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After all the anticipation, Christmas 2014 is nearly here.

I'm so excited  we're having a massive family Christmas at my aunt's house and I swear she's preparing enough food to feed a few hundred.

Far from being wasteful, this just means we won't have to go food shopping until January. Having vol-au-vents for breakfast will become acceptable, if only for a few days, and I'll be enjoying all the Christmas sandwiches coming my way, too. Here are some more traditions I'm looking forward to.

(source)

Watching all the cookery shows and drooling at the TV

Nigella is my personal favourite, but anyone who makes a mouthwatering Christmas dinner is alright by me.

Bopping along to Top of the Pops 2

Oh, Top of the Pops, how I miss you. It's not Christmas until the Wombles have wobbled awkwardly around the stage as they wish you a Wombling Merry Christmas, or until my dad has shed his inhibitions and bellowed Slade at the top of his lungs.

Getting up at the crack of dawn

I'm a student, so for me the crack of dawn is 8am, but you get the picture. There have been years when we've been up earlier than the three children next door, the eldest of whom is a decade younger than me.

Usually my brother wakes me up by singing 'We Wish You a Merry Christmas in a psychotic whisper and then we wake my parents. My dad is awake from 5am, but not because he really loves Christmas, he's just an earlybird. The rest of us are a little more bleary-eyed but we pad downstairs and open our presents regardless.

Croissants for breakfast

With about five different types of jam, because we all like different ones. And orange juice in champagne glasses, because we like to pretend we're fancy while we sit around in our pyjamas.

Catching up with everyone

I always used to get so excited about opening presents when I was little, whereas now it's time I spend with my family that I treasure the most. They're not gonna be around forever, y'know?

Since I've gone to uni, a new tradition has emerged. Aside from getting stuck into all the work I have to do (why do tutors think they're being generous by giving you deadlines after the holidays?) I tend to spend the time going to the pub or out to eat with friends and family. It's so much fun, and not just because I love food. Sitting down for an uninterrupted conversation with the people who matter most to me is a luxury.


I think one of the best things about Christmas is that even most of us do the same kind of things, they're all different in some way. No celebration is exactly the same.

What are some of your traditions? Let me know in the comments and I hope you all have a wonderful break!

Christmas Traditions

After all the anticipation, Christmas 2014 is nearly here.

I'm so excited  we're having a massive family Christmas at my aunt's house and I swear she's preparing enough food to feed a few hundred.

Far from being wasteful, this just means we won't have to go food shopping until January. Having vol-au-vents for breakfast will become acceptable, if only for a few days, and I'll be enjoying all the Christmas sandwiches coming my way, too. Here are some more traditions I'm looking forward to.

(source)

Watching all the cookery shows and drooling at the TV

Nigella is my personal favourite, but anyone who makes a mouthwatering Christmas dinner is alright by me.

Bopping along to Top of the Pops 2

Oh, Top of the Pops, how I miss you. It's not Christmas until the Wombles have wobbled awkwardly around the stage as they wish you a Wombling Merry Christmas, or until my dad has shed his inhibitions and bellowed Slade at the top of his lungs.

Getting up at the crack of dawn

I'm a student, so for me the crack of dawn is 8am, but you get the picture. There have been years when we've been up earlier than the three children next door, the eldest of whom is a decade younger than me.

Usually my brother wakes me up by singing 'We Wish You a Merry Christmas in a psychotic whisper and then we wake my parents. My dad is awake from 5am, but not because he really loves Christmas, he's just an earlybird. The rest of us are a little more bleary-eyed but we pad downstairs and open our presents regardless.

Croissants for breakfast

With about five different types of jam, because we all like different ones. And orange juice in champagne glasses, because we like to pretend we're fancy while we sit around in our pyjamas.

Catching up with everyone

I always used to get so excited about opening presents when I was little, whereas now it's time I spend with my family that I treasure the most. They're not gonna be around forever, y'know?

Since I've gone to uni, a new tradition has emerged. Aside from getting stuck into all the work I have to do (why do tutors think they're being generous by giving you deadlines after the holidays?) I tend to spend the time going to the pub or out to eat with friends and family. It's so much fun, and not just because I love food. Sitting down for an uninterrupted conversation with the people who matter most to me is a luxury.


