August

Wednesday, 31 August 2016

August has gone by in a flash. I can't believe I've been in my internship for four and a half weeks already  I'm over a quarter of the way through! I'll be honest, as much as I enjoy the work and like the office I'm in, I'm in what feels like a permanently tired state these days, and full of admiration for anyone who manages to keep up with their blog, work full-time, and have a life.You're all amazing. 

Truthfully, blogging has started to feel like a bit of a chore, which I hate because I really do love it. But a huge part of my job involves writing blog posts and by the time I get home all I want to do is eat, read, and go to bed, so I save anything Toasty-related for the weekend. Basically, I'm a little out of sync with the whole blogging world. I'm sure I'm not the only one who's been through this though  how did you deal with it?



I watched... The Chronicles of Nadiya. I have loved many Bake Off contestants over the years but no one has charmed me quite the way Nadiya has. From her hilarious facial expressions to her cute little moments of glee, she's just a joy to watch and I'm so happy someone had the good sense to give her a TV show. What a babe.

I read... I pass the time on the train by reading the Metro in the morning and the London Evening Standard after work. I now feel very up to date on current affairs. I'm also missing the coverage of the Olympics from the sports pages, because it was the only way I was able to keep up with what was going on (and who doesn't get a warm and fuzzy feeling from seeing a Brit absolutely smash it on the track/on the pitch/in the pool?) I can only hope they dedicate the same depth of coverage to the Paralympics once they start, because football bores me to tears. 

I listened to... I made myself a lively playlist for my Monday mornings and called it Wake Up, Bitch, because frankly I need to be tough with myself at 5:30am.

I bought... What with work and commuting etc I won't really have time to go shopping, so I did all my A/W buying in bulk over the Bank Holiday weekend, while my student discount was still valid. I got some lovely jumpers from Pull & Bear, some cute cable knits from Uniqlo, and some everyday skirts from ASOS. Winter clothing is my absolute fave.

Blog Posts I've Loved: Robyn's thoughts on dealing with lack of motivation, Lauren's 4 Distraction Techniques for Anxiety and Tara's guide to taking care of your vagina

Product of the Month: The LUSH Rosy Cheeks face mask has worked wonders at calming down any breakouts I get.

How was August for you? Let me know in the comments!

Review: Ooh! Oils of Heaven Cacay Oil

Monday, 29 August 2016

I used to shudder at the prospect of putting oil on my face.

Even before my skin became a little greasier and more spot-prone, the idea of using an oil to moisturise was one I refused to even entertain.

But then I started reading some reviews of face oils on blogs, and many of the bloggers in question had noticed a significant reduction in the amount of blemishes they had after using an oil. Curious, I ordered a bottle to try  and I was sold. Face oils are now one of my favourite beauty products.

So when the lovely people from Ooh! Oils of Heaven got in touch to ask if I'd like to try their Natural Cacay Anti-Ageing Face Oil, £39*, I said yes.

Cacay Oil is 100% Caryodendron Orinocense Seed Oil, or a 100%-natural nut oil in simpler terms, and has a faint scent that reminds me of sesame. It contains double the amount of Vitamin E and Linoleic Acid than argan oil, and three times more Retinol than rosehip oil. All are said to be the ideal anti-ageing ingredients and while I'm not at the stage where I need to worry about that just yet, my skin does look a little more alive after I use the oil.

Ooh! Oils of Heaven Cacay Oil

There are three questions I ask myself whenever I try new evening skincare:

  1. Does it keep my skin hydrated through the night until morning?
  2. Does it inflame my acne and/or mix badly with my acne medication?
  3. Would I use it to replace my favourite rosehip oil?

A dry oil, this is definitely the lightest oil I've ever tried. Ooh! suggest you can use the Cacay Oil morning and night, although I stick to the evenings  it sinks in quickly but it does still linger longer than a lotion. I wake up each morning with my skin feeling soft and moisturised, with no residue in sight.

Does it keep my skin hydrated? Oh yes.

I'm also happy to report that the Cacay Oil hasn't caused any breakouts (although admittedly I haven't really noticed a positive difference, either, but that may be down to the stress of starting a new job, I'm not sure). My acne medication sits nicely over the top of the oil, too, with no strange reactions. 

