The best of recent beauty

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The New Year is my favourite time of year for beauty as with thanks to the combination of beauty advent calendars and Christmas gift sets, it’s the perfect time to try all the recent beauty releases without it costing an arm and a leg. Not to mention a new year for many of us means resolutions to take better care of ourselves in one way or another, so I thought I’d share my current beauty favourites with you guys. So whether you’re looking for a pick me up treat to get you through the January blues, or something that’ll have you feeling good on the inside and outside, this is the list for you.

Charlotte Tillbury Matte Revolution Lipstick: Amazing Grace

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Charlotte Tilbury is a name that is worshipped in beauty right now for her beautiful packaging and her incredible quality products. As is often the way it also comes with a pretty hefty price tag, but after treating myself as an early Christmas present I can promise you that it is utterly worth it. The lipstick itself is beautifully creamy and hydrating, so perfect for those of us prone to dry lips who still crave a perfect matte finish, not to mention they’re incredibly pigmented and can be used either as a stain or as a buildable colour. It’s this idea of luxe glamour with a multi-functional element that forms the foundation of Charlotte Tilbury’s brand, and epitomises her ideal of the modern elegant woman. With icons such as Grace Kelly providing the inspiration for the colours it brings a little bit of Hollywood glamour to your everyday life, and who wouldn’t want that.DSC06041

Phillip Kingsley Hair Elasticizer

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I first gave this a go as it was one of the samplers I got in my advent calendar and after one use it has become my ultimate holy grail product. It’s intended as a pre-treatment to be applied before you wash your hair normally and I can honestly say I’ve never seen such dramatic results from a hair product after only using it once. My hair is softer and more managable and felt as if I’d just come back from the salon which is a massive win in my book. It’s the perfect solution for those of us that want the effect without putting too much time and effort in, which lets be honest isn’t that what we all want?!

Mio Liquid Yoga Bath Soak

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Due to years of hunching over tables working and unfortunately naturally bad posture from time to time like most of us I suffer from a bad back. But the good news is that this stuff is as close to a miracle cure as I think you’re likely to find. It’s a mix of essential oils, Epsom salts and minerals which are perfect for relaxing tight, fatigued muscles and reviving dry skin. Not to mention the scent is perfectly calming and will help you achieve that yoga state of zen but with a lot less work.

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Emma Hardie Amazing Face Natural Lift and Sculpt Moringa Cleansing Balm

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This is probably the most hyped about cleanser out there with everyone from Zoella to Lily Pebbles raving about it, so of course I had to try it out to see whether it really was THAT good. Boy it didn’t let me down. As a lazy beauty girl the idea of slapping something on my face that will remove all my makeup with minimal effort sounds like a dream, plus the fact that it’s an oil based cleanser means it’s much less harsh and drying on my already dry skin. Plus it smells so gorgeous it’s a perfect way to unwind at the end of the day and feels so gorgeously luxurious it’s definitely something I’ll be repurchasing.

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Garnier Ultimate Blends- The Sleek Restorer Shampoo

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As a member of the thick unruly hair club it’s very rare for me to find a products that actually lives up to its claims to ‘tame’ my hair, but this Garnier range actually comes pretty close to living up to it. The coconut oil and cocoa butter formula means it smells gorgeous, and since using it my hair has become noticeably more managable and softer. In combination with the Phillip Kingsley pre-treatment my hair is looking shinier and healthier than ever, and this is a much more budget friendly option with the shampoo and conditioner only costing £2.79 each!

Pixi Glow Tonic

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Another cult favourite which duly deserves its praise thanks to its beautiful scent and the way it truly seems to nourish the skin from the minute you apply it. It feels both luxurious and fresh at the same time, not to mention its perfect for those of us that suffer with sensitive skin. It’ll have you glowing from the inside and out after just one use!

Ciate Olivia Palermo Nail Polish: Hutch

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Olivia Palermo is arguably the American equivalent of Alexa Chung in terms of her impeccable style and everything she wears becoming an instant must-have. So of course when she teamed up with Ciate it was everything you’d have expected it to be; gorgeous, classic and luxurious. I will admit that other than being another prime example of an excellent Ciate polish it’s nothing overly special but I just fell so completely in love with this packaging that I had to include it.

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So that’s just a little insight into what I’ve been loving at the minute and I hope it’s giving you some ideas of things to try in the new year whether you’re on a budget, or you’ve got a little more cash to splash. As always I’d love to know what you guys have been loving this month and over Christmas, and whether you’ve tried anything on my list and what you thought of them!

Lush Treats From Oxford Street

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The other week I was lucky enough to not only see my best friend from university, but to spend the weekend with her in London. We are both compulsive beauty addicts so of course one of our first ports of call was the flagship Lush store, and boy it didn’t disappoint! With three stores of pure Lush goodness and that heavenly smell that no matter where you are tells you there’s a Lush nearby, it was pretty much every beauty fan’s dream. Not to mention that there are new and special versions of Lush products that are available only in that store! Although I could’ve happily spent hours (and hundreds of pounds) there, I managed to limit myself to just the four of the newest and prettiest products that they had to offer so I thought I’d tell you guys what I thought in case you need some inspiration next time you’re over.
DSC05277On the shopping list: Melting Marshmallow Moment Bath Oil,

                                 Shark Infested Custard Bath Oil,

                                 Intergalactic Bath Bomb (yes that one),

                                 Milky Bath Bubble Bar.

