Sunday, 18 December 2016

Visiting London

Earlier this week I went to London for a few days to visit the Harry Potter Studios and see some other sights. I had been wanting to go to the Harry Potter Studios for ages and what better time to go than when all of the Christmas props are out! Whilst in London, I also visited the Sky Garden, which gave incredible views of London - it's free entry and I would recommend doing this if you ever get the chance. Borough Market had a massive selection of food (it took about 20 minutes to decide what to eat!) and I tried a Curly Whirly from Konditor & Cook, which is my new favourite thing and I'm definitely going to try baking this myself. On my final evening I went to Covent Garden to have a look round some of the shops and see the pretty Christmas decorations. This post is going to be quite photo-heavy as I have loads of photos that I want to share with you! Are you visiting London over Christmas?

Sunday, 4 December 2016

November Favourites

I haven't been using very many new products this month so this is going to be quite a short post. Also, I'm undecided as to whether I'm going to carry on with the monthly favourites posts next year - I'm considering doing seasonal favourites posts instead. What would you prefer?

This is the first year I've bought myself a beauty advent calendar and I'm so pleased with the Ciate Mini Mani Month one. The calendar contains 18 mini nail polishes, 1 full size nail polish, 1 nail file, 2 nail toppers, and 2 treatments. Each box which the nail polishes come in has a quote or tip wrote on the back. Overall, I think this advent calendar was great value for money and all of the nail polishes are so pretty.

Next up I've been loving the Elegant Touch Rapid Dry. This has been a saviour when I'm in a rush and don't have enough time to wait around for my nails to dry. I was slightly apprehensive before I first used it because surely it can't dry my nails in 60 seconds!? The spray really does work though and, although your nails aren't completely dry, they're dry enough so you don't have to worry about smudging the polish.

My friend bought me a gorgeous pack of earrings from Accessorize a while ago and I've been wearing them non-stop this month. I never wear big earrings and these little ones are perfect for wearing everyday - they're also comfortable to sleep in. Due to the earrings being sterling silver they don't leave marks on my ears, unlike some cheaper earrings.

Finally, I got the Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Concentrate. I had been wanting this for ages after receiving a tester of it a few months ago. I apply a few drops of this after I've moisturised every night. A small amount goes a long way so this bottle is going to last me a while. The oil makes my skin feel a lot softer and more moisturised when I wake up, as well as more radiant. I'll definitely be repurchasing this whenever it runs out.

I hope you've enjoyed reading what my favourites have been this month. What have you been loving during November?

Sunday, 27 November 2016

Caseapp Christmas Collaboration & Giveaway

If you've been reading my blog for a while now then you will know that a few months ago I did a collaboration with Caseapp - you can read the post on it here. Today I'm back with another Caseapp post and a giveaway for you guys!

Caseapp allows you to create custom iPhone, Samsung, and iPad cases, as well as MacBook, iPod, PC Laptops, HTC, and Nokia skins. Rather than creating your own custom case or skin, you can also pick one of their designs if you'd prefer that and customize it with text and images, or leave it how it is.

This time I decided to go for two of the 'Tough' iPhone cases, whereas last time I ordered a standard iPhone case. This case has a silicone lining to protect all sides of the phone and screen. I prefer this to the standard case that I bought last time because that one felt a bit too thin and I was worried what would happen if I dropped my phone. The first case I picked was the 'Marble in bronze' one, which is one of Caseapps designs, and I chose the finish to be matte rather than glossy. The second case I got was the 'New years glitter' one and I decided to add a quote to this one as I thought it was appropriate for the design. Caseapp offers you guidelines to show you where to place your text so that none of it gets cut off when they make your design. I probably should of used a bigger or bolder text for the quote because it's not very visible but, other than that, I'm happy with how the case turned out. Also, if you decide that the case looks too chunky with the silicon lining, you can remove it from the case and use the case without the lining.

Caseapps cases and skins would make great Christmas presents with a personal touch. If you would like to get your hands on a Caseapp product (to the value of £22), then comment below saying that you would like to be entered into the giveaway and follow Caseapps and my instagram - this giveaway will be open until 7th December 2016. Additionally, if you would like to order something off of Caseapps website, you can get 20% off of your order with the code; BOUGHTWHAT20. This is valid until 17th December 2016.

*These two products were kindly sent to me for free from Caseapp, however, I have given my honest opinion in this review.

Sunday, 20 November 2016

Lush Christmas Haul

Visiting Lush around Christmas has become a tradition of mine; I love using Lush products all year round but I get particularly excited when they release their Christmas range. This year I thought I would try some of the products that I haven't tried before.

