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Tuesday, 28 February 2017

In Retrospect | February 2017

It's been a funny old month, hasn't it, February? I'm not really sure what's happened, I feel like it's passed by in a blur of rain and exhaustion... It's basically just been non-stop and I've been struggling to keep up - which is possibly why I've been ill for the last week or so. More whinging about that later, but for now let's have a little look back over the past few weeks...
February In Retrospect
I think I've had another fairly good month for finishing products off - I'm trying to work my way through my hoard of body moisturisers, which is taking some doing! I've also seen off a few travel-sized tubes this month which is quite satisfying.
February Empties
Will Repurchase: Una Brennan SuperFacialist Salicylic Acid Purifying Cleansing Wash | This is my favourite face wash ever. It's gentle, smells beautiful, and the salicylic acid really does help to keep my skin smoother and clearer. // Origins Drink Up Intensive Overnight Mask | I legitimately love this mask; it's super-hydrating and smells amazing. I already have a travel-size and will no doubt purchase it again (and again. and again.) once I've used that up!
Might Repurchase: Exuviance Triple Microdermabrasion Facial Polish | I'm not sure what I was expecting when I got this, but it wasn't what I got! I actually liked it a lot more than I thought I would, and am a bit sad that it's so bloomin' expensive! // Tresemmé Botanique Nourish & Replenish Hydrating Mist | I did really love this (apart from the bloomin' useless "mist" which was more like a super-soaker jet!) but I have to admit I love my Ojon Damage Reversing Thickening Mist more... But for a budget option, the Tresemmé ain't half bad. // Next Sparkle Eau de Parfum | Next do such gorgeous scents, especially considering their price point! This wasn't my favourite of the scents I picked up but I'd definitely buy a different one in future. // Tresemmé Botanique Nourish & Replenish Conditioner | I love the scent of this and it did leave my hair super-soft. I'm just gutted the matching shampoo contains SLS! // Elemental Herbology Cell Plumping Moisturiser | Quite a nice moisturiser which wasn't too heavy and gave a good base for make-up.
Won't Repurchase: FCUK Cool Down Body Spray | I dread to think how long I've had this! I thought it was super cool when I first got this scent in about year ten but I've gone off it somewhat in the intervening decade... // Cetraben Lotion* | Not a fan of paraffin in my moisturisers so won't be buying again. // Amie Morning Light Hydrating Daily Moisturiser* | Man this went on forever! It was actually a perfectly nice, basic moisturiser which wasn't too heavy on my oily skin, but I probably wouldn't choose it again. // Skin Chemists Bee Venom Moisturiser | I won this in a giveaway quite a while ago now and, whilst it was a lovely moisturiser to use, I don't see myself shelling out £100+ on a new bottle anytime soon!

Sample Sachets.
I set myself the ambitious goal of ten sample sachets in February and have fallen ever so slightly short, using up nine over the course of the month. I still think it was a pretty good effort, though!
February Samples 1
Tresemmé Expert Selection Beauty-full Volume Pre-Wash Conditioner & Shampoo | This duo did leave my hair feeling nice but I can't use shampoos with SLS on a regular basis. Pre-Wash Conditioner £5.24/290ml here, Shampoo £5.24/500ml here // John Frieda Frizz Ease Smooth Start Shampoo & Conditioner | These were a bit too heavy for my hair and, again, I can't use SLS based products regularly. Shampoo £7.99/250ml here; Conditioner £7.99/250ml here // Nanokeratin Revive Invigorating Shampoo & Rehydrate Hydrating Conditioner | These were quite nice and I did like that the shampoo was SLS-free, but they're way beyond budget for me! Shampoo from $56/320ml here; Conditioner from $69/320ml here
February Samples 2
Clarins Double Serum | I like the idea of mixing two 'halves' of the serum to activate it, although I suspect it's a bit gimmicky... That said, it did feel lovely on my skin! £55/30ml here // Vichy Idélia Eyes | Is it just me or do eye creams seem to last forever!? I swear it took me about three weeks to use this sachet! I quite like the Idélia range - this felt nice and light, and hydrated well. £23/15ml here // Rimmel Match Perfection Foundation | Do you have any idea how much of a novelty it is to get a foundation sample sachet in a magazine, in a shade I can wear!? I've previously tried this foundation so I already knew it doesn't last too well on my skin, but it's quite a nice formula and would suit less oily skins well. £7.99/30ml here