I think one of the best things about Christmas is that even most of us do the same kind of things, they're all different in some way. No celebration is exactly the same.

What are some of your traditions? Let me know in the comments and I hope you all have a wonderful break!
The journalist and author Sali Hughes has a wonderful attitude towards beauty and feminism. I mentioned it when I talked about reading her book, Pretty Honest, and today I'm going to devote an entire post to it.

Sali wrote a piece in the November 2014 issue of Glamour. It's called 'Brains. Equality. Lipstick.' and I agree with everything she says: the idea that if you're interested in beauty then you can't be a feminist is ridiculous.


Femininity Is Not Anti-Feminist
(source)

What irritates me most about this idea is that it suggests a love of beauty dumbs you down and/or makes you shallow. How does the fact I like to buy make-up, wear make-up and write about make-up have any bearing on my intelligence? It's possible for a person to have a range of interests, and if one of those things is beauty then so what?

I'm also irritated by people who think an interest in beauty means you aren't feminist enough. What this idea implies is that being feminine is something to be ashamed of; that kind of sexism is one of the many reasons we need feminism in the first place.

I was under the impression being a feminist means you believe in the social, political and economical equality of the sexes. Why should my love of burgundy nail polish exclude me from this movement?

I think there are far more important things to worry about than whether a woman likes to wear mascara or not. (Equal pay? Reproductive rights? Teaching young people about consent and respectful relationships, instead of blaming the victim?) Some of us wear it, some of us don't, and it's no one's business but our own, unless we choose to share it. That we're able to choose what we want to put on our faces is a victory in itself.

If you want to be bare-faced, then be bare-faced. If you want to make red lipstick your signature look, then do it (it's worked well for Gwen Stefani). You want to pile on the eyeliner and then rock a statement lip the next? Go for it. Feminism is about having the choice.

Have you ever experienced any negativity about your love of make-up? What are your thoughts about beauty and feminism? Let me know in the comments.

Beauty and Feminism Are Not Mutually Exclusive

The journalist and author Sali Hughes has a wonderful attitude towards beauty and feminism. I mentioned it when I talked about reading her book, Pretty Honest, and today I'm going to devote an entire post to it.

Sali wrote a piece in the November 2014 issue of Glamour. It's called 'Brains. Equality. Lipstick.' and I agree with everything she says: the idea that if you're interested in beauty then you can't be a feminist is ridiculous.


Femininity Is Not Anti-Feminist
(source)

What irritates me most about this idea is that it suggests a love of beauty dumbs you down and/or makes you shallow. How does the fact I like to buy make-up, wear make-up and write about make-up have any bearing on my intelligence? It's possible for a person to have a range of interests, and if one of those things is beauty then so what?

I'm also irritated by people who think an interest in beauty means you aren't feminist enough. What this idea implies is that being feminine is something to be ashamed of; that kind of sexism is one of the many reasons we need feminism in the first place.

I was under the impression being a feminist means you believe in the social, political and economical equality of the sexes. Why should my love of burgundy nail polish exclude me from this movement?

I think there are far more important things to worry about than whether a woman likes to wear mascara or not. (Equal pay? Reproductive rights? Teaching young people about consent and respectful relationships, instead of blaming the victim?) Some of us wear it, some of us don't, and it's no one's business but our own, unless we choose to share it. That we're able to choose what we want to put on our faces is a victory in itself.

If you want to be bare-faced, then be bare-faced. If you want to make red lipstick your signature look, then do it (it's worked well for Gwen Stefani). You want to pile on the eyeliner and then rock a statement lip the next? Go for it. Feminism is about having the choice.

Have you ever experienced any negativity about your love of make-up? What are your thoughts about beauty and feminism? Let me know in the comments.
It's the book which has everyone in the beauty world gripped: Pretty Honest by Sali Hughes. I've read recommendation after recommendation and for very good reason.

