Wednesday, 30 August 2017

The Summer To Autumn Fashion & Beauty Transitional Wishlist

Transitional Summer to Autumn Fashion & Beauty

Even though we probably only had about 7 days of Summer up here in Scotland, none of which were consecutive, there's no doubt about, it's already starting to feel rather Autumnal, even though we're still in August. Frustrating as it may be, I have to admit, I'm definitely one of those people who quite enjoys the colder months. It's been getting dark a lot earlier, there's a crisp feeling in the air and I've already seen a couple of conkers on the ground this week, so I thought that now was as good a time as any to add some bits to my wardrobe to take me from the milder weather here in Scotland to what will be more rain, wind and cold over the next couple of months. I've made quite a few online orders in the past couple of days, namely from Ellisons, the Topshop sale and Miss Selfridge and I have so much more that I'd love to buy in the upcoming weeks. So here's what I have my eye on right now, both when it comes to fashion and beauty;

As soon as it gets that little bit colder my favourite colour to wear has got to be burgundy but despite that, I really only have one or two pieces in this colour, namely my Kate Spade cross body and Hotter Romance boots (as seen in this blog post). So this year I'd love to add some clothing pieces in this shade, as well as a couple of beauty bits too.

I love the look of this burgundy duster coat from Miss Selfridge and it looks like the perfect piece to wear over heavy knits or lots of layers, especially as I get far too warm when wearing several layers and a big Winter coat. When it comes to beauty, there's one lipstick that I just can't get out of my head each and every Autumn/Winter and I think this year I finally need to just go for it and buy Charlotte Tilbury's iconic Glastonberry Matte Revolution lipstick the next time I'm in House Of Fraser. Isn't it the perfect shade for Autumn/Winter?!

I also like the look of this berry boudoir shade from CND's latest collection, which I spied on Ellisons when checking out their nail art kits. I don't own too many darker shades, probably because I'm afraid of staining my nails but this one looks good enough for me to get over that fear. And whilst I'm not quite sure that I'm the kind of person who can pull off purple eyeshadow, after getting as much use out of my Naked Heat palette and seeing this exact shadow on Safiya in one of her recent videos, I think I might have to give this shadow a try.

As a result of browsing Love The Sales, I spotted this beautiful floral embroidered backpack from Accessorize, which might need to make it's way to me soon. I love the fact that I regularly find myself discovering quite a few hidden gems, both on sale and full price when having a look through the sales. I might have also spotted quite a few dreamy Kate Spade handbags in the House Of Fraser sale, as well, thanks to Love The Sales alerting me to them but I did just buy one in NYC so I really shouldn't have even looked as now I'm lusting after another.

And you can't go wrong with a couple of more black pieces in your wardrobe now can you? This denim pinafore dress from Topshop looks like it would instantly dress up even the plainest of t-shirts or knits underneath it and you could wear it with or without tights too. Can you tell that I'm trying to justify this purchase to myself right now? Hehe.

I also always think that a pair of black patent boots look so chic in the colder months and this pair from H&M are an absolute steal at just £24.99! Hopefully they'll have them in the brand new H&M that has just opened on Buchanan Street in Glasgow City Centre. Fingers crossed! I'm planning a visit anyway, mainly to check out our brand new home section (goodbye savings!) and to finally get a little bit basic and buy the infamous H&M tassel earrings that everyone's wearing. I feel like the black ones are the most me, surprise surprise. It might also be time to invest in a slightly sturdier and larger umbrella now that Summer (what Summer?!) is over in Scotland. This one, again from H&M, looks pretty adorable.

What will you be adding to your wardrobe and makeup collection over the next couple of months? Are you as big a fan of burgundy as I am? And have any of the pieces in today's post caught your eye?


Sunday, 27 August 2017

The Ultimate Guide To Glasgow

Guide to Glasgow City

After recently travelling to New York and getting a lot of tips, advice and ideas from reading blog post guides on that city, I thought that it could be helpful to others, who are thinking of making a trip to Glasgow, to write a similar post on my hometown and that's what inspired today's blog post. I've already got one on New York in the works for next month but until then, here is the ultimate guide to Glasgow;


Friday, 25 August 2017

What I Bought At The NYX Store In NYC

NYX Haul 2017

Despite now having NYX Professional Makeup products readily available to us here in the UK, mainly at Boots counters and stands and from Boots, Selfridges, Cult Beauty and Feel Unique online, I was more than a little excited about visiting the stand alone NYX store in NYC. Not only did they have products that we can only dream of having here in the UK and lots of brand new releases but they had a full store full of all things NYX. It really was like walking into a beauty lovers idea of heaven and I found myself going more than a little lip crazy!

And that was mainly due to the fact that I could actually see what the colours looked like on my lips, something we can't do in the UK. Seriously, why oh why don't we operate the same way that Sephora and NYX, for example, do in the US whereby they provide you with q-tips, sponges, spoolies and more for you to really try out and try on the products? It's so much better than swatching on the back of your hand, only to realise that the shade doesn't quite translate to the intended area of your face as well as it did on your hand. As a result of actually trying the products, my basket quickly filled up and this is the result.

