Goodbye 2014, Hello 2015

I can't quite believe that tomorrow marks the start of another year. 2014 has been a bumpy, yet incredible, ride, so I thought I would round up a few of my highlights;

Getting engaged in December 2013 meant that wedding planning could begin! Although nothing has been booked and no definite plans have been made, I have thoroughly enjoyed scouring Instagram and Pinterest for creative and unusual ideas.

In May 2014, Paul and I bought our first house! It was a challenging, yet exciting couple of months and it marked a another big milestone in our relationship.

In June 2014, I completed my Level 2 Beauty Therapy NVQ. It was a roller coaster of a journey completing it alongside a full time job, but I learnt so much and I am very excited about attending additional courses in 2015.

In July 2014, Paul, my Mum and I headed out to Croatia and Montenegro. After the upset of 2013, it was just what we needed, and I felt during this time, Paul had really become a part of the Balfour family. We also headed to Glasgow for the Commonwealth Games which was a tiring yet amazing experience.

In August 2014, my Brother graduated Lancaster University with a First Class Honours Degree in Linguistics. He is currently studying a Masters and is in the process of applying for a PhD in Historical Linguistics - very proud Sister!

In September 2014, I attended one of my best friends RAF Graduation. It was an overwhelming and surreal experience filled with lots of laughter and tears.

In December 2014, I finally started to feel like our new house had become a home. No longer did it have an unusual, unrecognisable smell, but oozed a welcoming, homely atmosphere. It is a place that I am truly happy to be in, and so proud of what we have achieved. Christmas 2014 marked the second year without my Dad. Even though I had a great time with family & friends, he was never far from my mind. Time really is a great healer, but it is something that I will never forget.

Thank you to everyone for all your love and support over the past year. Looking forward to the exciting progress of Beauty Toolkit in 2015 - see you on the other side!

Crabtree & Evelyn Sea Foam Foot Soak

Sticking with the ‘getting party ready’ theme from my previous post, I thought I would mention a product I have been loving using alongside my at-home foot spa. Paul bought me a foot spa for Christmas a couple years ago after getting sick of watching me use our old washing up bowl for my own pedicure treatments. I initially mixed essential oils in to the water, but after scrolling through amazing reviews of the Crabtree & Evelyn LA Source Sea Foam Foot Soak (£9.50) online, I hastily made a purchase. 
This lightly scented foot soak is formulated with conditioning seaweed to help smooth away roughness and leave feet silky soft. They gently fizz and foam to create a refreshing and revitalising experience - a real treat for tired feet. Just add one sachet to warm bubbling water and soak - finish with a hydrating moisturiser. This box of goodness screams luxury, and is a great pamper product for all beauty lovers.

What products do you use alongside your foot spa?

Fake Tan Favourites

The festive party season is in full swing, and our beloved fake tan products will be in demand once more. As I will be attending my own office Christmas do on Friday, I thought I’d share with you my tanning favourites.

Sally Hansen Airbrush Legs has been a favourite of mine since the age of 18 - no biscuit fake tan smell, fabulous natural colour, and now in a waterproof formula - what’s not to love? This aerosol tan can be sprayed directly on to the skin, and then rubbed in using a tanning mitt, to ensure full, even coverage. This bottle of goodness can be used all over the body, and is great at covering unsightly bruises or grazes.

I received the Gok Wan Shimmer Body Balm in a Christmas gift set last year, and have been obsessed ever since. A little goes a long way, and I like to apply this on top of fake tan (instant or developed) as a shimmering top coat. It gives off a shimmering shine when it catches the light, and looks lovely on the d├ęcolletage and/or legs. It has a rich spicy smell, which makes it perfect for the autumn/ winter party season.
What are your tanning favourites?

Pink Rose Bath Confetti

Bath time used to be a Sunday luxury, but during the winter months they have become a regular weekday occurrence. I must admit, I'm not a big fan of the Lush bathbombs - I prefer a bath cream or oil.

Last Christmas, I received a pack of bath confetti - little waterproof LED flower lights that floated in your bubbly bath water, creating a calm and relaxing atmosphere - heavenly. Since then, I have been on the hunt for other alternatives, and stumbled across these Pink Rose Bath Confetti with natural Rose extract. They smell define, and teamed with a candle of choice, create a luxurious (yet girly) bathing experience. I have used these several times now, and they haven't deteriorated in quality at all.

What are your thoughts on bath confetti? 

