Sunday, 11 February 2018

January Favourites

Okay, so it's more than a little late but you'll never guess what I've got for you... that's right, it's my January favourites! Favourites are my favourite posts (haha), they're always the most fun to write and I LOVE getting recommendations from other bloggers. This month I've been in serious hibernation mode, it's getting even colder in Brighton so I've taken the opportunity to curl up with a book whenever possible. I've discovered lots of lovely new things throughout January so without further ado, here's what I've been loving this month.

The first thing I've been loving is a big one and it's Tove Lo's new album 'Blue Lips' or 'Blue Lips (Lady Wood Phase II)'. Blue Lips was released in November last year but I only really started listening to the album when my friend Ruby (a girl with notoriously fantastic music taste) recommended it to me. She warned me that she'd accidentally blasted one of the songs from the album out at work forgetting that it's SUPER NSFW. This is one you're going to want to listen to with your headphones on. Tove Lo's a Swedish singer songwriter who I've definitely heard of before, mainly because she had a huge hit with Habits (Stay High), which is a great song too in case you didn't know. Blue Lips has two 'chapters', 'Light Beam' and 'Pitch Black' that talk about the highs and lows of a turbulent relationship, you can already see where this is going. It's extremely real. If you've ever been in a bad relationship (or any relationship really) or through a bad breakup, you need to hear this album - end of story. From Struggle, when she croons the altogether too relatable 'the struggle is real, when you don't tell me how you feel', to 'she'd rather smile and pretend with ya than let go' in 'shedontknowbutsheknows' about the moment you find out your exclusive relationship isn't so exclusive. It's an incredible album, I haven't heard anything like it before but every single song is perfectly written and straight up addictive, I've been listening to the album on repeat since I first heard it. My other favourite songs from the album are 'cycles', '9th of october', 'hey you got drugs?' and most importantly, the first big track on Blue Lips, 'disco tits'. Hilariously, the album is named after the female equivalent of 'blue balls' - a point that certainly isn't lost on me, who run the World? Girls. According to Urban Dictionary anyway.

Next up, as you might have guessed - it's a novel called Home Going by Yaa Gyasi. I think it's fair to say I was never not going to include a book in here. I'm obsessed with reading at the moment and it was one of my New Year's resolutions to get back into reading so I was so pleased that I literally couldn't put this book down. One of my top tips for reading more is definitely make sure you have a book on you at all times, that way whenever you've got a spare minute on the bus or on your lunch break at work you can make the most of that time and escape into whatever you're reading at the moment. Home Going has really made a lasting impression on me. It's a beautiful, tragic story of two sisters whose lives go in vastly different directions to one another, set in the complex, brutal world of slavery. The novel itself spans generations, following the descendants of the sisters on their journey through life - it's somewhat similar to Gabriel Garcia Marquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude if anyone's familiar with magical realism (which bodes well because 100 years is actually one of my favourite books of all-time). This is an absolute must-read for me and a great way to start 2018!

I'm sure I must've talked about this one before but if not, this is one of my all-time favourite ever products. The No 7 Stay Perfect Lip Lacquer in Nectar. Everyone has their all-time favourite lip colour and this one's mine. Another recommendation, this time from my friend Kirsten - I find that all the best products are ones that someone's recommended, mine definitely are! It's the perfect nude for me, it's quite dark, almost brown without being too dull and matte. Combined with the clear top coat that makes this lip colour last all day, it's the perfect soft, nude lip. I'm quite fair so I find that I need a slightly darker colour to give my lips any definition, much like my eyebrows - they need drawing on or they're hardly there. This is an old favourite for me and it's been tried and tested throughout the years, I've worn it to weddings, graduations and parties as well as at work, uni and on a 'no make up' day sitting around at home. It always makes me feel put together and somewhat glamorous. Highly, highly recommend picking this up!

