Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Review | Makeup Revolution 'Dia de los Muertos' Palette

I recently received Makeup Revolution's Salvation palette in 'Dia de los Muertos' as a free gift with an online order I placed - there was a significant delay in dispatch, and this palette was included with my purchases by way of apology, which was a nice surprise when the parcel finally showed up! I've used quite a few of Makeup Revolution's palettes in the past, so I was keen to see how this would compare.
Dia de los Muertos
The outer packaging was beautiful - the box features a super-pretty sugar skull design on the front, whilst the back shows all the shades within the palette. It's almost a disappointment when you open the box to reveal the plain, glossy black plastic palette, though it's standard for Makeup Revolution, and given the price point I won't complain too much!
Makeup Revolution Salvation palette Dia de los Muertos
Makeup Revolution's Salvation palettes each contain eighteen shadows; twelve shimmer shades in the rectangular pans, and six mattes in the circular pans below. I have to say it bothers me that the pans aren't all the same shape, though... You also get a sponge applicator, and there's a large mirror in the lid of the palette. 'Dia de los Muertos' features a good mixture of wearable, everyday shades such as the champagne shimmer 'Laugh More' and deeper mauve 'Get Busy Living', alongside a few brighter pops of colours such as the hot-pink 'Redemption is Near' and the matte purple 'Be You'.
Makeup Revolution Dia De Los Muertos
I did note that a few of the shades are very similar - there's not much to choose between the shimmery off-white highlight shades 'Laugh More' and 'Salvation is Inside', for example, whilst 'Affirmation' and 'Turn The TV Off' are also pretty close matches, which is a shame.
Makeup Rev Dia de los Muertos
I have to be honest, on their own the pigmentation of the shadows is lacking, but applied over a base (I've used Maybelline's Color Tattoo here) they're really lovely and can be built up to be quite intense. Here I've gone for quite a wearable look whilst still using one of the more "out-there" shades, 'Be You'. I started with the shimmery taupe 'Smile' all over the lid, with the shimmery plum 'Get Busy Living' in the outer corner, and 'Laugh More' on the inner corner to highlight. I then added 'Be You' along the upper and lower lashline and blended out, for a pop of colour that makes the eyes stand out but isn't too full-on.
Dia De Los Muertos EOTD
Wear time is pretty good, with the shades I've tried so far lasting upwards of eight hours before there are any signs of creasing. All in all, I'm pretty impressed with this palette, despite the lack of pigmentation without a base! I wish there was a bit more variation in the shades, but aside from that I think it's a nice one to have in my collection.
You can find the 'Dia de los Muertos' palette in Superdrug, or online here, priced at £6. Have you tried any of the Salvation palettes? What do you think of 'Dia de los Muertos'?


Saturday, 14 January 2017

The Hero Project

The Hero Project aren't a new brand to me; I love their Hyasoft Instant Moisture Boost, so when I discovered they offer a 'Build Your Own Gift Set' service I was straight on it! This service allows you to choose three sample-size products, which are popped into a lovely make-up bag, for the super reasonable price of £30 (and if it's your first order you can get 20% off when you sign up to their email newsletter, bringing it down to £24 which is a veritable bargain!). If you're not familiar with The Hero Project, you can find out more about their mission here, but basically they're trying to take the very best beauty products and make them better.
The Hero Project
You can choose the products you'd like for your gift set here; there are five products to choose from. Having already tried Hyasoft, I gave that a miss, and I don't think the fifth product was actually available when I ordered before Christmas, so my decision was pretty easy! Here's what I chose...
Double Blur HD Ready Skin Perfector (10ml) "It's time to blur out imperfections, pesky pores and fine lines with this light diffusing perfector. No filter required." Full size - £24/30ml
Vit C-30 Ultra Brightening Serum (8ml) "Powerful 30% ethylated L-Ascorbic Acid aka Vitamin C helps restore skin clarity, reduce appearance of fine lines, and protects from ongoing damage." Full size - £39/30ml.
Glow Drops Dry Touch Facial Oil (8ml) "Instantly get that gorgeous and youthful glow. Indulge in this ultra silky, elegant dry touch oil with a blend of 10 gloriously scented, natural essential oils and Vitamin C." Full size - £24/30ml.
The Hero Project Mini Gift Set
Also on offer are:
Hyasoft Instant Moisture Boost (10ml) "A non-sticky, fast-absorbing clear gel with vitamin B5 and hyaluronic acid that banishes dull, dry complexions with an instant moisture boost. Leaves your skin looking and feeling smooth, springy and bright." Full size - £19/30ml.
Powder Foam (20g) "A unique cleansing experience with an exotic blend of bamboo and mangosteen extract. Helps to freshen, smooth and brighten your face." Full size - doesn't seem to be available yet.