The Christmas Tag


What's your favourite Christmas movie/s?
Hands down Miracle on 34th Street - I have to watch it at least once over the festive period. 
Do you open presents on Christmas morning or Christmas evening?
We have always opened our presents on Christmas morning, however, over the years, we have left a handful until after Christmas Dinner as our morning is usually spent visiting our Grandparents.
Do you have a favourite Christmas memory?
I will always remember when my Brother and I were younger, we would sit in the living room (fire crackling away) for hours on end with an Argos catalogue each and fold down the corners (and circle) all the items that we wanted for Christmas. 
What's your favourite festive food?
Believe it not, we never have Turkey for our Christmas Dinner - always lamb, beef or fish! In terms of my favourite festive food, it has to be mince pies. (Pauls mum makes the best homemade mince pies!)
What's been your favourite Christmas gift?
Hardest question ever?! Literally too many to choose from! From small items such as homemade photo frames, to larger more expensive gifts such as an iPad and my first car!
What's your favourite Christmas scent?
I absolutely love burning scented candles throughout the year, but my favourite Christmas smellies are Cinnamon and Spices. I still have a large Yankee Candle Christmas Cookie that I got last year, but don’t want to burn it too much as I never want it to run out! 
Do you have a Christmas Eve tradition?
Since moving to Chester 6 years ago, I have always driven back home to Preston for the Christmas period. I love to have a bit of a pamper evening, get in some fresh jim jams and then sit down and watch tele with the family. 
What tops your tree?
Growing up, we always had a fancy fairy sitting at the top of our tree, but now Paul and I have our own house, we have always had a glitzy silver sequinned star. 
As a child, what was the one (crazy, extravagant) gift you wanted but never got?
A white horse (haha) and as soon as I owned one, I would magically be able to ride it perfectly and would buy a stable for our back garden. 
What do you think is the best part of Christmas?
There’s no doubt about it that the best part of Christmas is getting to spend some quality time with your family. Everyone seems so much happier and relaxed, and there is nothing better than seeing a smile on the faces of people you love the most. 
I hope everyone has a lovely Christmas and I tag everyone who would like to take part!

All Black Everything

This year, the US phenomena, Black Friday, hit the majority of shops by storm; my inbox was flooded with discount rates and BOGOF offers. These incredible deals continued throughout the weekend, and the majority of us took full advantage! Who wouldn’t? Sticking with the Black theme, I thought I would share with you my ultimate Eyeliner Favourites; including gel, liquid and kohl formulas.

The Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner has been sitting in my collection for many years now. Teamed alongside a fine Louise Young eyeliner Brush, it is extremely easy to create a fine line that does not budge. I love to use this product on a night out to create a dramatic, bold, and heavily winged out make up look.

The L’Oreal Super Liners are a firm favourite amongst many bloggers. These liquid liners have a fine, sturdy nip, which makes them extremely easy to work with. The shade, Black Lacquer is a dark, opaque black and is incredibly long lasting. I use this product on a daily basis, and have yet to find anything (other than NYX BEL06) that tops it. 

Finally, another eyeliner product that has been in my collection for many years is the Barry M Bold Black Waterproof Kohl Pencil. Apart from a handful of occasions, I choose to stay clear of liquid or mgel eyeliner in my waterline. As a daily contact lens wearer, I find that the formulas irritate my lenses, so prefer to use a waterproof kohl pencil. This liner does not budge (even with teary, sensitive eyes!). It an incredibly soft pencil, so can be easily smudged out if you prefer a smokier look.

Do you have any black themed beauty favourites?

Winter Footcare Favourites

Hidden beneath countless pairs of fluffy socks, fur lined boots and damp wellies; our feet seem to have become a long lost memory. However, I strongly believe that a thorough foot care routine should be well maintained throughout the whole year. During the summer months, our feet are showcased in glitzy sandals, tan wedges and endless rounds in flip flops and are therefore much more likely to receive special pampering attention.  As the weather turns colder, our feet are forgotten about, and are shoved to the very bottom of our beauty regime without hesitation. Below are a few products I like to use to ensure my tootsies are well hydrated, nourished and maintained regardless of the weather.

I tend to reach for a foot file on most Sunday’s throughout the year. This is a fantastic tool at smoothing areas of dry or hard skin, often on the heel of the foot. (Always try and file in the same direction away from the foot to avoid discomfort).

I then follow up with a rich hydrating moisturiser (it doesn’t have to necessarily be foot related). I am currently using this little sample tube of Acqua di Parma Moisturiser which smells divine, and is small enough to keep at my bedside. I apply a generous amount, concentrating on the dry areas of my feet, and then apply a pair of warm fluffy socks that have been heated up in the tumble dryer - pure bliss.

