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Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Happy New Year!

I hope anyone reading had a good Christmas break, whether you celebrate or not. I have really enjoyed having some time off work to relax and spend time with my husband and family. I also hope that you have fun tonight whatever you're doing. Personally, I'm having a cosy night in with my hubby, a pizza and the TV-unless we'e been invited to a party or something, I quite enjoy seeing in the New Year in my PJs :-) Going out is a bit too manic for me on New Year's Eve unless it's just to a local restaurant/ pub but if clubbing is more your thing, I hope you enjoy dancing the night away!

2014 was a year of ups and downs for me really and it's mostly work that made it that but I try not to focus on it too much-I feel like you should work to live, not live to work. I gave you my take on New Year's resolutions in my last post, so have a look at that if you haven't already. I did have a lot of fun times with my husband, family and friends in 2014, which is what matters. I just wanted to wish anyone reading a very happy, healthy and safe 2015 :-)

Em x

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

New Year's resolutions, the right way

We've all been're going to loose 2 stone as quickly as possible...get a new job inside 3 months...etc etc. The thing I really dislike about the usual New Year's resolutions is that people often set themselves massive, un-achievable tasks to complete in a short space of time.

Personally, I believe more in having long term goals that aren't so pressurizing and can be broken down into baby steps. I know that if I tell myself I've got a very limited length of time to do something huge, it won't happen. Therefore, instead of losing a massive amount of weight, I'm going to say that I'm going to try to eat a bit healthier after all the Christmas treats. To be fair, I eat reasonably healthy meals most of the time but probably succumb to the biscuits and chocolate more often than I should...I'm human. I'm also looking forward to returning the zumba class I go to after a few weeks off over Christmas. Weight loss might come with these but January crash diets DO NOT work, everyone knows that, it needs to be more of a GRADUAL lifestyle change.

I might have mentioned before but my work situation has been far from ideal for the last 3 years as I have had difficulty securing a permanent contract in my chosen career. This is not my fault, however, it is simply due to the lack of jobs being available with the current economic state of the country. I'm therefore going to say that in 2015 I'm going to continue doing my best work wise and consider other career possibilities that might open up new opportunities, rather than telling myself that I MUST have a new job by a specific date.

My final long term target is to continue saving to for a deposit to get on the property ladder with my husband. We will continue to have a 'round about' target of how much we want to save each month but I'm not going to beat myself up if some months we don't reach the target due to higher than usual bills, seasonal things like buying Christmas presents or my income being up and down, which it is at times.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that it's good to have goals and to try to stick to something in order to be the best version of you or improve your life, but the worst thing you can do is pressurize yourself to reach a large goal in a short length of time. The more you put yourself under pressure, the less likely it is to happen. You need to give yourself enough time to do something properly rather than looking for instant success. Remember that there's nothing wrong with baby steps rather than giant's all progress.

What do you think about New Year's resolutions? Do you think they work for you?

Em x

Monday, 29 December 2014

New Year's nails: Barry M Fashion Icon

I recently picked up a Barry M nail paint in the shade 449 Fashion Icon (or more accurately, my mum kindly treated me to it while we were shopping). It's from the glitterati collection which I've never noticed before but when I saw them, the magpie in me knew I had to try one! Fashion Icon is a beautiful purple shade that has a blue shift to it in some lights. I hope you can see the shift from the few pictures I took-it's difficult to do shades like that justice on camera. It's jam packed full of fine glitter and sparkles so I thought it would make the perfect sparkly new year's eve manicure! The first coat was really quite streaky but after the 2nd coat it was much more even and opaque. You can find it in Boots or Superdrug for £3.99.

What do you think? Em x

Saturday, 27 December 2014

My top 10 beauty discoveries of 2014

I thought I'd write a post on my favourite beauty discoveries on 2014 this month in place of a monthly favourites post considering it's the end of the year. These aren't the products I have used for years and are not necessarily things that were new out in 2014 either, but things that were new to me and some of them are actually brands rather than specific products.

