What's Made Me Happy This Month? | January 2015

Friday, 30 January 2015

Celebrating my friend Alex's 21st; Moroccan food at St Nicholas Market in Bristol; with my friend Elly

January is always a strange one — things can seem a bit flat. Luckily I've been quite busy, which helps, although university has been stressing me out. Most of my deadlines for this year are in the next three months, and they definitely seem much closer now Christmas is over. I also want to get round to sorting out my summer, including more work experience (eek!) and maybe even a holiday, since I didn't go anywhere last year.

I really enjoy reading these kind of posts on other blogs, and I thought it was about time I started my own, so What's Made Me Happy? will be published at the end of each month. I think it's a good way to get to know a blogger better and incorporate some more lifestyle content, and it'll also be a record of all the things that make me smile. Everybody wins! Here are five happy things for January:


1. Spending my last night out of the holidays celebrating my friend Alex's birthday, surrounded by lots of people I love. The night started with a shot of vodka (in miniature champagne glasses, because we're classy like that) and ended with me wolfing down a meatball marinara sub. I got about two hours sleep and travelling back to Wales was a nightmare, but it was all worth it. Let us not underestimate the joys of friendship. Or swigging wine from the bottle. 

2. Visiting my friend Elly in Bristol for the first time. We had a night out dancing to cheesy music (Stacey's Mom by Fountains of Wayne, Teenage Dirtbag by Wheatus, plus all the Taylor Swift you could possible want) and then headed to St Nicholas Market for lunch the next day. We ended up eating some delicious Moroccan food  I had chicken couscous with caramelised onions, sultanas, and chickpeas, and the chicken was so tender it was falling apart. Elly's a vegetarian, so she opted for the halloumi, which was also delicious.


3. My Topshop triangle bra. It's sooooo comfy. Seriously, if you're reasonably small-boobed and don't mind the lack of underwire then invest in a couple of these for wearing underneath oversize jumpers, you won't regret it. They're pretty, delicate, and oh so sexy, and who doesn't love the little thrill you get from knowing you look damn good underneath your clothes? Life is too short for ugly underwear.


4. Submitting the two assignments I had to complete over Christmas. I can finally stop worrying about them and concentrate on other projects. About a million other projects, but let's not ruin the positivity. 


5. Being asked by my lecturer (Hey Barrie!) to talk about blogging with the first year English students. There's about forty or fifty of them and I am absolutely bricking it, but it's incredibly flattering to be asked. I'll let you know how it goes!


Let's hope February is just as fun! What's been making you happy this month? Let me know in the comments, and feel free to leave links to any similar posts you might have done, I'd love to read them.

In My Make Up Bag | New Additions for January 2015

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Since my overall routine hasn't changed that much, I thought I'd show you the latest products in my collection.


Charlotte Tilbury Make Up Bag

First things first, I finally got my hands on the Charlotte Tilbury make up bag, and I love it! Not just because of the lips design, or the words to live by on the back ('Give a woman the right make up and she can conquer the world?' Damn right she can) but because it's big enough that I can fit my brushes in there without the bristles going all weird or getting caught in the zip.

Eyes


Sleek Eyebrow Stylist



Sleek Eyebrow Stylist in Medium Brown



I always seem to overlook the Sleek stand, which is weird considering the brand's excellent reputation and their reasonably priced products. It's about time that changed, and where better to start than a new eyebrow pencil? This one has a triangular tip, which makes drawing in the hairs so easy, and there's a spoolie on the end for grooming too. I use the shade Medium Brown.

Makeup Revolution Amazing Inner Eye Brightener



Makeup Revolution Amazing Inner Eye Brightener


A nude pencil for the waterline, this makes such a difference, especially when your eyes are looking a little tired. This is the first Makeup Revolution product I've ever tried, and it hasn't disappointed. 

Lips


Charlotte Tilbury K.I.S.S.I.N.G. Fallen From the Lipstick Tree in Bitch Perfect, and Matte Revolution Lipsticks in Amazing Grace and Lost Cherry



Charlotte Tilbury lipsticks in Bitch Perfect, Amazing Grace, and Lost Cherry



These were Christmas presents, and I was so excited to open them on Christmas morning. Bitch Perfect is a beautiful everyday shade, and its staying power is spot on (it survived my friend Alex's 21st birthday with minimal touch ups, although I admit there were times when I reapplied just so I could admire the rose gold packaging; it's stunning).

Amazing Grace is a warm, mid-pink, and Lost Cherry is, as you might have guessed, a beautiful cherry red. Both feel very comfortable on the lips — no dryness or clinging to dry patches — and the square tip makes application a doddle.  