So here's what I bought at the NYX store in NYC;

NYX brow products

I did buy a few bits before I went to the US, as you will have seen in my Big Boots Haul so I knew that I wanted to pick up another Prismatic eyeshadow, which is why I went for this liquid gold shade. It did get a little roughed up on the plane ride home but it's just such a pretty shade and could well be a dupe for one of the Naked Heat shadows. More on that at a later date.

I also added to the one sole brow product in my makeup routine, which is the Charlotte Tilbury Brow Lift btw, by adding these two products to my basket. The Eyebrow Shaper is essentially a wax crayon that allows you to shape your brow and hold it in place. And the Eyebrow Marker is just such a genius product and again for the price, I'm so glad that I picked it up. It's basically a felt tip for your brows, something I'd never tried before but have since used pretty much every day since my return from the US.

Another item I knew I wanted to try was the Soft Matte Lip Creams. I'm always so overwhelmed when I'm at the NYX stand in Boots, especially as I can't try them on but after some serious swatching I decided on Ibiza and Monte Carlo. I also stepped outside my comfort zone when it came to these shades. You might already know if you follow me on Twitter but I'm currently undergoing Invisalign treatment to straighten my teeth and get rid of overcrowding, so these were a bit of a treat for when my Invisalign trays and attachments come off and my teeth are whitened. I'm already counting down the months and trays until that day.

NYX Lip Lustre Review

Something I hadn't seen in the UK was the Lip Lustre range and I can't explain how glad I am that I found these. They're honestly the most comfortable lip products to wear, even with lips that can often get dry and dehydrated, like mine. I love the forumlation and the two shades that I picked up, which are Antique Romance and Rustic Mirage for reference. They were also only $7 which was such a great deal, even with the crappy exchange rate.

And as I went as lip product crazy as I did, I had to pick up the brand new #ThisIsEverything Lip Oil and it's already made a difference to how chapped and flaky my lips are as they've been smooth and almost bouncy since my return from the US. I'm looking forward to really putting this to the test in the colder months so be sure to expect a blog post on just that later in the year.

As I spent over $30 I received a free holo brush holder. I feel like Safiya and Cristine (from Simply Nailogical) would have been so proud!

Located on Union Square, the store really is a must-visit for any beauty or makeup fan or even for someone who isn't too sure what to buy or where to start with makeup and makeup application.

What do you think of what I picked up? Do you have a favourite NYX product? What should I try from them next? And would you love to visit a stand alone NYX store too?


Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Flying Solo: My Experience & Top Tips

Flying Solo Travel Tips

I recently flew on my own for the first time and despite being 25 years old, there was still a little bit of me that felt like Kevin McAllister in Home Alone 2, even more so as I was heading to New York on my own. Despite always enjoying the experience of travelling, mostly because I know that I'm going somewhere exciting, I totally understand why others might find even the notion of attempting to do it on your own scary, stressful or downright unnecessary but I'm happy to report back that it was none of those things, well most of the time but I'll go into that in a minute.

For me the most important thing was taking the stress out of it (even though I did almost miss check-in on the way home when a 45 minute drive to the airport took 2 and a half hours!) but overall, I really enjoyed flying solo. And here is why I thought that, as well as my top tips to make it a pleasant experience instead of something to fear or worry about;

Get used to be overly organised

Having always flown with my family before, I was used to my Dad handling all of the important documents such as passports, boarding passes, ESTAs, travel insurance, etc. Travelling on my own meant that I was responsible for absolutely everything that I needed with me from the important stuff to all my snacks, which I usually offload into my Mum or brother's bags. If your hand luggage or personal item can get a little unorganised, to say the least, I'd definitely recommend investing in a travel document holder. I went for this one from Paperchase but there are lots of different options out there, of which here are a few of my favourites;

Arrive at the airport in plenty of time

Don't chance it and arrive at the airport an hour before your flight takes off. Check what your specific airline advises time-wise. So for example, when flying to the US, they normally ask you to arrive 3 hours in advance (at least Virgin Atlantic, United and Delta do, who I've flown with in the past). Not having to worry about getting caught in traffic or there being huge lines at security and you possibly missing a flight, is one added stress you don't need. Thankfully I had no issues on my flight from Glasgow but it was a different story on the way home and I definitely would have missed my flight had I not followed this rule.

I knew that getting out of Manhattan could be quite problematic, especially as I was going through the Lincoln Tunnel and when I'd ventured out to Woodbury Commons earlier in the week the trip took double the time that had been estimated. I arranged for a car to pick me up 4 hours before my flight, thinking that it would take an hour max. to get to the airport. I couldn't thank myself enough for doing this and for being ready to go that bit earlier that day. As mentioned above, the drive took 2 and a half hours, meaning I was only there with an hour and a half to go and just over 30 minutes until check-in closed. Even though I was cutting it pretty fine and didn't have enough time to go grab food at another terminal like I had planned, I made it and could relax when I got there. Always make sure to leave a time allowance for traffic or possible crashes, if you're travelling by car or know exactly when your train, for example, will arrive.

Book into an airport lounge

For some reason, I always thought that you had to be a millionaire or be flying first class to gain access to the airport lounges. That couldn't be further from the truth. If you've got several hours to wait before your flight, have a long layover or have arrived at the airport early, as advised, why not book into an airport lounge. It's definitely a treat yo' self moment but it can start off your holiday on the right foot and if you're prone to visiting a restaurant or stocking up on food and drink before you fly, it might be wise to pay that bit extra to access a lounge instead. As far as I can tell, most lounges offer complimentary food, drink, wifi, television access and lots of space to chill out and get comfortable before your flight. I'll definitely be booking myself into one on my next solo trip!

