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Tuesday, 31 January 2017

In Retrospect | January 2017

Here we are at the end of the first month of 2017 already - I can hardly believe it! On the one hand it seems to have flown by, but then on the other hand it feels like an awfully long time since new year... What do you think?! As per tradition, I'm having a little round-up of the month, so keep reading to see what products I've used up, how I did with my goals, and what I've been loving in January!
January In Retrospect
I've had a cracking month for empties, so you might want to grab a brew before digging into this little lot..! I've powered my way through 20 products, which I think is pretty good going if I do say so myself. Quite a few of them are bits I've been hoarding for ages (like the Aloe Mask and the Sanctuary Body Butter); I'm determined to reduce my stockpile this year! Let's have a look at what's hitting my recycling bins this month:
January Empties
Will Repurchase: Garnier SkinActive Micellar Oil-Infused Cleansing Wipes | I'm not a cleansing wipe fan but I have to admit these are handy to have for travelling or at the gym - and they're by far the best wipes I've tried! I only use them as a pre-cleanse, but have already bought a new packet. // George Super Boost Concealer | This is a brilliant budget concealer - the shade suits me, it doesn't oxidise, it gives decent coverage, and isn't cakey or creasy. And it's less than a fiver! // Sure Maximum Protection Deodorant | I love this stuff! I'm one of those people who sweats a lot (TMI? Sorry!!) so I depend on a good deodorant and I wouldn't choose anything else, having tried this one. Love it! // Swimovate PoolMate Swimmers Shampoo | Admittedly I'm not swimming as frequently as I was when I originally started using this shampoo, but it does work brilliantly to protect hair from chlorine, so I'll doubtless repurchase at some point. // Organic Surge Citrus Mint Body Wash | A good SLS-free body wash at a decent price is hard to come by, so there's a good chance I'll buy this again at some point! Smells fab and does the job quite nicely.
January Beauty Empties 2
Might Repurchase: Neal's Yard Geranium & Orange Body Lotion | This has a lovely light, hydrating formula and smells gorgeous too! The full-sized bottle is a bit beyond my budget but if this pops up as a magazine freebie again, I'll certainly grab another tube. // Next Paradise Island Eau de Parfum | I really loved this fragrance, it was a real summery scent, and Next perfumes are so affordable. I don't think this particular scent is available any longer, but I'd certainly buy more Next perfumes in the future. // Nip + Fab Glycolic Fix Daily Cleansing Pads | I got these in my Latest in Beauty box* and I have to admit, I loved them; the thin pads mean I felt like I was wasting less product than pouring liquid onto a regular cotton pad, and they'd be perfect for travelling! // Vitamasques Manuka Honey Mask | This worked really nicely to plump and hydrate my skin, although I was disappointed to find it didn't smell like honey. Shame! // Nip + Fab Glycolic Fix Scrub | I do really like this but I've stopped using products which contain microbeads, so they're off the menu for now. Microbeads are being phased out in the UK this year by law, so I'm hoping they'll reformulate sooner rather than later! // Rimmel Lasting Finish 25H Foundation | I quite like this foundation, it suits my skintone and lasts fairly well, though it's not as matte as I'd ideally like my base to be. // Natural World Macadamia Oil Hair Mask | This smells bloomin' gorgeous and worked really nicely to keep my hair soft. I didn't really use it as a mask, though, more just in place of conditioner, so I'm not sure whether it's worth repurchasing? // Wild About Beauty Creme Eyeshadow in 'Edna' | This was a gorgeous antique-gold type shade and worked brilliantly as a base for powder product, but I did think £13 was quite steep for a single eyeshadow.
January Beauty Empties 1
Won't Repurchase: Rodial Stem Cell Cleansing Cream | This was a perfectly nice cleanser and did the job adequately, but for the price point I was pretty much expecting miracles (what kind of miracles did I think a cleanser could perform? No idea.) and it sadly didn't deliver any of those. // Yes To Cucumbers Volumising Shampoo | I really liked the scent of this but sadly it didn't add any volume to my hair and didn't really leave it feeling clean. // Living Proof Healthy Hair Shampoo | I actually really enjoyed this; it foamed nicely for an SLS-free product and I found I needed to use less product than expected per wash - but at £11 for 60ml, it's way beyond budget for me! // Sanctuary Spa Body Butter | This is perfectly nice and smells really gorgeous, but sadly isn't hydrating enough for my dry, eczema-prone legs. // Malin & Goetz Grapefruit Cleanser | This smells amazing and I do love a gel cleanser for the mornings, but sadly it's a bit beyond budget for me. // Aloe Mask | I didn't really feel that this did a whole lot for my skin to be honest, and it's unbranded so I wouldn't know where to buy it again even if I particularly wanted to! // Elie Saab Le Parfum L'Eau Couture | I quite like this, but not enough to justify the spend unfortunately.

