Mid Month Beauty Favourites!

I haven’t posted a beauty favourites in a few months, mainly because I haven’t had anything new to write about, but I thought I’d just let you know about a few items I’ve been loving. These items are all perfect for bringing you from the Spring through to the Summer.

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I’ve mentioned this product before, but I’m so glad the weather has picked up so I can use it again:

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This is the Makeup Revolution Radiance Palette. It contains what I would consider to be two bronzers and one highlighter, though you can use them how you like. What I love about this palette is that when I use it I get such a natural tanned look. It’s not heavy or dirty looking, and doesn’t glitter. I use the far right pan mostly as I have never gotten the hang of highlight! I can only use this bronzer when it’s really warm and sunny because it really makes me glow, but I am still in love with this a year on from buying it. And for £8 you can’t go wrong!

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These two body creams were amongst a few I picked up from Bath and Body Works when I was in the US last October. I saved these for the warmer months, and I’m really enjoying using them. Tahiti Island Dream is a fresh summery and fairly heady scent that reminds me of tropical islands (not that I’ve ever been to one!) It’s summer in a tube. Beautiful Day is fresh and also summery with a little fruityness to it. So lovely.

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This fragrance mist from The Body Shop, I understand has just been discontinued amongst the rest of the range featuring this scent. I picked it up because it really compliments their Pinita Colada range (which I have seen back in stores for Summer – whoop!) It’s a fresh, light and slightly tropical scent with floral notes, but not too floral. I’m glad I still have just under half the bottle left. I’ve been enjoying wearing this on warmer days.

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I picked up this ColourPop Ultra Glossy in my last order, and hadn’t dared wear it until the weather picked up. In the tube it’s an intimidating neon orange, but on the lips it’s a subtle orange gloss. I’ve been really loving wearing this, as I prefer juicy lips in the summer, over matte or satin. I love how this wears down to a nice peachy tone and leaves my lips hydrated (almost waxy, but in a nice way and not sticky). I have this in my handbag at all times for those times when my lips need a hit of subtle colour.

And lastly, off the subject of beauty:

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I’ve been really enjoying having the chance to show off the lovely bralettes I to cover up during the Winter. This black jersey tunic has a huge hole in the back, so every time I wear it I get to pick my prettiest bralettes and show them off!

So those are some things I’ve been enjoying using now the weather has picked up. Do you have any products you love to reach for as the summer creeps in?

ColourPop – I Bought More!: Review

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Not too long ago, ColourPop Cosmetics offered free international delivery, and having seen that they had just launched a new range of their Blotted Lips (including liquid ones!) I knew I needed to try them.

I bought direct from the website and had them shipped to the UK so had to pay customs, but I factored that into my budget, and the customs charge still came to less than the postage would have been had I bought any other time.

As well as the blotted lips, I also picked up two of their Supershock eye shadows, which at the time came with a free eyeshadow brush (which isn’t bad!), a gloss, ultra satin lip and a pressed blusher compact.

So here’s what I think of them all!

I picked up three of the original formula blotted lip sticks, in three of the new shades: Sucker, Ice Cube and Bees Knees.

I’ll start with the packaging – they’re tiny plastic lipstick tubes, which means they’re light and easy to carry in your bag. The formula is a little waxy and applies evenly however they sometimes need warming up a little to get the right amount of pigment. The idea is they look like lipstick that’s already worn down, or been blotted (hence the name!) and that is how they look. One sweep and they’re subtle, but two can give a more pigmented look. Some people had said their product had been flying out of the tube when taking the lid off, and I hadn’t had this problem UNTIL taking these photos, and one of them flew off, onto my white Egyptian cotton bed sheets and stained them – so that was fun…. (not).

Let’s look at swatches:

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Sucker is a lovely coral shade, which is lovely for Spring and Summer and looks nice and fresh.

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Bees Knees is a bright pink – the only one I haven’t grabbed for yet, because it’s more of an evening shade for me. But I look forward to wearing this out!

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Ice Cube is more of a plummy shade on me, and streaks a little more than the others. The shade of this is really natural on me though, and it adds a nice pop of colour to my make-up look when I want to focus on my lips.