Do a walk through of your journey/connecting transportation

As this was my first time visiting New York and I had planned on getting public transport into the city from Newark, I found it extremely helpful to watch a few YouTube videos on how to make that very journey. I had to buy my train ticket from a ticket machine, take the Air Train, then take a New Jersey Transit train (not an AmTrak train, which also ran at the same time) to Penn Station, where I then had to get a taxi to my hotel. As a result of watching the videos, I knew exactly where I was going, which signs to follow and even had fellow travellers asking for my advice, despite being a first timer.

Solo Travel New York Tips

Ask for help if you need it

If you're travelling hand luggage only, like I was, or have a ridiculously heavy cabin bag or case, don't struggle to lift it up into the overhead bins on the plane and pull something or hurt yourself. Simply ask for some help from a fellow traveller or a steward. I basically have no upper body strength and was taking a cabin bag heavier than the checked bag I brought home, so there was no way I could do it on my own. As I found when it came to travelling solo in general, people are always happy to help, especially if you're struggling or in need of help. The same goes for if you're not sure if you're going the right way or if you feel anxious or lost.

Download things to keep you entertained, just in case

Even though I knew that I was going to be on a flight with seatback entertainment and plenty of movies, TV shows and music to choose from, I still decided to download a couple of episodes of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt from Netflix onto my phone. This is a feature that I only recently discovered but it allowed me to download shows to watch when I wasn't connected to WiFi, which is such a game changer of an idea. On my first flight I had the luck of being sat in a seat with a broken earphone socket and had there not been alternative seats I would have likely been stuck there without anything to keep me entertained. I did get a nice little upgrade to premium economy in the process though so it wasn't a total loss or a bad start to my trip, like it could have been.

Chance your arm at the check in desk

Speaking of upgrades, on my flight home I noticed that quite a few seats were showing as empty on the seat map at our gate. I decided to chance my arm and ask if it would be possible to change seats from the middle seat that I had originally been assigned to an aisle seat. The man behind the desk was more than happy to accomodate and switched my seat in seconds. As a solo traveller there's definitely more opportunity to try this kind of tactic, as it will be easier for them to move one person rather than a couple or whole family. You can imagine how absolutely over the moon I was when I sat in my new aisle seat only to find out that I had the whole row to myself! It definitely pays to ask, as my Mum would say; 'if you don't ask, you don't get'.

So there was my first experience of flying alone. It definitely had it's ups and downs but overall I would 100% do it again. I'm already planning where to visit next.

Have you ever flown on your own or travelled solo? What was your experience like? And would you like to see more blog posts on my solo travel experience, like how to get photos taken of yourself and how not to feel too lonely, for example?


Sunday, 20 August 2017

What I Bought At Bath & Body Works

Bath and body works haul 2017

One of my favourite stores to visit in the US is undoubtedly Bath & Body Works so of course I was going to make several trips during my holiday to NYC and that's exactly what happened. So here's what I bought at Bath & Body Works on this trip to the US;

Firstly, I was so excited to see what Bath & Body Works would have to offer in the warmer months, particularly as I'd never visited the US in the middle of Summer before. Normally I'm there just before Halloween so Bath & Body Works mainly smells of candy corn, cinnamon and pumpkin and I tend to come away with lots of spooky scents and products. But Bath & Body Works had just launched their new Summer collection when I first arrived and I absolutely fell in love with a particular product, so much so that I had to bulk buy it.

Bath and Body Works Sheer Body Oil

This is a sheer body oil but not as you know it. It's actually a foam! I can get quite lazy when it comes to applying body lotion on a regular or daily basis so I have a feeling that this will give me that extra nudge to start taking better care of my skin. I mean who wouldn't want to use a soft and creamy foam that's giving you the benefits of an oil? This is available in three different scents, all of which are new for the Summer but I just couldn't get enough of the Cabana Bay fragrance! Bath & Body Works say it smells like suntan lotion and fresh cotton towels and I would have to agree. It smells just like Summer!

Bath and body works hand sanitizer

Then I spotted these amazing BFF Pool Float Pocketbac Holders, which I quickly added to my basket. And since I bought the holders, I just had to pick up another five Pocketbacs for $6, even though I still have about five of them left from my trip to Orlando in October of last year. Poolside Pop was another one of the new Summer scents and my second favourite of the three so I had to pick the Pocketbac of it up. Then I got my Mum two glittery ones as she loves anything glittery and she hadn't tried these two before and I couldn't stop sniffing these sugar cookie scented ones which is why I added them to my basket too.

Bath and body works Beach Nights Summer Marshmallow

As I was heading towards the till with my bag of Summer goodies, I then spotted a sale section. Again, I'd never been during a sale period so I couldn't believe my luck that it was on. There were so many incredible deals to be had, with most of the stand having 70% off which meant that a body lotion, for example, went from being $13 to $3. I picked up the last Beach Nights Summer Marshmallow body lotion and shower gel in the store or in Manhattan for that matter and it really does smell as good as it sounds, if not better. I can't wait to use these in the colder months!

So there you have it. I don't think I went too crazy, especially as this trip wasn't really about shopping, like my holidays to Orlando so often are.