Pretty Honest is a straightforward, no-bullshit beauty guide, covering everything you could possibly want to know. Topics include skincare, foundation, hair removal, red lipstick, hair, gifts and getting the perfect manicure and pedicure, to name but a few. Seriously, there's advice for every single scenario you could think of.

I love Sali's attitude towards beauty. Her 'Brains, Equality, Lipstick' post in the November 2014 issue of Glamour really struck a chord with me  there's nothing wrong with being a feminist who loves beauty products.

Photo by Fabiola Peñalba on Unsplash

Five of my favourite tips from Pretty Honest:
  • Cold water is the best (and cheapest) toner you will ever use.
  • The easiest way to open up your eyes is to use eyelash curlers.
  • No product can get rid of cellulite (we all have it) but a good body scrub can help to minimise its appearance if it bothers you.
  • Whatever your age and weight, exercise will work wonders for making you look better, since it keeps muscles firm and helps with circulation.
  • If wearing red lipstick makes you feel self-conscious, try wearing it on three separate occasions. If you still feel uncomfortable after the third time then bin it; if not then you've found the shade which works for you.

I urge you to read this book if you love beauty and would appreciate some frank advice. I read my copy from cover to cover, but you can also dip in and out as you please, depending on the subject you want to brush up on.

Pretty Honest would make a great gift for a fellow beauty-lover, too. It's available from Amazon and at the time of writing the hardback copy costs £14.69. There's also a Kindle edition, priced at £4.99.

Will you be buying a copy? Let me know in the comments.

Pretty Honest: The Straight-Talking Beauty Companion by Sali Hughes

It's the book which has everyone in the beauty world gripped: Pretty Honest by Sali Hughes. I've read recommendation after recommendation and for very good reason.

Pretty Honest is a straightforward, no-bullshit beauty guide, covering everything you could possibly want to know. Topics include skincare, foundation, hair removal, red lipstick, hair, gifts and getting the perfect manicure and pedicure, to name but a few. Seriously, there's advice for every single scenario you could think of.

I love Sali's attitude towards beauty. Her 'Brains, Equality, Lipstick' post in the November 2014 issue of Glamour really struck a chord with me  there's nothing wrong with being a feminist who loves beauty products.

Photo by Fabiola Peñalba on Unsplash

Five of my favourite tips from Pretty Honest:
  • Cold water is the best (and cheapest) toner you will ever use.
  • The easiest way to open up your eyes is to use eyelash curlers.
  • No product can get rid of cellulite (we all have it) but a good body scrub can help to minimise its appearance if it bothers you.
  • Whatever your age and weight, exercise will work wonders for making you look better, since it keeps muscles firm and helps with circulation.
  • If wearing red lipstick makes you feel self-conscious, try wearing it on three separate occasions. If you still feel uncomfortable after the third time then bin it; if not then you've found the shade which works for you.

I urge you to read this book if you love beauty and would appreciate some frank advice. I read my copy from cover to cover, but you can also dip in and out as you please, depending on the subject you want to brush up on.

Pretty Honest would make a great gift for a fellow beauty-lover, too. It's available from Amazon and at the time of writing the hardback copy costs £14.69. There's also a Kindle edition, priced at £4.99.

Will you be buying a copy? Let me know in the comments.
One of the many things I love about living near Cardiff is that the city is home to an e.l.f. store  the first (and, as far as I'm aware, only) e.l.f. store in Europe, in fact  and when they offered to book me in for a makeover* I couldn't refuse.

Everything in the store is set out so you can browse and swatch the products, and I've always found the staff to be very friendly and welcoming, without being pushy. This occasion was no exception ('You're Beth the blogger!')


It's been a long time since anyone has done my make up for me, but Antonia made me feel very relaxed, and asked me what I wanted. Since it's Autumn, I decided on berry lips, and jumped at her suggestion of winged eyeliner to go with it.


Make up products at Elf Store Cardiff

She started with base. The first foundation, a liquid one, was too dark, but the mineral one was spot on (and meant I didn't need a separate powder). Antonia concealed the skin under my eyes, filled in my brows, and then used a light shade of bronzer for contouring. A fairly neutral shade of blush was popped on the apples of my cheeks, and cream highlighter was applied along my cheekbones and the centre of my face.  


