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?

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