Sunday, 25 June 2017

Why Packing Cubes Are A Game Changer

Packing Cubes IKEA

Whether you love or loathe packing for your next trip or holiday, I think we can all agree that it's sometimes not the easiest of things to do. From trying to ensure that your clothes doesn't arrive in a disheveled mess, to cramming everything in and attempting to do so in a somewhat organised manner, it can often be a real struggle, particularly if you're an over packer. But after watching a whole load of packing videos on YouTube, I have stumbled across a real game changer; the packing cube.

'What is a packing cube?' I hear you cry. It's essentially a rectangular pouch, of which there are many different sizes to choose from, which allows you to get real organised when it comes to packing and creates so much space that it's hard to believe.

So here's exactly why I think they're a game changer;

They create space 

First and foremost, you can fit so much more into your luggage, whether it's your hand luggage or your checked bags, by using packing cubes. You might not believe me but I really do urge you to put them to the test. There are compression bags which literally reduce the amount of space your clothes, underwear, accessories, etc. take up and even just regular packing cubes, like the ones I purchased, allow you to cram lots in but in a good way.

How to use packing cubes

TOP TIP: Roll don't fold

You know where everything is

If you're someone who likes to be organised, you simply need packing cubes in your life. Having a cube dedicated solely to bottoms or dresses or underwear means you know exactly where everything is and don't need to rummage around, creating a mess, to find a top you packed at the bottom of your case. Most of the bags I've seen online have a mesh so you can literally see right through to know exactly what's in them, others come with labels or even images of what you've packed in each on the front of them.

You can create your own drawers/wardrobe

If you like, you can keep your clothes in their packing cubes during your trip meaning you don't have to completely unpack at your final destination. If you're staying at a hotel which is short of space (basically every one in NYC is like this) then you can use your suitcase as your own set of drawers.

They can even be used as a pillow

Okay so this might not be for everyone but if you're back packing or staying at hostels and don't feel like bringing a pillow with you or if there's no complimentary pillows on your overnight flight, a full packing cube honestly works as a great pillow. Can you tell that I've watched too many YouTube packing videos now? Hehe.

I've linked some of the best packing cubes on the market below but if you're looking for an affordable and easy to acquire set of cubes, I'd definitely recommend making a trip to IKEA like I did. If you or someone you know has an IKEA Family card, you'll even save £2.50 on what is already a great price. Here is the exact set that I bought.

Cath Kidston Packing Cubes £7-£8 / Go Travel Packing Organiser Set £9.99 / Mountain Warehouse Set Of 3 £9.99 / eBags Packing Cubes £17.99-£19.99 / Polka Dot Set Of 6 Packing Cubes & Pouches £8.99 

Have you heard of packing cubes before? If so, have you used them? If not, has this blog post made you want to? And are you someone who loves or loathes packing?


Friday, 23 June 2017

The Ray-Ban Review

ray ban tortoise

For years now I have one day dreamt of owning a pair of Ray-Ban sunglasses and this year that dream finally became a reality. When got in touch to ask if I'd like to receive a pair of Ray-Bans to try out and review, I had to re-read the email a couple of times just to double check that I wasn't imagining it.

So here's what I think of my first pair of Ray-Ban sunglasses, more specifically the RB2448N frames*;

ray ban rb2448n

When it came to what style of frame to go for, I personally didn't see any point in buying a pair of Clubmasters, especially as I've got several High Street versions of the frame in my possession already. I also wanted to steer clear of trend pieces as well. As much as I love the mirrored lens trend, I'm not sure that they really suit me all that well nor will they probably be in fashion years from now. So I went for what I deemed to be a classic silhouette with luxe accents.

I can't believe that I've went this long without a pair of these in my life! Gone are the days of getting my hair caught in of a pair of £2 sunnies from Primark any time that I rest them on my head. I've also not felt the need to buy a few pairs of sunglasses, like I tend to do every Summer from the likes of ASOS, Accessorize and of course, Primark. I honestly feel like between this pair and my trusty London Retro Keaton shades, I'm covered when it comes to sunglasses regardless of the outfit or climate.

Ray Ban Reviews

I'm glad that got in touch as I wouldn't have thought of looking there for sunglasses, nonetheless discounted Ray-Bans. You'll also find the likes of Emporio Armani, Calvin Klein, Versace, Nike and Lacoste on their site and they also regularly do great discount codes to knock even more off the already reduced prices.

Do you own a pair of Ray-Bans? If so, what style do you have? If not, what would your dream pair be? And where do you shop for sunglasses?


Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Get The Glow This Summer (Especially If You're Fair/Pale Skinned)

Bronzers for pale skin

Even though most of us have been struggling through this heatwave style weather here in the UK this week, it has meant that we've been enjoying some sunshine and warmth, something which is rather rare, particularly here in Scotland. The Summer sandals are out, I've had at least one ice lolly a day (Fab's limited edition birthday cake flavour is incredible btw! I've already went through an entire pack myself) and I've been spending much more time in the sun. And nothing makes my makeup routine feel more Summery than the kind of products that promise to give me that 'just back from holiday' glow. However, saying that, over the years I've found it pretty difficult to find a shade that works for me and my fair, freckly skin. It's either far too dark, making me look like I've just rubbed dirt on my face or it's sparkly and shimmery and I end up looking like an extra from Twilight.

Well, I'm happy to report that some of my favourite beauty brands have obviously heard our outcries for lighter bronzers and universal highlighters and that's exactly what I'll be talking about today. So let's see how to get that Summer glow;

Benefit Hoola Lite Stick Dandelion Twinkle Review

When it comes to achieving that Summer glow this year, Benefit have got you covered no matter what your skin tone or colour is. They've released three new products for Summer 2017 and you seriously need to get yourself along to a Benefit counter to try them out as soon as you can!