February Goals.
Use ten sample sachets. Well, you can see above that I didn't quite hit my first goal! I'm rather proud of myself nonetheless (nine is pretty close, right!?) and I think I am finally getting into the habit of regularly having a shuffle through my little stash of samples and seeing what I can use up - instead of hoarding them for posterity...
See friends at least twice. One pub evening, one random drive and one trip out for chocolate (separate occasions!) with a Warrior friend, one night in with my best friend, one after-work hot chocolate with a work friend, one tea out with my best mate from primary school, and one pancake party planned for this evening... I'd say I've smashed this one!
Finish the two books I'm reading. You might have seen in my last post that I've finished them both! Hurrah for me - I'm now back on track with my goal of twelve books this year, so hopefully I'll manage to keep the momentum going through the coming months. Don't forget to have a peek back at what I thought of the two books I've read in February...
Start practicing for selection tests/interviews. Erm. Whoops. Need to get on with this now as I've got to complete online selection tests in the next couple of weeks. I blame being ill!
Sort my diet out. I'm calling this a semi-success. I've got much better in terms of taking healthy lunches to work, as well as sticking with my no-caffeine thing (which has annoyingly really helped my sleep patterns!), but I've been a bit too partial to cake and chocolates, which I really need to cut back on. Lent starts tomorrow, so I'll be cutting out chocolate altogether, as well as as much refined sugar as I can manage.
BONUS: I've also achieved my January goal of being able to run 5km without having to stop and walk - yay!

February Loves.
I have to be honest and say my life in February has mainly revolved around Lemsip and my duvet, so I don't have an awful lot to share here. Disappointing, I know! However I did love Alice's post about the Colourpop Valentine's Day collection (check it out, you won't be disappointed!) and, as always, I'm girl-crushing all over pretty much everything Gwennan writes because she's a babe and her sense of humour is basically identical to mine so I find everything she says hilarious.
Things have been a bit quiet on The Indigo Hours, which wasn't planned, but I just couldn't find the energy to write while I was ill so ended up having a week off - but I did post about a fab face mask trio by Tropic Skincare, my reading list for 2017, and a gorgeous eyeshadow palette from MUA Cosmetics, so check those out if you missed them, yeah?

February in Summary.
I've spent the last week of February feeling very sorry for myself as I suffered through a particularly violent bout of manflu cold which basically floored me, but apart from that it's been a pretty good month for me! I've kept pretty busy both at work (big projects going on, eek!) and outside of work, including keeping up going to the gym regularly - I genuinely missed going while I was ill! I've been loving the lighter evenings and am looking forward to Spring now! How has your February been? I'd love to hear what you've been up to!


Sunday, 26 February 2017

My First Two Reads of 2017

Earlier in the month I shared a little list of some of the books I'm hoping to read in 2017; I actually already had two books on the go when I wrote that post, and I've now finished them both, so I thought I'd share my thoughts on them before I get stuck into something new and forget all about these two...
First Reads of 2017
A Pug Like Percy | Fiona Harrison | ★☆☆☆☆
I would never have bought this for myself! My Mum got me it for Christmas, purely because it's about a pug, I think. Sadly it wasn't great, although I wouldn't expect a great story given that it's narrated by a pug... It was quite a heart-warming tale in its own weird little way, but I can't help thinking it would have been better narrated from a different perspective - it would have kept the same innocence from the young girl's point of view, for example, but been less farcical.
The Brain: The Story Of You | David Eagleman | ★★★★★
Fun fact: I have a Masters degree in Neuroscience, and every now and then I like to read something totally geeky about brains. This book pretty much ticked that box! I loved how accessibly it was written and all the little facts I picked up throughout - I didn't love that it made me realise how much of my degree I've actually forgotten... That aside, it was nice to read something with a bit of substance, and something that made me think.
First Two Reads of 2017
So a bit of a mixed bag - one I loved, and one I was glad to see the back of! Next up is another book I didn't include in my Reading List post (mainly because I forgot...), The Outrun by Amy Liptrot, which I can't wait to get started on! I only really bought it because of its beautiful cover but I've heard a lot about it since, so I have high hopes. What have you been reading so far this year? Do you have any recommendations for me?

[Post contains affiliate links.]