What do you think of my Bath & Body Works haul? Which product looks like your favourite? Do you wish they shipped to the UK? And would you like to see my Glossier or my general US haul next?


Friday, 18 August 2017

Planning My Travel Resolutions For 2018

universal orlando blog

When Inntravel got in touch to ask if I was already thinking about my 2018 New Year's resolutions, it took me a couple of minutes to realise that there really are only four (yes FOUR!) months of 2017 left, which is more than a little bit scary. They also wanted to see how I was getting on with my 2017 resolutions, which is what inspired today's post.

At the end of 2016, I really only made one New Year's resolution, one which I decided to keep to myself this year, unlike other years (see 2015 and 2016) and that was to really give blogging and freelance writing full time all my energy in 2017. And whilst I did get off to a bit of a slow start at the beginning of the year due to ill health, from March onward I've tracked every affiliate payment that clears each month (which admittedly is only a couple of pounds a month but it all adds up), every sponsored post payment I've received (normally after doing a fare bit of chasing as the 30 day payment window approaches) as well as making a conscious decision to reach out to brands and PR companies to discuss the possibility of paid collaborations. I've also been keeping a note of the odd amount of money that I make on eBay and Depop each month and when you add it all together I'm now making as much as I used to make at my part time job, if not a little bit more, which is something I never thought I'd be able to say.

If you'd like to know more about how I've been monetising my content, let me know as I've definitely got some top tips even if you're just wanting to make a little bit of extra money to pay for your next shopping trip or to put towards something you're saving for.

Planning for next year, I definitely want to check a few more of the travel related goals off my 30 before 30 list and to work on getting that bit fitter, like I imagine most people say each January 1st. After travelling on my own to NYC and managing to do everything from catching my flight to not getting lost on the Subway and walking 20,000+ steps every day, it's made me even more determined to solo travel again. Inntravel are all about planning ahead, so for example, booking a walking holiday now for when January comes along. That way you're sure to start the New Year off on the right foot (pardon the walking pun). As a solo traveller, I was really happy to hear that Inntravel's walking holidays are for individuals, not groups and that you can take your pick of the routes suggested each day and walk at entirely your own pace. The Canary Islands and Lanzarote & La Graciosa walking holidays in particular look and sound incredible.

Have you thought about your 2018 New Year's resolutions? How have you been getting on with this year's ones? Do you have any holidays planned for 2018? And would you like to hear more about how to monetise your blog?

Written in collaboration with Inntravel


Wednesday, 16 August 2017

What's New In My Haircare Routine

best hair care products for dry frizzy hair

Back in April I shared what was new in my haircare routine and since then I've made quite a few more discoveries that I just had to share with you.

As I mentioned in that previous post, I find that after a couple of weeks or months, my hair starts to get used to a particular product or products and then it no longer works as well for me and my hair. As a result, I feel like I'm always switching different products in and out of my routine and these are the ones that I've been using since we last spoke;

bumble and bumble don't blow it thick paul mitchell dry wash

First up we have a product that I had been dying to try for years now; the Bumble and bumble Don't Blow It Thick (H)air Styler. I'd been umming and ahhing about trying the original Don't Blow It (H)air Styler but was worried that it might not work for me and my rather thick hair. But as soon as I heard they were releasing a thick version I was immediately on board and I have to say, I'm so glad I waited for this version. If you're trying to avoid using heat on your hair, whether that be a hairdryer, curling iron or straightener, you need to try this out! It also smells incredible and gives me that just stepped out of the hairdressers look but from the comfort of my home.

I've also found a new favourite when it comes to dry shampoo in the form of Paul Mitchell's Dry Wash*. If you're looking to invest in a really reliable dry shampoo, this is it. There's no white powdery residue, it doesn't leave the hair feeling crunchy or laden with product and you can also get it in a great little travel size, if you prefer. A definite hit for me and my rather lazy approach to washing my hair more than twice a week.

best products for frizzy hair

Talking of laziness, I often forget to allow for the added steps that literally take a couple of seconds more of my time, when it comes to my hair. And one of those added steps is heat protection. I don't know the last time I blow dried my hair but I regularly use my ghds to smooth and style my hair. It truly takes something special to give me that much needed push to add another step to my routine and that's exactly what the Lee Stafford Coco Loco Coconut Heat Protection Mist* is. The fact that it smells like coconuts, alone, is enough to make me want to grab it every time I style my hair. And I do find that the scent lingers, which is a definite bonus especially in the warmer months!

I've been trying to have a little 'look after myself' night each week, normally on a Sunday or even a Saturday night, where I basically pamper myself a little. I pop on a sheet mask, an episode or six of Sex and the City and put my laptop and phone down. And this month I added a hair mask to my little routine. The mask in question, the new Tresemme Keratin Smooth Deep Smoothing Mask. If you've been reading Ellis Tuesday for years now, you might remember the Keratin Smooth Shampoo making it into my 2014 beauty favourites way back then and I've used it on and off ever since then. This does exactly what I'd want from such a mask and gives my hair that much needed added boost for the week to come.

Talking of dry hair again, I spotted this Creme Serum from Dove, which are a brand I'd never thought of trying for their hair products before and again, added it to my basket. I did so as I had over £10 of Boots points burning a hole in my pocket and I'm so glad that I did. This honestly feels like such a dupe for the Moroccanoil Curl Defining Cream, that I featured in my last haircare routine post. And I have to say, I feel like this one worked better for me and my dry hair. My Mum has also been caught swiping this from my shelf in the bathroom as well so clearly we're both big fans.

