Saturday, 30 November 2013

My Monthly Favourites - November 2013

Hi guys! It's that time of the month again where I show you what I have been loving product-wise throughout November. It's hard to believe that Christmas is now upon us and as cliché as it sounds, this year has gone ridiculously fast! This is my second ever monthly favourites post which is rather shocking seeing as I have been blogging now for eight months now. The reason I held off for so long is because I go through stages where I do not really buy any new products and so I often run out of things to review. However, with that being said, I am going to try my best to be consistent and do my favourites every month without fail but do bear with me if I do skip a month. Now, let's get straight to my much loved products of November!

Dove Intensive Nourishment Hand Cream  - £3.49
Seeing as we are right in the midst of winter, the cold and bitter weather is upon us and as you all know, this can cause havoc with your skin making it much drier and troublesome. However, I think that many of us neglect our hands at this time of year. Recently, I have been using this hand cream from Dove that I got as part of a gift set a while back. As you can imagine, this product does exactly what it says on the tin (or tube, rather!) I tend to slather this cream on before I go to bed at night time and surprise, surprise; I wake up with nourished and soft hands. I really recommend this product as it is cheap, widely available in drugstores and most of all - it works!

Essie Luxe Effects Nail Polish in 'A Cut Above' - £7.99

Whilst I was in Boots with my Mum the other week, I was browsing down the make-up aisles when I came across this lovely nail varnish at the Essie stand. This polish is part of Essie's limited edition 'Luxe Effects' range which also features four other glittery top coats; 'As Gold As It Gets,' 'A Stroke Of Brilliance,' 'Pure Pearlfection' and 'Set In Stones.' I was drawn to this one in particular due to it's gorgeous pink/rose gold colouring. Although this product is advertised as a top coat, I built up a couple of coats of the polish on my nails to make them entirely sparkly and opaque. The end result is stunning and it lasted on my nails for over a week! The only problem I found was removing it; it took me about twenty minutes of vigorous scrubbing with pure acetone to get every scrap of it away but do not let that put you off, it's definitely worth it!

The Body Shop Vanilla Bliss Body Butter - £13.00

Next up is the ever-so-popular body butter from The Body Shop, which I received as a gift from my friend Sydney. I own a couple of different body butters as I am a bit of a moisturiser hoarder. I never seem to finish one bottle or tub before I move on to the next one - I think I like to alternate between them depending on my mood or the time of year. The 'Vanilla Bliss' scent is a limited edition one for Christmas and I love it! It is so rich and moisturising which is perfect for when my skin is dry, which it tends to be in the current cold conditions here in the UK. With this being said, my favourite Body Shop body butter is actually the passion fruit one as I much prefer fruity scents in general. Most of the other moisturisers I own (Dove and Garnier) are around the £5 mark, so spending £13 on one is a little steep for me but as a gift, it was a lovely treat and the tub lasts for ages, so in the end it is a worthwhile purchase if you are thinking of buying one for yourself!

Rimmel Lasting Finish Colour Rush Lip Crayon in 'The Redder The Better' - £5.99

As I have already written a seperate post on the Rimmel lip crayons here, I am not going to go too in detail about the product this time around. After loving the first shade I bought a few months ago called 'Rumour Has It,' I decided to go back and try another colour. 'The Redder The Better' is exactly as it seems; a really bright red colour that is really striking on the lips. As mentioned in my previous post, this crayon is really moisturising and glides on seamlessly. It also has a lovely vanilla/cocoa type scent to it which is a nice added touch. In addition, there is a lovely variation of colours to try and so there is something for everybody. I highly recommend this product!

The Body Shop White Musk Eau De Toilette (30ml) - £10.00
Last but not least is this lovely frangrance from The Body Shop. I love using this perfume on days when I'm not doing too much and do not want to reach for my more expensive perfumes. As you can probably guess from the title, this is a musky scent which has hints of flowers (lily, iris & rose) and vanilla running through it. I always get compliments when I wear this scent as it is quite strong at first but after a few hours, it wears off completely. So, although I love this eau de toilette, I would not recommend it if you need something a little more long-wearing.

