New Years Eve Makeup with CYO.

CYO makeup blogger review

If you're planning to paint the town red this New Years, and looking to sport some bangin' makeup while you're at it, CYO have most certainly got your back. 

A moderately new brand to the UK and set up by Boots (after its renowned success in the US in parent company, Walgreens Boots Alliance), it is now readily available to snap up. Even better, everything is priced under £7.50 *say what?!*, so you can look and feel great without breaking the bank.

Affordable, cruelty free and seriously good - CYO pretty much ticks all the boxes, no?

CYO makeup blogger review

Now, on with the actual products...

With a range of 180 to browse from, you're definitely not short of choice - from contour and lip stains to palettes and brushes. The brand also pride themselves on creating high-quality makeup that can be used in a multitude of ways, something I love.

First things first; base. 
If you're gonna be making some shapes on the ol' dancefloor, you're gonna need your makeup to last. Say hello to the Matte & Blur Primer* (£5) which happens to sit perfectly underneath the Turn on the Light Illuminating Mixing Cream* (£6). 

If you're wanting a little more of a golden glow, the Bronzing Shimmer Oil* (£7) is where it's at (it also works really well when a little is dabbed on the décolletage). Last, but by no means least is the Sweep into Shape Lip, Blush & Highlight Stick* (£2.75), which pretty much does what it says on the tin - gives you glowy, radiant goodness.

CYO makeup boots

Next up, it's of course the eyes.
I always steer towards fixing my brows before going into the lid/lash region, and the Frame Of Mind Brow Sculpting Pencil* (£4) is a real dream. The applicator is great for distributing product evenly, and it even comes with a spoolie on the other end (sometimes it's the simple things in life!).

For the eyelids, it's all about the Crush On Metal Metallic Eyeshadow in Lovey Dovey* (£4.50). Seriously, this shade is incredible. I raved about it back in the Summer in my Go-to Glowy Makeup post, and I still love it just as much now. The metallic, multi-dimensional finish is bloody gorgeous, and one you definitely need in your collection, stat. Lashes will flutter thanks to a few layers of the Eye High Length Mascara* (£6), before a quick layer of the Get it Bright All-in-One Brightening Pencil* in the waterline (£4) to keep you looking wide-awake throughout the eve.  

CYO makeup boots blogger review

It wouldn't be a finished look without the lips getting a little attention. The festive season is all about a bold lip if you ask me, and the Lot of Good Matte Lipstick in Stage Dive* (£2) suits this down to a t. Make sure you pop a good smear of lip balm on pre-application, as it's v matte (as the name would suggest!), but boy-oh-boy, the colour is something special.

If you're wanting something a little less vibrant, the Two Clever By Half Lipstick & Liner in Rainmaker* (£2.75) is a top alternative. Double-ended, you've got yourself a liner and lipstick in one uber handy product, making it perfect for top-ups on-the-go. The shade is also perfect for wear both night and day, and not too dissimilar from Charlotte Tilbury's Pillow Talk.

If you're eager to try out CYO for yourself, the brand currently have a pretty special deal on where you can get yourself a free Skinnydip bag when spending over £8. What are you waiting for?!

Are you a fan of CYO? What makeup will you be rocking this NYE?

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L'Occitane X Castelbajac Paris.

L'Occitane Beauty

Oh L'Occitane, how I love you. From their hand creams to their fragrances, they absolutely, without a shadow of a doubt, own.it. 

I've been clued up on the cult brand for the longest time, thanks to my Mum always having a good stash of their goodies in the bathroom cupboard. Because of this, I now have a tip-top L'Occitane collection of my own, and the brand is always one I reach for on the regular when I'm in need of a product that, to put it simply, just works.

L'Occitane Beauty Blogger

So, naturally I was pretty damn excited when some of their (stunning!) Christmas collection landed on my doorstep. Beauty-filled baubles? Dainty cherry blossom stuffed crackers? What more could you really want hanging from your tree and displayed on your table pre-Christmas dinner?

A collaboration with CASTELBAJAC Paris, the designs of the collection are heavily inspired and based around pop art (with a festive twist of course) and also evoke the true story and commitments of the longstanding company.

‘My Provence’ – L’Occitane has been manufacturing products in Provence since 1976

‘My Commitments’ – The brand has worked in partnership with women in Burkina Faso for almost 40 years to create a sustainable supply chain, with over 10,000 women now working in the shea butter cooperatives

‘My Planet’ – Thanks to their dedication, L’Occitane has worked to defend, protect and promote a whopping 150 ingredients since 2008

‘My Vision’ – Another key focus for L’Occitane is helping to prevent fightable blindness around the globe. Partnering with UNICEF, 5 million people have received eye care including 1.7 million children

Pretty incredible, right?