The killer question, then: Would I use it to replace my favourite rosehip oil?

Unfortunately the answer is no. The Cacay Oil is lovely, don't get me wrong, but I need skincare that will make a visible difference to my spots. If, however, you want a product that tackles the effects of ageing and you don't want to give up using face oils, or you've got clear skin and you'd like an oil that's light yet hydrating, this may well be worth a try.

Are you a fan of face oils? Have you ever tried anything from Ooh! Oils of Heaven? Let me know in the comments!

3 Cruelty-Free Body Scrubs For Every Occasion

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

I love a good body scrub.

And yet I don't use them as much as I would otherwise, because I'm too lazy when it comes to applying moisturiser afterwards. (And you have to apply moisturiser, because otherwise your skin dries out.)

The best body scrubs I've found are the ones that I look forward to using  can't wait to use, even  regardless of the moisturiser thing, and today I'm sharing three scrubs that have been firm fixtures on my shower over the past month or so.

Cruelty-free body scrubs

For when your skin is feeling sensitive but you still need a bit of a boost

Avril Body Scrub*, roughly £6.06 for 200ml

I'll be doing a more in-depth post about Avril but for now, let me just say that their products do their job really well and are incredibly good value. Their Body Scrub is no exception  it has a gel-like texture and feels very light, but it's not wimpy; it definitely does something. Organic sugar, rice powder, and almond shell polish the skin, while organic grapefruit essential oil gives the scrub a beautifully fresh fragrance. One for early mornings.

For when you want something a bit more scrubby but you're short on time

Soap & Glory Flake Away, £8 for 300ml

An old favourite, Flake Away contains sugar, peach seed powder, and sea salt to really buff away dead skin, while shea butter, grapeseed oil, and almond oil work to moisturise and soothe. I love using Flake Away and I've never had any irritation from using it. A product I will buy again and again.


For when you want to go nuts

Scrub Love Mint Temptation Coffee Body Scrub, £12.95 for 200ml

Seriously exfoliating, this scrub means business. It goes everywhere. The first time I used it there were coffee granules on the wall, on the side of the bath, in my butt crack... it was unbelievably messy. It took me about ten minutes to clean the bathroom afterwards. The peppermint and tea tree oils cause a cooling sensation when the scrub is washed off, which is incredibly refreshing, and they've definitely helped to dry out and clear up the acne I had on my back (bacne?) However, the coffee granules have been clogging up the pipes in the bathroom (we have problems with them anyway) and my mum has banned me from using it. Yup, it's forbidden. And while I understand why, I'm also a little bit gutted. So long, Scrub Love, it was fun while it lasted...

What's your favourite body scrub? Have you tried any of these? Let me know in the comments!

5 Things That Have Helped Me To Deal With Moving Back Home

Monday, 22 August 2016

Towards the end of my second year, I began declaring that my worst nightmare after university would be having to move back in with my parents. Fast forward a year...

... and I've moved back in with my parents.

21-year-old Beth would be fuming. But 22-year-old Beth is trying to see the positive side of things. First, I don't have to pay any rent just yet (because I'm not earning enough, but we'll brush past that for the moment). I have someone to pick me up from the train station when I get in from work every day. My mum cooks me dinner nearly every night, so that I have more time to relax after a long day at work.

In short, things could be way, way worse than they are. I'm very grateful I have my family around to help out.

But that's not to say it can't be frustrating at times. It's been three years since I've lived here full-time and moving out gave me the independence I was craving so desperately. Returning to the nest can feel like a step backwards (I really like having my own space) but I've been trying to make the best of it.

So what's helped me deal with moving back home?

5 Things That Have Helped Me To Deal With Moving Back Home

Buying new bedding

I used to go to Primark and look for clothes; now I go to Primark and look for bedding. There's just something about buying pretty new sheets that makes me ridiculously happy. I guess it's the homeware equivalent of a new nail polish or lipstick  it's an instant update and such a mood booster.

Eating some meals with my family, and some without

As I said earlier, I really do like having my own space, but it's also good to catch up with my parents and my brother over some delicious food. So I try and have Sunday lunch or dinner with them if possible. It's the one time we get to properly catch up, instead of just having a passing conversation, or sitting slumped in front of the TV in the evening, not talking because we're all too tired.

