Thursday 25 January 2018

Favourite Products Of 2017

CosRX Low pH Good Morning Gel Cleanser / The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 / The Ordinary Resveratrol 3% + Ferulic Acid 3% / The Ordinary AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution / Bravura London Azulene Moisturiser

I have never felt happier with my skincare routine than I do right now. I always start off with CosRX's Low pH Good Morning Gel Cleanser. This lightly foaming tea tree scented gel is the ideal way to prepare my skin for the rest of my routine. The low pH level is optimal for cleaning the skin & reducing acne causing bacteria. It feels really gentle yet refreshing & doesn't strip my skin of moisture. The Ordinary are easily my favourite brand of the year. I deeply appreciate their transparency when it comes to the formulation of their products. So few brands are willing to tell you vital facts about their products such as the pH level or the percentage of acid present. I've loved trying out so many of their products but there are three that really stood out to me. Their Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 is one of the cheapest & best hydrating serums I've ever tried. It's every bit as good as the Sarah Chapman Intense Hydrating Booster that used to cost me £60 per bottle. The Ordinary are also brilliant when it comes to giving us higher concentrations of ingredients than other brands. Caudalie are well known for their use of resveratrol but The Ordinary's Resveratrol 3% + Ferulic Acid 3% is far more potent than any of their products. The anti-aging properties of this serum are phenomenal. It gives me such a healthy looking glow & has helped to diminish fine lines. The AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution has quite honestly changed my life. I've struggled with congested, acne-prone skin for years & it turns out that this high strength chemical peel was all that I really needed. It unclogs pores, fades acne scarring & makes your skin feel unbelievably soft. This might just be my favourite skincare product of all time. Before The Ordinary launched I used to buy most of my skincare from Bravura London & I would still recommend their acids if you're just getting started with chemical exfoliants. Their Azulene Moisturiser continues to be my favourite way to finish off my skincare routine. This lightweight blue cream is packed with calming botanical ingredients that help to soothe & heal the skin. It's the perfect match for my combination skin type as it hydrates without clogging pores.

Body Products
Chloé EDP / Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb EDP / Viktor & Rolf BONBON Spring Summer EDT
L'Occitane Almond Shower Oil / Soap & Glory Spritz Me Quick Hydrating Moisture Mist

Chloé & Flowerbomb have been my signature scents for years. They're the only perfumes that I continually repurchase because I feel like these two fragrances fit my personality & style so well. Another more recent favourite is Viktor & Rolf's BONBON. I have the Spring Summer version which is lighter & fruitier than the original perfume. This glorious blend of sparkling citrus, juicy peach & syrupy caramel is simply irresistible. The pink bow shaped bottle is a stunning addition to my dressing table too! My favourite product to shave with is L'Occitane's Almond Shower Oil. This luxurious shower oil gently lathers to thoroughly cleanse your skin without drying it out whatsoever. The consistency of this oil allows even the cheapest of razors to glide effortlessly across your limbs & it helps you to get a much closer shave as a result. After showering I like to use a lightweight moisturising spray like Spritz Me Quick from Soap & Glory. The nozzle dispenses a super fine mist of body lotion that absorbs in a flash. It has that classic Soap & Glory scent and leaves my skin feeling really soft, smooth & perfectly moisturised all day long.

Bleach London Smoky Shampoo / Maria Nila Colour Refresh / Kérastase Ciment Thermique
Bumble & Bumble Hairdresser's Invisible Oil / Bumble & Bumble Brilliantine

Bleach London's Smoky Shampoo is unlike any other silver shampoo I've tried before. This unique colour blend helps you to achieve a deeper, ashier tone with minimal effort. Sometimes I want an even stronger grey colour & one of the quickest ways to get that look at home is by mixing a bit of this Black Colour Refresh hair mask from Maria Nila with my regular conditioner. It makes my hair feel amazingly soft & instantly transforms brassy yellow hair into a gorgeous gunmetal colour. I've been using Ciment Thermique for years as it's one of the best treatments for damaged hair. This heat-protecting blowdry cream strengthens your hair from within, reducing breakage whilst adding shine. I use it every single time I wash my hair along with a few pumps of the Bumble & Bumble Hairdresser's Invisible Oil. This combo keeps my hair looking & feeling much healthier than it should do after all this bleach. Another Bumble & Bumble product that I love for styling my hair is their Brilliantine. It smooths down flyaways whilst adding just the right amount of hold & definition along with plenty of shine.