L'Occitane Beauty Christmas

The contents of the designs are also well worth a mention.

Whether you're a fan of the classic shea butter, or maybe a lover of something a little more zesty with their verveine scent, you won't be disappointed with this collection.

 Not only do they look pretty epic displayed in your own home, but they would also make gorgeous gifts for loved ones.

L'Occitane Blogger Review

Featuring soap, a 30ml hand cream and body wash or lotion, the products are the perfect size for those venturing off on holiday or keen to try out a scent from L'Occitane's extensive range.

L'Occitane Collection Review

Another stunning collection from L'Occitane - maybe they could have the CASTELBAJAC Paris designs as a more regular feature?

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Winter Beauty Favourites.

Winter Beauty Favourites Blogger

With the temperature taking a somewhat frosty turn the past few weeks, my skin has gone seriously dry. So, with that said, it’s time to bring out the big guns...

Neom Scent to Sleep Hand Cream
I’m probably Neom’s number one fan, no doubt about it. From their body lotions to their pulse points, they’re a brand that’s consistently great. This hand cream is no exception. It’s rich, nourishing and smells SO damn good. Even better, a little really does go a long way. I’ve had my tube since June, and despite using multiple times a day I’m yet to hit the bottom. This would make a dreamy Christmas present, 100%.

Smashbox Photo Finish Primerizer
Smashbox, how I love you. As a dry skinned lady (as the intro to this post would suggest!), this wee primer has been my go-to since, well, the day I snapped it up in Boots. Again, you only need a pea-sized amount to cover the entire face, and boy-oh-boy does it do the trick. As I’m sure you’ll know, Smashbox are famed for their top-notch primers, but I think this may be my favourite of the lot. It helps foundation and cc creams to glide on to the skin, gives an extra barrier and of course, a zap of hydration too. It’s an essential for anyone looking for a little help in the skin department.

Essie Nail Lacquer in Angora Cardi
Although I’m pretty crap when it comes to painting my talons, when I do get round to it, Essie is my holy grail. With it being Winter, a deep berry is naturally the shade of choice, so Essie’s Angora Cardi fits the bill down to a t.

Winter Beauty Favourites Blogger

L'Oréal Color Riche Matte Addiction Lipstick in 103 Blush in a Rush 
Y’can never have too many lipsticks, right? Prior to this, I’d never really dabbled with L'Oreal lip products, and I’m now kicking myself for not trying them earlier. This lil treat packs a punch in the opasity department, but doesn’t let-down on moisture. The packaging is also very slick. Love love love.

Nuxe Reve de Miel Lip Balm
This is a long time <3 for me. Throwback to 2015 with this What’s in my Handbag post (cringe). The first thing I just have to comment on is the scent. It genuinely smells like chocolate orange and I am l.i.v.i.n.g for it. The consistency is also well worth a mention; it’s hydrating but boasts a matte-like finish which makes it ideal for wearing underneath lipstick. It’s definitely not the cheapest but you will have it in your stash for a v v long time!

Peter Thomas Roth Marine Algae Mask Intense Hydrating Treatment
I bought this as part of a mini mask pack when wanting to try the uber-hyped Peter Thomas Roth pumpkin face mask. The tube may be tiny, but you only need a smidgen for the face (there’s a theme here it seems?!) meaning you really do get to try out the PTR brand before paying the big bucks. You’re supposed to rinse it off after 10 minutes or so, but clearly I’m just a mega rebel as I keep it on overnight. Wild, I know.

Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate
Another beauty throwback. I bloomin’ adore this stuff. Everything about it. It just works. Redness, tone, spots; it’s pretty much magic if you ask me. Check out my full review of the Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate, but to sum it up, you need this in your life. A bottle will last you about 18 months with daily use, so it’s well worth it.

Are you a fan of any of the products I’ve mentioned? Do you have any other hydration essentials I should try?

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Four Things to Incorporate into your Self Care Routine.

Mindfulness tips blogger

If you know me you’ll know I’m all about the self care life. Not only is it good for the old body, mind and soul, but you can of course have a whole lot of fun at the same time, too.

In light of the feel-good season, I thought it would be nice to do a quick round up of my favourite self-care steps to incorporate into your routine.

I’ve shared my love for yoga in the past, and my feels 100% remain the same. Adriene is still my number one gal for this, thanks to her wide range of videos for every mood (no lie!). The first time I tried yoga, my mind was pretty much blown. I felt SO chill. So yes, take some time out and give yoga a try - you won’t regret it.

