Wednesday, 28 May 2014

25 Things I've Learnt In My Twenties

It's my birthday! And I'm the grand old age of 25.

I'll admit, I'd been panicking about turning twenty-five… Why? Well I can't exactly put my finger on it. I feel like it's a combination of; I still feel 21, I have no real direction in life, I haven't achieved what I wanted yet, oh and I still feel 21. So, as a bit of fun, I thought I would share twenty-five things I've learnt in my years up until this point; things I wish I'd know before this point and even things to take with me into the future. 

01. Nobody says 'remember the time I stayed in & ate Malteser's in my pyjamas while watching Netflix?' 
02. Having said that, do what you enjoy and do it often. Just, try to have a bit more of a social life.
03. Life is far too short to be embarrassed of the skin you're in. Love yourself.
04. Everything changes. Even you. There's nothing on this planet that won't - embrace it. 
05. No matter how much make-up you buy, your face will always look like your face - embrace that too.
06. Hot chocolate is always a good idea.
07. You're never too old to call your mum. Or want a hug. 
08. Your life doesn't need to have a definitive plan by the time you're 21. The world will not end. 
09. Let go of grudges and move on. 
10. Remember to take the time to look up, take in your surroundings & truly live.
11. Having five good friends is sometimes better than fifty flakey ones.
12. You will regret every hairstyle you've ever had.
13. And probably every fashion choice too. 
14. Never stop learning. Knowledge is wealth. 
15. Don't be afraid of the fear of failure - if it doesn't work, it doesn't matter.
16. Everyone around you is having babies & getting married. You're sat talking to your pet. That's ok.
17. You can never be too grateful, too loving or too humble.
18. Going to bed at a reasonable time is, more often than not, a very smart choice. 
19. Explore, make new friends and really see the world. There is more to it than your city. 
20. Hangovers will only get worse as time goes on. 
21. As well as your metabolism.
22. Theres no such thing as too much fun - grab every opportunity by the cojones.  
23. Smile at strangers, it will make you feel good. Even if it is confusing to some. 
24. You will see fashion statements being made of things you wore as a child. Hello scrunchies & jelly sandals. 
25. Take every day for what it is. Live in the moment and enjoy it. 

What would you add to this list? :)

Monday, 26 May 2014

5 Reasons To Smile #2

I never really intended this title to become a series, as such.

However, I found myself in a little slump and I thought it would be a nice way to remind myself of the little things that are definitely worth smiling about! (because there are always plenty, when you think about it)

1. Without the rain, you would never appreciate the sunshine. I think one of British peoples favourite past-times is criticising the weather; too hot, too cold, too grey. It's never quite right. Although I've found myself appreciating this little cold spell, even if it just means I can have a hot chocolate without looking weird or have a bit of a sofa day, without feeling too guilty. And that makes me very happy. 

2. The all clear. If there's one thing we should smile about, it's our health. My Great Grandma drilled it into me at a young age that we really are fortunate that everything in our body is doing its job. As much as I tend to criticise my body for not looking a certain way or being able to do certain things, it really is doing a great thing just getting me from point to point. We also found out this week that my boyfriend basically has the all clear from his stroke recovery and that everything can return to normal - so we're beyond pleased about that!

3. Twenty-five. It's my birthday on Wednesday, the 28th! And I am turning 25. I knew after my 21st that all birthdays would feel fairly daunting and 'oh my god, I'm getting old' but I'm just going to embrace it and see where it takes me. Sure, I'm not where I expected to be in life at this age - but that doesn't mean it isn't still on its way. It's all about being patient and accepting what comes.

4. A new look. In case you haven't noticed, my blog has had a mini face-lift over the past few days! I wanted something cleaner looking, yet still had a bit of a personal touch to it & I think this template  ticks all those boxes. I'd love to know what you think!

5. Silly rodent faces. If one thing instantly puts a smile on my face, it's my little pet rat Skye. She is just ridiculous. The faces she makes when eating boiled chicken (like a combination of actual bliss & pure happiness) make me smile so big. I can't even help it. She's awesome.

Bonus reason : PUPPIES! Eleven, adorable, black labrador puppies and I got to cuddle one, which totally made my day today. So soft & just plain cute. Unfortunately we're not taking any home, just a little visit - but it put a giant smile on my face.

What has been making you smile lately? :)


Thursday, 22 May 2014

Products of the Day #4 Modern Mandarin & Fanfare

Ooh, I forgot how lovely it is to get your mitts on some brand new MAC products.

Truth be told, I've bee so impressed with what the highstreet has to offer - I'd completely deserted any higher end offerings. That was until yesterday, when I had a gift voucher burning a hole in my purse and a desire to treat myself to two new products!