Antonia used cream liner to apply the best cat-eye flick ever, which I have yet to recreate myself. I went for brown, as black can sometimes be too harsh in the day, especially with a dark lip. She added a pop of gold mineral eyeshadow to the inner corners, which I wouldn't have thought of doing but loved, so much so that I bought the eyeshadow afterwards. A couple of coats of mascara and my eye make up was complete.


My lips were defined with Lip Liner in Wine, a beautiful berry shade which comes with a blending brush on the end. Red lipstick was layered over the top for the finishing touch. I usually wear lighter shades, as darker ones can sometimes look a little gothic, but this didn't wash me out at all, and when I went to the hairdressers later that day they loved it.

I absolutely love this look. Lots of people in the store commented on how vintage-looking it was, and although it's more glamorous than the make up I'd normally wear during the day I'll be trying it again for sure. If you're ever in Cardiff then I really recommend a visit to the store, whether you want to buy some products, have your make-up done, or just enjoy browsing.




I couldn't resist buying some of the products that were used to create the look, and walked out of the store with:
  • Mineral Eyeshadow in Celebrity, £3
  • Mineral Foundation (SPF 15) in Porcelain, £5.95
  • Cream Eyeliner in Coffee, £3.95
  • Lip Liner & Blending Brush in Wine, £3.95

*Makeovers at e.l.f. Store Cardiff cost £20, which is redeemable against products. My makeover was provided for free, but I purchased some of the products afterwards (there was no obligation to do so).

A Makeover at e.l.f. Store Cardiff

One of the many things I love about living near Cardiff is that the city is home to an e.l.f. store  the first (and, as far as I'm aware, only) e.l.f. store in Europe, in fact  and when they offered to book me in for a makeover* I couldn't refuse.

Everything in the store is set out so you can browse and swatch the products, and I've always found the staff to be very friendly and welcoming, without being pushy. This occasion was no exception ('You're Beth the blogger!')


It's been a long time since anyone has done my make up for me, but Antonia made me feel very relaxed, and asked me what I wanted. Since it's Autumn, I decided on berry lips, and jumped at her suggestion of winged eyeliner to go with it.


Make up products at Elf Store Cardiff

She started with base. The first foundation, a liquid one, was too dark, but the mineral one was spot on (and meant I didn't need a separate powder). Antonia concealed the skin under my eyes, filled in my brows, and then used a light shade of bronzer for contouring. A fairly neutral shade of blush was popped on the apples of my cheeks, and cream highlighter was applied along my cheekbones and the centre of my face.  


Antonia used cream liner to apply the best cat-eye flick ever, which I have yet to recreate myself. I went for brown, as black can sometimes be too harsh in the day, especially with a dark lip. She added a pop of gold mineral eyeshadow to the inner corners, which I wouldn't have thought of doing but loved, so much so that I bought the eyeshadow afterwards. A couple of coats of mascara and my eye make up was complete.


My lips were defined with Lip Liner in Wine, a beautiful berry shade which comes with a blending brush on the end. Red lipstick was layered over the top for the finishing touch. I usually wear lighter shades, as darker ones can sometimes look a little gothic, but this didn't wash me out at all, and when I went to the hairdressers later that day they loved it.

I absolutely love this look. Lots of people in the store commented on how vintage-looking it was, and although it's more glamorous than the make up I'd normally wear during the day I'll be trying it again for sure. If you're ever in Cardiff then I really recommend a visit to the store, whether you want to buy some products, have your make-up done, or just enjoy browsing.




I couldn't resist buying some of the products that were used to create the look, and walked out of the store with:
  • Mineral Eyeshadow in Celebrity, £3
  • Mineral Foundation (SPF 15) in Porcelain, £5.95
  • Cream Eyeliner in Coffee, £3.95
  • Lip Liner & Blending Brush in Wine, £3.95

*Makeovers at e.l.f. Store Cardiff cost £20, which is redeemable against products. My makeover was provided for free, but I purchased some of the products afterwards (there was no obligation to do so).
I spend a lot of time browsing Twitter, checking my emails, creepin' on my Facebook friends, reading blog posts and writing comments, and looking for new Instagram accounts to follow. But it wasn't until recently, when I was heading back to uni, that I realised just how much attention I pay to social media, and electronics in general. I was stuck in my Travelodge room with no WiFi (they did have it but it cost extra, and going back to uni is expensive enough already) and, I thought initially, nothing to do.