Ah, Headspace. I buzz so much about Headspace, people probably think I’m on commission *I wish*. Whether you’re feeling anxious, having trouble sleeping or wanting to improve your confidence, Headspace has your back. Ranging from 1-120 minute meditation sessions, there’s one to suit your every zen need. They 100% make a difference, in my opinion, particularly those centred around sleep; if I pop on a 20 minute session pre-slumber, I’ll rarely be awake for the end. Definitely worth giving it a go!

So I’m no Gordon Ramsey, but I do rather enjoy a lil session in the kitchen. We might not be cooking up a storm every time we give it a go, I'll admit, but me and my BF have been trying to get better at batch making food recently. As a result, many a Sunday afternoons are spent in our small, but cute little space. Not only is it good to know what exactly is going in to your food, but it’s also pretty therapeutic too. Madeline Shaw has some pretty bangin’ recipes in her books and on her website, and we also picked up some other foodie reads in TKMaxx a few weeks back. Despite this, I'm still very much prone to a good Quorn nugget. Sorry 'bout it.

Yep! My Mum has always been a keen gardener, and over the past couple of months, I've been able to truly understand the hype. Now the weather's getting a wee bit chilly (and the fact it pretty much gets dark at 3pm; *le sigh*), it's a bit trickier to get the time to pop on those uber-stylish gloves, but boy-oh-boy, it's so satisfying to say cya to those pesky weeds.
A sentence I've never typed prior to this post, but there you have it!

Are you a fan of yoga? What are your go-to things when you're in need of some self-care? If you have any suggestions, send them my way!

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Mindful Quotes to Memorise.

Mindfulness blogger

Without going all Pinterest on this Autumnal-feeling (yas!) Monday eve, I've recently been thinking just how much positive, motivational quotes are a simple, tip-top way to turn that frown upside down.

So, with that in mind, I thought I would put together a little post to pass-on my favourites for times when I'm either not feeling my best, or just in need of some sunshine...

positive quotes blogger

Change what you can, let go of what you can't.

No amount of grief can change the past. No amount of anxiety can change the future.

Yes, yes and yes. I'm naturally quite the worrier, so these two quotes are the perfect eye-openers as to how getting yourself worked up over things out of your control is something to avoid at all costs.

Positive thinking evokes more energy, more initiative, more happiness.  /  Your mind is a positive thing. When you fill it with positive thoughts, your life will start to change.

I'm sure you'll agree with the above. Changing your mindset is a biggie when it comes to mindfulness. I find whenever I've taken the time to do half an hour of yoga, and a session of Headspace, my mind is in a much better place. Positive mind = positive vibes = positive life.

Don't believe everything you think.  /  Your attitude determines your direction.What consumes your mind controls your life.  / 

You cannot have a positive mind and a negative life.


Positivity blogger uk

Was it a bad day? Or was it a bad five minutes that you milked all day?  /  Don't let yesterday take up too much of today.  /  Make today count, you'll never get it back.

Spilt coffee on your shirt? Left your headphones at home? Bummer.
It's obviously not an easy task to not let that kind of thing alter your mood, but if you're not gonna be thinking about it in a week's time, it's not worth thinking about for more than five minutes (sidenote: unless you've absolutely saturated said shirt, and your bus/train journey is six hours plus, then yeah, maybe you'll be a tad frustrated for more than five...). Don't sweat the small stuff.


So yes, I'll admit, from time-to-time I like to write posts like this to remind myself how impactful a good old quote really is.

Are you a lover of Pinterest (come and give my Pinterest profile a follow!). What are your favourite quotes to refer back to? I'd love to add some more to my list!



Benefit Brow Contour Pro.

Benefit Brow Contour Pro blogger review

Holy brow, Benefit seriously know what they're doing when it comes to being ahead of the game, don't they? Once again, they stand at the forefront of fresh, revolutionary makeup launches, and their latest is no different.

Say hello to Benefit Brow Contour Pro* (£28.50).

A 4-in-1 contour pencil, it's basically your fool-proof way to getting the eyebrows you've always dreamed of.

Remember those magical colouring in pens you used in back in the day? Well, Benefit have clearly been reminiscing, as this release is exactly that, only in makeup form. I know right? Epic.

Benefit Brow Contour Pro review

Excuse the bare nail situation we've got going on here, but as you can see, this little addition is the perfect tool for everything from commute makeup, to staycations. It takes up practically no room in your makeup bag, yet consists of everything you could ever need brow-wise.

So, how do you use it, I hear you ask...