A couple of hours later, or the following day, I like to cut and file my toenails to a manageable length. I must admit, I do like to keep them fairly short in the winter months, to avoid discomfort in enclosed shoes. I have already spoken about my love for the Leighton Denny Glass Nail File in my Bedside Beauty post here.

The final step is to apply a polish. Deep toned colours are well suited for this time of year, but must be applied over a base coat to avoid nail staining. Barry M nail polishes feature heavily on my blog, and this Raspberry colour is my current favourite.

What products are including in your winter foot care routine?

Mini November Boots Haul

Hands up who is trying to make a conscious effort to cut down on their impulse spending as we approach the Christmas season? However, needs must in the beauty blogging world, and I had to replenish a few ‘make-up must haves’.

The Rimmel Stay Matte Powder (transparent) is an essential item in my make-up bag. I have pretty normal skin but I do like to lightly dust my t-zone throughout the day as it can sometimes get a little oily. It doesn’t make the skin look or feel cakey, yet keeps unwanted shine at bay.

I have already reviewed the Garnier Simply Essentials Eye Make up Remover here. This bottle of goodness is unbelievable at removing stubborn waterproof mascara. Simply shake the two solutions together to mix, soak a cotton pad, hold on each eye for approximately 15-20 seconds and gently wipe away - no rubbing, tugging or pulling needed.

I religiously apply winged liner on a daily basis, so I am always on the hunt to find a better version of the NYX Liquid Eyeliner BEL06 (favourite so far). I am a big lover of the Revlon Colorstay range (especially their foundations) so I am looking forward to testing this out. I was initially drawn in by the slim pen-like packaging, fine nib and deep black (slightly glossy) colour - I will keep you updated!

Finally, I have already mentioned that certain areas of my skin have become a little dry due to the colder climate (and air-conditioned offices!) and I have been reaching for a richer moisturiser. I decided to try and incorporate more cream products into my daily make-up, for a more hydrated and glossy finish. I have owned a handful of cream blushes in the past, and have never had any difficulty with application. This Maybelline Dream Touch Blush in the shade Berry 06 is a lovely deep pink tone which can be used to add a flush of colour to an autumnal look.

What are your beauty must haves?

Battle of The Red Lip

L-R Rimmel Apocolips, Bourjois Elixir Gloss, Rimmel Lipstick, Revlon Matte Lip Stain

Bold coloured lip products are my ultimate favourite make up accessory. I don’t tend to experiment with different eye looks on a daily basis, but I do like to switch up my lip colour. Throughout the warm summer months, my pink toned lip collection expanded rapidly with a handful of glosses, stains, balms and lipsticks being added to my collection. As we are now mid-November, the battle of the reds has begun. I have already posted a ‘black wing, red lips’ which you can check out here.

The Rimmel Apocolips ‘402 Across the Universe’ is an extremely vibrant, glossy red that can be applied neatly without the use of a lip liner. It is incredibly long lasting and once dry, sets as a matte finish. The formula is thick and opaque, and often dries from the inside, meaning re-application is necessary.

The Bourjois 3D Volume & Shine Elixir Gloss ‘90 Rouge’ can be worn alone as a lightweight, sheer cherry gloss or on top of a lipstick for an intensely glistening bold colour. Enriched with micro crystalline wax, it helps create a deep, voluminous and ultra-shiny result. I’m not sure whether I agree with the ‘8 hour wear’ stated on their packaging, but it definitely takes a lot to budge.

I highly rate all of my Rimmel lipsticks as I think they are the most affordable, yet high-end quality lip products on the market (bold statement alert).  Rimmel’s Lasting Finish Lipstick ‘170 Alarm’ is an intense, creamy and long lasting lipstick in a shade that would suit most skin tones. This lipstick has a lot of love within the blogosphere, and very rightly so.

Finally, the Revlon Balm Stain ‘250 Standout Remarquable’ is my favourite velvety matte red lip product. I like to use a lip liner alongside this lightweight stain as I find the chubby pencil a little too large to apply neatly. It can sometimes make my lips feel a dry, so I usually prep with a moisturising lip balm before application. It is extremely easily to re-apply if needed, and is retractable meaning no need to sharpen – winner.
What are your red lip favourites?

On Wednesdays We Wear Pink

Pink is undeniably a colour I adore all year round - come rain or shine. Working with the Mean Girls motto ‘on Wednesdays we wear pink’, I thought I’d share with you some of my current rosy toned picks - enjoy!