I haven't tried any of these samples yet, but I really love Hyasoft so I have high hopes for them. I really love their passion for beauty products that really work, with effective ingredients. The canvas makeup bag is really nice, too, with a 'Check You Out!' slogan and a chunky branded zipper, making the sets perfect for gifts to yourself or others. So, if you're fed up of skincare that leaves you disappointed, I'd suggest checking out The Hero Project! Have you heard of this brand before? Which of their products are you keen to try? You can build your own gift set for £30 here.


Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Review | NYX Stay Matte But Not Flat Liquid Foundation

My local Boots store has finally caught up with what feels like every other store in the country and got itself a NYX stand! I only had a quick browse as the store was super-busy when I was in town, but I picked up a tube of their Stay Matte But Not Flat Liquid Foundation to try; my skin is ridiculously oily, so I'm always attracted to anything that offers me a matte base. I'd not heard much about this foundation prior to purchasing it, so let's see how I've been getting on.
NYX Stay Matte But Not Flat Foundation Review
NYX claim that this foundation is, "Oil Free Water-Based Full Coverage Mineral-Enriched Matte Finish." I picked up shade 04 'Creamy Natural' from the range of eleven shades; there are thirty shades listed on the US site (here) so I'm a little disappointed that the UK only seems to get eleven. There is little to choose from for darker-skinned customers, which is a shame. That said, 'Creamy Natural' is a good match for my skin-tone, so I'm one of the lucky ones I guess!
The foundation is quite thick in texture, which means it takes a fair bit of blending on the skin, made difficult by the fact that it "sets" quite quickly. It's doable with fingers or a brush, but works best with a dampened sponge for the smoothest, most even finish. I've tried it alone and over The Body Shop's Instablur (my favourite!) as a primer, and find it goes on much the same over both. The coverage is medium-full though not very buildable, as it does tend to go cakey quite quickly. I'd say "matte but not flat" is a fair summary of the finish, to begin with - it's not shimmery or glowy, but it's a little bit more "alive" than some matte foundations can be. In terms of lasting power, I've found it does tend to crease a little under my eyes and in my laughter lines, even when set with powder.
NYX Stay Matte but Not Flat Swatch
[This is the most accurate photo colour-wise.]
The main reason I picked this up was the name; "Stay Matte" is basically #lifegoals for me, so I was pretty disappointed that, despite the fact that I always set with powder, oil started to come through in 3-4 hours without primer, and around 5 with Instablur under the foundation. Admittedly, it's not terrible, and far better than some - but when your foundation is called "Stay Matte", I expect to, well, stay matte. Too much to ask?
NYX Stay Matte But Not Flat FOTD
[Apologies for the not-great photo - still trying to get the hang of my new camera!]
NYS Stay Matte But Not Flat Liquid Foundation is priced at £6 for 35ml of product, available in the UK at Boots stores or online here. It's not not a terrible foundation, offering decent coverage and a reasonably nice finish - but it's one I'll repurchase, as the creasing and oiliness mean it just doesn't last as well as I'd hoped. If your skin is more normal-combination than straight-up oily like mine, then it may be worth a try! Have you tried any NYX foundations? What's your favourite NYX product?


Sunday, 8 January 2017

Six Things That Are Stopping You Achieving Your Goals (And How To Overcome Them!)