Friday, 17 February 2017

NOTD | Ciaté 'Fade to Greige'

I received a full-sized Ciaté nail polish in my February Glossybox; 'Fade to Greige' is described as a "violety-grey hue which is both modern and flattering, plus it won't drain pale skin like so many grey-toned polishes do." Generally speaking, I really like Ciaté polishes; not only are the bottles super-pretty, with the little bows, but the wide, flat brushes make application so quick and easy, and the polishes dry to a gorgeous glossy finish.
Ciate London Fade to Greige
'Fade to Greige' isn't a shade I would have chosen for myself, as I tend to favour brighter shades or pastels for my nails - I rarely pick neutrals, somehow! I think it's an odd choice for a February box as it's a shade I'd associate more with A/W than S/S, but that might just be me. That aside, it's perfectly opaque in two coats, and dried quickly to a super-glossy finish without the need for a separate top-coat.I do quite like the shade now it's on my nails - I think it looks quite chic and the purple tone to it means it's quite flattering even on my pale skin.
Ciate Fade to Greige
Ciaté's 'Fade to Greige' is available direct from their website, priced at £9 for 13.5ml of product, which is a bit more than I'd usually spend on nail polish. However, I think Ciaté's polishes are really lovely in terms of formula and, of course, packaging, so they do make a nice treat if you fancy splashing out! Have you tried any Ciaté nail polishes? Do you like the look of 'Fade to Greige'?

[Post contains affiliate links.]

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Primark PS Pro Oval Brushes

I reviewed an oval make-up brush from Born Pretty a few months ago and wasn't altogether impressed with it (in fact, it's since gone in the bin because I just couldn't find a way to make it work for me!), but I wasn't dissuaded from having another go with another budget-friendly range of oval brushes. Primark's PS Pro brushes are purse friendly, and my local store had them in three sizes - so obviously I picked up one of each!
Primark PS Pro Oval Makeup Brushes
These brushes are so soft, with the heads of all three feeling like velvet on the skin - they're really lovely! The fibres are densely packed meaning they're quite firm, but not so much so that they're useless (like the Born Pretty one) - I've used these for both liquid and powder products, with pretty good results. The small and medium brushes are perfect for blending in liquid foundation, concealer and highlight, with the smaller one being able to get into the tight spaces around the eyes and nose where the medium one struggles. I've also used these for powder products such as blusher and highlighter, although even the smallest brush is too big to be used on the eyes. The larger brush is perfect for blusher or for setting powder, applying an even layer without it going cakey or looking chalky; it buffs the product into the skin really nicely, without moving around the product you've already applied.
I've found these wash really nicely, although I do have to be careful as the handles are quite flexible and I'm a bit concerned about snapping them if I press too hard whilst scrubbing! They take a while to dry, but that's par for the course with brushes this dense really. I've not had any problems with them shedding fibres after washing or anything like that - the only (very minor!) problem is that the branding has worn off the handle of one of the brushes, and is starting to go on the other two...
Primark Budget Oval Brushes
I think the smallest brush was £2.50, the medium £3 and the larger one £3.50, but I could be 50p out one way or the other, somewhere there... Either way, they're really affordable brushes and I think they're great, especially considering what I paid for them. They're by no means a must-have, but I've been getting a lot of use out of them; if you're curious about the oval make-up brush trend, or have been looking for some half-decent ones without spending a fortune, these might just be the ticket! Have you tried any oval make-up brushes?


Saturday, 11 February 2017

MUA Luxe Palette in 'Paradise'

