Sunday, 31 December 2017

Some New Year's Resolutions To Make If You Don't Normally / Mine For 2018

new years resolution ideas 2018

Over the years I've shared some of my resolutions here on the blog and experienced varying degrees of success. I still haven't learnt to drive or found 'the one' but I have properly put everything into blogging and writing full time which is why it's always worth remembering that small progress is still progress even when you don't think it is. And today I thought that I would share some of my goals for 2018 instead of your typical resolutions and hopefully give you some ideas for resolutions that don't revolve around losing weight/joining a gym and here they are;

Start to become more minimal

Okay so there's no way that I could become one of those people, no matter how envious I am of how uncluttered and simple their lives are, who only owns one pair of shoes or a handful of items in their wardrobe/home. Maybe it's because of Christmas and the sheer amount of stuff that started to accumulate (I'm talking presents, gift guide inclusions, food, party wear and more) but for the first time in my life I actually started to feel really suffocated and overwhelmed by what was around me. I've since passed on unused beauty bits, books I've already read and other miscellaneous bits and bobs to friends and family, donated a load of stuff to my local charity shops and even sold a few things I promised myself I never would on the likes of Depop and eBay solely to clear some much needed space.

My aim is to really streamline everything I already own in 2018. No one needs six really similar black t-shirts or 50+ lip products! Instead of having lots of the same kinds of things I'm going to pick my favourite or most reached for and pass on the rest.

Does anyone else feel the need to do the same thing?

the curated closet book

I've also been a lot tougher on myself as everything has went into the sales, this time only buying items that really do serve a purpose such as a new pair of trainers since my other ones are made of a material which lets in water (they are the Nike Juvenates for reference just in case you want to avoid, which they've apparently stopped making too) so not exactly ideal for anytime that it's raining or the typical Scottish weather. I've had The Curated Closet book on my shelf for a few months now and will finally be putting it to good use in 2018, I'm glad to say.

Stop saving things for best

This kinda coincides with the previous goal. As I've been going through my wardrobe and drawers I've found so many pieces that I just can't part with and they are the pieces that I tend to regard as being too nice to wear for a trip to the Post Office or the doctors but some of my favourite pieces are just going unworn as a result. I think it's finally time to throw out my old jeggings/t-shirts that I wear on such days and start dressing like I would if I was meeting friends or going to a proper job.

I also bought the incredible pink velvet suit that Topshop brought out this Autumn/Winter with plans to start wearing both the blazer and the full co-ord once the weather gets a tiny bit warmer. And who says that my lovely Summer dresses that I save for my holidays can't be worn when and if we get a proper Summer here in Scotland or at least on the couple of days when it is slightly Summer-like?

Start taking better care of yourself

Self care is something that I've tried to implement more and more of in 2017 but it does tend to be the odd day of pampering rather than something that I do everyday. Sometimes, if I know I'm not going to be leaving the house for a number or days or over the weekend, I refrain from washing my hair and spend my time going from one pair of pjs to another. Something as simple as making it part of my daily routine to moisturise all over instead of only when I remember to or actually getting dressed out of my pyjamas even when I'm working from home all day, is my objective and surely it shouldn't be too difficult to achieve if I get myself into a good routine.

Does anyone have any self care tips?

Hustle hard at work or with your side hustles

I didn't share my resolutions at the end of 2016 but my main one was to really go for it when it came to blogging and freelance writing in 2017. I started taking it really seriously in March of this year, keeping track of all my jobs via a handy spreadsheet (let me know if you'd like to see a separate blog post on this) and filing away invoices and expenses for my records. I am so happy to say that I've made more in those 10 months than I used to at my part time job and that for me. was the real goal. I'm not going to lie and say that it was easy or that I feel particularly stable when it comes to my income as some months are meager and others more than make up for it so it's definitely swings and roundabouts income-wise, especially when you consider chasing late payments or affiliate earnings not being released until you hit a certain amount or 4-5 months down the line but thankfully it all adds up.

little black book otegha review

My aim for 2018 is to hustle even harder. Whether you're self employed, are decluttering on the likes of eBay or Depop or are looking to work on your career/job prospects in the New Year, I can't recommend Otegha Uwagba's Little Black Book: A Toolkit For Working Women enough. Plus it's less than a fiver on Amazon or just £5 from the likes of Oliver Bonas, Waterstones or Urban Outfitters and certainly worth the money. I've been delving into over the Christmas break and feel ready to take on 2018 as a result,

Do you make resolutions? If so, which ones will you be making this year? And what do you think of my ideas/goals for 2018?


Sunday, 17 December 2017

Charlotte Tilbury Lip Archive Gift Set

Charlotte Tilbury Lipstick Set

Earlier in the week you will have seen me review the Beauty Icons Gift Set from Charlotte Tilbury's Christmas gifting range and today I'm reviewing the other gift set that really caught my eye this year and that is the Lip Archive*.

Whether you've been patiently or rather impatiently refreshing the Charlotte Tilbury site hoping that these sold out shades would come back into stock or you're looking to try some of Charlotte's most iconic and stunning shades, then this is the set for you.

In this limited edition gift set you'll find three full sized perfect nude shades ones that you'll only find in this set. Not only that but this collection is exclusive to the Charlotte Tilbury website so don't expect to see it at your local counter or the likes of John Lewis or Selfridges this Christmas.