Being busy at weekends

My life during the week is basically commute, work, eat, sleep, repeat. So come the weekend I'm more than ready to get out of the house, get away from the computer screen, and see my friends. Spending time with my best ones always puts me in a good mood, and making the effort to have a social life means I'm not just sitting at home, moping and dreaming of the day I can leave again. (That said, I am currently typing this while curled up on the sofa in front of the Olympics, but you get what I mean.)

Trying to see things from their point of view

Sometimes I think my parents need to relax a bit. Sometimes they think I need to be tidier. Sometimes we argue about this. We often disagree about different issues, stories in the news and so on. What stops me from losing my temper (most of the time!) is putting myself in their position and trying to understand what they're getting at. Even if I don't agree with them, I can at least see why they feel the way they do, and that helps enormously.

If all else fails... breathe very slowly and carefully

The frustration will pass, I swear!

Have you ever had to move back in with your parents? How did you deal with it? Let me know in the comments!

I Feel Like a Body Confidence Fraud

Sunday, 21 August 2016

I've spoken out multiple times about accepting (and loving) my pale skin. I love the body positivity bloggers like Rachel and Olivia spread with their tweets and posts. I'm the first one to protest if a friend puts a downer on their appearance, and I once described stretch marks as cute.

Basically, I'm fully on board with the loving yourself as you are way of thinking.

This post is not the happiest, so here's a picture of me with a cute dog.

But recently it's really hit home that while I'm good with it in theory, I'm not so good with it in practice. When I stepped out onto the beach wearing my bikini in Portugal last month I felt incredibly uncomfortable. I'm the heaviest I've ever been, which is not a bad thing by any means*, but I'm still getting used to this new shape. I don't feel like my body is mine again just yet.

I was also the palest person there by miles, and I stuck out like a sore thumb (or should that be a snowman?) I'm still not sure whether people were gawping or whether my insecurities led to me imagining it; a teenage boy may or may not have shouted 'Zombie!' I felt awkward, and I felt ashamed of myself  I've always tried to be very vocal about embracing my near-white skintone, be it through searching for the perfect pale foundation on this blog, or writing posts about my defiant refusal to fake tan, and there I was wishing I looked completely different.

I wanted to be able to walk on the beach and not give a single fuck.

In this day and age of celebrating different body types, standing up for the everyday woman, and embracing armpit hair, I feel like I'm letting the team down. I also feel like I'm being too dramatic. I'm just a woman who has typical Irish colouring, who put on a few pounds while she was finishing her degree. What do I have to worry about, really?

Anyway, what I'm trying to say is that logic is telling me one thing  we're all different and I look perfectly fine  and my insecurities are telling me another. I don't want them to take over, but I also think I need to remember that the bad days are normal. Body positivity is a wonderful thing, but acceptance takes time. I'm going to try and be kinder to myself.

How do you approach days when you're not feeling so great about your body? Let me know in the comments.

*Long story short, I lost a stone or so during my first year of uni when I didn't have a stone or so to lose. Getting back to a healthy weight was a relief.

Review: Sleek i-Divine Mineral Based Eyeshadow Palette in All Night Long

Thursday, 18 August 2016

I have a love/hate relationship with eyeshadow.

Love how much it defines and opens up my eyes when I blend it together. Hate how long the blending can take.

Love it when eyeshadows are buttery and pigmented. Hate it when eyeshadows are chalky and don't stay put.

Sleek All Night Long Palette

I've encountered my fair share of both over the years. Fortunately, Sleek's i-Divine Mineral Based Eyeshadow Palette in All Night Long* (v) falls firmly into the love category. Despite the good reputation Sleek's eyeshadow palettes have earned, I'd yet to try any of them until I got my hands on this one. All Night Long contains a beautiful mix of shades that are right up my street. In fact, Sleek themselves put it best: warm creams, soft golds, and shimmery browns that will take you from dusk till dawn.

Oh, and each one is named after an alcoholic drink. What could be better?

