2014 Beauty Favourites: The best of the rest

2014 beauty favourites

The last of my beauty favourites for 2014 and this post is all about the products that I couldn’t group into the other categories- nails, perfumes, candles…all that jazz.

Diptyque Mimosa Candle
The newest addition to my favourites having only bought this just after Christmas, but the smell is so divine I couldn’t not include it. Yes Diptyque candles are extortionately expensive, but shockingly enough Selfridges boxing day sale included these candles and I got a cool £8 off. Not too shabby!

Lady Million Perfume
This isn’t technically a new favourite as I’ve had this for well over a year but I’ve recently been enjoying wearing it again and it’s one of my daily go to perfumes. So much so I’ve run out now and had to repurchase. The sign of a really good perfume in my eyes.

Essie Nail Polishes
There have been how many Essie nail polishes featured on my blog this year? My love affair with this brand has continued with several new additions to my collection this year. My favourite? it’s hard to choose but I’d definitely recommend getting your mitts on Sole Mate.

Nuxe Reve de Miel Lip balm
I’ve banged on about this lip balm so much this year that of course it was going to be in my favourites for 2014. This is my absolute favourite lip balm – nourishing, matte and long lasting. If you haven’t got this yet I honestly recommend you do!

Real Techniques Expert Face Brush
This brush has probably been one of my favourite new brushes this year. It’s super soft and packs on a little more coverage than my buffing brush so when I want an extra flawless day this is my go to weapon of choice.


2014 Beauty Favourites: Makeup

2014 makeup favourites

For the second post of the day I’m posting my 2014 makeup favourites. I’ve got a nice variety of budget and higher end options, not purposefully but each one deserved a spot because they are great and I’ve been reaching for them non stop this year.

Illamasqua Precision Gel Eyeliner
I feel confident enough to say that is the one. I love this eyeliner and when I do use it it glides on with ease and lasts all day. I’ll definitely be wearing this a lot in 2015.

Make Up Forever HD Foundation
I purchased this foundation back in September when I took a little trip to Sephora and I couldn’t be without it. I haven’t yet managed to do a review but when I do, boy it’ll be a good’un. Hands down a fantastic foundation that has become a firm favourite in my collection and one I would definitely not be without. My only conundrum is how I am going to get my hands on some more once it runs out…

Mac Eyeshadow Palette
As much as I love my Naked Palette that I got last Christmas, I absolutely have been smitten with the eyeshadows I’ve purchased from Mac this year. Every bit as good quality as Urban Decay and really wearable neutrals for in the day.

Garnier Micellar Water
Okay so technically not a makeup item, but it removes your makeup so it counts in my eyes. This has been one of the most fabulous items I’ve discovered this year. As much as I love Bioderma, this works equally well, is cheaper, you get more for your money and it doesn’t sting my eyes. I’m finally on my second bottle after buying my first one early last year. It’s so good I’ve handed out as part of a present to two of my loved ones this year.

Nars Creamy Concealer
Everyone raves on about this concealer, but there’s a reason why- it’s just so darn fabulous. Creamy, great coverage, I could go on… I’ll definitely be repurchasing this in 2015 as I’ve nearly run out.

Kate Moss Lasting Finish Lipstick in 30
I’ve been more adventurous this year with a bold lip and the one I’ve been wearing above all else is this one. It’s a gorgeous dark berry shade and whenever I wear it I get compliments on it. I’m still a red lipstick newbie but this colour makes me feel confident, like it’s not as bold as a red lip.

No 7 Stay Perfect Shade and Define Eye Shadow Sticks
I’ve become obsessed with cream eyeshadows this year. They are super quick and easy to use so I’m not wasting time when I’m in a rush for work. These sticks have therefore become a revelation. A quick swipe over my eyelids and a blend of the finger and I’m done. These are also really purse friendly which also make them a winner in my eyes.

What have been your makeup favourites this year? Have you tried any of these products?