It is, I'm pretty sure, prime Goal Setting Season; I can't currently move on Bloglovin' for posts about people's New Year's Resolutions. Don't get me wrong, I love reading them and I think it's great that people are evaluating their lives and thinking about what they'd like to achieve in the coming months - you can check out my goals for 2017 a couple of posts back! It's no big secret, though, that resolutions have a tendency to fall by the wayside by the end of January. If you're determined that 2017 will finally be your year, it's time to have a think about the things that could be holding you back - and how you might overcome them!
Six things that are stopping you achieving your goals (and how to overcome them!)
Aiming Too High.
Now don't get me wrong, I'm all for pushing yourself and aiming high - but sometimes, you have to be realistic. If you've never run in your life, aiming to run a marathon in March is probably in this category. If you're on a minimum-wage job in London, with no savings and no sudden windfalls, aiming to buy a house within a year is definitely in this category.
Instead: Think about what is realistically achievable; think about where you're at now, what you can afford to dedicate to your goal (in terms of time and energy as well as cold, hard cash!) and try to set a more realistic target - say, running a 5km Park Run in March, or putting a portion of your income aside each month to save for a deposit.

Taking On Too Much.
"This year I'm going to lose five stone AND save £5000 AND visit every continent AND join a netball team AND learn Italian AND read 100 books AND cook from scratch every day AND take up swimming AND..."
This kind of fits in with the above, but come on - you're one person, there's a limit to how much you can do! If you're trying to change everything about your life, I'd suggest there's something deeper that you need to think about - because even if you succeeded in every one of those goals, I suspect you still wouldn't be happy.
Instead: Again, think about what is realistically achievable. Think about what's most important to you, and prioritise. Sure, make a list of longer-term goals if that's your thing - maybe this year you'll take up swimming and start learning Italian, but spread out your continent-hopping over a little bit longer?
Achieving Your Goals
[Photo Credit: Turquoise & Palm.]
An 'All-Or-Nothing' Mindset.
This is the problem with resolutions such as "Give up chocolate" or "Go vegan"; sure, they're great goals, and they work for some people, but the black-and-white thinking can be very limiting, and I do think there needs to be some flexibility in there. Say you give up chocolate, but then on a bad day you eat a box of Maltesers - have you failed? If you decide you may as well go back to your old ways and then, will you feel you've achieved anything? Or will it just be another resolution that you've not kept?
Instead: Allow yourself to make mistakes - you're only human, after all! A box of Maltesers today doesn't mean you can't get back on the wagon tomorrow and have another go. Or what about stepping the goal back a little, and allowing yourself a small chocolatey treat one day per week, or starting off with one vegan day per week? Small changes can add up to big differences overtime, with less risk of overwhelming yourself!

Not Planning For Set-Backs.
We're all filled with New Year Optimism and planning to go to the gym every day seems like a great idea at the time - but what happens if you're ill, or have a family emergency? What happens if you don't have time or just don't feel like it one day? Having no back-up plan is a major pitfall for a lot of people; life happens, and it's helpful to have an idea of how you'll deal with it when it does.
Instead: Well, what if you can't make it to the gym one day? Could you go for a run instead? Do you have a workout DVD you can do? If you're just too tired, ill or busy - give yourself permission to take a few days' breathing space before you get back into it! Having a plan for what you'll do when things don't, well, go to plan, can be the difference between quitting when the going gets tough, or sticking with it.

Not Breaking Goals Down.
A year is a long time and you can achieve a lot in that amount of time, but a goal which is perfectly reasonable for a year won't achieve itself. Let's take saving £5000 - that's a lot of money, however you look at it! But let's say it's an achievable goal for the year. Where do we start!? Sadly, a lot of people would set this goal with the best of intentions and then find, this time next year, that they're no nearer their goal.
Instead: Think about your big goal, and then break it down into manageable chunks. £5000 over a year works out at just under £417 per month, or around £97 per week - and doesn't £97 sound a lot more manageable than £5000!? You can then set up your standing order for each payday, or think about where you're going to save that £97 each week. Maybe your goal is running a marathon - 26 miles is a long way. By starting small and slowly building up your fitness, though, it's totally achievable! Programs like the C25K are a brilliant place to start with goals like this.
What's stopping you achieving your goals
[Photo credit: #CGSCreative.]
Doing It For Other People.
At the end of the day, if you're expecting yourself to work at something for a whole year, it kind of needs to be something you want to do! If you've decided to lose a couple of stone because your partner said you should, or save up to buy a house because your Auntie Susan thinks your rented flat is too small - you'll probably find you struggle to motivate yourself (aside from the fact it's none of their bloomin' business!)
Instead: Pick something that matters to you. If you want to lose weight for your own health, fitness or self-confidence then brilliant, go for it! If you want to move house then fantastic, get saving! But when it gets tough, it's much easier to stick with it if it's something you wanted to achieve in the first place.

