Wednesday, 30 December 2015

What I Got For Christmas 2015

I've toyed and toyed with the idea of writing this post. Questioning whether or not people would think I'm bragging. But you know what? I don't care. I'm writing it anyway! Every year I enjoy watching videos or reading about what people have been given on Christmas morning, so I'm going to write my own post this year! I meant to write on last year but failed to, and this year I've seen a few of the bloggers I follow write up something similar, and I have really enjoyed seeing what Santa brought them for Christmas. And I, as always, was very lucky to receive some truly gorgeous and thoughtful gifts for Christmas. After being thoroughly spoiled, and eating my entire weight in Ben and Jerry's/Vienetta/Cheesecake, I have pretty much been slumped on the sofa enjoying all my Christmas gifts. But I've mustered up the energy to sit down and write, even if I am accompanied by a berry daiquiri. Yum.
Since I'm primarily a beauty blogger, I'll start off with the ton of makeup and skincare items I received from family and friends! My mum always likes to treat me and my two younger sisters equally at christmas, and when they were both receiving expensive gadgets, my mum decided to sneak into my bedroom and see what things I was running out of. She had a good rummage, and I could actually tell that someone had been through my makeup, skincare and perfume as everything was out of place. After rummaging through my perfume drawer, she noticed that I was running out of my Clinique Happy and my Prada Candy Eau Florale perfumes - so she repurchased the Clinique for me (the cutie), and accidently picked up the Prada Candy L'Eau perfume - although I actually really like it! It's very different from the Eau Florale, so I will still go ahead and repurchase that in the New Year - but I think the L'Eau is a lot more winter appropriate! 

My mum knows I have wanted to try the Urban Decay lipsticks after I told her at least once a day for about 3 months. Whilst rummaging through my muji drawers, she noticed that I am a fan of brown toned pinks, so she picked up the Sheer Revolution Lipstick in the shade Sheer Rapture. It is absolutely gorgeous and I fell in love with it immediately! I just know I'm going to get a lot of wear out of it - especially in the spring! It is the perfect shade for daytime wear and I bloomin love it!! My mum also remembered how I'd been eying up the Mac Paint Pots every time we've been into Leeds. I've never really jumped on the Mac bandwagon. I bought two lipsticks and then gravitated more towards brands like Charlotte Tilbury and Nars (I'm so high maintenance hahaha). But I've really been wanting some of the Paint Pots to use use a bases, and I have been eying up quite a few different shades. My mum bought me the shade 'Vintage Selection' which is absolutely beautiful. I'm yet to try it out as I've not really been anywhere to wear it since she gave me it. If applying either on the go, in my stocking I received a cute little compact mirror from Cath Kidston, which will come in handy as I've misplaced my other compact!

In terms of skincare, I'd asked Santa for the Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Concentrate as it is such a cult products and I'm never one for buying myself expensive skincare. I actually knew that she got me this as she was having a bit of trouble checking out on the Debenhams website (she is useless with online shopping!) and ended up coming to me for help! I've used the Kiehl's oil for the past couple of evenings and I am in love! It leaves my skin looking hydrated and calm by morning, and it is a great accompaniment to a pamper evening! Speaking of pampering, I also got a lot of Lush for Christmas! My uncle got me a couple of loose bits, which somehow happened to be some of my favourite bits. I also received the Comfort and Joy gift set which has some of my all time favourite products in it! As the name would suggest it has a little bottle of the Comforter shower cream, alongside the Ro's Argan Body Conditioner, Reindeer Rock soap, and the Twilight shower gel.

Most of my real life/non-blogger friends know about my blog, and they bought me plenty of blog related things - including a few beauty bits! My friend Sarah bought me 'The Fashion Book' which is made up of an A-Z of icons, designers and all sorts! She also got me some of the Topshop beauty christmas baubles, and although the tree will be coming down soon, I have hung them on just for the time being. My friend Fern got me the Rimmel nail polish in the shade 'Chic in Chelsea' and the Soap and Glory Supercat eyeliner. I've actually wanted to try the Soap and Glory liner for some time, and I can't wait to try it out! 
Who doesn't love a good pair of socks at Christmas! Last year my mum went a tad overboard on the socks and I think I received about 40 pairs - all of which were never seen again! Since the weather started to get chillier, I've kept complaining about how someone has stolen all my fluffy socks (*looks suspiciously at sisters*). I bought myself about 10 pairs from Primark last Christmas, wore them each once and then I've not seen them since! She picked out this gorgeous pair of chunky knit socks from Monki and they are so warm! I actually have them on now and my feet are so toastie! I also received some adorable Mr and Mrs Claus socks from ASOS which are so soft! Alongside the christmassy socks, I also got these christmassy pyjamas - which I will wear all year round! I am really fussy with pyjamas, and I prefer to have the ones that have a slim leg - so these ones fit the bill perfectly! Unfortunately both were in the wash when I was taking my post photos, so neither have made it into the post - but trust me they're cute!