Shampoo and conditioner for dry frizzy hair

Speaking of coconut scented products again, I spotted a 'new in' stand at Boots with a new haircare brand that I hadn't heard anything about before but after a quick sniff, I knew that I had to try it. It was also on promotion too, so that didn't hurt. I cannot rave about this Coconut Milk Shampoo from Maui Moisture enough! It is so so good, incredibly nourishing and it seems to help my hair detangle even as I'm lathering it up in the shower, which I've never experienced before. Has anyone else heard of Maui Moisture before? They have different products for different hair types too, so they're definitely well worth checking out if you spot them at Boots on your next shopping trip.

When I saw that Garnier had brought out a new range for dry, frizzy hair I basically let out a little 'hallelujah' in the haircare aisle at Boots. This is my exact hair type and I normally find that other ranges which focus on frizz also assume that your hair is damaged, which mine isn't, it's more dry/lacking moisture than anything else. I was in the market for a new conditioner so I quickly added this to my basket and I can't get enough of this product! Even if I don't add any smoothing products, of which I've featured a few in this post, I feel confident in the way this and my new Maui Moisture shampoo leave my hair. I'm sorely tempted to try out the rest of the line, which includes a shampoo, a mask and an oil, to see if they're as impressive as this conditioner.

So that's what's new in my haircare routine. Let me know if you'd like to see how it changes in the colder months later in the year, particularly as my hair changes so much in the Autumn and Winter.

What's currently in your haircare routine? 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 a blog post on my 'look after myself' nights?


Sunday, 13 August 2017

The August Love Me Beauty Edit

Love Me Beauty Reviews

I'm back with another Love Me Beauty edit and this one is easily one of it's best. Featuring two big beauty brands, ones which until very recently have been difficult to get a hold of here in the UK, this is definitely a great introduction to the two of them.

As with all of my Love Me Beauty reviews, I have an exclusive discount code to take 20% off your first order. All you have to do is enter the code ellis20 at the checkout to bag a real bargain.

So let's see exactly what's included in the August Love Me Beauty edit;

Kat Von D Makeup UK

Despite always having a good swatch when I used to check out Kat Von D at Sephora in the US and now at Debenhams here in the UK, I only own one Kat Von D product; the Lock It Creme Concealer. So you can imagine how excited I was to find out that the cult beauty brand would be featuring so heavily in this month's Love Me Beauty edit. I'd wanted to try out some of her Studded Kiss Lipsticks in the past but always got rather distracted by other brands and products whilst shopping at Sephora. This is such a lovely buttery lipstick and I love how pigmented it is. But did I really expect anything less from Kat and her makeup brand?

If you remember my NYC Sephora wishlist, you will also remember me saying that I really wanted to try out the Laura Mercier setting powder. But when I ended up spending as much as I did at Sephora, as seen in my NYC haul, there was no way that I could afford to splurge on it this time. As a result, I came home with no new setting powder but as if Love Me Beauty knew I was in need, this one from Kat Von D arrived with me. And I have to say, I like it a lot. I'm now really relieved that I didn't get enticed by the Laura Mercier option at Sephora.

I also love the fact that you can try out one of Kat's newly launched perfumes in either Saint or Sinner as part of this month's edit. It's also a great little sample size, especially when you consider the fact that you normally only get a tiny carded sample in most beauty boxes. The Saint scent, which I received, is such a pretty fragrance.

Buxom UK Debenhams

Buxom are another beauty brand that I've always been intrigued by so I was very happy to see them feature in this month's edit. I really like the brush on this Lash Mascara. It catches every lash, even the ones on my lower lashes and it wouldn't be a brand I would naturally gravitate towards when out shopping so this is definitely one of the benefits of trying products out from a beauty box or Love Me Beauty, in particular. Time and time again I'm impressed with the items and sizes that LMB choose to feature. They're not the run of the mill beauty box products at all either. The Full-On Lip Polish in Dolly is pretty as well but I haven't been reaching for it that much since I received it. But I guess I do have far too many other lip products to choose from which is why many a product gets lost at the bottom of a drawer or makeup bag.

Buxom, much like Kat Von D, are available exclusively at Debenhams here in the UK so if you've always want to try them out or have a swatch, definitely head to Debenhams.

Love Me Beauty Box

What do you think of this month's edit? Have you tried much from Kat Von D or Buxom? If so, what is worth trying out next? And do you also get overwhelmed/distracted when you visit Sephora?


Friday, 11 August 2017

How To Navigate The New York Subway

how to navigate the New York subway

Before I left for New York there was only one thing that I was worried about and that was getting lost on the Subway. No matter how many blog posts I read and YouTube videos I watched, I just couldn't get my head around it. So I'm going to break down how to navigate the New York Subway into what will hopefully be easy to follow tips and tricks and here they are;

Use Citymapper to map out your route

After trying a couple of different apps including Google Maps, I found that Citymapper was the most useful and reliable. All I had to do was input my start and end destinations and Citymapper would provide several different suggested routes. What I really liked about it was the fact that they tell you exactly what Subway entrance to enter/exit. This might not sound like such a big deal but when several of the stations have NW, NE, SW and SE exits and depending on which one you leave via you might be going in the complete wrong direction, knowing which one to use was beyond helpful. It also displays how many stops you'll be travelling, which I always made sure to screenshot so I could keep an eye out for my station. Not all trains have a board or screen that displays the next stop so this was definitely instrumental in me not getting off a stop too early or too late. This post wasn't sponsored by Citymapper, just in case you're wondering. I just found it the most helpful out of all the apps I tried and really relied on it when I was planning my journeys each day.