And to go with it? The NYX Professional Makeup Slide On, Glide On, Stay On & Definitely A Turn On Waterproof, Extreme Color Lip Liner in Need Me. Yup, you heard me. That's actually the name of the lip liner I've been obsessed with this month - so much so that I haven't actually got any to show you and I don't seem to have a sharpener anywhere in the flat which is rather frustrating. The one thing I've never been able to find (or truth be told, really get along with) is a lip liner to go with my favourite lip colour. As I said, I've been wearing the No 7 Stay Perfect Lip Lacquer in the shade 'Nectar' for years but I've honestly never come across a lip liner to go with it so I've never really experimented with lip liners in general. Then I found this one. Aside from having the best name in the history of all lip liners, this colour is absolutely gorgeous and the perfect match for my favourite No 7 lip lacquer. The second I saw this in Boots I knew I had to have it, it's literally called 'Need Me'. Who am I to argue? It's really soft and creamy which I think is really important in a lip liner as I have tried sharper pencils before rather than crayons and I didn't love the effect. The only problem I have with this product is that you're always going to have to sharpen it (pretty much after every use) which is pretty frustrating but otherwise it's amazing. NYX always have such a wide range of different colours and formulas and their quality is second to none particularly for a drugstore product. By rule of thumb, if it's by NYX it's probably pretty great.

There's one product that I have been loving above all else right now and that's the Luxury Banana Powder by Makeup Revolution. Another old favourite and one of the best discoveries I've ever made, banana powder. You might be a little confused by this, I was at first too - what the hell is banana powder anyway? Well, apparently banana powder sets your foundation while mattifying your skin and correcting your skin tone. It's like a powder but better. It does all the same things as any basic setting powder you'd use but there's something different about this Luxury Banana Powder from Makeup Revolution. I wouldn't say Revolution is a brand I use particularly often but throughout the years I've picked up some really great things from them and they're never too expensive (which is crucial when you're trying something you're not entirely familiar with). I love this powder because it is slightly tinted and works to even out your complexion whilst still looking natural and healthy. I find this particularly useful if I haven't got a huge amount of time in the mornings because it really changes my look and only takes a few seconds to apply - if you haven't tried Revolution I would really recommend giving some of their products a go, you can find some real gems!

Other than that, I've been loving sleep (although I'm not getting much of it with my new job), coffee (lots and lots of it, same reason) and finally getting my weekends to myself after working in retail for the last EIGHT years!!! I'm sorry I've struggled getting posts up regularly at the moment, it's been a busssay time for me but I think I'm back on track now! Having said that, what have you been loving this January? Let me know in the comments below!

Sunday, 28 January 2018

What's In My Glossybox

This month I decided it was time to give beauty subscription boxes another go. I've been tempted into subscribing to a couple of different ones in the past, Birchbox and Glossybox being the most popular, with promises of free gifts, mystery boxes and simply amazing products but every time I've ended up having to cancel my subscription for one reason or another. It's been a couple of years since I've received a beauty box regularly and I hadn't really heard too much about them so I thought I'd give a couple of the most popular ones a go. First off I'm reviewing January's Glossybox! For £13.25 a month (£10 subscription with £3.25 postage and packaging on top of that), you get a really elegant, luxe feeling beauty box filled with five specially chosen beauty products. There's a mixture of full-size and miniature products with a crazy combined retail price so you know you're getting your money's worth with Glossybox - plus I've found the products to be very usable as opposed to some of the more 'out there' products you might get in other boxes. Anyway, let's get into it!  

January's Glossybox is centred around helping you achieve your New Year's resolutions, it's filled with nourishing products designed to help you recover from the party season. I don't know about you but skincare is definitely at the top of my to-do list so this is pretty much perfect! Glossybox is known for it's iconic baby pink packaging complete with an elegant black bow and tissue paper - it really is like receiving a birthday present. Never a disappointment, January's Glossybox included five gorgeous products, four of which are full-size, all of which are dedicated to 'pampering and self-care'. The first things that caught my eye were the Beauty Beneath Supplements from Boots and the Nail and Cuticle Energizer from Nail Medic. Can we start by saying BEAUTY SUPPLEMENTS?! Where has this come from? Honestly I'd never really even heard of beauty supplements before - my boyfriend started frantically googling ingredients and reviews the moment he saw these, convinced that there was something dodgy about them. Luckily everything seems to be legit and I'm never one to turn down trying something new so I've been giving them a go! You get an entire month's supply with Glossybox as it supposedly takes a month to make a difference (which is great) and you take one smaller pill and one HUGE one everyday. If you're not very good with pills this definitely, definitely isn't for you but I've found them no problem to take and I'm excited to see the outcome of taking them for the entire month. Obviously boosting your nutrient supply only seems like a good thing, much like using skincare products it's a great way to nourish your skin. These particular supplements are packed with nineteen different nutrients that are considered to improve the appearance and texture of your skin, including essential vitamins and omegas. 