The first product I picked up was the Rose Jam Shower Gel. I had seen this before and knew that it was a firm favourite among bloggers. Rose is one of my favourite fragrances for body products and this shower gel contains Turkish rose absolute, which smells amazing and lasts a long time. Rose Jam also contains argan oil, vanilla pod infusion, Sicilian lemon oil, and goji berry juice. I'll definitely be repurchasing this before Christmas is over.

Every year I buy The Magic of Christmas Bubble Bar and this year was no exception. This is probably the most photogenic product that Lush has to offer (think of the Instagrams!). The Magic of Christmas is a blend of cinnamon leaf oil, almond essential oil, and sweet orange oil, on a cinnamon stick. This has about 4 or 5 uses in it and creates a lot of bubbles with a small amount.

Another bubble bar that I bought this year was Candy Mountain. I've never used this one before but I was drawn to it's sweet vanilla scent and sparkly striped design. This bubble bar turns the bath water a gorgeous pink colour and you get about 3 uses out of it because you just break off as much as you need.

Finally, I got myself the Northern Lights Bath Bomb - I'd never seen this one before. The bath bomb smells incredible; containing jasmine absolute and ylang ylang oil. Northern Lights puts on an impressive display when you drop it in the water with vibrant blues, purples, greens, and yellows mixing together, however, this does unfortunately turn into a murky green colour after a while. Nevertheless, I'll be picking up a few more of these bath bombs when I'm next in a Lush store.

There are still plenty of products from Lush's Christmas range that I want to try so I'll have to revisit the store sometime soon. Have you tried any of their Christmas products?

Sunday, 6 November 2016

October Favourites

Can you believe that it's November already? This year is going ridiculously quick and I'm not ready to think about Christmas yet! Anyway, today I've got my favourite products from October to share with you.

For my birthday, some of my friends bought me the Ultimate Travelist book. This contains the best 500 places to visit and you also get a map with the top 100 places, so you can pin that on your wall if you want to. The photos in this book are beautiful and I enjoyed going through it and seeing how many places I'd visited (which was only 13!). Next time I book a holiday I'm going to use the Ultimate Travelist to see where I should go.

Halloween gave me the perfect excuse to buy a vampy lipstick and lipliner from MAC. I picked up the shade Sin, which is a dark blue red matte lipstick, and I also got Dark Out, which is a burgundy plum pro longwear lip pencil. This combination goes really well together and lasted all night for Halloween - if you want to see what it looks like on my lips then check out my previous blog post here.

This month I've been using the Urban Decay All Nighter Makeup Setting Spray a lot. I had never used a makeup setting spray before this, however, I have quite oily skin and this spray does seem to help stop my makeup from rubbing off my nose and chin. The spray promises to keep your makeup looking like it's just been applied for up to 16 hours - I haven't worn my makeup for that long so I don't know how true that is, but the spray keeps my makeup looking better for longer.

Finally, the VO5 Give Me Texture Instant Oomph Powder has been a saviour when my hair's looking flat. You just shake some of the powder into your roots (not too much otherwise it can start to feel sticky) and then rub it in to add volume. If you want to add more volume then you can backcomb the powder into your hair.

Have you tried any of these products? What did you like using in October?

Sunday, 30 October 2016

Vampire Halloween Makeup

For Halloween, I'm a lot more interested in what I'm going to do for my makeup than what costume I'm going to wear. I came across this Halloween makeup look on Leyla Rose's Youtube Channel and knew straight away that this was what I wanted to recreate for Halloween. I used a few different makeup products to Leyla but I followed the same sort of method.

Firstly, I primed my skin using the Benefit POREfessional primer and, whilst I was waiting for this to sink into my skin, I curled my lashes using the Boots Eyelash Curler. Next, I applied the Nars Sheer Glow foundation in shade Mont Blanc; this is slightly paler than my Bobbi Brown Long-Wear foundation so it's more suitable for a vampire look - you could go a shade or two lighter in your foundation if you preferred. I then used the Collection Lasting Perfection concealer in shade Fair to cover any imperfections. To contour, I used a small amount of the shade Password from the Urban Decay Smokey Palette underneath my cheekbones and around my forehead to give a bit of definition. For my brows I applied the Benefit Gimme Brow to fill in any gaps, and I put the Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion over my eyelids to create a base for my eyeshadow. To create the eye makeup, I first took the Makeup Geek eyeshadow in Peach Smoothie and applied this all over my eyelids, I then used the NYX eyeshadow in Heat for the inner corner and crease of my eye, blending it right out to my brow. Over the main part of my eyelid I used the Urban Decay Blackout eyeshadow and blended this into the NYX eyeshadow. On my bottom lash line I applied the same NYX eyeshadow, followed by a Natural Collection Kohl Pencil, which I smudged slightly. For the veins, I used two MAC lip pencils; Dark Out and Soar. I drew wiggly lines with branches coming off them to make it look more realistic. To finish my eyes I applied the Too Faced Better Than Sex mascara (for Halloween I will also be wearing the Ardell Demi Wispies False Lashes but I didn't have any on in these photos). Finally, I used the MAC Lip Pencil in Dark Out to outline my lips and then I filled them in using the MAC Matte Lipstick in Sin.

