Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Another Luxe Lip Pick

I was really excited when Tanya Burr first posted a sneak peek of her new Autumn line on her Instagram at the start of September. She's released a whole range of lipsticks, some face and body illuminators and a new eyeshadow palette. Everything is quite reasonably priced, like the rest of her line, ranging between £6.99-£8.99, but I was most excited about her lipsticks. They look incredibly luxurious, they're quite weighty and feel like a high end lipstick - the packaging reminds me a lot of the YSL lipstick range. It's a gold tube with Tanya Burr printed on the side in a beautiful font, and everything about it looks like it belongs in a high end department store.

I chose the shade Pink Cocoa which I think was the most popular shade of the lot as it sold out pretty much immediately. I was really lucky to get my hands on one! It's the classic dusty pink toned nude, really wearable for everyday and it looks incredibly chic on the lips. It's the kind of shade that will go with any outfit, so if you're just buying one shade, I'd go for that one. One thing I would say, is that it's better to wear the shades with a lipliner as they are really creamy. Without a lipliner, you might be risking the pigment slipping and sliding throughout the day which isn't so great, especially with the darker shades.

I only bought one shade so that I could test out the formula, but now that I have, I will definitely be purchasing more. I have my eye on Big Kiss, which is a beautiful, bold red. All in all, I do recommend the lipstick range from Tanya Burr, and I will keep you posted on the new bits from her range which I plan to purchase soon.

Have you tried the new Autumn Collection from Tanya Burr?

Monday, 24 October 2016

Six Lessons Learnt From One Year of Blogging

I wrote a post a few months ago sharing six lessons I've learnt from blogging and that went down really well so now that I'm approaching my blog's one year anniversary, I thought I'd write up another. 

1. There is no such thing as perfect. 
Striving for perfection isn't always a bad thing, but it shouldn't take over your life. I've seen my progress over the past year, but I'm still no where near where I want to be. But I'm getting there, and it's important to appreciate how far you've come before looking at how far you still have to go.

2. It's OK to take breaks.
When I started blogging, I made up the schedule of posting at 7am, three times a week. I became anxious because sometimes I'd be stuck for inspiration and clutching at straws for ideas but they simply weren't coming. Thankfully, those periods didn't last long and I was on the blogging bandwagon again without much worry. But, saying that, I know if I ever experience writers block again, its OK for me to take a break. Everyone isn't going to leave you if you miss a post or two!

3. Numbers are not everything.
It can be so easy to get obsessive over numbers but I try not to think about it too much. It's lovely to see when someone has taken the time to read your post, leave a comment and liked your content enough to want more. But the process of writing and preparing my posts is a huge part of why I blog - so numbers aren't something to worry about too much.

4. The blogging community is a lovely one.
I've only been blogging for a year and I've already encountered such wonderful fellow bloggers who are incredibly kind and lovely. I feel so lucky to be part of such a diverse community, it's definitely a big perk to blogging!

5. Props make all the difference.
I wrote a post with some prop ideas last week and that went down really well. I think it's kind of become common knowledge between bloggers but adding props just adds that bit of extra effort to your photographs - and it's not hard to do at all.

6. Blogging opens up a lot of opportunities.
I honestly thought that a blogger would need thousands and thousands of followers before a brand or company would even think about reaching out to them. This is absolutely untrue - I think I only had about 100 followers when I had my first opportunity to work with a brand. And it's not all about free stuff, there's a lot to learn from these opportunities that come up. I know I want to go into PR in the future so having my blog helps build up my experience with the PR sector too.

There's lots more to learn, I'm sure!
Let me know if you'd like to see these sorts of posts more often.

Friday, 21 October 2016

The Body Shop British Rose Fresh Plumping Mask

I'm sure lots of you have been seeing these masks floating around the blogosphere for a little while now, but they were some really exciting releases from The Body Shop last month. I wish I could have got my hands on all of them to try but at £15 each, my budget only allowed me to settle with one. I chose the British Rose Fresh Plumping Mask because it sounded incredibly hydrating which is exactly what my dry skin needs. It claims to replenish the skins moisture and visibly smooth to give a youthful dewy appearance to the skin, so of course, that sold it. 