Have you ever fallen into any of these traps with your New Year's Resolutions? Are there any you'd add to the list? Do you have any secrets to achieving your goals?


Thursday, 5 January 2017

2016 In Review | How I Got On With My Goals

Way back in January last year, I set myself some goals for 2016... The time has come to have a little look back and see how I got on! I'm actually quite nervous, because I know I haven't looked at this post in a while to check on my progress, so I don't really know how I've done at this point.
Clear my overdraft. Well I'm off to a good start! I've managed to not only clear my overdraft in 2016, but also start regularly putting a little bit of money aside in a savings account. It's by no means a huge amount, but it's better than nothing, and gives me something to build on in 2017.
Get a full-time, paid Assistant Psychologist post. I finally started my first "proper" Psychology-related job in August 2016, almost four years after completing my undergraduate degree. It was a long time coming but I think it was worth the wait - I truly love my job, feel like I am learning a lot, and am working with a fantastic team of people who couldn't be more supportive.
Read at least 25 books. Erm. Sadly I can't cross this one off, having read a measly eleven books in 2016. I'm actually disappointed in myself for this; I love reading and I really need to make more effort here. I've set myself a more manageable target of twelve books for 2016 and I'm determined to achieve that!
Streamline my make-up collection. I've had a couple of good clear-outs over the course of the year and, whilst I do still have more make-up than I probably need, I have a fair amount less than I used to! I do need to make more of an effort to use the bits I've hung onto, as a lot of them seem to sit unloved despite how much I like them.
Keep looking after my health. I feel like I did well with this; I gave up chocolate for Lent, and again for the last three months of the year, which was a challenge well worth doing. I've introduced new foods into my diet - I've learnt to love avocados and almonds, amongst others! And since joining the gym at the end of October, I've been working out regularly as well, although my running took a backseat from September-ish as I was struggling with shin splints. I also made the choice to give up on the Pill, as it was wreaking havoc with my body, (you can read about that here, if you're interested!) which has been a great decision for me.
Make time for friends. I've been setting myself the monthly goal of seeing friends at least twice per month and I think I've managed to stick to it every month in 2016, which I'm pretty impressed with! I'm quite good at keeping in touch via text, Whatsapp or whatever, but nothing compares to actual face-to-face time with the people you care about. I've enjoyed spending more time with my loved ones and I'm carrying this goal into 2017, too!
So all in all, I'm actually really proud of myself - I achieved all but one of my goals for the year! 2016 was a tough year in many ways, but I also felt like it was a year when I learnt a lot, and grew in a lot of ways. I turned 25 in September (remember my post on 25 things I've learnt in 25 years?) and I'm starting to actually feel like I'm getting my life together - I probably shouldn't say things like that, watch it all go wrong now...
Did you set yourself any goals last year? Have you looked back at how you got on? Don't forget to check out my goals for 2017 and let me know what you're hoping to achieve this year!!


Monday, 2 January 2017

Hello January!

