New Year's Resolutions 2014

Tuesday, 31 December 2013

To be honest I'm pretty rubbish at sticking to resolutions, so rather than go for the usual generic ones like 'be more healthy' (not currently possible with all the Christmas leftovers!) I've set myself four goals that I think are realistic and achievable.

1. Write something every day, even if it’s not much. 
I want to get into good habits, since I'm doing a Creative Writing degree, and who knows what I might think of?

2. Continue to write my blog and improve it.
I might make a couple of changes, and maybe include a few lifestyle posts. I’m not sure yet, I just fancy changing it up a little bit.

3. Read Jane Austen’s books. 
I’ve been telling myself since the age of fifteen that I will, and 2014 is the year that I'm going to stick to that promise. I've already started Northanger Abbey, and Pride and Prejudice is next on the list.

4. Get work experience. 
This is my plan for the summer. Whilst I know that I enjoy writing I'm not sure what I actually want to do when I finish uni, so I just want to see what's out there — I might find something totally unexpected.I'm only in my first year so there's less pressure but, as I'm constantly being reminded by my parents and the media and pretty much everyone I meet, lots of employers want graduates to have a degree and experience. It certainly won't hurt long term to have tried different things and it'll help me discover what really interests me career-wise.

Have you made any resolutions this year? Feel free to leave a comment if you've done a similar post to this one 
  I love reading what others are planning!

Happy New Year to everyone!

Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish and Instant Skin Boost Tonic

Sunday, 29 December 2013

I'm not one for spending much on skincare but moving across the country, not to mention the winter weather, has taken its toll on my skin (the air is different here, I swear!).

I thought it was about time I invested in something that I know works for me: Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser, my personal holy grail. I also bought their Instant Boost Skin Tonic, since I keep reading good reviews on different blogs.

And no matter how hard I try I can never seem to make toner part of my skincare routine, so I was hoping that investing in this one would encourage me to use it.

I ordered while the Liz Earle website had an offer for free p&p. When everything arrived it was all wrapped up nicely and a lot of thought had obviously gone into putting my order together, which was lovely.

I received a complimentary sample size cleanse and polish, which will be great to take with me when I travel to see friends and family. I wish more brands offered trial sized products, as I don't like paying for full sized versions if I don't know how my dry (and often sensitive) skin will react.

Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish and Instant Skin Boost Tonic
Muslin cloths, Cleanse & Polish, Instant Boost Skin Tonic

Anyway, on to the reviews. I won't go on too much about Cleanse & Polish as it's been written about many times. What I will say is that since I started using it a few weeks ago my skin has become clearer, softer and it has more of a healthy glow.

The dry patches of skin that I had before have now gone, and the gentle exfoliation that the muslin cloth provides means that they hopefully won't be coming back.

If you're looking for a good cleanser then I really cannot recommend this enough, especially if your skin is dry like mine.

The Instant Boost Skin Tonic is also lovely. It contains aloe vera, calendula, cucumber, rose-scented geranium and vitamin E so it feels very soothing on the skin and doesn't leave it feeling tight.

Cleanse & Polish is quite thick so this is perfect for getting rid of any traces you may have missed, and you only need a little bit on a cotton pad so hopefully it'll last a long time.

I'm not sure how secure the lid is though (you twist the top to open it) so I'm a bit worried about dragging it back to uni in my suitcase. Fingers crossed it survives the six hour journey!

Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser is available in a variety of sizes, including 15ml, 30ml, 50ml, 100ml and 200ml. I bought the 100ml pump starter kit, which costs £14.75 and includes two muslin cloths.

Instant Boost Skin Tonic can be purchased in either bottle or spritzer form, and in 30ml, 50ml or 200ml sizes. I bought the 200ml bottle, which costs £13.25.

The Sweater Weather Tag

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

I saw this tag on Been There, Done That, Got the Lipstick and thought I'd give it a go!

(Photo from Pexels)
1. Favourite candle scent?
Cinnamon, it's perfect for winter and reminds me of Christmas. My mum always burns candles and so they remind me of home too.

2. Coffee, tea, or hot chocolate? 

Hot chocolate in winter, Starbucks frappucino in the summer.

3. Which do you prefer, winged liner or dark lips?
Winged liner, for sure. Dark lips can look quite harsh on me because of my skintone.

4. Favourite Thanksgiving food?
I live in the UK so I don't celebrate Thanksgiving (although Black Friday seems to have made its way over the pond?!) but I'm a huge fan of the turkey dinner with all the trimmings, which is what we have on Christmas day. 

5. What's the weather like where you are?

6. Most worn jumper?
A red woolly one from H&M, it's so comfy! I also recently bought a navy one with sequins on it, which I love.

7. Must-have nail polish for autumn?
Nails Inc nail polish in Victoria is a gorgeous dark burgundy colour.

8. Skinny jeans or leggings?
Skinny jeans.

9. Combat boots or Uggs?
Combat boots.

10. Is pumpkin spice worth the hype?
I have no idea haha.

11. Favourite autumn TV shows?
It recently ended but I was glued to America's Next Top Model; Cory and Nina were my favourites. I also can't wait for the new series of Sherlock to start!