After a lot of swatching & a bit of help from the sale assistants, I settled for Modern Mandarin Blush and Fan Fare lipstick. I wanted wearable & neutral but with a hint of something extra (it was a lovely sunny day too, I think that influenced things!). I think that's definitely what these two are and I couldn't be happier with them.

Modern Mandarin (£18) wasn't my initial first choice, as it's a gorgeous bright red/orange and something I would normally assume would be too 'in your face' for my liking, but with a light hand it has such a pretty effect. I think this will look really lovely in Summer with a tan (fingers crossed for more sunshine!)

Fanfare (£15) was another one that I wouldn't have perhaps opted for straight away, but as I was swatching I kept going back & back to this, so I figured it must've been a sign (from the beauty Gods?). I don't actually own a 'nude' lipstick from MAC, shock horror! So I'm really happy to add this to the collection. It's a lovely blend of peach and pink tones and doesn't look too wishy-washy when on the lips, which I love. I can see that this will get a lot of use!
As for the rest of my face; my base was Nars Sheer Glow Shade Ceylan, as I wanted something that would have some staying power from day to night (we went out for a meal & everything was still in place, woo!). Followed by plenty of Bobbi Brown Corrector & Creamy Concealer under my eyes & on any blemishes. 

I used my MAC Quad for Arena and Wedge on the eyes and Omega on my brows, then plenty of Benefits They're Real macara - I initially hated this stuff but, unfortunately for my bank balance, I actually really do love it *welp*. I then added a little Rimmel Scandaleyes Nude pencil in the waterline to open everything up! 

To stick to the peachy, bronzed theme I went in with some Body Shop Honey Bronzer and Kevin Aucoin Sculpting Powder to contour my face! I love both of these products for the fact that they're so natural and look great on paler skin tones. 

Et voila! 

What are your current favourite day to day products? 


Tuesday, 20 May 2014

My Skincare Heroes

I've got to admit, I was a makeup wipe kinda girl until I was into my twenties (yes, you read that right - 20's), and only when I started blogging did I realise there were products called cleansers & toners. So, ever since that point, and my first dabble with Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish, I've been trying to figure out what works best for me & my skin. 

A bit of background : I feel like my skin falls into the dehydrated (tight feeling), combination (oily & dry) category. I get blemishes predominantly on my forehead and chin with good ol' blackheads on my nose. Awesome. The type of blemishes I get are very 'deep', for want of a better word, and they have been known to scar my skin as they're so big & angry and difficult to get rid of. If you really want to see my foundation free face, please click here (you have been warned). 

So, here are a couple of my favourite products that I use in rotation to try achieve hydrated & clear skin! I think you will notice a 'if it ain't broke, don't fix replace it' method here; I'm a big believer in finding things and sticking to them - I also really hate waste. So unless it's causing me serious issues, I will stick it out until it's finished then replace with something better! (I'm sorry, I'm not made of money)

First up, the Super Facialist by Una Brennan Vitamin C Cleansing Oil. I picked this up after hearing all the blogger hype, and months later - I can't say I'm disappointed. I massage this oil directly onto my dry, make-up laden face, it only takes a few seconds to begin dissolving and breaking down all my cosmetics, including tough mascara, lip stains - the lot. I do love it, although my main issue with it is that it doesn't come with a pump - easily solved, but still one I haven't got round to! That, and it does make my eyes a bit 'bleary' after use (due to vitamin c content, supposedly!) However, it feels lovely to use, smells beautiful and does what it claims. After massaging, simply splash with water and remove with a hot flannel. It doesn't leave a greasy film & my skin is always left feeling healthy and happy.

To follow up, I use Antipodes Juliette Skin Brightening Cleansing Gel*. My skin is normally pretty clean by this point, but I like to rub a blob of this gel all over my face to remove any leftover oil or stubborn makeup. It's a nice product, but not necessarily something I would repurchase, as I feel it's better for oily skin types. It doesn't quite give my dry patches enough moisture, but does balance out oiler parts well (perfect for warmer weather). Full review here. When this runs out, I have a feeling I may purchase the Pai Camelia & Rose Hydrating Cleanser, instead - let me know if you've used it!

Yes. Toner, singular. Only recently have I started introducing a toner into my routine again, and I've got to admit I have noticed a difference; mainly with keeping my skin clearer for longer. I add some Lush Eau Roma Toner to a cotton pad and swipe away until I'm satisfied that every speck of grime is gone from my face. However, seeing as I 'double cleanse' I sometimes just like to spritz this into the palm of my hand and pat into place! I feel like products after this (moisturiser etc) sink in better because of this step! I may even add an exfoliating toner to the mix in future (Clarins Gentle Exfoliating Toner, I'm looking at you).