First up we have Hoola Lite. Fans of Benefit's original Hoola bronzer will know just how good this product is and why it's one of Benefit's bestsellers but now it's available in a significantly lighter shade, perfect for the likes of us with paler complexions. Team it with Dandelion Twinkle, like I have been since they first arrived on my doorstep and I honestly glow, something I've never been able to achieve before. Normally bronzers are too dark or orange-y, which definitely isn't a good look paired with my auburn hair and even most highlighters that I've tried in the past, just did nothing for me and my pale skin. Thanks to Benefit, I've now got a face duo that I know will work for me and my fair complexion and I couldn't be more thankful that they have released these two new products.

Talking of new products, contouring doesn't get any easier than with the Hoola Quickie Contour Stick*! I can't get over how easy it is to get defined cheekbones and to do a spot of sculpting with this product! It's also a lovely shade for what I can imagine will be the large majority of skin tones and it's incredibly creamy and comfortable on the skin. I also love just how pigmented it is and the fact that it's really blendable means that it doesn't look like you've just drawn two big brown lines across your cheeks in a hurry. If you're looking for glow on the go, this is the product for you!

Best Bronzer and Highlighter

When it comes to achieving a subtle and natural glow, BareMinerals have got you covered. I absolutely adore their Invisible Powder Bronzer* in the shade fair to light and as someone who never wore bronzer up until a few weeks ago, I notice such a big difference in how healthy I look when I wear this product. As someone who essentially resembles Casper the Friendly Ghost all year round, I'm almost used to looking that pale that I look a little bit under the weather but now I feel so much more confident with just a little bit of colour to my face. It's also available in shades to cater to all skin colours and tones and provides a real glow to the skin.

The second of the highlighters to be included in today's blog post, totally won me over when I saw the packaging. I mean who can resist a shiny and adorable heart compact? The answer; not me, of course. The Too Faced Love Light Highlighter really is a must try and I opted for something that I don't already own, a gold highlighter. The gold shade, named Light Up My Life, screams Summer glow. But if gold's not your thing, there's also a beautiful rose gold shade (aka. the dream product) and a silver shade, both of which I'm really tempted to treat myself to after trying the one.

KIKO always come out with exceptional bronzers, particularly when it comes to their limited edition collections and this one is no different. Part of the Summer 2.0 collection, this baked bronzer is such a warm and beautiful tone. It's also a really generous size, making it ideal for bronzing the decolletage and other areas of the body. And I can't go without mentioning how good it smells! KIKO always get it right when it comes to their scents and fragrances and this one is no different. It also seems to be in the sale so get it checked out if you fancy buying it, as once the limited edition products sell out they are so difficult to find (hello eBay!)

Best Bronzer For Pale Skin

So there you have it, my picks when it comes to the latest bronzers and highlighters to hit the market for Summer 2017.

Are you someone who also struggles to find bronzers and highlighters that work for them and their skin tone/colour? If so, what do you think of the sound of the products featured in today's post? Which one would you love to try first?


Sunday, 18 June 2017

What To Pack In Your Hand Luggage Liquids Bag

What To Pack In Your Hand Luggage Liquids Bag

With my next trip only a few weeks away and as someone who genuinely looks forward to packing, I just had to share with you what I'm packing in my hand luggage liquids bag and here it is;

A clear makeup bag or pouch

First and foremost you're going to need a clear makeup bag or pouch. If you don't fancy scrambling about in the security line with a resealable plastic bag and a queue of fellow travellers behind you or if you travel quite regularly, I'd recommend picking one up that meets current security guidelines and constraints. I got this one as part of a gift set (such as this one) from Kiehl's but SuperdrugM&S and Ted Baker do some great alternatives.

Hand Luggage Liquid

Hand sanitiser and/or wipes

Bath & Body Works Pocket-Bac - Carex Refreshing Wipes

This is an absolute must for me. When you think about the last time the TV screen in front of you or armrest was properly cleaned, you'll probably want to give them a quick wipe before you take off, especially if you can see some visible streaks or marks on your screen (I always seem to get one like that). Airports and airplanes are notorious for being the kinds of places where you're likely to catch a cold or a bug. If you bring wipes that can be used to clean your screen/armrest, your hands and your face during your trip, you'll also save some precious space in your hand luggage. A good multi-tasking product will save you money, space and weight, all of which are definitely important during your travels.

Dry shampoo

COLAB Tokyo Dry Shampoo

Most hotels and even airbnbs will provide shampoo and even if they don't, you can usually pick one up from the nearest supermarket or drugstore when you get to your destination but dry shampoo is a completely different deal. I'm loyal to the one or two that actually work for me and my hair, which is why I would never just grab a can on a whim during my trip. Plus how would you rather spend your time on holiday, washing your hair or giving it a quick refresh before the day or night ahead of you?

Travel Size Makeup


Caudalie Vine[Activ] 3-In-1 Moisturizer - Caudalie Vune[Activ] Energizing And Smoothing Eye Cream - La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo [+]

This is when you'll be glad that you signed up for that beauty box or kept that sample from a magazine. You can also ask most beauty counters for sample sizes of your favourite products, all of which will save you having to decant bigger sizes or paying out of pocket for travel sizes.

Your makeup essentials

NYX Butter Gloss - NYX HD Concealer - Benefit Roller Lash Mascara 

This will differ for everyone and will also probably differ depending on the climate of the country you're visiting too (who has the time or energy to do a full face of makeup in 30 degree heat?) but you'll know exactly what your essentials are. For me it's the basics; concealer, mascara and a lip product or two. And these are my holy grails.

Travel Size Beauty Products

Sun protection and body lotion 

Superdrug SOLAIT 50 SPF High Moisturising Sun Lotion - Kiehl's Creme de Corps 

Again, depending on where you're traveling to this might be more of a necessity than it is for other destinations but even if you're heading to somewhere typically cold or rainy, sun protection is incredibly important. I love this little pouch from Superdrug as you can carry it with you basically anywhere. I also like to take a body lotion with me as my skin can get really dehydrated, particularly when I'm travelling. This little bottle of Creme de Corps is the perfect size and it's a little less painful paying for the travel size of this stuff than the full size, which is more of a treat yo' self purchase for me.