Here’s what they look like on:

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This is Ice Cube

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And Sucker

As I mentioned, I haven’t worn Bees Knees yet, so I can’t show you a photo with that. But I’m sure you get the idea from the swatch!

Next I also picked up one of the Ultra Blotted Lip liquid lipsticks. I chose the shade Doozy.

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I was really surprised at how much I liked this one. The formula is light and goes on easily, with a really lovely light finish. It dries down matte, like the other Blotted Lips, but not too matte, not drying and wears down really well. In the photo above, I’ve tried to show one swipe and two swipes. The bottom part of the swatch is one swipe and the top is a second swipe over it. I love the colour, and was really happy with how close it looked to the promotional shot ColourPop offered with this colour.

Here’s me wearing it:

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Overall, apart from the packaging mishap, I love these Blotted Lips. They’re very wearable, and I think I got it spot on with the shades I chose. They last a long time on the lips and are very comfortable. They wear down nicely, and are easy to reapply on top (however this will intensify the colour). They DON’T respond well to balms or oils on top, so if you suffer from dry lips like me, after 2-3 hours you might want to remove, rehydrate your lips and then reapply. But overall I’ve been very very happy with them.

I also picked up an Ultra Satin Lip and a Gloss, so let’s look at those.

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Saddle Up is a sheer gloss. It’s sticky but you expect that from a gloss, and as you can see from the swatch above it offers a very sheer orange/coral colour to the lips. I haven’t worn this yet, but I can imagine getting a lot of use from it in the Summer!

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Calypso is a lovely brown terracotta on my lips. It feels comfortable and dries to a semi-matte satin finish. Again I haven’t tried this all day yet, but I can see me using this more in the Autumn/Winter months as it is quite dark. That being said, I might get impatient and wear it in the Spring anyway!

Next I’ll talk about the Supershock eyeshadows. I’ve only had highlights from ColourPop so wanted to try their shadows. I picked up Sailor, which is a holographic shade and Mixed Tape which is a nice mauve satin finish. The idea is to layer the two, but so far I’ve only tried Mixed Tape.

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This is Mixed Tape and I’m actually wearing it on my eyes in one of the selfies above (the one wear I’m wearing Doozy on my lips). This is easy to apply and nice and subtle. I wore it on its own, but was pleased with the soft powder finish, longevity of the colour over the whole day, and I reckon it would blend well.

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This is Sailor, and I’m really looking forward to wearing this at some point. It’s bronze, champagne and has a light mint pull to the glitter. As I mentioned this is holographic shadow, so it’ll pull different colours and I’m sure it’ll look lovely on by itself but come into its own layered on top of other shadows.

And lastly, I picked up one of ColourPop’s new pressed powder blush/highlight compacts. I think they’re limited edition (I might be wrong) but I saw Kathleen Lights rave about this particular one in one of her recent-ish videos. It’s called Double Play, and features a tan/nude blush and a champagne highlight.

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I was kind of convinced it would be way too orange on me, if I’m honest. I bought a Sleek shadow in the colour Suede after Kathleen Lights recommended it, and it wasn’t for me. This looks so similar I don’t even know why I thought it would work, but I still bought it. lucky for me I LOVED it. I’m actually wearing this blusher shade all the selfies above.

The blush is the shade Getting Handsy and the highlight is Padded Down. I’m not great with highlight so I haven’t tried it yet, but the blush is the ONLY blush I’ve worn since it arrived.

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When I first applied the blush, I used a teeny tap, which was good because it’s really pigmented and I was able to then build if I wanted to. I was so so surprised with the colour it came out on my cheeks.

I’m not sure if you can tell from the swatch above, but on my face I get a very warm ‘blushy’ tone – that’s a dumb thing to say I know since it’s a blush. But there’s less orange and more pink to it when it’s on my face. I’m not explaining myself well, but needless to say I was over the moon.

That highlight looks really metallic in the photo, but when I tried it on my face was nice and subtle. I just need to work out the best way to apply it to my face – but that’s an issue with me and not the product!

This blush lasts ALL working day on my face, which is awesome.

So all in all, I was mighty pleased with the items I bought – and now I don’t need to buy ANY more lip products (how many times have you seen me write that?)

Have you tried any of ColourPop’s new Blotted Lips? What did you think?