January Beauty Samples
Sample Sachets.
Bochéry NanoFace Eye Cream | I've used samples of this before and do quite like it; it's nicely hydrating and doesn't feel heavy or greasy on my eye area. However, it's quite expensive and I don't see myself buying a full-sized tube. (£47/30ml here) // Dior Sauvage Eau de Toilette | I'm pretty sure this is actually a men's fragrance and it does smell very masculine; nonetheless I did like it, although I wouldn't buy a bottle for myself! (£50/60ml here) // Garnier Ultimate Blends Honey Treasures Body Restoring Lotion | I really liked this; it felt thick and luxurious, smelt lovely, and worked well to hydrate my legs. Probably wouldn't buy the full-size though, because I know Mineral Oil disagrees with my skin if I use it regularly. (£4.49/250ml here) // Dermalogica Precleanse | This smelt far too strongly of lavender for my tastes, and is way overpriced in my opinion, although it did work reasonably well. (£30.91/150ml here) // Soap & Glory Make Yourself Youthful Super Serum | I'm never sure how you're supposed to tell if this sort of product works from two uses?! Anti-aging isn't my main skin concern at the moment, anyway, so not for me just now either way. (£20/30ml here) // Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb Eau de Parfum | I already knew I really like this scent, although there are others I prefer so I probably won't be investing. (from £50/30ml here) // Calvin Klein Reveal Eau de Parfum | This was perfectly pleasant but not really the sort of scent I go for - I tend to prefer stronger, sweeter fragrances as a rule. (£15.25/30ml here)

January Goals.
See friends at least twice. Yep! I've seen my best mate a couple of times since he got back from Bali, and I've spent this last weekend down in Sheffield catching up with friends from uni, which was lovely. We'll ignore the delightful evening I spent sat in hospital with my best friend til 1.30am, when she came home from holiday with some kind of virus...
Finish at least one book. I think this is why I should stick to one book at a time! I've currently got two on the go, and I've read a bit more of each of them, but not managed to finish either. I'm planning to spend some time reading at bedtime, so I'll carry this over and hopefully finish them both in February!
Run 5km continuously inside 30 minutes. ...I had the best of intentions here and then I decided to re-start swimming instead of running, so it kind of went a little off-track! That said, I'm definitely a lot fitter than I was last time I tried swimming in that pool - two lengths no longer feels like quite the same battle it once did!
Use ten sample sachets. Well, I managed seven and I've got two more on the go (eye cream sachets last ages, don't they!?) so I think I did alright... Certainly better than the big fat zero I used in December! I think I'll set this goal again next month as it's been good to push myself to use sachets up.
No unnecessary purchases. I don't think I did too badly here so I'm counting it! I did pick up the odd treat in Asda towards the end of the month but only little things, and I've not bought any clothes, magazines or homewares, so all things considered I think I've done well! Aided, of course, by the fact that January payday seemed to take about eight years to arrive...
Get my diet on track. Again, I started this with the best of intentions, but then I decided to significantly cut back on caffeine (long story!) and decided that it was too much to do it all at once, so I let the diet go a little to concentrate on getting my 10+ cups of tea per day down to just one (which I've managed!) - I'll be picking this one back up in February.
So all in all - two out of four met, so not the best of months for goals, but I'm happy with what I've achieved - I feel like I've had a reasonable start to 2017, although I definitely still have things to build on in the next few months.

January Loves.
From Roses Content Creation
[Photo: From Roses]
Rebecca at From Roses wrote a fab post about how she creates content, which I really enjoyed - I love hearing about people's creative processes. I found it so interesting how different our processes are, namely because Rebecca is super-organised in her approach compared to me!
Robowecop Tips for Growing Your Instagram
[Photo: Robowecop]
Rihanna from Robowcop (major girlcrush, don't know if you've noticed?) shared some tips for growing your Instagram, which is real goal for me this year, so I found her post really useful. Her Instagram is total goals, so definitely check her post out if you're still battling with the algorithm!
Fix Me In 45 Evening Skincare Routine
[Photo: Fix Me In 45]
Stacey from Fix Me In 45 shared her evening skincare routine - now I'm a bit obsessed with skincare and love reading about people's routines, so I really enjoyed this post!