Benefit Brow Contour Pro blogger review swatches.jpg

Step 1: Use the lighter shade to fill in and add depth
Step 2: Reach for the darker shade to define the arch and the end of the brow
Step 3: Use the define shade around the arch of the brow to, you guessed it... define
Step 4: Apply the matte highlighter under the brow and blend out
Step 5: Admire!

Benefit Brow Contour Pro review swatches

(Top to bottom: highlight > lighter shade > darker shade > define shade)

This is a cracking product, though admittedly, if you're fairly low-key with your eyebrows, you'll most likely prefer the Benefit Gimme Brow (which is amazing, fyi), as it doesn't require quite so much time or focus.

Having said that, if you're after more perfected brows, then that time is time well spent with the Brow Contour Pro*.

Mine are definitely due a little bit of attention from the ol' tweezers, but you can see below the before and after from using the pen (left is pre-use, right is post-use).

Yet again, Benefit have nailed it, so if you're keen to up your brow game, this is undoubtedly where it's at.

The official launch was originally set to be the 25th August, but you can *very excitingly* already snap up the Benefit Brow Contour Pro* from their website if you fancy giving it a try for yourself!

Benefit Brow Contour Pro before and after

Will you be snapping up Benefit's latest release? What are your favourite on-the-go products? I'd love to know your recommendations!

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L'Occitane Aqua Réotier Collection.

L'Occitane Aqua Réotier Collection

With the current heatwave we're experiencing here in the UK (holy guacamole, how hot is it though?), you could say this is the perfect beauty-shaped launch...

So naturally, when some of L'Occitane's Aqua Réotier collection* landed on my doorstep, I very quickly knew we were going to be BFFs. Consisting of five standout products, ranging from a cleanser to a spritz, each gem is enriched with all of the good stuff that thirsty skin craves (well hello, hyaluronic acid).

L'Occitane Aqua Réotier range

The range is essentially designed to used as be a four-part process:

1- Cleanse with the Water Gel Cleanser (£19)
2- Prep with the Moisture Prep Essence (£22)3- Add an extra oomph of hydration with the Ultra-Thirst Quenching Gel* (£28) or  Ultra-Thirst Quenching Cream* (£28)
4- Finish and refresh with the Fresh Moisturising Mist* (£14)

Both Aqua Réotier moisturisers* are pretty much the dream when it comes to this time of year. Refreshing, non-greasy and quick to absorb. It's a yes from me. The light, aquatic fragrance also gets a huge thumbs up, as does the cooling consistency.

I'm certainly not alone in my positive thoughts, though. A test was carried out on 39 lovely ladies over 28 days, and the results are pretty damn impressive. Think high scores all round for the likes of hydration, silkiness and overall appearance.

Unsurprisingly, like all L'Occitane products, a little really does go a long way, so I can definitely see both lasting me through the Summer and beyond.

L'Occitane Aqua Réotier Collection blogger

As for the Aqua Réotier Fresh Moisturising Mist*, well, I was pretty much guaranteed to be a #1 fan. My obsession with cooling spritzes started way-back-when with the Vitamin E spray from The Body Shop, and this is just as glorious, if not a little more cooling (I'm guessing the can container is to thank for that). If you're in-need of a wee pick-me-up throughout the day, this is it.

Overall, another top-notch launch from L'Occitane. I'd highly recommend trying for yourself through the Summer months and I'd love to know your thoughts if you do!

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Current Beauty Favourites.

Beauty favourites blogger

I'm sure I'm not alone in the fact that one of my go-to blog posts to read, is favourites. Monthly, yearly; I'm basically down for the lot.

So since I've collected quite the stash over recent months, I thought it would be quite fitting to share one of my own...

COLAB Tropical Dry Shampoo
Ah COLAB, every lazy girl (and guy’s) hair-shaped dream. COLAB has come to my rescue many a time, however perhaps a lil more so now I’ve discovered the ‘tropical’ edition. Not only does it freshen things up in the hair department, but it leaves your locks smelling mighty fine, too. I love.

Benefit BADgal BANG! volumising mascara*
As soon as this wee tube landed on my doorstep a little while back, I knew I was going to enjoy. Yes, the packaging is something to shout about, but Benefit mascaras are also of course known for their epic results. This badass launch is unsurprisingly, no exception. The volumising wand offers pitch-black lashes with serious length. But the joy doesn’t stop there. Oh no, in true Benefit leadin' the way style, the formula contains aero-particles, one of the lightest known materials derived from space technology, meaning you’ll keep that stunning curl all day long. Or for a whopping 36 hours, according to Benefit.

