2015 — Highlights, Lessons Learned, and a Look Back at My New Year's Resolutions

Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Aaaand 2015 is almost over. Wut? I say this every year without fail, but where has the time gone? And what on earth have I done with it? Well, quite a bit, actually.

2015 was a year of change for me. I moved into a new house with new people, I visited new places, and I have new projects to tackle at university. On the whole, I've been the calmest and happiest I've been for a very long time, and I hope that continues in 2016.

Some Highlights

  • Passing my second year of uni with a 1st, and coming top of my Writing Non-Fiction class
  • Volunteering at Cancer Research
  • Work experience at Buzz Magazine
  • Going to Parklife Festival in Manchester
  • Exploring Wales with my family
  • Spending quality time with my friends over the summer
  • Moving into a new student house, and being happy there

Lessons Learned

  • If you can survive going to the toilet in a portaloo at a festival, you can survive anything the world throws at you. You got this.
  • LUSH Dream Cream is an excellent treatment for beard burn.
  • Good company can cure a multitude of ills. Likewise, being around negative people saps your energy and makes everything feel worse than it is. It's okay to walk away from the negativity.
  • I love coffee, but coffee does not love me. It may leave me buzzing, energized, and bouncing off the walls, but it also makes me feel shaky and sick. No more frappucinos for me.
  • It's more than okay to take some time out if you need to.

New Years Resolutions 2015  How Did I Do?
I make resolutions every year, but whether I stick to them or not is another matter entirely. I always end up forgetting what they were about halfway though the year in February so it's an interesting surprise when I look back at them  I went through the same thing last year.

Focus on the things that are important to me
I think I did that, on the whole. Perhaps with a little bit of a slump in the summer, but it's easy to get stuck in a rut when you have five months off.

Speak up
Meh. I'm improving all the time, but there are still days when I'd rather sit quietly and go unnoticed. Which is natural, I guess, but I think half of the battle is pushing through those barriers. One to work on. I tried, at the very least. 

Get more work experience
Done, and done better than I dreamed of. I had an amazing week at Buzz Magazine and I also learned a hell of a lot at Media Wales. Sending those emails is always nerve-wracking but I'm glad I put myself out there because I've had some wonderful opportunities. 

Get stronger
Hmmm, I'd say if anything I'm actually weaker than I was at the start of the year. The stress of going into third year has meant that I've had to prioritize, and time in the library is currently more important than time spent working out. But I'm trying to get in a couple of workouts per week, so I'm not letting myself feel too guilty. The gym will always be there, whereas I've only got a few months left at uni.

Quite a mixed bag, but I think I've done alright! Do you ever make resolutions? Do you keep them? Let me know in the comments, and have a happy New Year!

Products of the Year — Part 2

Monday, 28 December 2015

Products of the year (hands and hair)

Hello everyone, how are you all? Did you have a good Christmas? Mine was quite relaxed; we sat and chatted, ate a tonne of food, played card games, and then watched the Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special (so glad Harry won, his dance was stunning!) I also had a mini-Christmas with my friends on the 23rd, which involved Monopoly, Cards Against Humanity, Love Actually, Secret Santa presents, a candy cane hunt, and more Chinese food than four people could ever want or need. I had a lovely couple of days and it's definitely left me feeling recharged after a busy term at uni. But before we move on, it's time for Part 2 of my Products of the Year series  this time I'll be looking at hand cream, hair products, and make-up.

(If you missed Part 1  skincare and bath/body  you can catch up here.) 

Hands and Hair 
Another godsend from Weleda, and this time it's the Almond Sensitive Hand Cream, £9.95, a.k.a. marizpan-scented goodness. So silky smooth, and so good at soothing sore hands. As for hair products, I'm afraid I caved and used the Odylique Gentle Herb Shampoo (v), £11, even though I promised to save it for a holiday. I'm not sorry, because it cleanses the hair without stripping it of moisture and is kind to my scalp, too.