I tag everyone who reads this post :) 

Black Nails with Red and Gold Glitter

Sunday, 1 December 2013

I can't believe it's the 1st of December already! This year has gone so quickly, and so much has happened. Moving out has made me appreciate my home comforts even more, so I'll be spending the festive period enjoying the free food, free laundry and, most importantly, the company of my family and friends.

Festive Nail Polish

Anyway, on to my nails. This A/W I've found myself drawn to red and gold shades (very festive!) so I've put all these shades together to create some festive nail art.

Glittery Nails

For this one, I used Barry M nail paint in Black as a base, then layered Barry M nail paint in Ruby Glitter and glittery gold Claire's nail polish over the top.

I admit that Claire's isn't somewhere I shop for cosmetics, this was a gift, but it's actually lovely to use. There are lots of fine gold glitter particles suspended in the polish, and as you can see it looks great when layered with chunkier glitter pieces.

What I love about this look is that you can layer whatever shades you like to create something individual.

The only thing is, and I'm sure you'll all agree, glitter nail polish is a pain to remove.

Magazine Freebie — Rituals Fortune Scrub

Saturday, 23 November 2013

I'm sure I'm not the only one who loves it when magazines release their December issues because more often than not there are freebies of some sort. This year I think Marie Claire have won, because they're giving away very generous sample (150ml!) of Fortune Scrub by Rituals.

Rituals Fortune Scrub, free with Marie Claire

Fortune Scrub is a cream scrub, so it has a grainy texture rather than a gritty one. Nevertheless it's a brilliant exfoliator  I don't think my elbows have ever been so smooth!

The thick creamy consistency means that it's very gentle, so it's perfect for this time of year, and the sweet orange and cedar scent is lovely.

Admittedly I don't usually choose woody scents but the sweet orange balances it out really nicely so it's not too overpowering.

Rituals Fortune Scrub is available with the December issue of Marie Claire magazine, which costs £3.90.

The Fortune Scrub is worth £10 so this is definitely worth picking up, plus this month's issue is a very good read!

REN Skincare

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

A month or so ago I picked up three REN skincare samples with InStyle magazine, but didn’t get a chance to try them out til recently, when I went home for reading week and needed some travel-sized products. I regularly read good things about REN so I was very excited to use this set!

REN Skincare Samples

Evercalm Gentle Cleansing Milk

I loved this. It’s a cream in the tube but once it’s mixed with water it turns into a milk so a little goes a long way. My skin felt clean and soft after use.

Vita Mineral Active 7 Eye Gel

Again, a little goes a long way with this – there’s a lot more in that tiny tube than you’d think. The skin round my eyes feels taught, but it didn't make much of a difference to make dark circles. I'm starting to think that they're a lost cause! 

Evercalm Global Protection Day Cream

Very gentle and it has a lovely texture but it wasn’t actually moisturising enough for me. The weather turning colder has made my skin feel tighter (I’ve switched to the rich version of my regular moisturiser) so perhaps the results would be different if I tried it in summer?

Overall my reactions were mixed; I think I'd buy the cleansing milk and the eye cream but I'd have to try the moisturiser again before making up my mind.

Halloween Make-Up and Nails

Sunday, 3 November 2013

This year was the first time I've celebrated Halloween for about ten years  my flatmates and I all dressed up and had a night out. I got so excited about what I was going to do with my make-up and nails, and changed my mind about a million times before deciding on a cobweb theme. You can see my awkward selfie attempt below:

I used my Collection Fast Stroke liquid eyeliner to define my top lashline and then extended it beyond where I would normally flick to create a cobweb shape. I absolutely love this product; it's easy to use, a really nice shade of black and only costs £2.99.

I used Seventeen's Starry Eyes Trio Eyeshadow in Starstruck (pale pink, light metallic grey, dark grey/black) on my lids but all the shades were really patchy, no matter what I applied them with, and the pigmentation wasn't great so I was quite disappointed, especially as I love their cream eyeshadows so much.

On my lips I used Revlon's Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain in Crush and it was the perfect shade  plummy and dark enough for Halloween, but not too much with the heavy eye make-up. Its staying power was incredible; when I woke up the next morning there was still a noticeable hint of colour on my lips. Very impressive considering that I had several drinks throughout the night and took all my make-up off when I got back to the flat. Top marks Revlon!

Creating this nail art was so much fun! It was also really simple  I just used the pen nib on my Models Own Nail Art Pen to draw the cobweb shape on each of my nails. As I'm right-handed the cobwebs looked loads better on this hand (my left) but all the shapes were a little bit different so it didn't matter too much. I added a little bit of gold glitter in the centre of each one to match my witch hat.

Do you usually celebrate Halloween? What did you dress up as this year?

GOSH CC Cream Illuminating Foundation

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Today I’m going to share a product that I’ve really loved using: CC Cream by GOSH.