1. Nuxe Reve de Miel lip balm
This is the BEST lip balm I've ever used. I use it morning and night and now I never have chapped lips, even in the Winter weather. It has a more matte finish than most lip balms which means it's also great if you want to wear it under a lipstick. I've been through one of these and am almost finished a second. I wouldn't be without it now.

2. L'oreal L'ombre Pure eye shadows
These are soft and sort of more like pressed pigments than eye shadows. My favourite is shade 204, which is a gorgeous sparkly neutral that looks great on the lid with a matte brown in the crease.

3. Soap and Glory Sexy Mother Pucker gloss sticks
I have several shades of these and haven't stopped wearing them all year-they've been mentioned on this blog few times! My favourites have been raplumzel, nudist and bashful.

4. Sleek brow stylist
I love the slanted tip on this pencil and spoolie on the other end. It makes filling in my brows a doddle and the texture seems to be just right. You can see my review on it in this post.

5. Too Faced eye shadows
I had used Too Faced before this year, but I bought a few palettes from them this year, my favourites being the Natural Eyes palette and Too Faced chocolate palette. The shadows are great quality, pigmented and blendable and I enjoy having palettes with a mix of mattes and shimmers so I can get a complete eye look from it-I personally like to keep shimmers mostly on my eyelid and inner corner and use more matte shades on my crease and brow bone. The chocolate bar palette also smells of chocolate-need I say more?!

6.Soap and Glory solar powder bronzer
This is great for fair skin as it's not orangey, is quite matte and is a lighter shade. It looks quite natural on my skin tone and I don't have to be too careful about over doing it, which is what I look for in a bronzer. It has become my everyday bronzer, except when I'm using the one from the Tarte palette mentioned below, and as you can see I am running really low on it now. I have already bought a new one for when I run out because it's that good. You can see my review of it here.

7. Seventeen Falisifeye HD mascara
I spoke about this being a pretty good dupe for Benefit's They're Real and I've used it everyday since I bought it. It gives my lashes very good volume AND length and is only £6.99 at Boots. It's now pretty much dried up but I have already bought a new one, I'm just finishing off a couple of other mascaras before I open it.

8. Kiko
In August, I went on a little trip to London with my husband to celebrate our 1st wedding anniversary, since we got engaged there. It was during this trip that I 1st ventured into Kiko and it was love. I love how it's set up sort of like a MAC store with so many shades of everything but a lot of the products are much more budget friendly. I have a couple of their 'smart' lipsticks, which for £3.90 are great and I really enjoy them. I also picked up a couple of limited edition products (which I won't go into since you can no longer buy them) and my beloved water eye shadow in shade 200 champagne, which is just beautiful and super sparkly. It's looking a little messy now since I've used it so much, so I decided to use a picture I took for the blog when I first bought it so you could see the lovely moulded shape of the surface. I was impressed with the quality of the things I've tried for the price and I'm hoping to try a few more during 2015. You can read my post about the products I bought here.

9. Tarte
I placed my 1st Sephora US order this year and it was mainly to try some Tarte products. I chose the Amazonian clay pinup blush palette and the Amazonian clay rainforest after dark palette. The quality is great and they work out much better value than buying individual products. The blushes really last well and blend nicely. The rainforest after dark palette is a great all round palette that is brilliant for travelling since it contains everything you need for a full face of makeup except foundation, mascara and a lip product. You can read my reviews of both palettes here and here  and see a make up look I did with the rainforest palette here.

10. Clinique cheek pop blushes were my favourite throughout the Summer, to the point were I literally did not use anything else for months, and I have quite a few different blushes. I have peach pop and plum pop. I mentioned them back in this favourites post in July.

What were your top beauty discoveries of 2014?

Em x

Friday, 26 December 2014

More sales shopping

I popped out to a local retail park with my husband today, not until this afternoon though so all of the craziest shoppers could do their worst before we got there haha. I picked up a 'Christmas Memories' large jar Yankee candle (£9.99 from £19.99) and a Bomb Cosmetics set (£6 from £12) in Clinton's. The Bomb cosmetics bath bombs are quite similar to lush but this had 5 items in it for the £6 so is far cheaper. I've used the brand before and really enjoyed it. Their gift sets are gift wrapped really nicely too, not that it matters so much when it's a gift to myself!