Heat free hair products

Umberto Giannini Miracle Worker Smooth Serum

If you can't take your hair straighteners, curling wand or hairdryer with you or plan on letting your hair air dry whilst you're on holiday, I'd really recommend taking a product or products to help you deal with your hair heat-free. Frizz is my biggest issue and it gets even worse in the heat and humidity (hello Monica!), so I'll be taking this serum with me. I just wish that they did smaller sizes of this as 75ml makes up quite a big chunk of my liquid allowance.

Deodorant, toothpaste and lip balm

Sure Invisible Black + White 48h Roll On Deodorant - Bioderma Atoderm Moisturising Stick - Arm & Hammer Total Pro Clean + Repair Toothpaste

These are the basics for me, Even when I'm going on a 3 week holiday to Orlando and therefore have everything I really need beauty-wise in my checked bag, I still like to pack a deodorant, lip balm and a little travel sized toothpaste with me in my hand luggage. That way if my checked luggage goes missing, I at least know that I've got the real essentials. My travel toothbrush also comes with too but I pack that in another little pouch to save as much room as possible in my clear liquids bag.

So there you have it.

What do you take in your hand luggage liquids bag? Have you tried any of the products in today's post? If so, what do you think of them? If not, what would you like to try?


Wednesday, 14 June 2017

The Love Me Beauty #HelloSummer Edit

Love Me Beauty Code

As you might remember, back in April I wrote a blog post where I honestly couldn't believe the value of what you were getting for what was essentially the price of one ecoTools brush or sponge. Well Love Me Beauty are back with another hit of a beauty edit and in perfect time for those warm Summer days (fingers crossed we actually get some of them here in the UK) and upcoming Summer holidays and trips. As with every Love Me Beauty post of mine, you can get 20% off your first edit simply by using the code ellis20.

So let's see what's on offer in the #HelloSummer edit*;

Love Me Beauty Reviews

Much like with the #InFullBloom edit, which I unofficially dubbed the ecoTools edit, this month's edit has another prominent brand feature in it; Caudalie. If you've tried Caudalie before, you'll know that you're in for a treat and if you've not yet tried the brand, this is a perfect time to do so, as well as to try some of their bestselling and well received products, all for what is a couple of pounds, with my discount code above of course.

The Divine Oil is the only product that I'd previously tried in this month's edit, after receiving it in a beauty bauble a few Christmases back and it's easy to see why it's as universally lauded as it is. Since you can use it on your body, face and hair, it's one of those great multi-purpose products to have with you on holiday, especially if your skin sucks up moisture in the heat and sun, like mines does. The nourishing body lotion has stopped my skin from getting overly dry and dehydrated since it arrived on my doorstep and I'm sorely tempted to grab the full size of this.

The Vinoperfect range is one that I've wanted to dabble in for a while so to receive the Concentrated Brightening Essence and the Complexion Correcting Radiance Serum was great. So far I get a lot of glowy goodness from these products and what I really like about trying out little sample or travel sizes of products, that can be anything from £20 to £50 to buy a full size of, is the fact that you'll know whether or not the product is actually for you by the end of finishing the sample and you've not spent a small fortune on it, especially if you didn't love it.

Love Me Beauty Discount Code

Even when a certain brand dominates the edit, there are always some other great brands and products included alongside them and I am so happy with the ones included in this month's edit. I'm a big fan of Pixi, more on that next month when I share my favourite products from them, so to see the nourishing lip polish was such a nice surprise. As you will have seen if you read my NYC Sephora wishlist, my lips can often get quite flaky and cracked, even in the warmer weather so I was over the moon to receive this product in this month's edit. I love the fact that the applicator is an exfoliating one, with little dots on it to stimulate the circulation of the lips and buff away any dry skin or patches.

I've only tried one other Perricone MD product and that was thanks to my first Love Me Beauty edit but I was thoroughly impressed and certainly happy to receive what sounds like a bit of a Summer essential; their Face Finishing Moisturizer Tint with Broad Spectrum SPF 30. And last but not least we have a couple of sample sizes from Yu-Be. I have to admit, I hadn't heard of this particular brand prior to receiving it in today's edit but this lotion is really lovely and is available from Space NK here in the UK. I also love having these tiny little tubes and sachets for travel.

Plus how on point are Love Me Beauty's makeup bags? It's almost worth snapping up an edit solely to get the bag that comes with.

Love Me Beauty UK

What do you think of this month's Love Me Beauty edit? Have you tried any of the products in today's post? If so, what do you think? If not, which one looks the most interesting to you?


Sunday, 11 June 2017

How To Make Packing & Travelling That Bit Easier With Amara

Packing and travel hacks and tips

I don't know about you but I love the whole process of travelling. From packing my suitcase to picking what movies I'm going to watch on the plane, it's something that I really enjoy and look forward to. But there's no doubt that it can easily become a stressful and exhausting process, especially if you're not organised to the best of your ability. That's why in recent years I've paid much more attention to planning well in advance and bringing items along with me to make the whole airport and departures process much easier and that's exactly where these products come into play. Something as simple as investing in a piece of carry on luggage with four wheels instead of two can instantly change the game and allow you to glide, instead of struggle, through the terminals.

And if you're travelling alone, knowing where everything is and depending on yourself is vital. This year I'm embarking on my first piece of solo travel and will have to be totally responsible for myself for the first time so I've picked out some pieces from Amara to help me do so in style, comfort and in some kind of organised manner.