The Real Techniques Stippling Brush was the first piece of Sam and Nic’s collection that I headed out and purchased. I initially started using it alongside a variety of liquid foundations, but have since moved on to singularly using it for blush - both cream and powder products. Fast forward a couple of years, and I now own a number of their brushes and can’t fault their price, quality or durability.

Glittery nail polishes always feature heavily on my nails as we head towards the Christmas season. Models Own 'Hot Stuff' is jam-packed full of chunky pieces of glitter in a variety of colours (predominantly pink), and look great on their own or applied on top of a base colour. I usually opt for just a single feature nail, on both my fingers and toes, to avoid glitter overload (pretty much just ‘blog talked ’myself into applying it tonight!).

The Rimmel Apocolips have featured a couple of times on my blog now, and are one of my go-to lip products. '102 Nova' is a lovely warm-toned shade that applies like a cream without looking too glossy - (think liquid lipstick). Speaking on behalf of all the Apocolips shades I have tried & tested, their application is super easy (in my opinion - no need for a lip liner) and their lasting power is hardcore - winner.

I only have a handful of MAC blushes, and all are of similar vibrant shades. I always tend to lean towards vivid pink tones, as I find they suit my fair skin tone the best. MAC 'Pink Swoon' is  an exceptionally bold sheertone blush that requires a very gentle hand. I apply this in a stippling motion using the Real Techniques brush mentioned above!

On days when I either haven’t got much time on my hands to get ready, or I want a lip product that is fuss free and extremely subtle in colour, I reach for a tinted lip balm. The Pixi Lip Balm in shade Ripe Raspberry has a delicate pink tint whilst keeping my lips super hydrated. I absolutely love the bullet packaging as it makes it extremely easy to apply when on the move.

Do you have any 'pink themed' favourites?

Eyelure 107's

During my teenage years, I was a devoted daily falsies wearer. There wasn’t an occasion where I wouldn’t be seen dead without my beloved lashes (I’m talking work, gym and college). I would constantly cram my dressing table drawer with numerous boxes of various eyelash brands, in dreaded fear that I ever ran out. It was only during a scheduled girly pamper evening at the end of my first University Fresher’s week that I flicked through a horror story in a glossy magazine of a girl who’s eyelashes actually fell out after becoming so addicted to falsies- I was horrified. From that moment onwards, I became obsessed with looking after my lashes and spent many a night delicately smothering vaseline into them using a cotton bud (a random tip I found on Google). My daily false lash obsession became a weekend obsession, and I became more inclined to buy high quality, branded false eyelash products.

Eyelure, The World’s Favourite Eyelash Brand, stocks a wide range of lashes to suit all tastes- Naturals, Lengthening, Texture, Volume, Definition, Exaggerate, Dramatic & Party. They are extremely affordable, and if looked after, can be used several times. The Eyelure 107’s have been a consistent purchase of mine over the last couple of years. They are a volumising, angled lash with a natural style finish to suit all eye shapes. I find these extremely wearable for both day and night occasions, and that they give just enough length and volume to accentuate the eye area, without drawing attention to the fact you are actually wearing false lashes.

What are your Falsie Favourites?

ELF 6 Eyeshadow Shades Palette

I’m not one to wear eyeshadow during the week - I seem to have mastered a daily full face with black winged liner and lashings of mascara in an impressive 10 minutes before heading out the door to work. However, on weekends when I tend to have a little extra time to get ready, I like to reach for a palette with an assortment of colours (neutral, colourful & dark). I have had this particular ELF 6-colour cool palette in my collection for a while now, and seem to gravitate towards it for all occasions. In terms of daily wear I always opt for neutral tones, whereas when heading out for dinner or a planned night out with the girls, I usually opt for the darker shades (greys and blacks) for a more dramatic look and often add a pop of colour in my bottom waterline.

ELF cosmetics sell high quality, extremely pigmented, and on-trend items for those on a budget. (They pride themselves on providing customers with quality cosmetics at affordable prices). I find it a great way of experimenting with makeup techniques and/ or colours before splurging on a hyped and popular high-end brand. This palette is particularly shimmery (which I love), but they do sell a variety of matte shades on their online website too. The shadows are extremely soft in texture, but do not crease or fade when applied directly to the lids without the use of a primer.

I now have my eye on the new Studio Matte Lip Colours which are a jumbo sized lip pencil! What are you ELF Cosmetics favourites?

