Back to Beige - Ditching the Red Lip

Sunday 29 January 2017

January is a strange month; the magical feelings of Christmas are a world away, and springtime is still a distant hope, and I find that my mood at this time is reflected in my makeup choices. Having worn red or berry lips and nails for the whole of December, by this point I'm pretty much ready to toss my festive favourites out of the window (metaphorically of course), instead opting for neutral tones. These are some of the nude lipstick and nail polish shades that I've been loving this month. 

I'll admit that I picked up "My Nude" from Rimmel's Kate Moss collection mainly because of the packaging - it's rose gold, so instagrammable! I'm really glad I decided to buy it on a whim, because it has become one of my favourite neutral shades. On me this wears as a true nude, a "my lips but better" shade so it's perfect for these in between January days. The formula isn't the most long lasting so I do find myself re-applying through the day, but I don't mind too much as I tend to wear this to work, so can just top it up at my desk. 

Another lipstick that I picked up recently was the shade "Stockholm" from NYX. NYX was never a brand that was really on my radar until the end of last year when I picked up their Soft Matte Lip Cream in "Sao Paulo" and fell in love with the formula (they don't dry my lips out at all which is something that I always look for in a liquid lipstick), and of course the affordable price tag. Stockholm is a little lighter and more peachy than my natural lip colour but still very subtle, and I find that it doesn't wear off as quickly as the Rimmel offering. 

A product that I'm sure would be featuring in this section had it arrived on time for the post (and for me to actually try it out of course!) would be Charlotte Tilbury's Pillow Talk Lipstick. This week my Instagram feed has been filled with pictures of this gorgeous new shade, and so far everyone seems to love it. Of course if it's a disappointment I'll let you know, but let's be honest, I'm probably going to love it too. I'm so excited for it to arrive next week! 


I couldn't write about nude nail polishes without including one of my all time favourite shades, Essie's "Eternal Optimist", a gorgeous dusky pink which is incredibly flattering to my skin tone (super pale, if you were wondering). It's pretty without being too girly and I find myself reaching for it throughout the year. Another Essie pick is the shade "Sugar Daddy" which is a pale pastel pink, almost the same colour as my actual nails. I wear this when I want my nails to look neat and healthy but not too "done", as it's quite sheer so you can still see some of the nail underneath. 

As soon as I saw the shade "Cafe De Nuit" by L'oreal on Caroline's blog, I knew I had to try it! It's a salmon nude which is quite different to the other neutral polishes I own, which is one of the main reasons I wanted to try it. The brush is large which means you can pretty much cover your whole nail in one stroke, and the packaging itself is so aesthetically pleasing. At £4.99 it's a steal!

So there are my neutral shades right now, let me know if you have any more recommendations in the comments.


The Glow Getters

Sunday 22 January 2017

While my current skincare routine is doing a great job of clearing up the post-Christmas breakout (you can read about that here), I doubt there is a skincare product in the world that can make me look like a supermodel when it's minus two degrees in London and I'm suffering from a major case of the sniffles. In times like these I like to live by the golden rule of "fake it 'till you make it", which in this case means turning up the artificial glow. Though I may not look fresh off the runway (damn genetics), these are the products that are guaranteed to take my skin from dull and grey to dewy and radiant in a matter of minutes.

Since my true love, Dior's Glow Maximiser ran out I have been using the liquid version of Becca's Shimmering Skin Perfector in "Moonstone" as a primer, and so far I am really impressed. I apply this to my face after moisturising and I find that it adds a beautiful sheen to my skin without leaving even a trace of glitter. On seriously dull days I mix an extra pump in with my foundation which means that I can still wear my favourite matte foundations through the winter.

Sleek's Solstice and Tarte's Pro Glow To Go palettes both contain beautiful highlighters and are really great value for money. The Sleek palette has the benefit of offering 4 shades which can be used for highlighting different areas of the face, though I mostly stick to the shade "Subsolar". Tarte also offers two highlight shades, my favourite being "Burst" as it's the perfect match for my skin tone.

Another great affordable option is Topshop's Glow Highlighter in the shade "Polished", which I carry around everywhere as it's tiny enough to squeeze into even the smallest of clutch bags. This is a cream highlighter which gives a beautiful dewy finish to the skin, I often apply a small amount to my inner corners of my eyes and to my cupids bow to make my whole face look more radiant.

On the other end of the price scale, the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Edit in Surreal Glow is gorgeous, but also seriously expensive, so I like to save it for special occasions. This palette contains five different glow giving products, including a bronze and a blush, which is amazing as you could get away with skipping the highlighting stage completely, as your bronze and blush will already be adding radiance.