Although I did an online order from Boots on Christmas eve, which you can read about in my last post, I wanted to see if they had a few bits that I intended to pick up in the sale but were out of stock online, and I struck lucky! I got a set of my favourite Soap and Glory sexy mother pucker gloss sticks (£8 from £16-bargain when 1 on it's own is £8 on the S&G stand) and the S&G 'sexy kohl' set (£7 from £14), which includes 4 waterproof eye liners and a little make up bag. I haven't used them on my eyes yet but having swatched them on my hand and realising I needed to use an oil based make up remover to get them off, they seem to be those very smooth eye liners that really are waterproof when they set, like the Urban Decay 24/7 pencils and the Rimmel scandaleyes ones.

I picked up a cute little make up caddy for £8 from £16. I'm not sure yet whether I'll keep bits and bobs in this myself or use it as a gift at some point, but either way it's cute and would be handy for storing the bits you want to leave out/ accessible without things getting cluttered (no way would it fit all of my stuff in it, too much of a make up junkie haha). It has 2 shallower and 2 deeper compartments for standing things in and a little drawer.

I also picked up a couple of other things that are going to be gifts for birthdays etc, with specific people in mind. A lot has sold out now on the Boots website but it's still worth having a look at what is left in store!

Did you go boxing day sales shopping? What did you pick up?

Em x

Thursday, 25 December 2014

Online sales shopping

I began sale shopping on Christmas Eve this year because there were a few things I needed/ wanted and the online sales start before Christmas these days! First I ordered some Dorothy Perkins bits...

I realised the other day that I actually don't have a plain LBD in my wardrobe and one would definitely be handy for impromptu nights out etc. I liked the shape of this one, which I actually bought through the House of Fraser website rather than the Dorothy Perkins site because for some reason it was cheaper-£25 at House of Fraser or £36 on DP for the exact same dress, which was originally £45. Even with the £3 delivery charge it still worked out cheaper at £28. It's worth remembering that DP is available there too in case you can't get your size or just to check there is no price difference.

From the DP site itself, I bought 2 pairs of the jeggings pictured above. I already have 1 pair of DP jeggings and I get a lot of use out of them-they look great with a baggier top and boots. DP ones fit me better than any others I've tried (anything else seems to fall down even if they fit snuggly) so I picked up a black pair and a dark blue pair. These were only reduced slightly from £20 to £16 but since I had planned to buy some more anyway, I thought I'd get them while they were on sale.

The necklace is from DP's Millie Macintosh line and was originally £35, reduced to £10. Personally I wouldn't spend £35 on a costume jewellery item, but for £10 it looks like a very pretty statement necklace that would go nicely with the dress.

I also bought some smart black trousers for work-boring! I like buying work clothes in sales because I begrudge spending a lot on them...anyone else do that?

From New Look, I bought this gorgeous tiger jumper from the brand Koko. It was reduced to £20 from £40 and the tiger face is on the back of it too. I also picked up two of these longline cami tops as I wear these all the time for layering or going under sheer tops, etc and sometimes it's nice to have longer length ones in the colder weather.

I ordered 2 things from Firstly, a Nars lip gloss in the shade Oasis for the absolute bargain price of £7.59. I've never tried a nars lip gloss so this seemed like the perfect time to while it was so vastly reduced. I also picked up a Deborah Lippmann nail polish in the shade 'Let's Go Crazy' for £8.79, also pretty bargainous for an expensive brand. I love their glitter shades, I feel like it's what they do best.

I did a Boots order including 2 perfume sets-Juicy Couture Noir £23 from £34.50 and Ralph Lauren Big Pony Pink £27.66 from £41.50. I've had both of these perfumes before so I was waiting to pick them up in the sales. I also picked up a few bath and body bits from Soap and Glory and Champneys, some of which will be given as birthday gifts. I won't go into detail about those because everything sells out so quickly in the Boots sale-you're better just looking to see what is still available.