How Waking Up Earlier Helped Me Feel Less Tired!

I’ve always needed LOTS of sleep. Since I was a kid my bed time was always way earlier than anyone else I knew (or know now) but now I’m an adult I’ll happily go to bed at half 8 without complaint.

They used to say you need at least 8 hours sleep in order to fully recharge, but I think that’s been changed to 6 hours now. I feel like a good 6.5 hours is all I really need, and a few years back I realised that I will actually feel worse if I have too much sleep.

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There’s a lot of research about different types of sleep, you can get apps and trackers that will tell you how much ‘useful’ sleep you’ve had and such.

But a while back I decided that I’d just wake up a little bit earlier in the normal working week and see how that affected my tiredness. After a little trial and error I found that waking up around 45 minutes earlier than I had been (and I usually go to sleep around the same sort of time every night) lead me to feeling more awake and refreshed than I had when I’d slept a little longer.

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I was sold! I’ve also tried a few other things to help with getting a good night’s sleep. I’ll put my phone down as soon as I go to bed, and watch tv for a bit before falling asleep. I don’t like to use my phone after around 9:30 if I’m honest, just because it’ll give my brain a little rest. iPhone recently added a feature that takes the blue out of the screen backlight after a time set by you, which is supposed to help your brain switch off and be less active ahead of sleepy time.

I was also sent a few sample products by the brand Kiss the Moon to try out. A couple of balms and face oils.

 

One was a temple balm and one was a face scrub and since my skin is so picky and changeable I didn’t really want to try the scrub. But I do love a nice face oil. I’ve given them all a go and though I didn’t find them to aid my sleep at all, they did have lovely calming scents. There’s three types and each one is aimed towards a different skin type. I decided to take one on holiday to Rome with me.

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The calm oil is my favourite scent of the bunch, but I’ll be honest they’re very ‘herbal’ scented and not really my cup of tea. I did find them to be calming, as I mentioned before, but they didn’t do anything for my skin. I have face oils which when I wake up I can feel they’ve made a difference to the softness of my skin, and with these oils they didn’t seem to make a difference, so I can’t say I’d reach for them. That being said, that’s not the primary point of these. They’re designed to relax you in an essential oil kind of way, and in that this succeeded.

Of all the things I’ve tried out, to help me wake up feeling more refreshed, I’d say setting my alarm to an earlier time was the most successful. It took a couple of attempts to know when was best, but now I’ve done it I’m so pleased I did. My brain has enough time to wake up, I’m not rushing to leave the house, and I’m calm and relaxed. I’m so pleased I did it!

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Kiss The Moon sent me a few samples of their products free of charge to give a go. You’ll be able to tell my opinions are my own and I have recieved no financial benefits for posting this article.

This Week I Have Mostly….

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Another month closes and we’re another month closer to summer. Which can only be a good thing. The weather has been somewhat volatile and as a result my winter parka is still not away, and I haven’t been able to put on my lovely spring clothes just yet.

Since I updated you last, I have been to see Bruno Mars, which I must say was all the way up there with some of the best concerts/gigs I’ve seen in my time (and I’ve seen a LOT). The stage setup, the dancing, production and the voice of the man himself was all perfect. He’s an incredible singer and entertainer, and we enjoyed it so much we looked to see whether we could get tickets for the following night (sadly, we couldn’t) If you enjoy Bruno Mars’ music, and get the opportunity to see him live, please take it.

I’ve been a little low-key on the old social media side of things, as we’ve been planning to sell our house and move to another one. Things are progressing and I’ll come back with news as I have it, but it’s all rather mentally taxing, so it’s been nice to have some more down time.

I’ve been spending my down time watching Netflix, and in the absence of my April Favourites (which I’ve decided to skip this month) I thought I’d tell you about a couple of things I’ve been watching.

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I finished watching Bates Motel this weekend, and oh my, what a show. If you like the Hitchcock movie Psycho, you really ought to watch this. But I recommend watching the original film first and then going straight into the tv show. There are so many nods to the film; lines, scenes, even just the way the actors behave, that it’s a Hitchcock fan’s dream. But on its own the show is really well written, the story lines are great and Norma and Norman are acted AMAZINGLY well. I’m really glad a watched it.

