Sunday, 30 April 2017

Why You Should Buy Your Summer Holiday Essentials Sooner Rather Than Later

Holiday Packing List

Even though it was snowing here in Scotland earlier in the week, there's no denying that Summer has well and truly hit the High Street and with many of us heading away somewhere substantially sunnier and warmer this Summer, it's time to start thinking about what we need before we leave. So I thought that I would share some of the reasons why you should buy your Summer holiday essentials sooner rather than later and here they are;

Get it before it sells out

How many times have you seen an amazing bikini, floaty dress or sunhat only for it to go out of stock as quickly as it arrived on site or in store? If you'd rather not spend the next few weeks/months continuously refreshing the page, hoping for your size to miraculously come back into stock, I'd definitely recommend buying now rather than later. You can always take things back.

Take advantage of current deals

There are so many incredible deals to take advantage of at the moment. Topshop, ASOSRiver Island, Miss Selfridge and New Look all currently have 20% off for students and quite a few Summer sales have already started, which is a bit unreal to be fair. Boohoo always seem to have a discount code to take advantage of, as do H&M and Accessorize so there's quite a few savings to be had.

I managed to bag this beaut of a swimsuit from the M&S sale last month (here it is in blue), a great leopard print cap from River Island (get 20% off now), my super shiny rose gold passport holder from New Look (there will hopefully be no losing that as a result), as well as my beloved Hotter Tourist sandals in another colour.

Here are some of the other pieces that I've currently got my eye on at the moment;

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Be prepared 

I'm definitely not a last minute packer. Even though I don't go on holiday until July, I've already got my liquids bag packed, invested in some packing cubes, which will hopefully make packing even more of a breeze and worked out which outfits I'd like to wear when I'm away. By buying pieces now, like a new jumpsuit or cami top, it eliminates the stress of a last minute trip to Primark to pick up what you'll think are essentials but only really end up being bought 'just in case'. Those are always the items that go unworn and unused and take up crucial space in my suitcase. I mean, who really needs a pair of 50p flip flops that will tear your feet to shreds or six different bikinis for a week's trip?

Hotter Sandals Ray-Ban Erika Review

Invest in advance

For the slightly bigger purchases, such as a new suitcase, a pair of designer sunglasses (I'm in love with my Ray-Ban Erika 4171 sunglasses) or noise cancelling headphones, I always recommend making this purchase at least a month in advance of your next trip. Not only does this mean that you don't need to worry about making it right before your holiday or getting pressured into buying something at an inflated price at duty free, for example, but it also means that this purchase cost won't cut into your holiday pot. If, like me, you take a specialised travel credit card with you, leaving with a full/as much of your monthly credit limit available means you don't have to worry about emergencies leaving you stranded or without any money at all.

Do you have any trips or breaks away planned this Summer? Are you a last minute packer/buyer? And what will you be looking to pick up for the warmer weather?


Sunday, 23 April 2017

10 Reasons That I'm Really Looking Forward To My NYC Trip

Solo Travel To New York Tips

Following on from last year's 10 reasons that I'm really looking forward to my holiday to Orlando, Florida blog post, I thought that I would make one for this year's holiday; my solo trip to New York.

I feel like most of my meticulous planning (I've already got a daily itinerary ready to go) has been going on behind the scenes and I really wanted to share some of it with you on here, especially as I'll be reporting back after my trip to let you know what I got up to. But until then, here are the 10 things that I'm most excited about;

1. Being a tourist - From walking through Grand Central, paying my respects at the 9/11 memorial and museum, taking in the spectacular views from the Empire State building and Top Of The Rock, sauntering through Central Park and spending hours, if not days, in the many museums, it's all on my list. I also can't wait to visit Ellis Island. As someone with an unusual name, knowing that there was a whole island, in New York of all places, that shared my namesake was always something that made me smile growing up. I've always said, one day I'll visit it, so to make that happen will be such a special moment for me. And to see the Statue of Liberty close up (I've only ever seen her in the distance on a short layover via Newark about 10 years ago) is something I can't wait to do.

2. Pretending I'm in one of my favourite movies or TV shows - I think the main reason that I've always wanted to visit New York was the fact that I grew up watching it feature in so many of my favourite movies and TV shows. Friends, Gossip Girl, Sex and the City, The Devil Wears Prada, You've Got Mail, Girls, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. Home Alone 2. Queue me running around the city like Carrie Bradshaw and hopefully not Kevin McAllister.

