Sunday, 30 September 2018

All The Small Things: The Travel Beauty Bits Coming With Me On My Next Trip


travel beauty products uk

Inspired by this photo on Emma's Instgram feed, I thought that I would share some of the dinky little travel sized products and multi-tasking heroes, such as the Cowshed Wonder Balm* and Coola Daydream Mineral Primer, that I will be taking with me on holiday this month. If you want to follow me along on my travels be sure to follow me on Instagram where I'm going to posting as often as I can and even trying to vlog a little on Insta Stories.

But before I actually set off on my travels, let's see exactly what I'm bringing with me in my suitcase this time.

biosilk silk therapy travel set

Since I'm not constrained to travelling hand luggage only this time, like I did on my last trip, I thought that I would bring a few new products to put to the test in the warmer weather. Each of these bottles is well within the 100ml or under carry on restrictions if you did want to take them in your hand luggage. I've heard a lot of good things about Biosilk so I'm excited to try these Silk Therapy products, particularly the leave-in conditioner.

I tend to air dry my hair when I'm on holiday so we will see how these products perform. Be sure to follow me on either Instagram or Twitter as I will be updating you on all things holiday related on there. You can pick up this fab Silk Therapy travel set ut from Look Fantastic here in the UK.

travel size makeup

When you're travelling somewhere as hot and humid as Florida, even the thought of applying makeup can be somewhat off-putting, often making me sweat just thinking about it but I wanted to bring a handful of products with me to have me covered no matter the occasion.



If you read my Travel Sized Beauty To Take On Your Next Trip blog post, where I packed for an overnight stay, you might remember me raving about the Zoeva Voyager collection, so of course I simply had to bring the perfect everyday palette and travel makeup brushes with me on this trip. And talking of tools, I picked up a little Beautyblender set a while back which includes a mini of the cleanser along with the iconic pink sponge. I may have to invest in the Blender Defender whilst I'm at Sephora or Ulta.

Benefit really nail the mini version market when it comes to their makeup! I opted for the trio of Benefit tints, which are exclusive to Escentual in this set, along with a mini of their Airbrush Concealer. I also couldn't go anywhere without my trusty IT Cosmetics CC+ Cream in tiny form or a good waterproof mascara. I'm going to be trialling this one by Eyeko whilst at the pool and on all the water rides. And say hello to the most adorable travel size mini in the form of Urban Decay's life-changing All Nighter Setting Spray.

clean reserve layering set

I'm one of those people who instantly remembers a special time in their life after smelling a certain perfume or fragrance so I go out of my way to take a new perfume or Bath & Body Works scented Hand-Bac with me on each and every holiday. Then as soon as you spray that perfume or clean your hands on the go, you're immediately transported back to that place and time.

On this trip I'm going to be taking a few different options thanks to the Clean Layering Collection*. If you haven't yet discovered any of Clean's exquisite scents, this is a great way to do so plus having the option to layer them and create your own signature fragrance is certainly an added bonus. Plus, look how cute the little bottles are!

missguided babe power gift set

Even though I knew that I had the different options from Clean I couldn't resist this handy little Missguided Babe Power travel size set* from Notino. It comes with two 15ml vials of the brilliant Babe Power fragrance and a gorgeous rose gold/copper atomiser, making it ideal for popping into your holiday handbag.

I already briefly mentioned the multi purpose nature of both the Cowshed Wonder Balm and the Coola Daydream Primer above but I love taking products that save me taking other additional products away with me, especially when I plan on using every bit of available space on the way home for fitting in what I've bought on my trip. The Coola Daydream Primer is a primer, SPF and blurring base in one, whilst the Wonder Balm from Cowshed can be used on your body, face and hair and is just a great product to have to hand in the heat. It can also be used to remove makeup in a pinch too.

So there's what's coming with me on my trip to the States.

Do you seem to hoard little travel sizes and samples from beauty boxes like I do? Have you tried any of the products in today's post? If so, what do you think of them? And do you have any trips, holidays or nights away planned in the next year?

