The Repurchase List #2

As beauty bloggers we are always striving for perfection in our beauty products, which can often mean a steady flow of new products appearing on our blogs. I wouldn't say I have a ridiculous amount of products as I've been very good at curbing the 'I'll buy it for the blog' excuse, however with new products constantly cropping up on the radar it can be quite easy to forget the golden oldies, and lets face it they are often the best! The real test for any beauty blogger is 'would you repurchase?' So I thought I'd incorporate a series on the blog (put my money where my mouth is) to show you the products I repurchase - 

Brow Whiz receives so much hype in the beauty community, deserved hype as this is such a beautiful product. If you have dark brows you'll know that the struggle is real, finding a brow product that looks natural can be difficult I find most shades look really harsh and obvious on my skin tone…I call it the sharpie effect. The shade I wear in Brow Whiz is called 'Ebony' it's a dark brown almost black colour with grey undertones and it's a perfect match to my natural brow colour. The fine nib means you can create tiny strokes that almost mimic natural hair in the brows. For a natural looking everyday brow, or for brows that look a little sparse I recommend Brow Whiz. Whilst I was waiting for my order I tried a few drugstore brow products and to me Brow Whiz is far superior a lot of drugstore ones transferred if I rubbed my face, Brow Whiz never transfers it stays around all day, and for me has to be one of the easiest brow products I own. It's hard to go wrong/heavy handed with Brow Whiz and for that alone I'll be repurchasing this for a very long time! For a full review and tutorial see my original post here. 

What are your favourite brow products? 


Feeling Ill… How to Perk Up!

When you are ill it can be quite easy to slip into that 'feel sorry for yourself' state of mind, I'm guilty of it especially over long periods of illness. I've had a cold, cough and sore throat for what feels like forever, disgustingly I've reached a stage where the doctors think I'm going to have to have my tonsils removed (yak) as I just keep getting infection after infection *insert sad face.* Anyway, moaning aside today I wanted to share my top tips/products that get me by when I'm feeling like poop, a lot of the tips will be fairly obvious but I still thought I'd share them with you today as I've found that they really do make all the difference -

- Drink water! (Unless you have tummy bug sometimes water makes it worse.)
Fairly obvious here but if you are already ill adding dehydration to the list will only make you feel ten times worse. If you have to venture out be sure to take a bottle of water with you. I aim for 2L when I'm ill as I just find it really helps flush out toxins and I feel much brighter.

- Do some exercise
Although I've been ill I've continued to do my at home workouts and (to Mum's disapproval) the odd run here and there. Studies have shown that getting a sweat on can actually help you recover from a standard cold/flu quicker. Although it can be hard to leave your PJs/bed it really does do the world of good doing some exercise, I recommend the Yoga by Adriene channel.

- Get some fruit
If you are anything like me all you'll want is a big bar of chocolate when you feel ill and although there's no denying I'll eat that bar of chocolate it's also good to up your fruit intake to give your body some added nutrients. I love Oranges when I'm poorly as they taste super zingy and refreshing.

- Ditch the powder
When I'm ill I rarely take time off from work (there's just too much to do) which means I have to make myself look some what presentable. My skin is usually zapped of all moisture, thing's go dry and rather dull. Powder emphasises dry skin, instead I recommend swapping to something like the NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisture it adds a faux glow and leaves my skin super dewy/hydrated perfect for when my skins lack lustre.

- Banish dry lips
Similar to my skin my lips turn incredibly dry when I'm ill. I use the Body Shop aloe lip treatment as it feels sort of cooling and just leaves my lips super hydrated.

- Try to avoid tablets
It can be quite easy to reach for cold/flu tablets when you're ill, if you have a sensitive stomach like myself though you may wish to try some alternatives. Thing's like Vapour Rub and Tiger Balm have a menthol smell that really helps to clear the airways. I like to apply vapour rub onto my chest at night for a good nights sleep. Tiger Balm  applied to your temples can also help to aid headaches.