I've always thought of myself as being pretty balanced when it comes to social media. I refuse to get Facebook on my phone, for example, since it means that once I've left the house I can only be reached via call or text.

But lately I've noticed that I've been spending a lot of time staring at one screen or another, and I'm not sure I like it. It used to be that I worried my online presence wasn't great enough; now I worry that by focusing too much on the virtual world I'm missing out on the real one.

Don't get me wrong, social media can be a wonderful thing. I keep in contact with family and friends over Facebook; when I'm scrolling through my Tumblr dashboard I can see a photo that makes me laugh out loud, and then read a thought-provoking post immediately after; the #bbloggers chat is my favourite thing about Twitter.


However, during the short time I had no internet access, I devoured the October issue of Elle, which gave me a load of beauty inspiration. I was fully focused on the latest episode of Mock The Week, able to chortle at the discussions about Scottish independence, Boris Johnson, and, of all things, Facebook and Twitter. I finished the the ebook I'd had on the go (Panic, by Lauren Oliver). I sorted out everything for the next day. And then I sat down to scribble this post.


There are things I want to achieve, and they won't get done if I am constantly glued to my newsfeed. There are a tonne of books I want to read – really read, not half-heartedly flick through.


I want to explore more of my uni town, and get to know the area the same way I know back home.

I want to socialise with my housemates and have proper conversations with the people I meet, instead of having one eye on my phone all the time.

I want to develop the short story I wrote for my portfolio last year, and maybe even turn it into a novel one day.

I'll be trying to find a way to do all these things and more, while reducing the amount of time I spend on social media. I want to get the balance right again.

What are your thoughts? Is your life ruled by social media or have you struck a good balance? Do you like to switch off now and then? Let me know in the comments.

Switching Off

I spend a lot of time browsing Twitter, checking my emails, creepin' on my Facebook friends, reading blog posts and writing comments, and looking for new Instagram accounts to follow. But it wasn't until recently, when I was heading back to uni, that I realised just how much attention I pay to social media, and electronics in general. I was stuck in my Travelodge room with no WiFi (they did have it but it cost extra, and going back to uni is expensive enough already) and, I thought initially, nothing to do.

I've always thought of myself as being pretty balanced when it comes to social media. I refuse to get Facebook on my phone, for example, since it means that once I've left the house I can only be reached via call or text.

But lately I've noticed that I've been spending a lot of time staring at one screen or another, and I'm not sure I like it. It used to be that I worried my online presence wasn't great enough; now I worry that by focusing too much on the virtual world I'm missing out on the real one.

Don't get me wrong, social media can be a wonderful thing. I keep in contact with family and friends over Facebook; when I'm scrolling through my Tumblr dashboard I can see a photo that makes me laugh out loud, and then read a thought-provoking post immediately after; the #bbloggers chat is my favourite thing about Twitter.


However, during the short time I had no internet access, I devoured the October issue of Elle, which gave me a load of beauty inspiration. I was fully focused on the latest episode of Mock The Week, able to chortle at the discussions about Scottish independence, Boris Johnson, and, of all things, Facebook and Twitter. I finished the the ebook I'd had on the go (Panic, by Lauren Oliver). I sorted out everything for the next day. And then I sat down to scribble this post.


There are things I want to achieve, and they won't get done if I am constantly glued to my newsfeed. There are a tonne of books I want to read – really read, not half-heartedly flick through.


I want to explore more of my uni town, and get to know the area the same way I know back home.

I want to socialise with my housemates and have proper conversations with the people I meet, instead of having one eye on my phone all the time.

I want to develop the short story I wrote for my portfolio last year, and maybe even turn it into a novel one day.