Look out for the green globes

First and foremost you'll need to find the Subway station you're travelling from. Sometimes they're halfway down a street in a place you've just walked past (this happened to me more times than I would like to admit), sometimes they're clearly indicated like in Times Square where there's a huge flashing Subway sign but most of the time you should be looking out for the green globes. These indicate a station entrance/exit, as do the green railings around them, I found. If you're really struggling to find one, I would definitely stop someone who looks like they know where they're going or even a street vendor to ask. Everyone I approached was happy to help.

Tips using New York subway

Know if you're going Uptown or Downtown

Even if you think you've found the right station, so for example 23rd Street station (as shown above), make sure you know if you're going Uptown or Downtown. Uptown would include places like Central Park and Times Square, Downtown would include places like Battery Park, Brooklyn and the Financial District.

Sometimes they can be on opposite sides of the street, other times they may be on the same side but at different intersections but know which way you're going. There always seem to be exceptions to the rules so there are stations which service both Uptown and Downtown trains. Basically if it doesn't specify Uptown or Downtown you can enter and go either way and if it does, make sure you enter the right one as you'll need to swipe and pay twice if you enter the wrong one. There are plenty of signs and you can always ask one of the station attendants or ever a fellow commuter if you're going the right way.

Check if you can get the express train or need the local

This, again, was something I was really worried about before visiting. The trains whizz past you so quickly that sometimes it's difficult to tell if it's an express or a local but try and look out for the board on the train's exterior. Other trains will alert you that this is the local or express train as you board however others don't. If you're using the Citymapper app it gives you an exact time for the train you should be taking so if it says 2mins until the R train you need to take, I would feel confident getting on that train without even having to double check but if you've taken a note of the train but not which one, it's always worth double checking. Saying all that though, even if you do get on the wrong train you can easily disembark at the next station and catch another train so try not to worry too much about this.

Connect to the free WiFi

I did get on an express by accident on my second day but realised almost immediately that I was on the wrong train. It was going in the same direction but missing out certain, slightly smaller stops (ie. not big tourist/commuter stations), however it was stopping at these larger stations so I got off at the next one and quickly reconnected to the free Transit WiFi to see what train I should take next. I didn't feel flustered or worried at all because I knew I could quickly and easily check which route to take next thanks to the free WiFi. This is especially helpful if you don't have data in the US, which I didn't so I made sure to make use of the free Transit WiFi whilst waiting on the platform.

If you're not sure where you're going don't leave the station

I accidentally read the wrong screenshot, which felt like such a silly mistake at the time and as a result got off at the wrong station. By the time I had realised I had already pushed through the turnstile and left the station. This isn't too much of an issue if you've got an unlimited or weekly Metrocard but if you're paying per ride, as I was on one of my last days, you'll have to swipe back into the station at the $2.75 fare. If I had just stayed on the platform or even gone up the stairs but not pushed through the turnstile, I could have just caught another train on one of the platforms without having to pay again.

So there you have it, those are my tips for navigating the New York Subway system. Hopefully they were helpful, especially as I really struggled to find a blog post similar to this before I left, which broke down the Subway experience into separate and easy to digest points.

Have you ever visited New York? If so, how did you find the Subway system? Do you have plans to visit New York one day? And are you enjoying my New York blog posts?


Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Charlotte Tilbury Unisex Healthy Glow

charlotte tilbury unisex healthy glow uk

As someone who never ever tans, I do notice a little bit of a glow to my skin when I return from warmer climates. Sadly, however, that glow normally lasts for a couple of days and that's about it and then I'm back to being Casper the Friendly Ghost style pale. Even though I look so much more healthier and a little less corpse-like with a bit of a glow, I've struggled to find a product or self tanner that replicates that subtle glow. That was until I discovered the Charlotte Tilbury Unisex Healthy Glow.

charlotte tilbury unisex healthy glow

This colour-adapting tinted moisturiser is one of the dreamiest base products that I have ever tried. Not only does it give you that much sought after Summer glow but it also smoothes the skin, working almost like a primer to diminish any pores.

I started using this prior to visiting New York, mainly to see what it would look like on my normal skintone and have since used it on my return back to the UK. Despite slathering myself in factor 50 SPF each and every day during my trip to NYC, I certainly came back with a bit of a glow and quite a few more freckles and the Unisex Healthy Glow has seamlessly adapted to my post-holiday colour. I can't wait to maintain that shade thanks to this product and I'm already looking forward to looking sunkissed throughout the seasons but mainly in the Winter months when I'm even paler, if you can believe that.

I have swatched it on the back of my hand to show the type of natural glow it gives. As I mentioned above, it comes out of the tube as a white cream, which then instantly transforms into a golden goddess hue, one which blends out beautifully.

charlotte tilbury unisex healthy glow review

If there was ever going to be someone to solve the problem I had as a pale redhead, it was always going to be Charlotte Tilbury! And this is easily one of the best beauty products that I've tried, both this year and I think ever, which is quite the statement. I can definitely see myself repurchasing this product time and time again.