-Puffy Eye Solution
The Liz Earle Eye Bright is my new best friend, it reduces puffiness like nothing else I've tried. This feels incredibly refreshing and just brightens tired looking eyes, it is the perfect companion when you are feeling ill.

When I'm ill my skin goes dry, dull and just looks grey. It can be so tempting to whip out every treatment in your stash but as I learnt over recent weeks this can just make things worse. I'm not sure why but my skin seems to also be a little more sensitive when I'm ill so I keep everything simple and pared back. If anything I highly recommend adding in a hydrating mask, my go to is the Origins overnight mask as it just keeps my skin plump/hydrated …it can be tempting to use this every night!

What are your go to products when you are ill? Top tips for keeping up the energy levels through illness?


Lush African Paradise Body Conditioner

In 2014 in shower body moisturisers were all the rage, marketed as a quick, easy, fuss free way to get some added hydration without the faff of your average body moisturiser. Before trying Lush African Paradise I'd tried a few in shower moisturisers I'll be honest I wasn't completely sold on the concept the majority I tried smelt nice but didn't feel as though they actually made much of a difference to my skin, in most cases I ended up just applying lotion. Lush African Paradise couldn't be more different described as a conditioner for your body this little tub really does leave my skin feeling so soft, smooth and hydrated - I literally feel as though I've just applied moisturiser!

In case you missed the hype, in shower body moisturisers are basically designed to be applied right after your shower gel in replacement of your usual moisturiser,you apply a generous amount and wash away. A lot of in shower products I try end up down straight down the drain but the Lush body conditioner really does stick to the skin it applies just like a lotion and once rinsed away it leaves a slight layer on the skin. My skin feels so hydrated and super soft it really is like you've applied a body butter.

African Paradise has a unique scent, I'm a fan as I love Shea scented products but I'd certainly have a smell of this before purchasing as I can imagine it being hit or miss with a lot of people. Another negative to bear in mind you do find yourself using a lot of product, don't get me wrong I still got plenty of showers out of this tiny tub (more than I first thought) but certainly not a product I could afford to use every day.

For the days where I'm feeling incredibly lazy, or the days where I just need to get ready quickly I love African Paradise it's the perfect pamper product for the shower and I'd certainly not hesitate to repurchase this. In terms of in shower body moisturisers it has to be one of the best I've tried it's effective and just does what it says on the tin. A lovely fuss free product, perfect for the winter months!

Are you a fan of in shower body moisturisers? Have you tried African Paradise?


The Me Time Tag

Just before Christmas I was tagged by the gorgeous Rachel from 'All Natural Aspirations' to do the me-time tag. Rachel runs an all natural blog (if you didn't guess from the blog title) jam packed with fantastic D.I.Y beauty recipes, inspiring lifestyle posts and informative reviews! I've been a fan of Rachel's blog for a long time now so be sure to head over and show her some love!

What do you watch or read during me-time? 
Netflix. I'm currently watching Dexter. Addicted.
In terms of books I'm currently reading Dying Light by Stuart Macbride. If I fancy something a little more upbeat/easy to read I pick up a fitness magazine, I find them so inspiring. My favourites are - Runner's World, BodyFit and Women's Health.

What do you wear?
During me-time you'll generally catch me in joggers (Next do the best ones) PJ's, a onsie or anything of that nature. I've really appreciated the beautiful dressing gown I received at Christmas too, so fluffy and mega warm!

What are your me-time products? 
No pamper night is complete without an at home facial. For the skin I love to apply a deep cleansing mask such as the Origins Clear Improvement or a new addition the Liz Earle Deep Cleansing mask (it smells incredible!) I usually follow up with something hydrating like the Liz Earle Intensive Nourishment mask. For body I love a good scrub, the S&G ones are my favourites. I'm also a fan of dry body brushing there's something quite invigorating/ strangely satisfying about body brushing. I follow up with a body butter, the Boots extract one in Brazil nut is a current favourite - it smells amazing.