Now let's get onto the three lipsticks themselves;

Charlotte Tilbury Lipsticks Review

First up we have one of Charlotte's iconic K.I.S.S.I.N.G lipsticks in the shade Confession. This is so buttery and soft on the lips and gives them that just bitten kind of look. There's also tiny gold particles in it which make your lips look even more hydrated and it really is my dream nude shade. I don't get on too well with nudes as most are just too brown for me but this is a definite true nude and in turn, a very welcome addition. Much like with the other two shades, there's nothing even remotely like it in my collection and that's just one of the reasons why I love Charlotte Tilbury so much.

Then we have the second lipstick and the first Matte Revolution lipstick in this set; Between The Sheets and I have to admit, I think this might just be my favourite of the three. It's practically the only lipstick that I've worn since receiving this incredible gift set and I can already see it joining the illustrious ranks of my all-time favourites Secret Salma and Glastonberry.

And last but certainly least we have Miss Kensington. This really is the prettiest of pinks. It instantly makes me think of the kinds of lips that were big in the 1960's but with the modern update of it being matte. Without a doubt, my favourite matte lipstick formula has to be Charlotte's Matte Revolution line of lipsticks so I was really happy to add another one (or two when you count Between The Sheets too) to my ever expanding lip collection.

Charlotte Tilbury Lip Archive

For me, it's worth investing in her products rather than frivolously trying lots of different drugstore options which end up costing me so much more than had I just bought one or two well made purchases from Charlotte.

See more of Charlotte's gift shop below;

Have you ever tried a Charlotte Tilbury lipstick? If so, what is your favourite formula or shade? If not, which one or ones are on your wishlist? And what do you think of this gift set?


Friday, 15 December 2017

What's On My Christmas List This Year

What To Buy Christmas 2017

Every year I find it more and more difficult to think of what to ask for for Christmas and this is even more true for my birthday at the start of February. We don't go crazy when it comes to gifts in our household and again, this has become even more true as we've grown up and it's more about receiving a few things that we've had our eyes on throughout the year or that we wouldn't really buy for ourselves such as perfume, DVDs/CDs and all things warm and cosy.

So here's what I'd be so incredibly happy and lucky to receive under the Christmas tree this year;

Soft Box Lighting - I've struggled so much this Winter with the increasingly variable natural lighting, so much so that I've finally decided to take the issue of lighting into my own hands by investing in some soft box lighting. Sure, I'm already struggling for space in my bedroom and I have no idea where I will store it when it's not in use but anything to help take photos in the Winter will be worth it, I think. If anyone has any recommendations or ones that they personally use, I would love it if you could share them with me below. Does it make a big difference when you take photos with them on?

Dollars - Other than some sort of soft box lighting, the main thing that I'm asking for this year is some dollars to start putting aside as spending money for future travels to the US. I'm hoping to go to New York again in March, that's if the prices start to fall significantly and I have a family trip to Orlando later in the year to look forward to as well.

Zoeva Rose Gold Makeup Brushes (Luxe Highlight Brush 105 - Luxe Crease Brush 228 - Concealer Buffer Brush 142) - If you saw my The Best Of The Black Friday/Cyber Weekend Deals blog post, you will have seen that I had my eye on some Zoeva makeup brushes. I wasn't sure which ones to go for which is ultimately why I didn't buy any over the course of Black Friday/Cyber Weekend but I think I've finally done enough research to come to the conclusion that I simply need these three brushes in my collection/life. Has anyone tried Zoeva brushes before? If so, I'd love to hear your thoughts on them.

Annabelle Creation DVD - Okay, so this might not be very Christmassy but I've got a scary movie on my Christmas list this year. As you may have seen in my What I've Been Watching In August blog post, I really enjoyed the Annabelle prequel; Annabelle Creation and it's a movie that I know I will watch many times, especially as I'm a big horror movie fan. The past few Christmases I've received some great horror movies and Annabelle Creation was surprisingly spooky, scary and well acted, something that can't be said for all scary movies so hopefully I will get to watch it again over the festive period.

Modern Romance Paperback Book - I also always like to add at least one book to my Christmas list each year and this one by the brilliant Aziz Ansari is one that I have been meaning to pick up for ages so what better excuse than to ask for it for Christmas. As someone who is forever alone, I'm hoping that it will shed some light on the dating scene for us twenty/thirty somethings or at least provide me with a few laughs and I've got a feeling that it will do just that.

Dr Jart + Ceramidin Cream - I've been looking to treat myself to a heavier moisturiser for a while now and I had hoped to pick up the Glossier Priming Moisturizer Rich but sadly I just couldn't get on board with the overpowering lavender scent of it. I did a bit of research and saw that many, including skincare guru Caroline Hirons, had recommended the Ceramidin range from Dr. Jart. It does seem that Selfridges are the only place who stock it in the UK, which is rather frustrating as they charge £5 for delivery no matter what you're buying but if I ask for it for Christmas I don't need to let that mild inconvenience put me off. Does anyone else do the same when shopping online? You're totally okay spending more than you really should but as soon as they charge for P&P that puts you right off?

Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Lips Show Girl Liquid Matte Lipstick - And last but not least we have one thing from Charlotte Tilbury. It has been at the top of my wishlist since it was released earlier in the year but I have really done well to resist adding another lip product to my ever expanding lip collection, well until now really. It now wouldn't be Christmas without at least one little treat from Charlotte Tilbury, I say.

So there's what's on my Christmas list for 2017. It is always fun to look back at previous years (see 2014, 2015 and 2016 here) and there's definitely always a theme with my lists I think.

What do you have on your Christmas list this year? What do you think of my wishlist? And are you anywhere near organised for the festive period yet (I still have Christmas shopping to do! Ahhh!)?


Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Charlotte Tilbury Beauty Icons

Charlotte Tilbury Beauty Icons

As you will have seen in my A Little Bit Of Luxury Christmas Gift Guide, Charlotte Tilbury has really knocked it out of the park once again with her selection of festive gift sets and today I wanted to show you my favourite gift set from her for Christmas 2017; the Beauty Icons gift set.

This limited edition gift set is priced at £55 and contains some of Charlotte's bestselling and most loved products. It also comes housed in this lovely gift box which I will definitely be keeping to store more of my Charlotte Tilbury stash in as it is quickly outgrowing my current makeup storage.

So let's see what the Beauty Icons set includes;

First up we have a full sized product and it might just be Charlotte's most talked about product and that is the Pillow Talk Lip Cheat lip liner. It's one of those items that I've been meaning to treat myself to for years now but whenever I end up online or at the counter I end up buying her new launches, which is why this stunning lip pencil has alluded me until now.

charlotte tilbury limited edition christmas gift set

If the person you're buying for this Christmas has this on their Christmas list or has done what I've done and just asked for anything from CT this year, getting this gift set makes so much sense. Not only do they get to try several of her biggest and best products but it takes all the guesswork out of what to buy if you're being sent in Charlotte Tilbury's direction this Christmas.

The set also includes four luxury size samples including the incredible Magic Cream. Now when you consider the fact that the 50ml of this moisturiser is £70, being able to try it out before you commit to the full size is really fantastic. And if you've not tried Wonder Glow either, you're in for a treat.

You also get two more makeup items; the Full Fat Lashes Mascara, which I really like and a little dinky sized K.I.S.S.I.N.G lipstick in the shade Penelope Pink. I've only ever tried the Matte Revolution lipsticks so I'm really excited to give this formula a try.

Whether you're gifting it to a loved one or keeping it for yourself, this is such a spectacular set. I'll also be reviewing the Lip Archive gift set, which I also featured in my A Little Bit Of Luxury Christmas Gift Guide, later in the week so be sure to check back for that. And here are some of the other gift sets that Charlotte has brought out this festive season;

What do you think of the gift set? Have you tried anything from Charlotte Tilbury before? If so, what's your all-time favourite product? And if not, what's on your wishlist?


Sunday, 10 December 2017

The Best Of Beauty Gift Guide (+ A Superdrug Giveaway)

best beauty gift sets for christmas

As someone who loves all things beauty, I just had to dedicate an entire gift guide to just that this year. Don't forget that you'll also find lots of other great beauty gift ideas in my other gift guides, all of which have gone live this week so be sure to check them out for other options and more inspiration. In addition to those, these are the beauty gift sets that you don't want to miss out on this year;

Friday, 8 December 2017

The Soap & Glory Boots Star Gift 2017: Spa Of Wonder

soap and glory star gift 2017

It's finally here! Today is the day that this year's Soap & Glory Star Gift goes on sale in Boots and as per usual it truly is unbelievable value for money. For one week only, or whilst stocks last, this year's gift set will be just £30 instead of it's usual price of £60. Not only that but the value of this year's set is £78, if you were to buy each of the items individually, which is just absolutely unreal.

So let's see what this year's set, named Spa Of Wonder*, contains;

You get ten, yes TEN! full sized products and this year Soap & Glory have split the box into two categories; girls' night in products and girls' night out products.

For girls' night in we have:

  • FACE SOAP & CLARITY™ 3-in-1 Daily Vitamin C Facial Wash
  • BRIGHT & BEAUTIFUL™ Radiance-Boosting Mask
  • CLEAN ON ME™ Creamy Clarifying Shower Gel
  • THE SCRUB OF YOUR LIFE™ Smoothing Body Scrub
  • SMOOTHIE STAR™ Deep Moisture Body Milk
And for girls' night out we have:
  • THE RIGHTEOUS BUTTER™ 3-in-1 Cleanse, Shave and Moisturise
  • THICK & FAST™ High Definition Mascara 
  • SUPERCAT™ Liquid Black Eyeliner Pen
  • SEXY MOTHER PUCKER™ Lip Plumping Gloss 
I mean, what a great array of products and I love the fact that they have included more of their makeup products in this years box as well as one of their newly released face masks. I've actually yet to put the face masks to the test so I was very excited to see one feature in this year's Star Gift.

soap and glory spa of wonder

And what about that packaging?!

Soap & Glory always knock it out of the park with the packaging of their Star Gift in particular and this year is no different. I love the fact that it almost looks like a TV, a pink and star filled one of course and I always appreciate the fact that the box can be reused and it's not just a lot of plastic packaging which will inevitably be thrown in the bin. I personally keep my box every year and have the past few years' stashed under my bed packed full of miscellaneous stuff such as hats and scarves, paperwork and my electrical appliances.

boots soap and glory star gift 2017

And how cool is the front of the box?! It was quite tricky to capture via photograph but if you look at the box one way she's in her nightgown, hair wrapped up in a towel, doing a spot of pampering and if you look at it from another viewpoint she's applying her lipstick ready for a night out.

If you've still got someone or several someones to buy for this year, I would definitely grab this fantastic set whilst you still can and thank me later.

What do you think of this year's Soap & Glory Boots Star Gift? Will you be picking one up? And what's your favourite Soap & Glory product or products of all-time?


Wednesday, 6 December 2017

A Little Bit Of Luxury Gift Guide (+ A Magnitone Giveaway)

best christmas gifts for her

For me, Christmas is the one time of year when it's perfectly acceptable to throw around the words 'treat 'yo self' on an almost daily basis. From having more than one mince pie to stocking up on gift sets, both to gift and to keep for yourself, it truly is 'the most wonderful time of the year'.