The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid
Oh my days, this stuff is good. I’ve dabbled with a few offerings of Hyaluronic Acid’s now, but this is by far my favourite. It adds a mega zap of hydration to my dry skin, and even though I’ve had my bottle for coming up five months (you go The Ordinary!), I still can’t quite get my head around the fact it cost me less than a sandwich and a coffee from Starbucks?

Beauty favourites blogger

Molton Brown Blossoming Honeysuckle and White Tea Body Lotion
Molton Brown is one of those brands that brings on major nostalgia. The packaging, the scents; basically the brand has got it all going on. So naturally I was thrilled when I was given a wee box set of MB treats a few months back. The orange and bergamot body wash is the thing of dreams this time of year, but for moisturising, y’can’t go wrong with this gem. It ticks all the boxes when it comes to its aesthetic, but it also just leaves your skin feeling really soft, too. Thanks to said bangin’ packaging, I’m now finding myself moisturising my body on a more regular basis, and the subtle sweet scent is bringing me all kinds of joy.

Neom Tranquillity Perfect Night's Sleep Bath Foam
You could say the v. extra packaging kind of gives away the fact this is one dreamy bathroom staple, no? I admit, this isn’t something I reach for every time I hop in the tub; it’s instead reserved for times I’m in the mood for more of a soak, but my god, I love it. With marshmallow and coconut, your skin is left nourished, but not before the scent of lavender, sweet basil and jasmine (along with 16 other essential oils -IKR?) helps to get you in the mood for a snooze. According to Neom, 88% of those who used this treat had a better night’s sleep, so if you’re struggling to get those 8 hours, this may be one for you.

Garnier Moisture Bomb Sakura Tissue Mask
I love me a good face mask, and this is an absolute game changer. I’ve never used a face mask that gives such quick (and positive) results. And it’s less than £2. Garnier sell several varieties of the mask, but the orchid version is the one for me. Think a hydrated, even and glowy complexion. The only downside is the fact you’ll look like a bit of a nutter for the 20 minutes you have it on.

Beauty favourites blogger

Smashbox Always Sharp Lip Liner
Smashbox is one of my go-to’s for no nonsense products that always deliver. So when running out of *yet another of* my beloved Charlotte Tilbury Pillow Talk Lip Liners, I decided to see what they had in store for all the liner lovers out there.

Sharpening lip liner is such a dull, but frequent task, so the Smashbox Always Sharp range caught my eye immediately. Not only does it boast a self-sharpening design, but the colour selection is right up my street. Fast forward 5 minutes of swatch galore and I was heading home with shade, ‘Audition’. It’s somewhat similar to CT Pillowtalk, but a little less on the pink side and a bit more nude. The longevity is what really impresses me about this stuff; unless you’re gobbling down a feast, there’s no budgin’ it. Definitely one that doesn’t get raved about enough.

Temple Spa Drift Away Relaxing Bathing & Massage Oil
There are quite literally no words to describe how incredible this stuff is. Think ‘top spa at home’, and you’re close. My boyfriend surprised me with the Temple Spa Do Not Disturb Peace & Relaxation Collection during our last trip to Manchester, and naturally I was blown away when I first tried this 50ml bottle that was nestled inside. Multifunctional, it can be used as either a treat poured in to the bath, or massaged into the skin. My preference is the latter, as I find it packs a punch in terms of hydration, whilst giving the most soothing, tranquil aroma. It’s a real struggle to not reach for this every day. Definitely one to snap up if you fancy a pamper.

Have you tried any of the above? What are your current favourites? I’d love to know!

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Bargain Beauty Buys.

Is there anything more satisfying than finding a new beauty staple that doesn't cost the earth? I'd say not. I feel like I've really managed to incorporate some inexpensive, but amazing treats in to my routine over the last few years, so it's only fair to share the 411 on them all, right?

So without further ado, here's a roundup of some of my favourites...

Me and this stuff go waaay back. There's been a handful of occasions where I have ventured away from this cleansing oil over the years, however there is always something that has drawn me back. Most likely because it is so bloomin' great and one of the best out there for my skin. But it also gains major points for its packaging and the fact it has an uber-handy pump applicator. Definitely one to pick up.

Moving on to the eye area, Nivea really know a thing or two when it comes to cleansing. I find I can usually pick this up on some kind of deal during a trip to Boots, but just short of £4 (full-price) for a crackin' product that gets the job done, really ain't so bad if you ask me.

Bargain beauty buys blogger review

One can never have too many cleansing oils in their life. The above Body Shop offering is a great choice both morning and night, and really gets down to business on cleansing your complexion, however if I've seriously gone to town with painting my face, this is a fantastic initial step in your routine to leave you with a clean canvas.