The one problem that I already have with this product? The fact that a month's supply costs £40! Whether or not these supplements improved the appearance of my skin, I could never justify spending that much money on what is essential a form of multivitamin - I feel like you could probably get a similar supply of different nutrients from a much cheaper supplier, even somewhere like Holland and Barrett probably stock something very similar for less. But anyway, it was cool to be able to try something like this and I definitely wouldn't have thought to purchase it for myself. Another thing I've been loving is the Nail and Cuticle Energizer from Nail Medic. Glossybox describe it as 'a reparative oil' and that's exactly what it is, you massage a couple of drops into your nails and it makes them so lovely and shiny and soft. I don't spend as much time as I should on my nails so it was great to have an excuse to take a couple of minutes out of my day to treat myself. I absolutely love this product and would definitely purchase it in the future (although I don't see myself running out anytime soon!)

Possibly my favourite product from the January Glossybox is the Moroccan Rose Superfood Facial Oil from Dr Botanicals. First of all, the full-size oil costs an eye-watering £55 which is far, far more than I would ever be willing to spend on a skincare product - it's just not something I could do within my budget. However, I am so pleased I got to try this gorgeous product! The oil claims to use vitamins and minerals from the Moroccan rose to rejuvenate, renew and protect your skin and I can honestly say it feels like it too! It's so relaxing to use and the whole process feels really luxurious, it's a step I've really been enjoying as part of my skincare routine as whenever I feel like popping some on, sometimes I even do it on top of my make up and it gives my skin that extra bit of moisture throughout the day. I'm a big fan of this one as you can tell!

The Apicia Cream Blush is made with organic bee pollen. Yup, you heard that right. A cream blush made of bee pollen - never thought I'd been saying that. I'm not entirely sold on cream blushes and don't tend to use them but I definitely like the idea behind this blush. It's super blendable and a really lovely deep honey pink colour, I think this one would be lovely in the summer with a bit of a tan but it's a little dark for me right now. I've never tried anything from Apicia before but I'll definitely be keeping an eye out for things from them in the future.

Last but certainly not least there was another rather unique product, something I definitely wouldn't have bought for myself but quite like the idea of, a Green Tea Primer from Evelyn Iona Cosmetics. I've never heard of the brand before but I thought the concept was really interesting - green tea is renown for having restorative properties so this blend of avocado oil and green tea extract definitely fits the theme of the box. One thing I thought was really interesting about this primer is that it is 100% vegan, cruelty and paraben free - basically it's completely natural, ethical make up which is something I'm sure many of us don't think about quite as much as we should. It works well enough for me, I'm not too fussy with primers so it's another win from me!

Ultimately I've really enjoyed this month's Glossybox, everything I got it in was usable and without exception are products I was glad I had the opportunity to try. If you're trying to expand your beauty horizons or simply like trying different and unique products then this inexpensive monthly subscription box is definitely for you. While I liked the Glossybox I'm interested to see what else there is on offer so I've ordered myself a Birchbox to try as well! I'll see how the two compare and let you know which one comes out on top! Do you have a favourite beauty box subscription? Let me know in the comments!


Monday, 22 January 2018

What I Wore To Graduation

So, I've been a little busy this weekend... In case you missed it, I graduated! I've been studying for an MA in Modern and Contemporary Literature, Culture and Thought at the University of Sussex for the past year - I'm not going to pretend it's been the easiest thing I've ever done and there were more than a few times I thought I was going to have to drop out, believe me. But I did it, and this weekend - I graduated as a Master of the Arts! Honestly I've spent the last few months stressing about every little detail of my graduation day (I figured as I didn't think I'd have a second graduation, I'm definitely not going to have a third!) What was I going to wear? What lipstick? Which heels? It's been a year's worth of hard work, deadlines (35,000 words, to be exact) and more than a few meltdowns but I finally walked across that stage and got my Masters degree! I thought it would be nice to share some of that day with you so that's what I'm going to do.

