Wednesday, 13 February 2019

Great Gifts For Winter Birthdays


gifts for her birthday

- GUEST POST BY HOLLY TOMLINSON -

Another year means another 12 months of birthday parties and perfectly planned presents. Winter birthdays may be the chilliest, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be cool. Though having fun in the sun may not be possible unless a destination party is in the works, wintertime activities call for plenty of layering and accessorizing that can make gift-giving a total breeze. There will be no shortage of ideas with this helpful list of perfect winter birthday gifts.

For her: Packing cubes
If she’s constantly in the air, off to the next destination, and posting Instagram stories every hour of her foreign festivities, she probably has a fair share of luggage that she depends on during her travels. Whether she’s more of a weekender bag kind of gal or a giant suitcase high-roller, packing cubes could be the game changer she needs to step her travel wardrobe on point. In the spirit of space-saving efficiency, get her to tune into Marie Kondo’s Tidying Up while she’s at it!

For him: Holiday celebration gear
The year is chock-full of holidays worth celebrating. From Valentine’s Day to New Years and everything in between, proper celebration requires proper holiday attire. A Christmas sweater or St. Patrick’s day shirt make for funny (and useful) gifts he’ll appreciate during the winter.

10 gifts for the woman who has everything

For her: A mini backpack
Mini backpacks have become all the rage, and it’s really no wonder why. Not only are these adorable accessories easily totable, but they are made by all of your favorite designers—both low- and high-end! Having all that space provides a world of difference if she’s more accustomed to the size of a tiny crossbody. She can keep all of her makeup essentials, wallet necessities, and much more inside a spacious mini backpack.

For her: Cloud lamp 
You’ve probably never thought about gifting a friend or family member a lamp but this tiny cloud lamp will change your mind. The Smart Cloud comes in many astounding forms, but the tiny one is the gorgeous, minimalist floating lamp that looks quaint just about wherever you put it. It also features an integrated Bluetooth speaker—all that’s missing are rain sounds for a full stormy effect.

For him: Subscription box
Shopping for guys has never been easy, and even if you know the guy on your list well, you’re still stumped every time his birthday rolls around. Instead of stressing the little things, get him a monthly box full of little things that he’ll look forward to every passing month. Subscription boxes tailored toward his interests are the perfect solution for an unpredictable man.

For him: Cornhole set
Even though the weather outside isn’t quite yet beautiful enough to enjoy a day out, he’ll be itching to break out the Cornhole board you got him for his birthday as soon as spring rears its head. Complete with just two boards and a set of bean bags, this simple game is fun for everyone and even more entertaining with a few beers!

best beauty gifts for her

For her: Highlighter & bronzer
The lack of sunshine has gotten her down and she’s missing that summer glow more than ever. Since she can’t produce it naturally (unless you get her a one-way ticket to the Caribbean), stock her up with her favorite highlighters and bronzers to restore that sunkissed glow. If you’re feeling extra generous, set her up with a set of Morphe brushes.

For him: Hot sauce set
He’ll be able to forget that it’s freezing outside when his mouth is scorching with the power of a million Scoville units. Give him a reason to make his own version of YouTube’s Hot Ones series with a Fuego Box gift set. He’ll love testing the waters and challenging his limits with the many burning hot sauces Fuego Box offers.

For her: Jumbo wine glass
You’ve seen her at her best, and you’ve seen her on wine night. In fact, the two occasions may be the exact same! Give her the gift of a guilt-free second glass of wine by upping the dosage with a jumbo glass of wine. This bad boy can hold an entire 25oz bottle of wine, which will make refilling and sharing a thing of the past!

These genius ideas should make your shopping process far easier and guarantee smiles and laughs for every birthday coming up!
(IMAGE CREDIT: SHUTTERSTOCK)
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Sunday, 10 February 2019

Taking On My 2019 Reading Challenge


2019 reading challenge goodreads blog

Studying English at University and having to read 3-5 books a week, some of which were big hefty books of 1000 pages or more, totally sucked all the enjoyment out of reading for me and it's taken many years for me to eventually feel the urge to read again.

