6 Things To Love About December.

It's right what they say. December really is the most wonderful time of the year. Since we're into the second week of the month, I think it's only right that things get a little festive round these parts, and what better way than to talk about my favourite things about the season? Rather than putting my Canon to good use, I thought I would scan in a semi-embarrassing throwback snap to go alongside. Thinking about it, I've probably grown about 3cm since this photo was taken, but who's counting.

On to the festivities...

1. The food. 
I am a self confessed foodie, so naturally this was going to come out top. Mince pies, Christmas dinner, oh, and the chocolate-shaped breakfasts of course. It's a yes from me.

2. Christmas vibes. 
This is most definitely 'a thing'. I've decorated two trees so far this year, drunk all the hot chocolate and listened to my fair share of jolly tunes, so I'm feeling pretty damn Christmassy right about now. There's just something about this time of year that I adore. People are, for the most part, jollier, there's all the markets you could possibly wish for (and then some), lights, and did I mention the food?

3. The fashion. 
I love me some knitwear, and the whole layering up thing is music to my ears, so basically Winter attire is the combination of dreams. Don't even get me started on pyjamas...

4. The music. 
I mean, c'mon, obviously. Sure, some of the covers are slightly questionable, but the classics just never get old. Bing Crosby, Chris Rea, Wham!, the list goes on. Catch me rockin' around the Christmas tree all day, errrydayy.

5. The chills.
I get two weeks off for Christmas, and holy guacamole, am I excited. 14 days of minimal alarms, chilling out with my favourite humans and watching/consuming all the things. It's gonna be a blast.

6. The fresh start.
Yup, seriously cliché, but I am one of those people that believe in the whole, 'tidy room/desk/whatever, tidy mind' motto. So to some extent, the thought of a brand new year is somewhat satisfying. I don't tend to go too crazy when it comes to the New Years resolutions side of things, but I'll have one or two stored in the back of my mind to no doubt have completely forgotten about come February.

So there we have it. A pretty generic list of my favourite happenings this time of year, but hey, I was feeling festive and my laptop was in reach. Let's blame the mince pie I just devoured.

Are you a big Christmas person? What are your favourite things about December?

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Hide and Seek.

So this is a bit of a surprise. Two blog posts from me in the space of a few days? Practically unheard of.

Over the weekend, myself and this guy I know who really digs cameras ventured out into the cold to take a few snaps. And when I say a few, I really do mean a few, as despite the evident blue sky in shot, it wasn't exactly toasty out.

Because of this, I present to you 50% of an 'outfit of the day' post. Who even looks at the bottom half anyway, right? 

I seem to just stick to wearing the same ten things from within my wardrobe, and at the moment I'm practically glued to this tartan shirt-dress from Fat Face. By ''shirt-dress'', I actually mean ''shirt'', as unlike the model on the website, I wasn't really blessed in the whole height department side of things, so it actually falls mid-thigh on me. I love me a good shirt dress though, so every cloud.

I also opted to layer up with my trusty All Saints wax denim jacket. Not quite as heavy as a leather jacket but a little more so than classic denim, it's a piece I thoroughly enjoy wearing to add a little extra somethin' somethin' to an outfit. Also it's worth noting that All Saints offer student discount, so I managed to snap up this gem for a little over £100 last year. Not too bad for a quality wardrobe staple if you ask me. 

Moving topic ever so slightly... pinch punch, first of the month. Since we're officially into the last month of the year (how even?), it wouldn't be right for me to not acknowledge Christmas. I'm not going to lie, I'm feeling pretty festive right about now, but that may be something to do with the fact we've had Jingle Bells playing in the office for the past fortnight. Just over three weeks until the big day and I'm really hoping it's not just me that's yet to start their shopping...

So there we have it, another blog post, and one that's actually shared within a week from the last. Madness.

Oh, and whilst you're on a grand endeavour of browsing the web, be sure to go and check out Matt's website. He's pretty damn great at what he does, just sayin'.

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Life, Lately.