You get 75ml in the jar which is quite average for a face mask- it will definitely last a while. I like using it once a week to give my skin a refresh and to help keep it smooth. As the name suggests, it smells like a pot of roses. Rose scent isn't usually my thing but this doesn't seem to bother me at all because it just smells so fresh - there's nothing artificial about it at all. The formula is gel based so it's very light and easy to use - not thick and hard to wash off as clay masks are. I love applying it with an old makeup brush so the application stays smooth and the mask stays fresh. I then wash it off in the shower and my skin feels very supple and hydrated, like it's had a huge drink of water. Also, the mask is 100% vegan, so that's an added bonus for some.

I think it's quite obvious by now but I really love this mask, and I definitely want to try some of the other ones that The Body Shop have released. The Ethiopian Honey Deep Nourishing Mask looks really promising - let me know if you'd like a review on that one too!

Have you tried any of The Body Shop Superfood Masks?

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

A Luxe Lip Pick

Jouer Lip Topper in Skinny Dip

I featured this little beauty in my Makeup Musings post last week and lots of you commented on how you wanted an in-depth review and swatch because it's just such a unique product... so here it is! The Jouer Long Wear Lip Topper in Skinny Dip. This has definitely been floating around a lot in the beauty space of social media lately, and for good reason - it's a sparkly, shimmery lip topper which instantly dresses up any lip look that you're wearing. Think of it as a transition makeup item, that takes your look from day to night in a single swipe. Sounds magical, right?

The lip topper is actually my first purchase from Jouer as a brand. I heard of Jouer way back when their Matte Moisture Tint was all the rage among beauty bloggers a few years ago, but I never actually decided to give the brand ago. I think I've been missing out - this lip product is certainly enough to make me want to try more!

Jouer Lip Topper in Skinny Dip

I picked this up because of the beautiful swatches on Jouer's Instagram, they honestly made this look like unicorn tears in a tube. Don't mistake the lip topper for a sparkly lip gloss - it's not all glossy and shiny. It's definitely more of a densely packed fine shimmer which dries over your lipstick to give it some more dimension. In fact, it does exactly what it says in the name - it's a long wearing lip topper, a topping for your lips. Priced at £13.50, it's definitely much more reasonably priced than I would have expected from a luxury makeup brand. It's a high quality product, and you get 5.9ml, so I think it's very fairly priced. It comes beautifully packaged in an iridescent box, so it's a lovely little gift to give as well. The product is not tested on animals so that's definitely a bonus.

Jouer Lip Topper in Skinny Dip

Onto the swatch, it's perfect (with a light hand) on its own as a pretty daytime lip shimmer (I like using a tiny bit over a lipbalm otherwise it can feel a little drying on the lips as it dries down). Or, I like pairing it with a beautiful nude toned lipstick for a really gorgeous evening lip - if you put a little in the centre of your bottom lip, it plumps your pout whilst still being really wearable. You do have to be careful not to overdp it though, unless you're aiming for a foiled lip, as it's easy to go overboard. It looks stunning with some winged black liner, lashings of mascara and a whole lotta highlight. I have the shade Skinny Dip which is the lighter of the two, but I definitely have Tan Lines on my wishlist next. Both shades are available on Cult Beauty in case you're wondering where to get hold of them!

Jouer Lip Topper in Skinny Dip

Have you tried any products from Jouer?
What should I try/review next from the brand?

Monday, 17 October 2016

Ten Blog Photography Prop Ideas

It's so easy to get stuck for ideas when taking photos for blog posts, and one of the easiest ways to liven them up is by using props. I love pictures to look a little 'busy' but not excessively so, so that's the kind of look that I aim for with my own photographs. In all honesty, we're all learning - I'm no where near where I want my photographs to be, but I'm happier with them than I was a few months ago and that's a start! Today I thought I'd share some of the props that I reach for during a blog shoot to add a little character to my photographs - a lot of these are more 'beauty' focused with my blog being all about beauty and lifestyle:

Makeup brushes - the prettier the better, and Zoeva and Spectrum have a beautiful selection. I like scattering these around the products I'm talking about, particularly eyeshadow palettes. 

Lipsticks - obviously, with my blog being primarily focused on beauty and lifestyle, I love me a good lipstick prop. The one above is a new favourite of mine from Tanya Burr.