There are genuinely no words to describe my love for this mask. One of those 'instant-result' givers, it contains sakura extract and my all-time favourite, hyaluronic acid. Suitable for sensitive skin types *hurrah*, Garnier recommend you leave this on for around 15 minutes, but I have to say, an hour of chilling with this on my face suits me just fine. I've even managed to get my boyfriend on board (soz for spillin', Matt), and it's got his seal of approval, too. Side note: if hydration isn't your thing in the world of skincare, never fear, there's 5 other options from the range to choose from.

Bargain beauty buys blogger

Oh look, more oil related beauty products! This time, from The Body Shop's famed Vitamin E range. The Face Mist is something I have raved about for years, and is a constant resident in my handbag (check back a good few years to see a post ft. my thoughts). So naturally I was eager to get my mitts on a bottle of the Serum-In-Oil (being the very evident oil addict that I am, it would seem).

The fast-absorbing oil is specifically designed for use pre-slumber, leaving the skin feeling hydrated for up to 8 hours. Ingredients, vitamin E, Community Trade sesame seed oil and wheatgerm oil work together to leave the skin fresh, glowy and soft. The perfect beauty addition for those with skin on the drier side.

As a gal with the tendency to get dry lips, discovering this was something of a dream come true (major thanks to my favourite Latest in Beauty box for introducing me). Eucerin as a whole are a no-nonsense brand to rely on, so it came as no surprise that this went straight in to my makeup bag, but I am seriously, seriously impressed.

I'm sure you'll agree that a good scrub is a shower essential. One that's not too grainy, but abrasive enough to actually do something. Oh, and one that packs a punch in the scent department. Not a lot to ask for then, really. Luckily, The Body Shop really know how to make a scrub, which is why their mango option has a prime position in my body washing routine. It smells good, it does good and I really, sorta kinda want to eat it. Don't worry, I'll hold off.

Describing perfume isn't my forte, I'll admit, but take my word for it, this smells like a real treat. Zest, honey and sandalwood are apparently a fantastic trio, and one I very much enjoy spritzing on myself most mornings. In contrast to the usual price of perfumes, this is a steal.

I'd love to know your favourite beauty bargains! Have you tried any of the above?

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Glowy Makeup Mix.

I'm not sure if it's the Bank Holiday sunshine talkin', or the fact that we are indeed almost into the middle of the year, but I'm seriously enjoying sporting makeup that's on the glowy side of things lately.

A glowy base always needs to kick off with the right canvas, and the Kiehl's Daily Reviving Concentrate is exactly that. I'm probably the world's biggest Kiehl's fan going, so it's not exactly a shocker that I'm hooked on this stuff, but I am s.e.r.i.o.u.s.l.y enjoying patting this in to my skin on a morn'. From strengthening the skin's daily defenses, to providing antioxidant protection, it's a daytime essential. The scent is also worth a mention, thanks to it's energising cocktail of ingredients; ginger root, sunflower and tamanu. Get yourself to a Kiehl's store and pick up a bottle of your own, stat.

Next up, the Smashbox Photo Finish Primerizer. With Niacinamide & Hyaluronic Acid, it's an absolute staple for my dry skin, and keeps my base looking fresh from 9-5 with just the smallest of pumps. I've tried my fair share of primers, but this one stands out by far.

For my base, I like to mix things up. Enter the CYO Illuminating Mixing Cream* (shade 'raise a glass') and the It Cosmetics CC Cream in shade, 'fair'. Separately, they are great. Together, they are ah-mazing. Think glowy, your-skin-but-better goodness, with just the right amount of pigment. What I particularly love about the CYO offering is that it can be used in a whole host of ways; on its own as a base, as a highlight, or mixed in with another complexion-booster to up the illumination. The CC Cream has been a love of mine for a while now, and is something I enjoy using all year round *props to it boasting SPF 50+, too*.

A glowy base isn't complete without a smidge of definition, right? For this, it's all about the Illamasqua Cream Pigment in 'Hollow'. Again, this is another long-time love for me *throwback to 2K15*, and for a good reason. The perfect contouring essential for summer thanks to its cream consistency and no-fuss finger application.

Highlight-wise, The Balm's Mary-Lou Manizer is where it's at. I've spoken about this before, but my love for it has remained the same. Buttery soft, honey-hued goodness, it's the dream whether you're after a natural or dramatic highlight.

To complement the base, I've fallen in love with the CYO Crush On Metal Metallic Eyeshadow in shade, 'lovey dovey'. Holy guacamole, it is beautiful. The burnt orange tone is an absolute summer staple, and can be built to your desired level of intensity. Even better, it's an absolute steal at £4.50.  