So... long time no blog, again, which I'm aware is pretty much the intro to the majority of my posts the past few months. Rather than just talking about all things beauty like I often do, I thought I'd instead get back into the swing of things with a cheeky lil' lifestyle post.

The weather's been pretty grim as of late, but who doesn't love a good old day trip to the beach? I'm pretty lucky to say I have a beautiful coastline within a ten minute car journey of my crib, but sometimes it's good to mix it up, and on this particular occasion, Cayton Bay was calling. A pretty bold statement to make, but I'm gonna put it out there and say it's one of the nicest coastlines I've visited. 

In other news, I went to see my pal's band, Cape Cub, play in Newcastle last Saturday, and all I can say is damnnnn. Not only are the tunes top-notch, but y'know when you come across someone that's so incredibly passionate about what they're doing? Well, multiply that by four and you get Cape Cub. But don't just take my word for it, go listen, stat (you and your ears can thank me later).


Oh, and if you fancy some visual treats to go alongside the CC bangers, hit up Matt Lawson Photography to see some snaps from the gig. Because I totally stole one, just to please your eyeballs. 

Ok, so despite what I may have said in my intro, since my blog consists of me talkin' about beauty products 90% of the time, it's only right that I give the topic a wee mention, no? Because (I guess) I'm just all about that base, I recently decided to introduce the Becca Backlighting Priming Filter into my makeup-fuelled life. Not only is the name a bit of a mouthful, it's also a fairly pricey purchase. However despite this, it's an absolute pleasure to use. I need my makeup to last a good 10 hours on a day-to-day basis, and I find applying this under my foundation of choice does the job. I'm not the biggest fan of shimmer in my makeup, but this is an exception. The 'soft-focus' pigments in the formula help to bring the skin back to life, working to add luminosity whilst blurring imperfections, which, if you ask me, is all kinds of great. Becca describe the primer as a photographic filter in a bottle, and I would have to agree. So, if you find yourself in the market for a new favourite face product anytime soon, I'd highly recommend snapping up a bottle for yourself. Keep your eyes peeled (sometime in the next 3 years, no doubt) for a full review, with snaps of the gem in action. 

Back to the entertainment side of things... Yes, I'm ridiculously late to the party, but I finally finished watching Stranger Things. Why did it take me so long, I hear you ask? No bloody idea, but boy oh boy did I enjoy. My wind down time now heavily consists of Planet Earth II, Black Mirror, and, I'm a little ashamed to admit, the occasional episode of Geordie Shore (don't judge me too much). 

I also just recently snapped up a Creative Cloud subscription to go alongside my now semi-new laptop, so let's see how well this whole 'regular posting' thing goes.

I should probably wrap this up before I lull you to sleep any further, so I will bid you farewell and aim to be back again soon with another blog update.

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Six To Listen To On Spotify #3

Way back when I threw together a couple of posts about my go-to musical treats for when my ears are looking for a good time. Since I am still heavily invested in the magical creation that is Spotify (seriously how did I ever manage without Premium?), I thought I would finally add to said posts and bring another to the table. 

Ah, Lights. I've been a fan of Lights' tunes for quite some time now, and listening to her do her thing never gets old. Though I thoroughly enjoy her more upbeat tracks, slower takes on the likes of 'Up We Go' and 'Muscle Memory' are about as good as it can get.

The 1975
Duh. Definitely, definitely not alone with this one, but how bloody great are The 1975? Though I could happily bop to 99% of their creations, 'Somebody Else' is just, well, something else. Sidenote: is it just me that still hasn't gotten over the fact that Loose Women's Denise Welch is Matty Healy's Mum?..

The Paper Kites 
So seemingly it pays to know humans with good music taste as you get introduced to bands such as The Paper Kites. Described on Spotify as ''folk-rock'', the Australian band throw out hits such as 'Electric Indigo' and 'Revelator Eyes' and really are very good indeed.

Troye Sivan
It turns out TS isn't just a success when it comes to his YouTube channel. His debut album, 'Blue Neighbourhood' is basically sixteen songs worth of 10/10. If you're in the market for a new favourite song, check out 'DKLA' right about now.