Face


Makeup Revolution Powder Blush in Love



Makeup Revolution Powder Blush in Love


A neutral pink, this blush is very pigmented and lasts all day. I've found that it adds a bit of warmth to my very pale face, which is always a good thing!

No7 Instant Radiance Highlighter




Champagne-coloured highlighter in the form of a chunky crayon. It adds a beautiful glow to the face and stays put once you've drawn it on, and to be honest I'm regretting not buying this sooner. I'm going to be writing a separate post about this very soon.

What have you been using recently? How are you mixing up your make up bag this month? Let me know in the comments!

My Make-Up Habits | An Interview with Mumma Toasty

Wednesday, 21 January 2015



My Make-Up Habits is a new series on Toasty, in which I quiz my family and friends about (you probably guessed it...) their make up habits and the beauty products they used. Who better to start with than the woman who raised me, my very own Mumma Toasty (real name Alison). Here, she tells me how she chooses her perfume, the best way to accentuate blue eyes, and her biggest, 'never again!' beauty regret.

Beth: What make up do you wear on a daily basis?
Alison: Foundation, powder, blusher, eyeliner, eyeshadow, mascara, lipstick or lip balm of some sort, to stop my lips going dry. [I] never go without it [make up], I couldn't do what you do when you can't be arsed. I forgot once when you were a baby because I was sleep deprived, and one of my colleagues noticed. I was absolutely horrified. Without mascara I look dead.

B: Do you have a skincare routine?

A: After a fashion [laughs]. I use wipes, and I use that Soap & Glory stuff when I think about it [she means the Peaches & Clean cleanser, which I gave her in an attempt to get her to stop using the wipes. It hasn't quite worked yet!] I always moisturise night and morning. And I never use soap, of course.

B: Trust me, you need to stop with the wipes. You'll thank me for the warning one day! What's your favourite skincare product?

A: Ooh, that Estee Lauder stuff. I can't remember what it's called. That miracle eye stuff. It's truly, hideously expensive.

B: What do you wear on special occasions?

A: I jazz it up with some gold and I make more effort. Perhaps a heavier hand with the mascara and eyeliner. And I wear brighter lipstick than I would in the day, depending on what I'm wearing.

B: Do you have a signature scent?

A: No, not really, although you always say Estee Lauder Beautiful reminds you of me and Christmas. Recently I started wearing Lady Millions. I deliberately didn't look at who the perfumes were by, I just did a blind test and picked that one. A present to myself.

B: Which products, if any, do you never use? And what's the worst product you have used?

A: The worst thing is anything I've had a reaction to. Once, I went to a Body Shop party and I had a reaction to the lemongrass stuff, so I avoid that. I never use soap. Or lipgloss, it's tacky and horrible.

B: I'm with you on both of those. Any beauty regrets?

A: Blue eyeliner on my waterline, like Princess Diana used to wear. It was very eighties.

B: Nice! Finally, do you have any tips or tricks?

A: Bronze and gold eyeshadow makes blue eyes pop. And I always highlight under my eyebrows to lift them.

I hope you enjoyed reading this, and if there are any other questions you think I should ask my interviewees then please let me know in the comments!

Sample Size | Moroccanoil Volume Essentials Mini Kit

Sunday, 18 January 2015



If you've been a reader of Toasty for a while, you'll be aware of how much trouble my scalp can cause me. It's quite sensitive, and it really doesn't take much to irritate it. Over the summer it's not too bad but in winter it can give me some serious grief, and this year has been no different. One day, while I was browsing on Buzzfeed, I came across this article and it recommended that people with fine hair avoid products with sulphates in them.

I'd been to the hairdresser a few days before, and they used the most amazing Moroccanoil mousse. I'd been considering trying some products by the brand for a while so that seemed like a good place to start. As it turns out, they do sample-sized kits, which each contain a shampoo, a conditioner, a mask and a bottle of oil, and the products are all free from sulphates (as well as parabens). I picked up the Volume Essentials Mini Kit, which costs £19.75 from Feel Unique. Here's what I thought.


Extra Volume Shampoo (70ml)
This creates more of a foam instead of the soapy lather you would usually associate with shampoos, but it still left my hair feeling really clean. My scalp is a lot calmer since I started using this too, and I've noticed that it doesn't get greasy so quickly. If I could only have one product out of these four, I'd pick this one.

Extra Volume Conditioner (70ml)

Light, but still hydrating enough for the ends of my hair. My curls definitely had more oomph too. In fact, I'd say the conditioner is better at creating volume than the shampoo!

Light Hydrating Mask (75ml)

The texture of this reminds me more of moisturiser than it does a hair mask, but don't let that put you off. I left this on for about five minutes before I rinsed it out, and afterwards the ends felt really soft, and they looked so healthy. Thick hair may need something a little more substantial, but for fine-haired ladies this is a dream. 