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Sunday, 23 September 2018

What I've Been Watching This Month


what to watch on netflix uk now

As much as I love Summer, I've got to admit that I'm definitely more of an Autumn/Winter gal and any excuse for me to close the curtains, put the heating on and get wrapped up in my comfiest pjs and cosiest dressing gown, is one that I will happily take each and every time. Surely I can't be the only one who would much rather stay indoors when it's absolutely freezing cold outside? And if you're looking for some inspiration when it comes to what to watch next, hopefully I should have given you a couple of suggestions in today's post. Don't forget that you can always check out what I've been watching in previous months/years simply by clicking through into the What I've Been Watching section of my blog.

But back to this month's post. Here's what I've been watching this month;

The Confession Tapes

Now, if you're a regular reader of my What I've Been Watching blog posts, you will be well aware of my fascination with true crime, murder investigations and serial killers. This month I stumbled across The Confession Tapes whilst scrolling through Netflix and quickly decided to press play. If you watched in disbelief as Brendan Dassey was interrogated and ultimately convicted in Making A Murder, you will be even more shocked at some of the tactics and mind games employed to elicit confessions from the individuals in this. The first case in particular, which is covered over two episodes, had my thoughts on the case and whether the two boys were guilty or not changing every two minutes. At the beginning I was adamant that they were guilty, then the next minute I wasn't sure and by the end of it, I was pretty much certain that they were innocent and yet, without spoiling it for you, both have now exhausted all of their appeals and are still in jail to this day.

You know there are innocent people sitting in jails all across the world right now but you would never believe that so many of them either spend most of their lives there, only to be released 10, 20 or even 30 years down the line or that they are never released despite there being other suspects or lines of enquiry that the police just never even consider looking into, as they are convinced that they've got their guy. Every single episode left me shocked in some way or another and I would sincerely urge you to check this out if you have even the slightest interest in true crime or the justice system in general. If you enjoyed The Staircase (see my review here), Making A Murderer or even Evil Genius (see my review here), I have a feeling that you'll find this just as hard to believe and addictive to watch.

Bodyguard

Having loved Line Of Duty (see my review of that here), I was always going to at least watch the first episode of Bodyguard after hearing that it was created by the same individual and it only took a few minutes of that first episode for me to be completely captivated by it. It feels a lot like Line Of Duty in the way that it's shot and the behind the scenes nature of what we get to see but instead of solely focusing on the police and the anti-corruption unit, in Bodyguard we take a step into the world of politics with the Home Secretary and her bodyguard being the main focus.

Having never watched Game Of Thrones, I really had no idea who Richard Madden was but it was nice to see someone Scottish in such a big show, even if I don't quite get the attraction to him in this myself. There's a good mixture of action sequences, smart storytelling and breathtaking moments. I've lost track of how many times I've audibly shouted 'What?!' at the TV during this.

As I write this, since I'm currently on the other side of the Atlantic, there is one episode left to go and I'm really looking forward to seeing how it all ends once I get back. No spoilers please.

To All The Boys I've Loved Before

Much like with The Kissing Booth, which I reviewed back in June (see my review here), I'd heard a lot of buzz around this Netflix Original movie and decided to give it a try one night when I was looking for something new to watch on Netflix. Again, I hadn't read the Young Adult book that this was based on but the concept sounded like something relatively new and fresh for the teen movie genre.

Unlike the seriously rubbish Noah in The Kissing Booth (why won't he stop fighting?!), Peter Kavinsky is certainly someone that I can get on board with as a love interest. I also completely get the Noah Centineo hype. I thought that I'd seen him in something before as his face looked vaguely familiar. Turns out he was the love interest in Camilla Cabello's 'Havana' music video!

It took me back to the kinds of movies that I loved watching in my teenage years such as Angus Thongs And Perfect Snogging, A Cinderella Story and Wild Child and is definitely a hit when it comes to a Netflix Original anyway, as I really enjoyed it. I did, however, feel way too old to be watching this when John Corbett (aka. Aidan Shaw/my dream man from Sex and the City) appeared as Lara Jean's dad. Please tell me I wasn't the only one to feel this way.

9-1-1

Even though it inevitably starts to get darker earlier and earlier each night in September, I do look forward to the fact that lots of new shows and some old favourites return to our TV schedules and 9-1-1 was one of the new shows that immediately caught my eye. When I heard that it was created by Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk who worked together on American Crime Story, Scream Queens, Nip/Tuck and Glee, I was excited to see what they'd done next. 9-1-1 follows the lives of first responders in Los Angeles and it's easily one of my new favourites!