October Favourites

1. Ever since I took the plunge and purchased my very own UV Gel Lamp, I have been obsessed with ‘at home’ shellac nails. I am a big fan of the Blue Sky Shellac Nails brand (available on Amazon) as they produce long-lasting, high quality, and glossy nails on a budget. Annoyingly, I always find that nail polish base and top coats are a bit like shampoo and conditioner - you never finish a bottle at the same time! When I ran out of top coat I was intrigued to find out the difference between the budget Blue Sky brand (£5.00) and the high class CND Shellac brand (£15.99). The packaging, consistency and durability of the CND Shellac is incredible and I can see why it is so highly priced- I look forward to testing out their range of colour polishes.

2. As we have sorrowfully waved our last goodbyes to the warm, sunny weather and welcomed in the cool, crisp autumn months, my lip shade choices have darkened. Red lips and black winged eyeliner has always been an autumnal staple make-up look for me, both day and night. The Rimmel London Apocolips Lip Laquer in 402 Across The Universe (£6.49) is one of my most reached for lip products due to its budget price, fuss-free application (no need for a lip liner) and long lasting wear. It is extremely glossy once applied and after a couple of hours wear, remains as a bold stain.

3. I’m the kind of girl who is always rocking a volumised up-do, so hairspray is a necessity in my beauty routine. From a young age I have always been surrounded by Pantene hair products - I’m talking shampoo, conditioner, hairspray and a handful of extra oils. I ended up having to sway away from my beloved roots (excuse the pun) and purchase a mini bottle of the Tresemme ‘freeze hold’ Hairspray (£2.29) whilst in Glasgow for the Commonwealth Games (who forgets to pack hairspray?!). I was astounded by the quality of hold - most low cost hairsprays that offer firm, extreme or freeze hold tend to leave hair feeling sticky, dirty and generally unpleasant. However, this miniature bottle kept my hair in place, whilst still feeling like actual hair and I have since purchased a couple of full sized bottles to store away for a rainy day.  

4. I mentioned last month that my skin had become a little dry due to the change in seasons, and that I’d stumbled upon an old favourite - Nivea Soft Moisturiser. This pot of goodness has still been working wonders during October, but I had noticed that my concealer was still clinging to the area underneath my eyes. I decided to dig out my Simple Soothing Eye Balm (£3.99), which is great for re-hydrating dry skin without irritating areas that are prone to sensitivity. I have been using this morning and night for several weeks now and have noticed a considerable improvement in the application, comfort and general appearance of my skin and makeup - winner.

5. I made the decision to purchase another MAC 217 Brush (£19.00) at the beginning of the month as a clean back-up for blending out eyeshadow, and I fell in love with it all over again. It is the perfect shape and size for smooth application of eye (and concealing) products - even for those who wouldn’t class themselves as a make-up pro. Its price tag is easily justifiable based on its quality - a definite staple in your make-up bag. 

What were you loving in October?

Simple 'Deep Cleansing' Face Mask

Sundays are made for pampering, and I like to put a couple of hours aside in the afternoon to spend some quality time on myself. It usually involves; a hot bubble bath, body scrub, hair oil, shellac ‘at home’ manicure and face mask (standard).

I regularly use a ‘deep cleansing’ mask to draw out the dirt, grime and impurities from the previous working week, and to prepare my skin for the dreaded Monday blues. Clay masks are traditionally very drying and often irritate those with sensitive skins when trying to (scrub off and) remove.  The Simple Deep Cleansing Face Mask cleverly balances natural clay, seaweed extract and Bisabolol (an oil that contains anti-irritant, anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties) to ensure skin is detoxified and purified without using any unnecessary perfume, colour, or harsh chemicals. Skin is left feeling soft, smooth and calm after just 3 minutes, and it is even gentle enough to be used twice a week on normal/oily skin types.

What I enjoy the most about using this mask, is the fact that it doesn’t set (you aren’t left with that awkward tight feeling that tends to crack if you smile/laugh or eat). It is such a light creamy consistency that it is a delight to apply - I like to use an old foundation brush to evenly spread it on my face and neck, and then remove with a luke warm flannel (heavenly).  Priced at £3.99, this is a minimalistic, fuss free and low-cost beauty product with high-end results. 

Autumn Nail Favourites

Clockwise: Barry M '13', Rimmel '23', Essie Bahama Mama, Barry M 'Bright Red', Rimmel 'Blue My Mind'

I've mentioned before that I am a big lover of shellac polish, but I do tend to give my nails a bit of a 'breather' every now and again and opt for a regular varnish with a nourishing base coat. Since we hit autumn, my wardrobe (and makeup) has darkened in colour, so it is only natural that my nails would follow too. I love deep tones that still contain a slight hint of colour - teal, oranges, reds and purples.