If you're looking for a gift for that special someone in your life whether it be your Mum, your BFF, your girlfriend/wife, your sister or even yourself, I've got some gifts that I know will make them/you feel well and truly treated this Christmas;

Monday, 4 December 2017

Christmas Presents He *Might* Not Hate (+ A Go Ape Giveaway)

christmas presents for him uk

There's no doubt about it, shopping for the men in our life can be incredibly tricky. There's only so many pairs of slippers, socks or novelty boxers that you can buy one man. And it's got to be said, I'm not sure we would be over the moon to receive something so similar every year, so this Christmas why not think a little bit differently and treat them to something special.

So here are some Christmas presents he *might* not hate;

gift ideas for him christmas 2017

If the man that you're buying for is a film fan, this 100 Movies Scratch Off Poster* from Prezzybox is a great idea. Not only does it give them ideas for movies to watch in the future but it's also a fun way to keep track of the classics that they've seen. I also find that movies or DVDs are a pretty fail safe present idea, especially if they've always wanted to see something or missed a particular movie at the cinema. These are a few that I'd easily recommend. My Dad also raves about the Roger Waters live DVD as a big fan of him and Pink Floyd in general.

gift ideas for men christmas

If your Dad, boyfriend/husband, brother, Grandad or male friend is a fan of cars, motorbikes or any kind of automobile, old or new, then my Dad has just the gift idea for them. Whether they have fond memories of a car from their past, would love to own a supercar or motorbike or are glued to their car TV programmes, this is the kind of gift that they would cherish and hang with pride. He's currently taking commissions but has plenty of prints to choose from, all ready to go. You can see more of his work over on his Twitter, where he's @georgecochrane1 and be sure to let him know that I sent you.

christmas presents for him 2017

If you're really not sure what to get one of the men in your life, I always recommend visiting the likes of Debenhams  or John Lewis where you can scope out the latest and greatest aftershaves, take a trip to the gifting section where you see some of the classic and current card and board games (I can't recommend the likes of Pointless or Catchphrase for playing on Boxing Day enough) and you can even physically feel some of the gifts before ordering them online. I picked up the Mr & Mrs Pocket Edition from Debenhams in St. Enoch. The one aftershave that really caught my eye or should I say my nose this year is the new YSL Y scent. Escentual have currently got it promotion making the hefty 100ml bottle just £61 instead of £72 or you can pick up the gift set, which includes a 60ml and travel 10ml bottle for just £45.

And if you've got your other half into popping on a sheet mask whilst watching the football this one* from Bandito is a fun way to let them have a face mask of their own. It also makes for the perfect stocking filler idea too.

The men in my life are also always listening to their music or the football so a pair of these Brainwavz BLU-100 Bluetooth Earphones* would certainly go down well with them. They can say goodbye to tangled earphone wires and crazy long cables with these.

funny gifts for him

And how good are these bits from Scribbler?! They have plenty of fantastic alternative Christmas cards and lots of pop culture references for the men in your life. I mean, this notebook might just be the most appropriate gift for many a male.

I'm also a big fan of investing in experiences rather than things, as you will have seen this year as I've been saving my money to put towards trips and experiences when I'm there rather than buying another eyeshadow palette that I don't necessarily need. A great experience idea for the men in your life that you'll also want to get involved in is Go Ape.

what to buy your boyfriend for christmas

There are three unique Go Ape courses located across Scotland, each featuring a tree top adventure. Aberfoyle in Stirlingshire is zip wire heaven and is home to two of Britain’s longest zip wires. Glentress Forest near Peebles has the highest zip wire in the country, set above a magnificent reservoir, while Crathes Castle in Aberdeenshire features the epic skateboard zip wire. Go Ape gift experience vouchers are available to buy online, with vouchers starting from £10 up to £60. They can choose a date, time and course that suits them best. And today I'm giving you the chance to win a pair of Go Ape tickets. All you have to do is fill in the Rafflecopter form below;

a Rafflecopter giveaway Rules:
There will be ONE winner picked at random - Prize provided by Go Ape - UK only
2 x adult tickets available for either Go Ape Peebles, Aberfoyle or Crathes Castle only - Travel not included
Prize must be redeemed by 30th April 2018

And be sure to check out the rest of this week's gift guide giveaways if you fancy being in with a chance of winning.

Do you find it tricky buying for the men in your life? Have you started your Christmas shopping yet? And which gifts caught your eye in today's gift guide?

And here are some more great gift ideas for him;


Wednesday, 29 November 2017

What I've Added To My Winter Beauty Routine

winter skin and hair care

As much as I love Winter and everything that comes with it (cosy nights in, twinkly Christmas lights and just the general festive atmosphere), my body, on the other hand, certainly doesn't appreciate it quite as much. Having dehydrated skin all year round means that as soon as it starts to get colder and I'm exposed to the cold, then the heating, the cold again, my skin almost cries out for hydrating products. And this year other areas of my body have also followed suit and become quite agitated and flaky. As a result, I decided to try out a few new products, adding them to my everyday beauty routine and today I'm here to share my thoughts on them.

So let's see what's keeping me from turning into some kind of scaly reptitle this Winter;

bilou tasty donut review

First up we have my main priority when it comes to my Winter beauty routine; my skin. As mentioned above, my skin tends to get quite dehydrated regardless of the time of year but in the Winter it really takes it to a whole new level. I also suffer from keratosis pilaris, which is a skin condition where parts of your body, in my case my legs and arms, look like they're permanently covered in goosebumps. In the Summer or when I'm on holiday and exposed to some warmth and sunshine it definitely improves but on the flipside, it becomes even more noticeable and risen in Winter.

