Friday, 1 January 2016

A New Year

I don't have any New Year's related photos, so here's one of my cat Misty instead :)

This past year has had a few ups and down and, for me, ended on a very mixed note. Some good things have happened this year - about half way through I got a promotion at work and I finally started learning to drive. Other highlights include going to the Harry Potter Warner Bros Studio Tour for the second time (which I absolutely love and hope to again in the future!) and seeing the Foo Fighters live for my birthday, which was awesome as they're one of my favourite bands. However with the good there always seems to be the bad... eventually my job in retail started getting me really down and I began to feel trapped there. I have a degree in Psychology but so far had had no luck with field-related job applications, so at the time taking the full-time promotion at work seemed sensible and took my mind off my apparent failure for a while, but the feeling didn't last. It was making me really miserable and feeling like it wasn't going to change any time soon just made it worse. Then just before Christmas (which, by the way, did not feel like Christmas. I know everyone has been saying it but it really didn't, not even on the actual day) I found myself on the other side of a four-year relationship. It just all of a sudden happened (for me, anyway) and feels like being pushed out onto a freezing mountain-top, completely alone, in nothing but your nightie, when only seconds before you were tucked up warm and safe in bed. One minute you're cosy and happy feel like you know exactly what's going on and what's going to happen in your life, then the next you're so confused and upset and cross and hurt and you have no idea what's going on or how it happened.

So at that point this new year was looking pretty horrible from where I was standing. All my plans I'd had for 2016 were gone, because they pretty much all revolved around my relationship, and I just wanted to go into a dark room and hide away forever and never have to face real life. Then, I saw an advert for a job, applied for it, got a call the very next day to arrange an interview, had the interview the following week before heading to my current job, got home after work to a message asking me to call them back, called them back and they offered me the job and I (of course!) took it! So I'm now leaving my job as a Beauty Advisor for Boots at the end of January to be a Support Worker for adults with learning disabilities, and right now I can hardly believe it! I know it's going to be very hard work and the shifts are long, but it will all be so worth it. So by the end of 2015 I was left feeling simultaneously very happy and very unhappy.

I didn't really feel like going out on New Years Eve when it came to it, but I'm glad that I decided to join my sister and her friends as once I'd got dressed and ready I was really in the mood. We didn't do much, just had a few drinks and a chat in a Wetherspoons and then went to a nice little local pub with a fun, cheesy band playing for a bit of a dance and to see in the new year - everyone had party poppers, we ended up jumping round in a circle, crossed arms, singing Auld Lang Syne, and all in all it was a really fun, relaxed night that I would have been very sorry to have missed out on :)

I hope 2016 brings more stability and direction to my life, and I really feel that it will. I feel like I've gained the confidence to just get out there and do what I want, I have wonderful people around me and - although it's horrible starting the year without my best friend, the person who I always thought would be the other half of me - I am strong, and I will be okay, what ever happens. I feel like once I've got my full driving licence and gained the experience that my new job will give me to back up my degree, the world will be my oyster, haha!

As far as my blog goes, I'm going to dedicate more time to it and move away from it being so focuses on beauty, and try to make it more of a lifestyle, just general 'what I'm up to and stuff I like' kind of a thing. I do still like my makeup so I'm sure I'll still write about that kind of thing, but it being exclusively beauty focuses and with my job being working in beauty too, I've simply become a bit bored of it and this space is in need of a refresh! When I start my new job I'll have twice much free time as I have currently so I'll definitely have more posts coming your way then! I'm also going to make a conscious effort to be more active in the blogging community, I've recently just got a smart phone which is a big deal to me haha - I literally had one that just did calls and texts before, not internet, camera, nothing - so I should have access to all my social media much more easily, so I can interact a lot more with other bloggers and readers :)