What do you eat/drink during me-time? 
Me-time for me is where I usually pig out, if you can't pig out during me-time when can you? I really enjoy cooking/baking during me-time so I'll usually sit and enjoy my efforts after, chocolate fudge cake is a fave…anything chocolatey mmm.

Hate to be that blogger/tea cliche but dam I love tea, can't beat a good old Tetley tea. Recently I've branched out a little the Tea Pig Liquorice and Peppermint is a current favourite, so refreshing.

Current favourite essential oil? 
Lavender oil. I've had a lot of trouble sleeping a lately (it's resulted in yucky grey/dull skin) I'm finding a few drops of lavender oil on my pillow knocks me out. The scent is so relaxing and just helps me drift off and breathe easy. I've never understood why people spend £16 on pillow spray when you can buy lavender oil for a £1.. the scent is never too strong and the oil never stains my pillow!

Do you have outdoor me-time? 
Yes, if you follow me on Twitter you'll have probably noticed I'm a keen runner. I've been running for just over two years now three times a week. Although I recently started running with my Dad I still very much enjoy solo runs, I love crisp mornings and warm bright evenings I feel like (more recently) I've really learnt to embrace all weather - I'm ready for whatever the UK weather throws at me!

Would you ever see a movie alone? 
No. Whenever I go to the cinema and there's that one solo person I feel sorry for them... I'm not sure why, they could be perfectly happy and super sociable but there's still that sympathy feeling that washes over me. I'd feel quite lonely going on my own, I'm the type of person who enjoys talking about a storyline after too.

Favourite online shop? 
Very tricky question for me as I generally order directly from brands websites. I guess if I had to choose I'd probably go with Cult Beauty, purely for the variety of brands and clean layout. I love seeing the 'recommended section' that features some of my favourite bloggers.

Anything to add? 
Without sounding like a 'Ms know it all' I'd highly encourage everyone to get active during me-time. I feel like so much emphasise is placed on having a gym buddy and the benefits of having said gym buddy but I sometimes find I'm way more motivated and focused when I work out solo. In fact I notice more results and I generally put more effort in. So without sounding like billy no mates, don't be afraid to go for that run, walk around the park, Yoga or Pilates class solo as you might actually welcome some me-time that's slightly more active. Plus think of the endorphins nothing beats that post workout feeling!

Okay - I tag
Hana - http://www.hdotxo.blogspot.co.uk
Stephanie - http://stephanieheva.blogspot.co.uk
Jasmin - http://jasmincharlotte.com
Rosie - http://www.eatreadglam.com

I'd love to know what your favourite me-time products are?


An Evening At The Ballet

If you saw my 'What I got for Christmas' post you'll have seen that my Dad very kindly gifted myself and Mum tickets to see Swan Lake at the Lyceum Theatre in Sheffield. Such a thoughtful gift, with my Mum working long hours and caring for my Nan it's not very often that we get to spend quality time together, so you can imagine my excitement when I saw the Swan Lake tickets. We had previously seen Swan Lake, when I was much younger we enjoyed the show so much it was such a magical experience so I was hoping it would be just as magical a second time around. 

We kicked off the evening with some food, I absolutely love Revolution De Cuba, so when I saw that they were offering 50% off all food throughout January it seemed like a no brainer. I often visit Rev De Cuba for post work drinks (2 for 1 on drinks every Fri & Sat after 5pm) lunches and dinners, at times it can get extremely busy but I always find the service to be top notch. The menu is incredible diverse, filled with tasty Cuban inspired dishes featuring a fusion of flavours from Spain, Mexico and South America. If you're a vegetarian or love seafood Rev De Cuba offer a variety of Paella dishes, and also sea food dishes (on their own.) The Sea Bass is always delicious, on this occasion though I fancied the Jerk Chicken burger with mango salsa, chips and a rum/mayo dip (it tastes so amazing.) The Jerk Chicken burger and the Pulled Pork sandwich are my two favourites from the menu. My Mum went for Chicken Rumba skewers (marinated in lime, soy and pineapple) with Cajun fries, despite the interesting flavours I actually found myself having major food envy - it tasted amazing. If you're a drinker it's also worthwhile noting Revs has an amazing cocktail menu, there's a variety of different flavours although I must say their Passion Fruit Mojitio is my favourite. Rev De Cuba, have restaurants in Sheffield, Cardiff, Manchester, Derby and Norwich, if you haven't visited already I highly recommend you do - the food is super yummy.