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I’ve been watching Riverdale pretty much only to kill time. The show is as bad as the Photoshop job in the promo photo above. It’s based on Archie comics characters, of which I know zero about, but I have it on good authority that the link is pretty tenuous anyway. The story line is loose, I don’t care about the characters and I seem to only find myself wondering what brand of lipstick the girls are all wearing. But for some reason I keep switching the darn show on.

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I love Netflix documentaries, and we watched Casting Jonbenet a couple of weekends ago. It’s an interesting take on looking into the death of Jonbenet Ramsey. The makers of the documentary made the film as if they were casting for the parts of the main players involved in the story, and as such were able to get first person theories and opinions from local townspeople. All put together in re-enactments, they create a collection of theories on what actually happened. It’s worth a watch.

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Having never watched Twin Peaks when it originally aired in 1990 (when I was 7) I thought it about time I rectified the situation, and what with a new season of the show airing this month, we have just begun to watch the show. I knew the show was going to be a bit twisted, since it’s David Lynch, however what I didn’t expect was the humour and so-subtle nuances of the characters. We’re only a few episodes in so I can’t make a proper judgement yet, but I will say I’m very much enjoying what I’ve seen so far. I’m also really pleased I’m watching it now, as an adult, because I think I wouldn’t have recognised these subtleties back then – I would have just thought it was weird!

Coming up next weekend, I’m off to see Harry Potter Live at the Royal Albert Hall, another one of those events where you watch the film and a live orchestra plays the score live in front of you. I’m looking forward to it, because I love John Williams’ score in the Harry Potter films. And no doubt I’ll be running around making preparations in the house, whilst trying to remember it’s also important to chill out and relax. Ho hum!

I hope you have a great week 🙂

When In Rome

If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram (hi guys!) you’ll know I recently took a 5 day trip to Rome.

It was the first time I’d been to Italy and I was really excited to see what it was all about. I struggle with travel anxiety and especially in places where I don’t speak the language, but G Man had already been and had been fine so I was pretty chilled about this trip.

I’m used to long haul flights so the 2.5 hr flight seemed like a breeze. I was able to listen to the second and third Childish Gambino albums in full from take off to landing perfectly!

We grabbed a shuttle bus with a very friendly driver to our hotel and checked. The River Palace hotel is situated just off the Piazza del Popolo so was in a great location for walking to all the places we wanted to visit.

We arrived pretty late in the day so headed straight out to grab some dinner. We found a lovely little place and sat inside because it was a tad chilly. I had a great bowl of spaghetti with tomato and basil sauce. I wasn’t majorly hungry and the serving was a perfect size. I hadn’t expected this, but it seems in Italy you eat a starter, 1st course of pasta, 2nd course which is your main course and then desert. I couldn’t work out how everyone wasn’t the size of a house!

Back at the hotel we slept badly and we had decided the room as way too small (you couldn’t actually fit into the shower and my knees butted against the sink when I sat on the loo) so we upgrade and moved our belongings into our new room. The second room was much better, we even got an extra pillow each!

I was very impressed with the breakfast in this hotel, which comes as part of your room. There were pastries, pancakes, fruit, cereal, meats and cheeses, bread and hot food (scrambled eggs, potatoes, sausage and bacon) and coffee with juices. All of this was buffet style so you could have however much you wanted, and the dining rooms were never too busy.

Over our stay we visited the Pantheon, The Vatican and saw the Sistine Chapel, the Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, the Spanish Steps, Piazza Navona and of course the Piazza del Popolo, amongst other things we passed by. We also ate in some amazing places, one of which was recommended to me on twitter, Di Qua.

We actually ate here twice and I really liked the modern feel of the restaurant mixed with the traditional cuisine.

The other thing I hadn’t expected from the food was that the only things you can eat are pasta and pizza – like every restaurant had the same menu. So it then boiled down to quality, price and ambience. I think we chose pretty wisely!