Last up, you would have heard me mention Charlotte Tilbury's Filmstar Bronze and Glow many times before, as it may actually be my holy grail highlighting product (bold claim, I know!) I would say that this is the most natural of the bunch as it's very subtle but can be easily built up to full radiance when required. Some highlighters can emphasise blemishes and enlarge pores, but I have never had that problem with this product, it's just a gorgeous palette!

So those are my favourite glow giving products right now. Let me know what your top picks are in the comments!


5 Steps to Stop Hating Monday Mornings

Sunday 15 January 2017

I'm sure at some point we have all experienced feelings of gloom as Monday is approaching. When the thought of having to go back to work and face all of the worries that you shoved aside on Friday creeps in, it can be really hard to deal with. A couple of months ago I realised just how much this feeling was getting me down and I decided to see what I could do to fix it. These are some of the things that really helped me, and I hope they will help you too!

1. wind down
As the anxious feelings often start to set in on Sunday evening, it's important to make this time as relaxing as possible. Some things you can do to help wind down include:

- going for an evening walk to burn off any excess energy that might keep you awake
- eating an early dinner so your body has time to digest it properly
- taking a long bath with either bath salts (these ones are amazing) or something soothing and bubbly (I'm loving this lavender bath bomb right now)

2. Sleep Well 
This is something you will have heard countless times before, but it's so important to get a good nights sleep. I know that this can be easier said than done (especially for an ex-insomniac like myself), but some things that can help include:

- Spray calming scents such as lavender around your bed which have been proven to help to relax the mind, this pillow spray from This Works is great
- don't use your phone or laptop for at least half an hour before bed
- invest in a "body clock" which mimics a natural sunset to trick your mind into feeling ready for sleep, I use this one from Lumie

3. Be Prepared
On a Sunday I like to lay out my clothes for the next day, pack my bag with my purse, keys and oyster card, and lay out the makeup that I plan to wear, just to limit the decisions that I will have to make in the morning, and it really helps! Another tip is to make sure your space is clean, I clean the whole house on a Sunday morning as I can't relax properly when I'm surrounded by mess. Ideally all of this should be completed before 5pm or it will be more difficult to wind down for sleep. 

4. Enjoy
You should always make sure that you're eating a healthy and tasty breakfast to kick start your day, but it's extra important on a Monday. This overnight oats recipe from Oh She Glows is a great option as it doesn't require too much prep in the morning. I find that watching youtube videos whilst I do my makeup helps to stop my mind from wandering to the days worries, I watch makeup tutorials with the occasional documentary, but you should watch whatever makes you happy! Where possible, wearing new clothes or makeup on a Monday morning will make you feel better about yourself, it can also give the feeling of a fresh start.

5. plan something fun for the week
This one is obvious, if you have something coming up that you're looking forward to then you'll dread the start of the week a lot less! Even if it's something small like a Tuesday night trip to the cinema, or the more budget friendly "movie night in" option with your favourite film and a bucket of popcorn, it'll give you something to focus on other than work woes.

I hope these tips are helpful! Though I wouldn't exactly call myself a "Monday person" yet, since making these changes I definitely feel better about starting my week, and let's face it, Mondays are never as bad as we expect they will be. Let me know if you have special routines that you use to kickstart your week.


3 Masks for January Skin

Sunday 8 January 2017

January is payback month from my skin. It's payback for all of the late night wrapping sessions, chocolate binges and indulgent Christmas parties (which more often than not ended with me forgetting to remove my makeup properly). It also doesn't help that in my quest for "New Year New Me" I've made drastic changes to my diet, good changes, but still changes that my poor long-suffering skin has to learn to deal with. With all of the above taken into account I can hardly blame my face for misbehaving, so it's important that I treat it with a little TLC. These are the 3 masks that I've been using to help beat the post festive season blues.

Peter Thomas Roth Pumpkin Enzyme Mask
I really can't talk about this mask without first mentioning the delicious cinnamon scent. I've never had pumpkin pie before, but if it tastes as good as this mask smells then I better get baking! Scent aside, this product is a miracle worker for troublesome skin. I tend to use it no more than twice a week as the results last a few days after use, and because it is seriously strong stuff. It leaves my skin looking so much clearer as it really helps to unclog pores, clearing away any nasty bits which may have caused future blemishes. When first applied it may burn a little, but I find that after a few uses the burning feeling becomes more of a tingling sensation, however if you feel like it's a little too warm then I recommend only keeping it on for 3-5 minutes. 

Origins  Clear Improvement Charcoal Mask 
This is my go-to mask for when my skin is too sensitive for the Peter Thomas Roth Mask. This offering from Origins is far gentler, but still does a wonderful job at keeping my blemishes at bay, and leaves my skin feeling incredibly soft for the next few days. This is a traditional Charcoal mask so it helps to dry out any blemishes, making them shrink much more quickly. It's worth mentioning that this can be a little bit drying for very dehydrated skin like mine, so I like to double it up with a moisture mask.  

