2016 Favourites: What’s Made the Cut?

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My one and only 2016 resolution was to learn how to use makeup. And I can honestly say it’s the only resolution I’ve ever kept! I’ve really enjoyed learning about and using makeup and have found an awesome community of people through it.

I subscribed to GlossyBox for one year, and though I’ve now not renewed my sub with them for next year, I can honestly say it did give me the chance to try some things I wouldn’t have otherwise tried.

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So, I’ve compiled a list of all the things I’ve talked about over the year, that have earned a place in my favourites for the whole year. They’ve stood the test of time and I think these are worth the hype.

I’ll start with non-beauty favourites and then get into the makeup!

Music:

Ariana Grande’s album Dangerous Woman has been my album of the year. Since it came out, it’s pretty much been the only album I listen to. Fact.

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TV:

I’ve watched so much amazing tv over the year. Here are the ones I LOVED:

  • Love
  • Gilmore Girls
  • House of Cards
  • Pretty Little Liars
  • The Night Of
  • The Man in The High Castle
  • Making a Murderer
  • The Jinx
  • Billions
  • Stranger Things
  • The Affair

That’s not to mention things I’ve continued to watch, but these are the ones I discovered this year.

I also got heavily into YouTube this year, partly through watching makeup YouTubers (that’s a real word now btw) and partly through watching Disney Vloggers.

So now onto the beauty side of things!

I started the year with the Laura Mercier Almond Coconut Milk and Honey bath, which was given to me as a Valentine’s gift. I’m still working through this jar, though I can see myself needing a repurchase towards the start of next year. It’s an amazing bubble bath, which smells so relaxing and gives the best bubbles. It’s a real treat every time I use it!

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Gwen Stefani had an amazing year collaborating with Urban Decay. I picked up the shadow palette and a couple of her lipsticks, but the one that really stuck with me all year was this blush palette. I’ve used it so much and can find use from every single shade. The powders are pigmented, buildable and blend-able and last all day. Plus the packaging is awesome!

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TheBalm Balm Shelter is a tinted moisturiser I use practically every day that I wear makeup. It’s pigmented, light, comfortable and gives natural coverage. Enough said. Oh and I bought it a year ago and it’s still going…..

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2016 was the year NYX came to the UK and I’m so glad it did because I’ve found a few staples for my makeup collection. The Tres Jolie gel eyeliner pencils, for tight lining, their Dark Circle under-eye concealer and their Pro Mix foundation lightener. Amazing.

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PIXI Glow Tonic (I no longer need to exfoliate, like, ever!) and the PUR Hydra Gel under eye primer – just buy them. Seriously, you’ll thank me.

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Makeup Revolution’s Radiance Palette transformed my summer look. I adore this palette and for basically no cost. The powders are pigmented and buildable and give the perfect amount of bronzing, shimmer and highlight.

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Better Than Sex by Too Faced and Cover Girl’s Clump Crusher mascaras have changed my eyelashes from straight thin wisps to fabulous girly lashes.

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My go to and absolute favourite lipstick this year has been the Charlotte Tilbury K.I.S.S.I.N.G lipstick in Stoned Rose. It’s a fantastic pinky, nude, brown. It’s long lasting, comfortable and smells amazing too!

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And lastly, I managed to pick up a full size of the Victoria’s Secret body mist in Coconut Passion, which I drench myself in daily.

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So, those are the things I’ve loved over 2016. Have you used any of these this year? I’d love to hear what you’ve been loving – comment with a link to your 2016 favourites! I’d love to have a read.

Keep an eye out for my 2016 overview!

July Favourites

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July was a super busy month for me. I attended one wedding, one festival and one open air cinema event (blog on this to follow!). The UK had a heatwave, which is still going (yay!) and politically the world is still falling apart. I also placed my first ColourPop order (yay! – more on this when it arrives!) and continued to plan my epic anniversary holiday to Orlando.