Sleek All Night Long Palette
Clockwise from top left: Bellini; Negroni; Martini; Prosecco; Cosmopolitan; Mai Tai; Spritz; Champagne
Pigmentation: Good, and the shadows are also easy to build  you can create a soft wash of colour or lightly layer on the shadow to create more of an intense look. I find the shimmery shadows to be a touch more pigmented than the mattes.

Texture: Much to my delight, the shadows are buttery soft and blend out really nicely. I often use Mai Tai on the eyelid with Negroni in the socket line for some subtle definition, and I finally feel like I've mastered the art of shading the crease of the eyelid *pats self on back*.

Staying power: The shadows last a little longer with an eyeshadow primer underneath (I use the NYX High Definition Eyeshadow Base) but the staying power is still pretty good without it. I did a slightly amped up version of my usual Mai Tai/Negroni combination for graduation and it lasted for the whole day without any product underneath (except base). All I needed when I switched up my look for dinner that night was to top up the shadow with some sparkle (I love the shades Martini and Daiquiri for this).

Sleek All Night Long Palette
Clockwise from top left: Martini; Prosecco; Kir Royale; Mimosa; Manhattan; Daiquiri; Cosmopolitan; Mai Tai
Packaging: The matte black casing you'd expect from Sleek, which I adore... until it gets dirty. Luckily the plastic isn't rubberised, so it's easy to clean. The palette also comes with a double-ended spongey brush, which I'd recommend getting rid of in favour of making more room for the eyeshadows. No one I know uses those brushes!

Price: £8.99, a bargain considering you get x (bloody good) shadows. If you're a sucker for a pretty eyeshadow palette (and I suspect a lot of you are) then All Night Long could be a worthwhile addition to your collection.

Have you tried any of the Sleek eyeshadow palettes? Which one is your favourite? Let me know in the comments!

(v) = vegan

Currently Testing: Cruelty-Free Skincare

Monday, 15 August 2016

Being proven right when you have high expectations of a product is the best thing. Being proven wrong? Not so much.

Both of those situations happened to me recently, since I've been trying out a couple of new cruelty-free skincare bits from two of my favourite brands, Antipodes and LUSH. My experiences with these brands have always been incredibly positive so I was especially excited to get my hands on something new (new to me).

But how did the products fare? Let's find out.

Cruelty-Free Skincare

Antipodes Juliet Skin-Brightening Gel Cleanser, £24.99 for 200ml (suitable for vegetarians)

A bit of a splurge but Naturisimo had an offer on and I was picking up some other bits and pieces, so why the hell not? I've read glowing review after glowing review of the Juliet Cleanser and curiosity got the better of me. I consider it a morning cleanser (or a second cleanse in the evening).

First, the good points: it smells incredible, like fresh apples. This is exactly the kind of scent you want when you're bleary-eyed and half asleep, particularly if you have to get up early (as I have to now, yay real world). The gel feels nice and light on the skin  almost frothy  and you don't need to use a lot to cover the face.

It contains kiwi and hibiscus to exfoliate, Vinanza grapes to combat dryness, and manuka honey, which is antibacterial and also one of the main ingredients in my favourite Antipodes product ever, the Aura mask. I figured the Juliet Cleanser would keep blemishes at bay and, as expected, my acne hasn't flared up. It also makes the skin look bright and fresh, so I guess the kiwi and hibiscus have been working their magic too.

What about the not-so-good points? Well, my skin tends to feel tighter than normal after I use it. At first I brushed this off  I have (mostly oily) combination skin and some areas of my face do feel tight after cleansing regardless of what I use  but it got to the point where it was so noticeable that I actually stopped using it. I really wanted to like the Juliet Cleanser but I just think it would be better suited to someone whose skin is oily all over.

Repurchase? No. I love Antipodes as a brand but this particular product isn't working for my skin.

LUSH Grease Lightning (v), £6.50 for 45g

A predominantly natural spot treatment packed with the kind of ingredients that dry those buggers right out: tea tree, sea water, and witch hazel, to name but a few. (There's also aloe vera to soothe.) A lightweight gel, I use it in the mornings if I know I won't be wearing make-up that day, or if I have time for it to sink in before I apply make-up (otherwise it pills).