Kate Spade Travel

First up we have something as simple as a luggage tag. Feeling excited about using something distinctly travel related makes the whole experience feel like a fun one and stops me thinking or worrying about the possibility of delays, being sat in the same seat for 9+ hours or the lack of any 'real' food until I arrive at my destination. This one* from Kate Spade New York goes with my DVF cabin luggage perfectly and is practical too and is made from wipe-clean silicone. Even if it's going on your carry on case or bag, I like to have all my details on it just in case we do get separated at any point.

Now onto my carry on itself. I've mentioned before that I'm going to be using packing cubes for the first time on my next trip and I'm already excited to pack my clothes that's how much of a game changer they've already been. Separating pieces into different bags and cubes makes packing and unpacking so much easier as you can lift all of your underwear, for example, in one cube and put it straight into the hotel drawer or alternatively keep the cubes in your luggage and use them as your own set of drawers, as I'll be doing. Knowing exactly where everything is without having to pull everything out honestly makes such a big difference and stops you from having everything you've brought with you strewn across the hotel room.

It's also so much cleaner and sanitary having your shoes in a shoe bag (I wear a pair on the plane and bring at least one other in my case) and having at least one bag dedicated to dirty washing. I'll be bringing my to wash and to wear bags back full of dirty laundry, I can imagine, especially as I won't be doing a washing whilst I'm away. And who else always forgets which pouch, bag or secret compartment they've put their jewellery in, for safe keeping, as well? Now I know exactly where my 'bits & baubles' are thanks to this lovely little drawstring bag.

Radley Vanity Case

And for further organisation or if you're someone who likes to take as much makeup as they can really justify with them on holiday, this beautiful vanity case* from Radley London is the one. There's even separate compartments for brushes and smaller items and I really like the fact that this could even be taken as your personal item instead of a handbag, if you're wanting to feel like a Hollywood icon toting around a vanity case with you. I have to admit, I've always wanted to do just that ever since seeing Carrie Bradshaw with hers by her side any time she went travelling or when she put it down on the sidewalk to give Big that big (pardon the pun) ultimatum in season one. Again, can you tell that I'm feverishly rewatching Sex and the City as NYC prep?

I'm also someone who begrudges paying for bottled water at the best of times but no more so than when at the airport. Investing in a reusable bottle is one of the best things you can do and it means that you can refill it throughout the day, both on the plane itself and in the airport. This one* from S'well is a real treat yo' self purchase but it makes me want to drink water day and night, that's how pretty it is and it's also really durable and lightweight, making carrying it with you a breeze.

Do you find the boring bit of travelling, such as waiting in airports and hours spent on airplanes, exciting or nerve-wracking? What do you think of becoming more organised when it comes to packing and your airport experience? And do you have any items that make travelling that bit easier and more bearable?


Wednesday, 7 June 2017

The Soap & Glory Happy Glamper Kit

Soap and Glory Happy Glamper

Planning on spending a few days or nights away from home this Summer, whether it be on a mini break, a festival or even your Summer holiday? Then you seriously need to check out the absolute bargain that is the Soap & Glory Happy Glamper kit*! Forget rushing around last minute and spending an absolutely extortionate amount on minis and the like. This kit comes complete with everything you could possibly need and more and features some of Soap & Glory's best-selling products. And in addition to that you even get a handy drawstring bag and a poncho, which Soap & Glory have cleverly named the Glamorak, all for just £16. What a great deal, eh?

So let's see exactly what you get in the kit;

Soap & Glory Travel Minis

First up, two absolute essentials, especially if you're staying on a campsite; anti-bacterial hand gel and wipes. Then you've got a mini hairbrush with a little mirror in it too and one of Soap & Glory's brand new releases; the Rushower dry shampoo. To keep you smelling lovely, or even just to make the campsite smell a little bit less 'fragrant', you've got the Original Pink body spray. And last but not least we have two makeup items; the incredible Supercat liner, which you will have heard me rave about before and a little mini Sexy Mother Pucker matte lip in a fabulous coral shade.

And don't forget the Glamorak! I was actually planning on buying a new lightweight waterproof jacket and these can be anywhere from £10 to about £40 depending on where you go, so to have an adorable pink polka dot one has made life that much easier and I didn't have to trek around different shops or spend days searching on ASOS to find one either. It's also so much better than any one I've seen in the shops/online this year and I love how light it is and the fact that it can be rolled up easily.

Soap & Glory Happy Glamper

Even though I'm not heading to a festival this year, I'll definitely be taking everything from my Happy Glamper with me on my trip to New York.

What do you think of the Happy Glamper kit? Have you tried any of the products included in it? If so, what do you think of them? And are you a Soap & Glory fan?


Sunday, 4 June 2017

How To Save Money On Designer Pieces

House Of Fraser Designer Sale

Whilst a lot of the big bloggers and YouTubers seem to buy a new designer piece every week, I'm well aware that for the large majority of us, myself included, buying something designer is a big purchase. As someone who vows to never to pay full price, especially when it comes to anything pricey, I thought that I would share how to seriously save on designer pieces without even really having to think about it.

So here are my top tips on how to save money on some of the big designer pieces;

Designer handbags

Depending on which designer you're buying, you have some different options. When it comes to relatively affordable designers such as my personal favourite, Kate Spade New York, there are two different options when it comes to current stock. If buying directly from their site, signing up for their newsletter can often save you a significant amount of money. And whilst 10% off at Topshop, for example, would save you less than a tenner, 10% off a £300 handbag is a real saving.

Most of the big department stores, such as Selfridges, House Of Fraser, Harvey Nichols and Debenhams regularly run store-wide discounts. So for example, House Of Fraser currently have up to 30% across the store and this includes the likes of Lulu Guinness, Ted Baker, Michael Kors, Love Moschino and Kate Spade New York, meaning that you'd save more buying your new handbag from one of these stores rather than from the brand directly on this occasion.