Some sequences and scenes can be a little bit over the top but it's not exactly the kind of show that you'd tune into for real life scenarios, it's more of a dramatic re-telling, to say the least. There's not really a boring 911 call, if that makes sense. All of them are crazy and dramatic. From the very first episode when we find out that a baby has been flushed down the toilet, you kind of get a feel for what's set to come in 9-1-1 but even then, I probably would never have predicted seeing a bouncy castle take off in the wind, someone being thrown from a rollercoaster or someone being choked by a snake all within the first few episodes. Writing it now it sounds ridiculous but it's a TV show that I happily watch each and every week. You'll find 9-1-1 on Sky Witness here in the UK and it's definitely worth checking out at the very least.

Jigsaw

When the Saw series of films finally came to end, I have a feeling that most of us were glad to see it go and had most probably switched off many movies ago anyway. The first Saw movie was smart, shocking and seriously took my breath away. I mean, who could forget the twist at the end of it? So when I saw that they were possibly attempting to revive the Saw franchise I definitely wasn't interested in seeing it in the slightest. When I saw the trailer I was slightly more inclined and then I heard a couple of somewhat positive reviews. It came out in cinemas, then on DVD and despite being a big fan of scary movies, I didn't feel an urge to seek it out. Then I saw that it was on Netflix and gave it a watch one Friday night this month.

Being the eighth (yup, you read that right!) in the Saw series you know what you're getting. There's frankly ridiculous traps, severed limbs, blood and pretty wooden acting. From the minute you see the lead detective you can't help but think, they're trying way too hard to make this guy unlikeable. I mean, who even smokes that much out in the open in 2017/18?! Unlike it's previous iterations, 'beating' certain traps in Jigsaw was way too easy to do. The first trap stops if you give it even a droplet of blood. And sadly, the twist at the end felt way too rushed. It certainly wasn't the worst in the series but it wasn't anywhere near as clever or genuinely scary as the original that I enjoyed back in the day.

So there's what I've been watching this month.

What have you been watching recently? Have you seen any of the shows or movies in today's post? If so, what did you think of them? And are there any upcoming TV shows or movie releases that you're looking forward to?

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Wednesday, 19 September 2018

Finally Trying Peter Thomas Roth


peter thomas roth mask set

I've wanted to try some of Peter Thomas Roth's products for some time now but it can be a bit of a gamble with your money when you buy a full size of a new skincare product only for it not to work for you or your skin. This is why I'm always drawn to Sephora style gift sets that allow you to try out several different products for significantly less than you would pay for say, just one face mask in this case.

If you saw my Discovering New Beauty Brands & Products With Notino blog post, you will know that I'm working with them on a couple of blog posts a month in exchange for them sending out some products for me to review. So when I saw the Peter Thomas Roth Mask-A-Holic set* on their site, I was quick to place an order and was over the moon when it arrived.

peter thomas roth mask review

Comprising of five 50ml versions of some of Peter Thomas Roth's most iconic face masks, I was really excited to finally try a few of the products that have been on my beauty wishlist for years now, primarily the  Pumpkin Enzyme Enzymatic Dermal Mask, the Blue Marine Algae Intense Hydrating Mask and the Cucumber Gel Extreme Detoxifying Hydrating Mask. The Pumpkin Enzyme Mask in particular had been the one that I'd had my eye on ever since hearing Anna from The Anna Edit and many others, rave about it in the past. Plus, as I struggle with a strange skin texture on my forehead, even after I exfoliate each week, I was keen to see if it would do anything to improve it.

After using that mask in particular, just a few times, I have already noticed such a drastic difference in my forehead texture and will most definitely be buying the full size version when I finish this tub.

I also love the feeling of the two hydrating masks and I'm looking forward to trying out the two other masks included in this set as the cold Winter months draw in. They are the 24K Gold Pure Luxury Lift & Firming Mask and the Irish Moor Mud Purifying Black Mask. You also get a handy mask application and removal tool with this set, which I certainly appreciated. I don't have any specific makeup brushes that I use for applying face masks and as a result, things can often get pretty messy when I'm multi-masking on a Sunday night. This little pad allows you to apply and to remove each mask without having to use your fingers and that in itself, feels a whole lot more hygienic to me.

peter thomas roth mask applicator

Overall, I'm so happy with this set and the fact that it was only a few pounds more than buying the full size of the Pumpkin Enzyme Mask on it's own.