July Faves

I also tried and continued to use some amazing beauty products and watched some awesome TV. So here’s what I’ve been loving this month:

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Argan 5+ Nourishing Lip Balm has been saving my lips in this hot weather. I suffer from dry and cracked lips and usually need to apply lip balm all the time. This really prevents me from wearing matte lipsticks or liquid lipsticks because I always feel the need to hydrate my lips throughout the day. I picked this up from Waitrose in the hope that I could use it as a treatment. I’ve been applying it every night, just before I go to sleep and honestly my lips have never felt better. The balm contains argan oil and shea butter and soaks in very slowly but doesn’t feel oily or greasy when it goes on. It’s subtly scented and doesn’t offend my nose. I have noticed I can now go a whole day without reapplying lip balm, and my liquid lipsticks feel a lot comfier.

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This month’s GlossyBox was pretty darn good (check out my Instagram @groggits for a full photo of what I got this month) and I was delighted to find this brush included. I’ve been searching for a brush to use with bronzer for a while now, because none of my existing brushes really do it for me bronzer-wise. This brush is awesome. Not only does it apply bronzer really nicely, but the flat top allows me to contour and buff too.

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I saw Makeup Revolution’s Radiance Palette through one of you guys on Twitter (follow me @Shutterbug_Blog) and it was mentioned that it was a dupe for the Hour Glass Ambient Lighting powders. At just £8 I knew I had to give it a try. I’ve not used the HG powders, but I read that these cheaper powders were more natural and less glittery. I’m guessing the powder texture is a lower quality in this palette, but what I don’t know can’t hurt me! The first time I used these I was underwhelmed. There appear to be little-to-no colour payoff and I couldn’t see it on my skin. But then I tried it again and realised it was making a difference but that it was so natural I hadn’t noticed it.

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The darkest shade on the far right is great for a summertime bronze. Subtle but gives my face a gorgeous bronze which doesn’t look fake, chalky or glittery. The far left shade is good for contouring but I think will be better in the cooler months when I don’t want to look so warm. And the middle shade is a lovely subtle highlight. It’s not a crazy highlight but it’s nice and subtle and suitable for day to day. The palette quality is amazing for £8, with a lovely large mirror in the lid, so it’s great for travelling. Go grab one!

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If you watch Michelle at ReadySetGlamour’s YouTube channel, you’ll have already heard of the PUR Cosmetics HydraGel Lift eye primer. This little stick is amazing. It’s an under eye primer, which you can actually use on the lid and any area that you suffer with fine lines, and allows you to apply your makeup without it creasing. It won’t banish fine lines, but your makeup just won’t crease when you use it. You can pop it in the fridge before using, or just use it as is, and either way you benefit from cooling effect. The gel sinks into the skin pretty fast and doesn’t ball up when you apply makeup on top. I actually used it one morning when I’d had a heavy night before, all over the lid and under the eyes. I didn’t put any makeup on, because I wasn’t going anywhere, but the gel cooled and hydrated my eye area and made me feel less sleepy. It’s a little magic stick! I bought mine from Beauty Bay for £18 and this was the only place I could find it in the UK.

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My last beauty favourite this month is the NYX Butter Gloss in Crème Brulee. I mentioned this in my NYX First Impressions post, and I wasn’t too sure about it at the time. The colour seemed to go onto my lips unevenly and settle in the lines of my mouth. But I tried it recently as a liquid lipstick topper and then on its own, and I realised I actually really like it. Not only does it smell so yummy, but once I’ve left it on for a few minutes any unevenness melts away and leaves a lovely subtle wash of colour on my lips.

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It’s a winner. I’m looking forward to increasing my NYX collection when our Boots eventually gets their counter (they keep moving the launch date!)

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Now to entertainment – You’ve probably heard the hype over the latest Netflix series Stranger Things. If you like sci-fi, horror or gaming I think you’ll like this. Set in the 80’s this series pulls from John Carpenter, Stephen King and even from Silent Hill, to create an intriguing and totally immersing tv series. The young actors are amazing, and it’s nice for me to watch something with Winona Ryder in and me not hate her! If you don’t like sci-fi, horror or jumps then steer clear, but if you want to watch something that takes influence from so many places but still comes out seeming totally original then check it out!

And lastly this month, I have a drink! Costa have just released some new ‘over ice’ drinks and I recently had the pleasure of trying their new Pineapple Coconut Water. It’s a refreshing virgin Pina Colada in a cup and now it’s the only thing I ever want to drink!