Barry M and Rimmel polishes are my ultimate 'highstreet' picks due to their large variety of colours, easy to work with consistency and extremely affordable price tag. Essie polishes (the brand with the cutest bottle names) are a little more luxurious, and teamed with a strong top coat (I highly recommend seche vite) you can guarantee long lasting durability.

I am excited for the upcoming winter months as it becomes socially acceptable to sport an excessive amount of glitter on your fingers and your toes (woohoo). 

What are your autumn nail polish favourites?

Revlon Lash Potion Mascara

A couple of weeks ago, I hesitantly popped the Revlon Lash Potion by Grow Luscious into my basket alongside the new Garnier Micellar water. I didn’t have a waterproof mascara in my makeup collection (waterproof devotee) and was worried that the simple formula (armed with a handful of gentle ingredients) wouldn’t be heavy-duty enough to remove it.  

My eyes were instantly drawn to the vibrant packing and the intriguing title of ‘lash potion’. The formula is buildable and long lasting - however the wand does tend to hold an excessive amount of product (niggle). The wand itself is fairly large (something I generally go for), but I found it a little difficult to apply to my lower lashes without them looking too clumpy and transferring on to my skin (pet hate). Even though it is marketed as a waterproof mascara, it is extremely hard to remove. I ended up reaching for my holy grail Garnier Eye Simple Essentials Makeup remover for an extra helping hand (mixture of oil and water solution), yet it still had its work cut out!

I am not blown away by Revlon’s Lash Potion, but it is certainly a long lasting mascara that gives ample volume at a bargain price.

Side Note: the Garnier Micellar Water is incredible and removes every last bit of my Bourjois Volume Max Waterproof mascara! I featured it in my September Favourites post here.

Bedside Beauty

After spending an excessive (and unjustifiable) amount of time at my dressing table removing my daily make up and making the life-changing decision of which jim jams to put on, I clamber into bed. My beauty routine doesn’t stop there, as I reach for my ‘bedside beauty box’ and prep myself before catching some much needed ZZZ’s.

I am most often sporting shellac on both my fingernails and toes, but on a regular basis I like to give them a bit of a breather. The Leighton Denny Glass Nail File is undeniably the best nail file I have ever used. It is a perfect width to file away those tight, hard to get to, edges, and never becomes ‘blunt’ as it self sharpens. One tip: keep away from tiled or wooden flooring!

As we have hit autumn and the temperature has significantly dropped, I have upped my ‘coldsore defence’ and made an effort to apply my Blistex Relief Cream morning and night. I suffer mainly due to seasonal changes and salty foods (weird), but find that this mini tube of goodness is great at keeping them at bay (and quickening the healing process!). I use to suffer quite badly with monstrosities (my friends can confirm) when I was younger and ended up begging (slight exaggeration) my Doctor for some miracle solution. Blistex contains similar ingredients such as ammonia, and in my opinion is just as, if not even more, effective than the prescriptive formula.

Hands up who doesn’t keep a tube of hand cream at the side of their bed?! Soap and Glory Hand Food is my ultimate favourite when it comes to hand hydration, but I like to mix it up and buy little miniature tubes to try and test on a regular basis. This month’s goodie is Laura Ashley Imperial Bloom, which contains shea butter and liquorice root extract - dreamy.

What's in your bedside beauty box?

10 Things I'd Tell My Younger Self

1. Don’t compare yourself to others; you’re your own person
2. Wear your braces; you’ll definitely regret it if you don’t (sigh!)
3. Don’t try to grow up too fast; being an adult isn’t all its cracked up to be
4. Listen to your parents; they know what they’re talking about
5. Embrace you’re freedom, but don’t go too wild
6. Friends will come & go; it’s the most important ones that will stick around
7. Keep working hard, you’ll soon see results
8. Don’t take everything to heart; it’s more often than not a sign of jealousy
9. Don’t cut your hair; you’re lovely round face will not suit a bob
10. Invest your money wisely, it will be the smartest decision you will ever make 

What would you tell your younger self?