Feeling full, all talked out and a little bit tipsy we headed down to the Lyceum Theatre. As you can see from my pictures above (which were actually taken last summer) the building is so grand, and the interior is even more beautiful, I didn't want to take any images of the actual show or interior as it's a no photography zone and I would feel a little rude disrespecting that. The Moscow City ballet were absolutely flawless if you ever get the chance to see them I'd highly recommend you do, their production of Swan Lake was just absolutely beautiful. I truly feel in awe every time I watch ballet, it just amazes me that people can be so graceful, almost majestic they show so much emotion just though body movement and I just find (and always have found) ballet to be truly beautiful to watchTchaikovsky’s Swan Lake follows the fate of Prince Siegfried as he falls in love with the beautiful Swan Queen, Odette. Although I'd seen this ballet before I'd actually forgotten the story line, but it's just such a beautiful story and I actually found myself feeling a little emotional at the end. *Spoiler alert* but I'd clearly created an alternate ending in my head from the last time I saw the ballet- where nobody died I completely forgot! It's also worthwhile giving a mention to the live orchestra who sounded incredible, the show wouldn't be what it is without the beautiful emotion filled music that accompanies it and the orchestra certainly did the score justice. 

A beautiful show, yummy food at Rev De Cuba and amazing company made for an absolutely wonderful evening. If you ever find yourself in the Sheffield area I highly recommend booking a visit to the theatre as there's such a variety of musicals, ballets and shows on at the moment there really is something for everyone. 

Do you enjoy a trip to the theatre? What are some of your favourite food places? 


Clinique Chubby Stick - Super Strawberry

I tell you what finding my 'perfect nude' lipstick has proven to be one hell of a challenge. Most nude lipsticks almost have a slight peach or beige undertone which looks beautiful on some skin tones but absolutely ridiculous paired against my dark complexion. Even with the help of beauty assistants on counters I'm always shown brown lipsticks, which I must say is such a common misconception with darker skin tones. As you can see from the above picture my lips are very much NOT brown, or beige for that matter. Anyway, rant aside I can finally say I have a nude lipstick that's almost an exact match to my natural lip colour, I discovered this in the most obvious of places... my Mum's makeup bag! Well, if it matches my Mum's lips it's sure to match mine right? My perfect nude is the Clinique Chubby Stick in Super Strawberry, I'm so happy to add this to my lipstick collection.

Worthwhile noting that my Mum actually received this as a gift with purchase hence it's slightly smaller size. The Clinique Chubby sticks are no stranger to these parts (see post here) in fact last year saw me purchasing my very first Clinique chubby stick and I was so blown away with the formula. Super Strawberry feels incredibly hydrating on the lips, the Clinique Chubby sticks are so comfortable to wear making them the perfect everyday lip product. When my lips are looking a little worse for wear the Clinique chubby sticks never emphasise or cling to dry patches on application. My lips always look plump and glossy after applying, for me the formula is perfect.

As you can see from the pictures above Super Strawberry is near enough a perfect match to my natural lip colour. I've never owned a lip product that matched my natural lip colour so closely, when I finish up with this I'll in no doubt hesitate in buying the full size…oh and I should probably replace Mum's too she unwillingly gifted this to me after seeing how much I loved using it.

If you have lips that are more on the pink side and struggle to find 'nude' lipsticks that match I can highly recommend this shade. The colour is so versatile and I can imagine this will suit so many skin tones.