Who doesn't love a bit of Scottish indie goodness from time to time? From releasing their debut EP back in 2010, the band have gone on to support everyone from Panic! At the Disco to Admiral Fallow. Recommendations would have to be in the form of 'Open Book' and 'Sleeping Over'. Just sayin'.

You know when you go to a gig and you enjoy the support act just as much as the headline? Yeah. K.Flay happened to be touring with PVRIS when I went to see them back in April with my laaarvely pal, Jess. Essentially, she is just one oh-so sassy lady. Her overall style is quite a tricky one to pinpoint, but if you enjoy rock with a little bit of rap thrown in for good measure, you are likely to dig. Hit up 'Thicker Than Dust', 'So Fast, So Maybe' and 'Dreamers' and thank me later.

What are your go-to Spotify recommendations? Are you a fan of any of the above?

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New Hair.

Two things have happened recently that have proven (or are yet to prove...) pretty damn handy for my wee blog, and they happen to be in the shape of a WIFI update and a snazzy new laptop. Whoop. I'm not saying the previous lack of both were fully to blame when it came to my excessive blogging vacay, but let's be frank, they are somewhat essential when it comes to sharing content to the virtual world. So, great news out the way, I am here to share a post of another new 'thing': my hair.

After avoiding the hairdressers for a little too long, I decided to mix things up a tad and add a bit of colour to my locks. Being mousey brown naturally, it initially took some lifting, however I am now sporting a combination of pink and purple (after several dying attempts, I might add).

Since I was only blessed with one set of hands, I was unable to stand awkwardly and take photos of said hair. So, instead my laaarvely pal Matt helped with the latter. He also takes snaps of scenery and people with other hair colours so you should definitely travel over to his website and take a peek for yourself if you enjoy a good visual treat.

Are you a fan of experimenting with hair dye? I'd love to know your brand recommendations!

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Bumble and Bumble Surf Foam Spray.

Well hello, again. I guess you could say it's been a while, again. I think it's probably for the best that I skip the horrific excuses and just get on with this very overdue post, which, this time, happens to be in the shape of a review of one of Bumble and Bumble's most recent creations.

It's not exactly a secret that I'm a fan of pretty much all of the brand's products. From their Texture (Un)Dressing Creme (check my review) to their Sunday Shampoo (review), their range is seriously top-notch.

Like many other beauty lovers, I fell hook, line and sinker for their cult Surf Spray, and the same could definitely be said for their Surf Foam Wash Shampoo and Surf Creme Rinse Conditioner (review for both). Naturally, I was rather thrilled when the brand announced they would be making a further addition to the collection in the form of the Surf Foam Spray. But what makes it so special, I hear you ask?

Well, unlike the traditional spray, this bad boy is specifically designed to be used post-wash, whilst hair is still damp. It's essentially a light mousse that works to provide a little extra body, hold and wave, giving a little extra somethin' somethin' to locks. My hair has a tendency to fall a little flat from time to time (you know how it is), but a quick spritz of this helps to keep things in check. A toned-down version of the original spray, I find myself reaching for it every time I come out the shower, and I think I may even prefer it to my long-time love. Quite a statement, I know.

Like all B&B hair treats, it doesn't come cheap (£22 to be precise), but considering the amount needed per use (hint: it's not a lot), I can see it lasting me a fair few months.

Essentially this is just an all around winner and something I would highly recommend checking out if you are also all about those beachy vibes.

Are you a fan of Bumble and Bumble? What are your go-to hair products?

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The Balm Mary-Lou Manizer.

When it comes to products that promise to add a little glow factor to the 'ol complexion, I'm all for it. From the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powders (check here for my posts) to Benefit's Watt's Up, I have slowly but surely built up quite the collection. Perhaps the crème de la crème of the bunch, however, comes courtesy of The Balm. 

Mary-Lou Manizer (£17.50) is the ultimate highlighter. No doubt. There's a reason this one has gained such an impressionable status, and I for one can fully understand the hype (though admittedly I'm a little, or a lot, slow with adding it to my makeup stash..). 