I'll be trying to find a way to do all these things and more, while reducing the amount of time I spend on social media. I want to get the balance right again.

What are your thoughts? Is your life ruled by social media or have you struck a good balance? Do you like to switch off now and then? Let me know in the comments.
The hunt for a good shampoo has begun again. I had my hopes up when I tried Naked's Mild Shampoo. It was good at first, but after a few weeks of use I started to notice a burning sensation on my scalp after I washed it. I stopped using it and the burning disappeared, so I guess it won't be my holy grail after all!

I decided to abandon the aisles of Boots and Superdrug and popped into Lush's Cardiff store. The staff in there are always so lovely, and the woman who served me (I don't know her name but she was really helpful) sat me down and asked what my hair was like and what I wanted from a shampoo.

She brought out some samples of several products she thought might suit me and I tried them against my skin to see if they caused a reaction (only one did). There were a couple of solid shampoo bars (Soak and Float and Trichomania), a bottle of Fairly Traded Honey (which did not agree with me) and a pot of Blousey.


The one I liked the most was Blousey (v), so of course it had to be the most expensive one. I nearly fell off my chair when I was told it costs £18 for a 240g pot! However, because it's quite rich you only need a tiny little bit each time, so it should last for ages, and by this point I was desperate to find something for my hair, so I bought it.

LUSH Blousey Banana Shampoo

The main ingredient of Blousey is bananas but the mix of rosemary oil, juniper oil and spices that form part of the ingredients actually smell stronger. It doesn't look particularly appetizing but don't let that put you off! It has a lot of natural ingredients and is free from preservatives, but unlike some fresh products it doesn't need to be used up too quickly (mine doesn't expire until 2015).

Unlike your average shampoo, Blousey doesn't lather, so I find that its best to apply it directly to your hair and then massage it into your scalp.

I'm really impressed with the difference it's made to my hair. Despite the lack of lather it washes out easily and leaves my roots feeling clean and silky. I've also noticed that I've had less frizz, which is probably because of how moisturising the shampoo is.

I have fine hair so I was worried it would weigh it down but as long as I don't use too much then my hair never looks lank or greasy, just happy and healthy. Finally!

Lush Blousey Banana Shampoo costs £18.95 for a 240g pot and is available instore and online here.

(v) = vegan

Review: Lush Blousey Banana Shampoo

The hunt for a good shampoo has begun again. I had my hopes up when I tried Naked's Mild Shampoo. It was good at first, but after a few weeks of use I started to notice a burning sensation on my scalp after I washed it. I stopped using it and the burning disappeared, so I guess it won't be my holy grail after all!

I decided to abandon the aisles of Boots and Superdrug and popped into Lush's Cardiff store. The staff in there are always so lovely, and the woman who served me (I don't know her name but she was really helpful) sat me down and asked what my hair was like and what I wanted from a shampoo.

She brought out some samples of several products she thought might suit me and I tried them against my skin to see if they caused a reaction (only one did). There were a couple of solid shampoo bars (Soak and Float and Trichomania), a bottle of Fairly Traded Honey (which did not agree with me) and a pot of Blousey.


The one I liked the most was Blousey (v), so of course it had to be the most expensive one. I nearly fell off my chair when I was told it costs £18 for a 240g pot! However, because it's quite rich you only need a tiny little bit each time, so it should last for ages, and by this point I was desperate to find something for my hair, so I bought it.

LUSH Blousey Banana Shampoo

The main ingredient of Blousey is bananas but the mix of rosemary oil, juniper oil and spices that form part of the ingredients actually smell stronger. It doesn't look particularly appetizing but don't let that put you off! It has a lot of natural ingredients and is free from preservatives, but unlike some fresh products it doesn't need to be used up too quickly (mine doesn't expire until 2015).

Unlike your average shampoo, Blousey doesn't lather, so I find that its best to apply it directly to your hair and then massage it into your scalp.

I'm really impressed with the difference it's made to my hair. Despite the lack of lather it washes out easily and leaves my roots feeling clean and silky. I've also noticed that I've had less frizz, which is probably because of how moisturising the shampoo is.