Are you a fan of the Clinique Chubby stick? What are your favourite shades


Lush Catastrophe Cosmetic

So hands up who overindulged during the festive period? Yup, thought so. Let's face it the pull to dive into chocolate tins, eat endless roast dinners and enjoy the occasional boozy affair is way to strong to resist over the festive period …and if you did resist pat on the back to you please share your secret! If, like me you are now suffering with the aftermath (I'm talking a serious case of pizza face guys) then the Lush Catastrophe mask is just what you need.

Cupcake had to be my most repurchased mask of 2013 (review here) however Catastrophe stole the top spot in 2014 and I can't see it budging any time soon (sorry Cupcake fans.) Described as a calming and nourishing mask Catastrophe Cosmetic is the perfect face mask for congested skin. I find that this really helps to clear up my skin, it calms down any angry spots. Key ingredients include blueberries, chamomile and almond oil (which helps to soften the skin) so it's no wonder that this mask leaves my skin feeling incredibly refreshed and super soft. Although this does dry down like your conventional clay mask this doesn't suck up all the moisture from my skin it never leaves me with that stripped/tight feeling and unlike other fresh face masks in the range this isn't a complete faff to remove -  so it's a win/win really!

For when my skin is congested I find that Catastrophe Cosmetic gets to work fast, and let's face it that's what we all want a quick fix! This hydrating yet purifying mask is just what your skin needs after the festive period, certainly one to try if you are in the market for a new face mask.

What's your favourite Lush fresh mask? What are your favourite treatments for congested skin?

P.S Don't forget to up your water intake and eat lots of fruit/veggies to truly notice the biggest difference in your skin. My detox officially started yesterday!


2014 - My Top Five Most Read Posts

I often find myself focusing on the negatives when it comes to my blog, as a positive way to officially wrap up 2014 I thought I'd share with you 5 posts that received the highest page views in 2014. I love reading similar roundup posts on other blog. In terms of growth I think it's always good to look back and see what went well as more often than not the posts that I assume won't do well are actually some of my most read. Here are my top five posts that gathered the highest page views throughout 2014 (and still continue to receive clicks now!) *Heads up if you click the pictures they actually link to the posts.*

So kicking off at number 5 (ironically) it's my 5 Skincare Tips. This post saw me going right back to basics with some simple tips for keeping your skin clear and happy.

In at 4 was my second instalment of 'I Wish I Didn't Buy That' a series that shows me sharing the products that didn't float my boat. The fact that this made it into the top 5 shows that people do find the not so glowing reviews somewhat helpful, it's certainly encouraging for me as I do often question the value of these sorts of posts.

Coming in at number 3 was my 'Get Your Feet Summer Ready' post. Not the sexiest of topics but my post included some great product recommendations (that do all the hard work for you!) It's never too soon to start prepping…in fact I'm already dreaming of sandal weather, but with this ice/snow that we currently have it's a long way off!

Surprisingly at number 2 was my Northern Blogger Meet Up post. Considering I don't necessarily write up that many 'lifestyle' posts on my blog it surprises me on how many page views this post has had. 2014 saw me attending my very first blogger meet up, I had such a wonderful time and was actually way less nervous than I thought I would be. I'm hoping to put myself out there a little more in 2015 and say yes to more networking opportunities so hopefully there should be some more lifestyle posts over on these parts. 

Drum roll please… Coming in at the top spot was my NARS Sheer Glow Review. To this day this post still clocks in a lot of page views, and is perhaps my most viewed post ever on my blog. It seems like this cult foundation is still a firm favourite and still a highly searched product on Google. NARS Sheer Glow featured in my 2014 yearly favourites, if you'd like to read a full review be sure to click the link.

If you're a blogger what was your most read post of 2014? Also I'd love to know what your favourite types of posts are to read on blogs. 