We also wanted to hunt out a good gelato place, and after searching on Pinterest I saw Giolitti recommended a couple of times. When we arrived we joined a line of people to pay – you pay for the size of gelato you want, and pick up a ticket. You then take your ticket to the gelato counter, where it’s every man for himself (think Brooklyn meat deli) – I noticed whilst we were waiting that they had milk-free options and when we requested these our server was awesome. We specified that we wanted milk free and chose our flavours, and he immediately put down the cone in his hand and said we wanted a cup (I assume the cone had risk of dairy) and then went out the back for a brand new paddle which he scooped my gelato with. I really appreciated how he took my intolerance seriously without being told – much better than here in the UK. We then went outside to eat! I chose Melon and Wild Cherry flavours and they were both out of this world. As we ate the line outside for ice cream snaked out of the door. I think we chose a perfect time to go in!

Another thing I noticed whilst we were there was that people ask for their gelato in a cone, use a spoon to eat it with and then throw the cone away…. Very confusing.

We did a huge amount of walking on this trip – we hit 23k in one day alone. I’m so glad I took my Sketchers and Tevas. I also sunburned by face quite badly on one of the days…. I’m such a sunshine novice!

I took loads of photos on this trip, so here’s a selection of some of my favourites!

It was an awesome trip and although I was tired by the end, I’m very glad I visited. I’d like to see other parts of Italy now, as I now don’t have the anxiety of the language barrier. If you can recommend other parts of Italy, then please go ahead in the comments. Where should I go next?

Requested: My Every Day Makeup Application

I was recently asked to write a post on what order I apply my every day makeup. I really liked the idea because I quite often think to myself that I put my makeup on a little bit backwards! But there’s a reason behind it, and I’d like to share that with you today!

Since I’m a really cack-handed, accident-prone person I always start makeup with my eyes. I’m the kind of person who likes to try things out with my eyes, since I’m new at this makeup thing. I have a tendency to sneeze, blink or just poke myself in the eye with mascara and because of that I’d much rather be able to remove my eye makeup without messing up my base and having to start all over again – and wasting product. I can also wipe away any fallout from eyeshadows without worrying about mucking things up! So whatever look I’m doing I will always start with my eyes.

Firstly I tightline. I don’t always do this but I like the fuller look it gives my lashes. I use the NYX Tres Jolie gel eyeliner pencils because they rarely transfer and they stay put. A lot of people think tightlining is lining the waterline, but it’s actually not. It’s pushing eyeliner between the lashes on the lashline to give a fuller appearance at the base of the lashes. I will use this eyeliner to push product between the lashes and then use a cotton bud to neaten up and remove any product from my waterline. It takes some practice at the start but it doesn’t take long to get the hang of it. I’ll sometimes use a tiny angled nail art brush with a Bobbi Brown gel pot instead. I have very watery eyes, and they’re sensitive too so I make sure there’s no product likely to drop into my eyes.

If I’m using eyeshadow, I’ll do this next, starting with a primer (I use NYX at the moment) and then go ahead with the shadow colours. Eyeliner comes next, if I’m using it and then I’ll curl my lashes and use mascara. I use the CoverGirl Clump Crusher, which is my current favourite. It actually keeps my lashes separated, coated and somewhat curled for the whole day and doesn’t leave me looking spidery. It doesn’t flake either!

Once my eyes are done, I prime. I use the Pür HydraGel lift under eye primer and whatever face primer I’m using at the time. Let those settle a little and then go in with my foundation. Then I use concealer on my face and lastly on my under eyes. I like the Benefit BOI-ING potted concealers.

Currently I set my under eyes with the ELF brightening under eye powder, and my face (only where I’ve put concealer) with the Bare Minerals Perfecting Veil pressed powder. But I’m actually considering picking up the Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Powder because I need some help with oil on my nose before the summer hits.

Next I’ll go onto blush and bronzer (if I’m wearing it) I’ll apply the bronzer first because it gives me and idea of what blush shade I should go for.

Then I’ll use clear brow gel (NYX Control Freak) to tame my eyebrows – I don’t use any coloured products on my eye brows because they’re heavy as they are. They just need setting so they don’t move during the day!

If I’m going to use a setting spray I’ll spritz that next because it will sometimes dull the brightening effects of the under eye products I use. If this happens I’ll tap a tiny amount of Touche Eclat under my eyes and on my nose to highlight, once the setting spray has dried.

Lastly I’ll go to my lips with whatever product I’ve decided will work – balm, gloss, lipstick.