A honey-hued, golden powder boasting a buttery soft texture, it is a total dream to apply. I've heard quite a few refer to its dramatic, night-time appropriate effects, however if you go in gently and built up to suit your tastes, you can achieve anything from a subtle glow to something the Kardashian's would be proud of. Also, it's worth noting that I'm pretty pale, but I've seen this look amazing on all kinds of skin tones so this shouldn't be a concern.

Essentially, if you're wanting to up the stakes in the highlight department, this is undoubtedly the one for you.

Have you tried The Balm Mary-Lou Manizer? What are your go-to products for a glowy complexion?

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Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Concentrate.

You know when you find a product that your skin couldn't be without? Yeah, this is one of those.

The Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Concentrate is described as ''a replenishing elixir of pure essential oils and distilled botanicals to visibly restore the appearance of skin by morning''. It's a staple that rocks it in all departments - I'm talkin' scent, appearance and of course, the overall effects it has on your complexion.

Considering I'd both heard and read numerous rave reviews of the stuff, I'm scratching my head as to why it took me so long to snap up a bottle. At £37, it certainly isn't the cheapest of skincare offerings on the market, but boy, is it bloody worth it. Not only did I notice a difference from nightly use within around a week (right?), but with the small amount needed each time,  I can see it lasting me a good 10 months. Pretty amazing if you ask me.

This skin treat is essentially a goodie for everyone. I know, eye-roll, one of those, but it actually is. Whether you're oily, spot-prone, dry or combination, it'll pretty much work wonders in no time. I'm predominantly dehydrated with the tendency to get a few small blemishes around my chin and cheeks, but this has kept the latter and bay and added some much needed nourishment.

I also have a fair bit of redness going on from time to time (my Mum has Rosacea and it is often passed on) but I've found since adding this into my routine the general tone has calmed significantly.
Oh, and having mentioned the scent earlier.... think the ultimate, heavenly spa. Not exactly the worst thing to apply before hitting the sack, no?

Overall I am completely and utterly obsessed and I will undoubtedly continue to purchase the oil (when it eventually runs out, that is).

Have you tried the Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Concentrate? Are you a fellow fan? I'd love to know any other Kiehl's recommendations you may have!

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A Weekend in Edinburgh.

Well I guess this is a little embarrassing. 

I should probably make a point of addressing the elephant in the room, no? So, um, yeah, I hold my hands up and admit it's been a while. Well, quite a while in fact. So long that I'm questioning whether I can even justify calling myself a blogger?  Yikes.

Alas, I'm hoping to get back into the rhythm of blogging and keen to spill the deets on my latest getaway to the beautiful City that is Edinburgh.

A personal favourite of mine, I always have a blast whenever I get the chance to visit. Whether you're big on shopping, eating (*cough* me *cough*) or just general exploring, there's something to satisfy everyone. 

Rather than staying in a hotel, we decided to rent an apartment. Super spacious, airy and modern, it was the perfect spot for our two night stay. Located just off of the Royal Mile, the Old Town Chambers Apartments are in a prime location for the City centre, meaning we were able to get pretty much wherever we needed to be in a matter of minutes.

Being a beauty blogger, it'd be wrong for me not address the whole toiletries situation early on in the post. The apartment was fully kitted out with generous Cowshed products which definitely went down a treat. Though Cowshed was a brand I wasn't all that familiar with at the time, since giving them a whirl, I've rushed off to snap up a few of my own (separate post on it's way shortly!). Not only are the actual products amazing, but the packaging is top-notch, too. Plus, the play on words worked into the names of each bottle adds a little fun to your morning shower.

Of course, a big part of going away is to unwind. Naturally, beds play a large part in this, and the ones in our apartment certainly didn't disappoint. But, as comfy as said beds were, we were there to explore and enjoy our surroundings. ...And, did I mention, eat a whole lotta food.

Our first major foodie stop was at Wildfire on Rose Street. Serving the most divine food, it happens to be rated one of the best places to dine in the city. I'm a huge steak fan, and I have to say this was one of the best I've had. Quite the statement, I know.