The best thing about Grease Lightning is that it has all of undiluted tea tree oil's benefits with none of the stinging. True, it can make skin feel a little tight where it's drying up spots but as long as you apply it directly to the blemish and avoid the surrounding skin, you shouldn't have any problems. I always see a noticeable difference after using Grease Lightning  my spots look smaller and less red  and it works well in conjunction with my prescription acne cream. Another winner from LUSH.

Repurchase? Yes

LUSH Rosy Cheeks (v), £6.95 for 75g 

A relatively new addition to the Fresh Face Mask range, Rosy Cheeks has overtaken Catastrophe Cosmetic as my favourite LUSH mask. It still calms my skin but has none of the flaky shedding that you get from Catastrophe Cosmetic, which makes it much more practical to use, and it's so gentle.

Rosy Cheeks contains kaolin clay, calamine and rose petals, all very soothing to stressed out skin, plus the rose scent is very pretty and delicate. I can see quite a dramatic difference to my skin the morning after using Rosy Cheeks and if I'm having a bad skin day (or week...) then it will often speed up the healing process. True love.

Repurchase? I already have.

What are you testing out at the moment? Have you tried any of these products? Let me know in the comments!

(v) = vegan

Tropic Aftersun Review

Wednesday, 10 August 2016


After such a good experience with the Tropic Travel Essentials, I barely hesitated before accepting Tropic's offer to review their Aftersun*(v) while I was away in Portugal. As someone with extremely pale skin there's always a chance that I'll get burnt when I'm in the sun, even though I'm fanatical about applying sun protection. Knowing I had something with me in case I ended up looking like a lobster was a huge help.

(The Aftersun is also a tan optimiser, but I never tan so I can't really judge that.)


7 Things To Do In the Lisbon Region of Portugal

Monday, 8 August 2016

As you might be aware if you read July's round-up or if you follow me on Instagram, I recently spent a week in Portugal with my friends. Now, summer holidays abroad are not something I'm familiar with. We always went to places in England when I was a kid and I didn't even get on a plane until I was nineteen years old. Sometimes I wish that I'd flown abroad sooner because I'm still not familiar with the whole process and it makes me anxious, but other times I'm glad I never did because it makes it more of an adventure. (I often switch between these two opinions within the space of minutes as my nerves and my common sense fight with each other.)

Lisbon

I finally flew for a second time at the end of July, to Lisbon in Portugal. We stayed in a town called Cascais, which we eventually found out you pronounce 'cashkissh'.  Most of us have left university now and have been busy with work or job hunting, so a break was much-needed  we did a lot of relaxing in the sun by the pool outside our apartment (thank you, Airbnb). I don't really see the point in going somewhere new without having a good look round though, so we also made plenty of time to explore.

Portugal is such an interesting and beautiful country. We were guaranteed a stunning view no matter where we went, and it's the kind of place where you can walk along the same streets and still find something different to appreciate each time. This is what we found.

1. Relax in Parque Marechal Carmona

Parque Marechal Carmona

Parque Marechal Carmona is a little bit like Narnia, in that there's much more beyond the entrance than you'd expect. It seemed to be very popular with the locals and I can see why  there are water features, beautiful flowers and plants growing everywhere, and lots of little pathways, where you'll find chickens and the occasional peacock strutting around. We got some ice lollies and beer from the (very cheap) cafe and sat on the grass, just enjoying each other's company in the sun. Adeus, stress.

2. Climb the hilly streets of Lisbon

Steps in Lisbon

I feel like living in the Welsh valleys prepared me for Lisbon somewhat because it is so hilly. Normally I'd try and power walk it but the streets are all paved with cobblestones, which look charming but are also very shiny and slippery  pick up the pace at your peril. It's worth all the sweating, steps, and stumbles though, because there are views to admire all the way and especially at the highest points of the hills. Wear comfy shoes with lots of grip and go for a wander.

3. Visit Castelo de Sao Jorge

Views from Castelo de Sao Jorge

Castelo de Sao Jorge is a Moorish castle that overlooks the entire city of Lisbon and some of its coastline. It's quite a trek to get up there but my oh my is it worth it; you can see for miles. Walk the walls, climb to the roof, and stroll underneath the trees that line the entrance grounds.