I hope we're all settling into 2017 by now!? It doesn't even sound like a real year, does it? I can't believe it's seventeen years since the millennium, I must be getting old. I shared some of my hopes and goals for 2017 yesterday, so today I'm back to my usual monthly goals - because it's always good to break things down, and have smaller things to aim for!
See friends at least twice. After the festivities (and expense!) of December, it can be all too easy to retreat to hermit-status and just not see anyone; I don't want that to happen, so as usual I'm promising myself I'll see friends at least twice this month. One of my best friends is back from Bali in a couple of days, so I'm looking forward to seeing him - although my other best friend is off to Sri Lanka at the end of the week, so I won't be seeing much of her!
Finish at least one book. I've set myself an achievable target of twelve books in 2017 - one book a month should be doable, right!? I've currently got three on the go, so I need to finish at least one in January.
Run 5km continuously inside 30 minutes. Having basically not run for two months due to shin splints, I'm trying to pick things back up a little now, and am hoping to slowly build my distances back up throughout January. Hopefully, by the end of the month, I'll be able to run 5km again without having to stop and walk!
Use ten sample sachets. After my poor sample performance in December (zero sachets used. Shameful.) I'm hoping to start 2017 by clearing out all the samples I'm hoarding for no readily apparent reason. I've got everything from eye cream to perfume test strips to cleansing oils to body lotion - time to start seriously working through them!
No unnecessary purchases. After treating myself to an Olympus Pen camera at the end of December, I need to make sure I'm good with money this month - which means no popping to the shop on my lunch break and spending a tenner on miscellaneous bits I don't really need.
Get my diet on track. I guess this is a fairly typical January goal, but after the gluttony that was Christmas, it's time to sort out what I'm eating and start making healthier choices - I'm cutting out chocolate again and I'm going to make more of an effort to take healthier lunches to work (and buy less cake, which fits in with the no unnecessary purchases goal too!) I'm also aiming to cut out fizzy drinks, as I've developed a bad habit of buying myself a bottle of Coke at lunchtime...
As an aside; I went out for a quick New Year's Day walk with my Mum and my new camera yesterday, which is when I took the photos in this post - I'm quite happy with them, and happier that I'm already starting to work towards one of my goals for the year!

Are you setting yourself any goals for January? What's the number one thing you'd like to achieve this month?


Sunday, 1 January 2017

Hello 2017! | Hopes & Goals

Happy New Year! I hope you had a lovely time celebrating being shot of 2016, if indeed you celebrated, and that no-one is suffering too bad of a hangover today! I spent my evening on my own, cleaning my room... Rock'n'roll!
As is somewhat traditional, I'm celebrating the New Year with some goals; I'm not really one for "resolutions", because I'm of the opinion that they do, sadly, tend to fall by the wayside and never see it through to completion. Goals, however, I can get on board with! So, here's what I'm hoping to achieve in 2017...
[Photo Credit: Wonderfelle Media.]
01. Read 12 new books. I set myself a reading goal for 2016 and failed abysmally (I'll be sharing how I got on with my 2016 goals in a few days, so keep an eye out for that post if you're interested!) so I've reduced my goal this year - I think one book a month should be more than achievable, and I'd like to read a variety of genres! I'm currently reading three books, but if you have any recommendations for me to add to my list, let me know...
02. Move out. I moved back in with my parents "temporarily" in August 2014 after breaking up with my then-boyfriend, who I'd lived with. I've been here ever since and it's driving me slowly mad - I need my own space! I'm hoping that 2017 will be the year I can afford to get a little place of my own (rent, not buy! Let's not get silly now!) and finally re-gain some independence.
03. Save money. I've got quite good at putting aside a little bit of cash each month, and I want to stick with this in 2017; I need to remember that every little helps, and as I would like to be in a position to buy a house in the next few years, I need to get building a deposit!

04. Learn to use my new camera. I treated myself to an Olympus Pen camera after Christmas (despite it not being in the sales as I'd hoped...) and whilst I've had a good play around, I've yet to properly get to grips with it - but I'm looking forward to learning and, hopefully, improving my photography!
05. Get away. It's been years since I've had a "proper" holiday, and, aside from a couple of weekends away (Nice with my Mum in 2014, Milan with my best friend in 2015, an overnight stay near Oxford in 2016 to meet my penfriend for the first time) I've not had chance to get away and explore somewhere new lately. I hope to change this in 2017; I'd love to visit my penfriend in Sweden, and my cousin on the Isle of Man; I'm hoping to take myself up to Scotland for a few days' camping, and I'd like a few days somewhere sunny as well. Fingers crossed for some good deals so I can afford to do them all!
06. Take better care of myself. This is something I've been getting better at in 2016 but I know it still needs work. I've learnt the importance of saying, "no" when I need to, but there are still times when I don't put it into practice. I know how important routine is to me, yet that's still something I struggle with. I know how much better I feel when I eat properly, but I still "come to" to find I've eaten a whole packet of biscuits. I'm going to work on this!
07. Run Total Warrior inside 90 minutes. I set this goal last year, too, and sadly fell short - I ended up feeling bloody awful for half the run and, ultimately, I think I just wasn't fit enough. I was half-tempted to have another go later in the season but I decided against it due to shin splints. I really hope 2017 will be my year for this one! I honestly thought it was achievable last year, so I know I'll need to work on this.
08. Hit 5000 Twitter followers. Having grown by almost 1700 followers on Twitter in 2016, I like to think this is quite achievable! Twitter is one of my favourite social media platforms and, whilst I've not been using it as frequently since starting my new job, I'd like to start putting a bit more effort in - taking part in more chats and just generally interacting more. You can follow me here if you like!
09. Hit 2000 Instagram followers. Instagram, on the other hand, has been stagnating a little in the last couple of months; whilst this would represent a similar number of new followers as I gained in 2016, I have found it increasingly tricky to build growth on Instagram lately. I'm hoping to start posting more regularly, as well as improve the quality of my images, which in turn with hopefully help my little account grow. You can follow me here if you like!
10. See more live music. I think the only gigs I went to in 2016 were Busted and McFly - which is fine, as they're definitely two of my favourite bands, but I'd really love to see more bands live in the coming months. Ideally I'd love to go to Download but I'll have to see how the year pans out before making plans for that.