Like your conditioners to smell edible? Then the Yes To Coconut Ultra Moisturise Conditioner, £5.99, is something you need in your life. It hydrates dry ends without the grease and also leaves them ridiculously shiny. If you need something a little more intense, then the Neal's Yard Rosemary and Cedarwood Hair Treatment (v), £6.50, could be the one. It's oily, and takes a bit of time to wash out, but it's so good for the hair, and my ends are so much healthier. Of course, if you'd prefer a buttery texture then LUSH R&B Hair Moisturiser (v), £11.95, might suit you better  a tiny bit sorts dry hair in seconds and it smells like winter (give it a whiff next time you're in LUSH and you'll see what I mean!)

Base Products and Brushes
On to all the fun stuff now: make-up! The Lily Lolo Mineral Foundation in Porcelain (v), £13.99, has proved to be a welcome, lighter alternative to liquid foundation; it's a pale, buildable powder that's suitable for sensitive skin. That said, there are still days when I need a bit more coverage and that's when I reach for NARS Sheer Glow Foundation in Siberia, £31. This, too, is a pale shade, and it provides medium coverage that leaves my skin glowy, not oily. Sold.

I couldn't talk about base products without giving NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer in Chantilly, £22, a mention laters, dark circles. The concealer is also good for highlighting underneath the eyebrows without any naff shimmer, and correcting any mistakes when you're working on your winged liner. Finally, we have my new favourite brush: the Lily Lolo Super Kabuki Brush (v), £14.99. It covers a large area of skin but is dense enough to buff everything in; I will never need another powder brush again.

Want to look healthy and rosy-cheeked? Sleek Shimmer Blush in Pomegranate, £4.49, could quite possibly be the answer. Now, I know the word 'shimmer' can be a little worrying when it comes to blush, but fear not: it makes your skin look glowy, not fibre-optic. Likewise, No7 Instant Radiance Highlighter, £9.95, is pretty and illuminates the skin, and the chunky crayon packaging makes application a breeze.

I never leave the house without doing my brows, and the Seventeen Brow's That! Brow Kit, £5.99, has everything I need in one place (and it's a perfect colour-match, too). I've also loved the Makeup Revolution Essential Mattes 2 Palette this year; it contains everything you need for chic, defined eyes and only costs £4.

When it comes to lipstick, the love of my life is most certainly the Charlotte Tilbury K.I.S.S.I.N.G. Lipstick in Bitch Perfect, £23. It's the prettiest pink shade, in the prettiest rose-gold packaging. Love everlasting. When I want something a bit more bold, I'm more likely to reach for NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Dragon Girl, £19. It's a gorgeous, blue-toned red, and the pencil shape makes it really easy to define your lips. Finally, I surprised myself this year by buying and loving a lip gloss, of all things: Lily Lolo Natural Lip Gloss in English Rose, £7.99. It's a lovely, everyday shade, it smells of chocolate, and it's not gloopy  ideal for days when you don't want to faff.

Which products have you loved this year? Let me know in the comments!

(v) = vegan

List | 10 Blogs I've Loved This Year

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Hello everyone, how are you all?  It's very nearly Christmas, so thought I'd share the love with a list of some of my most-read and most-loved blogs. One of the best things about blogging, in my opinion, is chatting to everyone on Twitter and leaving comments for people; it's a whole other community and I know that if I've been having a shit day then I can log on and be cheered up almost instantly. These ladies write wonderful posts and are all absolute babes to boot, and I hope you find some new favourites (that is, if you're not following them already!)

Products of the Year — Part 1

Monday, 21 December 2015

Hello everyone! How are you all? Maybe it's a bit early to be doing a round-up, since Christmas hasn't even happened yet (four days!) but I thought I'd get going with a Products of the Year series all the same. The original post was so long that I've split it in two  try as I might, I couldn't narrow it down to a list of five (or even ten) favourites; I've found too many gems this year. This is Part 1 (stating the obvious, good writing there, Beth...) and Part 2 will be up next week. Enjoy!