Eyelash Curlers - a bit of an unusual one but I use them everyday so it makes perfect sense for them to feature in so many of my posts!

Rings - or any jewellery for that matter. A little metallic touch always makes a photograph a bit more special.

Washi Tape - this is more of a universal prop, and it comes in so handy when I'm creating a stock library of photographs. You can get all sorts of colours and patterns, Paperchase and eBay usually have a good selection.

Trays - little dishes and trinket trays can add some more dimension to your photographs as they stand out from the background. I like finding mine at H&M Home.

Hair Grips - again, this one is a little stranger but these are perfect for 'filling in' a gaping white space and that's usually what I opt for when a section of the photograph needs something extra.

Flowers/Cacti - this is a really common prop for a reason: it adds a little nature to a photograph, can be switched around depending on the season and there's hardly anyone that doesn't think they look beautiful. Win, win.

Clothing - if you have any interesting textures and fabrics in your closet then they're really useful for adding into your blog photographs! Here's a post where I used a plain ribbed grey top to add a bit more texture to my photographs.

Candles - another basic blogger prop but they're (again) so universal and so pretty! Whether you're using an empty candle jar to display makeup brushes, or you have a fresh one lit, they work as the perfect prop for so many posts.

I use a lot more props so let me know if you'd like a part two!
What are your favourite props for blog photography?

Friday, 14 October 2016

Makeup Musings #6

makeup musings

I've been saving myself for a huge beauty spree whilst in Canada later this month but there are a handful of purchases which I have bought recently before travelling (mostly because I wanted them for the trip). I do these sorts of posts quite often where I round up all the products and give mini reviews/first impressions on them and you all seem to like it so I thought I'd do one for this lot too seeing as I'm loving quite a few of them!

Starting off with drugstore/highstreet makeup, I finally got round to purchasing the Maybelline Lash Sensational Mascara after having it on my wishlist for nearly a year! This was all the rage at the end of 2015 so I think it's about time I tried it. I've only used it twice but so far, I love it. It adds length, darkness, volume and holds a beautiful curl. I bought the non-waterproof version as I always find waterproof to be a pain to remove - this one comes off nice an easy with a splash of oil based makeup remover. The packaging is pretty too, a metallic pink which is always cute.

makeup musings

Keeping along the affordable theme, I picked up the L'oreal Colour Riche Nailvarnish in Rubis Folies. I thought it was about time I wore something other than beige on my nails and this colour looked perfect for the autumn months! It's a stunning, vibrant berry red shade which has incredible pigment. The bottle is gorgeous too - really luxe for a highstreet nailvarnish, so I'm very happy with that.

Moving on to a couple of luxury purchases... the Dior Lip Glow in Coral has been a little gem in my makeup bag lately. I bought it with the flight in mind because I wanted a tinted lip balm, but this is so much more than that. It's nourishing on the lips, it adds a healthy glow and plumps up your pout in no time! It also smells gorgeous, so that's always a bonus. 

Last but not least, also for lips, is the Jouer Lip Topper in Skinny Dip. I'm not going to say too much here because I have a full review planned for this one but it is definitely getting a lot of hype in the beauty world. It's my first Jouer purchase, so I thought it would be a good place to start. It's definitely a unique product - but keep checking back for a full review later this month! 

What new products have you been trying out lately?


Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Six Ways To Reduce Your Screen Time

reducing your screen time

I mentioned that one of my goals for October was to reduce the amount of time I spend looking at a screen, be it Netflix, blogging or even just plain old social media. I think I can speak for a lot of us when I say that it's far too easy to become attached to our technology these days - and that it's not always a good thing. Taking a break is incredibly important not only for you to enjoy other aspects of your life that you could be neglecting, but also because excessive screen time can have serious side effects on your health. It's quite well known that those of us that experience too much time staring at a screen become less able to appreciate the people around us because the way in which our brain works is restructured. Not only that, but there's high risks of eyesight problems, back and neck aches and even high blood pressure.