I hope you have all enjoyed reading about my November favourites. I would love to know what your most-loved products have been this month, so please do not hesitate to leave a comment below :) 

Monday, 25 November 2013

Benefit's Coralista Ultra Plush Lip Gloss Review

Benefit have recently bought out a range of lip glosses that coincide with the six bestselling colours of their infamous boxed blushers; Hoola, Dandelion, Coralista, Sugarbomb, Dallas and Bella Bamba. In my opinion, this is a really excellent concept as I think that matching your blusher to your lip gloss could give a really stunning and polished effect. Moreover, like many beauty bloggers, I received a sample size of this lip gloss as a free gift when I purchased Elle Magazine recently. I do not usually tend to buy Elle due to it's £4 price tag which in my opinion, is a little pricey for a magazine. However, I just couldn't resist this time! 

The sample size of this gloss is 6.5ml, which is just under half of the products usual 15ml amount which retails at £14.50. So, paying a mere £4 didn't seem so bad after all! Elle Magazine had three different colours from the range to choose from: Hoola (a shimmery, brown nude,) Coralista (a sheer coral) and Dandelion (a soft, pearly pink.)

I opted for Coralista as I thought that this colour would suit me the best and I was right! When I swatched it on the back of my hand, the gloss looks super pigmented but when applied to lips, it is rather sheer and gives just a subtle wash of colour. In a way, it is a tad disappointing but I still like the end finish nonetheless. As for the way the gloss feels, you can tell it is a more high-end product due to the fact that the formula is thick but not sticky. On the other hand, seeing as the glosses are silky instead of sticky, they do not adhere to your lips too well and in turn, do not have very good staying power. So, be prepared to top up your application a couple of times.

Overall, these glosses are easy to wear and are quite natural-looking on the lips. However, for me I would like to see a little more colour pay off but that is just down to personal preference as I love bright lip colours. I am pleased that I bought Elle for this gloss but I do not think that I would fathom spending that much on the full-sized product. If you have tried or bought a product from the Ultra Plush range, I would love to know what you thought of them so please do not hesitate to leave a comment below. Thank you!

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Living And Dealing With Anxiety

It seems that many bloggers have come forward and spoken about their anxiety lately, which is amazing and incredibly brave of them to do so and now, I feel ready to do the same. Even though I have touched base with this subject before in my 'Saying Yes And Overcoming Your Fears' post, I have never gone into as much detail as I am going to today. Obviously this post is incredibly personal to me, as I am talking about something that affects me every single day to people that I do not even know in real life - yet somehow, this make it slightly easier. My main aim with this post is to share my experience with you all and hopefully, I might also be able to help some other people in similar situations along the way. Although writing this is rather daunting, inspiring others to not be ashamed of their anxiety will make it all worth while!

I have been suffering from anxiety and panic attacks for ten years now and until recently, I did absolutely nothing about it. However, last year really was the tip of the iceberg for me and I was in such a horrible place. I had a job I hated which made me ill and therefore, I became very reserved and reclusive. It got to the point where if I would have a panic attack in a particular place or situation, I would do everything in my power to never return to that place again through pure fear of the same thing happening again. Whenever my friends would invite me out, I would nine times of ten say no because I had some sort of irrational fear that something bad would happen to me. I would often become so distressed that I would violently shake, feel sick and be in tears. Plus, on the odd occasion when I did build up the courage to go out, I never fully enjoyed myself. It used to only cause me stress and unhappiness and let’s face it, that’s no way to live your life!

At this point, I knew that something had to change because my anxiety was starting to affect my daily life to the point where I couldn’t even hold down a job or career. This, consequently, controlled a lot of the choices that I made and it has stopped me from doing absolutely anything that is even slightly out of my comfort zone. It even hindered me in embracing certain opportunities that came my way that in hindsight would have benefited me a great deal. I regret saying no to certain things even to this day.