So that’s it for this month. Have you tried any of these? I’d love to hear your thoughts 🙂

February Favourites

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Despite February being a short month it’s been a great month for new things for me! This month’s favourites blog contains beauty, body, tech and tv so hold on tight – there’s a lot to get through!

I’m going to start with body products I’m loving this month.

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Starting with Nayobay’s Protective Hair Mask Volume Conditioner. This came in my February GlossyBox and I’ve used it once a week since I received it. The website says “This mask contains natural triglycerides that add density and volume to hair and features organically grown Shea Butter and Argan oil.” I’m not really sure what that means to be honest, but I know I love what it does to my hair. You leave it on for 3 minutes after shampooing and then rinse it off. Afterwards my hair and scalp feel cleansed for at least 4 days after, my hair feels manageable and not too soft. The only way to describe how my hair looks after using it, and drying naturally, is 70s hair. And I mean this in a good way. My hair has volume, but isn’t frizzy. It’s matte, but looks conditioned. I just love it. Oh and it smells kind of subtly orangey – love it.

The next body favourite was a Valentine’s gift from G-Man. Laura Mercier’s almond coconut milk honey bath. I’d been lusting over one of these for a while, and was delighted to be given this. The cute little honey dipper holds just enough product to then drizzle under running water. The quality of the bubbles you get is like nothing else, and when you’re in the bath it’s like you’re bathing in silk. It makes for a wonderful, luxurious bath and I can see this jar lasting for a long long time. Worth the cost? Definitely!

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Last for body products is this bath and shower gel I picked up in Tesco. I’m always a little put off by brands which market their products in a similar vein to other higher end brands. I had been wary of buying this as it looks at first glance like a Philosophy rip off. But I liked the scent and there was nothing else I fancied, so buy it I did. Honeycomb Secret by Treacle Moon feels luxurious enough for a drugstore price. Not as fancy as the Laura Mercier, I hasten to add, however this bath and shower gel feels nourishing on my skin and produces lovely bubbles.

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Moving onto beauty products now, and you guys know my love for Gwen Stefani’s Urban Decay collaboration – I tried and then had to buy Ex-Girlfriend, a sheer nude in her lip range. It appears to be my perfect nude shade, feels wonderful on and lasts fairly well on the lips considering I’m a serial lip smoosher. I also picked up a tube of Burt’s Bees tinted lip balm in Hibiscus, which leaves a lovely subtle tint on the lips and again feels really moisturising and lasts really really well. It doesn’t look to much when you add to it either which is great. Both of these are great every day colours for a not-too-done-up look when I don’t want my lips to be bare.

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Another huge favourite of mine this month is the Gwen Stefani for Urban Decay blush palette. This palette is *amazing*. The shades you get are all usable, and I’ve been loving blending OC and Hush, then highlighting with Angel. You can see from the photo that the palette’s a bit messy, and that’s because I’ve been using it pretty much every day! Plus the palette itself is massively gorgeous!

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Next in beauty, well it’s kind of body but let’s talk about it anyway, is Lemony Flutter cuticle butter from Lush. This should have been in my holy grails post, but I haven’t bought it for years and decided last weekend I needed it back in my life. My cuticles have been a nightmare lately, and I have a bad habit of picking at them when they’re drying out. This stuff totally fixes it every time, so much more effectively than all the other creams and oils I’ve been trying. And it smells so good!

Next I picked up the Bare Minerals Bare Skin Perfecting Veil. I needed something to set my under eyes and help to control my t-zone throughout the day. I’ve liked this powder so far, however it does still settle into the fine lines under my eyes, and I find I need to smooth those areas out throughout the day.

Now I’m going to talk about TheBalm’s Balm Shelter tinted moisturiser. TheBalm are fairly new to the UK and you can only really pick them up in very select London Debenhams stores and online. I visited the Debenham’s counter on Oxford Street so I could ensure I picked the correct shade. I love this product. It gives a really lovely natural finish, light coverage and doesn’t feel like I’ve got any product on when I’m wearing it. It’s a lovely satin feel to the skin and I love that it’s a sqiushy tube because I’ll be able to get every last bit of product out of it. I think this will be lovely in the summer too – plus it has SPF18! Win win! I really want to go and check out their Meet Matte Hughes liquid lipsticks, because I think they might be perfect for a couple of weddings I’m going to this year. I’m loving TheBalm!