Keeping things golden, I like to reach for the Pixi Endless Silky Eye Pencil* in 'rose glow'. As well as the shade being undeniably stunning, the fact it's waterproof is also a major thumbs up for me. Like all Pixi products, this is a good'n.

Finally, lashes. Fluttery and lengthened is the finished result after using the Pixi Large Lash Mascara*. It can be layered up throughout the day to help give a more dramatic appearance (seriously pretty), but make sure you reach for a trusty eye-makeup remover come bedtime.

What are your summertime beauty staples? Have you tried any of mine?



Holy Grail Haircare.

Haircare essentials blogger

Experimenting with my locks is something that brings me a whole lotta happiness. Whether we're talkin' length, or colour, it's a seriously great way to express yourself without major commitment. 

More recently, I've had purple, pastel pink, purple highlights (yeah, don't ask; it was a bad, hat-wearing period), and currently I'm dabbling in silver/grey. Of course, it's not all about that side of things, though; maintenance is a biggie, too.

Over the past few years, I've really managed to hone-in the brands and products that work for me. So, while I'm here chatting all things hair, I may as well spill the beans on said favourites, no?

Haircare essentials blogger

Let's start with shampoo. L'Oreal sure know how to kill it when it comes to haircare. Actually, let me rephrase; L'Oreal sure know how to kill it when it comes to everythang. Anyhow, the past 10 months or so, the L'Oreal Série Expert Silver Shampoo is pretty much the only shampoo I've reached for. 

It successfully keeps those dreaded brassy tones at bay, cleanses the hair without stripping, and adds a splash of colour into your haircare routine (and who doesn't want that, really?) thanks to its rather dashing purple shade. Oh, and FYI, you only need the smallest amount, so a bottle will last you yonks.

Next up, we've got more L'Oreal...

The L'Oreal Expert Professionnel Smartbond Conditioner is said to be the brand's own version of Olaplex, which, if you're well-versed in Olaplex, you'll know is designed to strengthen and protect the hair. This is essentially step-3 of the process. An at-home conditioner to be used once a week, it keeps your hair feeling soft and healthy. In all honesty, I'm not too fussy when it comes to conditioner, but as my hair can be on the drier side of things, this is something I've really enjoyed reaching for. I leave it on for 3 minutes and my hair is left silky without feeling flat (which we all know, isn't exactly the dream post-hair wash).

For the times I fancy feeling a little extra, the Redken Extreme Megamask is where it's at. As the name suggests, this is MEGA. Not only does it work like a treat, but it smells ah-mazing. It offers noticeable results (restoring hair for up to three washes), thanks to its dual chamber packaging which combines two magical formulas in one tube. Definitely one to pick up if you're looking for intense conditioning.

Alternatively, the ESPA Pink Hair and Scalp Mud* is another winner. I wrote about this way back, and it's still something I love to use. It promises to soothe, nourish and stimulate the hair and scalp, which it indeed does do, very well in fact. But the pink, delicious-smelling mud fun needn't end with you hair... you can also use this on your body (pretty cool if you ask me). Pick one up for yourself and thank me later.

Haircare essentials blogger

So the L'Oreal Elnett Satin Strong Hold Glam Waves Crème Mousse is not only a mouthful and a half to say, but a real gem. If your hair has the tendency to fall on the flat side (I feel ya), this will be your BFF. Presented in the distinctive L'Oreal Elnett bottle, the product disperses fuss-free and just one pump is enough to sort bob-length hair. I 100% notice if I forget to use this in my routine. L'Oreal also produce several other variations of the product which are definitely worth checking out!

Another hair hero I've been continuously hooked on comes in the form of the Bumble & Bumble Texture (un)dressing Creme. Much like all Bumble & Bumble products, you only need the smallest amount, meaning a 60ml tube will last you months. For realz. This is a good'n if your hair feels a little too soft for your liking. If you're on the hunt for something that's going to give you perfect lookin' locks, this isn't it. Instead, a pea-sized amount of the gel will leave you with a shine-free, undone-yet-done head of hair. 

For lazy days, I can't be without the Colab Original Dry Shampoo. A release from one of my fave YouTubers, Ruth Crilly, the Colab range is about as good as dry shampoo is gonna get. Scented with bergamot, rose, musk and magnolia, the spray works without leaving a white residue in your hair (a major biggie). It also doesn't give that irritating dry texture which is why I always make sure I have a can of this is my drawer.