So, without bringing the mood down too much, I thought I'd share the ways in which I'm reducing my screen time throughout this month - with the hope of them becoming habits that I'm able to continue in the months to come! This post was requested by several of you, so as promised, here it is:

1. Identify your weaknesses.
This could be social media, television, video gaming...whatever it is that takes up most of your screen time in a day. I spend a significant amount of my day checking different accounts, so I've identified this and put a cap on the number of times I can check them each day. Twice a day for five minutes is more than enough for me - but it's going to take me a while to get used to it! 

2. Keep your mornings zen. 
Focus on yourself, and appreciate your morning routine without your phone. This is one of the hardest things for me to do as it's the first thing I reach for each morning (yes, ok, it's to turn my alarm off) but then to check Instagram and shortly after that, Twitter. I'm definitely going to be trying to stop this, instead putting my phone on airplane mode and listening to some music as I get ready for the day instead.

3. Find a new hobby.
One that you absolutely love but it doesn't involve anything with a screen. It could be as simple as reading, exercise, cooking or visiting a local coffee shop. Anything that makes you feel relaxed without the need for anything tech. 

reducing your screen time

4. Make use of pen and paper.
Don't get me wrong - if you love the convenience of a calendar on your phone that's absolutely fine. But there's something I love about writing things down and keeping organised the old fashioned way. If it works for you too, then that's an easy way to reduce the amount of time spent looking at a screen as well.

5. Enjoy the company of other people.
And no, I don't mean characters in a TV show. I mean friends and family, even your pets. Especially whilst eating - it's so easy to fall into a habit of TV dinners. Use meal times as an excuse to catch up with those around you, or even just by yourself to savour and enjoy your meal.

6. Keep your bedroom as a no-tech zone.
This one is probably one of the hardest, particularly if you're used to watching TV or browsing your phone/tablet before bed. No technology before bed is crucial to a good nights sleep and a sure fire way to get it is to keep the bedroom free of any technological gadgets. 

What are your favourite ways to reduce screen time?

Monday, 10 October 2016

What's In My Travel Makeup Bag?

travel makeup bag

With a short autumn trip to Canada just around the corner, I thought I'd share the few makeup bits that I'm taking with me whilst travelling long-haul. The reason I've decided not to pack that much is because I'm definitely going to be taking a few trips to Sephora whilst I'm there, so I'll need a little space to pack the bits that I buy back with me. On a side note, let me know if you'd like to see a haul post featuring the bits I decide to pick up there! There's lots of new festive releases that I've been eyeing up on the website which I'm keen to hunt down and review/swatch for you all. 

travel makeup bag

If you've been following my blog for a while you'll know how much I love my trusty NARS Sheer Glow Foundation - it never fails to feel light, yet still give coverage without looking like too much. I pair it with the Maybelline Fit Me Concealer for a little more coverage and the perfect autumn base. The Hourglass Ambient Lighting Edit Palette is perfect for travelling - it has six beautiful powders in one palette all ready to use. I love mixing the two blush shades together for a beautiful bright berry toned blush and then adding the diffused light powder to areas of my face which need a little bit more brightening. For days where I'm feeling cream based makeup, I'm taking the H&M Pure Velvet Cream Blusher in Hot Pink. It looks much scarier in the pan than it is on the cheeks - it actually gives the most gorgeously healthy pink glow to the cheeks, like you've just been on an outdoor run.

What's In My Travel Makeup Bag?

For eyes, again, I'm keeping it simple with a basic champagne shadow. My favourite one of the moment is the Charlotte Tilbury Eyes To Mesmerize Cream Shadow in Jean which looks effortless and is so easy to apply in a hurry. It's perfect for a classic eye look, and with lashings of mascara, you can really amp it up. Speaking of mascara, I'm taking my trusty Charlotte Tilbury Legendary Lashes Mascara to go with the cream shadow. Charlotte Tilbury eye products seem to be my absolute go to for the autumn time - can you tell?! I'm sure lip products are going to be what I end up buying loads of whilst in Canada so I'm just taking my H&M Beauty Lip Definer Clear Lip Pencil as a perfect neutral liner to pair with any products I choose whilst I'm over there. On the natural days, I've been loving my new Dior Lip Glow in Coral as a moisturising balm with a subtle tint of colour - it just looks so healthy, so your lips automatically appear fuller (always a bonus). 

What are your favourite travel makeup products?