Have you bought anything in the sales yet?

Em x

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Top 5 Make Up Palettes

I realised a few days ago that it's quite rare that I do my make up without using some sort of palette. Generally, I find that they speed up the process of doing my make up because I have more products all in one place, and that they are much better value than buying single products. I thought I would share a few of my most used palettes.

1. Too Faced Natural Eyes palette. This is a neutral palette with a mix of shimmers and mattes. It comes in a nice tin and is compact so this one's great for travelling with. I also find that I can get a day time or a more smoky, evening appropriate look from this palette so it's versatile.

2. The Urban Decay Naked palette (original). Pictured is my newer one but I actually have another with only a few shades left as it's so well used and battered. There are lots of dupes for this palette, a few of which are great, but I don't think you can beat the texture and pigmentation of Urban Decay eye shadows-they've become one of my favourite brands. If it's within your budget, it's definitely worth the £37 price tag, or worth putting on your wishlist the next time you're due some gifts! Again this is a very versatile one and you can get everything from a very light, eye brightening look to a black smoky eye from it and lots in between.

3. Too Faced Chocolate bar palette. Firstly...this smells of chocolate....enough said. Secondly, Too Faced is another favourite brand of mine for eye shadows. It's mostly neutral with a pop of pink (which I've actually used as a blush and it worked nicely!) and a couple of purples. It has more mattes than the Urban Decay one, which I appreciate because I prefer to use matte shades in the crease of my eye, keeping shimmers on my eyelid. It comes in a really nice, sturdy tin in the style of a chocolate bar so it gets top marks for packaging. I'm not sure I'd travel with this one, however, because it is a little larger than some of the others.

4. Tarte Amazonian Clay Rainforest After Dark palette. This one is GREAT for travelling with as it contains almost everything you need for a full face of makeup, except your foundatian and mascara. Everything is nicely pigmented. I feel like the colours in this one are easy to wear on my reasonably fair complexion. You can read more about this one in my posts here and here.

5. Tarte Pin Up Girl Amazonian Clay blush palette. Again, this is one I've mentioned before(see my post here) but it's a great way of trying a few shades of the Amazonian clay blushes at a lower cost. They're great quality and I love this palette. It's only fault is that I feel like the packaging is a little more bulky than it needs to be.

Do you have any favourite palettes you would recommend? 

Em x

Monday, 22 December 2014

theBalm cheek products

One product that I've been using almost daily recently is theBalm's Fratboy blush, which appeared in my November make up favourites post here. It got me thinking about the fact that all of the cheek products I've tried drom the brand are really good quality and never fail me. I thought they deserved a blog post of their own!

As well as Fratboy (the perfect matte pinky peach), I have Downboy (a medium cool toned pink), Hot Mamma (a peach with gold shimmer) and Bahama Mamma (a cool toned bronzer ideal for contouring). As you can see from the swatches below, they are all really well pigmented. They also blend nicely and last really well on my oily skin, which can't be said for all cheek products. Price wise, I feel like theBalm are in between 'drugstore' and 'high end' prices (blushes etc are around the £13-£16 mark) so they're reasonably affordable in comparison to some other brands. You can get them from websites likes and ASOS. com where there are regular discount codes, bringing them further down towards drugstore price.

Left to right: Fratboy, Hot Mama, Downboy, Bahama Mama
Next on my wishlist is the 'Mary Lou Manizer' highlighter (which seems to be all over the internet at the moment) and I'm also thinking that I might give some of their eye shadows a try at some point because I've only tried cheek products so far. Let me know below if there's anything in particular you'd recommend!

What do you think of theBalm's products?

Em x

Sunday, 21 December 2014

My party bag essentials

I haven't posted on this blog for around a week which is unusual for me but I've been so busy lately with Christmas and fitting everything in around work. I'm finished for Christmas now so I finally got the opportunity to finish this post, which has been sitting there half done for a while. It being the Christmas party season, I thought it would be fitting to share my party clutch bag essentials. Other than the obvious phone and keys, we have...