Have you tried anything from Peter Thomas Roth before? If so, what do you recommend? And which mask sounds like it could be the best for your skin type?

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Sunday, 16 September 2018

Why Are We Afraid To Discuss Money As Bloggers?


blogger discussing money

Why are we afraid to discuss money as bloggers? And no, I'm not talking about the awkward exchange that can tend to happen when an older family member or someone who just doesn't understand that you can, in fact, make money from your own little space on the internet, asks what you do, I'm talking about discussing it with fellow bloggers.

As blogging is still a relatively new profession, there's not much guidance online about how much you should be charging for the variety of things that you can offer as a blogger and even when there is, you'll find someone boasting that they've made $100,000+ in their first year of blogging when you click into one of those Pinterest guides. You know the ones.

The whole Brand New fiasco, which left hundreds of bloggers owed anywhere from £20 to thousands of pounds, really got me thinking about just why we don't talk openly about money and what we charge as bloggers. We share so much of our lives on social media and our blogs but for some reason or another the topic of money is still a bit of a taboo.

Do you know what you should be charging? Do you know what other bloggers are asking for compared to what you do? Do you wish that the whole thing was discussed more openly? I mean, here are just a few of the issues that I bet most of us bloggers will have faced at one point or another, as well as some of my personal experiences when it comes to the topic of money as a blogger;

Undervaluing ourselves vs. getting paid at all

Whether blogging is your side hustle, hobby or full time job, getting paid can either be a nice added bonus or a completely necessary part of the job.

It can be so tempting to accept less than what you'd ordinarily charge. I try to stick to charging over £100 now for a link within one of my upcoming blog posts but I often find myself spending hours and days trying to negotiate a PR up from £50 to nearer what I would call my bottom line. In this past tax year alone, I've done five posts under £100 solely because it was a case of accepting them or getting paid nothing at all that week or month. Trying to find the right balance is tricky even when you've been blogging for almost 5 years like I have.

Valuing your time

I'm definitely guilty of accepting what is essentially peanuts in the past, particularly when it comes to my Instagram or working for free but this is something where you have to weigh up the pros and cons of each post. You yourself will know what's worth it for you.

For example, I only charged £30 for this Instagram post with Always which was agreed upon via Brand New. It was the first and thankfully the last time that I worked via Brand New and I did actually get a cheque in the post that cleared after they went into administration, so at least I was eventually paid. Others haven't been so lucky. My engagement on Instagram at the time was less than ideal and the brand were one that I already used and pay for their products out of my own pocket. When fellow bloggers heard what I'd charged, when the whole Brand New drama unfolded, they were shocked and a little annoyed for me that I was only paid said amount when they'd managed to negotiate for more. It was a really stark example of me not valuing the time that it took me to set up the photo, take it, edit it, write copy and then promote it on my feed. It was also another blatant example of there being no real consensus on what to charge based on your following and engagement.

It's a mixture of sharing what you love, whether you've paid for it yourself or if you've been sent it to consider, for free and asking for some kind of compensation if a brand or PR gets in touch to ask you to feature a product that you've never tried or heard of before. Again, you should know what's worth it for you.

glasgow lifestyle bloggers

$10-30 emails vs. knowing your worth

If you've ever even posted just one blog post online, you will have no doubt received an email out of the blue offering you the 'opportunity' of a paid or sponsored 'collaboration'. You'll get quite excited and ask for more details only to find out that they want you to write a 1000+ word blog post with three follow links, a banner in your sidebar and your first born child all for the sum of about $15!

I dread to think how many bloggers just starting out and those of us who aren't entirely clued up on even the average rate for a blog post, accept that amount. I'm also a member of quite a few blogger opportunity pages on Facebook, where admittedly I have found some really interesting and worth your while and time opportunities but the amount of them where they want you to have a blog post go live in about half an hour, with all the same fun requirements as above, all for £20-£30 is unreal.

When you continue to receive these emails or see these budgets, it definitely has you questioning your own worth and if what you're doing is worth anymore than this. I can tell you now; you are worth so much more!

Blogging for exposure

What's even worse than $10-30, blogging for 'exposure'.

'Oh we don't have any budget at the moment but we can share it on social media to our followers.'