Here on The Indigo Hours, I enjoyed looking back over my goals from 2016, especially when it turned out I'd achieved all but one of them! I was also pretty happy with my post on six things that often stop people achieving their goals, and ways to overcome them. Make sure to check them out if you missed them!

January In Summary.
Overall I've quite enjoyed January! Between lunch out with my Mum & Nan at the end of last week, my trip to Sheffield, weekends with the boyfriend, and a little walk I took myself on in the middle of the month, it's been a pretty nice month. I've also had my contract extended at work for another six months (yay!) so I'll be staying in this role til the end of July now - I'm so pleased about this as I'm really loving my job! I have to say, though, I've had quite enough of Winter and I'm totally ready for Spring to bring some warmer weather soon - is that too optimistic?!
How has your January been? Did you set yourself any goals for the month?

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

Friday, 27 January 2017

Review | Vitamasques Manuka Honey Hydrating & Moisturising Mask

You may remember I reviewed Vitamasques Pomegranate Firming & Lifting Mask a few weeks ago, so I was thrilled to receive their Manuka Honey Hydrating & Moisturising Mask in my January Glossybox! The sheet mask trend is showing no signs of abating, and I have to admit I love how convenient and mess-free they are to use, compared to a conventional mask where you have to faff about applying and removing...
Vitamasques Manuka Honey Mask Review
Though oily, my skin is decidedly prone to dehydration, so I was excited to see what this mask had to offer! "A moisturising Korean face mask with extracts of Manuka honey to nourish, hydrate and moisturise the 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."
I really love the packaging of the mask, the imagery on it is gorgeous and the sachet is easy to open. I found that the mask was easy enough to unfold, but that it didn't fit very well to my face somehow - there was too much fabric in some places, meaning I had to double it up to keep it in contact with my skin, and in other places there wasn't enough fabric so it didn't quite sit right. Overall I found it quite difficult to get the whole mask in place.
Vitamasques Manuka Honey Hydrating & Moisturising Mask
Once on, the mask felt cooling and pleasant on my face, though I was disappointed to find that there was no honey scent as I'd hoped for - in fact, it smelt very alcohol-y, which surprised me for a mask which claimed to be hydrating - indeed, Alcohol is fourth on the ingredients list! I can't complain, however, because once my 20 minutes were up, my skin was left feeling soft and hydrated, though with a slightly sticky residue. I felt like my face looked smoother and brighter for a good few days after using this, which was welcome - I'm sure I'm not the only one struggling with dull, dehydrated skin in this weather!

Vitamasques Manuka Honey Hydrating & Moisturising Masks are available from LookFantastic, priced at £3.99 for one, or £12.99 for four. You can check out the whole Vitamasques range here! Despite the problems with getting it to stick to my face, and the fact of it smelling a bit like vodka, I'd definitely consider repurchasing this mask for the results I saw in my skin.
Do you like sheet masks? What are your favourite ingredients in a face mask?

[Post contains affiliate links.]

Monday, 23 January 2017

What's In My Daily Makeup Bag?