Over the Christmas period, I made a point of completely detaching myself from social media and my laptop to pick up one of the many books that have been gathering dust on my bookshelf for years now. And I have to say, I didn't miss picking up my phone or scrolling through Twitter or Instagram one bit.

At the end of 2018, I saw so many people sharing how they got on with their 2018 Reading Challenges and it really inspired me to finally get back to reading on the regular. And within minutes I had signed up for a Goodreads account and pledged to read 12 books in 2019. If you saw my 30 before 30 blog post a few years ago, one of my goals was to read at least one book a month or twelve over the course of a year and 2019 is going to be the year that I do that.



I'm going to keep you updated with what I've been reading throughout the year, in blog posts similar to this one but until then, here's how I'm getting on with my 2019 Reading Challenge so far;

What I've read so far...

The Wives by Lauren Weisberger

In preparation for my trip to Orlando at the end of last year, I picked up the third in The Devil Wears Prada series of books and even toted it along with me across the Atlantic only for it to go unread. So it was the first book that I grabbed from my shelf at Christmas and I'm so glad that I did as it definitely inspired me to keep reading and to give my phone and laptop a much needed break.

The Wives follows Emily (who you'll remember from her time at Runway with Miranda Priestly), one of her oldest friends Miriam and ex-model and Senator's wife Karolina. Each chapter is told from the perspective of each of the three women, something that definitely added to the story and how it progressed overall. To give you a brief synopsis, when Karolina is set up and publicly dumped by her Senator husband, Miriam and Emily band together to help her get her son and her own back, whilst dealing with their own issues. Each woman is so different that every chapter brings something new to the story and I was really glad that I chose this to be my first book of 2019.

Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling

Having read and absolutely loved Mindy's first book, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns), I had actually preordered this book way back in 2015 and it had been sitting on my shelf ever since then.

All I can say is, I absolutely loved this book! Mindy is one of my favourite people (The Mindy Project is and always will be one of my very favourite TV shows) and her unmistakable tone of voice immediately comes through from the very first sentence of Why Not Me? It deals with her life after she entered the entertainment industry and a little bit beforehand, along with topics such as friendship, dating, body image, sex scenes and sorority life. I laughed out loud so many times whilst reading this and fell even more in love with Mindy than I thought was possible. I also felt a lot better about myself and how I still don't quite have my shit together. I've got my fingers crossed that she'll come out with a third book at some point, especially now that she is a parent.

2019 goodreads reading challenge blog

What I'm currently reading...

Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan

After hearing basically everyone rave about this book last year and as I haven't seen the movie of the same name yet, I picked up a copy of Crazy Rich Asians at the start of January. It was actually in the 2 for £5 deal in Fopp, which is such an unreal deal to definitely take advantage of if you have a store near you. The story really does sound right up my street. However, the only thing that has put me off completely devouring this book is the fact that the text is teeny tiny and my right eye has been playing up recently (I'm now on eye drops and even had to wear a patch for a few days!)

Hopefully I'll be able to get back into this soon. Have you read it?

Scrappy Little Nobody by Anna Kendrick

Anna Kendrick is one of those celebrities, along with the likes of Mindy Kaling and Amy Poehler, that I actively keep up with. I'm a big fan of her movies and always make sure to pick up any magazines that have interviews with her in it as I really like the witty and punchy way that she puts together sentences and tweets.

I was expecting to be completely captivated by this book but after reading Mindy's, I just didn't feel the same level of excitement or urge to pick up the book to see what she had written next. It starts with her life as a child and a child actor, which can often be my least favourite part of celebrity memoirs. So I'm hoping to get back into it this weekend and hopefully make it to the sections titled Leaving The Nest, Boys and Hollywood.

What's on my list to read/buy next...

Something Blue by Emily Giffin

After reading and really enjoying The Wives, I was on the lookout for my next piece of chick-lit when I stumbled across Something Blue. I was a big fan of the movie adaptation of Emily Giffin's Something Borrowed and Something Blue follows on directly from that book. Darcy, played by Kate Hudson in the movie, is pregnant, alone and recovering from what took place in Something Borrowed.