Mini purse
My everyday purse is HUGE because that's how I like it but I carry a mini one in my clutch with some cash, 1 card and ID (yes, I still get asked for ID at the age of 27....score!!!).

Lash glue
Lashes are a party essential for me and although it's never happened to me, I don't want to be THAT girl with her eyelashes hanging off looking like a dead spider. I like to carry around a mini tube of lash glue just in case-I use the ones that come with the lashes for this as I prefer a full size tube of Ardell's Lash Grip for application. This glue has never failed me but you just never know.

Blotting sheets
As an oily skinned girl these are a necessity in my handbag at all times. I'm currently using the Kleenex ones, which I believe are discontinued but I stocked up when my local Home Bargains were selling the for 29p a pack-ridiculous! I use them every day I wear make up, which is most of the time, so I thought it was a good idea to get a few while they were so cheap. Any brand will do, though, as long as they are powder free-I'm not a fan of the ones that have powder on them as I don't feel like they take the oil off your face as well.

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Faux Fur

Faux fur is proving to be one this Winter's big trends.  I love how it can be worn super casually with your favourite jeans and Winter boots, or dressed up with a glamorous party outfit. I think it adds a touch of luxury whatever your wear it with. I already own a couple of faux fur jackets from previous Winters but I've put another on my Christmas list...does anyone need 3 faux fur coats? Probably not, but they're all different! lol. I also think that coats are something that are worth investing in because personally I usually keep them for years. I thought I would share my favourite faux fur picks for this Winter.

1. Inspire @ New Look black faux fur jacket: £30 (reduced from £59.99!) here
2. Pink embellished cape @ New Look £19.99 here
3. Black faux fur mini collar @ New Look: £7.99 here
4. Animal print faux fur slipper boots, River Island @ ASOS : £18 here
5. Faux fur snood @ ASOS: £15 (reduced from £22!) here

6. Coccoon coat with oversized faux fur collar @ ASOS £100, here
7. Ivory diamante button faux fur coat @Dorothy Perkins  £55.30 (reduced from £79!) here
8. White faux fur cape @ River Island: £95 here

What do you think? Do you like the faux fur trend?

Em x

Friday, 12 December 2014

Lipstick Queen

I recently picked up this Lipstick Queen lipstick trio from one of my favourite places to shop, TK Maxx (TJ Maxx for any US readers, I believe) for the bargainous price of £14.99 instead of the £40 retail price. I couldn't normally justify the price of the brand's lipsticks because I have a lot of lippies, but for £14.99 for 3....a fiver a lipstick...less than 'drugstore bet! I've just looked on the Space NK website and the individual lipsticks are £20-£22 so I paid less for 3 than 1 costs, madness!

The trio came with 3 full size, wearable shades (top to bottom): Medieval, Saint, Butterfly Ball. The top and bottom lipsticks might not appear that way, but actually, they're very sheer and natural looking and SUPER moisturising, probably because of the high proportion of oils in the ingredients lists (I believe the brand do some a range with more pigment but these particular ones are sheer). Medieval and Saint are more of a cream formula while Butterfly Ball has a bit of shimmer to it but it's not frosty, which I personally can't stand in a lipstick-80s chic anyone?

They look more different to each other once on the lips than they do here (aaaghhh Winter lighting!) but this photo shows how sheer/ natural looking they are. Sometimes I like a pigmented lipstick but for every day, work etc, I prefer something more sheer because they're easier to wear and lower maintenance-I don't want to be worrying about whether a lipstick looks awful when it wears off or gets on my teeth. I particularly love Medieval (on the left in the picture above) because it gives that sort of natural cherry stained look to the lips that suits pretty much a anyone.

Overall I really like these and (I know I keep mentioning Christmas, but...) the little set would make a lovely gift if you can find it in your local TK Maxx, Failing that, you can find Lipstick Queen at Space NK stores and online.

What do you think? Have you tried the Lipstick Queen lipsticks?

Em x

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Seeing Stars

So I took a trip to TK Maxx on my way home from work the other day and the minute I clapped eyes on this purse I knew I wouldn't be able to resist it. It's from Paul's Boutique and I must say that the brand has never interested me before. Their bags and purses have never been my taste, a bit too teenage and dare I say a little tacky looking.

