Wednesday, 23 April 2014

what's on my desk?

So the other day I posted about my new Spring Homeware Additions and well, a day later I decided to change my desk around and add my old acrylic storage from TKMaxx. I thought I'd show you my current blogging set up as my dressing table is now my desk, homing only the essentials on the top of it. 

Currently burning the gorgeous Bomb Cosmetics Springtime candle* (£5.50) which strangely doesn't make me think of Spring at all, and instead reminds me of my boyfriend. Girls, if you love it when guys wear Lynx then this candle is for you. It smells just like it. (It could be me going mad, but I swear it's the first thing it reminded me of when I lit it!). It burns so cleanly, fills the room within minutes and is so light & fresh making it perfect for the upcoming months. The scent is pine needle, lemongrass, nutmeg, green leaf, rosemary, thyme and patchouli so it's slightly herbal, yet refreshing. 

Onto what's in my acrylic storage... my essential brushes from Real Techniques and MAC, a little stationery, the wonderful Bourjois 1 Seconde nail polish remover, Lush popcorn lip scrub and Nuxe Reve De Miel lip balm (as talked about in my post here), OPI Nail Envy, Next Just Pink perfume purse spray, plus there's two products I've recently been putting to the test: Ginger & Co Hand It To Me hand cream* (£2.99) for sweet smelling, nourished yet non-greasy hands and Elizabeth Arden 8 Hour Skin Protectant Cream* (£15.50) - something I pop on whenever I get the urge to pick or scratch to soothe any irritation. It's slowly working to heal imperfections too. 
Then finally onto the four lipsticks I've had on rotation lately - Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvet in Pink Pong* (£8.99, review here) - the brightest, most comfortable to wear, long lasting matte lipstick ever; L'Oreal Rouge Caresse in Tempting Lilac (£7.99) - my most worn lip product ever, a sheer wash of my lips but better; Rimmel Kate Moss Lasting Finish in 05 (£5.49) - a super creamy opaque formula in a beautiful pinky-red (as worn in the photo above); and MAC lipstick in Speak Louder (£15) - very similar to the Rimmel one in colour, but with a sheerer cremesheen formula. 

So there we have it, the current products that I'm using everyday. 
Which products do you always pull out?

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trialling new: post shower products

Honestly I'm the laziest person when it comes to body moisturising, I just cannot be bothered with it especially when it's colder as I just want to get dressed ASAP. But now it's starting to warm up a bit (and the fact that I've got a bunch of products to put to the test) I'm making the effort! There's something for all budgets here, so here's how they compare...

Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse* (£28) - a dry oil that can be used on hair, face or body that leaves a beautiful sheen and is non-greasy. Skin is left so silky to the touch, and it doesn't weigh the hair down at all. A mid-range price that lives up to the quality that I expect when it comes to Nuxe. 

Ginger & Co Soft On You Daily Body Lotion* (£2.75) - the one for those who do like more of a scent to be left on the skin, with rose being the most apparent. It's an incredibly lightweight cream that's almost like a gel, absorbing within minutes and leaves skin so fresh and soft. Bargain price with quirky packaging.

Vaseline Spray & Go (£4.99) - my favourite of the bunch. The spray produces a cream-like texture that effortlessly smoothes and nourishes the skin, absorbing like a dream with a really pleasant scent. There's no residue left on the skin meaning you can get dressed straight after a quick rub into the skin. 

Caudalie Divine Oil* (£13.89) - another oil that can be used on hair, face or body, it's also really nice spritzed into the bath with a subtle scent from the grape oil. I really like this one on the face at the end of my evening skincare routine as I know by morning it'll leave it fully hydrated. Its' retail price is totally reasonable making it the oil I'd probably most recommend.

Leonor Greyl Huile Secret De Beaute* (£40.50) - this one has the best scent of the three oils but does take a little longer to dry. It does however feel incredibly luxurious on hair, although I adore it on body leaving it deeply moisturised. It is very expensive compared to other oils out there which is the main downside to this.

It's a close call with three oils practically doing the same thing so I've just been switching them up! I love that they all come with a pump although I will say it's easiest to hold Caudalie Divine Oil when you get oil on your hands, the other two are very likely to slip out and smash! There's not a whole lot to say on these products, just that I'd definitely recommend the Vaseline offering! 