Friday, 7 October 2016

Lime Chicken Tacos ft. Mango Salsa & Chilli Cream

lime chicken tacos with mango salsa

One of my goals last month was to start experimenting more in the kitchen, and I've definitely been trying my best to stick to it! I love discovering easy, simple-to-make, healthy recipes and I think I've found a new favourite. There are lots of different variants of this recipe (I've actually substituted the mango for nectarine salsa as well in the past), but however you choose to make it, it's usually delicious. They take about twenty minutes to make (aside from the two hours of marinating), so they're super quick and easy to put together when you don't have a lot of time. I like to prepare the marinade in the morning, and then assemble it all in the evening so that it's all fresh.

lime chicken tacos with mango salsa

You will need:
Filling: 2lbs of chicken breast, 3 tbsp olive oil, 1 tsp red chilli powder, 1 tbsp honey, 1/2 lime, salt
Salsa: 1 ripe mango, 1/2 red onion, 1/2 bell pepper, handful of olives, 1/4 lime, salt 
Chilli Cream: 5 tbsp sour cream, 1/2 tsp red chilli powder, 1 tsp sriracha sauce, 1 spring onion
Extras: 4 white tortilla wraps, salt & pepper, fresh coriander 

1. Make sure that the chicken is well rinsed and patted dry with some kitchen towel. Slice the chicken into strips and set aside. 
2. In a large bowl, grate the rind of half a lime. Then squeeze the juice of that half into the same bowl. Mix all the rest of the ingredients for the filling together with the lime except for the chicken. 
3. Once well combined, add the chicken and allow it to marinate for at least two hours. Make sure all of the chicken is well coated with the marinade.
4. Whilst the chicken is marinating, prepare the mango salsa and chilli cream. For the salsa, chop both mangoes into equal sized cubes. Stir in the red onion, bell pepper, sliced olives , salt and a squeeze of lime juice. Garnish with the chopped coriander. For the chilli cream, stir the red chilli powder and sriracha sauce into the sour cream and chop in one spring onion.
5. Place a frying pan on medium-high heat and add a little olive oil and garlic. Shallow fry the chicken strips until golden brown and cooked through. 
6. Assemble the wraps by layering the chicken strips along the center and topping with a generous helping of mango salsa and dollops of chilli cream. Garnish with the fresh coriander and extra seasoning. 

lime chicken tacos with mango salsa

 Printable Version (linked). 
Let me know if you try making these. 
I'd love to see!

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

A Soft Autumn Glow

three autumn highlighters

There's something so beautiful about a soft, candlelight glow in the autumn months - it looks radiant without looking like too much, and it acts as the perfect base to pair with a beautiful berry lip. There are loads of options out there when it comes to getting the glow on, but in today's post I'm sharing my top three for some less intense, more lit-from-within highlight action.

I'm sure you've all heard about this from so many different beauty bloggers/vloggers, but Hourglass powders seem to be some of the best out there. There are three different options in this palette, with two cult favourites (Dim Light and Radiant Light) and then one exclusive shade (Incandescent Light), and all three work wonderfully together in getting a gorgeous celestial glow. The Hourglass Ambient formula captures, diffuses and softens the way in which light is reflected on the skin, brightening its appearance and concealing any imperfections. A total winner.

three autumn highlighters

I mentioned how beautiful this palette was in my September Favourites post last week - it's mainly the highlight that I'm totally smitten over, but the bronze powder is nice too. The 'glow' pan though... it's the most special Hollywood highlight that looks perfect swept across the cheekbones, browbones and cupids bow. Charlotte Tilbury often gets her products spot on, and this one is definitely no exception - there's a reason it's such a cult product for sure! 

I own this one in the travel size and it's seriously more than enough (unless you plan to use it on your body as well which is totally an option). Becca is a brand known for producing some seriously hyped up highlighters - and usually these are more on the intense side. Don't get me wrong, I love me some intense highlight. But sometimes, with the no-makeup makeup look that I've been enjoying lately, a subtler option is more my cup of tea. Becca's liquid highlights seem to fit the bill perfectly; you can mix them in with your foundation or dot a little on the parts of your face you want to highlight and blend - the result is a shimmering natural glow, perfect for fall. 

What are your favourite products for a soft, autumn glow?
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