly hitting this thing in an effort to reveal the goods inside. When I finally got it open, there were all my favourite sweets!

In fact, I was so taken in by that my friend actually had to point out that there was another gift inside; a wonderful Chamilia charm.




She got me an adorable cocktail charm to add to my bracelet, which came complete with little lemon slice and straw. We definitely bonded over our love of cocktails in Tenerife last year and so this was so apt. In fact, I bought her a cocktail making kit for her birthday back in February, so we were definitely on the same wavelength! 

I loved my gift in a gift and this new addition sits perfectly with the two other new charms I got for my birthday (which I'll be sharing in a later post). 

How charming! 

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Friday, August 12, 2016

How to match your foundation to your tan, without spending a fortune!

What do you do when you have fake tanned to perfection, gone to apply your makeup and find that your foundation is a good shade lighter than the rest of your body?

You head to The Body Shop of course, because they have created an absolute gamechanger.



If you haven’t come across their Shade Adjusting Drops, I highly recommend checking them out. Available in a light and dark, these can be added to your foundation to alter its shade.

I picked up the darkening drops, as I've been getting slightly conscious that my my face is looking a touch ghostly when the rest of me is tanned. The only fake tan that I find really works on my face and creates any kind of difference is the Madame La La facial bronzing serum. However, once I then put on my makeup, the shade is matched to my original skin tone and I'm back to square one. 

I mixed one little squeeze of the darkening drops with a bit of my foundation and it completely changed the tone. You really don't need to use a lot of this to get good results - which means it's going to last you ages.

The best thing is that this clocks in at just £10 which, when you consider how much it would cost to buy a new foundation of varying shades each time you get a tan of a different gradient, in my eyes is a bargain. Now, you can just stick to your favourite one and make it change for you. 

The drops could also be used to contour your face and while I haven't tried this yet, I imagine you could create a much more natural look as you can have much more control about the shade than you would in a pre-made palette.

In short though, I'm certainly a fan. So long excessive use of bronzer to cover poorly matched foundation, I will definitely be recommending this to everyone I know!  
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Monday, August 08, 2016

My first foray into one hour tanning!

This blog is testament to the fact that I have tried a whole host of fake tan, but recently, I expanded my horizons a little and experimented with one hour tanning.


 

I’m impatient and sometimes forgetful, so the idea of being able to slap on some fake tan last minute and only have to wait an hour to have a golden glow sounds pretty perfect to me. When you couple that with the fact my boyfriend absolutely detests it when I climb into bed next to him coated in longer developing tan that he hates the smell of, I am just kicking myself I hadn’t thought of trying these express products before now. 

Having loved the other products of theirs that I had used in the past, I decided to pick up some He-Shi Rapid 1 Hour Liquid Tan. I had heard (and seen) great things about it, so I figured I would test it out for myself.

I wasn’t disappointed. As somebody who is exceptionally pale, I have to be really careful when I tan to try and get as natural a colour as possible. Some tans I have tried in the past look quite subtle once you’ve washed off the excess and then leaving you standing out like a beacon when you take your freshly bronzed pins outside. 

Thankfully, that is not the story with this one. 

The formula is somewhere between a lotion and an oil, so in the very first instance, it is really easy to rub evenly into skin. It also has a good guide colour, so you are not left worrying that you have skipped over any bits. It dries within a couple of minutes and isn’t sticky, which is a particular advantage. I tend to apply it in the evening and then re-dress in some short pj’s while I am waiting for it to develop. 

After an hour, the tan develops considerably and leaves you subtly bronzed. The colour was natural, not orangey and, in short believable – which made me feel really confident. 



After the first use, I generally applied it once a week. Sometimes I can be a real nightmare at remembering to moisturise every day, but it is essential in ensuring the longevity of your tan. 

All in all, the bottle probably lasted me about a month and a half and considering the frequency with which I was using it, I thought that was quite reasonable. It retails at £22.50 in Boots so it is slightly on the higher end price wise, but with this product, I certainly think you are paying for the quality.
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