Dessert obviously had to follow, and this chocolate treat was frankly, bloody amazing.

The next day we were treated to cloudless skies and took the opportunity to have a little stroll around the old town, making the time to fit in a visit to Harvey Nichols.

After a wee browse round the store, we headed up to the fourth floor for lunch at the Chocolate Lounge, which, is essentially what dreams are made of. Or mine, anyway.

As the name suggests, you can snap up a range of chocolate themed dishes and drinks, however if that's not really your thing, you're still guaranteed to find something on the menu that takes your fancy.

Who remembers Matey's? I'm pretty sure this is the sauce equivalent?

Next up, The Dome.
So, we may have just stayed for a cocktail or two, but that provided just about enough time to admire the gorgeous architecture. I would highly recommend a visit if you're nearby - there are some serious Gossip Girl-esque vibes coming from this place.

Being the Mexican food fanatics that we are, the trip needed to involve some form of spicy cuisine. To satisfy our cravings, we ventured out to Mariachi on Victoria Street. Though I can't say it was the best Mexican I've ever had (call me picky), it was still very nice - if you're going for a full meal, definitely opt for the Quesadillas to start.

Here we have the Heart of Midlothian, which has quite the story behind it (you can read up on that, here). It's supposedly good luck to spit within the mosaic, but I'll leave that one up to you!

So, my mini trip to Edinburgh in a nutshell. I can't lie, travel and lifestyle themed posts aren't really in my comfort zone (along with the fact it's been a while with any form of blog post *ahem*), so please excuse if I'm a little rusty - next time I will be back to rambling about beauty-shaped treats.

Are you a fan of Edinburgh? Have you visited any of the above? I'd love to know your recommendations for my next trip to the City!



February Favourites.

So I definitely feel that 'favourites' are more enjoyable when shown through video format, but as I am still yet to join the world of YouTube, I'm just gonna just go right ahead and share everything I'd been loving throughout the month of February, here...

Lifestyle and reading:
I mentioned The Blogger Journal (£15.99) in my recent haul post, and boy oh boy has it transformed the way I organise my wee space on the internet. I'm a huge lover of lists (it's quite excessive, actually) but this snazzy journal means I can have everything blog-related in one place with more than enough space to satisfy my planning and scribbling needs. Big thumbs up from me.

#GirlBoss by Sophia Amoruso (£9.99) - This.book.rocks. If you're in need of a little inspiration, or frankly, a kick up the ass, then this is the book for you. It essentially tells the tale of Sophia Amoruso and how she successfully transformed her life when founding one of the fastest-growing retailers in the world, Nasty Gal. It's charming, humorous and motivating, and something I struggle to put down.

If you happen to have weak, peeling nails then the Margaret Dabbs Nourishing Nail and Cuticle Serum (£12) will be right up your street. I could never seem to grow mine without them snapping off, but thanks to this little diamond, that's a thing of the past. Ok, so they're still not the longest nails out there, but I genuinely notice a change in the overall condition in a matter of days after using. I like to keep this on my bedside table pre-slumber but it's small size means it's also perfect to just pop in your handbag.

I'm having a bit of a moment with MAC it seems, as there's two products from the brand that I've been reaching for non-stop lately. For starters, I've been totally hooked on the Lip Pencil in Half Red (£12.50). Like all MAC pencils, this lasts all.day.long, which is definitely a bonus when it's such a pretty shade. I'm actually really surprised that it hasn't received more attention online as it's appropriate for both day and night and would compliment most skin tones. I actually wouldn't really agree with its 'half-red' title, I'd say it's more of a muted plum with a slight hint of pink, but it looks great when worn on its own or under lipstick (I like to pair it with MAC's Pink Plaid).

Next up from MAC is another pencil, but this time, for the eyes. I have a few in my collection now, but the Powerpoint Eye Pencil in Stubborn Brown (£14) is all kinds of awesome. A 'deep, rich brown', as described on the website, it boasts a matte finish that can be worn on both the lash and waterline without concern over longevity (I can normally get around six to seven hours wear of this without needing to top up).