Again, one product. I'll admit the serum/oil stage is quite new to me, although I've really noticed it to be very beneficial to the hydration & plumpness (technical term) of my skin. The Body Shop Vitamin E Overnight Serum-in-Oil is that wonder product. It's a two in one, no messing, hydrating serum AND oil (no surprises there, the clue's in the name). I apply two to three drops of this religiously on a night time and my skin feels amazingly soft and smooth by morning. I can't imagine life without it! (slightly dramatic, but very true).

Two Keihls products that I absolutely swear by are the Ultra Cream & the Creamy Avocado Eye Treatment. They're both simple, hydrating but not overly heavy and do exactly what they say on the tub. The Ultra Cream makes a great base for makeup, but equally a nice layer of moisture for skin on a night. It hydrates my dry parts, while not swamping my oily bits - I love it! I then rub a teeny blob of Avocado Eye Cream between my fingers and pat onto my under eye. I have extremely weird dry eye bags, so this is an essential step. It's extremely gentle but very effective & lasts absolutely ages!

Finally, onto masks, my favourite part of my routine, yet one I seem to generally never make time for! However, when I do, I go all out; starting with the infamous Aesop Parsley Seed Mask or the equally as brilliant Antipodes Aura Manuka Honey Mask. They both have wonderful cleansing properties, yet the Antipodes offering contains a bit more moisture, so depending on how my skin is feeling, depends on which I use. I do love them both and they're particularly great for tackling break-outs!

I then follow up with the REN Glycolactic Radiance Renewal Mask. I generally tend to avoid harsh, scrubby exfoliators and lean more towards this 'peel' for removing dead skin and cleansing pores. I'm always left with extremely soft & brighter skin after using this. It's incredibly gentle yet definitely gets the job done!

After all that, I'll top up on some serious moisture with Origins Drink Up Intensive Overnight Mask. This. Stuff. Is. Awesome. Firstly, it smells absolutely wonderfully and citrus-y. Secondly, it's just a pleasure to apply - cooling, soothing & hydrating almost instantly. Finally, it's not overly heavy - by the morning my skin has soaked up all the goodness and my face looks significantly more hydrated & plump! 

What are your 'Skincare Heroes'? 
I'd love to know! 


Sunday, 18 May 2014

Little Snippets #2

A couple of little snaps from yesterday!

If you live in the UK, you will know that we have experienced some wonderful weather lately (about as rare as unicorn turds these days) so myself, my sister and our 'other halves' went out and about to enjoy the sunshine! 

As I knew we'd be walking about & catching some rays, I prepped my face with NARS Tinted Moisturiser (gotta remember that spf!), a bit of Body Shop Bronzer, Mac PowerSurge Eyeliner & Rimmel's JBK Balm Stain in Honey - altogether I quite liked the soft, yet summer-y combination! 
Anyway, beauty chat over - we headed to a place in Wakefield called The Grill Pit, very Man vs Food-esque. Naturally I gravitated towards the second biggest thing on the menu (The Pit Burger, see above) and I definitely didn't regret it (although skinny jeans was not a wise choice)! I was probably feeling a bit over-ambitious, but it really was tasty! We also watched a very brave (or stupid) man take on the hot wings challenge… He made it look surprisingly easy, but we didn't hang around for the five minute 'cool off' part!
With very full bellies, we then headed to a little pub in Rishworth for a cold drink & some good beer garden relaxing, where we met a beautiful Samoid dog who had the fluffiest ears I've ever tickled! SO CUTE!
It was a fairly short but very sweet afternoon, and it made a nice change from hanging around in the city centre. We tried to top it all off with ice-cream from a real dairy ice-cream parlour, but unfortunately (or fortunately for our waist-bands) it was shut! So we just pottered on home & lounged around for the rest of the day in pyjamas. Can't say we don't know how to party ;)

I hope you're enjoying the sunshine too!
What have you been up to this weekend?


Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Things I've Spent My Pennies On : May

Seems I've been going a little overboard with shopping lately!

I didn't really realise until I gathered it all up and thought, 'um… oops?' but what better way to make me feel less guilty; than to make a pretty blog-post about it, because that totally justifies it all, right? … I hope so!

After aimlessly browsing ASOS, I decided to pick up this New Look Crochet Ditsy Cami (£12.99 - was £10 with 20% off, score!). It seemed cheap and cheerful, but super pretty & perfect for the (hopefully) warm weather that's on its way. Paired with jeans and a cream, lightweight cardigan I think I'll get a lot of wear out of this! 