3. Staying at CitizenM - There are so many options when it comes to where to stay in NYC but for me, there was only one place that I wanted to stay; CitizenM. I absolutely adored my stay at their Glasgow hotel and for that reason, every other comparable or cheaper hotel room in the Big Apple just didn't have the wow factor that CitizenM has. It was well worth spending that little bit extra for what I'm getting as part of my room, plus there's no resort fees to pay when you get there, unlike many others and I also got 10% off as a Citizen. You can also sign up to get 10% off too and the best price guaranteed.

4. Walking across the Brooklyn Bridge - I know that most people visiting New York for the first time will probably have this on their 'to do' list and there's good reason why. It just looks absolutely breathtaking. From the bridge itself to the views of Manhattan as you make your way across, it's something that takes my breath away in photographs, so to actually experience it for myself will be a little mind blowing, I can imagine. I also intend on spending at least one full day in Brooklyn exploring DUMBO, Brooklyn Bridge Park and the surrounding areas and if the weather is particularly nice that day, I'd love to make the trip to Coney Island. I don't know the last time that I saw an actual beach and it might be a nice break from the hustle and bustle of the city, for a couple of hours anyway.

5. Spending a small fortune at Glossier - Normally when I visit the States, Sephora and Bath & Body Works are what I look forward to the most, when it comes to shopping but as I'm travelling with hand luggage only, I can't go too crazy with my buying, especially when it comes to liquids not being over 100ml. So this trip I'm saving all my pennies to make a trip to the Glossier showroom. I've wanted to try a few of their products, namely Boy Brow, the Perfecting Skin Tint and Balm Dotcom, for so long and have heard amazing things. Who'd be interested in a Glossier haul when I get back?

6. All the sweet treats - Doughnuts, cronuts, cookie dough, cupcakes, ice cream; I have a list as long as my arm of the sweet treats that I want to try, with Magnolia Bakery, Dough and Milk Bar all high up on my list.

7. Shopping at Woodbury Common - Having found many a bargain on my trips to the outlet malls in Orlando, Woodbury Common Premium Outlets was always going to be on my list of places to visit when I went to New York. The fact that there's a Kate Spade outlet pretty much sold me on the idea really and I'll definitely be leaving space in my suitcase for something Kate Spade related, no matter what.

8. Hopefully seeing a show of some sort - The one thing that I've not booked in advance, unlike my attraction tickets and New York CityPASS, is a show of some sort. I'm hoping to bag a bargain and pick up a ticket to one of the incredible shows or musicals on the day from the TKTS booth and I'm even more hopeful that I can secure tickets to see a late night show taping. They do run a lottery system for these tickets so it might not be possible but I'd love to see Jimmy Fallon or Seth Myers or even one of the summer concerts that they often hold in the park. Wish me luck!

9. Spending the 4th of July in the US - Now this is something that has always been on my bucket list of sorts. Americans really go all out when it comes to the holidays. Having visited Florida both in the run up to Easter and Halloween, I can certainly attest to that. So to spend the day in the US watching the fireworks and having a little party, definitely influenced what month to visit.

10. Travelling on my own - For some this might be their idea of hell or something that they'd worry about but I am so excited to go solo. I can take things at my own pace and go where I want when I want. I will be meeting up with friends and hopefully a blogger or two throughout my visit but other than that I'm in charge of my itinerary and I cannot wait.

Have you got any holidays planned for this year or the next? If so, what are you looking forward to most about it? And have any of you visited New York before? And have I missed anything out that you would recommend doing/eating/exploring?


Sunday, 16 April 2017

The Love Me Beauty #InFullBloom Edit

Love Me Beauty Edit 2017

As you will remember if you saw my first Love Me Beauty edit blog post, the whole Love Me Beauty concept was one that I enjoyed trying out and as a result, I'm back with another one this month. For more information on how the Love Me Beauty box/edit works, in terms of redeeming points and choosing what makes it into your box/bag each month, be sure to check out that original post for all the details.

But let's get onto this month's aptly named #InFullBloom edit and what I received in the mail this month. As with every Love Me Beauty post of mine, you can get 20% off your first edit simply by using the code ellis20. With subscriptions starting at just £8, it makes sense to have a little look, now doesn't it? Especially when just one of the products included in this edit is £9.99 alone!

Love Me Beauty ecotools

Even though the #InFullBloom edit name correlates nicely with the time of year and the beautiful makeup bag that you receive with this month's delivery, I think this edit could quite easily have been named the ecoTools edit and I was absolutely over the moon to see the brand new releases from ecoTools appear this month, especially as they are that new that I haven't even seen them in the shops yet.

ecoTools are one of those brands that I've been meaning to try for years now but for some reason or another just hadn't, until now.