BECCA Backlight Priming Filter / NARS Sheer Glow Foundation / Tarte Shape Tape Concealer
NARS Soft Matte Complete Concealer / Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Finish Powder

Before I apply my foundation I like to get my skin glowing & the best way to do that is with an illuminating primer. The Backlight Priming Filter from BECCA gives you that flawless 'lit from within' look that we all desire. It immediately perks up the skin whilst creating an enviably smooth & dewy canvas for your makeup. Rimmel & Maybelline really impressed me with their latest foundation launches but I always end up going back to NARS Sheer Glow. The buildable coverage & radiant finish are everything I want in a foundation, not to mention that Siberia is the best colour match I've ever found. Tarte Shape Tape is such a fantastic full coverage concealer. It works wonders on dark circles, blemishes & pigmentation without looking cakey or creasing throughout the day. I also really enjoy using the Soft Matte Complete Concealer from NARS. It provides high coverage with a soft-focus blurring effect so it excels at hiding blemishes. It's also my go-to choice for carving out my eyebrows & creating a cut crease eye look. One of the crown jewels in Charlotte Tilbury's makeup range has to be her Airbrush Flawless Finish Powder. The powder is so silky & finely milled. It feels exceptionally lightweight yet manages to keep shine at bay without making my skin look dry. I'm completely in love with it's soft-focus finish that blurs texture & makes my pores disappear!

Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara / Kat Von D Tattoo Liner / Stila Glitter & Glow Liquid Eyeshadow
Essence The Cushion Eyeliner / Laneige Eyebrow Cushion-Cara

Better Than Sex is one of the best selling mascaras in the world and with good reason! Look no further if you want a mascara that gives your lashes tons of length & volume whilst holding a curl all day long. The curvaceous wand fans out my lashes beautifully for a flirtatious wispy effect. Kat Von D's Tattoo Liner in Trooper is my weapon of choice for razor sharp eyeliner. The extremely fine nib allows the liner to glide on smoothly & creates a really precise wing. The liquid liner itself is highly pigmented, long lasting & doesn't transfer to my upper eyelid. Stila have stolen my heart with their utterly fantastic Glitter & Glow Liquid Eyeshadows. They're so much easier to use than regular glitter & are the ultimate way to add a bit of sparkle to your eye makeup. I love cushion cosmetics & I'm glad that so many brands are embracing this innovative Korean technology. Essence's Cushion Eyeliner is extremely pigmented & combines the ease of a gel formulation with the finish of liquid liner. Plus it only costs £3! Another cushion product that I've fallen in love with is this Eyebrow Cushion-Cara from Laneige. The liquid inside this two toned cushion is great for drawing on individual hair strokes as well as filling in your entire brow. This product makes it easier than ever to get that soft gradient fade at the front of your brows whilst making the tails super sharp & defined.

Cheek Products
Jeffree Star Cosmetics Skin Frost / Cover FX Custom Enhancer Drops / Too Faced Milk Chocolate Soleil Bronzer
Kevyn Aucoin The Sculpting Powder / Charlotte Tilbury Cheek To Chic Blusher in Love Glow

I'm only happy when my highlighter shines brighter than the sun. Jeffree Star's Skin Frosts are some of the most blinding, pigmented highlighters around & nothing makes my skin beam more than Ice Cold. This icy white shade works so well on pale skin. If I want my highlight to look even more metallic then I layer it over Cover FX's Custom Enhancer Drops in Celestial. These drops look like liquid metal on the skin & deliver a truly dazzling glow. There was a time when I never used bronzer but I just can't do my makeup without it now. Too Faced's Milk Chocolate Soleil Bronzer warms up my complexion & adds some soft definition to my face without being too orange or dark. Kevyn Aucoin's The Sculpting Powder in Light is my holy grail contour product. The colour is absolutely spot on for my skintone & the powder blends like a dream so it's ideal for nose contouring too. I'm a sucker for peachy pink blush shades & Charlotte Tilbury's Love Glow is one of the most beautiful blushers I've come across. There's a subtle golden shimmer running through it which provides a luminous finish & makes your cheeks glow in the most wonderful way.