2014 Beauty Favourites: Skincare

beauty skincare favourites of 2014

I’m kicking off my 2014 beauty favourites with an ode to my most loved skincare, mostly because this is the biggest post of the lot. I found it impossible to whittle it down as I use all these on a regular basis and I’d be gutted if I didn’t have one of these on my dressing table. As it’s a long post I suggest you make yourself comfortable…

Bee Good Honey & Propolis Cream Cleanser
Bee Good is a brand that have been fairly popular throughout the blogosphere this year and it’s no surprise why. I gave into the hype of this cleanser and I’m sure glad I did. It’s soft, gentle, creamy and smells divine. It’s a good one for taking off my makeup with a muslin cloth too before using my Neutrogena facial wash. One to add to your basket this year if you haven’t tried it already, they send you chocolates with your order if that’s a dealbreaker…

Neutrogena Visibly Clear Grapefruit Cream Wash
This face wash is probably one of my budget skincare finds of the year. As it’s a cream wash it’s less harsh than it’s gel counterparts but still manages to help unclog pores and keep my skin clear. The bonus? It’s only £4.99.

Alpha H Liquid Gold
2014 was the year that I decided that I needed some chemical exfoliation in my life, and with that came the much hyped Liquid Gold. At first I wasn’t overly impressed, but it’s more of a slow burner (not literally) than a quick fix. I do love the tingling feeling when I use this but it isn’t overly harsh on my sensitive skin. For a really intense fix I apply my Pai Rosehip oil after and I wake up a new woman.

Caudalie Gentle Buffing Cream
I shied away from manual exfoliators after realising they were making my blemish prone skin worse, but after picking this up on a whim in France it’s renewed my faith in facial scrubs again. This is so so gentle but does a really effective job of clearing away dead cells to keep the skin glowy and fresh. It smells lovely and I have been using it a lot more than originally anticipated meaning I’ve got a bit of a conundrum about repurchasing as it’s so damn pricey.

Pai BioRegenerate Rosehip Oil
Another product I’ve been using to give me plump hydrated skin is the Pai BioRegenerate Rosehip Oil. It’s distinctive in both scent and colour but not unpleasant. Pai is a brand I’ve really been enjoying in 2014 and I’m excited to try more from them, especially if everything is as good as this oil.

Lush Tea Tree Water
Lush Tea Tree Toner water is another of my budget finds this year and it’s every bit as good as more expensive toners out there. It’s refreshing and helps to wake me up in the morning as well as being an integral part of my routine when I’ve got the breakout of the century.

Caudalie Vinosource S.O.S Thirst-Quenching Serum
Move over Hydraluron this is way better. I’ve learnt a lot about my skin this last year and it gets very dehydrated but a night time application of this and my skin is plump, glowy and I almost look 18 again…I wish. It seems to regulate oil control and generally just a good all rounder that sinks in quickly leaving no sticky residue so you can apply your favourite night cream over the top.

La Roche-Posay Serozinc
This has recently hit shelves in the UK and I know many people are dying to try it, but I grabbed a fair few bottles back in September on my holiday to France and I have to say, I do love it. It’s very gentle, so much so that I have used it to soothe my dermatitis too. I absolutely wouldn’t be without this in my arsenal.

La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo [+]
I recently did a review here raving about this cream as it’s just exceeded all my expectations for a drugstore anti-blemish cream. It makes a really good primer and it’s super effective at helping to fade red marks.

Origins Out of Trouble Face Mask
I’ve been banging on about this face mask all year, I absolutely wouldn’t be without it and I even recently featured it as one thing you must buy this month. It’s fabulous for keeping pores unclogged and spots at bay.

Cattier Green Clay Face Mask
This is again another French purchase, but I really like it. It’s very gentle but leaves my skin really soft. I also like how it works in that you don’t let the mask dry so it doesn’t leave your skin feeling stripped and tight.