I hope you enjoyed reading how I created this look - if you want to you could add some fake blood or bite marks to your neck. What Halloween makeup will you be doing tomorrow?

Monday, 24 October 2016

Autumnal Lipsticks and Nail Polishes

From top to bottom: MAC Mocha, MAC Twig, Rimmel 128 Starry-Eyed, NYX SMLC 10 Monte Carlo
Autumnal makeup is my favourite because you can play around with bold colours that just aren't acceptable in Spring and Summer. Today I thought I would share with you some of my favourite lipsticks and nail polishes to wear in Autumn.

My most recent MAC lipstick purchase is Mocha. This is a peachy yellow-brown satin lipstick and it goes perfectly with the MAC Nice 'n' Spicy lip liner. Another MAC lipstick that I love wearing in Autumn is Twig. This one is described as a soft muted brownish-pink lipstick on the MAC website and is also a satin lipstick (I did a full review on this lipstick here). I don't own many Rimmel lipsticks but I loved the dark berry colour of 128 Starry-Eyed so I had to buy it! The only problem with this lipstick is that it's not as long lasting as the MAC lipsticks so you have to reapply it more often. However, you can apply lots of layers of this lipstick to create a darker colour and it doesn't go patchy. Lastly, the NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream in Monte Carlo is a gorgeous dark red shade - it's slightly bolder than the other lipsticks I've mentioned but still wearable! A few months ago I did a full review on the NYX Soft Matte Lip Creams, so you can find that here.

Essie's Bahama Mama nail polish is my all-time favourite for Autumn. It's the perfect plum shade and it lasts about a week without chipping - if you want to see what it looks like on then have a look at my full review. For my birthday, I received another Essie nail polish in the shade Angora Cardi. This is lighter than Bahama Mama; it's more of a dusty rose colour. My friends also bought me the Rimmel 313 Rita Rouge nail polish for my birthday (they know me so well!). It's a very dark purple shade that promises super shine and that it'll be dry in 60 seconds - although I haven't found it to dry that quickly! Rimmel nail polishes do last a long time without chipping; probably nearly ten days. The final nail polish that I'll be wearing this Autumn is Maybelline Color Show 265 Wine Shimmer. This nail polish is red and sparkly, so it will be particularly good for parties and events because it adds a bit more glam. To get a more intense colour I usually apply three coats of this, whereas with the other nail polishes I apply two coats.

What are your favourite products to use during Autumn?

Sunday, 16 October 2016

September Favourites

Sorry for such a belated monthly favourites post - it won't be long till I'm posting about my October favourites! If you follow me on Twitter, then you would of seen that the wifi wasn't working properly in my new house for the first three weeks, which completely ruined my blogging schedule. Thankfully the wifi's fixed now so I can start posting weekly again. Anyway, lets get on with my September favourites...

My first favourite for September is the Batiste Beautiful Brunette dry shampoo. I've always been a massive fan of Batiste dry shampoos, however, they usually make my hair look a bit grey, no matter how hard I try to rub it in, due to my hair being so much darker than the spray. The one aimed at brunettes blends perfectly with my hair so you can't even tell that I've used dry shampoo! It also gives my hair a lot more volume - it works better than some volumising products I've tried!

Another hair product I've been loving this month is the L'Oreal Extraordinary Clay Masque. I don't use hair masks very often but this sounded exactly like what my hair needs because it's for oily roots. You apply the mask to your roots before shampooing and leave it on for five minutes to allow the mask to absorb oil and impurities. The mask leaves my hair looking a lot less greasy and it smells amazing too. There's also a shampoo and conditioner in the range, however, I haven't tried these yet. Let me know what you think of them if you've tried them.

My mum bought me the Nosh For Students recipe book so that I'd be able to cook some proper meals whilst I'm at uni. The recipes are very easy to follow and each one has a key which shows how much it costs per person, how many it serves, how difficult it is to make, and how long it takes to prepare. The recipes I've tried have turned out really well - chilli con carne is definitely my favourite so far!