It just arrived, after a trip from the US (I managed to get it on Wordery) and I can't wait to get reading. There are so many 4 star and 5 star reviews on Amazon and Goodreads for this book, something that can't be said for all 'chick-lit' books, so I'm really excited to get stuck into it.

I'll Be Gone In The Dark by Michelle McNamara

You might remember me writing about the Golden State Killer in my August What I've Been Watching blog post so when I saw this book, again in Fopp for the unbelievable price of £2.50 in the 2 for £5 deal, I just had to get it.

Over the past few years I've become a little bit obsessed with watching true crime documentaries and delving into the cases myself. The Golden State Killer is one of the most notorious of these criminals and operated in several different states with two other known names, those being the East Area Rapist and the Original Night Stalker. His attacks are some of the creepiest and most disturbing that I've ever heard about. And the author, Michelle McNamara, was the one who originally came up with the Golden State Killer moniker. Sadly Michelle never managed to finish the book before passing away so, much like with the Unmasking A Killer documentary, the ending is left open, as the case was at the time but in the years since her passing, someone has been caught and charged with the crimes. This might not be the best book to read right before bed or when I'm in on my own but I'm looking forward to finding out more about the case and the investigations.

So there's how I've been getting on so far.

Do you have any books that you'd recommend me checking out?

To see my full bookshelf on Goodreads, click here or click through below to see what else I'll be hoping to pick up and read this year;



Have you read any of the books that I've mentioned in today's blog post? If so, what were your thoughts on them? Are there any that you wish you hadn't read? And are you taking part in a reading challenge this year, either on Goodreads or on your own?

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Sunday, 3 February 2019

Milk Makeup Launches In The UK: What To Try From The US Cult Beauty Brand


milk makeup review blog

At the start of this week, we finally saw the launch of the American cult beauty brand Milk Makeup here in the UK, fittingly at Cult Beauty.

It's a brand that has caught my eye on many different trips to the US, being sold in the likes of Sephora and Urban Outfitters in the States. However, every time that I found myself at the Milk Makeup stand I would inevitably end up completely overwhelmed with what to try and end up leaving with nothing. So when I saw the Meet The Fam set on the Sephora website when I was in Florida at the end of last year, I made a rather large Sephora order (as seen in this blog post) basically so that I could take advantage of the rather unbelievable savings on some of their holiday sets.

milk makeup uk

Made up of seven of Milk's bestsellers, it gave me a great overview of the brand and allowed me to try some of the products that I'd had my eye on for a while (namely the Cooling Stick and Kush Mascara) and to sample $108 worth of skincare and makeup for just $39.

So I thought that I would share my thoughts on what I've tried so far and to let you see what I'll be looking to pick up now that we have easy access to Milk Makeup both here in the UK and worldwide, thanks to Cult Beauty stocking them.



So here is my overview of Milk Makeup;

milk cooling water mini

Cooling Water Under-Eye De-Puffer Stick

Milk are known for their easy to use and innovative makeup and skincare sticks, as you will see in today's blog post. And the one that I was the most interested to try but always inevitably put back, was the Cooling Water Under-Eye De-Puffer Stick. I was always a little bit hesitant to invest in a full size of this stick but I should have thrown caution to the wind years ago and snapped it up!

I get unbearably hot flushes and red rashes all over my face and neck thanks to my chronic illness but that's a story for another blog post to be fair. It tends to happen at night, normally after about 8pm and leaves my face feeling like it's been sunburnt even though it's just a temporary rush of heat. I've tried cooling sprays and gel moisturisers in the past, to hopefully give me a bit of relief but nothing had really worked until this little gem came into my life.

If you could do with some cooling down when the weather gets warm or when you're on holiday somewhere hot and sunny, I cannot recommend this cooling stick enough to you! The cooling sensation lasts on the skin longer than other 'cooling' products that I've tried and this little stick is now a permanent product in my handbag and I will definitely be picking up the full size of this now that I can get it here.

milk makeup skincare review

Watermelon Brightening Serum

Now, I'm not sure about you but this is definitely the first serum that I have seen dispensed in this way. And my skin does look noticeably healthier and brighter when I use this little stick.