After mentioning that one of my May Mini Goals was to grow my nails (which is actually happening!) I figured retail nail therapy would aid that process - that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it! Baring in mind, I have never in my adult life been up-to-date with nail trends or have bought anything other than polish for my toes, I was like a kid in a sweetie shop at the Essie stand! After MUCH consideration (I'm sure the assistant thought I was nuts) I opted for Essie Eternal Optimist (£7.99). Mainly because I loved the name, but also because it is very much a 'me' type of shade. It's a gorgeous pale, pink blush that seems to just about go with everything! I love it! 

As it was 3 for 2, it would've been rude not to pick up a couple of other nail products… You know, to "help". I was debating getting two more Essie polishes (I can see this becoming an addiction) but Barry M Prickly Pear (£3.99) caught my eye & I thought it would be a good way to test out purple shades without committing to a more expensive polish. I haven't tried it yet, but it does look lovely! 

To finish of the Boots raid, I opted for Bourjois Instant Dry Nail Drops (£5.99) after seeing it that very morning on ViviannaDoesMakeup… Talk about influential blogging! I used this for the first time the other day, after applying two coats of Eternal Optimist and… Wow. This stuff is AMAZING! I'm clearly no nail expert, but my nails were literally, no exaggeration, dry in seconds. It also helps to keep cuticles moisturised too, which is great for a nail n00b like myself. 
Make-up wise, I feel I was fairly restrained (hah!) and picked up Revlon ColourBurst Matte in Elusive (£7.99) and Maybelline The Falsies Flared (£7.99). I think we all know by now that I love me some Maybelline the Falsies, but as the shelves were still empty, I decided to opt for the 'Flared' version and I'm kind of disappointed with how different it is to the original. It doesn't thicken the lashes as well and has some bizarre scent that reminds me of hayfever nasal spray... (yup!) The Revlon Matte crayon is also something I'm not too convinced by, although I think it's a personal preference with matte products - I just don't seem to get on with them!

MOAR beauty purchases came in the form of EverInMay's blog sale… I do love a good blog sale. I couldn't resist giving the Stila Custom Colour Self Adjusting Coral Blush a try for £5 & Mac LE Lipstick in Private Party (£9) is pretty much my ideal shade; very similar to Plumful, but a touch darker *insert heart eyed emoji here* Charlotte still has a few items for sale if you're interested, you should have a look here

Okay, stepping away from cosmetics, I invested a little dinero into my art supplies. I was plodding along with some old sketchbooks but you just can't beat new stationary for inspiration - am I right, or am I right? I had my eye on the Moleskine Watercolour A4 Pad (£14.99) for a long ass time and I just thought, seeing as I'm quite enjoying painting at the minute, I would go ahead and buy it. The quality is excellent and the paper isn't too grainy, yet holds the water well, so I'm really looking forward to experimenting in it! I also spotted these Daler Rowney Watercolour Brushes (£7.35) and as my paintbrushes are looking a little worse for wear, I thought I'd add them to the basket! I love Daler Rowney for well priced, quality art supplies & these have not disappointed! 

Finally (phew! thanks for sticking with me, if you've read this far, you're a trooper) I bought a Canon Camera Remote (£5.99) because I have wanted one for the longest time and never really knew what to go for, but as this was ridiculous cheap, there was nothing to lose! I'm very happy to report that it does exactly what I need (focuses, triggers camera with a two second timer) and there will hopefully be no more blurry selfies & 'ootd' post - hurrah! 

What have you been buying lately?


Sunday, 11 May 2014

An Illustrated Wish List #2

After a couple of unproductive hours of reading, yoga-ing & general lounging, I thought I'd spend the rest of my Sunday afternoon doodling!

That's what Sundays are for, right? 

Anyway, I really love shopping for/drooling over accessories, and as much as I normally dislike clothes shopping - I could happily spend all day hovering around the shiny, jewellery & handbag area… And it seems this illustration is no different! So, here are a couple of things that have caught my eye lately! 

1. Olivia Burton Mink Hummingbird Watch (£72) My interpretation of this watch probably doesn't do it any favours in showing off its true beauty, but I had fun trying to draw the delicate little hummingbird in the middle! I love pretty much all of the Olivia Burton watches as they're all just so pretty, but this one definitely stands out to me! Which is your favourite?

2. Topshop Small Folk Suede Duffle Bag (£35) This is probably one of those things I would 'um' & 'ah' over for quite some time… My inner hippy absolutely loves it but my practical side is saying 'when would you realistically use this?' but I just love the combination of turquoise & coral and I think it would be a fun little bag to have for summer!

3. Asos Semi Precious Stone Hoop Earrings (£10) However 90's it may be, I do like a good hoop earring, although I don't actually own that many pairs. I love the addition of the semi-precious stone and gold beads that add a little bit of 'something' extra to them! At only ten pounds, I can't imagine these will stay on my wish list very long…

What accessories are you loving at the moment?

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