I received this gorgeous MUA Luxe Palette in 'Paradise' in my Latest in Beauty box* back in December; it's a gorgeous selection of ten shimmery powder eyeshadows in shades of plum and copper. MUA described this as, "A collection of ten ludicrously smooth and silky eyeshadows in rose pinks, plums and browns." Sounds beautiful, right?
MUA Luxe Plush Plum & Copper 10-Shade Palette
MUA Luxe Palette Packaging
MUA Luxe Paradise Palette
I really like the packaging; the glossy black plastic with golden lettering on the lid does indeed feel luxe, with the palette feeling quite sturdy and clicking closed securely. There's no space wasted with a useless foam applicator, and the palette contains a large mirror in the lid, which always comes in handy. It's a nice compact palette which would be perfect for travelling with, and would offer plenty of choice. Indeed, it's been my gym make-up bag palette of choice more often than not since I received it!
MUA Luxe Palette Review
The shades range from a barely-there light pink at the left-hand side of the palette, through a selection of coppers and pinks, through to beautiful, striking purple and cranberry shades at the far right; the shadows are, as promised, silky-smooth to the touch and blend beautifully on the eyes. I really like the way shadows are all run together, rather than being in separate pans - I'm not too sure why but it's a bit different and I think it adds to the 'luxe' effect of the palette, somehow.
MUA Luxe Palette
As you can see, a lot of the shades actually look quite similar when swatched, which is kind of a shame - however I've not found them to be quite as similar on the eyes, when you can build up the pigmentation a little more. All swatches on my arm are two swipes with my fingers, with no base. The far-left shade barely shows up as all, it's just a hint of shimmer, which is true to what I've found on the eyes - I'd only really use this as a highlight shade. Aside from that and the sixth shade across, which is a similar story, I've been really impressed with the pigmentation, and I actually don't think these swatches do them justice - they're far more striking on the eyes. (Swatching the purple over my tattoo wasn't my finest idea - sorry! I ran out of room...)
MUA Luxe Paradise Palette Swatches
In both looks below, I've used the brown-y shade third from left all over the lid, and the cranberry shade on the far left in the outer V; the left-hand photos are without a base, and the right-hand used a base (Maybelline Color Tattoo in 'Barely Branded') - you can see that the colours come up slightly differently, with the pigmentation being stronger and more shimmery when a base is used. However, they look equally lovely with or without in my opinion - the difference lies in the longevity, as without a base these are creased almost completely off my lids by the time I get home from work, whereas with a base they're still going strong 12+ hours after application.
Without BaseWith Base
All in all I think this is a gorgeous palette and a really affordable price-point, and as long as you use a base beneath your shadows you should get a decent amount of wear-time from them. I've also really enjoyed using a couple of the shades on my cheekbones, where they give a lovely strong highlight - a multi-functional palette! The MUA Luxe Palette in 'Paradise' is available from MUA priced at £8, or you can include one in your own Latest in Beauty box here! Have you tried any of MUA Luxe line? What do you think of the Paradise palette?

[*Latest in Beauty box provided for consideration. Post contains affiliate links.]

Thursday, 9 February 2017

A Skincare Wishlist

It's been ages since I've done a wishlist post! I'm not really sure why I stopped doing them, as I love reading them on other blogs - I think we can all bond over a shared lust for products we can't justify buying for whatever reason... I'm currently on a bit of a mission to use up some of my ridiculous stash of skincare products - I don't know what I think I'm hoarding them for, but I don't think I need six body butters. Unfortunately, buying skincare is something of a hobby of mine, so I thought it was the perfect opportunity to share a little list of the products I'm desperately trying to resist!
Peter Thomas Roth Pumpkin Enzyme Mask (£30/150ml, Look Fantastic)
Drops Of Youth™ Liquid Peel (£18/145ml, The Body Shop)
Garnier SkinActive Micellar Cleansing Gel Wash (currently £2.66/200ml, Boots)
Nip + Fab Glycolic Fix Daily Cleansing Pads (currently £6.48/60 pads, Boots)
Kiehl's is one of those brands I've been meaning to try for the longest time, and their Ultra Facial Cleanser sounds just gorgeous - suitable for all skin types, this is pH-balanced and claims to balance the skin without being drying or stripping - perfect for my oil-slick face! I love Una Brennan's Super Facialist range at Boots and this mask is one I've had my eye on for a while - I have a ridiculous number of face masks, though, so I probably won't be trying it any time soon... The same goes for the Peter Thomas Roth mask, which sounds incredible for brightening up dull skin.

I'm really intrigued by The Body Shop's Drops of Youth™ range, and love the idea of a liquid peel - again, anything to brighten up my skin! I've read about the Garnier Micellar Gel on a few blogs now and everyone seems to love it - I really like their Oil-Infused Micellar Water so I'm keen to see how this will compare. I've been wanting to treat myself to a full-sized jar of the Nip+Fab pads since trying a sample, as again, they're perfect for quick and easy brightening of the skin! Anyone else think it was about time Caroline Hirons launched a skincare product or two!? And what else would she start with than a double cleanse, eh? I'm so keen to see what she's come up with, it sounds really lovely. And back to where we started with Kiehl's - this scrub sounds beautiful and I imagine it smells just as good.