However, I think this purse looks so much more expensive and grown up, I just love it! It's actually very similar to a light weight snood I own, that's the same dusky nude/ pink shade with gold metallic stars so it's not surprising I fell for this. I got it for the bargain price of £14.99. I'm pretty sure that the Paul's Boutique purses are around £40 full price although I suspect that this one may have been a little more than that keeping in mind the studding detail. Although not real leather as far as I can tell, it does seem like it's well made and a good quality imitation leather that's quite realistic to look at. It is a zip around style with all of the compartments inside one big pocket, which I prefer over the other style of purse where you have a separate fold out note compartment.

Unfortunately, I can't find it for sale on any website other than ebay (just type in Paul's Boutique star purse) but it's worth having a look there or in your local TK Maxx. It might also be worth keeping lookout on the TK Maxx website as I sometimes see things in store before they appear on there. I think it would make a lovely Christmas gift with the star theme, or a gift to yourself of course!

What do you think?

Em x

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Festive Sparkle

I really love a bit of sparkle at Christmas...the party season is definitely the best time to pull off wearing glitter on your face in my opinion. I thought I'd share with you a few of my favourite glitter makeup products. I haven't mentioned nail polishes in this post (which is another thing I love to be glittery!) because I recently wrote a post on 'Festive Fingernails', which you can find here.

1) Collection Glam Crystals eye liners. These are hands down the best glitter liners I've tried, they are super cheap and come in a great variety of shades. I don't think you can go wrong! These also look lovely patted over the top of your eye shadow with fingers-it's an easy way to make glitter stick to your lids without things getting messy.

2) Bobbi Brown sparkle eye shadow in sunlight. I think this may be old packaging now, I'm not sure, because I bought it at the CCO (Cosmetics Company Outlet) at Cheshire Oaks, but I believe they still do this shade. I have got a lot of use out of this one as it's quite subtle as glitter goes so I feel like I can wear it all year round for evenings out. It's quite sheer but looks fabulous patted over your eyeshadow, especially over a gold/ brown smoky eye.

3) Urban Decay moondust eyeshadow in the shade moonspoon, which I wrote a full post on here. I really love this all over the lid with a bit of darker grey or black eye hadow on the outer corners to smoke it up. I like using it over a more tacky sort of base like a MAC paint pot, a Maybelline eye tattoo or Too Faced Glitter Glue to make sure that I get full impact from the glitter without fallout.

4) A sparkly lip gloss. I say this rather than a specific product because my favourites are the Butter London lippy lip glosses. The glittery shades seem to be discontinued, although you can still get some of them on ebay such as this trio for £21.95.  I have a few of these that I found in sets at TK Maxx a while ago. I particularly love the red one (which is called 'Chancer') as they have quite a translucent base so it's like an easy way to wear bolder shades.The glitter is fine and doesn't feel gritty. They're not sticky and have a lovely vanilla scent. If you can't get hold of these, however, Tanya Burr has also just released a glittery red gloss for Christmas, with a very cute shade name of 'Mistletoe Kisses' which I imagine is similar. You can find that one here. I might actally pick it up before Christmas.

I wouldn't use these all at once, you understand-there's a difference between a little festive sparkle and your face looking like a disco ball! haha.

What do you think? Which glittery/ sparkly make up products would you recommend?

Em x

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Christmas Cardmaking

I love doing anything crafty so this year, instead of buying our Christmas cards, I thought I would make some. I always think they're just a little bit more special and I know I love receiving handmade cards. I picked up a Me to You decoupage pad and some sticky pads from Wilkinsons and added some other bits and bobs that I picked up from The Works website, which I find is a great place to buy craft supplies (p.s. no-one's paying me to say that-I just like shopping there!). Decoupage is actually quite simple to do. Each sheet in the pad comes with the base image then different layers which you stick on top of the image using sticky pads for a 3D effect. 

Here's how some of them turned out...

What do you think?

Em x