For pricier designer handbags such as Chanel, Chloe, Gucci and Saint Laurent, buying pre-owned really does make a lot of sense. You can specify that the bag has been hardly used or that it is in perfect condition and just by buying it second hand, you can literally knock hundreds of pounds off the price. Some of the best sites have to be Vestiaire Collective, HEWI (Hardly Ever Worn It) London and And I'd recommend checking the sites on a regular basis if you're looking for something in particular.

Save Money On Designer Clothes Beauty Accessories

Designer sunglasses

As a real bargain hunter, I will never understand why people buy designer sunglasses at the airport. Each to their own but the thought of making a pretty big purchase whilst waiting for my gate to open stresses me out even just thinking about it. By simply ordering your holiday sunglasses a couple of weeks or even days in advance, you can save some serious money, money that can be put towards a fancy dinner when you're away or an experience that you'll never forget.

For some big savings, I'd definitely buy online rather than in-store. Sunglasses Shop are great for the likes of Miu Miu, Dior and Celine. And if you're buying Ray-Ban's, have some incredible deals on them at the moment. That's where I got this pair*. I finally opted for a proper pair after getting my £2 Primark pair caught in my hair for the thousandth time.

Designer watches

Again, I've never paid full price for a designer watch. My first foray into designer watches came via TJ Maxx, the American version of TK Maxx, when my parents and I went halves on a Marc by Marc Jacobs watch to celebrate my 21st birthday. And you can get some lovely designer watches, albeit past season's, in TK Maxx too.

Sites such as watchshop,com, again, are great for savings and John Lewis regularly price match any deals as well.

Designer shoes

TK Maxx can be a real treasure trove when it comes to designer shoes and I would certainly recommend taking a trip there. I've seen Manolo Blanik, Jimmy Choo, Stella McCartney and YSL on the shelves, as well as Michael Kors sandals and wedges in my local branch.

There are also sample sales, if you live in some of the bigger cities in the UK, most notably London. You can search online to see when and if sales are on and this is particularly helpful if you know you'll be in the Capital, for example, when one is on.

How to save money on designer purchases

Designer makeup

If you're a bit beauty mad, like I am, it might not even register with you that you're buying designer makeup, even if you are well aware that you're spending a small fortune on it. But again, like with most designer pieces, there's no real excuse for paying full price.

Chanel, Dior, Giorgio Armani, Marc Jacobs, Tom Ford and my biggest vice, Charlotte Tilbury, you know the ones I'm talking about. Debenhams and House Of Fraser regularly run 10% off all things beauty, with the Debenhams beauty card offering up points and special discounts in addition to this. You can also earn back some real money when it comes to your points at Boots and they run promotions on designer beauty every week practically. It's just a case of waiting to see when there will next be some sort of promotion, whether that's double points, money off or extra freebies for buying at their counters. Boots points really do add up without you even realising so you can often deduct these from your purchase to make some serious savings.

Have you ever made a designer purchase? If so, what did you last buy? Or what has your favourite purchase been? Are you a bargain hunter or do you happily pay full price? And will you be putting any of these tips into practice the next time you make a big purchase?


Wednesday, 31 May 2017

My NYC Sephora Wishlist

Sephora Wishlist 2017 Beauty Blogger

In less than two months, something I still can't quite believe, I will be heading to NYC for the first time. And whilst I'm mainly excited about doing all the touristy things and exploring the outer boroughs. I have to admit, I've also got my eye on a couple of beauty bits that I'd love to bring back with me. I do, however, have to bear in mind the fact that I'm doing hand luggage only this trip, so I'll need to make sure that all of my liquids are under 100ml etc. I might just need to buy a cheap suitcase when I'm over there solely to bring back more if the space in my carry on fills up quickly, which, let's be honest, is probably going to happen. My Mum's also told me to keep an eye out for a couple of things for her too, along with a new perfume for her birthday and that's despite treating herself to one of these perfume gift sets recently.

So here's what I've got on my current Sephora wishlist. Is it just me who feels like holiday money isn't really real money? That is until I have to pay my credit card off when I get back. But let's not think about that right now.

My aim, as always when shopping in the US, is to get things that I can't get here in the UK or that are considerably cheaper across the pond. So let's see what's made it onto my wishlist this time;

it Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC+ Cream - If you saw my QVC Tili beauty box review, you will have seen that I received the it Cosmetics CC Cream in this very box, which is why it's well worth the £20 Tili purchase price for this product alone. Sadly the shade provided, medium, was too dark for me and my pale skin so I've got my eye on the fair shade which hopefully will actually be fair enough. As far as I'm aware, the fair shade isn't available here in the UK yet, which definitely makes this a pretty necessary purchase.

Milk Makeup Flex Concealer - I'm also in the market for a new concealer and this one from Milk Makeup looks right up my street. I was planning on giving Tarte's Shape Tape a go but it looks like it might be a bit too full coverage for me. This one has pretty incredible reviews on Sephora's site and is from Milk Makeup, a brand that I've wanted to try for a while now, making it the perfect combination.

Sephora Collection Pro Airbrush Concealer Brush #57 - I'd love to have a dedicated concealer brush, so this one from Sephora's own brand was always going to be high on my wishlist. I had it in my basket on my last trip to the US but foolishly put it back to save a couple of dollars for a bigger purchase but this time I think I'll need to make sure that it makes it's way home with me.

Sephora Favorites: Give Me Some Nude Lip - The Sephora Favorites sets have to be one of my favourite things about the store, which is why I'm guessing they gave them that name. This one looks too good to resist and I love the fact that you get to try out several different brands all for one bargain price. Why don't our beauty halls like Debenhams, John Lewis or House Of Fraser do sets like these?