Moroccanoil Treatment Light (25ml)

Now I get why everyone raves about this stuff! I'm glad I got the light version, because I think the normal version would leave my hair feeling really greasy, but a tiny bit of this makes my hair feel silky and smooth — I couldn't stop touching it! The bottle is absolutely dinky, but my hair is just above my shoulders and very fine so it should last me a while. 

Moroccanoil also make a Repair Essentials Mini Kit, £23, which is probably more suited to thicker hair.


Have you tried any Moroccanoil products? Is there anything you'd like to try from this kit? Let me know in the comments!

Thoughts and Musings | 'Real Women Have Curves'

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

I first remember hearing the phrase 'real women have curves' when I was about fourteen or fifteen years old. It was around the time the backlash against Size 0 began, and suddenly thin was out and curves were in. A petite frame was no longer something to aspire to. 'Real women have curves', don't you know?

I hate that saying.


A real woman can be curvy, she can be skinny, she may have voluptuous hips and boobs and thighs or she may not. She might have a large bust and slim hips; she might be what they call a pear shape, and have a round butt and a smaller top half. Real women come in all kinds of shapes and sizes, and two people who wear the same dress size can have very different proportions.



Emma Watson is my ultimate girl crush and this quote is one of the many reasons why.
(source -
Pinterest)

Rather than celebrating this diversity, it seems that many media platforms are set on pushing the idea that we should aspire to look a certain way. Back in 2006/7, it was all about trying to squeeze into the equivalent of a UK 4. Then they changed tack and suddenly you were only 'real' if you could fill a bra (although you still weren't supposed to be plus-size).

I think that's why the 'real women have curves' saying gets to me so much. When it first became popular, I was an insecure teenager with AA boobs and maybe the smallest hint of a waist. My two best girl friends at school were (and are) both beautiful and voluptuous, and I felt like a little boy when I stood next to them*. I was already feeling anxious about my body, and then I kept reading that in order to be 'real', I should have the curves that had so far eluded me. What was I, a fake woman? 




While my bra size did increase a little, I've remained rather petite in stature, and gradually I've come to love the way I look. It turns out that there's a lot to be said for self-acceptance, and for taking the time to look after yourself. At the end of the day, my body works the way it should, and that's something to be thankful for. Making the most of what you've got is far more satisfying than trying to fit someone else's version of ideal.

You cannot celebrate one type of appearance by trashing another. Our bodies are all different, and that's a wonderful thing. Wouldn't life be boring if we all looked the same?


As for now, I see a lot of mixed messages. There is definitely more of a focus on health (that fitsperation! Those green juices!) but I still see magazines with covers about people in the public eye who, we are told, are sad because they've either lost or gained a few pounds. And while it can be frustrating when your weight fluctuates, does it really warrant a front cover? It's not exactly news; it happens to everyone at one point or another. Leave them in peace.


Have you ever had any similar experiences to mine? What are your thoughts about body confidence? Let me know in the comments!


* It worked the other way too. They were reading and hearing that anything over a size 10 was 'fat', and felt like they were too large in comparison. In reality, all three of us were normal, healthy girls who just happened to have different body types.

Review | Lush Butterball — My First Ever Lush Bath Bomb!

Sunday, 11 January 2015

LUSH Butterball


Ladies and gentlemen, I finally lost my bath bomb virginity.

I never really bought any LUSH products while I was living with my parents, and since I moved out and discovered the brand I've only ever had showers in my rented places. Bathtime went from being something I took for granted to a home-for-the-holidays luxury, and I always feel envious when I read about other beauty bloggers' bath products.

During a #bbloggers chat, I asked you lovely lot which bath bomb you'd recommend, and the most popular option was Butterball. While I was home for Christmas, I went to the local LUSH and picked it up, and I wasn't disappointed.


Lush Butterball
Butterball definitely reminds me of a snowball, very appropriate considering I used it at Christmas!

Butterball is more of a practical bath bomb than a novelty one. There were no fancy colours in the water, no swirls or glitter or surprises that you may expect from Lush, but that's not the point of this particular product. It smells of cocoa butter, a lovely, subtle scent that lingered on my skin and made me feel very calm and relaxed. My skin felt moisturised, so much so that I didn't need to apply Dream Cream afterwards, and I think this would make a lovely treat for someone who needs to wind down after a long day. A word of warning: Butterball does leave the bath quite slippery, so be careful!

I think £2.65 is relatively expensive for one bath, but seeing as baths are a rarity for me I don't mind (that sounds a bit weird, I still take showers, I swear).


Have you tried Butterball? What did you think? What other bath products would you recommend? let me know in the comments, and I may try some of them out next time I'm home!