[Photo Credit: Wonderfelle Media.]
These are less things I can work towards, and more just things I'd like to see happen over the coming months. I really, really hope I get a place on a training course to work towards becoming a Clinical Psychologist this year; it's my first application so statistically, my chances aren't great (it takes an average of three applications...) but even so, I feel I'm ready and I'm really excited at the prospect of starting training, so I'd love to be on a course come September. Either way, I hope I'm able to keep doing a job I love and keep working towards the career I want. I hope to figure myself out mentally/emotionally a bit more - I've really struggled with mood and motivation towards the end of 2016 and I'm really not sure why. I hope to be able to get a bit more of a handle on that, and be happier and healthier in 2017.

Are you setting yourself any goals for 2017? What's the number one thing you're hoping to achieve this year?


Saturday, 31 December 2016

In Retrospect | December 2016

I don't quite know how to start this; it seems a little bit obvious to say, "Where has December gone!?" but that's kind of how I feel! Another month seems to have just disappeared on me, in a weird kind of way, because the first two-thirds of the month flew by, and the week since Christmas has dragged on without me managing to feel like I've achieved anything at all. Typical.
...Unless eating my own weight in cheese counts as an achievement?
I haven't finished a huge number of products, compared to last month, but nonetheless I'm popping a few empties into the recycling this weekend!
Will RepurchaseCollection Sheer Loose Powder | I have no idea how many of these I must have been through! Cheap and cheerful but it does the job. I ran out unexpectedly (because I'm a dozy cow - the packaging is see-through!) so I had to pick up what was available in Asda on my dinnerbreak, which was the Rimmel Match Perfection powder, but no doubt I'll get this again in future. // Balance Me Wonder Eye Cream | I have so many eye cream samples to use - does anyone else find they last an absolute age!? - but this is one of my favourites that I've tried, so I will repurchase it at some point. I just need to remember to use it regularly!
Might Repurchase: Dr Organic Vitamin E Conditioner | I quite liked this but didn't think it was amazing; I might pick it up if it was on a good offer, but I won't go out of my way to buy it again. // Schwarzkopf Supersoft Fixing Hairspray | I rarely use hairspray and, truth be told, this isn't actually empty - the spray has just broken so I'm chucking it anyway! I do quite like this one and hairspray is handy to have but, again, I wouldn't go out of my way to buy this particular product again. // Boots Tea Tree Oil | I love tea tree oil! I actually replaced this with an unbranded one off Amazon, but I would buy the Boots one again - I just wasn't going into town and really needed a new bottle. // Vitamasques Pomegranate Firming & Lifting Sheet Mask* | I did enjoy using this, although for some reason I don't tend to reach for sheet masks. I don't think I'd buy this particular one again as my skin doesn't really need firming and lifting yet, but I'd like to try other masks from the Vitamasques range! // Balance Me Revitalising Hand & Body Wash | I really enjoy using this as a shower gel and, whilst I probably wouldn't buy it myself as it's quite pricey, I'll definitely grab it if it pops up as a magazine freebie again!