I'm really in love with the eye duo and they have everything I could ever want when it comes to eyeshadow application, in two handy brushes. The powder brush is also insanely soft and applies makeup beautifully. And then look at these sponges! The contour perfecting sponge is perfect for sculpting and I really like using the other light green sponge to get right in under my eyes when applying my concealer. And then you have the darker green sponge which is ideal for applying foundation. How had I not tried ecoTools until now?!

Love Me Beauty Box Review

The following products were nice extra additions to the edit, since, for me, this was really all about ecoTools but I was happy to receive them and to try them too.

Living Proof are another one of those brands that I've had my eye on from afar but never actually tried so I was ecstatic to receive the Prime Style Extender Spray aka. the one product that I was most interested in trying. And as a result of using it in the past week or so, I'll certainly be grabbing a bigger size of this at some point. Do I really need another addition to my haircare routine, which you will have seen a few days ago? No, not really but when I'm next in the market for some new haircare bits, I'll be heading straight in the direction of Living Proof. Maybe I'll treat myself to a couple of trial sizes when I'm next at Sephora in the Summer.

One of my favourite kinds of products to receive in a beauty box has to be skincare, especially as I never just pick up a new skincare product, on a whim, when I'm out shopping. You get to try lots of different products from different brands without having to part with a lot of money and it opens your eyes to new brands and ranges too, which is what I really like. The Amie Naturally Kind face wash and moisturiser feel so nice on the skin and I can completely understand why they're award winners. If you've got sensitive or irritable skin, I would definitely recommend checking the Amie brand out. I think I might need to treat myself to the full size of the moisturiser in particular. They're also Vegan, if that's something of particular interest to you, as are ecoTools, which I forgot to mention earlier. And the Dr Bragi mask is coming with me on my next flight. Rejuvenating, hydrating, smoothing and plumping; it sounds like this mask ticks all the boxes of what my skin will be crying out for after a 7 hour flight.

What do you think of the #InFullBloom edit? Are you a fan of ecoTools? Or who are your favourite when it comes to makeup brushes and sponges? And have you tried any of the brands or products in today's post? If so, what did you think?


Friday, 14 April 2017

What's New In My Haircare Routine

Haircare Routine Beauty Blogger

As much as I love shopping for makeup and even skincare, something I tend to neglect is my haircare routine. For years now I've used the same two shampoos and a can of hairspray that kind of leaves my hair feeling a bit crispy and crunchy. And for some reason or another I've not actively sought out anything else so when I received a couple of emails this month asking if I'd like to try out this haircare range or this haircare product, I jumped at the opportunity to add to and switch up my routine and to say it's changed significantly since then would be an understatement. I even took a trip down the haircare aisle, something I never do and picked up a couple of products from Boots and Superdrug on a recent trips, which have quickly become daily beauty essentials for me.

So here's what I'm currently using, in rotation of course, when it comes to my haircare routine;

New Haircare Releases 2017

When I'm looking for my hair to be smooth and sleek I reach for the Toni & Guy Smooth Definition shampoo and conditioner. I particularly like the fact that this is designed for dry hair, which I often feel like my hair can be. Using these in combination with the Moroccanoil Blow Dry Concentrate* is now my go-to when it comes to those days when I'd like to wear my hair straight. I tend to wear my hair curly or wavy so it's a nice change to switch it up and wear it straight.

And when I'm looking to wear it curly or wavy, which my hair naturally is, despite years of over-straightening, both the Moroccanoil Curl Defining Cream* and Show Curl Enhancing Lotion* make such a big difference. Without them my hair can often look limp and curls and waves can drop in a matter of minutes. These both ensure that curls look defined and almost spring-like, which I very much appreciate. I feel like I've been looking for products to help my curls and waves remain curly and wavy for years, only to have two arrive at once.

Hair Finishing Products Review

Despite spending as much time as I do on my hair, whether I'm blow drying it, straightening it or curling it, I often just leave it after doing so and then wonder why it doesn't look as good, a matter of minutes later. I've recently started to integrate more finishing products into my routine and I can't believe I didn't do it sooner.