Review | Botanics All Bright Cleansing Toner

Friday, 9 January 2015

Botanics All Bright Cleansing Toner


Last year I started to see Botanics products appearing on blogs more and more, and naturally this only made me curious. I picked up the Cleansing Toner, which forms part of their All Bright range. It claims to brighten up the skin and contains an AHA (alpha hydroxy acid), which apparently is an excellent exfoliator.  

I've been using the Cleansing Toner twice a week after washing my face, and I love it. It smooths the skin without being rough like a manual exfoliator and my complexion definitely looks brighter after use. The fine lines on my forehead are fainter, and the lines from my nose to my mouth have pretty much vanished; since this is the only new product I've introduced into my regime I can only conclude that it's the Cleansing Toner working its magic.

I wasn't sure how my sensitive skin would fare but I've experienced no irritation so far. AHAs can increase your skin's sensitivity to the sun, so it's important to use a moisturiser with SPF afterwards, or to apply it at night. While this product may say 'toner' on the label I've been using it in place of a manual exfoliator and I definitely prefer it, my skin is so much happier.


Botanics Cleansing Toner costs  £3.99 for 250ml. I managed to pick it up for the bargain price of £1.99 — the Botanics range is often on offer in Boots!


Have you ever tried anything from the Botanics range? What did you think? Let me know in the comments.

Blogging | Goals for 2015

Wednesday, 7 January 2015



Owl sticky notes I got for Christmas, so cute that I can barely bring myself to use them!

I'd finished writing about my New Year's resolutions the other day when I decided that it might be helpful if I had blogging goals too (this is the last goals/resolutions post, I promise!) 2014 was the year I really started to take blogging seriously, and I realised just how important this site is to me. I want to keep improving and learning more about the blogging world, and a new year seems like the perfect time to start. So here's what I plan to do. 

1. Buy my own domain
Three and a bit years ago, when I was setting up Toasty, I just wrote down the first thing I could think of for the web address. Let's face it, it doesn't really link to the actual name of my blog, and I really want to get rid of the .blogspot.co.uk. Any advice on the best (and cheapest!) way to do this would be much appreciated.

2. Learn HTML

I hold my hands up and admit that I barely know anything about HTML. But there's no denying that coding is a useful skill to have, especially when you run a blog.

3. Improve my photography

I vow to do this every year, and while I think I'm getting better, there's still a lot I can learn. I can't afford a fancy camera, so I'll be focusing on getting the best lighting and backgrounds I can find, and experimenting with new ways to photograph products.

4. Interact more

I started joining in with the #bbloggers chat in 2014, and I'm so glad I did! I've found so many more blogs to read and I love getting product recommendations from everyone. Since I've started publishing a bit more lifestyle content, I'm planning to join in with the #lbloggers chat more, and I'm loving the new #crazybloggers chat too, which is on Thursdays at 7pm GMT.

What would your blogging goals be for this year? Let me know in the comments!

Lifestyle | New Year's Resolutions 2015

Friday, 2 January 2015


Get Shit Done
(source)
Happy New Year everyone!

Last year my new year's resolutions were pretty successful on the whole, and they were a good motivator for getting things done (especially since I shared them on here!). I thought I'd do the same again, so this is what I hope to do in 2015:


1. Focus on the things that are important to me
With apologies for sounding cheesy, 2014 brought with it a lot of life lessons, some of them quite harsh, and I feel like I have a better understanding of what matters most to me: my family, my friends, my degree and potential career plans, staying healthy, and working on this blog. Those are the things I want to make time for.

2. Speak up

I'd be the first to admit that I'm terrible at speaking up for myself. I'm shy and introverted and I get worried about what I might say, even if I know exactly what I'm talking about. This year I want to push myself to step outside that comfort zone and actually say something. My creative writing classes will be the perfect place to do this; we're always discussing each other's work.  

3. Get more work experience

This was one of my resolutions last year, and it proved to be an excellent stepping stone towards knowing what I want to do with my life. This time I want to take things a step further and maybe get some kind of internship, although I'm not sure where yet. I just want to keep learning! 

4. Get stronger

When I first went to uni, I lost a lot of weight due to stress and exercise wasn't a priority; I just didn't have the energy or the motivation. I did a few gym sessions here and a few gym sessions there, but nothing consistent. As I began to feel better I started to become interested in fitness again, and gradually built up to doing more and more. I stopped going to the gym and started doing Blogilates workouts instead, which I much prefer. This year I really want to increase my upper body strength (it's dreadful) and my core strength, and maintain the strength I have in my legs.

So those are my goals for the year! Do you make new year's resolutions? What are they? Let me know in the comments!
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