Laura Mercier Travel Size Translucent Loose Setting Powder - The travel sized section, just before you head to the tills, is one of the most dangerous areas in Sephora! I'm always tempted to chuck a couple of adorable teeny tiny products into my basket last minute. Well played Sephora! This time I'm going in with a plan and that plan is to finally try this Laura Mericer holy grail product. Let's see if this will help with my problem of my concealer creasing. That and the new Milk Makeup concealer, fingers crossed.

Bite Agave Lip Mask Champagne - My lips can often get quite cracked and flaky, even in the warmer months, so I've been looking to invest in something a bit more luxurious than my normal pot of Vaseline and this is just that. I originally saw it on Sephora's Instagram story, which is what piqued my interest in the first place and to read all of the 5 star reviews on their site, makes me feel like I'm making a pretty good decision with this one.

Farmacy Hydrating Coconut Gel Mask - Deep Moisture (Cucumber) - Along with dry lips, my skin type is definitely dehydrated so I'm looking forward to trying out this mask in particular. I might need to treat myself to the trio as I'm not sure that one mask will be enough to test it out.

Elizabeth and James Nirvana Bourbon - I'm also someone who quite likes to wear a new scent each time I go somewhere special, that way whenever I spray it or use it, even in years to come, it instantly transports me back to that happy place. This year I'll definitely be picking up one of the brilliant perfume rollerballs that Sephora have to offer. I have a feeling that this might be the one, that's obviously dependent on me liking it when I give it a sniff of course.

What do you think of my NYC Sephora wishlist? Have you tried any of the items mentioned? If so, what do you think of them? And what would you buy at Sephora if money was no object?


Sunday, 28 May 2017

What's New In My Dental Routine

Dental Routine Beauty Blog

After a trip to the dentist recently, where it was suggested that I invest in an electric toothbrush, this month I finally did so and I can't believe that it took me this long to do so. Now, every time that I brush my teeth, it feels like I've had a scale and polish, my teeth are that smooth and squeaky clean. And changing up my dental routine is what inspired today's post. That and the fact that I'm going to be investing quite a bit of money and time into my smile but more on that at a later date. Any guesses as to what it might be?

But until then, here's what I've introduced into my new and improved dental care and hygiene routine, in a similar vein to my What's New In My Haircare Routine blog post;

Oral B Pro 600 - Corsodyl Toothpaste

After doing a bit of research into what electric toothrbrush I should go for, I saw that Superdrug were doing a great deal on their Oral B appliances. I got this one, the Pro 600 model, for better than half price at £24.98 and in pink, which is apparently limited edition to Superdrug. As I alluded to earlier, this has genuinely revolutionised the way that I brush my teeth. It feels like something silly to say but it honestly has. It stops me over-brushing certain areas, is gentle on my gums and leaves my teeth feeling super clean and shiny.

I've long used Corsodyl mouth wash, ever since first having braces at the age of 15 (I still can't quite believe that that was 10 years ago!), so I was really happy to hear that Corsodyl had released a toothpaste. I have receding gums on two of my bottom teeth, as a result of my teeth being moved out of their protective gum barrier because of overcrowding. To prevent further damage and to help remedy any bleeding gums, I feel a lot better knowing that I'm now using something as protective as Corsodyl toothpaste*.

Best Teeth Whitening

And as I'm looking to address the issues that I have with overcrowding, I've also been looking into safe and affordable at home teeth whitening. When I spotted Blanx's White Shock Intensive Whitening Treatment and the fact that it came with an LED light, I was intrigued and decided to order this for during and after my treatment. In the mean time, I will certainly be using the Janina Teeth Whitening Foam*, When I heard the word foam I instantly thought of gentle and non-abrasive whitening, which is exactly what I'm looking for. And because it reacts once it comes into contact with water/saliva, it can get into those hard to reach areas that sometimes regular toothpaste doesn't manage to. Janina also very kindly sent me out their pre-filled trays* which honestly make the whole process of whitening your teeth at home so easy. There's no mess or messing around with these. Another whitening product well worth mentioning, one that I've been using on and off for years, is Pearl Drops. It's relatively inexpensive, particularly if you find it in a deal and cleans your teeth well. I also find that it works well on particularly sensitive spots too.

So there you have it, that's what I currently have on my rather crowded bathroom shelf.

Would you like to see before and afters when it comes to my orthodontic treatment and teeth whitening? What is your dental care and hygiene routine currently made up of? Have you tried any of the products in today's post? If so, what do you think of them?


Wednesday, 24 May 2017

'When Was The Last Time You Backed Up Your Work?'

Seagate Backup Plus Hub Review

If you're anything like myself, the episode of Sex and the City when Carrie's computer crashes, that she hasn't backed up, will be scorched onto your memory forever. However, despite this, I hadn't actually backed up my computer since about 2013 and that's when I was at University. The one thing that I would hate to lose, more than anything else, would be the thousands of images on my computer, both of the blogging nature and from previous trips to the US. So when Maplin got in touch to ask if I'd like to review one of their backup storage systems, I jumped at the opportunity.

I was very kindly sent the Seagate Backup Plus Hub* which is a desktop backup system. I'd thought about getting a portable one but the idea of it being one that could be moved around easily and as a result, not all that visible most of the time, would definitely lead me to forget about it. With 4TB of storage, that's enough to save over a million (yup you heard me right, a million!) photos or 4000 hours of video, this is an investment that will only need to be made once, as it could honestly store everything you save onto your computer in the next 10 years or more. And as you might be able to imagine, I've become rather popular in my house, with all of us backing up our separate devices onto this system. You can also charge your phone from it, which is a pretty nifty idea, especially when you have your phone almost surgically attached to you or your desk, like I do.

Seagate Backup Plus Hub

The 'one click' automatic backup is an absolute lifesaver as it saves me having to manually go into specific folders and choose what I want to back up and what I don't. And since I received it, I've backed it up several times without even thinking about it, which is exactly what I wanted from a backup system.