Something as simple as a good hairspray, one that doesn't make your hair feel crispy or crunchy thereafter, really does help to keep styles in better shape. I have a little sneak peek for you when it comes to this Rare Oil Perfecting Hairspray* from Paul Mitchell, which is brilliant. It also smells absolutely amazing! The entire Marula Oil range is out in May so I would definitely keep an eye out for that if you're a fan of Paul Mitchell or new beauty releases.

The next two additions to my haircare routine were ones which were made on a bit of whim on a recent trip to Boots. I might have/was certainly swayed by the packaging and sound of these two products but thankfully the inside lived up to the outside. I'd never even heard of hair perfume before but I was totally up for trying it after giving it a spray in the shop. I know some people might spray perfume onto their hair or swish their hair around in a mist of it but it's not something that I normally do but saying that, I have been reaching for this every time I leave the house. It smells incredible and doesn't leave the hair looking like it's laden with product either.

And when it comes to keeping frizz (aka. my hair nemesis) at bay during the day, the Umberto Giannini Weather Proof Curls is an absolute godsend. I hadn't really tried anything from the brand before but the new packaging really did it for me and anything to help me combat frizz was well worth a try. This is great for flyaways too and leaves my hair feeling so soft. I think I might need to try some more of the Umberto Giannini range as quite a few products, like the 60 Second Smooth Pre-Shampoo Treatment and Over Indulge Nourishing Hair Mask look really interesting.

Tangle Angel Review

Last but not least we have the Tangle Angel*. Having tried both Tangle Teezers and the Wet Brush in the past, I wasn't sure if this would impress me as much but it sure did. I would say that this is better for those of us with thick and unruly hair as the handle really gives you that bit of extra grip to deal with that kind of hair type. It also looks lovely sitting on my shelf/dressing table.

What are your current haircare essentials? Have you tried any of the products in today's post? If so, what do you think of them? And would you like to see similar blog posts on my skincare and bodycare routine?


Sunday, 9 April 2017

Build Your Own Beauty Box With Latest In Beauty

Latest In Beauty Box

As you will have seen if you saw my first Love Me Beauty edit blog post, (with an exclusive 20% off discount code for you to use, just in case you missed it), I definitely preferred being able to pick the products that made up my beauty box as opposed to having them selected for me. As someone who previously enjoyed receiving the Look Fantastic, Look Incredible and Birchbox beauty boxes but ultimately cancelled them, this whole notion of me having the choice, has sold me on beauty boxes once again.

When I saw the Latest In Beauty Beauty & The Beast box doing the rounds on social media, I thought to myself, 'now there's a beauty box that I would actually use every product from'. Something that couldn't have been said for every beauty box I've received up until this point. After doing a little bit of investigating, I saw that Latest In Beauty also offered up a 'build your own box' option and was immediately intrigued.

Unlike traditional beauty boxes, you are in complete control of what makes up your beauty box and how many products you'd like to receive each month. You can also decide whether or not you'd like to receive the boxes monthly or as a one off treat, which I think is great idea. And each and every day they add a new skincare, makeup, haircare or bath and body product to the site for selection and there really are some incredible brands and products to choose from.

So let's see what I picked out as my first Latest In Beauty box, or should I say, bag;

Latest In Beauty Review

Straight away I was blown away by the amount of products and brands available to choose from. I picked several products that I'd been wanting to try for ages such as the Nip + Fab Glycolic Fix Exfoliating Pads, the Bumble & bumble Invisible Oil Primer and the Hydraluron Moisture Boosting Mask. I was also over the moon to see a brand like Oskia, who I've heard many an individual rave about for years. And I couldn't resist adding a Nails Inc polish to my bag, especially when you take into consideration the fact that they now come in at £15 a bottle! As I went for a one off bag, when it came to my first Latest In Beauty box, it was £25 or £18 if you're a subscriber, so to have one product worth £15 alone and then eight in addition to this, really impressed me.

I wrapped up my order with a full size bottle of the Leighton Denny Miracle Mist Spray. The very one that I'd been eyeing up every time I walked through the M&S beauty hall in recent months. Again, this is £12 on it's own so basically those two products alone paid for my box, which certainly blew my mind a little.

You can also add a makeup bag to your order, like I did, for a couple more pounds and I loved the fact that it was a really generous size and had a lovely little slogan on it.

I really love the way that Latest In Beauty has approached the notion of beauty boxes by offering up both build your own and curated boxes. It's such a great way to amass some travel sized beauty products before your next trip or holiday or to try out products that you've had your eye on but haven't fancied committing to the full size.