It is now available directly from Charlotte Tilbury and from retailers such as Feel Unique, Cult Beauty, SelfridgesHouse Of Fraser and John Lewis.

What do you think of the sound of this product? Are you a fan of Charlotte Tilbury and her range of makeup and skincare? And have you ever found a dreamy self tanning or bronzing product?


Sunday, 6 August 2017

What I Bought At Sephora In NYC

Sephora Haul 2017 Blog

Normally when I go to Sephora I'm relatively restrained with what I buy. This may or may not have something to do with the fact that I'm usually shopping with my Mum in the Floridian malls and she always makes sure to ask me if I really need everything in my basket. I don't know how many times she's told me to put the Anastasia Brow Wiz back on previous trips. But this time I was totally unsupervised and as you can see, I definitely got a little spendy. So much so that I'm now VIB Rouge! Eeek! But I was just in the US less than a year ago so not all of the damage was done in this one trip, is what I keep telling myself anyway. But without further ado, here's what I bought at Sephora on this trip to the US;

FYI: I've linked to UK retailers where possible for the products available here in the UK, just in case you want to check them out or order them for the best price in the UK and in most cases, when taking into consideration the crappy exchange rate, it's actually cheaper to buy them here in the UK. But holiday money not feeling like real money is definitely why I just had to have the items there and then, of course...

Sephora Haul 2017

My main reason for visiting Sephora was to find a new concealer, having just run out of my holy grail Make Up For Ever HD Concealer, which has sadly changed a bit from it's original formula following a re-brand. That and to finally pick up the Sephora Pro Airbrush Concealer Brush, after leaving the US without it last time. After asking quite a few Sephora employees at several different Sephora's (of course I couldn't pass by a Sephora without paying it a visit on my travels), I went for the NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer in Chantilly. I don't know how I'd managed to go this long without trying it! It's that good. It also didn't cling too much to drier patches under my eyes and on my cheeks, which I will go on to talk a bit more about below. I'm now quite tempted to try the Soft Matte Concealer, as a result.

Talking of dry patches, I had done a bit of research whilst making good use of the free hotel WiFi at CitizenM and had stumbled across the Sephora Smooth Finisher Exfoliating Bath Mitt and all of it's 5 star reviews. And after walking 20,000+ steps a day in NYC, I had to treat myself to the two Sephora Collection Foot Masks. I'll be sure to do a separate review blog post on all of these very soon as I have quite a bit to share on both of them.

When it came to makeup I didn't go too crazy (trust me I had about another 10 makeup items in my basket which I understandably put back). As you will already know if you read my review of the Urban Decay Naked Heat palette, I couldn't resist picking it up on holiday, especially as Sephora had it weeks before the UK launch. I've been using it that much that I didn't specifically keep it in my Sephora bag ready to be photographed, which is why it hasn't made it in photograph form, into today's post but you'll have already been inundated with reviews and blog posts over the past couple of weeks so hopefully it not featuring isn't a bad thing. I also justified this purchase by saying it would be for the blog. Do any other fellow bloggers do that too?

I also finally picked up a Makeup Eraser as I seem to be going through micellar makeup removal wipes at a ridiculous rate, so even though this was rather pricy, hopefully it will pay for itself eventually.

I'd wanted to try something from Marc Jacobs for a while as well and after giving the items in this adorable little set a swatch, I had to have it. The colour, Slow Burn, truly is a my lips but better shade and I have a feeling I'll be buying the full size of the lipliner from John Lewis as soon as I get through the little travel size.

Caudalie Gentle Buffing Cream - Deep Cleansing Exfoliator Review

As my concealer had been clinging to some dry skin under my eyes and on my cheeks, I was also in the market for something to help with that. I ended up going with Caudalie who have both a Gentle Buffing Cream, designed specifically for sensitive skin with softer exfoliation and a Deep Cleansing Exfoliator, which is nice and intensive without being too abrasive. I can already see myself repurchasing both of these as they have changed up my skincare routine in such a big way already.

Finally I got lured in by the travel section at the tills, like I always do and picked up a travel sized version of the Bumble and bumble Surf Spray, which I used when I was in the US since I was going heat-free when it came to my hair. And I have to say, I really like it. Maybe I'll need to put other surf sprays to the test this Summer. What do you think? Would you like to see such a blog post?

So there it is, my rather ridiculously large Sephora haul or at least large for me.

What do you think of what I managed to pick up? Is there anything you would like to try too in my haul? And have you tried anything in today's post already? If so, what do you think of that product or products?


Friday, 4 August 2017

My Top 10 New York Must-Sees

Travel Blogger New York City Guide

As I mentioned in a previous blog post, I literally took thousands of photos on my recent trip to New York, so many that I wasn't sure what to do with them all, specifically when it came to sharing them on the blog. I was thinking of maybe doing a photo diary at some stage, if that's something you'd like to see let me know but today I thought I'd share what I took the most photos of, aka. my New York must-sees. And whilst some of these might seem a little bit obvious, I just had to share the fact that each and every one of these 'tourist attractions' totally lived up to the hype and far exceeded my expectations.