Sex and the City Computer Crash Back Up

As you might remember, if you read my 30 before 30 post, backing up on the regular is a pretty big goal of mine, particularly as someone who works from home and spends the majority of her time on the computer.

Do you back up your computer? If not, has this blog post inspired you to do so? What do you think of a desktop backup system? And do you remember the Sex and the City episode I'm talking about (I'd still take Aidan over Big any day!)?


Sunday, 21 May 2017

How To Seriously Declutter (& Make Money In The Process)

How to seriously declutter and make money

After years of having cupboards, wardrobes and drawers bursting at the seams, something in my brain shifted recently and I finally felt the need to start going through it all. From clothes I'd bought in the sales that still had their tags on them, to beauty products that I'd bought in a 3 for 2 and never even opened to accessories gathering dust, I began a massive purge.

The Lifechanging Magic of Tidying - Curated Closet Decluttering Books

A lot of it has to do with two books that I'm currently making my way through; Marie Kondo's Spark Joy and Anushka Rees' Curated Closet, which I will be sure to share my thoughts on when I'm finished them but until then, here is how to seriously declutter and make money in the process;

Work in categories, not rooms

One of the biggest lessons that I've learnt from Kondo's Konmari method, so far, is to work in categories instead of rooms. So instead of saying, today I'll tackle the kitchen or I'll tackle my wardrobe first, tackle one category of clutter at a time. Kondo recommends starting with clothing first and this means all the clothing in your house, in every room, then books, etc. but I'd tailor this to you and your home/room. If you have a beauty stash that could rival Boots or Sephora maybe start there. If books are your thing but they're slowly taking over every room in your house, go through every single one you own and work out if you really need it or if it 'sparks joy'.

Be Ruthless

Stop holding onto certain pieces or items 'just in case'. If you haven't worn it in the past year or the last season (Autumn/Winter or Spring/Summer), will you really wear it again? 'Do you really need six black vest tops?' was a question I found myself asking. I now have two. Progress, right?

A way to make it feel a little bit more fun and to help you make a decision on those items that you're unsure about, is to get friends and family involved. I may or may not, have done a little fashion show through my house, parading about in bits that have now made their way to the charity shop or to other's wardrobes.

Wardrobe Declutter Sex and the City

Get rid of anything that doesn't fit or make you feel fabulous

Now this seems like something totally obvious, doesn't it? Why would you hold onto things that are two sizes too small or too big or something that doesn't make you go 'damn, I look good' when you catch your reflection in a mirror? But the amount of these kinds of items in your wardrobe or drawers will stagger you. If it's still in good shape pass it on to friends or family or take it along to your local charity shop or donate it to a fabric recycling service, such as the one that H&M are currently running in-store.

Get rid of anything you can't repair

On a similar note, get rid of any clothes that have stains on them, noticeable pulled threads or holes in them. Why I was holding onto so many pairs of jeggings with pulled threads right across the legs or socks with holes in them, I will never know.

How to make money from your unwanted clothes

Download an app or get online to sell certain items

I've found that every app/site has its pros and cons. It's totally normal, seemingly, for people to offer £5 for a brand new Michael Kors handbag or to ask to swap something worth about 50p for something you're trying to get rid of. I have to stop myself replying 'I DON'T NEED MORE STUFF I DON'T WANT!' at least once a day but I have thus managed to restrain myself from doing so. I have made a good couple of hundred pounds on both Depop (you'll find me as @ellistuesday on there) and eBay, much to the dismay of my local Post Office.

If you'd like to see a full blog post dedicated to my top tips for selling on the likes of Depop and eBay, from what to make your description, to hashtag tips or if you'd like to help me re-home my unwanted pieces, such as those on Depop, let me know. 

What could you do with decluttering? Do you have any tips on how to seriously declutter your life/home? Have you read either Marie Kondo's Spark Joy or Anushka Rees' Curated Closet? And can you tell that I've been rewatching Sex and the City again, for the millionth time, in the run up to my New York trip?

(Image Credit - Pinterest - courtesy of Sex and the City)

Friday, 19 May 2017

Buy Your Father's Day Present From My Dad

Father's Day Gift Ideas for Car lovers motorbike and automative

Instead of doing a traditional gift guide, like I normally do, this year I'm involving my Dad, a bit like I did when he shared some of his favourite grooming and aftershave picks, except this year he's in the driving seat with his own designs and products.

Most of you will probably agree that men and in particular, Dad's, are notoriously difficult to buy for, especially when they say that they don't need or want anything or don't expect anything on the day itself. If you're looking for something other than socks or a tie, particularly if he doesn't need any more of either, I, or should I say my Dad, has the perfect solution.

If your Dad is a fan of cars or motorbikes, or had one he'd never forget growing up or wished he could own, then my Dad has got you covered.

All the designs are hand-drawn by my Dad and between his own site and Redbubble, you'll find t-shirts, mugs, phone and iPad cases, notebooks, bags, clocks, cushions and much more, all with his designs on them. You can pick the colour and quality of each item and there's something for every budget this Father's Day.

Fathers Day Ideas

Why get your Dad something he won't use, or something you've bought without putting much thought into, when you could get him something bespoke and hand-drawn? He also does custom work and would be more than happy to discuss this.

And of course, his designs aren't just specific to Father's Day. His products would be perfect for brothers, boyfriends, husbands, granddads and of course car and motorbike loving ladies too.

You can see more of his work on his Twitter, as well as what he's working on at the moment, normally when me and my Mum are watching Emmerdale. Hehe.

If you were to buy your Father's Day present from my Dad this year it would honestly make his day, as much like how blogging is a passion and hobby for me, drawing is the exact same thing for him.

What do you think of my Dad's designs? Would they be something your Dad or one of your loved ones would love to receive? And have you bought your Dad something for Father's Day yet?