One of the biggest pluses is the fact that there isn't any product waste as you don't need to dispense the serum into your hands, like you would do with a traditional skincare product. As someone who hates waste and begrudges not getting my money's worth, I'm surprised that more beauty brands haven't come up with something similar to this to dispense their products. It's also a nice side effect that this also feels lovely and cooling when applied to the skin as well.

milk makeup stick review

Blur Stick Matte Primer

If I'm in a rush, I tend to miss out on using primer and it sure does show a few hours later. The older I get, the more pronounced my pores seem to be getting so I was over the moon to try this stick out when I saw it in the Meet The Fam set. It being matte is a big bonus as is it's applicator and like the rest of the sticks in Milk's arsenal, it's just so quick and easy to use.

If you have really dry patches, like I often do, it can cling to these slightly so I have to be on top of my game skincare-wise to use this product without worrying about it clumping around these areas. But when my skin is nice and smooth and hydrated, this is a dream to use. I actually used it when I was still on holiday in the warm Floridian sun and loved how it made my skin look, particularly as I was wearing no makeup on that trip.

Lip + Cheek in Werk

Multi purpose products are always a big hit with me but admittedly, I very rarely use them for more than one purpose myself. It's always nice to have the additional options to use it on my lips and even my eyes, for example but this definitely works well as a blush for me.

If you don't want to disrupt your base product, you can easily apply this with your fingers. It will also warm the product up a bit before you apply it to the skin too. Or if you're just doing a quick touch up throughout the day, you can apply it directly. This shade is so pretty and adds a pop of colour to the skin in an instant. If you like cream blushes that are a breeze to blend, I'd definitely check this one out!

milk makeup highlighter

Holographic Highlighter Stick in Supernova

This is one of Milk's most iconic products and one of the first that I immediately think of when I think of Milk Makeup. Whenever I pick this product up, however, all that plays in my mind is Cristine from Simplynailogical (who else watches her brilliant videos?!) If you watch her, you'll get what I mean.

Now, every single time that I use this, someone will comment on how good it looks or ask what highlighter I'm using and until now, I've had to say 'Oh sadly I got it in the US' but now I can shout, "It's Milk, you can get it online" from the rooftops. I swatched the two other shades when I was last in Sephora and they're all so beautiful and unlike any other shades in my current collection. They're a little more out there for highlighter shades compared to their original champagne pearlescent highlighter, Lit, as you will see in a minute.

milk makeup highlighter review

Highlighter in Lit

Speaking of Lit, here it is. I've got to say, this is now my favourite glow-y highlighter for daily wear. My absolute favourite highlighter, the Charlotte Tilbury Beauty Light Wand, is more of a glam nighttime, almost blinding, highlighter for me, so this being better for day-to-day use is ideal. After using Lit, I look like I've just had a facial which is always a nice feeling.

This looks gorgeous on the skin and gives you that natural 'lit from within' look. If you're after more of a subtle highlight, this is 100% the one to try!


Kush Mascara

When it came to the makeup range there was one product that really stood out for me and that was the Kush Mascara. I'd heard so many incredible things about this mascara and for good reason.

It uses the very on-trend CBD oil to make this a vegan alternative to other mascaras and has quickly edged it's way into my daily makeup bag. Now, my favourite mascara of all-time is still Benefit's Roller Lash but it takes quite a few coats to give me much volume to my lashes. I love it for the fact that it gives me natural looking lashes so I'm certainly happy to now have the Kush Mascara to give me a bit more volume but still in a really natural way. I used to wear about ten coats of mascara in my teens, which is what puts me off doing so nowadays. The Kush Mascara brush is also one of the best that I've ever used and stops me from getting any clumps. Again, I will definitely be picking up a full size of this once I've used the little travel size up.

milk makeup uk launch

So those are the products that I've been able to try so far. I've got a feeling that I'll be adding to my Milk Makeup collection quite frequently now that we can get it in the UK and here are the products that are currently on my wish list;



If you live in the US, you can get your Milk Makeup fix from their own site and the likes of Sephora but if you live anywhere else in the world, definitely check out Cult Beauty.

Have you had Milk Makeup on your to-try list for a while now? If so, which product or products will you be trying? And what do you think of the products that I've featured in today's blog post?

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