Sample Sachets.
Erm. Whoops. I totally neglected my sample stash in December - we'll blame it on too much else going on! I'll do better in January, hopefully.

December Goals.
As always, I set myself some goals at the beginning of the month, so let's take a look at how those worked out for me!
See friends at least twice. I had a catch-up with one of my best friends before he jetted off to Bali for Christmas (from where he has complained about the sea being too loud, the jammy bugger!), cooked a Christmas dinner with a group of friends, went to a Christmas Eve fun run for a catch-up with a few more friends, and had all the usual Christmassy gatherings. It's been lovely!
Keep up going to the gym regularly. I have to admit I've been slacking a bit here since Christmas, because the gym is open such awkward hours, but I'll be getting right back into it when I go back to work this week. I've really missed my morning workouts! Up until Christmas I'd been doing pretty well, and I think I made it every day before work which I'm quite proud of.
Have a proper make-up cull. I did this at the start of the month but actually only just put the make-up in the bin. I'm not sure why I was keeping it in a box? Anyway, it's gone now -  I've said goodbye to quite a few dubious-looking lipsticks and eyeshadows and a couple of dried-up mascaras.
Reach 4000 Twitter followers. I fell quite short here, sitting at 3855 as I write this on the evening of the 30th - I was also hoping to reach 1500 on Instagram but again, I missed that and am currently on 1335. I've not been very active on social media this month, however, so it doesn't really come as a surprise!

December Loves.
Christmas is far from my favourite time of year for a number of reasons, but I've been lucky to receive some gorgeous presents (like the tea selection from my brother's lovely girlfriend, and the hedgehog mug in the work Secret Santa!) and have some really fun festive gatherings, which I've enjoyed. I do love that Christmas gives everyone an excuse to get together and catch up with their near and dear.
I was hoping to find the much-coveted blogger favourites Olympus Pen in the Boxing Day sales but alas, it wasn't to be... So I ordered it anyway, promising myself that I'd skip the sales to make up for it. I then promptly treated myself to a YSL Black Opium gift set because I have no self-control, apparently. Ohwell.

My brother graduated earlier in the month, after a tough couple of years where he nearly didn't complete his degree - it hasn't been easy by any stretch of the imagination but I was so proud of him! ♥
I haven't had time for much blog reading lately, and I have really missed it - but a couple of my favourite posts this month include Charlotte's reflections on sharing your children at Christmas (warning: it's a tear-jerker!), Gwennan's 2017 blogging goals, Hannah's 10 moments that made 2016 pretty awesome for her, and Paula's tips on easy ways to simplify your life, which I could definitely do to put into practice! Amongst my own posts, I was really proud of '25 Ways to Practice Self-Care in Five Minutes (Or Less!)', and this is a topic I'm hoping to write more about in the year ahead.

December In Summary.
Overall, December has been crazy busy, and I'm ready for things to slow down a little come January! There have been some highlights for me this month, but overall I've found it pretty tough going, and I know I'm not alone in being glad that today signifies the end of 2016. Have a safe, fun evening if you're celebrating the New Year, and I'll hope to see you here in 2017!

[*Product provided for consideration.]