I'm quite proud of myself that I've managed to go a couple of months without buying a MAC lipstick; obviously that wasn't going to last forever, so I treated myself to one of their satin lipsticks in the shade Mocha. MAC describe it as a 'peachy yellow-brown' and I would say that it's slightly darker than Velvet Teddy (which I also own!). The satin lipsticks are quite matte but more moisturising than the matte lipsticks, which is great for autumn because my lips usually get dry. I'll definitely be wearing this shade a lot throughout autumn and it matches perfectly with MAC's Nice'n' Spicy lip liner.

Lastly, I received Blog Inc. from my family for my birthday and I've loved reading it so far. This covers everything you need to know about setting up and growing your blog, as well as meeting new bloggers. This book is really going to help me improve my blog and I can't wait to read more of it. I would recommend getting this if you are a relatively new blogger.

I hope you've enjoyed my first blog post back and I won't leave it that long for my next blog post! What did you love in September?

Sunday, 11 September 2016

Freshers University Advice

Over the next few weeks I'm sure many of you will be starting the next chapter of your lives; university. Heading to university is an exciting time - full of independence and opportunities - but it can also be a daunting time for many freshers. Next week I will be going back to university for my second year and I feel like I've learnt a thing or two along the way to share with you so you can make the most of first year.

Making friends:
Getting to university and not knowing anyone can be really nerve-racking, particularly if you're shy or quiet. I was lucky that my flat were a friendly bunch and on the first night we all sat together in the corridor and got to know each other better whilst playing a few drinking games. If you usually struggle to start a conversation with someone, freshers is a great time to put that behind you because there are so many questions you can ask people, such as; Where are you from? What are you studying? Was this uni your first choice? Another great way to make friends is by joining clubs and societies. This gives you the opportunity to get to know people outside of your flat and on different courses, as well as second and third year students.

Managing your money:
During freshers week, it's tempting to spend a large proportion of your money on going out and not think about how long your money's got to last you. There are certain things you can do to save money without compromising on the nights out, for example; some clubs offer discounted entrance fees if you arrive there before a certain time so you could aim to get there before this time, also, instead of buying a takeaway after each night out (cheesy chips and Dominos add up to a lot throughout the year!), you could keep some snacks in your room to have when you get back to your accommodation. Working out how much money you'll have going in and out of your bank account is really useful to make sure you don't overspend - you could add up how much you have to pay for accommodation each month or term plus how much you'll roughly be spending on food and other essentials and the rest can be used for nights out and treating yourself! Also, writing a shopping list before you go shopping stops you from picking up items that you don't need.

Staying healthy:
It's difficult when you haven't got your parents around to cook you nice meals and check that you're eating your 5-a-day! Buying a recipe book aimed at students is a good place to start because the recipes are usually easier and less time consuming than other recipe books. Also, making your own food normally works out cheaper (and healthier!) than ordering a takeaway. If you struggle to include fruit in your diet, then you could make a smoothie using lots of different fruits, or you could add chopped up fruits to your cereal. Exercise usually takes a backseat at uni because you're too tired/busy, however, there are plenty of workout routines available on Youtube so you don't even have to leave your room! Joining a sports club is a great way to exercise because you can go with your friends and motivate each other.

Keeping up with work:
With so many exciting events and opportunities happening at uni, it's easy to forget that you're actually there to study! Creating a timetable for completing quizzes, reading books, doing revision, etc is a good idea to show you when you'll be able to fit in uni work around your other activities, but make sure you stick to it. Don't rush your work because this won't help you remember it when it comes to exams and don't leave group work for someone else to do - because they might be doing the same thing!

One final note, make the most of freshers and have an amazing time! If any current uni students or graduates have advice for freshers then feel free to comment below.

Sunday, 4 September 2016

August Favourites

It's the end of August already and summer is pretty much over now. Where has the time gone? In a couple of weeks I'll be back at uni and counting down the days until next summer! Anyway, I've got a selection of my favourite summer products to share with you.

When I went to Barcelona earlier in the month one of the top things on my to-do list was to visit a Sephora (priorities right!?). I made such a big deal about going to one that I wasn't leaving empty-handed, so I picked up the Kat Von D Tattoo Liner in Trooper. I had heard so many good reviews about this eyeliner but never thought about buying it myself - and I'm so glad that I did buy it. This eyeliner has a very thin tip for precision, however, you can build on it if you want a thicker line. Usually, I find that eyeliners smudge onto my eyelids but this one stays put and is very long-lasting.

Something else I enjoyed whilst in Barcelona was using my Fujifilm Instax Mini 8 Camera. I picked up a pack of the Colour Close-up Lens which clip on to the front of the camera and give warmer or cooler tones to the photos. I love using this camera because I can decorate my room with the photos rather than having them stored on my phone.