Then I’ll probably spend 10 minutes trying to find suitable light to take a selfie and then I’m done!

I hope you’ve found this useful. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to pop those below!

 

March Favourites

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This month I have a little bit of beauty, a little bit of music and a quite a bit of entertainment to share with you all.

As usual, we’ll start with beauty!

So to start let’s talk about the Pixi Glow Mist – I bought this on a recent trip to London and have since received another bottle in a goodie bag, and I’m so pleased I have a back up. This little spray works as a hydrator, primer, setting spray and general all over glow creator. It can also be sprayed on the ends of your hair to soften dry split ends. I have used it in almost all of these ways. As someone with an oily t-zone I didn’t find this made me greasy at all. There’s a layer of oil you shake into the rest of the solution and then spray evenly over your face. My face was left feeling soft and hydrated, and as a setting spray this left my makeup looking soft, even and natural. I also sprayed it onto my beauty blender ahead of applying my Urban Decay Naked foundation and it took away the matte powdery look I dislike from the finish of that makeup. I’m in love!

Next is the White Mud exfoliating scrub and mask from The Estee Edit. This came in my Glamour Beauty Festival goodie bag and I’ve used it twice so far. I really like this mask. Firstly you only have to leave it on for 5 minutes so already it’s a time-saving mask! It comes in a tube so it’s travel friendly and you barely need any to cover your whole face. You rub it onto your face in little circles to exfoliate, leave it 5 minutes and then when it comes off it’s super easy to remove. I found my skin and pores were clearer than it’s been using any other mask. It knocked GlamGlow and L’Oreal’s mud masks out of the park. I’m super impressed.

Next is a couple of blushes. The Physician’s Formula Butter Bronzer is one of my all time favourites (not just because it smells AMAZING!) so when I heard they had released two shades in blush formula, I knew I wanted one. A friend who was visiting America kindly picked one up for me in the shade Plum Rose. I’m so impressed with the shade, texture, finish and longevity of this blush – plus it smells just as good as the bronzer!

As part of the goodie bag I mentioned earlier I received a mini Nars blush in the shade Orgasm. This is many people’s holy grail blusher, and I’ve bought an ELF blush which is said to be a dupe for it, but I can now say it’s not. This Nars blush is beautiful. It’s a gorgeous shade, easily buildable and not glittery at all. I don’t know whether I’ll re-buy this because I have a lot of similar shades, and the full size of this is pretty expensive BUT I’m really pleased to have this and I will continue to use it regularly until it’s gone!

Lastly for beauty is the Davines All in One Milk and a couple of lip products from ColourPop. This blowdry spray is a multi purpose leave in conditioner that detangles and makes my hair feel and smell wonderful. It doesn’t weigh down my hair and leaves it wonderfully soft but manageable. I got a small bottle of this in my Liberty Advent Calendar and have since purchased the full-sized bottle because I can’t live without it!

The ColourPop lip products I’ve been loving this month are the Blotted Lip in Lexi and the Gloss in Finders Keepers. They seem to have been my go-to products this month. The gloss add the right amount of colour and gloss and lasts a really long time, and the blotted lip looks fabulous until it wears down a little and then I pop some Rose Salve on top and it lasts a little longer. I’m impressed!

So from beauty to music! This month I have been obsessively listening to Bruno Mars and Childish Gambino. I just can’t get enough!

 

24k Magic just makes me want to dance and there’s so much soul in Childish Gambino’s music….. I’m a fan!

Now onto TV! This month we’ve completed quite a few tv shows and I’d like to share my favourites with you.

 

Freaks and Geeks is a show originally aired 1999 and set in 1980 about a bunch of high school kids – written by Judd Apatow and only one season long, this show featured actors like Seth Rogan, James Franco and Jason Segel. It’s a fantastic show and I really enjoyed watching it – it’s such a shame it was cancelled after just one season!

Also from Judd Apatow, Love season 2 was put up onto Netflix this month, and we breezed through it. This is such an awesome show and I’m really pleased that season 3 is in production. If you haven’t checked it out but you like Judd Apatow’s work, then definitely give the first season a watch.