I've tried a number of body scrubs over the years, namely from Soap & Glory but was looking for something a little more intensive this time around and that's when the Joan Collins I Am Woman Dry Oil Body Polish* arrived at my door. I hadn't tried anything from Joan's beauty range before but was instantly won over by the way this looked and the fact that it was quite a coarse scrub. I've definitely enjoyed using this and can always see a big difference to the dry, rough patches on my arms in particular, when I exfoliate. I also love the fact that I always, without fail, end up singing 'I Am Woman', a la the ladies from Sex and the City 2, whenever I'm using this.

Now surely I can't be the only one who finds it all the more difficult to willingly want to jump in for a quick shower in this kind of weather. I either need to put the heating on for at least half an hour prior to my shower so I don't freeze when I'm getting out of the shower or when my full body isn't under the scalding hot water or I end up putting it off another day in the hopes that it will be warmer, which it never is. As an incentive to make me actually want to have of a shower, I picked up this Bilou Creamy Shower Foam on a recent trip to Superdrug and believe me when I say, this is a serious gamechanger. The scent alone is enough of a reason to pick one of these up. It honestly smells good enough to eat and makes the whole prospect of showering in the Winter 100 times more appealing to me.

Clinique Moisture Surge Concentrate review

I'm still on the hunt for a really good rich facial moisturiser (leave any recommendations below if you've found one which works for you) but I'm happy to have added a lighter one to my routine after I was given the opportunity to try the new Clinique Moisture Surge Hydrating Supercharged Concentrate*. I wasn't sure if it would be more of a Summer kind of skincare product but it gives dry patches a real boost of moisture throughout the day and whenever it desperately needs some hydration. I also love the pump applicator. Why can't all skincare and body products come with a pump applicator?!

I've put off trying the next item in today's post for what must be years, even though I love and regularly use some of the other products from the range and that is Kiehl's iconic and highly lauded Creme De Corps. I've resisted trying it out solely because I didn't want to fall in love with it due to it's rather hefty price tag but as I predicted, I did. It's honestly like a suped up version of my other favourite moisturiser, the Garnier Oil Beauty Oil-Infused Nourishing Lotion. I am glad that I opted for the sample size first, which I actually treated myself to before my trip to New York, as that way it wasn't such a big blow to my bank balance but I may need to swoop in on the Boxing Day sales to see if I can grab myself a 750ml bottle, again mostly because it has a pump applicator but also because that size should last me a good while.

aveda pramasana review

Much like my skin, my hair tends to have a bit of a tantrum in the colder months as well and I've found my hair has been feeling much more brittle and almost straw like at the ends, despite never encountering that issue before. I'd heard great things about the Sachajuan Hair Repair* so when Escentual got in touch to see if I'd like to review it, I just had to say yes. This has all the benefits of an intensive treatment without the commitment or half an hour or more sat with your hair smothered in leave in mask or treatment. All you need to do is apply it like a conditioner, whilst in the shower, leave it on for five to ten minutes, depending on how long it takes me to wash and/or shave in that time and then rinse it off and I can definitely feel the difference. I'd given my hair a bit of a break from conditioners in recent months, solely because it was making my hair really greasy, no matter how little or sparsely it was applied and now my hair feels nourished without the worry of it being laden with product afterwards.

I actually tried a little sample size of the Aveda Pramasana Purifying Scalp Cleanser, which I still have some left of, at the last St. Enoch event I went to. I had my scalp examined by the Aveda team and was given a few sample sizes to try at home. I popped back in to the Aveda counter at Debenhams in St. Enoch after using the Scalp Cleanser a few times and ended up buying the Protective Scalp Concentrate from the same line. This is more of a leave in treatment which helps to balance sebum levels whilst leaving the scalp feeling nourished and comfortable. If you suffer from an itchy or dry scalp, particularly at this time of year, or get quite a bit of dandruff fallout, I'd seriously consider checking this range out. I've got another St. Enoch event this week and I think I might just need to go in and buy the full size of the Scalp Cleanser as I'm not sure I could go without now.

Do you have a Winter skincare or haircare routine? If so, what do you add to your usual routine? And have you tried any of the products in today's post? If so, what do you think? If not, do they sound up your street?


Sunday, 26 November 2017

The Look Incredible November Deluxe Beauty Box

look incredible beauty box deluxe

Just when you think the subscription free beauty box market can't get any better, see my recent review of the Latest In Beauty Cosmopolitan Party Starter Edit for more on that, Look Incredible raise the stakes, yet again, with their November Deluxe beauty box*. Priced at £35, let's see exactly what it includes;

huda beauty lip strobe review

Look Incredible are one of the rare beauty boxes where you can expect to find full sized beauty products and not just one accompanied by several minis and travel sizes, normally every single item is full sized and that's exactly what we've got in this month's box, plus an additional little bonus product, which I'll go onto discuss further below.

When I first opened the box, one product immediately caught my eye and I still can't quite believe that it was included in this particular beauty box. Huda Beauty is one of those brands that I've been admiring from afar for a while now, namely their lip products, so you can imagine just how happy I was when I saw a Huda Beauty Lip Strobe in this month's box. First of all, it's just the prettiest shade and is designed to work a bit like a lip topper, on top of some of your favourite lip products and I seriously cannot get enough of it. It's also worth £17 alone, which already has me more than a little bit impressed with what you get for your £35 with this box and we've only just begun.

benefit high beam review

Next we have another big beauty brand, something you don't always find in similar beauty boxes. I mean, I'm all for trying out new brands and products but sometimes it's nice to see a familiar face when it comes to already well recognised and much loved brands.