I still find it incredibly hard to really open up to my friends and family about my anxiety problem, even when the majority of them know about it. I tend to worry that they will judge me if I go into detail about how I feel in case they end up thinking that I am some kind of nutcase and no longer want to be around me. Where as in reality, it turns out that so many people suffer with similar problems to me. I worry that they may also think that I use my anxiety as an excuse for certain things or that I am being a nuisance, though I am slowly learning that this is not the case at all. I am very lucky in the fact that I have some really supportive people in my life who I know I can always turn to. However, this is not the case for all people. Though, with that being said, there are so many good mental health programmes out there, (Mind and Anxiety UK being two of these,) that offer anxiety sufferers help and guidance if they do feel alone or unable to talk to a relative or friend about their issues. There are also many routes that you can take to help ease your anxiety and panic attacks; medication, stress management classes and counselling etc.

For the past six months or so, I have been attending counselling sessions every Tuesday afternoon. I definitely feel that this is the best option for me after having tried medication around this time last year, as it didn't agree with me and it actually made me more ill in terms of feeling nauseous and getting regular migraines. However, the one struggle I have with counselling is that I do want to go but I dread it at the same time. It’s not a nice feeling having to talk to somebody who is essentially a stranger about really deep and personal things every single week, even when you know it will be beneficial in the long run. Most of us, including myself at times, would much rather block it out or deal with our emotions privately rather than share them (though I have come to learn that bottling emotions up is unhealthy.)

Now, it’s a year on and I am slowly feeling the way I want to. Although to some it may seem like I am moving at a snail’s pace and have not done an awful lot this year, I know in my mind that I have come on leaps and bounds in this time. I love going out now, in fact I thrive off of it, which is something I never would have imagined myself saying twelve months ago! I’m not going to lie and say that everything is a walk in the park; I still have a long way to go to. To this day, my comfort zone is very restrictive and small but I am working on expanding it at a pace that suits me. I always want to do something reckless like drive to a random destination but then I get disheartened by the fact that I will probably get half way there, freak out and come home. 

I still have a mixture of good days and bad days but I believe that is all the about taking little steps to eventually get me to where I want to be. Of course, I don’t know how long this will take. I often put pressure on myself by trying to put a time limit on things, convincing myself that I am not progressing fast enough. However, I have come to realise that as long as I know I am trying as hard as I possibly can, that’s all that counts. Overall, I am incredibly hopeful for what may happen over the next few months and I am optimistic that by this time next year, I will have come on leaps and bounds yet again.

I would like to thank all of you for taking the time to read about my personal experience with anxiety. I really hope that sharing my story has inspired at least one of you to start fighting your anxiety in the same way that I am. Remember that what doesn't kill you makes you stronger and although you may be going through a tough time right now, things WILL get better! 

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Disappointing Products #1

Hi guys! Many of us beauty bloggers, myself included, tend to write about products that we love as opposed to products that we loathe because let's face it, they are more fun to talk about! However, today I thought that I would share with you five products that have left me a little disappointed over the recent months. Of course, products work differently on each of us as we are all very unique but I am simply sharing with you my experiences with using these products. So, let's get started!

Bumble & Bumble Thickening Hairspray (50ml) - £7.50
It seems that many of us beauty bloggers received a free sample of this hairspray when we bought the September issue of Elle Magazine. I was really excited to try out this product for multiple reasons. Firstly, I have heard good things about the entire Bumble & Bumble range and secondly, anything that promises to thicken my hair grabs my attention as I have extremely fine hair that could always use a little boost. However, after following the instructions on the side of the bottle that told me to apply this onto my wet hair, I was thoroughly disappointed with the result after I dried it. My hair had no noticeable volume and was simply left with a horrible, sticky residue at my roots which is definitely not what you want!