I think we all have a "go-to" make-up routine that we can throw onto our faces, without really thinking, when we need to look relatively put-together but don't have the time or inclination for a full-on make-up session! Never has this been more true for me than since starting to go to the gym before work - find out how I manage it here! - so I thought I'd share the products that are in my daily make-up bag for a day at work.
I start with a little bit of skincare, and I find that sample-sized tubes are perfect to keep in my make-up bag! I'm currently using the Elemental Herbology Cell Plumping Facial Hydrator, which works really nicely as a base for me; it's not too heavy and sinks into my skin quickly. I also have the Bee Good Lift & Brighten Eye Cream in here, although I have to admit I'm not very good at remembering to use it... I also have a lip balm, which at the moment is Burt's Bees Vanilla - it tastes lovely and doesn't feel sticky on my lips.
When it comes to base, my favourite primer is The Body Shop's All-in-1 Instablur Universal, which I've sadly almost finished. It works so well to minimise large pores, hide imperfections and keep my skin matte-ish. I try to rotate my foundations but currently I'm using the US version of the L'Oreal Infallible Matte foundation, which I really like - it offers good coverage, sits nicely on my skin and lasts well. Concealer-wise, I'm using Natural Collection's Cover-Up Stick in 'Fair' - this brightens my under-eye area really nicely, although it's easy to apply too heavily so I do have to be careful! I'm finishing off this tiny sample of Benefit's High Beam (which is a gorgeous highlighter, although I won't be repurchasing thanks to this £3.50 dupe!) which I dab onto my cheekbones and blend, then set my base with a loose powder - currently Rimmel's Match Perfection.
I try to rotate my blushers, too - anyone else hoard blusher like there's no tomorrow!? - but I'm currently using MAC's Mineralize Skinfinish in Stereo Rose, which really helps me to look a bit more alive! On my brows, I'm still loving Benefit's Goof Proof Brow Pencil, which I set with Ready, Set, Brow! to keep them in place. Moving onto eye make-up, I love to use a cream eyeshadow as base to help powder products 'pop', as well as making them last longer. I'm currently using Maybelline's Color Tattoo in 'Barely Branded', which is a lovely shimmery creamy-nude shade. I tend to swap my eyeshadows out a couple of times per week, switching between palettes and singles, but I've had this duo in there a couple of weeks now! Makeup Gallery Colour Story in 'Mocha' is a lovely chocolatey-bronze shade, whilst theBalm's Meet Matt(e) in 'Matt Kumar' is a gorgeous deep burgundy which I love blended out in the crease. Finally, mascara - this one is from Lacura at Aldi and I really liked it at first, as it offered good length and volume in a deep black shade, but I've found over the past couple of weeks that it's thickened up and has a tendency to make my lashes look a little clumpy - boo! I'll be chucking this soon I think...

It looks like a lot all laid out like that, but I can actually get my full face on inside of ten minutes, which I don't think is bad going! Do you have a daily make-up routine, or do you see how you feel each morning? Have you tried any of the products in my routine?


Friday, 20 January 2017

Disappointing Products

I'm sure we've all been there... You read a review, or pick up a product in a shop and read the packaging, and it sounds so promising... Until you try it and, for whatever reason, it just doesn't live up to your expectation.
Maybe I'm asking too much. Maybe it's just a case of not being able to please all of the people, all of the time. Whatever it is, these are four products that have left me feeling a bit underwhelmed:
Disappointing Beauty Products
Benefit Dew The Hoola | This was a magazine freebie so it's not like I spent a whole lot of money on it, thankfully! I'm not a bronzer person to begin with so I'm not sure what I was expecting from this, but I kind of hoped it would work for me, somehow... Sadly I find that it just tends to make me look a bit dirty (maybe it just doesn't suit my skintone?) and I find it very difficult to blend without removing all my foundation.
Clinique Custom-Repair Serum | Another magazine freebie; this sounded so promising - a product that can detect your individual skin concerns and address them!? Yes please! Sadly, it didn't do much for my uneven skin tone, fine lines or dullness - and on top of that, it broke me out. (I suspect that might be due to the silicons which are pretty high up the ingredients list, but who knows!?) I keep coming back to this to give it another try, but I always seem to have the same results. Other reviews note reductions in hyper-pigmentation, pore size and fine lines, so maybe it's just me...

Disappointing Products
Caudalie Divine Oil | I feel like this might be the one that gets me kicked out of the blogging world!? Everyone seems to love this stuff but I just find it feels heavy and greasy on my skin. I've not tried it on my face because of the strong scent (which I'm not keen on and certainly wouldn't want on my face) and I wouldn't dare put it on my hair as it's just too heavy, so I'm reduced to using it on my legs - but it's unpleasantly sticky. This was a beauty box acquisition so again, not one I've lost too much money on, thankfully.
Maybelline Fit Me! Matte & Poreless Foundation | I started off badly here by accidentally buying a shade too dark, so it's not a great match for my skin. That's not the main problem, though. The main problem is that it's called "matte and poreless", and yet it's the complete opposite; it pools in my pores, looking horrible, and isn't even slightly matte - I'd say semi-matte at best, if I was feeling generous, and within an hour or two my face looks like an oil slick. Oh, and it oxidises pretty badly, making my poor shade choice look even worse! Not impressed, Maybelline.
Disappointing Skincare & Makeup
Remember, these are just my personal experiences - everyone is different, so what works for one person won't necessarily work for the next, and just because I don't like these products, doesn't mean they don't work for others! Have you tried any of these products? Have you had any more luck with them than I have? What are your most disappointing beauty products?


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?

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