Saturday, 24 December 2016

RELAUNCH | Latest In Beauty 'Build Your Own Beauty Box'*

I've posted before about Latest In Beauty's Build Your Own Beauty Box service, but they've recently had a re-launch, which you can read about on their site here. The gist of it, though, is that they're now adding a new product to their selection every single day - meaning there's always something new for you to to try! I was kindly invited to build my own beauty box*, so let's have a peek at what I chose...
Latest in Beauty Relaunch
I love The Hero Project's Hyasoft, so I was keen to try their Glow Drops; I received ten 3ml sachets of this, which means I should be able to give it a good go! I've been wanting to try Nip + Fab's Glycolic Fix Daily Cleansing Pads for ages, so I'll be giving these a whirl in the New Year; I think this little pot contains five pads, which isn't a huge number and I'd have liked a few more, but I'm not complaining.  I'm always up for trying new Amie products as well, so their New Leaf Deep Pore Exfoliating Polish found its way into my box; this sounds so lovely and is a really generous 25ml tube. A new brand to me, I also opted to try Jane Iredale's Smooth Affair Primer, which doesn't seem to be available via Latest in Beauty anymore, but I'm looking forward to trying it nonetheless.
Relaunch Latest in Beauty
Living Proof's Healthy Hair Shampoo also seems to have disappeared off the website, but this is an SLS-free shampoo (yay!) and the 60ml bottle I received retails for £11, so I was pretty chuffed to pop this one into my box. Balance Me's Congested Skin Serum sounds like it was made with me in mind - and the 7ml sample should last quite a while. I'm hoping it'll help with the clogged pores on my nose. Elemental Herbology's Facial Detox Purifying Mask also sounds perfect for my skin, which has been playing up lately; this claims to decongest pores and reduce excess sebum, so I'm excited to see how it works for my skin.
Another one that is no longer available, Paula's Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid is a bit of a cult favourite and one I've wanted to try for a while - I think this was the first product I added to my box! And finally, the MUA Luxe Paradise Palette features ten gorgeous high-shimmer shades which are perfect for party season... or for work. I've worn this pretty much every day since my box arrived and absolutely love the shade selection.

If you love the idea of building your own beauty box you can do so on Latest In Beauty's site here! You can build a one-off box from £9 for a 3-item box, £15 for six items or £18 for nine items - or you can choose a monthly subscription which is the same price, but includes free postage!
Latest in Beauty also have a range of pre-built Collections to choose from, which you can have a peek at here; these are a selection of themed boxes with prices starting from around £20, and would make the perfect gift for yourself or someone special!
Would you choose any of the same products as me for your own box? What would be your dream product to receive in a beauty box?

[*Product provided for consideration. Post contains affiliate links.]

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Review | Vitamasques Pomegranate Firming Lifting Mask*

I feel like I've been slacking on the sheet masks front, despite them having become a real trend over the past year or so, so I was delighted to be offered the chance to try Vitamasques' Pomegranate Lifting & Firming Mask*. Sheet masks are super easy to use, as all you have to do is slap the mask onto your face (no trying to spread thinly in an even layer), let it sit for the specified time, and whip it off again!
Vitamasques Pomegranate Firming & Lifting Sheet Mask
"A moisturising Korean face mask made with extracts of Pomegranate to moisturise and lift your skin. Inspired by Korean innovation, a triple-layer sheet technology designed to enhance the moisture content within the mask and lead to an increased absorption rate within the skin."
It sounded fairly promising, and I was keen to see what sort of results I'd get from this mask! My skin doesn't require much in the way of firming and lifting (I am only 25, after all!) but it does tend towards dehydration and there are certainly the beginnings of some fine lines around my eyes and on my forehead which I wouldn't mind seeing the back of...
Vitamasques Pomegranate Mask
The triple-layer things made me think this might be quite a thick sheet, but actually it was quite thin and light, making it very comfortable to wear. The sheet was well-soaked in the moisture essence, which meant it adhered nicely to my face, and didn't slip or slide once it was on, so I could get on with what I was doing (taking blog photos, if you're interested!) rather than having to sit/lie still to stop the mask slipping. It fit my face fairly well, though I did need to fold in a couple of places to get it to sit nicely, as you can see below...
Vitamasques Pomegranate Mask Details
Applying to a freshly-cleansed face, I found the mask felt quite cooling on the skin, and once I removed it after the 20 minutes were up, there was plenty of essence left on my skin to pat in. Once done, my skin was left feeling so well-hydrated and noticeably plumper and brighter, which wasn't even a claimed benefit! As I mentioned, I'm not really in a position to comment on the lifting and firming claims yet, although I suspect you'd need to use it more than once to see lasting results in any case. That aside, I did really like this mask as a hydrating, brightening treat for my skin, and I'd certainly be keen to try others from the Vitamasques range.
Vitamasques Pomegranate Sheet Mask
You can find the Vitamasques Pomegranate Firming Lifting Mask on LookFantastic for £3.99 here, or pick up a box of four for £12.99 here to save a couple of quid. You can also check out the rest of the Vitamasques range here; I've got my eye on the Tea Tree Hydrating Moisturising Sheet Mask, also £3.99. Are you a fan of sheet masks? Have you heard of or tried Vitamasques before?

[*Product provided for consideration.]
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