What's your favourite post-shower/bath product?

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Tuesday, 22 April 2014

things i wish social media sites did

I thought I'd share a few pet peeves I've had with social media sites lately. As much as I love them, there's definitely some really obvious small changes that need to be made to them!
1. I wish Bloglovin allowed you to leave comments when reading blogs via their app. No wonder us bloggers are getting less and less comments all the time when the main blog reading app doesn't currently let you leave them. I know there's a new app on the way, fingers crossed that this is an improvement they're finally going to get round to making!
2. I wish YouTube had the option to mark off videos you've watched. It's really frustrating seeing videos I know I've watched still saying they're un-watched and appearing in my timeline. It makes me think I'm going mad sometimes and I'll watch something, then realise half way through I've seen it before.
3. I wish Google+ would automatically post when a scheduled post goes live. It currently only does it when you publish a post there and then, but an awful lot of us bloggers schedule our posts. It would be super helpful if we didn't have to manually go on to share our posts.
4. I wish the Twitter app would show Instagram photos on the timeline again or disabled the option for the link to be shown. I don't want to individually open every link that's on my timeline. If a picture is there I'm more likely to open it to see the full thing. I know there's other apps where they do display them or where they don't have the links but surely this is something the main Twitter app should do?! Oh, and don't even get me started on promoted tweets!
5. I wish Instagram had clickable links. Annoying when I have to say "clickable link in bio" every time I post a photo of something that's on my blog. I just don't understand why! There's plenty of spam comments on there anyway so what's a few links going to do?
6. I wish Facebook showed your posts to everyone not just a select few. I only found this out recently but if you've got a FB page (not profile) it randomly selects the outreach for each of your posts meaning not everyone will see them all.
7. I wish Hootsuite would allow you to post duplicate tweets. Ok so maybe they should set a limit to how many, but sometimes I just want to bulk schedule links to my giveaways or blog posts but I can't do that because only the first one will go live if the others are exactly the same. I don't have the time to individually write statuses sharing all of my links all of the time.
So there, rant over! What would you improve/remove on social media sites?

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brands i love: bumble and bumble