4. Wander around the Mercado Da Vila 

Mercado Da Vila

Mercado Da Vila is a themed market in Cascais that sells different produce throughout the year. July was Sardine Market month but there were plenty of other options available. My friends ate roast piglet, which I really didn't fancy, but I've been told it was deliciously tender. Anyway, it was a lovely way to spend the evening, strolling about with live music in the background and having a nose at the food.

5. Stand at the westernmost point of continental Europe 

Cabo Da Roca

Admittedly there's not much to do at Cabo Da Roca apart from take in the views, but what stunning views they are  all rocky coastline and crashing Atlantic waves. And there's something kinda spine-tingling about knowing you're on the edge of the continent and you've gone as far as you can go.

6. Explore Sintra

Woods in Sintra

If you're us, that means getting lost in the woods on the way back from the castle in Sintra. Oops. Okay, so we weren't really lost  there was a path we followed the entire way, albeit one that got narrower and narrower  but it did feel a little bit like we were in The Hunger Games. Aside from that, it was a bit of a relief to get some shade under the trees and we did eventually make it back to the main town, which has lots of cute little back streets and gift shops.

7. Try pastéis de nata

pastél de nata

Pasteis de nata are custard tarts, but not just any old custard tarts. There's not a trace of the powdery, anaemic-looking custard we used to be served at school  it's like creme brulee and it tastes incredible; soft, flaky and sweet creamy custard make the perfect combination. We got ours from a bakery in Cascais but they're very easy to find (and to eat!)

Have you ever been to Portugal? And have you been on any holidays recently (or do you have any planned)? Let me know in the comments, and please feel free to leave links to any recent travel posts! I'm already thinking about the next trip I might take.

Lunch with Pixi and a Look at the AW16 Collection

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Pixi Glow Tonic To Go Pads

Pixi AW16 Collection

At the end of June I found myself in Islington, a part of London I've never been to before, at a lunch for Pixi by Petra. I showed up in my Primark pocket raincoat, flustered from finding my way to Bourne & Hollingsworth Buildings from Angel tube station and with two massive spots on my forehead. I broke the ice by babbling something about the weather.

This was the first beauty/blogging related lunch I'd been to and I must admit, it didn't feel real. I'm a girl from east Kent  it's not every day I find myself sitting in a lovely London restaurant with the Pixi team, including Petra herself, bloggers like Sabrina from A Little Obsessed, and Caroline Hirons. I was brought firmly back to earth when I got home and had to wait half an hour for the bus, which was late, as usual, but let's not think about that now. I prefer to concentrate on the delicious food (we ordered salmon and ended up with cod, but it was still good!), free champagne, and the conversation, beauty and otherwise.

The thing I was most interested in was Pixi's cruelty-free status. Luckily, Johannes, who I was sat next to, was more than happy to talk about it. 'That's been Petra's thing from day one,' he confirmed. 'It's inconceivable that in 2016 animal testing is still carried out when technology means we have so many alternatives.' Preach. His picks from the range are the Hydrating Milky Mist ('the perfect product for summer') and the Glow Tonic  also my favourite  which he uses as an aftershave.

Glow Tonic To-Go*, £20 for 60 pads
This is exactly what it says on the tin (tub?)  Glow Tonic-infused pads. They are a lifesaver if you're away somewhere; I didn't take them on holiday but I did have them with me during our graduation road trip and it was much more convenient than taking a bottle and some cotton wool. You'll probably know by now that Glow Tonic is one of my favourite skincare products: it brightens the skin, doesn't cause irritation, and I've found that it keeps my acne at bay. It's also good for when you're feeling lazy because, tub or not, all you have to do is sweep it over your face. Love love love.

Hydrating Milky Mist*, £18 and Make-Up Melting Cleansing Cloths*, £10
These are staples of the existing range that I hadn't tried yet, so I was very excited to see them in my bag! I love the Hydrating Milky Mist and like to use it throughout the day if I find my skin getting a little dry  since it's in spray form it's a lot lighter than a regular moisturiser but still provides that extra hit of hydration. I will never be a fan of wipes  too many bad reactions  but the Cleansing Cloths do feel a lot more saturated than your standard make-up wipes. I passed them on to my mum, who is obsessed and planning to buy more. In her words: 'They smell really nice, I haven't had any irritation, and they seem to get rid of more crap than the regular ones.'