Isn't it weird how that start of a new year is always seems the best time for a complete life revamp, whether it's really up to you or not? Haha. I don't really know what I wanted to say with this post, but I will say that I've found it quite therapeutic writing it all down, like I've been able to process the last few days a bit better! If any of you have made it to the end of this rather long ramble, how was your New Years? Do you have any major plans for 2016, or are you going to wait and see what the year throws at you? x

Monday, 24 August 2015

Charlotte Tilbury X Norman Parkinson Collection: My Picks

Charlotte Tilbury's collaboration with Norman Parkinson on the packaging of her latest products has got to be one of the most luxurious beauty collections of the Summer! The collection features photographs taken by Norman Parkinson that have never before been allowed to be used in this way; that Charlotte Tilbury's vintage-inspired makekup collection has been approved for this makes it very special indeed. 

The collection is split into two main looks, Miss 1975 and Miss Kensington, which you can purchase as complete sets, or pick out a few individual items that catch your eye. Both of the items I bought were from the Miss Kensington part of the collection, said to be 'inspired by the haughty but naughty girls of the swinging sixties'! The look draws inspiration Norman Parkinson's muses Audrey Hepburn, Twiggy, and his wife, Wenda, whose image is used on the Colour of Youth cream blush compact (not pictured). 

I picked up the Miss Kensington Matte Revolution Lipstick and the Dreamy Glow highlighter for myself - it was so hard to choose, though! But I decided to just get a couple of things that I would get a lot of use out of. 

The lipstick is encased in Charlotte Tilbury's signature rose gold-coloured packaging, and looks so lovely! Miss Kensington is a very wearable pink-toned nude/natural  shade that I find very easy to wear as it goes with everything! It's a matte finish but is surprisingly hardly drying on the lips at all - Charlotte does promise that it has a hydrating formula, but I must admit that I was quite skeptical until I tried it myself, very impressed! Although matte, it has a satin-like sheen to it in some lights when on the lips, ensuring that they don't look flat. 

The Dreamy Glow highlighter is a soft, peach-champagne shade - quite different from the golden tone of the Filmstar Bronze and Glow light/medium (not pictured, but a post on it is in the pipeline!). It adds a lovely, soft-focus sheen to the skin and I find it is subtle enough for everyday. The compact it is encased in is again rose gold, and the lid also features one of Norman Parkinson's photographs: an image of Carmen dell'Orefice. The photograph was taken in the Bahamas and shot by Parkinson for the July 1959 issue of Vogue - the image is beautiful and she looks incredible, and she still does today! This compact is definitely something I'll keep hold of, long after the highlighter itself is gone.

Above swatches L-R: Miss Kensington Matte Revolution Lipstick, Dreamy Glow Highlighter 2 layers, Dreamy Glow Highlighter one layer. 

Below: Miss Kensington Matte Revolution Lipstick on my lips.

I love this collection from Charlotte Tilbury and Norman Parkinson! What do you think? 

Friday, 24 April 2015

Going Cruelty Free

So recently I've been thinking a lot about how many beauty products I buy and how much I spend on them, and whether I'm really thinking about my purchases when I make them. As a total animal lover the thought of animals being cruelly harmed really upsets me, but (and this may sound really stupid) although I obviously knew that animal testing exists, I'd never really given much thought about it until pretty recently. 

Recent events in the news to do with trophy hunting led me down a path where I began reading more and more into animal cruelty, reading up on things on the PETA and Go Cruelty Free 'Leaping Bunny' websites. I've now decided that, for me personally, I cannot justify buying beauty products which are not cruelty free. Beauty products are not necessary, we do not need them, and therefore I feel that animals do not need to be harmed for the sake of people putting some pretty mixtures on their faces. 

I'm not writing this to preach to others and tell them what to do, or to berate others for whatever products they use; I am writing this for others like me who may have simply never really thought about it before, and may like to look into the options for cruelty free beauty in a bit more depth.