Lip Products
Glossier Birthday Balm Dotcom / Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution Lipstick in Pillow Talk
Rimmel Stay Matte Liquid Lip Colour in Pink Blink / Jeffree Star Cosmetics Velour Liquid Lipstick in Mannequin
Jouer Long-Wear Lip Topper in Skinny Dip

Glossier's Balm Dotcom rightly deserves the high praise it gets as a lip balm. I have the Birthday edition which has a delicious cake flavour & subtle shimmery particles. It keeps my lips well hydrated & acts as a lovely base for other lip products. Charlotte Tilbury's Pillow Talk lip liner is such a fantastic everyday lip colour & I jumped at the chance to buy it in lipstick form. Matte Revolution is my all time favourite bullet lipstick formula & I wear this dreamy nude pink all the time. I'm still a huge fan of liquid lipsticks & Rimmel really surprised me with their brilliant Stay Matte Liquid Lip Colours. Pink Blink has a permanent home in my handbag because I love this colour so much! I honestly think that the quality is on par with Jeffree Star's Velour Liquid Lipsticks. I've had to try my hardest not to buy any more of his lipsticks because I already own 25 of them! My last Jeffree purchase included Mannequin which has fast become one of my most worn shades. It's darker than I'm Nude but lighter than Celebrity Skin & the colour suits me better than any other nude lipstick. I recently picked up one of Jouer's Long-Wear Lip Toppers & I can't recommend them enough! Skinny Dip is a stunning golden nude gloss with the feel of a lip balm. It can transform any matte lipstick by adding a hint of golden iridescence which makes your lips look fuller, plumper & extremely kissable.

Makeup Revolution Ultra Eye Contour Light & Shade Palette / Makeup Revolution Golden Sugar Blush Palette
Charlotte Tilbury Instant Eye Palette / Anastasia Beverly Hills Modern Renaissance Palette
Morphe x Jaclyn Hill Eyeshadow Palette

2017 was the year that I finally got round to trying some products from Makeup Revolution. Their palettes are exceptionally good value for money & the quality is brilliant. Makeup Revolution's Kat Von D Shade & Light dupe is now one of my most used eyeshadow palettes & I'm obsessed with the gorgeous shimmery shades in the Golden Sugar Blush Palette. It's well worth buying for that white & gold highlighter pan alone! Charlotte Tilbury's eyeshadow quads are to die for so I was very excited to hear that she was coming out with a much larger eyeshadow palette. The Desk & Date sections of the Instant Eye Palette are insanely beautiful. I learned to love warm toned eyeshadows & the Modern Renaissance palette has played a huge part in that. Everything about this palette is simply wonderful. The Morphe x Jaclyn Hill palette is hands down the best palette of 2017. The range of colours is incredible & these eyeshadows almost blend themselves. Everyone should own this palette. Jaclyn absolutely nailed it!

Nail Products
OPI Nail Envy / OPI Avoplex / NAF! Cherry Pie Cuticle Oil Pen / Essie Need A Vacation / Mavala Mavadry Top Coat

After making the mistake of picking off a gel manicure, my main objective was to get my nails back to optimum health. The combination of OPI Nail Envy & Avoplex is simply unbeatable. One helps to strengthen the nails & the other helps to condition them. They're a match made in heaven for healthy nails. Since discovering Avoplex I've become obsessed with applying cuticle oil all day every day. These handbag friendly cuticle oil pens from NAF! don't just help your nails to grow longer & stronger, they come in a fab range of scents too. Cherry Pie is my favourite but I love love love them all! These days I generally prefer getting gel manicures but when I do paint my nails at home I almost always use Essie polishes. Need A Vacation is the most perfect bubblegum pink colour. The main reason I prefer gels now is because you don't have to wait ages for them to dry. I'm considering getting my own LED lamp & a gel top coat but for now Mavala Mavadry is the next best thing. Your nails are touchable after a couple of seconds & fully dry within a matter of minutes. It doesn't make your polish peel or shrink & gives them a wet look finish.

FOREO Luna Mini 2 / Yu Ling Jade Facial Roller / The Vamp Stamp VaVaVoom Stamp
Lash Star Lash Applicator Tool / Morphe M510 Brush