I have fine hair so I was worried it would weigh it down but as long as I don't use too much then my hair never looks lank or greasy, just happy and healthy. Finally!

Lush Blousey Banana Shampoo costs £18.95 for a 240g pot and is available instore and online here.

(v) = vegan
My favourite make-up look is golden-bronze eyes.

My mum is my inspiration for this, as she's made it part of her everyday make-up for as long as I can remember. We both have similar colouring  blue eyes and pale skin with freckles (although unlike me she gets a tan in summer).

She always tells me that gold and bronze tones warm up the complexion and make blue eyes pop. This was the first piece of beauty advice she ever gave me and it's stuck, although we have different ways of creating our respective looks.

The Dolce Vita swatches

I wanted to invest in a palette where every shade would be worn and appreciated  enter Charlotte Tilbury's Luxury Palette in The Dolce Vita.

At £39, it's not cheap, and it's not within my student budget; it was swiftly added to the top of my Christmas list, and luckily for me, Santa delivered. I was delighted, but it also took me a while to start using it because I didn't want to spoil something so perfect!

The Dolce Vita has four shades:
  • Prime: pale champagne pink
  • Enhance: copper
  • Smoke: shimmery golden brown
  • Pop: glittery gold

The Dolce Vita swatches (with flash)

The shades can be used in different combinations depending on what you're doing and where you're going, with a video tutorial on Tilbury's YouTube channel teaching you how to take the look from day to night. In a nutshell: smoke it up and add all the glitter.

I've got a photo of my own attempt below, but it's well worth checking out Charlotte's channel, both for this and for other make-up looks (the feline flick is a favourite of mine!)

The Dolce Vita (on eye)

Texture-wise, the eyeshadows have the most beautiful consistency. They're almost like cream eyeshadows, but because they're made of powder they blend together flawlessly.

All four shades are very pigmented, although I find the pop shade (that amazing gold) needs a couple of layers applied with a finger to be really noticeable. The rest of the eyeshadows all work best with brushes.

Lastly, can I just say how good it is to own a palette which doesn't come with those awful sponge brushes that never get used? The Dolce Vita is a true holy grail product.

The Luxury Palette in The Dolce Vita is available from the Charlotte Tilbury website, and costs £39. There are also seven other combinations to choose from.

Review: Charlotte Tilbury Luxury Palette in The Dolce Vita

My favourite make-up look is golden-bronze eyes.

My mum is my inspiration for this, as she's made it part of her everyday make-up for as long as I can remember. We both have similar colouring  blue eyes and pale skin with freckles (although unlike me she gets a tan in summer).

She always tells me that gold and bronze tones warm up the complexion and make blue eyes pop. This was the first piece of beauty advice she ever gave me and it's stuck, although we have different ways of creating our respective looks.

The Dolce Vita swatches

I wanted to invest in a palette where every shade would be worn and appreciated  enter Charlotte Tilbury's Luxury Palette in The Dolce Vita.

At £39, it's not cheap, and it's not within my student budget; it was swiftly added to the top of my Christmas list, and luckily for me, Santa delivered. I was delighted, but it also took me a while to start using it because I didn't want to spoil something so perfect!

The Dolce Vita has four shades:
  • Prime: pale champagne pink
  • Enhance: copper
  • Smoke: shimmery golden brown
  • Pop: glittery gold

The Dolce Vita swatches (with flash)

The shades can be used in different combinations depending on what you're doing and where you're going, with a video tutorial on Tilbury's YouTube channel teaching you how to take the look from day to night. In a nutshell: smoke it up and add all the glitter.

I've got a photo of my own attempt below, but it's well worth checking out Charlotte's channel, both for this and for other make-up looks (the feline flick is a favourite of mine!)

The Dolce Vita (on eye)

Texture-wise, the eyeshadows have the most beautiful consistency. They're almost like cream eyeshadows, but because they're made of powder they blend together flawlessly.

All four shades are very pigmented, although I find the pop shade (that amazing gold) needs a couple of layers applied with a finger to be really noticeable. The rest of the eyeshadows all work best with brushes.