And lastly, another Netflix show, Atlanta. Created by and starring Donald Glover (aka Childish Gambino) this is a funny, intelligent and sometimes a little excentric programme – but so worth a watch. It follows Earn and his life as he becomes his rapping cousin’s music manager but it’s one of those ‘real’ shows that showcases the weirdness of life and the hilarity of people.

So those are my favourite things of March! Have you watched any of these shows, heard any of this music or tried any of the beauty products I mentioned this month? I’d love to hear what you thought!

 

Glamour Beauty Festival, London

On the 11th March Sophie Kate and I headed to the Saatchi Gallery on London’s King’s Road for the Glamour Beauty Festival.

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Sophie won tickets on Pixi’s instagram competition and chose to take me along, so I was ecstatic. Not just to go to the event, but to finally get to meet Sophie!

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The weather was fantastic, and promised to be around 17c which made choosing an outfit a lot easier – no need for the bulky coat!

Our slot was in the morning so we arrived and got our wrist bands. The event covered three floors, with treatment stands in every room. In the first room was OGX and GHD. We grabbed some free samples of shampoo and watched people getting their hair braided and curled on both sides of the room.

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There were also a few good selfie opportunities!

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Across the hall was skincare, featuring fresh and Pixi. In here you could get a luxurious facial from any of the brands.

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Then to makeup, one floor up and as well as shopping for makeup you could have your makeup and eyebrows done professionally or get a manicure – all for free.

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The top floor was the theatre for talks and though we didn’t have time to attend one, we still wanted to pick up our goodie bags – worth a whopping £190!

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The event was great and there was a lot on offer, if you were prepared to line up for a while. I could imagine if you turned up hair undone and makeup free you could leave looking ready to attend London Fashion Week! Personally I’m not a fan of treatments, I like to do all those things myself, but you could really get bang for your ticket price if you spent the whole day there.

It was an awesome morning, and I’m really pleased I got to go! Thanks to Pixi Cosmetics for the tickets, and to Sophie for bringing me along! Same time next year?

 

Blogging Tools I Can’t Live Without

Since I’ve been blogging for quite some time now, I thought I’d share some of the tools that have come to be invaluable to me.

Technically, you just need your brain and a platform and you’re all set, but there are a few things I’ve come to appreciate as tools I just can’t live without when blogging.

First of all, my laptops. I have a Microsoft HP and a MacBook Pro. I don’t have a word processing package on my Mac so tend to do most of my writing on the HP laptop, unless I’m writing straight into my blogging platform.

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WordPress is my platform of choice, having used a few different ones over the years. I like that even on a free package you can produce a customisable and professional looking blog. It’s flexible and you rarely see two blogs looking the same. It has its glitches, but what website don’t? I feel like at some point in the future I’ll need to move to self-hosted or a paid account, but until then it works just fine, thank you very much. As well as the web-based platform, I have the WordPress app. It’s not without its limitations, but is handy for replying to comments, checking stats and uploading images on the go. You can write posts on there too but I prefer to do that on a computer, mainly because I’m rubbish and slow at word processing on my phone!

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For cameras, I switch between my Canon EOS 400D, Sony a5000 and my iPhone 7 Plus. I’ve been using my SLR less of late for the reasons you’ll read in a moment, but even though it’s kind of old now I love the quality of photos I get from it. My Sony a5000 has earned its cost times over. I love how small it is, the quality of photo and video and it’s light. But other than that, the Wifi function comes in so so handy. I can take a photo, send it to my phone and then edit it, upload and publish it, all within 5 minutes of capturing the shot. The iPhone 7 Plus is pretty awesome for taking photos too, and though I haven’t had it long, I can already see the difference in lens quality with the shots I’ve taken.

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As well as using my iPhone for images, I have a tonne of apps I use for blogging. Here are a few of them.

I’ve mentioned the WordPress app so I won’t go into that again. I use Buffer to scheduling tweets, which I don’t do all that much, but it’s good to have an easy app to do it when I want to. Twitter (of course), Facebook and Instagram – I don’t really have to tell you what those do, right?

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Lightroom app for iOS is awesome for photo editing. The auto presets are a great place to start, and then you can tweak until your heart’s content.