This is actually a series I started a few years ago but I've not done a post in ages. I've seen a few bloggers do similar things lately so it inspired me to bring the series back, starting with higher-end haircare brand, Bumble and Bumble. I've been lucky enough to put a lot of their products to the test although I still have a huge wish list of things I'd like to try from there!
Shampoo and Conditioner
The first product I ever tried from the brand was the Sunday Shampoo (£17) -  the most expensive one I'd ever purchased. I quickly fell in love with this once-a-week product that would completely remove all build up of product. I've reviewed it in full here. I've been through a fair few of these over the years, although a 250ml bottle of this lasts for ages, as with all of their other shampoos. 
Following on from this, I got to try the Color Minded Shampoo* (£23) and Conditioner* (£25) - two products perfectly suited to my colour-damaged, dry hair to nourish and freshen the colour. I've reviewed the whole Color Minded range in full here. Again, there's no disappointment with these.
Most recently I've been putting the Tonic Shampoo* (£18.50) and Lotion* (£16) to the test as I've been noticing my hair getting greasier more quickly yet still having a dry scalp. The shampoo balances it out and completely softens the hair too. The lotion is a great detangler, but one that won't soak dry hair or leave it feeling weighed down making it a real stand out product from the brand.
Prep, Style & Finish
What I really love about Bumble and Bumble is that the products do all compliment each other so well and most can be used on damp or dry hair without leaving it feeling like you've got loads of product in it. I also like that many of the styling products are available in smaller bottles to test out before you opt for the full size. 
One of the absolute stand out products in the styling category is the Thickening Hairspray (£7.50). It does have a damp texture to it but this quickly dries to practically leave nothing in the hair, yet still does somehow make hair appear thicker, more volumised and holds really well too. But it can be used on any hair type, even if it's already quite thick and is used before heated tools. This product works really well on top of Prep (£6) for a serious big hair, blow dried finish. Prep's very similar to the Tonic Lotion but does dampen the hair more, so is more suited for detangling after you've stepped out of the shower but both do equally as good a job. The tonic lotion is more for coloured hair, with Prep being more for uncoloured. 
The next few products all do a pretty similar thing - add texture and style. There's the three cream textured products: Texture Creme (£10), Brilliantine* (£18), Color Minded UV Protective Styling Balm* (£25.50) and the one spray in the form of the Surf Spray* (£21.50). Texture Creme gives grit and hold from the roots all the way through the hair for a matte finish, Brilliantine creates texture more in the mid-lengths to ends with a sheen finish, the Styling Balm keeps things incredibly natural whilst nourishing the ends and the Surf Spray (my favourite) is the quickest and easiest way to enhance how the hair falls. Of them all, the Texture Creme creates the longest lasting style and really boosts the hair, again without weighing it down - despite having the stiffer consistency. Brilliantine is in the middle of TC and the styling balm as it has a medium-hold and lift, with the styling balm not really doing too much (although it does smell the best and doubles up as a heat protector!). You can use Brilliantine and the Surf Spray on dry or damp hair, with TC and the styling balm only really designed to be used on damp hair. But they're all really good in their own way!
Finally, three for finishing. The only disappointing product I've tried is the Extra Strength Holding Spray (although I'm not sure if it's available anymore) as although the hold is there, it does leave hair a little crispy. The two hair oils I have though are absolutely beautiful. There's the Color Minded UV Protective Polish* (£25.50) and the Hairdressers Invisible Oil* (£31). HVI leaves the hair silky soft with such a sheen to it that can make even the dullest hair look healthy and radiant. The polish is still a close competitor for the top spot though, it's just a little more subtle but compliments textured styling products better of the two. 
So I've tried a fair few of their products now and I'm seriously impressed. Prices are quite high for some products but I truly believe in the quality of this brand with a little going a long way. Next on my list to try: Cityswept Finish (£21.50) and Pret A Powder (£21.50)! Bumble and Bumble also offer free delivery and free samples on their website so it's worth checking out!
Have you tried Bumble and Bumble?
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Monday, 21 April 2014

5 things you probably don't know about me

1. I don't really know that much about beauty. I may have been blogging for like 3 years now but I actually started off just posting random things and not using my own photos. It took me ages to figure out what my main niche would be, you'd think now that beauty would have been at the top of my list but instead I had the words "high street fashion" screaming at me from inside, hence my regular 'Topshop Tuesday' posts. I quickly realised that wasn't for me and after really falling for other beauty blogs, that's the road I went down. Everything I've learnt is through reading blogs/websites, watching YouTube videos and through trial and error with my own products. Looking back I used to wear some hideous makeup that didn't suit my skin tone at all and I had no clue on how to apply it, but I'm glad I did that so I could learn from my mistakes. Beauty blogging is one of my biggest passions now and I'm always thinking about, reading about or writing about it.

2. I've always got a million and one post ideas but hardly any get put up on the blog. I'm trying to change this and actually get things up that I want to rather than just adding to my list all the time. I do feel that there's not enough time in the world for me to get all of these ideas up because I know a lot of you think two posts a day is too much already (don't worry, as of May 1st I'm back to one post a day). It probably frustrates some people that I have all of these ideas and they might not really have any at the time, which is why I wrote "50 post ideas for when you've got beauty bloggers block" although trust me, there's a lot more where they came from! I feel that I'm still lacking in a bit of motivation to actually get on with writing at the moment, but I'm going to take my own advice from my "staying motivated" post and get out in the sun and away from technology a bit more!
3. I'm overly organised. I've recently just condensed 4 notebooks worth of stuff into my Personal Filofax just so I can finally have it all in one place. I'm forever buying notebooks only to change my mind a month or so later because the paper isn't right or it's got the wrong sort of binding. Everything has to have some order, for example my MAC lipsticks are organised into finishes then alphabetically. There's a lot of things in my flat that still need to be put into order but I'm working through it. Mild OCD? Probably. But the thing is, I don't do it because I feel I have to, more so because I enjoy tidying and sorting.
4. I spend a lot of time on social media. Usually in the early hours of the morning I'll be trawling through, although I'm usually a pretty silent lurker. I'm quite active on Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest though (click the links to go through to my profiles). Sometimes I become worryingly obsessed with certain ones.
5. I've got a constant need to improve things. Whether it's my blog content/photography/design or the way something's stored in my flat, I always have an urge to change things and make them better. A lot of the time I don't feel fully satisfied with things until I hear/read someone else saying it's good. I'm pretty pessimistic about things to do with myself really, but that comes with a lot of disappointment when I've been too optimistic - I really need to find the right balance!
Tell me something most people probably don't know about you! 
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review: rmk uv face protector