How many of us have received that as a reply when you even mention the possibility of being paid or receiving the product that they want you to blog about? Has anyone ever paid their rent, car payments, food shopping or bills with exposure? Plus how many of these brands do you ever see sharing micro influencers or just your average blogger with less than 100,000 followers content on the regular?

glasgow fashion bloggers

Who thinks that we should really band together as bloggers to ensure that we don't continue to get taken advantage of or accept less than what we're worth? The more of us who naively accept pennies for practically giving that brand, PR or company the earth, the more they'll think that it's okay to offer up £10-25 as a fee.

What do you think? Should we be open to discussing money more openly as bloggers? Would you like to hear what I have charged in the past broken down a little bit further? And which one of your blogging besties would benefit from reading today's post?

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Friday, 14 September 2018

Discovering New Beauty Brands & Products With Notino


notino uk reviews

Over the years I've discovered so many brilliant beauty brands and products, ones that I would never have stumbled across myself on my own and for that reason, I'm always up for trying new things when it comes to skincare, makeup and more. The team at Notino very kindly sent over a bundle of beauty products for me to try and to review and that's exactly what I'll be showing you in today's post.

So here's what I received from Notino;

exfoliating sheet masks

I was very excited to see this exfoliating sheet mask from NaturBeauty in my parcel, as exfoliating regularly is certainly something that I need to start taking more seriously, especially in the Winter months. Doing it in a sheet mask form would be so handy and hopefully hassle free so I'm very excited to try this out this weekend.

When I had a scroll through the Notino site I was instantly intrigued by the bargain makeup brushes from Brush Art so was very happy to see one in my parcel. It's definitely a basic brush but for the price and the fact that even they call it basic, I wasn't expecting miracles or an insanely luxury brush. It'll come in handy for something, for sure.

notino reviews

Mixa are a brand that I've been keen to try for a while now after seeing them appear on my Instagram feed following their UK launch earlier in the year. I've found that some micellar waters can been incredibly drying on my skin or can leave me with tight or stingy eyes. If you saw the recent series of Supershoppers, you will have seen me talk about just that but this time on the TV instead of solely on my blog. I've definitely found a new favourite in this anti-dryness formula and this is exactly what I mean about discovering brilliant new beauty brands and products as a result of writing this very blog. Notino also sent over Avene's Cleanance Micellar Water which is great for oily and blemish prone skin. I've been meaning to try more from Avene so this has definitely given me the push to do so.

I'd never heard of Elancyl Paris before but was happy to put this toning shower gel to the test and I've been enjoying using it the past few weeks. I don't tend to spend more than a £1 on shower gel just because all I'm really looking for it to do is the bare minimum; aka. to clean me. If it smells like candy floss or strawberries, well that's an added bonus. Flos Lek are another brand that I hadn't heard of before but my Mum has been happy to give this a try and will of course, report back. Let me know if you'd like another 'my Mum's picks' kind of blog post, like she wrote back in 2016.

notino beauty blog

Notino also sent over a few travel sizes in preparation for my upcoming trip to the US and I've already added them to my travel washbag. I'll be sure to let you know my thoughts on them on my return. I've got a Fruity Time Shower Gel and Body Milk and some of Medi Blanc's toothpastes to put to the test.

In addition to all of these brands, you'll also find drugstore favourites like Makeup Revolution, L'Oreal and Maybelline, French Pharmacy brands like La Roche-Posay, Vichy and Bioderma, as well as more high end brands like Bobbi Brown, Estee Lauder and MAC. You'll also find many different perfume and fragrance brands on their site too.

Have you discovered any great beauty products or brands as a result of blogging or reading blogs? Have you tried any of the products in today's post? If so, what did you think of them? And which brands are you most excited to see on Notino?

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Wednesday, 5 September 2018

Summer In New York: A Photo Diary


new york photo diary

It's been a little over a year since I visited New York for the very first time and I'm desperate to be back there again soon (a trip in Spring 2019 could very well be on the cards so keep your fingers crossed for me on that one).

I was taking my own advice last week and clearing out my folders and memory cards when I discovered so many photos from my trip that I haven't yet shared online. So I thought that I would do just that in today's post and let the pictures speak for themselves. I've put the photos in order of how I took them so you can follow me along on my travels.
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