MultiBalm in Wild Rose*, £12
A chunky crayon which can be used on lips and cheeks, pulling your look together with minimal effort (something I am always in favour of). Wild Rose is a gorgeous dusky mauve shade with just the right hint of pink to stop it from washing out my pale skin. The balm itself is easy to apply  so easy, in fact, that I can put it on my lips without a mirror  and it fades evenly over the day (you will need to top up after eating and drinking, but it doesn't smudge). Definitely my favourite product of the bunch.

LipLift Max in Honey Sheen*, £12
This gloss has a lovely peppermint scent which I must confess I associate with the festive season. LipLift Max tingles without stinging and the doe-foot applicator is flexible, something I've not come across before. The fact it moves around more means it follows the shape of your lips, if that makes sense? It is little sticky but this feeling fades over time, so I can live with it. A pale nude shade, Honey Sheen works equally well on its own or over a nude/light pink lipstick. Probably not a product I'd purchase myself but I am happy to have it in my collection.

Endless Silky Eye Pen in Cobalt Blue* and Graphic Greige*, £12 each
I love these liners! They glide on, are incredibly pigmented, and set pretty quickly, staying put once they're dry. Graphic Greige is a cross between grey and brown  it takes the ashiness away from the grey and tones down the warmth of the brown, so you're left with a super-flattering neutral. Cobalt Blue is about as far away from neutral as you can get but I've become rather fond of it. I think brights like this look best when you do a really sharp line so I tend to pull out the old Scotch tape trick. One for summer nights.

Which products do you like the look of from the Pixi AW16 collection? And what's your blogging 'pinch me' moment? Let me know in the comments!

July

Monday, 1 August 2016

Cabo Da Roca
Taking photos at Cabo Da Roca, the westernmost point of continental Europe
Everything seemed to happen in July  everything. I graduated, I've just come back from a holiday to Portugal, and I've managed to bag myself an internship! By the time you read this I'll be in the middle of my first day (or at least on my way there) and I'm really looking forward to getting stuck in. I'll be commuting, but rather than looking at this as a negative I'm going to use the time to read all the books on my Kindle and get some writing done. Honestly, I just can't wait to have a proper routine again.

So, what about Portugal? Well, we were in Cascais, just outside Lisbon, and it was lovely. There was something interesting at every turn, be it graffiti (the arty kind, not just 'I woz ere', although there was plenty of that too), a colourful building, or a beautiful view. I'll have a post up about my highlights at some point next week but for now, let me just say that it was wonderful to get away. Truthfully, I already want to go back and explore some more, especially in Lisbon.

I watched... Okay, so I was bored in my Travelodge room while we were in Wales for graduation and I ended up watching The Real Housewives of Cheshire, of all things  I have never seen so many shades of pink in my life, not even in Legally Blonde: The Musical. I've also been revisiting my The Fresh Prince of Bel Air box set, which will never get old (although it makes me feel old when I remember it's well over twenty years old now).

I read... The Wrong Knickers by Bryony Gordon, which I loved. She is brutally, eye-wateringly honest about her experiences as a single twenty-something and I so admire that in writers of non-fiction, especially when they're female.

I listened to... Don't Look Back Into the Sun by The Libertines, Bros by Wolf Alice, and Hands to Myself by Selena Gomez.

I bought... An SD card for my phone so that I can free up some memory on my phone... and download Pokemon Go. Except I had to temporarily uninstall the app almost immediately because I needed the space for my Ryanair boarding pass, so I haven't caught much at all. I feel like it could become quite the addiction though  my friends are getting super competitive and I want to see what all the fuss is about!

Blog Posts I've Loved: Emily's thoughts on doing your best; Celina's The Stress of Being Cruelty-Free musings; Rhianna's F**k Budget; Beth's piece about Self Criticism.

Product of the Month: Evolve Superfood Shine Shampoo  it gives that swishy clean-hair feeling and is vegan-friendly, too.

How was July for you? Let me know in the comments!
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