So here are my top 10 New York must-sees;

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

What I've Been Watching: In July

What To Watch On Netflix

Considering how much I love writing these particular blog posts and how much you seem to enjoy reading them, it was only a matter of time until my What I've Been Watching blog series made a return and I'm happy to confirm that it's finally back and on a monthly basis too, as it was previously.

At the end of June I shared my first What I've Been Watching post in over two years and I forgot how much I enjoyed sharing these kinds of reviews. Last month I had quite a bit of time to kill, both on flights to and from NYC and in my hotel room on rainy afternoons, so I've got quite a few movies and TV shows to share with you. That many, in fact, that I've had to separate it into two blog posts, with the other going live at the end of this month. But here is what I watched in July, or at least half of it;

Orange Is The New Black

For some reason or another I try my best to ration shows like Orange Is The New Black where all of the episodes of the latest season are released on the same day. For that reason alone I didn't start watching season 5 until the end of June/start of July and even though it always goes in far too quickly, I was glad to stagger the episodes especially with the season spanning just 3 days in the prison as opposed to the normal timelines.

There were so many things I loved about the latest season and it's definitely just as good as ever. I even got a cameo from Pornstache, who I have to admit I'm strangely attracted to. Maybe/hopefully it's just Pablo Schreiber I'm in fact attracted to and not his character. The other CO (correctional officer) that I find rather attractive, again I hope it's just the actor I find good looking, is CO Humps but without giving too much away, it's pretty difficult to swoon over him this season.

If you haven't already jumped aboard the OITNB bandwagon, now is the time!

Girl On The Train

As you might remember, if you read My 25th Birthday Wishlist blog post, I have been looking forward to seeing Girl On The Train for quite some time now so you can imagine how happy I was to find it available as one of my free movies at CitizenM. I'll be doing a full blog post on CitizenM New York Times Square and their free movie selection at a later date, so be sure to check back for that then.

I have to say, I wasn't as blown away by Girl On The Train as I thought I would be. The trailers had almost kind of ruined the movie watching experience for me as I almost knew exactly what was coming. I also guessed who Megan's murderer was about five minutes into the movie. Sure, I hadn't anticipated the twist but I had a bit of a bad feeling about that particular character from the get go or had maybe even been led to think that, again, from the trailers alone, which is never a good thing particularly when the movie contains a mystery. It definitely wasn't as good as I had hoped it would be and I was pretty glad that I hadn't paid to see it either in the cinema or on DVD as sadly it was rather disappointing.


The first of the movies that I watched on my United flight from Glasgow to Newark, Passengers was another movie that I'd been wanting to see for a while now. I'm a big Chris Pratt fan, mainly due to his work on Parks & Recreation and a fan of Jennifer Lawrence's too so I pressed play on this movie first. And I have to say, I really enjoyed it, so much so that I've already bought it on DVD to watch again.

I'm not normally a big fan of movies set in space, even though I did enjoy the movie Sunshine but I found this really easy to watch and there wasn't too much hi-tech jargon to contend with like there normally is in similar movies. The basic premise of the movie is that two passengers (Pratt and Lawrence) are awakened 90 years too early on a ship heading to a new planet, when it malfunctions. Can they save the thousands of other passengers who are still asleep as the ship continues to malfunction? Well, you'll just need to watch it to find out...

Hidden Figures

Carrying on the space and watching on my first flight theme, we have Hidden Figures. I'd heard a lot of great things about this movie when it came to awards season and had a general idea as to what the movie was about but I wasn't sure if it would really be up my street. As mentioned above, I'm not really into space or NASA, as it's something that I've never had a great deal of interest in but to hear how these three women fought for equality in a time when there was a blacks only bathroom and segregated buses was so empowering. It's crazy to think that that actually happened, even as someone who's relatively informed about the struggle of women and ethnic minorities throughout history. And to think that this was happening in the not too distant 1960's is difficult to comprehend. But I suppose we are in 2017 and trans men and women are still fighting for that very same right; to use the same bathroom as everyone else, so sadly this is an ongoing issue even to this day.

Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monae are fantastic in this and it truly was great to learn something about a little-known piece of history. Even my Dad who seems to watch a documentary on space or NASA every other night, had no idea of the involvement of these three women and women in general in the space race. It's safe to say he's got this on his 'to watch' list next.

How To Get Away With Murder

If you've been reading Ellis Tuesday for a while now or follow me on Twitter, you will have no doubt heard me rave about How To Get Away With Murder (HTGAWM)! I saw the first two episodes of the latest season when I was in Orlando last year and thought I would only need to wait a month or two until the season aired here in the UK. That was definitely wishful thinking especially when Universal Channel, who used to air the show in the UK, didn't renew their agreement to show it. However, one morning when I was awake ridiculously early (thanks jetlag!), I decided to check out Netflix since CitizenM also have Apple TV's so I could use Apple Airplay to project my phone screen onto the TV. And there it was; HTGAWM. I watched the entire season over the course of two days.

Thankfully Sky Living now have the rights to HTGAWM and the first two seasons are on Netflix, both here in the UK and the US, so if you're looking for a new show to become obsessed with, this is it!

So there's just some of the things I watched in July.

What have you been watching recently? Have you seen any of the TV shows or movies in today's post? If so, what do you think of them? And do you have any recommendations?

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