I’d never actually tried anything from Superdrug’s GOSH range before now, so when they brought out their new CC cream I was eager to try it. After a bad experience with L’Oreal’s one shade (supposedly) suits all offering I was attracted to this one because the pale shade, 01 Porcelain, is actually light, as opposed to light orange.

I’m sure you’ve heard all about CC creams by now  they’re the next craze after BB creams and the CC stands for ‘colour correct’.

This one is perfect for pale girls and evens out your skin tone like a dream.

I’d say the coverage was light but buildable. There are some days when I use it as I would a foundation and others where I just use a little bit where I need it.

GOSH CC Cream Swatch

The small nozzle makes it easy to dispense the right amount of the product, and it’s easy to apply with fingers, a sponge or a brush. The formula is oil free, but it wasn’t drying on my skin.

My skin isn’t particularly oily so I can’t say how good it is in that regard but the fact it's oil free is something to bear in mind. It’s also SPF 10, which is always good!

The CC Cream is described as ‘illuminating’, and it lives up to this claim. When it’s first applied to skin it looks like it has a little bit of shimmer but this calms down after blending to leave skin healthy and glowing.

I really love this product and I will definitely be repurchasing when I run out, it’s rare to find a base product that’s this good a match for my skin.

GOSH CC Cream Illuminating Foundation can be found in Superdrug. It costs £8.99 and is available in six shades.

Boots Facial Pore Strips

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

I’ve never really used pore strips before now. When I was a little bit younger and getting spots my mum’s remedy was tea tree oil, which stings like nothing else but dries blemishes up in a flash.

However, at the moment I seem to be having trouble with blackheads on my chin and nose so after seeing these Tea Tree and Witch Hazel Facial Pore Strips on offer in Boots I picked them up and hoped for the best.

Boots Tea Tree and Witch Hazel Facial Pore Strips

The strips are easy to apply; you wet your face, peel the strip off the plastic backing and stick it down on the skin, then wait fifteen minutes.

Peeling them off can smart a little a lot; it’s the same kind of feeling you get when removing a stubborn plaster. There may be a little bit of residue left from the strip but this is easily removed with water.

The most disappointing part was finding out that you can’t see the gunk you’ve cleaned out of your pores  surely that would be the fun part, or is that just me?!

Boots Tea Tree and Witch Hazel Facial Pore Strips

I have to say, gross fascinations with blackheads aside, my pores are looking a bit better after a couple of uses, which is what I wanted.

I don’t have as many blackheads as I did before so hopefully with a couple more uses they’ll disappear for good.

I’m not sure I’d buy these again though, they weren’t anything special and a fiver for six strips doesn’t strike me as being particularly good value. I think I’d rather stick with my trusty tea tree oil!

Boots Tea Tree & Witch Hazel Facial Pore Strips cost £4.99 for a pack of six.

Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain in Lovesick and Crush

Thursday, 23 May 2013

I've never really bought any Revlon products before but given my current obsession with lip colours I thought I'd try their balm stain (think similar to Clinique's Chubby Sticks) and picked up two shades: Lovesick, a bright pink, and Crush, a surprisingly wearable plum.

Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain

Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain in Lovesick (top) and Crush (below)

The first thing I noticed, even before I'd applied it, is that it smells of peppermint. I'm presuming this is the 'kissable' part taken care of but I wasn't expecting it so it was a nice surprise; as you know, I love the smell of mint!

When I finally got round to applying the balm stain I really liked it. Although it's not as balmy as I'd hoped my lips still felt soft  and the size of the crayon makes it easy to put on when you're in a hurry.

The colour can be built up so it's as barely-there or as bright as you want it to be but because it's a balm the overall finish is still quite soft, which makes it wearable. It does fade slightly during the day but it's easy to reapply, so no worries there! 

Because it's so lightweight I think this product is a really good way of trying colours you wouldn't usually consider  I never thought I'd buy any shade of plum but it's less daunting in balm stain form. 

Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain can be picked up from Boots for £7.99.

Palmer's Dark Chocolate and Peppermint Lip Butter

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

I'm a firm believer that you can never have too many lip balms, and the latest one in my collection is this one by Palmer's

"Soften and soothe your dry, chapped lips with this unique, dark chocolate and peppermint lip butter. A special formualtion of Palmer's pure Cocoa Butter, Vitamin E and Petrolatum provides ultra-moisturisation and a hint of gloss with the delicious scent of dark chocolate and peppermint.  This one-of-a-kind lip butter gives you a slight tingle so you know it's working to combat even the driest lips.  The addition of Peppermint Oil freshens breath naturally."

The lip butter has a thick consistency and is ever so slightly sticky when you first apply it.

However, once it sinks in your lips are left feeling soft and moisturised, and the scent of chocolate and peppermint (just like After Eight Mints, in fact) lingers for a long time.

It also retails for an incredibly reasonable price, costing £2.75 for a tube in Superdrug.

My one gripe would be that the packaging is unnecessary and not very environmentally friendly, so make sure you recycle it! Otherwise, it's a must have for chapped lips!
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