I've actually never tried High Beam before but I'm a big fan of Benefit's face products, as highlighted in this blog post, so I was very happy to finally have a bottle of it for me to try it out myself. And talking of bottles, this is also a slightly larger bottle than the one currently for sale by Benefit, as they recently updated this product to change the lid and reduce the size from 13ml to 10ml, without reducing the price. This is worth £21.50, so with this product and the Huda Beauty lip strobe you've already paid for the price of this box with just two of the products. What a deal, eh?!

too faced perfect eyes eyeliner review

Next we have a product from Too Faced, their Perfect Eyes Waterproof Eyeliner in the shade Perfect Navy. I'm always more than happy to receive a Too Faced product in these types of boxes namely because I tend to get distracted by the melted lip products and eyeshadow palettes when at one of their counters. The formula is fantastic, it's incredibly buttery and soft without being guilty of smudging, probably due to the fact that it's waterproof. I also don't currently own a navy eyeliner so it's always handy to add something which will actually be useful to my collection. This is also worth £15, for those of you keeping track.

bare minerals volumizing mascara review

And last but not least we have the bareMinerals Lash Domination Volumising Mascara Duo. Again, I've only really tried bareMinerals lip and base products so I was certainly happy to see both of these in this month's box. You also get a full size of the mascara and an additional luxury travel/sample size, this time with a petite precision brush so it isn't the exact same brush as the full size, which I really appreciate. I've popped the mini in my travel makeup bag and have been using the full size in rotation with a few other mascaras over the past month or so and I have to say, I'm impressed. It doesn't flake or transfer, which are two of the biggest things that I look for in a mascara. I also really like the amount of volume it gives me, without making my lashes look spidery, if you know what I mean. The two, which were originally sold as a gift set, therefore have a value of £27.99, aka. almost the price of the full box.

Overall, I still can't quite believe the value for money with this particular box. It really is unreal, as are the brands and products that feature.

What do you think of this particular beauty box? Have you ever bought one of Look Incredible's boxes? And what's the best thing you've ever received or seen in a beauty box?


Friday, 24 November 2017

The Best Of The Black Friday/Cyber Weekend Deals & Every Code You Need

best black friday deals 2017 uk

Looking to bag some serious savings and big bargains this weekend? Then you've come to the right place. As a serious shopaholic myself, I've done all the hard work so you don't have to by listing all of the stores participating in Black Friday/Cyber Weekend this year. And above you'll find some of the pieces that I've already added to my basket. It's safe to say that I'll finally be treating myself to some things that I've had my eye on for a while, especially when some of the items are very rarely discounted. I also need a new hairdryer so maybe it's time to treat myself to one that should hopefully last more than a year. We will see...

Kate Spade New York Watson Lane Very Merry Pink Velvet Backpack (Was £228 - Now £182)
Glossier You (Was £45 - Now £36)
ghd Air Hair Dryer (Was £99 - Now £77)
New Look Dark Green Velvet Wrap Dress (Was £19.99 - Now £15)
Charlotte Tilbury Beauty Icons Gift Set (Was £55 - Now £49.50)
Miss Selfridge Nude Faux Fur Cross Body Bag (Was £29 - Now 20.30)
Accessorize Rosie Bunny Ballerina Slippers (Was £14 - Now £10.50)
Zoeva Luxe Crease Brush (Was £9 - Now £8.10)

And here are the best of the Black Friday/Cyber Weekend deals, which I will be updating daily, as well as every discount code that you need. Just click the retailers name to be taken to their Black Friday/Cyber Weekend sections;

Accessorize - Up to 30% off selected items
Anthropologie - 20% off with the code ITSYOURS
Boohoo - Up to 50% off
Boots - Lots of different deals
Charlotte Tilbury - Different deals everyday with 50% off or more
Cult Beauty - 15% off EVERYTHING with the code 15BLACK
Debenhams - Lots of different deals including 16% off Urban Decay palettes & 30% off Yankee Candles
Dorothy Perkins - Up to 50% off
Forever 21 - Up to 50% off + a further 30% off sale with the code EXTRA30
Gap - 40% off all full priced items with the code BFGAP & 25% off all sale items
Glossier - 20% off EVERYTHING
H&M - 20% off EVERYTHING for H&M Club members
Kate Spade New York - 20% off EVERYTHING with the code GIVEJOY
Mango - 20% off EVERYTHING with the code BLACK
Missguided - 20% off EVERYTHING with the code GIMME
Missoma - Up to 25% off with the code BF25
Miss Selfridge - 50% off selected items
M&S - 50% off selected items (namely home, sleepwear, gifts, lingerie, toys & books)
Nasty Gal - 40% off
New Look - 25% off EVERYTHING
Office - 20% off with the code SHINE
Pretty Little Thing - 40% off EVERYTHING with the code THANKS40
River Island - 20% off EVERYTHING
Selfridges - 20% off (10% off beauty) with the code SELFCCE
Stradivarius - 20% off EVERYTHING
Sweaty Betty - 20% off EVERYTHING with the code BLACK20
The Body Shop - 40% off with the code 19805
Topshop - Up to 60% off
Urban Outfitters - 50% off selected items
Warehouse - Up to 30% off EVERYTHING
Wallis - Up to 30% off selected items
Whistles - 25% off EVERYTHING
Zalando - 20% off with the code BLACKFRIDAY16
& Other Stories - 50% off selected items

And here are some more of the things that have seriously caught my eye this year;

Have you bought anything in the Black Friday or Cyber Weekend sales? What do you think of my top picks? And have you started/finished your Christmas shopping yet?