So there you have it, my skincare favourites for 2014. I’ll be posting later about my makeup favourites for 2014 and the best of the rest. Looking over this post now I can see I’ll definitely have to make a trip across the channel soon to feed my addiction to French skincare. Paris anyone?


New Years Resolutions 2015

new years resolutions

Happy New Year everyone! I hope you all had a lovely 2014 and are excited for what the new year will bring.
Some people think New Years resolutions are stupid and you’re likely to give up by the end of January, but I like to see them as goals for the year ahead. There’s no doubt last year was tough but I’m not going to moan or dwell on it too much, after all that’s what a New Year is about – a fresh start. With that in mind, here’s my resolutions for 2015.

1. Be more mindful
I haven’t spoken about my issues too much, but I was diagnosed with anxiety last year and I’m currently receiving treatment. I would like to be more mindful and practice mindfulness more this year in order to combat my anxiety and keep it under control.

2. Save Money
This was a goal last year but I’d really like to achieve it this year. I’d like to buy lots of expensive things this year like a new laptop and a new car so I really need to stop frittering my money away.

3. Sleep Properly
My bizarre sleeping habits are linked to my anxiety which I am getting under control and as a result a full nights sleep is becoming more of a regular occurrence rather than a rare one. My sleeplessness though impacts my life and as such I spend a lot of time sleeping when I shouldn’t be, like weekends and when I get home from work. I’d like to stop this so I can get more done.

4. Lose Weight
It’s likely to be an ongoing struggle but I really would like to lose 6-7lbs this year and keep it off.

5. Cook More
I love cooking don’t get me wrong, but exhaustion, a full time job and a freezer full of food means often I can’t be bothered to cook and instead order takeaway or go out for dinner. I’d really like to reduce the amount of times we go out for dinner. I think this will also help with the aforementioned weight loss.

Blog Resolutions

I have really enjoyed blogging this last year and learnt so much, so I’ve thought of some blogging goals which I would like to achieve in 2015 as well as personal goals.

1. Grow my followers
My blog is still small, but I’m really proud of what I have achieved this last year and with that in mind I’d like the growth to continue. I don’t really have a figure in mind I just want to see where this year takes me.

2. Blog More
Currently I post 4 times a week, or 5 if I have a recipe. I’d like to make Wednesday posts a regular thing and at least one sunday recipe a month. It’s quite difficult to do recipe posts as often baking takes twice as long when you have to photograph it all, but I’d really like to make them more than once in a blue moon thing.

3. Get into Youtube videos
I’d really like to start filming some videos, it wouldn’t be a very regular thing as I don’t have time, but once a month perhaps would be nice.

4. Take more photos
It might sounds strange as there are photos in every blog post, but I’d like to take more of my face as it’s not often that I can be bothered so foundation and lipstick posts get put on the back burner. I’d like to motivate myself enough to wash my hair and put makeup on so I can take more pictures and ultimately vary my posts more.

Those are my goals this year and I feel like I can achieve these if I try. I’m feeling happy and confident about what this year will bring.
Have you made any New Year’s resolutions?


Long Wearing Heroes

long lasting makeup products

When you’re off to a party the last thing you want to be doing is forever checking and reapplying your makeup, so I’ve got a few makeup items here that will stand the test of time so you’ll be dancing the night away instead of checking your compact.

Starting with a good primer, one I’ve found that really keeps the oil at bay without coating your skin in silicones is the Becca Ever-Matte Poreless Priming Perfector (£28). It’s a unique formulation so it can be a difficult product to work with until you get the hang of it but once you do your makeup is staying put.

Equally important is a good eye primer and there is only one in my eyes which is the Urban Decay Primer Potion (£16). It’s absolutely fantastic, your eye makeup will not budge for hours and you only need the tiniest amount so it will last you such a long time even with daily use.