Whilst I was at the TheBalm counter, I was chatting to the girl about brushes. I’d been looking at Sigma but they’re so expensive that I wasn’t sure whether I wanted to take the plunge. She recommended I head to Boots and check out Real Techniques brushes. So I did and boy am I glad! These brushes, I am told, are being picked up by professional make-up artists and I can see why. They’re soft, just dense enough, the bristles pick up the product (but not too much) and… they look so pretty! I’ve picked up the retractable kabuki and their foundation brush (which I actually use for contour and highlighting because I like the shape!). I intend on buying more….. eek!

And lastly, if you read my last beauty blogs you’ll remember I mentioned I’d never found my perfect mascara. Well this might have changed. Last birthday my bestie gave me a Lancôme 24hr Artliner and when she bought it, she got a free Lancôme Hypnose Volume which she passed onto me. I loved it so much that a few weeks ago I went and bought a full size. It’s lovely on my lashes, and even though I still need to curl them every time, it’s easy to build on, isn’t chunky and doesn’t make spider legs out of my lashes. Whoop!

Out of the world of beauty and onto tech now. I’d got some Tesco Clubcard points expiring so I had a look at their website and there wasn’t really much I fancied, but then I spotted I had enough points for a pair of Beats on-ear Solo headphones. So I redeemed my points and two days later I had these bad boys in my grubby little mitts!

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Look how pretty! They’re a great replacement for the red Skullcandy headphones that broke many years ago – and they were FREE! The sounds good enough on them, and now I can look like a loon with massive red headphones on once more 🙂

And lastly in my February favourites we move over to TV. My week’s holiday at the start of the month was scuppered by contracting a cold which did a very good job of mimicking the plague. As a result, much of the week was spent flat on my back watching Netflix. This is when I discovered Pretty Little Liars.

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I am addicted. I’ve managed to watch 4 whole seasons in about 3 weeks and I’m well into the 5th. I love the clothes, make up and the characters – it’s not the most intelligent of shows – it’s no West Wing – but it’s perfect for eye candy and passing the time. I won’t lie – there have been many times I’ve been screaming at the TV and sat bolt upright because I can’t believe what’s happening. In fact, what am I doing writing this?…… I could be watching Pretty Little Liars…

Just joking! So those are my (many) February favourites. Let me know if you’ve tried any of these yourself and what you thought of them – I’d love to read your comments!

This Week I Have Been Mostly….

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This last week the sun has tried to shine and it’s begun to feel a little Spring-like. I say that and two days of the past week I had to scrape ice off the car. But by around 10am the spring sun was in the sky. It’s amazing how much the sunshine can make you feel brighter and more positive.

Despite the cold weather I’ve been mentally preparing for Spring. The arrival of my Glossybox was welcome, with its beautiful Valentine’s themed box and amazing goodies inside.

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Inside was a pair of vintage printed tweezer, MUA lip glaze in a pretty pink, a Wilkinson Sword razor, brown eyeliner (so handy!) and an amazing hair mask. Some of these will no doubt make it into my February Favourites, so keep an eye out for that!

I was also surprised for Valentine’s Day, with an amazing gift of Laura Mercier bubble bath. I’ve been eyeing this up for a while, with its gorgeous jar and honey dipper. I’ve used it already and it’s amazing how you can really feel the difference in the quality of the bubbles. So luxurious!

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Last weekend I was sad to learn that one of my favourite clothing shops, Ark, was closing down. So I decided to take advantage of their closing down sale and discounts and bought myself 3 dresses and a skirt for under £30! They arrived on Friday and I was so excited by the skirt that I had to wear it out on Saturday. And I’m so glad I did. It’s so easy to wear and comfy. It’s going to see me through winter, spring and autumn – I’m sure I’ll be able to get it in during summer too!

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And so now it’s Sunday. And I managed to get done a lot of the chores I couldn’t do during my week off when I was so ill. I also managed to get a quick gym session in this morning, and the spring weather has gotten me in a motivated mood!

Here’s to improved weather and improved motivation – I’m excited!