I know it's supposed to be all about the dress at these things but let's be real - these Pink Beaten Tassel Earrings from Topshop steal the show. I've been admiring the tassel earring trend from afar but haven't quite been brave enough to get myself a pair before now but when I saw these blush pink beauties I decided it was time. They weren't crazy expensive, aren't too bold a colour which I think works well for first timers and those with fairer complexions like mine, and they really make my favourite lipstick pop - check, check, check! I got so many compliments on these statement earrings throughout the day, even the photographer had something to say! If you aren't too sure you want to splash out on a new outfit for an occasion I would really recommend trying the tassels.

Something you've definitely got to think about when planning your graduation outfit is what colour gown are you going to be wearing? I'm quite lucky in that my university tends to go for all black with a coloured hood (I had red last year as an undergrad, silver/grey this year as a postgrad), so it's pretty easy to find something that's going to match. Another thing I thought about this year was what kind of look I wanted to go for. As an MA graduate I wanted to go for a subtler, more elegant choice than I did the year before (when, yes, I wore a bright red dress). I kept my jewellery minimal apart from my statement earrings, wearing the simple silver bracelet and Pandora rings that I always wear, took my classic black Topshop bag and TOOK THE GODDAMN HAIRBAND OFF MY WRIST! This is a crucial step to achieving maturity, do it for the expensive photographs. 

And now for the moment we've all been waiting for - the main event! I spent forever looking online for a dress that would be formal enough for graduation without costing an absolute fortune, after all if you'e only going to wear it once and it isn't your wedding day... Well, I had no luck on that front. I find online shopping is actually pretty difficult for me at the moment, I find it hard enough to justify a purchase without worrying whether or not it was actually going to fit/look as good on me. Luckily, I only had to pop into Topshop on my day off to find something perfect! Admittedly, I did try on every single dress I could get my hands on with some pretty interesting results (I posted a couple of pics on Instagram if you wanted to see that), but I got there in the end. The dress I went for in the end was this PETITE Drape Front Mini Dress. Usually the shape and cut of this dress wouldn't be for me but luckily Topshop Brighton happened to only have a size 4 left in the sale - and no, before you ask, I am not a size 4! I loved the dress so much that I tried it on and lo and behold it was the perfect fit for me. Rather than being a loose, flowy fit, it fit me perfectly and at £10 in the sale I really wasn't going to say no! When I last checked it was down to £7 in the sale if you wanted to grab this steal for yourself - find it here. 

I kept the rest of my look quite simple, borrowing a pair of nude block heels from my lovely, fashionable friend Ruby and keeping my make up simple (see my everyday make up look here) with the addition of a little eye shadow and my all-time favourite lip colour, the No 7 Stay Perfect Lip Lacquer in Nectar with the NYX Professional Makeup Slide On, Glide On, Stay On & Definitely A Turn On Waterproof, Extreme Color Lip Liner (This Lip Liner Is So Good, The Name Had To Be This Long!) in Need Me underneath. If that isn't the best name for a beauty product you've ever heard then I don't know what is! And that's it! Mostly it was nice to celebrate our achievements and to spend the day with all of the people who made it happen - what comes next? Who knows!  


Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Everyday Make Up Routine

Welcome back! So, I'm going to be talking about my everyday make up routine, using some of my all-time favourite products. These are the things I use LITERALLY everyday (no matter what I' m doing) as well as the items you'll catch me repurchasing again and again. Like everyone, I like to try new things but ultimately I keep coming back to what works. Everything I use tends to be from the drugstore (that word again) or fairly inexpensive so hopefully they'll be something for everyone and it definitely won't break the bank (unless you buy one of everything like I do, in which case yes it may become rather expensive). Anyway, here are my top five essential beauty products! 