What do you think of my handpicked edit? Do you like the idea of being able to pick out your own products to create your own personally curated box? And would you, like I did, use this to try new products and to stock up on some travel sizes?


Sunday, 2 April 2017

5 Of My Recent Favourites On YouTube

It's pretty rare that I stumble upon a YouTuber or YouTube channel that makes me instantly want to hit the subscribe button. I feel like I've been watching the same set of YouTubers, give or take a few, for years now, so to discover one is a bit of a feat, nonetheless five, but that's exactly what happened with these five YouTubers/channels and I have a feeling that at least one, if not most of them, will be ones you'll enjoy watching too. So, without hesitation, here they are;

Ashley Brooke YouTube

Ashley Brooke

As someone who's always wanted to move to New York (brb just searching for apartments in Manhattan that I'll never be able to afford), I'm definitely guilty of living my NYC dreams vicariously through Ash and her boyfriend Ryan. It was a packing for Florida video that initially drew me in but her vlogs and how to style videos are what have made me stay/binge watch for hours on end without even realising.

Her NYC apartment hunt series is brilliant and was what really cemented how much I love Ash and Ryan, who are honestly the most adorable couple and again, it's got me searching for jobs in NYC. I think in life you need to live somewhere different to where you grew up, even if only for a few months/years and wouldn't New York be the place to do just that?

Start with: Sunday errands in NYC

Anti Haul

Kimberly Clark

One of my very favourite YouTubers is Anna from The Anna Edit (formerly Vivianna Does Makeup), so when Anna recommends something, you know it's gotta be something good and that's exactly what happened with Kimberly and her anti-haul videos.

Now any time that I'm out shopping or scrolling through ASOS and the like, I stop and actually think 'do I really need it?' and instantly hear 'don't need it! Not gonna buy it!' resounding in my head. As someone who's trying to save/stop frivolously spending, this kind of mantra and Kimberly's anti-haul videos are exactly what I needed to find. And the fact that Kimberly never fails to put a smile on my face at the end of a crappy day, is just an added bonus.

Start with: Anti-haul #9

Safiya Nygaard YouTube

Safiya Nygaard

Having first seen Saf appear in some of Buzzfeed's videos, I was over the moon when YouTube recommended one of her videos and that's where my love-affair with her channel began. I don't think I even made it half way through that first video before I had 'smash'ed that subscribe button.

Some of my favourite videos have to be her product and trend reviews and girl knows how to take on a trend to see if it's really as good/bad as it sounds. From the infamous Topshop clear knee Mom jeans to a period beauty box and Kylie Jenner's makeup range, Saf puts the kind of content that you stumble across when you're scrolling through social media to the test in the wittiest and best way possible.

Start with: Creating a custom lipstick at the Bite beauty lab

Amber Scholl YouTube

Amber Scholl

I like to think of Amber as the queen of DIY's. Basically any trend that you've seen doing the rounds on Instagram from those boxes/barrels of roses to faux fur chairs and all things embroidered, Amber's got a video to show you how to recreate it on a budget.

The girl also loves crystals and rhinestones and my inner magpie feels so much joy at this. And it's also great to follow her along on her trips to the fashion district (hello heart eyed emojis at basically everything) and stores like Sephora and Forever 21. Her London shopping vlog is also well worth a watch. And again, much like all of the channels on this list to be honest, if I'm feeling crappy, watching one of Amber's videos cheers me up in a matter of seconds.

Start with: How to shop at Sephora

YouTubers To Watch

Bright Sun Films

You know when you watch one video about Walt Disney World, for example, like I did before my trip to Orlando last year and then the recommended videos are all theme park related. Well that's exactly how I stumbled across/became a little obsessed with Bright Sun Film's Abandoned series. I've found myself watching videos on places and topics that wouldn't usually interest me but I end up utterly fascinated and engrossed.

It all started with the abandoned Nickelodeon Studios video, which was very near and dear to my heart as I used to love all things Nickelodeon growing up and visited those exact studios on several trips to Orlando, Florida in the early 2000's when I would have been about 9 or 10 years old. If you're someone that's interested in WDW and theme parks, for example, or even if you're not, add these videos to your watch later list and if you're anything like me you'll have watched the entire abandoned series in a matter of hours/days.

Start with: Abandoned - Nickelodeon Studios

I'm hoping to get back into regularly uploading on my channel this year too. I'll be vlogging my trip to New York this Summer, which I already can't wait for.

What are your favourite YouTube channels to watch? Have you discovered any recently that you'd like to share? And have you seen any of the ones featured in today's post?

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