#Fitspiration New Year Pressure

There's something quite uplifting about a New Year, in a way I guess it feels like a fresh start or a clean slate a chance to achieve the impossible (cheesy!) I often feel like there's a certain pressure placed on us to start a New Year 'right.' We are expected to reflect, have new goals and suddenly feel motivated to get fit (proven by the rise in gym membership sales during January!) Sometimes it almost feels like a competition, who can get to the end of the finish line first. I have nothing against people who see the New Year as a time to up their fitness game but I wanted to write a little post to remind you all that there is no 'right' time to get fit, you can choose to improve your health and fitness at any time during the year at whatever pace suits you. Whether that be cutting out a certain food each month, or slowly increasing the amount of exercise you do.  I'm a firm believer in setting myself small achievable goals throughout the year rather than one big mammoth task at the start of the year, with January being the longest, hardest month in the year why set all your eggs in one basket trying to give up everything you love all at once - if anything January is the month where we need it the most!

What do you think about New Year's fitness resolutions? Are you a fan of setting smaller goals, or do you go for the all or nothing approach? I'd love to hear your thoughts.


2014 Beauty Favourites - Drugstore

Happy New Year everyone, hope everyone had a lovely evening.
So here we are it is the final instalment of my yearly favourites, and today we are talking drugstore. This year in my opinion the drugstore really upped their game, with new releases left right and centre there was certainly more excitement surrounding some of my favourite drugstore brands. Slowly the gap between high end and drugstore is levelling out I'll be excited to see what new releases are in store for 2015, but for now here are my 2014 favourites - 

Lip Favourites 

Bourjois Plum Russian - I'll always be a plum girl at heart barely a day goes by where I don't apply Plum Russian. I featured this in my 2013 Top Picks, although the chubby stick is still going strong it won't be long before a repurchase will be on the cards. The glossy, long lasting formula of the Bourjois Colour Boost Chubby stick makes them an absolute essential for me. 

Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvet Lipsticks -  We all seemed  a little hot under the collar at Bourjois liquid lipstick release during Summer. I resisted the hype with these for so long, in all honesty I'd never tried a liquid lipstick where I was sold on the formula they always seemed to be hit or miss, Bourjois offering was certainly a hit with me. A matte yet hydrating finish, a long lasting opaque formula - I just love the Bourjois Velvet Lipsticks.

Makeup Revolution Lipstick in Reckless - It's fair to say I've well and truly gotten my pounds worth with this £1 lipstick from Makeup Revolution. For me it's the perfect cross between a berry/plum shade it's a lovely everyday shade and the formula is pretty spot on too, I find myself reaching for this so much as it's just so wearable.

Hair & Body Favourites

Lee Stafford Hair Growth Treatment - Hair growing gimmicks aside this hair mask performs like no other. My hair always feels softer, more manageable and healthy looking when I use this hair mask. It conditions my ends, and when my hair is in dire need of a haircut I find that this mask still makes my hair look in better condition than it actually is. A standout product and one I haven't hesitated to repurchase.

Lush Rub Rub Rub - I'm on my second tub of this blue gooey goodness by Lush. This is a great multi use scrub, for a more abrasive scrub you can apply this to dry skin but for a gentler exfoliation you can apply this to damp skin. My skin always feels so much softer after I use this, and although it's not your most conventional scrub (in terms of texture/smell) I find that this works so well for me.

Face Favourites

Revlon Nearly Naked - Drugstore foundations are a little hit and miss for me, however in 2014 I discovered the Revlon Nearly Naked Foundation and I found myself reaching for it so much during the summer time. This foundation offers a light to medium coverage and leaves my skin looking natural, fresh and dewy - it's the perfect foundation for Spring/Summer.

Lush Emotional Brilliance - Okay, so not the most convenient of packaging but the fact I still reach for this so much when it's so darn messy must mean it's true love right? This salmon pink powder is designed to be used over foundation to mop up excess oil and prevent that dreaded shine throughout the day. This leaves zero colour on my skin which is great for me as translucent powders usually appear ashy on my skin tone.

S&G One Heck of a Blot - If the Lush packaging just won't work for you, I also wanted to include the S&G One Heck of a Blot powder. This finely milled powder mops up excess shine and is a handbag essential for me during the warmer months. Again there's zero colour payoff so this really is suitable for all skin tones, it doesn't appear ashy/chalky on darker skin tones.

I'd love to know what your favourite 2014 drugstore products were?
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