What's on your skincare wishlist at the moment? Have you tried any of these products?

[Post contains affiliate links.]

Sunday, 5 February 2017

The Books I Want To Read in 2017

Having set myself the goal of reading twelve books this year (one per month - I went for a manageable target, having fallen short of my goals the past couple of years!), I've been having a think about what I want those books to be. Whilst I love buying books, it turns out I actually have a whole load lurking on my bookshelf, and in heaps around my room, that I've yet to read, so I figured I should start with some of those... These are just a selection!
Books I Want To Read In 2017
Books to read 1
Always With Love by Giovanna Fletcher | I admit this isn't my usual kind of book but hey, it's good to push boundaries, right!? I think I really only bought this because Giovanna is Tom from McFly's wife... and I probably should have read her first book first, as I think they follow on from each other. Oh well! This sounds like a nice, light-hearted read.
Lullabies by Lang Leav | I read a bit of this when I bought it a few years ago - it's a collection of poetry and it's honestly just gorgeous. I can't wait to read the rest of it, I'm honestly not sure why I stopped! I seem to remember Leav shares a lot of her work on Tumblr, so that's worth checking out if you're interested.
Books to read 2
The Missing by C. L. Taylor | I'm not sure when or why I bought this to be honest! It sounds like a good storyline though so I look forward to giving it a go. I do love a good thriller!
Dark Places by Gillian Flynn | I really enjoyed Gone Girl (although I did find the ending immensely frustrating!) so I'm hoping I like Dark Places just as much. I found Flynn's writing really easy to read and yet it built a brilliant picture for me.
Books to read 3
Library of Souls by Ransom Riggs | I love Riggs' work, and Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children remains one of my favourite books ever - I equally loved Hollow City, so I'm hoping that Library of Souls will be just as good! Riggs has a way of writing a completely compelling story, and weaving in 'found photos' to make it all just that bit more believable.
Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them Screenplay by J. K. Rowling | How gorgeous is this cover!? I'm a little bit obsessed with it to be honest. I adored the Fantastic Beasts films, so much so that I saw it at the cinema twice, and can't wait to read this. I don't think I've ever read a screenplay before so this will be something new for me! I also have The Cursed Child screenplay to read, so I hope I enjoy them!
Books to read this year
What's on your to-be-read shelf at the moment? Do you have any recommendations for me?

[Post contains affiliate links.]

Thursday, 2 February 2017

Hello February!

One month of 2017 down, only eleven to go - can you believe it?! I feel like I blink and miss a week recently, I don't know where the time is going. It's now six months since I started my new job and whilst it feels like a lifetime on the one hand, it also only seems like yesterday that I started... It's crazy! So with time disappearing on me, it seems doubly important to set myself some goals and try to make the most of each month.
Hello February
Use ten sample sachets. This was one of my goals last month and, although I didn't quite manage to meet it, I did find that it made me use way more sachets than I usually would - which can only be a good thing! So I figure, setting the same target again will help me in my battle to use up all my samples.
See friends at least twice. Standard monthly goal! I don't know about anyone else but I find that, especially now I'm older, life can just get so busy that I suddenly realise weeks have passed without me seeing anyone - it's not good!
Finish the two books I'm reading. I was meant to finish one of these in January but didn't really commit to either one, so I read a bit more of both but didn't finish either... Which is shameful to say I used to read about a book a day at school. So I'm going to finish them both in February!
Start practising for selection tests/interviews. One of the courses I've applied for uses a selection test to choose applicants to interview, so I need to get practising on those! I won't find out til mid-March whether I've got any interviews, but I figure it's never too soon to start preparing just in case.
Sort my diet out. I planned to do this in January but ended up getting side-tracked with giving up caffeine instead... So it's time to give it another go! I need to stop eating my way through share-sized bags of chocolate buttons on a daily basis, for a start. I'm thinking less white bread (I've actually been taking salads instead of sandwiches to work for dinner so that's a good start right!?), less sweets and cake, and more vegetables.
February 2017
February is looking like being a fairly quiet month for me, with nothing exciting planned as yet... Which should give me plenty of time to work towards my goals! Don't forget to have a peek at how I got on with my Janaury goals, if you missed that. Have you set yourself any goals for February? Do you have anything nice planned?

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