Wednesday, 17 May 2017

The QVC Tili Beauty Box

QVC Tili Box Review

Over the years I've reviewed a variety of different beauty boxes. From Look Fantastic to Birchbox, Look Incredible and most recently Love Me Beauty and Latest In Beauty but one that impressed me immensely was the QVC Tili (Try It Love It) beauty box. I reviewed the second edition of the box back in October of last year and now we're onto the fourth edition, which I was very kindly sent to review today.

So let's see what's in this installment of the QVC Tili beauty box*;

QVC Tili Box 2017

I couldn't believe it when I opened the box and the first item that I saw was the it Cosmetics CC Cream! I almost shrieked with excitement, that's how happy I was. I've heard many a beauty/YouTube guru rave about this base product and it's high on my list of products to buy when I head to Sephora in July. Even if this shade isn't light enough for me, it will be great to see how the product performs and what the consistency is like. I was also over the moon to see a mini version of my absolute favourite mascara of all time; Benefit's Roller Lash. It will be the perfect size for bringing with me to New York, especially as I'm doing hand luggage only. I also adore the Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish so to have a mini version and a cloth will be great for travel too. And the OPI shade is absolutely beautiful and ideal for the warmer months.

QVC Tili Box Fourth Edition

Talking of the warmer months; I'm always happy to try out more from the Ultrasun brand. A facial SPF of some sort is pretty much a necessity for someone as pale/fair and freckly as me so this is going straight into my everyday handbag. And I'm really intrigued by the sounds of Vita Liberata's Ten Minute Tan, particularly because I've been impressed with their tanning products in the past and the fact that they don't make me look like an Oompa Loompa.

I hadn't heard of Julian Farel before so I look forward to trying out his anti-aging shampoo and conditioner, even though I'm not sure if it'll make much difference to my 25 year old head of hair but we will see. I have, on the other hand, heard a lot of great things about Alpha H and their Liquid Gold so to have a limited rose gold version of it try is very exciting. And Erno Laszlo just screams luxury to me, especially if you've seen the prices of their products so it will be nice to try out some of their products pretty much guilt free thanks to this edition of the Tili box.

QVC Tili Box

This exact beauty box launches TODAY on QVC and I would definitely recommend buying it as soon as you can, if it's impressed you as much as it has me, as the boxes sell out incredibly quickly. The box is £20, which when you take into consideration the value of the products enclosed within it, is such an incredible deal. There's also no subscription to worry about with Tili either, so what you see is what you get.

What do you think of this edition of the QVC Tili beauty box? Have you tried any of the products featured within it? If so, what do you think of them? And which product would you be the most excited to try from this box?


Sunday, 14 May 2017

Shopping, Dining & Blogging At St. Enoch

St Enoch Centre Glasgow

As you will have seen if you saw my big Boots haul, I recently indulged in a spot of retail therapy to deal with a couple of crappy weeks health-wise and to pick up a Spring/Summer piece to add to my wardrobe and I did all that at St. Enoch Centre in Glasgow City Centre.

Friday, 12 May 2017

The Millennial Pink Beauty & Fashion Edit

Millennial Pink Clothes

I don't know about you but I'm more than a little bit obsessed with all things millennial/blush pink these days. As someone who only owned one piece of pink clothing (a baby pink t-shirt style nightdress) up until about a year ago, this is quite the turnaround.

I went shopping this week, namely to pick up my beloved Almond Oil for skin from L'Occitane, which had sadly run out and to do some online shopping returns but I ended up picking up a few of the pieces from today's edit, all of which I already adore and can't wait to wear. So here are the beauty and fashion bits, of a millennial pink nature, that I've been lusting after recently, along with a few that I've already bought;

Millennial Pink Fashion
Left to right: New Look Wrap Front Pleated Culotte JumpsuitASOS Velvet Pleated Midi Skirt - Topshop Skater Bardot Dress - Topshop Faye Marabou Cross Body Bag - Coast Kadie Sequin Maxi Prom Dress - River Island Frill Hem Trousers

The New Look Wrap Front Pleated Culotte Jumpsuit has already made it into my wardrobe, in both pink and in black and I managed to bag the ASOS Velvet Pleated Midi Skirt for less than half price at the Benefit Raise A Brow pop up charity shop that arrived in Glasgow a few weeks ago.

I have a feeling I'm going to treat myself to the Topshop Faye Marabou Cross Body Bag at the end of the month as a bit of a payday treat and how can you not dream about wearing this sequin maxi dress from Coast?

Millennial Pink Makeup

Left to right: Top row: Charlotte Tilbury Pillow Talk Lip Liner & LipstickGlossier Balm Dot Com - NARS BLK 413 Blush Duo - Morphe Eyeshadow in Wink For Pink - L'Occitane Pivoine Sublime Tinted Lip Balm Rose Nude SPF25 
Bottom row: Hourglass GIRL Lip Stylo in Dreamer - Bareminerals GEN NUDE Matte Liquid Lipcolour in Smooch - Colourpop Pearlized Highlighter in Forget Me Not - Maybelline Blushed Nudes Palette - Nails Inc Makeup Correct, Conceal & Heal 

Having already tried a few of the Bareminerals GEN NUDE matte liquid lipcolours (see review here), I'm keen to add a pink shade to my collection and Smooch looks so pretty. As does the Morphe eyeshadow in Wink For Pink and the Colourpop Pearlized Highlighter. Might it be time for me to place my first Colourpop order?

And you know I'll be picking up Glossier's Balm Dot Com on my trip to New York this Summer! I also might need to finally pick up the Charlotte Tilbury Pillow Talk Lipstick. What do we think?

Are you a fan of the millennial pink trend when it comes to fashion and/or beauty? What do you think of the items and products that I've featured in today's post? Would you like to see the pieces that I've already picked up, such as the New Look pleated jumpsuit or the ASOS velvet pleated skirt, in an outfit post soon? And would you like to see edits like these on different patterns or colours in the future?

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