RMK UV Face Protector - £25.00*

It wasn't until I started blogging that I realised I really should be wearing SPF every single day, even when it's miserable out. I'd usually only pop some on once maybe twice when it was really hot out and I'd pop the same sunscreen on my face too, often with it being overly greasy, breaking me out and melting away quickly. No wonder I've had so many lobster-faced/arms mishaps. The latest and greatest addition is this SPF 50+ UVA and UVB protecting product for the face from RMK - a fairly new product to the UK. It's a non-greasy product that sits nicely under make up, or alone that also cools skin too thanks to aloe, cucumber and chamomile. It's water based and glides on just like a moisturiser, sitting smoothly without any tackiness to it. I love the feel of this on my skin, especially as it's so refreshing when you top up later in the day. You can even add it on top of your make up (although it's likely that I won't be wearing any/much when the weather gets warmer!) without it affecting how it's applied. TIP: just avoid when flash photography is about as you'll look like a ghost! Sunscreen isn't cheap anyway, and this certainly isn't but a 10p size can do my whole face so a tube of this will last you some time. There's a subtle scent to it that I can't put my finger on, but it's not too unappealing which is fortunate. Overall, a product I'll definitely be wearing at all times over the next few months!

Which sunscreen do you use for your face?

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Sunday, 20 April 2014

have you discovered... bare minerals all-over face colour review

Ok so I won't lie to you, this wasn't the bronzer I originally picked out for this post. The one I did choose is no longer available, and bearing in mind I was going to fully rave about it I didn't think it was fair to pop up the post if you lovely lot couldn't go out and buy it (it was a bargain price and an almost dupe for a much loved product from MAC). So I had to quickly raid my drawers to choose the next best thing although it's certainly got a heftier price tag. 

To look at in the pot, this product is ridiculously dark for my pale skin tone but once blended, this incredibly soft powder looks so beautiful. I absolutely know that once I get a bit of extra colour to my skin that I won't be putting this down. You can totally build on it if you do have a darker skin tone, so this could be used by so many. It's completely healthy looking, not muddy or orange and there's no shimmer to it either. You really do only need the smallest amount to add a little bit of colour to the cheeks or as the name suggests, all over the face. Because of the finish, you can even use it to contour, unlike most bronzers. Oh and the staying power is most definitely there too so although a little pricey, it's definitely worth it. Mine's just a sample size, so the full size would definitely last you a long time!

Which bronzer deserves more recognition?
See more posts in this series with the hashtag #haveyoudiscovered on Twitter.

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seven days #17

I've had a really, really rubbish week but at the same time I've realised how supportive you all are not only about my blog but about my personal stuff too, so thank you! The sunshine and an exciting purchase have also cheered me up, but don't worry you'll find out what it was soon! Hope you're all enjoying Easter and divulging in lots of chocolate! 

This week I'm lusting after: One Direction That Moment Eau De Parfum (£21)

Next week on the blog: there's a post on another favourite beauty shopping site of mine, a roundup of a brand I love, some reviews and my Flamingo Candles giveaway winner will be announced! Don't forget to enter that giveaway here and the Lauren's Way hamper giveaway here.

What have you been reading/watching/lusting after this week?