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First up the Milky Bath Bubble Bar which is literally the bath version of a milk bottle sweet. It’s actually got milk in it, which mixed with a little orange oil and cocoa butter makes it perfect for a calming, relaxing and moisturising bath. Not to mention it makes loads of bubbles and the silky moisturising layer it gives to the bath makes it the perfect cure for dry Winter skin.22

When talking to the lovely lady in the store she noticed I’d already picked up the Milky Bar and suggested pairing it with this Shark Infested Custard Bath Oil (which fyi is one of the twenty of these oils exclusive to Oxford Street). The smell of the two of them combined is like some magical dessert of my childhood  with the milk bottle and custard smells combining to create a deliciously creamy, sweet scent. Not to mention the bath oils melt beautifully into the bath while the custard smell is so completely and brilliantly English, and the vanilla strip representing a shark fin is perfectly whimsical.

DSC05294Although I initially picked the Mmmelting Marshmallow Moment because of its remarkable likeness to a real life sweet, as soon as I realised it was the Snow Fairy scent (which is my all-time favourite) it went straight into my basket.  Although I’ve had pretty much every Lush product ever with this scent this is by far my favourite as the bath oil formula creates a really strongly scented bath, while the cocoa butter and shea butter means it’s a lot more moisturising as well.
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And finally it’s the big one, possibly the most famous Lush product to be released in recent years, the explosion of colour that is the Intergalactic bath bomb. With peppermint, cedarwood and vetivert oil it’s hard to pinpoint the scent amongst the heady scents of the shop, but once you get it home the freshness of the scent really hits you. Its invigorating scent is reflected in the multitude of colours that spread across the water leaving you with a bath that truly looks like a snapshot of a galaxy. Not to mention the popping candy and glitter enveloped in the bath bomb made it one of the prettiest and most enjoyable baths I’ve ever taken.DSC052832

I hope you enjoyed this post and it gave you an idea of some of the amazing products available from the new store and I highly recommend you give it a visit and try something new. Or if you’ve already been please let me know your recomendations!

Take a Break You Deserve It

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Raise your hands if you’re guilty of overworking… yep me too. I am one of those people that finds it almost impossible to turn my brain off, instead choosing to worry and stress about every little thing going on in my life. It reached a peak during my final months at university when I was struggling to juggle work, university exams and trying to find a job as well as day to day dramas. It left me unable to sleep or relax and created huge tension in my back which resulted in a doctors trip and physiotherapy. It became clear to me that although this was a time of great change in my life and many important things were happening it was ridiculous that at the age of 21 the stress of it was affecting me so badly. The physiotherapy was the last straw as I decided something had to be done as living under so much self-enforced stress wasn’t healthy for me mentally or physically. I would like to mention now that I am by no means any sort of expert on this topic but I just thought that I would share with you guys what worked for me in the hope that it might be helpful for one of you now or in the future.

The first thing I tackled was sleeping as I knew that with a decent night’s sleep I’d at least be able to tackle my issues with a clearer and more rational head. I decided to stop reading university related articles before bed as this often left them plaguing my mind as I slept, and instead chose one of the many fictional books I had gathering dust on my bookcase. This helped almost immediately as my mind was occupied on the fictional events on the page not to mention it majorly improved the subject matter of my dreams as well! I also stopped using electronic devices in bed as I read that the blue light they give out is a major issue in achieving deep, peaceful sleep (here’s the article which will better explain it than I ever will). I stopped using my laptop in bed and limited myself to one Instagram check before I started reading to make sure there was enough time for it to not affect my sleep as much, and the improvement was incredible.

Exercise was the next big one as I was often spending all day either at the library or running around at work, giving me very little time outside. I started by attempting at least a half hour walk outside every day which slowly increased to an hour or two or even a short run. It gave me time to think outside of the stuffy work environment, as well as giving me some fresh air and a chance to enjoy the nice weather. This provided me with an escape and a chance to gain some perspective, as well as helping to tire me out just enough to help improve my sleep.

The last is a much simpler one and I think the most universal and that is simply just taking the time to relax. Whereas before I would feel guilty about taking a long bath or some time out to have a cup of tea and read a magazine, by emphasizing to myself that I deserved it slowly allowed me to relax and enjoy it. It was difficult to begin with but once I’d acknowledged all that I had achieved and accepted the fact that no matter how much my brain may have been whirring away no work was being done for the next half hour, it helped to alleviate the stress massively. It also helped physically as I hadn’t realised how tense my body had been until I was able to relax and loosen up. Not to mention once you’ve learnt to enjoy the act of relaxing it becomes a treat that you can look forward to and actually helped my productivity as I wanted to feel that I had deserved my reward. My current method as you’ll see is a hot bath with an assortment of bath bombs and bubbles, lighting a candle (my current favourite being my Jo Malone) and reading my book with my bath pillow at the end of the day.