As an amateur photographer, I’ve been uploading to Flickr for over 10 years now, so it’s almost as though I have my own iStock of photos on there. It’s awesome because I pretty much have a photo already taken for a lot of posts I might want to write. So, if I ever don’t have the time to take photos, I can usually pull from there. The Flickr app allows me to save my own photos and then I can upload them to WordPress. Job done!

As I begin to venture into the world of YouTube, the YouTube app has come in very handy, as has the YouTube Creator Studio app. It shows me views, stats, trends and comments all from one place. It also allows me to push videos live, share and copy links right from the app.

For planning I like to use the notes section on my phone, when out at about, and for proper planning I’ll use my Ultimate Blog Planner from Dot Creates. This planner allows me to make in depth notes, or even start writing the blog there and then. There are sections where I can write prompts for photo ideas I’ve had too. It’s really invaluable.

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Photo lighting comes in the form of either the Earth’s sun or, because this is England, I have a pair of softbox lights which I use for both photography and video. They’re pretty new to me so I’m still getting the hang of them, but I love the natural light they throw out. You can find the set I bought from Amazon here!

Other than on my phone, for photo editing on my laptop I use a really old version of Paint Shop Pro. I could upgrade but I know this software like the back of my hand, and if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it! I also use this software to make any graphics I need for my blog or elsewhere.

So, those are my ‘can’t do without’ blogging tools. I hope this helps you with your blog planning and editing, and please let me know if you use something you love that I haven’t mentioned!

Why I….. Started Reverse Washing My Hair

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I have what I would consider to be unmanageable hair. It’s poker straight, really fine and very flyaway. I can put my hair up in a pony tail and it’s the thinnest pony tail you’ve ever seen.

So, for the longest time I have to work hard to make my hair more coarse, less sleek and try to get some body and volume to it. I use Bumble and Bumble surf spray to add texture, and dry my hair in a twist to add shape.

My hair is colour treated – when it’s not, it’s too fine. I’ve died my hair red for 18 years, and in amongst those years I’ve also bleached it, which is what I do currently. I have a red/brown dye which I then top with blonde highlights so they go different shades of ginger and blonde. I love doing this and it definitely dries my hair out enough to give it some texture.

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I’ve used Aussie shampoo and conditioner for years. I like the way it makes my hair feel, it doesn’t coat my hair with silicone and it allows me to wash my hair every other day with no problems. Aussie shampoos and conditioners contain sulphates, which some people say is bad for your hair and strips hair colour. But I actually like my bleached bits to fade pretty fast once they’re done, so I can get the different tones to develop as briskly as possible.

When I heard about reverse hair washing, I think it was around the time that Tresemme released their reverse washing system. I don’t really like Tresemme so I didn’t head out and pick up their kit, but I did hop onto Google to see what the fuss was.

Reverse hair washing is simply using conditioner before you shampoo, instead of the other way around. Apparently it doesn’t work effectively with all types of shampoo and conditioner, but I didn’t want to splurge on more when I had a practically full bottle at home. The reverse washing method is supposed to be great for fine hair because conditioner can weigh hair down, so if you don’t end with it, but still condition, it can leave your hair feeling lighter.

After a little light research I discovered a method I liked the sound of. You wet your hair completely, condition well from the mid-length to the ends, leaving the roots (I can get greasy hair if I condition the roots too much) and then massage the hair. Leave it about a minute, if you have time, and then grab the shampoo. You then wash the conditioner out using the shampoo. This way the shampoo doesn’t strip your hair completely, as the conditioner is acting as a kind of barrier.

I washed my hair this way a couple of times, and didn’t really see a difference to start with. During this first week I also dyed and bleached my hair, and I did find the bleach settled in faster using the reverse method. But since I wasn’t seen a difference I went back to washing my hair the traditional way. After leaving it two days I started to wish I’d continued.

It was a subtle difference, but my hair did feel more manageable, healthier and when I combed my wet hair through directly after washing using the reverse method there were much less knots. So I went back to it!

I’ve been washing my hair ‘backwards’ now for over a month, and I’m converted. I really like how my hair feels. Like I said, it’s a really subtle difference, but I enjoy the way my hair feels, the condition of it and it’s less knotty. I even think it’s shinier!

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So, I’m going to carry on washing my hair this way for the forseeable future!

Have you tried this method of hair washing? How did you find it? Are you converted?