After priming, it’s onto a good solid base, for which I have two offerings. One is a classic foundation – Estee Lauder Double Wear Foundation (£29.50). This does not move, it doesn’t go shiny. It’s absolutely the best long wearing foundation probably ever and I would not be without it. It’s great for a long day at work, or if you’re having a bad skin day. The only slight drawback to it is it has SPF in it so if you’re going to be posing for lots of photos it might be better to opt for my second choice.
Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation (£35.50) isn’t touted predominantly as a long wearing foundation, but I have found it does fare better than most others and it has the added bonus of being SPF free! Its coverage is slightly less than Double Wear so if you want something a little lighter then this also might be a good choice.

Onto eyes and with a good eye primer mentioned above, most eyeshadows will stand the test of time. What I’ve found though is a good eyeliner is needed for when things get a little warm, and for that I’ve found a fabulous bargainous waterproof eyeliner from L’Oreal. L’Oreal Paris Infallible Eye Liner (£5.19) is one of the best I’ve tried. It’s super soft and creamy but stays put once applied. The smudger it comes with is a bit naff but the eyeliner is pure quality.

Finally to top it all off a good lippy is essential if you don’t want to end up with it on your chin post new year’s smooch and I’ve got a couple of choices here. If you’re more of a red lip gal then check out Mac Ruby Woo (£15.50) A classic red in a retro matte finish so you know that this lipstick’s going nowhere. Pre-lip pampering is essential though. If you prefer a lighter lip shade or something a little on the more affordable side then Rimmel Provocalips (£6.99) should be right up your street. Whilst it most definitely doesn’t last 16 hours, it does last a pretty long time, even after munching through a burger so slick this on pre-meal and you shouldn’t be worrying about touch ups after your last glass of vino.


Recipe: Vanilla Fudge

vanilla fudge

vanilla fudge

vanilla fudge

vanilla fudge

vanilla fudge

I’m not a big fan of fudge I find it can be sickly and gritty, but I made some fudge before Christmas as part of a hamper for my family and when I tasted some it was hands down the best fudge I’ve ever tasted. Buttery smooth melt in your mouth and none of that horrid graininess I dislike so much. So I thought I’d share my recipe with you for the most delicious fudge ever. Be warned though! It’s super bad for you, there’s nearly 500g of sugar in a batch as well as cream and butter. It’s totally worth it though.

It is best if you have a sugar thermometer to make the fudge as it takes all the guesswork out of it, but I don’t have one and I made it without so I’ve added some instructions on how to tell when it’s ready if like me, you don’t have a thermometer. It does take quite a lot of time, and elbow grease but it is worth it I promise!

Recipe: Vanilla Fudge

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Serves: 36

Recipe: Vanilla Fudge

Ingredients:

  • 450g golden caster sugar
  • 400g double cream
  • 50g butter
  • 1 tbsp glucose syrup
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract

Instructions:

  1. Line a cake tin with baking parchment.
  2. Tip the sugar, cream, butter and glucose syrup into a large saucepan. Heat to dissolve the sugar and melt the butter, stirring now and again.
  3. Once dissolved, put a sugar thermometer in the pan. If you don't have a thermometer it doesn't matter it can be made without.
  4. Increase the heat and bring the syrup to a steady boil.
  5. Turn it down a little until it is simmering and stir occasionally until the mixture reaches 116C – this is known as the soft ball stage.
  6. If you don't have a thermometer get a jug of ice cold water and keep putting a teaspoon of the mixture in the water, when you can scoop the mixture out and roll it into a soft ball that can be squished between your finger and thumb its ready.
  7. Remove the pan from the heat and leave to sit undisturbed, for 5 mins, until the temperature drops to 110C.
  8. Stir in the vanilla and a good pinch of salt.
  9. Keep the sugar thermometer in the pan and beat the mixture vigorously with a wooden spoon, until the temperature cools to about 60C. By this time the fudge will be really thick and will have lost its glossy shine.
  10. Remove the thermometer and continue beating for another few minutes until it starts setting up.
  11. Before it sets completely, pour the fudge mixture into the tin and smooth over the surface. Leave to cool at room temperature overnight.
  12. Cut into bite-sized pieces and put in a box.


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