It’s like they say in one of my all time favourite films Zombieland “Enjoy the little things” and I think that’s what I’d recommend more than anything. Whether it’s a walk in the park or a coffee with friends it’s the little things that make the bad things not so bad, so don’t be afraid to make the most of them because it’s the only life you’ve got. I know this is a little deeper than my usual posts but it’s something I really wanted to write and I hope you enjoyed it or it at least encouraged you to take a break because you deserve it.

Summer Reading List Recommendations

DSC02654Nerdy as it is, one of my favourite things about Summer is the freedom that it gives me when it comes to my reading, with no school work or set reading to distract me. Not to mention the opportunities there are to read whether it’s on a beach break, a city escape or simply in your own backyard, it’s the perfect way to relax while finally getting round to read that book you’ve had on your nightstand for months. I thought I’d take the opportunity to share with you some of the books I’ve been loving that I think are perfect for a summer break no matter where you’re headed.

The Goddess Guide                                                                                                                      It seems now the markets are overwhelmed with lifestyle guides but this is my absolute favourite and one of the originals. From picking the right pair of jeans to secret city spots it is the perfect guide for any modern woman, not to mention it’s so beautifully designed it’ll be one of the prettiest reads you read this summer. It’s a great alternative for people who aren’t big readers or aren’t a fan of the traditional novel and it’s so interesting you’ll find yourself rereading it again and again.

The Maze Runner                                                                                                                           I was a big fan of the film last year and before the release of the second installment this Autumn I thought I’d try to get ahead of the curve and start the books. I’m a massive young adult book fan and since The Hunger games I’ve been searching for the perfect replacement and I think this is it. We start with Thomas who arrives in a glade who has no idea who he is or his past. He’s welcomed by a group of boys who live together in the glade which is at the centre of a mysterious giant stone maze. They too have no idea of their past of what has happened to the world outside. Every day they try to explore the maze but have to make it back by sundown before the doors to the maze close and the monstrous Grievers patrol. Then one day a girl arrives and everything changes. It’s one of the most gripping young adult books I’ve read so much so I devoured the first four books in record time, and perfect for those who like a bit of escapism in their reading.

American Psycho                                                                                                                            This is by far the weirdest book on my list as it’s definitely one of the most violent and gruesome books I’ve ever read, but also one of the most profound. The novel is a stark comment on the capitalist consumerism of society which was highly controversial when it was initially released, but has since then become a cult classic, It follows the murderous investment banker Patrick Bateman as he struggles to control his insanity as well as his fascination with his material possessions. I really do feel the need to put a disclaimer on this as it’s the most sickening book I’ve ever read in regards to the detail on how Bateman dismembers women, so I really wouldn’t recommend it for those under 18. But the deeper meaning to be found in the novel means that if you can move past the violence, there is an incredible comment being made about society as a whole that makes it a great holiday read for those looking for something a bit different.

The Great Gatsby                                                                                                                         I thought I’d include a classic for the more old-fashioned readers amongst us and this is my absolute favourite. It’s perfect for those who want a lighter option before they start tackling the more heftier classics, not to mention it’s one of the easiest classics to read. It has love, murder, beautiful imagery as well as a deeper discussion on the American Dream and perfect for those who like a bit of history in their fiction.

Paper Towns                                                                                                                                  Another young adult read I’d recommend before the movie comes out later this year which is a perfect choice for those who were a fan of A Fault In Our Stars. It’s about Quentin “Q” Jacobsen who after a mysterious night with his old childhood friend Margo Roth Spiegelman finds out the next morning that she has disappeared and sets out to find her. Unlike The Fault In Our Stars this is more of a mystery story, but again a story that every teenager will be able to relate to in one way or another. I’d definitely recommend it for any John Green fans or for a reader wanting to try one of his novels as it’s one of the easiest and most enjoyable reads I’ve had.

Yes Please                                                                                                                                       If you don’t know Amy Poehler by now then shame on you. Star presenter of the Golden Globes with Tina Fey for the past three years, past SNL cast member and star of the brilliant Parks and Recreation she is a pretty damn funny and impressive woman. She was already one of my number one woman crushes but after this book she moved to number one, as it is one of the best celebrity books I’ve ever read. It doesn’t take the form of a usual biography, instead she uses her past experiences as anecdotes to explain what she’s learnt from them in the funniest way possible. It’s the perfect book for those who aren’t a fan of fiction but still want a laugh along the way.

So there’s my selection of my favourite summer reads, I hope you like them and that I’ve maybe given you some ideas of some new books to try. If you have any favourite books that you like to read on holiday let me know as I’m always on the lookout for new books to try. But more importantly, enjoy your summer where ever you’re going!