After a bit of investigation, I've found that most of the beauty brands I use that I like the most are already cruelty free, but a handful of them aren't (Bobbi Brown, Benefit, and Clarins namely). I'm still going to continue to use the products I own because frankly I can't afford to replace them in my collection, but when they've run out/gone out of date I will just not repurchase them. I feel a bit sad because they are products I love, but I really don't feel like I can justify buying them any more.  

The brands that I do use that are (as far as I understand) cruelty free are Palmer's, Lush, The Body Shop (parent company L'Oreal is not though), Charlotte Tilbury, Anastasia Beverly Hills, Real Techniques, Urban Decay (same situation as The Body Shop), Soap and Glory, Burt's Bees, and Liz Earle. I've found all my info on these brands' cruelty free status' from either PETA or Leaping Bunny logo lists, or statements made on their own websites. Some also say that Nars, Bare Minerals, and Antipodes are cruelty free and others say they are not, so I need to do a bit more digging in those areas! If any of you have looked into them, please share. 

For me, making this change has been really important as the more I looked into it all, the more I felt like a total hypocrite for saying I was against animal cruelty when I was happy to use any beauty brand willy-nilly! 

I'd love to hear your stances on this issue! Do any of you exclusively shop cruelty free beauty, or is it not something you've really thought about before? Are there any cruelty free brands that I should check out? I've heard of a few others but what I've listed is all I've tried! 

Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Lush Easter 2015

It's nearly Easter and, as always, Lush have come up with another tempting Easter collection full of bath bombs, bubble bars, soaps and shower jellies! As I've still got lots of Lush bits and pieces left over from Christmas (and I topped up my collection around Valentines) I only picked up two things, but they were definitely my favourite scents from the bunch!

The big, yellow bath bomb egg is the Immaculate Eggception (which you can also get in pink!) It's so large because it actually has another bath bomb hidden inside - either a little chick or a bunny! Its scent is described as 'zesty' as it contains grapefruit and lemon oil, but it also contains vanilla and for me it's that which really comes through - I think it smells closer to the toffee scent of It's Raining Men shower gel, which I love! Perhaps the citrus will come through more once it's dropped into a bath. 

The other bath bomb I picked up is the cute little pink Fluffy Egg. This bomb shares the same sweet, candy scent as the Snow Fairy shower gel which Lush bring out around Christmas time and is another one of my favourite scents - I don't usually like sweety-type scents but for some reason I adore Lush's version! It's also very similar to Lush's permanent Think Pink bath bomb

I think these not only make a lovely treat for yourself but they could also be a great Easter gift for someone who perhaps isn't so keen on the chocolate kind of egg! What are your favourites from Lush's Easter collection this year? 

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

The Body Shop's Aloe Range

From top: Lip Care, Eye Defence, Protective Serum
As someone with sensitive, reactive skin with a quite a bit of redness, I'm always on the look out for products to help alleviate the symptoms of it and improve my skin's overall appearance - especially on my face! It's for these reasons that The Body Shop's Aloe range appealed to me. I'm already a big an of The Body Shop but have mostly just used their body products, so I also thought it was about time I checked out some of their skincare! 

First up is their Aloe Calming Toner - now I'm just going to come out and say that this is my favourite product out of the ones I picked up and the only one I've since repurchased! For me it really is the best toner I've tried so far; it makes my skin feel cooled and calm, and I feel like it adds a bit of hydration to it too which I haven't found with other toners! After gently sweeping this over my face on a soft cotton pad I find my serum and moisturiser glide on even more smoothly than they do on their own, and my skin is left feeling much softer than if I hadn't used the toner. 

I actually found the Aloe Protective Serum to be a little 'strong' for my skin - when I applied it, it felt kind of tingly and like it slightly irritated any sore patches I had on my face (mainly over my cheek bones) which I wasn't expecting from an aloe product. This might be good if you have general redness in your skin, but maybe not if it's feeling a bit on the 'raw' side, which mine can do. It spread over the skin easily and sank in quickly.