When using a hair oil, the obvious choice would of course have to be Moroccan Oil. This is something I've used on-and-off for years, and one I will no doubt always go back to. I picked up my most-recent (25ml) bottle in a Latest in Beauty box (a.k.a. as mentioned in this post, the BEST beauty box going). I adore the way this makes my hair feel and the fact it significantly improves its condition. Oh, and I'm seriously playing it cool here when I say the scent is bloody amazing.

What are your haircare staples? Are you a fan of any of the above? I'd love to hear your recommendations!



Four Places To Brunch in Manchester.

Hollering at all you foodies out there. If you're headed to Manchester anytime soon (or maybe you're even lucky enough to call the amazing City home), this here post consists of some serious *Northwest based* grub-related chatter.

The past 8 months or so I've found myself in Manchester on quite a few occassions, and have encountered some absolute gems when it comes to that little thing called brunch. 

Here's a round up of my favourite four...

~ Home Sweet Home ~

I mean, did you see that milkshake up top? Home Sweet Home are absolute BABES when it comes to sweet treats. Even better, there's not one, but two branches to choose from. One in the Northern Quarter, the other just a stone's throw from the Albert Hall. Both have very different vibes, but are equally as delightful.

The staff are oh-so nice, the cake offerings are to die for, and the menu's got choices a'plenty whether you're in the mood for a late-night dinner, an afternoon tea, are a meat eater or are vegan. Basically, there's something for everyone.

The two photos above are in H.S.H's Northern Quarter branch (throwback to Summer) which is a little quieter and out of the way.

If I was gonna hit you up with a recommendation, I'd suggest you give the falafel halloumi wrap a whirl, with one of their epic milkshakes to finish things off nicely (obvs). If you're feeling particularly peckish, you definitely can't go wrong with their loaded fries. Matt definitely isn't as fond on these as I am (we opt for them without the bacon being pescatarians) but I think they are amaaazing.

Finally, one for the road, perhaps, get yo'self a slice of cake. We did this on one of our visits and consumed back in our hotel room - excellent decision.

Ezra & Gil ~

My second favourite brunch spot would have to be Ezra & Gil. Another Northern Quarter treat, this is the epitome of chill. Admittedly their website doesn't exactly go overboard with details/photos, but head over to their Instagram so you can really pick up on their awesomeness.

The menu is essentially made up of every single brunch option you could dream of... and then some. From avocado and poached egg on sourdough (see said delish meal above) and chia bowls, to home baked granola and a pretty extensive range of salads, E&G have got it goin' on.

Oh and ahoy to all Fruit and veg lovers; you can also pick up provisions here, alongside a selection of magazines to delve in to whilst sipping your drink of choice.

One you simply must, must try!

Foundation ~

Ok, so this is number one for me, no doubt about it. This is one place me and Matt find ourselves sitting in for hours on end (which says it all if y'ask me).

Unlike a lot of coffee shops, in Foundation, you have plenty of space. You can do your own thing without feeling as though you're in ear's reach of someone else's conversation, which is (obviously) a major plus. 

They also offer pretty much all of the caffeine/warm related drinks in existence, and sell a good  selection home-made gluten free cakes, sandwiches and salads. Just the clarify, the coffee is outta this world good.

Another important factor is the staff. Foundation as a brand are obviously pretty picky when it comes to the 'ol hiring process. Everyone that works there is oh-so welcoming and they always make a conscious effort to talk to you.

The coffee house also attracts a really lovely kind of customer; there ain't no rowdiness going on in this joint, uh uh.

If you've enjoyed your visit that much, you can even take some of the fun home with you by stocking up on some Foundation-shaped merch. I'm talkin' tshirts, mugs, bags, pens, and who'd have thought it... coffee.

10 out of 10 would recommend.

Federal ~

Last, but by no means least, we have Federal. Federal is located near the Arndale Shopping Centre, which is pretty damn handy if you're in the mood to spend some dollar. 

I'd seen this one on Instagram prior to our first visit, so I knew we were gonna be in for a treat. 

The menu isn't too dissimilar from that of Ezra & Gill, but is equally delicious. The staff are again, SO friendly, and make sure you have everything you need for that perfect brunch.

It can get pretty busy throughout the day, so don't be too disheartened if you can't get a table the second you walk through the door - I promise it's worth the small wait.

It's very cosy, and definitely not as spaced-out as the likes of Foundation, but they've made it work and I love it nonetheless. Everyone is having a blast listening to banging tunes and stuffing their faces with edible delights, so there's definitely no uncomfortable vibes to be had. And, just look at the decor; ridiculously cool.

 So there we have it; my top 4 places to brunch in the City that is Manchester! Have you been to any of the above? I would love to hear your favourite places!

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