Lastly, can I just say how good it is to own a palette which doesn't come with those awful sponge brushes that never get used? The Dolce Vita is a true holy grail product.

The Luxury Palette in The Dolce Vita is available from the Charlotte Tilbury website, and costs £39. There are also seven other combinations to choose from.
Toasty is going cruelty-free.

I was using some vegan shampoo the other day and started to wonder if I should look for similar products. Then I saw Hayley's blog post about how she plans to go cruelty-free  by that she means she won't be buying using any products which are tested on animals.

She posted a link to a list of companies who still conduct animal testing and I was gobsmacked at how many there were. I'd been blissfully unaware and assumed animal testing was a thing of the past.

I made a list of all the brands whose products I own and then did some snooping online, checking out the PETA website and also the websites of the companies themselves.

One thing I noticed is the companies who are cruelty-free make that very clear, while the companies who aren't are much more evasive about their policies.

There are a few exceptions to this trend. Estee Lauder and Clinique both say they're trying to eliminate animal testing, but they continue to sell their products in China, where animal testing is required by law. Sounds to me like the law needs to be changed!

Cruelty-free beauty products from LoveLula

All this got me thinking. There may be companies that test on animals, but there are plenty that don't, so why not try and go cruelty-free myself?

It won't be easy, as some of my favourite brands are non-cf, but at the end of the day it's make-up. I love it but it's not worth harming animals for, especially when it's not necessary.

The thought of trying to use up so much make-up was daunting, but I decided to pull myself together. After all, it'll be fun creating searching for new products once my old ones have run out, and I'll probably end up trying brands I might not have looked at before.

From now on (1st March 2014), to the best of my knowledge, none of the products I feature on Toasty will have been tested on animals.

I found lots of sites that listed companies that do and don't test on animals but they were often contradictory so I think it's worth looking at the companies' websites or even emailing them directly, which is a practice I came across during my Google searches.


Would you ever consider going cruelty free? If you already have then how easy/difficult has it been? I'd love to know! 

A Cruelty-Free Blog

Toasty is going cruelty-free.

I was using some vegan shampoo the other day and started to wonder if I should look for similar products. Then I saw Hayley's blog post about how she plans to go cruelty-free  by that she means she won't be buying using any products which are tested on animals.

She posted a link to a list of companies who still conduct animal testing and I was gobsmacked at how many there were. I'd been blissfully unaware and assumed animal testing was a thing of the past.

I made a list of all the brands whose products I own and then did some snooping online, checking out the PETA website and also the websites of the companies themselves.

One thing I noticed is the companies who are cruelty-free make that very clear, while the companies who aren't are much more evasive about their policies.

There are a few exceptions to this trend. Estee Lauder and Clinique both say they're trying to eliminate animal testing, but they continue to sell their products in China, where animal testing is required by law. Sounds to me like the law needs to be changed!

Cruelty-free beauty products from LoveLula

All this got me thinking. There may be companies that test on animals, but there are plenty that don't, so why not try and go cruelty-free myself?

It won't be easy, as some of my favourite brands are non-cf, but at the end of the day it's make-up. I love it but it's not worth harming animals for, especially when it's not necessary.

The thought of trying to use up so much make-up was daunting, but I decided to pull myself together. After all, it'll be fun creating searching for new products once my old ones have run out, and I'll probably end up trying brands I might not have looked at before.

From now on (1st March 2014), to the best of my knowledge, none of the products I feature on Toasty will have been tested on animals.

I found lots of sites that listed companies that do and don't test on animals but they were often contradictory so I think it's worth looking at the companies' websites or even emailing them directly, which is a practice I came across during my Google searches.


Would you ever consider going cruelty free? If you already have then how easy/difficult has it been? I'd love to know! 

Shop My Favourites


Beth, 23, South East England. I'm a writer with a love of books, lipstick, and the Oxford comma. I love beauty and I also love animals, so I only buy, use, and feature products from cruelty-free brands. (Seriously though, I am the person who stops to fuss over every dog she sees.) You can also expect posts about vegan/vegetarian food, and plenty of musings about life as a 20-something. Want to get in touch? Email me at beth.toasty@gmail.com

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