September Favourites

1. I am a bit of a dabbler when it comes to facial moisturisers as I often find my skin becomes accustomed to a product after prolonged use. Once I had scraped the remnants of my Simple Daily Moisturiser, I was on the hunt for another tub of goodness, cue Nivea Soft Moisturising Cream. Whilst sorting (procrastinating) through a collection of beauty bits ‘n’ bobs that were still boxed from the big move, I spotted this sorely forgotten moisturiser and popped it on my dressing table, ready to use. It has the typical Nivea smell (which I love), isn’t too greasy, extremely hydrating, and leaves my skin super baby soft. I must admit, I can be a little heavy handed with this cream at times, and I tend to scoop a generous dollop into my hand and methodically massage every last bit onto my face and neck - but who doesn’t love a good facial massage?   

2. I am the kinda girl who can be found sporting a bold lip day or night. Blonde hair and a naturally pale complexion, means that my colouring is often washed out and I find bright, vibrant colours are a great way of bringing that flush back. I especially adore shades of red and pink and have typically opted for a lip stain as I find these extremely easy to apply and maintain. I purchased MAC Girl About Town last December to wear at a Christmas Party, but hadn’t reached for it since. This month, this little black bullet hasn’t left my Handbag, and I have been wearing it on a daily basis.

3. All aboard the blogging hype wagon! Who hasn’t heard about the Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water? After scrolling through the rave reviews within the blogosphere, I had to pop out and purchase this generously sized pink bottle of magic. I tend to use this cleansing water to remove as much of my makeup as possible, before doing a full cleanse with my Simple Cleansing Cream. It is gentle formula, so perfect for those with sensitive eyes and skin (actually does feel like water), yet extremely effective - even removes waterproof make-up!

4. I bought a Ted Baker Bath set from Boots as a Birthday present back in August, and I couldn’t resist picking up a bottle of bubbly myself -Ted Baker Bath Foam. This tall, girly, pink bottle is filled with a gorgeous pink, sparkly gel which bubbles up generously when ran under a hot tap. It is scented with Rose, Sandalwood, Raspberry and Vanilla (swoon) and is surprisingly nourishing for a foam product. I have been using this religiously each Sunday when I like to put time aside for a nice long pamper session - a little really does go a long way.

5. A random favourite this month which accidently falls into the bracket of beauty/ health goodies are IRON tablets from Aldi. Whilst scouring the shelves during a weekly shop, I noticed that they sold a variety of supplements at bargain prices. I had practically self-diagnosed myself (via Google) as having an iron deficiency after I noticed that I was constantly left feeling tired and lethargic on a daily basis. I started taking one each night and after approximately a 4-week period; I noticed that my mood was (subconsciously?) lifting, my energy levels had significantly increased and even my fingernails had become surprisingly strong and healthy - winner!

Catch Up #1

1. Back in July, Paul and I spent a fun filled 4 days in Scotland for the Commonwealth Games. It was a tiresome yet incredible experience being a part of the thousands of people who had travelled from all over the world - we were lucky enough to get tickets for the Rugby 7’s and 100 metre final! We spent our free time walking, exploring and eating our way through historic Edinburgh and Glasgow. This‘selfie’ was taken in the car park of Costa (standard), before we began our long 5 hr journey up north.

2. September 3rd marked my Mum’s big 60th Birthday. Over four days, we managed to cram in several shopping trips (hello Liverpool), countless meals out and an hour long full body Thai massage - dreamy.I bought her a big bunch of flowers and card detailing a planned trip to Germany, in December, to scour the Christmas Markets!

3. Since our completion date (23rd May 2014), life has been non-stop. Evenings and weekends have been dedicated to sanding, painting and building flat pack furniture. Owning our own house at the age of 24(& 25) has got to be one our greatest achievements to date. I have become a little DIY crazy, and can be found obsessively scrolling through Instagram and Pinterest for unique ideas. I bought a headboard off eBay for a savvy 99p, and decided to cover it with a striped brown fabric to make it a feature in our neutral toned bedroom.

4. 10 weeks ago, one of my best friends packed her bags and began her RAF journey. Basic training had its ups and downs, laughter and tears, but she battled on through. On Tuesday 16th September, we took our seats (front row) at her Graduation Ceremony at the RAF Base in Halton. The moment I spotted her, I couldn’t help but burst into tears with pride - a day I definitely won’t forget.