Sunday, 19 November 2017

John Lewis Secret Santa Gift Ideas

John Lewis Christmas Gifts

When it comes to Christmas gifting, I always find that the most difficult present to buy is the one for your Secret Santa. Something about the usually pretty strict budget and/or normally not knowing the person as well as the other people you'll be buying presents for this year, trips me up every time, which leads to rather unoriginal and unexciting gifts being bought. Also when you think Secret Santa, or at least when I do, I don't tend to have a shop or store in mind for doing my shopping and end up buying them a box of chocolates and a novelty gift that I know they'll never use. This year, however, John Lewis has certainly come to the rescue.

I was challenged to pick out a Secret Santa gift and a couple of other pieces from their gifting range to gift to a fellow blogger and another blogger, would be picking for me. I think I previously discounted somewhere like John Lewis thinking that they wouldn't have a great deal within budget, especially for a Secret Santa gift but I was pleasantly surprised to be proved wrong.

Whether your budget is £5, £10, £20 or more for bigger gifts, the selection both online and in-store is out of this world and hopefully what I received should show you just that. So let's see what I received from another blogger as part of the challenge;

John Lewis Secret Santa

First up we have the Secret Santa gifts and I feel like the blogger in question actually might know me IRL as my very favourite sweet shop sweet has got to be a good bon bon. All I really need to say about this present is PROSECCO BON BONS! Who knew such a thing existed?! And I can confirm that they are just as tasty as they sound. I'm trying to save some but it's oh so tempting just to empty the jar.

Another great stocking filler or Secret Santa gift has to be a bauble of some sorts but not your typical or average Christmas bauble. So many brands do Christmas baubles containing some of their bestselling products or limited edition ones just for the festive season and I was really happy to see that Whittard have jumped on this trend. I'm really looking forward to brewing up some of this mulled wine tea once we're properly in December

John Lewis Kate Spade

Now when I spotted the Kate Spade New York box as I unwrapped this, I knew that I was in for a treat and that again, the person picking for me had got it oh so right. This business card holder is just so beautiful and something that I'll truly treasure forever. It might have also given me the push that I needed to finally get some business cards printed. It feels like a really nice way to start 2018 too.

John Lewis Christmas Gifts For Her

I've wanted to try Clinique's Pop lipsticks for quite some time now but I can never really justify buying new lipsticks, for example, especially when I regularly receive new ones to review and already have quite the collection so receiving this Clinique Pop Party Set as a gift has made me so happy. And because they're travel sizes I don't feel too guilty about trying out several at the same time. This set is also a John Lewis exclusive so if you like the look of it or know someone who would absolutely love to find this under the tree this year, John Lewis is where you need to head.

I'm so intrigued to find out who picked out my presents as they really did such a great job.

I've also picked out some of my favourite gifts available from John Lewis below;

Who will you be buying for this Christmas? Do you also struggle to buy Secret Santa style gifts? And have you made a start to your shopping yet (I may or may not be holding out for Black Friday/Cyber Weekend to start my shopping this year)?


Sunday, 12 November 2017

The Latest In Beauty Cosmopolitan Party Starter Edit

Latest In Beauty Cosmopolitan Party Starter Edit

As you will probably already know if you've seen any of my recent beauty box reviews, I now far prefer what's available from stand alone/subscription free boxes as apposed to those which arrive on your doorstep every month with surprises hidden inside. Maybe it's because I've found myself left feeling disappointed with what I find inside them or maybe it's my inner control freak making itself known. Either way, one off beauty boxes, ones which you can research first to see what's inside, are definitely my preference and I've found myself over the moon with most to all of the products enclosed inside. And when you see one, such as the one that I will be reviewing today, where you're genuinely excited about everything inside it, that's when you know that you're on to a winner.

This box, the Latest In Beauty Cosmopolitan Party Starter Edit* is one of those boxes. For just £25, a one of payment instead of a monthly subscription, you'll find all the products that you need for party season and more, all of which have been hand picked by Cosmopolitan's beauty director Ingeborg van Lotringen. It's also worth £121! Now how incredible is that?!

So let's see what the Cosmopolitan Party Starter Edit contains;

latest in beauty party box review

Firstly we have some real standout products, ones that you don't regularly see in typical beauty boxes, with those being the Gilette Venus Snap Razor and the Yes To Cotton Comforting Facial Wipes. Both are products that I've wanted to try for a while and I really appreciate the fact that they've been included in this particular box. They're also perfect for traveling or for keeping in your handbag, like most beauty box inclusions but these are products I know that I'll actually use, unlike random hair bands or foundation five shades too dark, both of which I've found in other subscription boxes.

The St. Tropez Instant Tan Finishing Gloss, Beverly Hills Formula Perfect White Toothpaste and TIGI Bed Head Hairspray are all the perfect size to pop in your handbag either if you have a party or event right after work or if you need a little refresh on a night out. And when you get home, the Soaper Duper Vanilla Shea Body Wash is a great new discovery, especially as my current body wash had just run out. The Glamglow mask is a such a great brand to receive in a beauty box, particularly when the larger sizes can be pretty pricey. This is a great way to try one of their products out without having to part with that much money at all and it also leaves you looking like the Tin Man with a silvery metallic face after applying, which is such a fun touch. Then we have the Erborian Pink Perfect Creme, which is a nice primer to have to hand, especially when on the move due to it's dinky size and it also leads us on nicely to what else this box has to offer.

latest in beauty cosmopolitan review

I am obsessed with the shade of this Nails Inc nail polish! It's the perfect rose gold/coppery shade and applies like a dream. I'm also a big fan of Sleek and the fact that two of their products made it into this box just feels so right. The shades of both the i-Divine palette and Matte Me lip cream are perfect for the party season and are great portable sizes too. As are the Glitterlution glitter pots. I mean, nothing says Christmas and party season quite like glitter, in my opinion. You might also be able to tell that one of mine chose to share it's glitter with the rest of the box, which certainly seemed apt when it came to the theme. Hehe. And the Eylure Volume No.100 lashes are tried and tested favourites of mine.