If you could only have one make up product - what would it be? I tried to pick but I couldn't choose! I cannot go without a base, it's the one thing I usually grab if I'm running late or don't have much time in the morning (or I'm just being incredibly lazy). At the moment I'm using the Rimmel Lasting Finish 25 Hour Foundation in 100 Ivory, it's the perfect match for my skin tone and glides on like an absolute dream, I can't say enough about this range - Rimmel, you are killing it. I actually wrote a whole blog post on how much I love this foundation, read more here.

Something I haven't talk about much yet which is particularly surprising is the Collection Lasting Perfect Concealer in Fair. It's a cult classic, we all know it, we all love it - it's straight up the best concealer for the lowest price - it's £3.99 and there's always a deal on Collection products at Boots, you can't really go wrong. This is actually the product I've introduced my friends too the most and they all absolutely LOVE it, so of course I'm going to recommend it to you. But along with a good base, I cannot go without doing my eyebrows. I've got those super fair, non-existent brows that most girls with blonde or light brown hair tend to struggle with. If I don't fill them in they don't do anything for me but when I do them with the Soap & Glory D-I-Y Brow Bar Brow Kit OH MY GOD - it makes such a difference I can't even tell you. It has two brow powder shades, an iridescent highlighter and a clear setting wax, everything you need to get your brows in order quickly and on the go. Personally I don't really use the highlighter or the wax but I love having two fairly universal brow shades to choose from and often use a mixture of both to get a really natural, defined look. The only problem with this kit is that it doesn't come with a full size spoolie (obviously an essential tool for taming your brows) - luckily I have bought a thousand eyebrow pencils in the past and have spoolies in abundance! This kit does come with a mini spoolie which might work for some people but it's only half the size of a miniature applicator, not enough for me.

And then it gets interesting. Okay, so let's talk highlighters! I am a walking, talking disco ball and that's the way I like it - I don't care what you're doing, you can always wear a shiny, shiny highlighter. My absolute favourite highlighter of all time is the Mary-Lou Manizer Luminizer by theBalm Cosmetics. It's the perfect champagne highlight, I'm not going to pretend for a moment that it's subtle but then again neither am I! But if you like a bold glow then this one's for you. I like to apply it over my cheekbones, under my eyebrows and in the corners of my eyes,  to brighten up my whole look, using the Real Techniques Blush Brush. I've had this gorgeous set of brushes from Real Techniques, I think they're from the core and essential collection or something like that, for years and years now and they're still in perfect condition. If you're going to invest in some good quality make up brushes I'd highly recommend anything from Real Techniques (so would everyone else!)

OH and my favourite discovery yet? They've actually come out with even more 'Manizer' sisters than there were when I first started using Mary-Lou (very strange sentence). Not only is there Mary-Lou, there's Cindy-Lou (Cindy-Lou Who? Mary-Lou's peachy pink sista) and Bonnie-Lou (even more golden and glowy than the rest) - and you can even (thank you GOD), get all three in a gorgeous trio called the Manizers Sisters for just £24. Seriously, do dreams come true? Yes, yes they do.

I know you want to talk about it so let's get to it, the crowning jewel of my make up collection - the Sweet Peach Glow Peach Infused Highlighting Palette from Too Faced. It's just the most beautiful thing. First of all, it smells like peaches and you get to put it on your face. You too can smell like peaches. It comes in the sweetest peach coloured tin container and there are happy little peaches all over it and I JUST CAN'T. There's pretty much a full face of make up in this palette, there's a glowy, beautiful pinky peach champagne highlight, a shimmery golden rose blush and quite a subtle bronzed tan contour. Everything you need for a summery, peachy glow all year round - you get what it says on the tin, a Sweet Peach Glow! The entire Sweet Peach collection from Too Faced is to die for, honestly I would love to try every single one of their products but for now, this is what I'm working with and I'm loving it.

Now, I'm definitely new to swatching AND blogging so I hope you can bear with me but I wanted to show you what these gorgeous shades looked like on the skin (note: I am extraordinarily pale). From top to bottom we have: Too Faced Blush, Too Faced Highlight, theBalm Highlight and the Too Faced Contour. They're all so pigmented but really subtle at the same time which is perfect if you're fair like me!