Black Wing, Red Lips

Revlon Colorstay '150 Buff'
Collection Lasting Perfection Concealer 'Fair 1'
Rimmel Stay Matte Powder 'Transparent'
MAC Eyebrow Pencil 'Fling'
Bourjois Bronzing Powder 'Medianes 51'
Revlon Colorstay Eyeshadow Palette 'Moonlit'
Loreal Super Liner 'Black Lacquer Waterproof'
Maxfactor False Lash Effect Mascara 'Black'
Clinique Bottom Lash Mascara '01 Black'
Barry M Kohl Eyeliner 'Bold Black'
Eyelure False Eyelashes 'Volume 107'
Bourjois Blush 'Rose Eclat'
Rimmel Apocalips '402 Across the Universe'



July Favourites

1. I had to bid farewell to my NARS Laguna Bronzer after a regrettable combination of severe clumsiness and tiled flooring left it unsalvageable. On a brighter note, I rediscovered an old favourite, cue Bourjois Chocolate Bronzer. This is a great product for all fair skinned girlies who want an affordable subtle light brown (not orange) bronzing powder which is easily buildable.

2. There are several areas of my face that I still feel are suffering from my sun & sea 10-day holiday blast back in July. This Simple Moisture Boost Hydro Cream is lightweight, yet extremely hydrating and leaves the skin super soft and smooth, without leaving a greasy residue. I have been using this religiously morning and night since I returned, and have noticed a big improvement in the condition of my skin.

3. Ever since I purchased the Cosmopolitan Blend Perfection Sponge back in February, I haven’t been inclined to find/use anything else for my foundation application. It gives an incredibly flawless finish that I haven’t been able to achieve with other make-up brushes. I have tried & tested this miracle sponge with a variety of other foundation formulas and it still produces a perfect base. Easy to wash, dries quickly and is super light to carry in your make up bag -it’s a make-up kit essential.

4. Before I began a Beauty Course back in September last year, I had never really bothered with my eyebrows. They are naturally super light (almost non-existent) and felt they were mostly covered by my hefty side fringe. However, whilst learning the tinting, waxing and shaping techniques, I became obsessed - it’s true, eyebrows really do shape your face. MAC Fling Eyebrow Pencil is perfect for those with naturally fair eyebrows, that are wanting to create a bit of shape and definition, without looking too harsh. Stay tuned for an eyebrow routine coming soon.

5. Even though my hair is naturally light blonde, I do touch up the roots every 6-8 weeks using an Ammonia-free colour by Garnier. Fair hair is renowned for being dry, so a leave-in conditioner paired with a nourishing hair oil is a great combo at keeping hair healthy. This Aussie Miracle Colour Leave-In Conditioner leaves hair hydrated, soft and manageable, without feeling greasy and weighed down - a new must in my haircare routine.

REVIEW | Laurens Way Tanning Moose

I have previously mentioned that fake tan is my number one holiday essential and each year I seem to discover a new favourite. This summer, I popped Laurens Way Self Tanning Bronzing Moose into my suitcase as I had used it a handful of times on various nights out and loved the deep, yet natural, colour.

Over the 8-day period, I applied the tanning moose every other evening using a mitt, and rinsed the guide colour off the following morning. I must admit, this tan does have a fairly strong ‘biscuit scent’ in comparison to others that I regularly use, but the lasting power is great and it fades evenly.

Surprisingly, I still have over half a bottle left, and have continued using it twice a week since I got back to the UK. It does leave my skin feeling a little dry, particularly on my legs, but teamed with a rich body butter applied daily, it leaves skin glowing

Purchase yours for £17.95 here.

La Tentation de Nina Ltd Edition by Nina Ricci

Hands up who else always feels the need to purchase a new bottle of perfume in Duty Free even though you have bottles and bottles tumbling off your dressing table? Guilty.  
Dashing through security, armed with my boarding pass and purse, I swiftly made my way directly towards the humungous Marc Jacobs area of Duty Free to purchase their new release Daisy Dream. I had been banging on and on about it being my summer fragrance this year, even though I hadn’t even had a chance to test it. When I reached the stand, I eagerly spritzed a test sheet and wrinkled up my nose - I was not impressed. I raved about my Marc Jacobs Daisy last summer, but this latest release was not a hit for me. I gingerly continued my way around the shelves oozing disappointment until I stumbled upon the Limited Edition La Tentation de Nina by Nina Ricci. Not only is the eye-catching bottle a fabulous shape and colour (pink & gold), the fragrance is divine - Nina has apparently taken inspiration from the delicious smell and taste of the popular French Macaroon.
It is a sensory delight of fresh, floral and fruity notes that make it a perfect summer scent. The staying power is fantastic and I feel it is light yet classy enough to wear day and night.

* Top Notes: Italian Bergamot
Heart Notes: Pink Grapefruit Essence, Lemon Essence, Raspberry, Bulgarian Rose Absolute, Macaroon Accord
Base Notes: Sandalwood, White Musk, Bourbon Vanilla
Purchase a 50ml bottle for £39.50 * here
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