Next up is the Aloe Eye Defence, a very fluid consistency eye cream/gel hybrid. You only need the tiiiiiniest amount as it spreads so far - applying too much isn't the end of the world, it just means that it takes a little while to sink in even after a few gentle pats, and sort of makes your eye area feel a bit like tears have dried on the skin. It feels really cooling and for this reason I think it's especially nice to use in the mornings! For me I found it wasn't moisturising enough but it was still pleasant to use. 

Finally I picked up the Aloe Lip Care as I'd read it was super nourishing for the lips and great if peeling is particular problem. However, for me, I found that it wasn't as good as my usual lip balm and it eventually made the outer edge of my lips sore - I'm really sensitive to lip balms and this is something I've found with a lot of them, so it's nothing wrong with the product, just my personal skin issues! It's quite a thick moisturising gel/balm that you squeeze out with a plastic applicator, so good for on the go and the plastic means it's easy to clean. I also found that the product smelled surprisingly sweet which I wasn't expecting, and didn't really like - my sister however disagrees, but something to bear in mind perhaps! 

So overall my favourite of the bunch is the Aloe Calming Toner by far! All the other products weren't for me unfortunately, but they seem to be very loved by many others judging by their reviews so definitely worth having a look if think they're something you'd be interested in! Have any of you tried these products, or anything else from the Aloe range? Let me know (: 

Thursday, 5 March 2015

Essie 'Splash of Grenadine' Nail Polish

I purchased Essie's Splash of Grenadine nail polish late last year and it's quickly become one of my absolute favourite nail shades! I love Essie's polishes anyway - the shape of the brush and longevity on my nails are a winner for me - and this shade just adds to that; it's a perfect girly-but-not-too-Barbie pink. It's described as a 'playful, magenta pink' and I completely agree with that! It comes across a little brighter on camera that it appears in real life, but I promise that's only a good thing - once you lay your eyes on it you can't help but pick it up! 

Do you you like Splash of Grenadine? Or if it's not your cup of tea, which shades are? I'd love to read your suggestions! 

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Nuxe Rêve de Miel Ultra-Comfortable Day & Night Creams Review!

So a little while back in this haul I picked up Nuxe's Rieve de Miel Ultra Comfortable day and night creams. Now, after a good few months of using them, I can let you know my thoughts on them! 

I went for these as I have dry and sensitive skin, and these creams are aimed at that skin type, plus I already love their cult Rieve de Miel lip balm so wanted to try more products from the range. Both of the creams come in  pots, the day cream being in a light plastic one and the night cream in a heavier glass one. Although I personally prefer the look and feel of the glass pot, the plastic one is much more practical for travelling and taking away with you, and is great if you are someone who likes to keep their day cream in their handbag! 

The creams look incredibly similar (the day cream being perhaps slightly darker in colour than the night) and smell exactly the same; the mostly natural ingredients comprising of shea butter, honey, sunflower, argan & almond oils and safflower ceramides creates a lovely, lightly floral fragrance which reminds me of a wildflower meadow - lovely! 

As these creams are aimed at dry skin the formula is rich, however I've found that it is very rich and would be suitable for dry/very dry skin types. Oily skin? Stay away!!! These creams have a gorgeous rich, silky texture and are a dream to use, but if your skin does get on the greasy side do not use as they will just be too much. Even though I do have dry skin I don't use them every single day and alternate between different moisturisers, especially during the summer, as daily use seems to overload my skin with oils. I have however found myself reaching for them more during these colder months as my skin seems to be drying out a lot more. Because of their super rich texture I have found that the night cream especially is really lovely to use to give yourself a little facial massage with!

Overall, because these creams (although so lovely) are a bit much for my skin I probably won't be repurchasing but I wholeheartedly recommend them if you do get especially dry skin, and I would imagine more mature skins may like these too. Next on my list to try is their Creme Fraiche de Beaute 24hr Hydrating and Soothing cream - sounds dreamy!

Have you tried any of Nuxe's moisturisers? I'd love to hear what you think of them!