Whilst I was in Boots the other day I bought a couple of products from Soap & Glory. Heel Genius is a foot cream that I've been using for years and I love it; I apply it a couple of times a week and then put a pair of socks on to let in soak in. The other product I picked up was the Smoothie Star Breakfast Scrub, which contains oats, shea butter, and sugar. I had never tried this scrub before but I'd seen lots of good reviews on it. This smells amazing and leaves my skin feeling so smooth.

Finally, I have been reading Dream A Little Dream by Giovanna Fletcher. I've never read any of Giovanna's books before but they all have amazing reviews so I thought I'd try one of them. The book is about a woman who dreams of a handsome stranger and then he appears in real life. I'm only a couple of chapters in at the moment but I can't wait to carry on reading it!

Have you tried any of these products before? What have you been using throughout August? Also, I'm planning on doing a university advice post next week so if you have any questions then please let me know.

Sunday, 28 August 2016

Eyebrow Routine

With inspiration from Into The Gloss, I was encouraged to team up with them to write a post about my eyebrow routine and products. I was already planning on sharing this with you guys so the idea couldn't have come at a better time!

Firstly, I always use tweezers to do my eyebrows and I usually do this once a week to keep them tidy. The tweezers I use were a present from a friend (maybe she was trying to hint at something when she bought me them!) so I don't know what brand they are but these tweezers are really good at grabbing hairs even when they're short. I've experienced a few brow scares in my time caused by over-plucking so now I do the bare minimum amount of plucking and next time I feel like my brows need reshaping I'll be going to a professional! The Benefit Brow Bar is supposed to be really good for shaping and tinting eyebrows; I've been wanting to try this out for ages but I haven't yet so let me know what you think of it.

On a daily basis I don't fill in my eyebrows because mine are quite thick anyway. When I do fill them in I use the Maybelline Brow Drama, which I did a review on back in December. This brow mascara is really easy to use because the brush is small and spreads through the brows evenly - creating natural but fuller looking eyebrows. A similar product to the Maybelline Brow Drama is the Benefit Gimme Brow. I got a tester of this a couple of months ago and I'll probably buy the full-sized product when it runs out. Gimme Brow gives slightly more dramatic looking eyebrows than Brow Drama does and I also thinks it lasts a bit longer, so I usually wear this one on nights out. If I want something more precise to shape my eyebrows and fill them in, I use the Maybelline Master Shape Brow Pencil. This is my favourite brow pencil that I've tried because it has a brush on the end of it so once you're done filling in your eyebrows you can brush through them to make them look more natural.

Hopefully you've enjoyed reading what eyebrow products I like to use. what are your favourite products for eyebrows? If you want to see a video showing you how to fill in your brows then head over to Into The Gloss here.

Sunday, 21 August 2016

Three Nights In Brighton

Sorry for the overload of photos! Last week my family and I headed to Brighton for a few nights as none of us had been there before. Luckily, the weather was on our side and we managed to spend all three days on the beach. We also visited the Marina (which had an amazing selection of restaurants), went to the Pier, walked through The Lanes, and had a go on the British Airways i360. I hope you're all having a good summer. Are you going away anywhere?

Sunday, 14 August 2016

Chocolate Orange Cheesecake

Tanya Burr is a Youtuber that I've been watching for years, so when she released her cookbook Tanya Bakes of course I was going to buy it! I've been trying lots of the recipes lately and my favourite one so far is the Chocolate Orange Cheesecake...

- 300g double chocolate cookies
- 100g butter
- Zest of 2 oranges
- 250g full-fat cream cheese
- 150g icing sugar
- 200g Terry's Chocolate Orange, plus extra slices for decorating
-150g double cream

- Crush the biscuits to crumbs. Mix in the melted butter and zest of 1 orange until well combined, then press into the bottom of the tin.
- Mix together the cream cheese and icing sugar until smooth. Set aside.
- Melt the 200g of Chocolate Orange in a bowl set over a pan of simmering water, making sure the bottom of the bowl isn't touching the water. Once melted, quickly whip the cream in a bowl until it forms soft peaks, then add the melted chocolate and cream cheese mixture. Mix until smooth and well combined.
- Pour onto the biscuit base and smooth out. Chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours.
- When you're ready to serve, decorate with the remaining Chocolate Orange slices and orange zest.

Anything chocolaty in my house doesn't last very long, so by the time I came to decorate the cheesecake there was only two slices of Terry's Chocolate Orange left! Thankfully everyone still enjoyed it. Have you got Tanya Bakes?