The Look Good Feel Better Sculpting Sponge is great for getting precise with your makeup application. I particularly like using it for concealer in the under eye area and whilst I'm there, the it Cosmetics Brow Powder Pencil is another great find. It's also made me want to try more from it Cosmetics even more.

There's also a Beauty Pie 24 Hour Pass card, which I couldn't photograph as I got a little too excited and tore open the little card which then revealed my code, which I couldn't think of a way to cleverly conceal for these photos. It is, however, such an interesting concept for a beauty box as it allows you to buy makeup at trade price, something again, that I've been keen to try out. And you can choose exactly which shades you'd like to receive etc. aka. another big bonus.

Overall, I am so happy with this box! It really does include everything that you'd need to take you from desk to party this festive season.

What do you think of this beauty box? Have you tried any of the products that feature in it? If so, what do you think of them? And do you prefer stand alone or subscription beauty boxes?


Friday, 10 November 2017

The 2017 Marks & Spencer Beauty Advent Calendar - On Sale Now!

m&s beauty advent calendar 2017

Every year more and more brands and stores release their own advent calendars and I have to say, I'm not complaining. Whether it be ones filled with bottles of alcohol (check out Aldi's one filled with wine or this Prosecco advent calendar!), candles (enter Yankee Candle) or even CHEESE!! (get this one from Asda), the ones which still excite me the most have got to be the beauty related ones and who can blame me when you see what's on offer this year. There truly is one for every budget and taste but for me, the best when it comes to value for money and the products that it contains has to be Marks & Spencer's offering.

marks and spencer advent calendar

With a value of £250, packed full of some of the biggest and best beauty products and brands on the market, all of which you'll find in the brilliant M&S beauty hall, this beauty advent calendar will only set you back £35! The only stipulation is that you have to spend £35 on clothing and/or home.

If this looks like the advent calendar for you or a loved one, be sure to add it to your basket as soon as you can, as this sold out online in a matter or hours the past couple of years.

Now let's get onto the advent calendar itself. Exactly what will you find in it this year?

marks and spencer advent calendar 2017

The 2017 Marks & Spencer Beauty Advent Calendar contains:

  • Emma Hardie Moringa Cleansing Balm (15ml)
  • Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick in Perla (1.5ml) 
  • Percy & Reed Reassuringly Firm Session Hold Spray (50ml)
  • Alpha H Liquid Gold Rose (50ml)
  • Korres Wild Rose Advanced Repair Corrective Sleeping Facial (16ml)
  • Pixi by Petra Lip Lift Max Sheen in Honey (1g)
  • Ultrasun SPF 30 Ultralip Sun Protection Lip Balm (Full size/15ml)
  • Marks & Spencer Formula Absolute Ultimate Sleep Cream (15ml)
  • Percy & Reed Reassuringly Firm Session Hold Spray (50ml)
  • Diego Dalla Palma Ciglione Lash Booster Mascara (Full size/10ml)
  • Shay & Blue Blood Oranges Natural Spray Fragrance (10ml)
  • REN Keep Young And Beautiful Instant Firming Beauty Shot (10ml)
  • Ameliorate Skin Transforming Body Lotion (50ml)
  • Eyeko Black Magic Drama & Curl Mascara (4ml)
  • Nails Inc Gel One Coat Nail Polish in Molten Star (Full size/12ml)
  • Nuxe Prodigieux Huilde De Douche Precious Scented Shower Oil (30ml)
  • Gatineau Melatogenine AOX Advanced Rejuvenating Cream (15ml)
  • Rosie for Autograph Amazing Radiance Body Glow (50ml)
  • Rodial Dragon’s Blood Sculpting Gel (15ml)
  • Balance Me Rose Otto Face Oil (10ml)
  • Marks & Spencer Formula Innovate Radiance Reveal Peel (15ml)
  • Leighton Denny Nail Polish in Star Dust (Full size/12ml)
  • PUR Illuminate & Glow Correcting Primer (10ml)
  • Marks & Spencer Autograph Hydrating Confidence Boost Primer (15ml)
  • Filorga Meso + Soothing Radiance Mask (15ml) 
  • Marks & Spencer Cosmetic Bag

Such a great mix of brands and products, I think you'll agree. There are some cult classics such as the Emma Hardie Cleansing Balm, the Alpha H Liquid Gold Rose and the Rodial Dragon's Blood Sculpting Gel. There's also a great mix of skincare, makeup, fragrance and haircare; basically everything you could ever wish from in a beauty advent calendar.

m&s advent calendar 2017

I also absolutely love the design of this years calendar. It already makes my fireplace, where I'll be housing mine, look so festive even though we've still got a couple of weeks to go before the Christmas decorations will be up. And I adore the little boxes for each day. You can also easily reuse this advent calendar next year and fill it with treats and chocolates. Win win, I say.

Have you bought a beauty advent calendar before? If so, which one did you go for? What do you think of this particular one? And which product or products would you most like to receive from this one?

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