Anyway, those are my top five essential beauty products that I use on an everyday basis - I think they're so versatile and easy to travel with. They're not messy, you could absolutely use all of these products on the go and ultimately, they're just my favourites! As far as I'm concerned these are products I will always repurchase and absolutely love using again and again. Let me know what your holy grail products are in the comments, what can't you live without and have you tried any of these products? Let me know!

Saturday, 13 January 2018

Rimmel Lasting Finish Foundation

So, I've made a mistake. But luckily, I've made it so you don't have to! I've tried a few different foundations in my time, most of them drugstore (does anyone else think this is the only way to describe places like Boots and Superdrug even though it's an American phrase?) Well, I've found one I love. You know that holy grail product? The one you couldn't live without out. That's what this is to me. It's the Rimmel Lasting Finish 25 Hour Foundation with Comfort Serum. Let's take a moment to unpack that: we know it's a Rimmel foundation, that much is obvious. It's actually a long lasting foundation (25 hours, see what they did there?) that supposedly contains something called 'comfort serum'. According to Rimmel, that means it's basically extra comfortable. It blends flawlessly and lasts against sweat, heat, humidity AND transfer for up to 25 hours!!! That's a pretty big claim - read on to find out where I stand on that - but this brings me to another big question. Which foundation from the Lasting Finish range is right for me? It was easy when there was only one to choose from but now that Rimmel have released the new Lasting Finish Breathable Foundation it's a little more difficult to know which one is right for you and your skin. 

Going back to the mistake I made: I've loved Rimmel's Lasting Finish 25 Hour Foundation (with comfort serum, lol) for years - it's my ultimate go to foundation. I wear shade 100 Ivory and I find it's the most dreamy match for my skin tone, plus it has SPF 20 which is obviously never a bad thing. It's advertised as a 'skin perfecting' full coverage foundation and if you ask me that's exactly what you get from this gorgeous product. It's so easy to apply, I use a Real Techniques Stippling Brush and it goes on an absolute dream. This particular product is definitely high coverage whilst still looking natural but it's really blendable and so easy to work with - I love, love, love it!!! So, of course, when I saw that Rimmel had released the same foundation in a 'breathable' formula I just had to give it a try when next repurchasing my foundation. 

I've tried other Rimmel foundations before, the Match Perfection (which I believe is Zoella's favourite, which is obviously why I tried it and I'll tell you now she wasn't wrong) is particularly lovely but I always came back to the Lasting Finish. I got the Lasting Finish Breathable in the same shade, 100 Ivory, I figured that they would be much the same but this one is made with Rimmel's most 'lightweight longwearing formula' which claims to keep your skin hydrated all day. Well, I'd certainly agree that, as the name suggests, the breathable foundation is definitely much more lightweight - it's marketed as a medium coverage foundation but for someone who like me who likes a lot of coverage, this foundation gives a very light coverage on my skin. But there's a much bigger problem with this foundation in my eyes... (not literally in my eyes, it's an expression!) 

There's no pump!!! That's right, not only is it a lightweight foundation (no bueno for me unless I'm having a particularly glorious skin day) but it doesn't have a pump - instead it has this strange wand/applicator. I don't really know what to make of this foundation and I DEFINITELY don't know what to do with the applicator, if you've found a way to apply this in a way that builds it up a bit I would love to know your secrets.  Overall, I like the foundation. But I have to admit, after a couple of attempts with the breathable I went out and repurchased the OG Lasting Finish - you just can't beat it! 

Honestly, when it comes to foundation all I'm looking for is something that's going to last all day, I'm always working long days so that's a must and I find that even after 12 hours at work this still does the job. Like most people, I also want something that's going to wear well at night. The Lasting Finish lasts well into the early hours AND it looks great in pictures (something that not all foundations do very well). In fact, when I was repurchasing my fave foundation, the girl at the checkout in Boots turned to the other cashiers and said, 'see, I told you this is the best foundation ever!' and if that's not proof enough that it's worth trying I don't know what is. Whether you like high, medium or light coverage, I'm pretty sure Rimmel will have a foundation that works for you!

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