The Sunday Night Beauty Routine

Sunday, 20 December 2015

Hello! How are you all? I've flung myself into the Christmas holidays the best way I know how  by going out for food, and seeing everyone from home so that we can catch up. My week has basically consisted of eating, with the odd bit of Christmas shopping and writing thrown in for good measure. I've been so busy over the past term that I don't want to put too much pressure on myself to get work done over the festive period  I'll get off to a better start in the new year if I actually let myself have a break.   

The topic for the #bbloggers chat a few weeks ago was 'pamper nights', and I soon discovered that I wasn't the only one who doesn't normally have the time for a full-on spa evening, as lovely as they are. But I do like to spend my Sunday evenings looking after my skin and painting my nails, when I can, so I guess that's a pamper night of sorts? It's just my normal skincare routine with a face mask thrown in, but it feels like I'm doing something for myself, and that's enough to help me de-stress.   

Cruelty-Free Brand of the Month | Antipodes

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

It all started with a face mask. Over Autumn, I noticed the same product popping up in blog posts, over and over again: the Aura Manuka Honey Mask by Antipodes. I was curious for two reasons. One, because I'd never heard of Antipodes before. And two, because the Aura mask is supposed to be very good at calming down spots. After reading a few more reviews, all positive, I finally caved, and thus my love affair with Antipodes began.

In My Make-Up Bag | December 2015

Monday, 14 December 2015

Base products (December 2015)

Hello everyone! How are you all? I got home for Christmas last Friday and I'm so happy to be back. I ended up meeting my brother in London and we caught the train home together  our parents met us on the platform, which was just the loveliest thing. Proper Christmassy, actually (under two weeks to go now!)

It's been a while since I've done a post like this, so I thought I'd give you all a peek at what's inside my everyday make-up bag at the moment. Putting on my face almost (almost!) makes my early-morning starts bearable; it just gives me a moment to sit and breathe before I get going with my day.

Make-Up | Gold and Bronze EVERYTHING

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Barry M Eyeliner, Nars Illuminator, elf Mineral Eyeshadow
Clockwise: Barry M Waterproof Eyeliner in Bold Bronze; Nars Illuminator in Orgasm; e.l.f. Mineral Eyeshadow in Celebrity

I feel like a walking cliché sometimes. I've mentioned my love of berry lips many a time, but something I haven't written about as much is the sheer joy that gold and bronze make-up brings to my life.

The latest product in my collection is the Barry M Waterproof Eyeliner in Bold Bronze, which I like to use as more of a cream shadow/liner cross. I line my eyes all the way round and then smudge the colour  an easy way to make my blue eyes stand out.

Possibly the most shimmery, festive product I own, the e.l.f. Mineral Eyeshadow in Celebrity is a gorgeous gold shade that brightens the eyes on its own, and adds a little extra something to a smokey eye when it's patted over the top. (It's no longer sold *sobs* but the e.l.f. Studio Baked Eyeshadow in Bronzed Beauty looks quite similar). The NARS Illuminator in Orgasm works wonderfully along the top of cheekbones in the evening, and I particularly love it when worn with red lips.

List | The Seven Deadly Sins of Beauty

Monday, 7 December 2015

LUSH Candy Mountain

Hello everyone, how are you all? I've just about recovered from my timed assignment last week (task set on 9am on Day 1, must be complete and handed in on Day 2, just as stressful as it sounds) and Christmas shopping on Saturday (Cardiff was heaaaving). Now that's out of the way all I can think about is going home for the holidays. Five days, people, five days! 

The Seven Deadly Sins of Beauty is a tag, and I found a draft for it in my documents when I was having a clear-out a while back. I must have forgotten to add it to my blog schedule originally (oops) but better late than never, right? I can't remember whose blog I found it on originally, but thank you, whoever you may be! 

Bath and Body | Treats For the Evening, with Yes To Blueberries and LUSH

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