Maybelline Super Stay 10 Hour Tint Gloss in Endless Ruby - £6.99
When I initially swatched this tinted gloss in Superdug, I knew I had to have it! The highly pigmented deep red colour and smooth liquid formula drew me in and I could not wait to try it out. At first, the gloss was everything I expected and more but as the day went on, I incurred a few problems that really put me off this product. Throughout the day, the colour of the gloss darkened to a really strange black colour around my lip line. Secondly, when I went to take off the product that night (even with five minutes of laborious scrubbing,) it just wouldn't budge! Sure, staying power is typically what we want from a stain but not so much when it seeps into the cracks of your lips and doesn't come off fully for two days!

Simple Kind To Eyes Eye Make-Up Remover Pen - £4.99
I bought this product on a bit of a whim whilst in Boots because I thought it would be handy to use to remove any eyeliner or mascara mistakes (I get through a lot of cotton buds doing this!) The first two times I used this pen the results were great; the tip of the pen was small and precise, which in turn got rid of smudges and mistakes perfectly. After each use, I cleaned the nib of the pen and put the lid back on firmly as instructed. However, when I went back to use this product for the third time, the pen had completely dried out! I was really disappointed with the longevity of this product and I will be sticking to my usual method of cotton buds to remove any make-up mishaps!

Bourjois Paris Little Round Pot Blush in Love-struck Rose - £7.99

When my much-loved Rimmel blusher hit the pan a while back, I decided to browse my local Boots for a different blusher to try. As these Bourjois blushers have been around for many years and I had always heard great things about them, I decided to give one a whirl. Love-struck Rose is a beautiful coral coloured blush with hints of gold shimmer running through it. However, begrudgingly, when I went to apply this product to my cheeks - the pigmentation was awful! Although I had plenty of the product on my brush, it was just not coming out on my face. I was really disappointed with this product and have not used it since!

Barry M Eyeshadow Pencil in Gold Cream - £4.59
Recently, I have been really getting into experimenting with eyeshadow, which is a rarity for me seeing as I am a classic eyeliner flick kind of girl! I bought this eyeshadow pencil to highlight my inner corner with as I find that a classic powder shadow rubs off rather quickly in this area. When first applied, I loved this product because it was so creamy and just simply glided on. However, after a mere two hours, the product had just settled in the creases of my eye and it began to flake a lot which made the whole look appear messy and unflattering.

I hope that this post has been helpful to those of you who are maybe considering trying out some of the products mentioned above. Also, if any of you have had positive experiences with any of the items above or even if you share the same views as me, I would love to hear about them - so please leave a comment below. Thank you!

Thursday, 7 November 2013

ASOS Autumn/Winter Knitwear

Hi guys! The weather has taken a major turn for the worse lately and it has become bitterly cold in England, which in turn has made many of us reach for our cosiest items of clothing to keep us nice and warm. So, today I thought that I would do a little post on three lovely jumpers from ASOS to give you all some inspiration if you are in need of some new knitwear for your autumn/winter wardrobe. Plus, as these jumpers are all from ASOS which is an online shop, there is no need to even face the hustle and bustle of your local high street or shopping centre (which means that you can shelter from this horrible weather - what a bonus!) So, without further ado, let's get started!

ASOS Jumper With Lace Collar Detail - £28.00
First up, this particular jumper caught my eye for a number of different reasons. I love the rich wine/plum colour of this knit, as this colour family is always very popular at this time of year. Also, the cute lace collar gives this jumper a slightly smarter feel to it, which would be perfect to wear either to work or for weekend outings. Hence, this item is extremely versatile and therefore worth it's very reasonable price tag.

Only Christmas Pudding Jumper - £25.00
Next up, I couldn't do this post without throwing in a novelty Christmas jumper for good measure. I do find that a lot of festive jumpers tend to lean a little bit towards the 'tacky' side and can sometimes look incredibly garish, but this jumper is perfect. The simple Christmas pudding design combined with the overall monochrome design is subtle enough to pull off and in my opinion, is really cute too. Just make sure that you keep the rest of your outfit simple and let the jumper do the talking!