The L'Occitane Shea Butter range has been a firm favourite of mine for years now (you can thank my Mum for getting me into it as a teen), so naturally I was pretty enthusiastic when it came to trying out the latest skincare launches from the collection. Whilst both products tick all my boxes (see my review of both here), the standout for me has to be the Shea Face Soothing Fluid* (£32). One word to sum it up? Amazing. If you have skin on the drier, more sensitive side of things, then this will go down an absolute treat. Since using both morning and night, I've found I'm able to use less foundation thanks to a decrease in redness, something I normally struggle with, and with rosehip, calendula and 5% shea butter as key ingredients, as you can imagine, it also smells pretty great to apply. I would highly recommend giving this one a go.

You may remember my post a couple of weeks back discussing my favourite products for dry, winter skin (head here if you fancy a read). Right at the top of the list was the Lanolips 101 Ointment* (£10.99) due to its superpowers (yes, superpowers). I love me a good multi-tasker, and this certainly fits the criteria - think lips, cuticles, dry patches and brows, it does it all, and very well, I may add. I am prone to a dry nose around this time of year and this sorts it out, stat.

I recently rekindled my love for the Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer (£22),  a.k.a. the best concealer of all time. Have a read of my review here, but to sum it up, it covers blemishes, dark circles and redness without any cakiness in sight. The shade 'Vanilla' is the perfect match for my cool-toned complexion.

So just a couple of fashion favourites to mention, but I kind of think this Zara Leather Details Messenger Bag (£69.99) makes up for it, no? How gorgeous is it? So I've had it a while now and I'm thus (probably) annoying for even mentioning it as it's no longer available on the website, but I've been using it non stop. It was quite pricey but the quality is top notch so I can see it lasting a long time. Also, is anyone else thinking it has a slight Chanel vibe to it? Oh yes.

It's been bloody freezing lately so I've mainly been sporting jumpers, jumpers and more jumpers. Perhaps my favourite of the bunch is this snuggly offering from Mango, which is literally the cosiest thing ever. It's also worth mentioning that they've been having an epic sale recently so I would definitely have a peek online if I was you... *goes and buys all the clothes*

What were your favourite things throughout February? I'd love to know! Have I encouraged you to try out any of the above?



Origins Original Skin Renewal Serum.

 Ok, so I hold my hands up and admit that perhaps I'm a little (or frankly, a lot) late to the party with this one. The Origins Original Skin Renewal Serum (£32) launched last Spring, claiming to be the ultimate skincare essential for those in their twenties thanks to its revolutionary formula.

I personally like to dabble with serums from time to time, however a product targeting those in the stages of a ''quarter-life crisis'' was something that particularly intrigued me. My skin has been having a mini nightmare of late (never take a clear complexion for granted!) so something that promises to offer a solution to this (and more) is naturally going to find its way into my bathroom cupboard very rapidly. 

Not only does it boast one major skin-shaped benefit, but five. Yes, really...

#1: De-stress. Persian Silk Tree helps skin rebound.
#2: Smooth roughness. Chestnut Seed Extract refines texture.
#3: Delete dullness. Willowherb restores glow.
#4: Shrink pores. Algae helps reduce oil to help them appear to vanish.
#5: Minimize flaws. Blurs imperfections.

Pretty impressive if you ask me?

I've incorporated the Original Skin Renewal Serum into my daily routine both morning and night for the past month now, and although I still get the odd breakout (who doesn't?), I've found my skin takes a lot less time to heal whilst being more plump and overall glowy in appearance. Like all Origins products, the ingredients are kind on the skin, so no sensitivity has occurred, and not only that, but it smells b-e-a-utiful. The product is also the ideal base for makeup pre-moisturiser, as it glides on to the skin with zero effort, absorbing in just under a minute.

Essentially this is just an all around wonderful skincare essential and something I will continue to buy from now on.

Have you tried this? Are you a fan of Origins products? I'd love to know any skincare recommendations you may have!

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