Superfacialist Rose Intense Moisture Mask
I spoke briefly about this mask in my skincare routine post, but it's worth mentioning again because I adore this product. It smells like roses (my favourite scent), so I was always going to like it, but it also does an amazing job of adding a burst of moisture, making my skin to look glowy and fresh again. I like to use this a couple of times a week, though it is gentle enough that you could use it everyday if you needed to. It's just a really lovely mask that I would recommend to anyone who wants to put the life back into their January skin, and it's affordable! 

Thanks to these masks my skin is slowly starting to recover now, and though I tell myself that this year I'll look after my body a bit more, we all know that as soon as someone cracks open the seal on the first Quality Street tub of the year, all of my good intentions will fade away. Let me know what your go-to masks are in the comments!


My 2016 Beauty Favourites

Monday 2 January 2017

Firstly, I have to confess that I have been using many of these products for longer than a year. I don't tend to change up my skincare too often, and there are some makeup bits that I can't live without which have to be included, even if I have loved them for the past 3 years. Luckily I have the benefit of posting on a brand new blog, so you wont have seen me mention these products in previous years! Now on with the favourites ...

Oskia's Renaissance Cleansing Gel is (and will probably always be) my holy grail cleanser. It smells amazing, it feels amazing, and it makes my skin as soft as baby skin, plus one bottle lasts me for about half a year, what more could you ask for from a cleanser?! 

Clinique's Moisture Surge Moisturiser is another dream skincare product and is the only moisturiser that helps to keep my incredibly dry skin moisturised. I do have a tendency to power though a 50ml pot very quickly though, so it's definitely not the most budget friendly option for me, but I can't imagine my life without it so it's a sacrifice I'm willing to make (I know,  I'm a little dramatic).

I wanted to keep my skincare picks down to just 3, so after spending a little too much time staring intensely at my skincare draw, I decided that I had to feature Kiehl's Daily Reviving Concentrate. You can't tell from the picture but the bottle is now completely empty, and I'm already feeling anxious about spending the next few days without it. It's definitely helped with my dry skin woes as it can be applied under foundation without making my skin feel oily, I also love the citrusy smell. 

A few products jumped out at me immediately as I though back on my yearly favourites, and Estee Lauder's Double Wear Foundation was the first to pop into my mind. I adore this foundation. It covers everything, and I have some tricky areas to cover (mainly old acne scars and dark circles under my eyes from my horrible sleeping patterns), and it stays in place better than any other foundation that I've tried before. 

Though Double Wear has fantastic staying power, Laura Mercier's Translucent Loose Setting Powder certainly helps to keep everything in place. Before I discovered this product I hated setting powders, but this one not only manages to keep my makeup looking fresh through my 13 hour day, but also never flakes, it was definitely one of my top discoveries this year. 

In the year of the highlighter it was tough to narrow this down to just one, but the product I reached for most in 2016 was Charlotte Tilbury's Filmstar Bronze and Glow. This also doubles as my favourite bronzing product of the year, as it's pretty much the only bronzer I have used in the past 3 months. I love the convenience of this duo and the shades are perfect for me, plus they're not glittery which makes them ideal for everyday wear. 

I cheated a little here and chose 2 lip products. I wore Charlotte Tilbury's Matte Revolution lipstick in Lost Cherry constantly through July and August. It's a bright coral pink shade, and it now reminds me of hazy summer days. The Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvet Lipstick in Nude-ist also had to be included as it has been my go-to shade in 2016. It's my ultimate "my lips but better" product, and for a matte lipstick it isn't drying at all. It's perfect for sleepy winter mornings when I'm not alert enough to make decisions, as I know it will look great throughout the day. 

Tarte's Tartelette in Bloom palette is one of my more recent purchases, but one which I have already got so much use out of. It has so many different shades that it can be used for any occasion. I find myself reaching for the neutral shades most often, but the darker shades are gorgeous too!

Another of my seemingly endless Sephora purchases this year was the Too-Faced Better Than Sex Mascara. I hate the name because I think it makes the product sound tacky, but this is actually an incredible mascara for my short, straight lashes, as it adds a bit of a curl and a lot of volume.

Lastly, I have to mention my most recent purchase, NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer. I usually opt for a drugstore concealer but when I ran out last month I decided to treat myself, as I had heard so many good things about this product. So far I have not been dissapointed, this concealer covers everything and I don't find it to be too cakey, plus NARS have a great shade range which makes a nice change from the drugstore offerings. 

Well done if you made it to the end of this post, let me know what products you've loved this year in the comments and I hope you all have a beautiful start to 2017!

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