Even though mine is currently broken, the FOREO Luna Mini 2 is one of the best beauty tools I've ever purchased. It allows your cleanser to work better which keeps congestion at bay and leaves my skin feeling really soft & smooth. The T-Sonic vibrations give your face a lovely mini massage every time you use it to boost circulation & make your complexion glow. When your face is feeling tired you can't beat a quick massage with a jade roller. It feels instantly cooling on the skin & helps to eliminate puffiness. I've been perfecting my eyeliner flicks for years but even I sometimes struggle to get my wings looking even. The VaVaVoom Stamp is a really useful tool if you need a little extra help to get your eyeliner on fleek. Don't bother buying their ink though, Essence's £3 Cushion Eyeliner is literally the exact same thing. Learning to apply false eyelashes can be another fairly difficult beauty task. I hate using regular tweezers to put them on because I'm forever paranoid about stabbing myself in the eyeball. This beautiful gold lash applicator from Lash Star makes the whole thing so much easier & helps to seamlessly blend your own eyelashes with the falsies. The Morphe M510 brush is my favourite way to apply highlighter. This brush really packs on the pigment for a truly blinding highlight. It's the perfect size & shape to get your whole face glowing to the gods!

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Friday 12 January 2018

Hello 2018!

Happy New Year everyone! As always I'm fashionably late with this post but better late than never eh? I completely skipped blogging for several months last year & only started back up again in May. Even then I only posted sporadically but I finally got back into the groove towards the end of the year. 2017 was yet another crappy year in my life. I knew it was gonna be a bad year when the dishwasher started causing power cuts a couple of days into 2017. The boiler was also making horrendous drilling noises & after years of complaining we finally got a new boiler fitted. Then things got a little more promising. Andy earned tons of commission working at Mercedes so we decided to splash the cash & book our first family holiday in February. I started hitting the gym hard as I was determined to look good in a bikini & it definitely paid off. I felt more confident & comfortable in my own skin than I had done in years.

Then a week before we were due to fly to Spain at the end of July, Chloe caught chickenpox from another child in her class. We had to cancel the holiday which was completely devastating. I haven't been on holiday since 2008 & I'd spent the whole first half of the year looking forward to this week away. Claiming the money back using our travel insurance was incredibly stressful & we had to pay £300 excess. We had also spent loads of money on new clothes, new suitcases & getting Euros for our trip. Basically we ended up losing a lot of money & could no longer afford to book another trip as it took so long for the insurance company to pay out.

This holiday was the only thing that I had to look forward to & when it got taken away from me I sunk into a deep depression. I stopped caring about my appearance entirely. I couldn't be bothered to look after my skin, put on makeup, get my roots bleached, eat healthily or go to the gym. I sometimes struggled to even do basic things like getting dressed or having a shower. It was such a difficult time & no one we knew really gave a shit. I've had to cut a lot of toxic people out of my life because it's quite clear that they only care about themselves. After that disastrous start to the Summer surely things couldn't get any worse right? Wrong.

I never expect to do anything particularly exciting for my birthday. I normally just spend it with Andy & Chloe so we tend to do fun things as a family such as going to York Maze. This year I wanted to go to Little Owl Farm in Oldham because I love owls & wanted to feed some baby animals haha! Andy went out that morning & when he came back he was completely stressed out as one of his cars had been clamped. Once he'd sorted out all that palaver it was too late to go anywhere so I just accepted it & figured we could go later that week. Andy then informed me that we should pack a suitcase because he'd booked a hotel in Liverpool & we were going to spend the weekend there. We didn't quite make it to Liverpool. About five minutes away from our house Andy got into a collision with a guy on a moped. It was one of the worst days of my life.

It's taken quite a while for me to get over the events of last Summer. I'm thankful for the new year as this time I really do see it as a new start. I saw some tweets saying that it doesn't matter if you didn't achieve anything in 2017, it's okay if all you did was survive. I can definitely relate to that as I've felt a bit down about my achievements. It's important to remember that your value is not measured by your productivity & comparing yourself to others is a fruitless exercise. I've not set any resolutions or specific goals this year. I mainly want to get my life back on track. I've started going to the gym again & I had forgotten how exhilarating a good Body Pump session could be. I've spent most of this week struggling with DOMS but I can't wait to do it all again next week! I've sacked off Slimming World because I wasn't getting anywhere with it. I've joined Team RH Fitness & I'm loving being able to eat what I want as long as it fits my macros. I also can't wait to get my hair done, six months of regrowth is not a pretty sight!

One of the main things I want to do this year is become a full time blogger. I started this blog back in February 2010, whilst heavily pregnant with Chloe! A lot of things have changed since then but despite the occasional lack of posts, my love of blogging is still going strong. I've always been too scared to take this step but I really want to make a go of it. If so many other people can do it, why can't I? I'm turning 30 this year & it's about damn time I took control of my life. So here's to 2018! Let's hope this year treats all of us well!

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