ASOS Jumper In Stitch With Back Detail - £35.00
Last but not least is my favourite jumper of the bunch. I love the simplicity of the emerald green jumper with minimal black piping around the cuffs and the neckline. Of course, the main focus of this jumper is the cut-out back - which was what drew me to this particular item in the first place. As most jumpers are very loose and usually worn for comfort, the little peep of flesh in this design will keep you feeling sexy and feminine. I love this jumper so much that I have actually added it to my Christmas list, so fingers crossed it is waiting for me under the tree next month!

I hope you all enjoyed reading about my three favourite jumper picks from ASOS. Are there any jumpers or knitwear that are currently on your wish list? Please feel free to let me know by leaving me a comment below, I love reading what all of you like and getting some fashion inspiration too! Thank you :)

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

My Month Via Instagram - October 2013

Hi guys! It's come to the time again for me to write about what I have been up to all throughout October. Granted we are now a whole five days into November (I cannot believe it is Christmas next month) and I am a little late uploading this post but none the less, let's get started!

1. This month I have been making a conscious effort to come up with a few new recipes to try at dinner time. I think that it is very easy to slip into a routine and end up eating the same things on a regular basis. The dish you can see in the picture is a garlic and herb chicken curry-like dish, which is really simple to make. I simply cut up and cooked a chicken breast whilst boiling some rice (and adding peas in a little later to make it more interesting.) Once the chicken was cooked, I poured over a Philadelphia 'Simply Stir' Garlic & Herb Sauce and let it simmer for a few minutes. Hey presto, a relatively healthy dinner in roughly 15-20 minutes!

2. Secondly, now that the cold weather is starting to creep in, I have been opting for a lot more baths as opposed to showers. Recently, I have been trying to have a lot of 'me' time and I love nothing more than having a nice, long soak in a bubble bath. In conjunction with this, I have really enjoyed lighting my cherry & vanilla Yankee candle to set the mood and relax even further. I have also switched from using my passion fruit Body Shop Body Butter to the vanilla scent instead, as I find it to be a much more winter-y smell.

3. As Halloween was creeping ever closer, I invented my friend Lucy to help me experiment with some cat make-up as she is one of the most artistic people I know. Being a cat for Halloween isn't exactly original but my funds are pretty low at the moment, so simplicity was key. For the look we eventually achieved, all that we needed was tonnes of eyeliner and an extremely steady hand! I also used some very feline fake eyelashes to make the end result even more striking.

4. On the same day, Lucy also helped me with some photography for my blog (which is featured in the 'My Favourite Autumn/Winter Outfit' post.) As we finished this rather quickly, I decided to then give Lucy a makeover. As she usually wears minimal make-up (eyeliner and mascara only,) I thought that she would be a great person to experiment on and of course, she looked gorgeous! To read the original blog post, please click here.

5. If any of you read my 'The Next Chapter Of My Life' post, you may know that I recently completed an intensive three day nail course which focused on manicure, pedicure and acrylic nails. Of course, it takes a lot longer than three days to perfect a craft and so I have been practicing on my friends and family a lot. One of the things I really want to learn, however, is how to create some intricate nail art designs. One evening, I gave my friend Sarah this nude and black leopard print design. I was really proud of the outcome seeing as it was my first ever attempt and I am looking forward to trying other designs in the future. 

6. Last but not least is a photo of what I actually looked like before I went clubbing for Halloween. As you can see, I was not able to fully mimic how well Lucy did my make-up for me earlier on in the week, but I still think that in the end it looked quite good! In the end I opted for a dark purple lipstick as I thought it was quite vampy, as opposed to the nude lip that me and Lucy practiced. Also, dressing up as a cat gave me the perfect excuse to wear my new black dress from Missguided that you can see here. I am obsessed with it and am even looking forward to the next time I can wear it (I'm sad like that!)

So, that's it for this month. I hope you all enjoyed reading about what I have gotten up to during October. Now, let's see what November brings!