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beauty discount codes #2

I get really frustrated when compiling these posts with the companies that don't put end dates on their deals, and the ones that say "terms and conditions apply" but then they're no where to be found! My first post did go down quite well though so I'll definitely be doing some more to see if they're as popular! 
Feel Unique: 15% off and free worldwide delivery (over £10) with the code EASTER15

Bliss: Free UK delivery on all orders, plus free travel size/samples bag when you spend £50 with the code MINIMAX (ends 30/04)

Cult Beauty: free worldwide shipping with the code FREESHIP1 (ends 22/04)

Benefit Cosmetics: spend over £50 and get a free shower cap, stay flawless and high beam deluxe mini plus free shipping with the code BENESHOWERS (ends 21/04)

Xtras: 15% off everything and free UK delivery with the code EASTEREGG (ends 21/04)

BeautyExpert: Free worldwide delivery, plus save £5 off £45 with the code EASTER45; £7 off £55 with the code EASTER55; £10 off £65 with the code EASTER65

The Body Shop: £10 off £25 with the code 14673 (ends 21/04)

BeautyBay: Free delivery, plus 10% off all orders with the code WANT10; 15% off £50 orders with the code NEED15; 20% off £80 orders with the code LOVE20 (ends 21/04)

Nails Inc: 20% off with the code EASTER20 (ends 21/04)

Glossybox: Get the April Glossybox for £6 when you subscribe with the code GLOSSY06 (ends 29/04)

ELF Cosmetics: 50% off when you spend £30 plus two free products with the code 500414 (ends 22/04)

Superdrug: £5 off when you spend £50 with the code EASTER5

Look Fantastic: 20% off with the code EASTER20 plus there's free worldwide delivery as always.

Hairtrade: 10% off Fab Hair Extensions with the code HTFAB (ends 10/05)

Other deals

Illamasqua: 40% off certain items, you've got to follow the clues and find which products have discounts! There's also 50% off Freak Eau De Parfum - now £15 for 30ml, £25 for 75ml, or £30 for Coffret set. Available online and in the Leeds, Liverpool and London Beak Street stores. Plus as always there's free delivery online too! (ends 30/04)

Topshop: Free delivery to store or home (no code needed).

Boots: 3 for 2 mix and match on cosmetics; plus you can get a free Kate collection worth £20 when you sign up to the Rimmel Kate Mascara waiting list.

Ark Skincare: Up to 50% off sale.

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Saturday, 19 April 2014

50 post ideas for when you've got beauty bloggers block

So there seems to be a theme on my blog lately about how to stay motivated so I thought I'd add a post with some ideas for when you're really stuck on what to blog about. Some have links that will take you to the posts that I've done if you're not quite sure what I mean or just want to read my posts!
1. Blogging tips for beginners.
2. Things you've learnt as a blogger/what you wish you'd known.
3. Post ideas!
4. Staying motivated/where you get your inspiration.
5. Guide to search engine optimisation.
6. Useful websites for bloggers.
7. Working with PRs.
8. Guide to using social media sites for blog promoting (not spamming).
9. Where you blog/how you take your photos.
10. Blogging on a budget.
11. Mini reviews / product reviews.
12. Shop the stash.
13. Season/festival/holiday/designer inspired picks.
14. Make up/hair/nail/get the looks. FOTD
15. How to's.
16. Guide to ingredients.
17. Products for your skin type.
18. What you would/wouldn't repurchase.
19. Top 10 under £10.
20. Make up for beauty newbies.
21. Make up for high end newbies.
22. Comparison posts.
23. Dupes / cheaper alternatives.
24. Beauty apps.
25. Favourite beauty blogs. 
26. Monthly favourites.
27. Empties.
28. Hauls.
29. Beauty/blogging terms - what do they mean?
30. Using products in different ways.
31. Trying out new beauty methods.
32. Advice, tips and tricks.
33. What's in your current make up bag.
34. Your collection of... (insert product type here)
35. Brands you love/brand round up.
36. Favourite beauty shopping / research sites (non-blogs).
37. Favourite beauty instagrams/tumblrs/pinterests.
38. (Insert product type here) for all budgets.
39. Make up collection and/or storage.
40. First impressions.
41. Q&A.
42. Beauty book reviews. 
43. Event round ups.
44. Beauty tips for an interview/important meeting/event.
45. If all your make up disappeared (the first things you'd buy).
46. The beauty tag.
47. The beauty scenario tag.
48. Wishlists.
49. The perfect palette tag.
50. Your beauty history. 
I could definitely have broken down some of these more but hopefully you'll come up with some of your own ideas and interpretations to them!
Have you got any post ideas?
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