Also from ASOS (my family love it just as much as me!) I got this lovely ring! I've only recently started to get into rings, and I absolutely love this one! I'd actually seen it online and liked it, but didn't realise it was so big until I opened up the little ASOS box. I absolutely love it and I wore it on Christmas day! I was also lucky to receive this gorgeous stacking rose gold ring from Pandora, which all my friends were admiring when we went out for our Christmas meetup on Sunday. I also wore a gorgeous chevron print scarf which I received from my sister, (also from ASOS) and I can't wait to go out and wear it again. I even wore it to the supermarket today! I love wearing scarves, and I have quite a collection but I've been on the hunt for some darker ones to wear with my grey coat. I usually wear a grey scarf, however it doesn't look at all right when I wear it with my coat as they are exactly the same shade of grey! This one will go perfectly with all my coats and it very oversized so I can still use it as a blanket in my lectures (even if my friends laugh at me)!
My main present was so unexpected. I thought with expensive beauty products, I wouldn't receive anything else - but I nearly cried when I opened up a present containing the Fujifilm Instax Mini 90! I'd wanted an instant camera (and a Canon AE1, but I can still dream for one of those) years ago, but never received one - so when I opened this up I may have screamed a little bit! On Sunday I went out for an Italian with all my school friends as a little Christmas meetup before we all go back to university, and I took my new camera along. I had a photo with each of my friends (except one who wasn't able to make it!) and then we managed to get one all together. I also got a couple of packs of film and a camera bag alongside the camera, and I thought it was such a sweet gift! Plus the photos make for a good Instagram prop ;)

Another thing that makes for a good photo prop is a good book, and ever since the whole blogging community went mad for the book 'The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying' by Marie Kondo, I've wanted to read it. I'm not really one for being spotless as I'm usually too busy to put things away and then a mess builds up around me. But I honestly can't stand messy and unclean places. I've read the first chapter or so, and I really hope this book inspires me to make the time to tidy things away, and I can't wait to sit down with a nice cup of tea in my new Cath Kidston Mug and read the rest of it! And that's everything I received! Well... almost everything, there were a couple of gift received post photo taking, and a few other bits like chocolate, socks and money!

What did you get for Christmas?
Thanks for reading!
Love Charlotte x

Sunday, 27 December 2015

2015: A Personal Reflection

With 2015 nearly over, I've felt a rush of excitement with the prospects of a new start. I always embrace the start of a new year with open arms, and the idea of a blank slate fuels me with determination. Over the last couple of months I've spent a lot of time reflecting on this past year. Thinking about what the year has brought me. What I've achieved, my accomplishments. How different I am from this point last year. What's gone wrong and how I can have a go at working on it over 2016. I've really been thinking about my blog and what I want to come from it in 2016, but I've decided I'm going to save that for an entirely separate post. This post is going to focus on personal achievements. 2015 has been an incredible year for me in terms of self-improvement. I lost a bit of weight. I gained some confidence (not much but still). I worked hard. I made some incredible friends. I ditched those who were getting me down, and generally just tried to improve my mental and physical health.

Every year I like to set myself goals. Not necessarily 'New Year's Resolutions', but something for me to work towards over the coming months. I'm a big believer in that these have to be realistic goals. There's no point me setting targets that are near on impossible to achieve. At the end of 2014, I told myself that by the end of 2015 I'd be more confident, 'a few pounds lighter', and more independent. And I have certainly achieved everything I set out to, and a lot more on top of that. I feel like I've really come into my stride over the last few months. I feel more settled at university and I'm really starting to discover who I really am (how cliché). As I am writing this, I am currently doing a research project on 'friendship', and it has seriously opened my eyes and redefined my thoughts on what it is to be a friend. I've built up such a good support system, and my project has made me appreciate them all the more.

I've had so many incredible opportunities and made some amazing memories, but I've also had my fair share of bad luck. One of the highlights of my year has to be going back to university in September.  As well as spending time with all my friends, I've also made great progress in terms of assignments and I've developed such a good work ethic. Over the last few weeks I've met up with my friends that are studying all over the country, and I've really enjoyed catching up and hearing all the things that are going on in their lives. I went out for coffee with a couple of my bestest friends at the start of December, and we spent nearly 4 hours talking non-stop because we hadn't seen each other since the end of September! Moments like these have kept me sane this year, I think if I hadn't as many I would have dropped out of university and taken up permanent residence in my bedroom.

I'm so glad I haven't dropped out or done anything too rash, as this year has been one of the best ones I've had in a long time. And on reflection, I feel as though next year is only going to improve on the last. One of the main things that I want to work on is my stress levels. I get incredibly stressed out over the slightest little things, and it has really started to get to me. My health has suffered quite a bit, and I spend so much of my time stressing that I have no time to do other things. And so I really want to make an effort to schedule in more time to relax. Although I always make the effort to treat myself to a regular face mask and a long hot soak in the bath, I want to try and schedule frequent calming sessions. Maybe trying meditation?

In general I just want to work on myself as that is exactly what I did last year, and it's something I want to continue to do throughout 2016. I have a few ideas of what I want to do but they aren't something I want to share here on my blog as they are quite personal and they wouldn't make for an interesting post anyway.

Have you or will you be making any New Year's Resolutions?
Thanks for reading!
Love Charlotte x

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Hello everyone! Just an extremely short post for you today as I'm sure your busy wrapping last minute gifts and making sure everything is ready in time for christmas! I'd contemplated with the idea of giving up blogging over the christmas holidays, but obviously I realised I couldn't do that! I love it too much! Right now, I'm all wrapped up in blankets infront of an open fire - sipping on a delicious hot chocolate. I've finished university for the holidays and I'm ready to just chill out and enjoy a well deserved break. I was given so much work to do over the Christmas holidays and I have got nearly all of it done, but I'm saving the rest till the start of the new year. Thankfully this year I don't have January exams to stress out over and I can work through my to-do-list before I go back.

I've got all my presents wrapped and they are underneath the tree ready to be opened on Friday! I have done so much today and tomorrow I intend to fully relax. My family and I always go to the evening mass on christmas eve and we are planning to have a big chinese takeaway afterwards (mmmmm), but I'm most excited for christmas day! We always have my family over and have a massive feast! This year I'm in charge of making the yorkshire puddings for 7 people - the pressure is real haha! 

So I just wanted to wish you all a Merry Christmas and I hope you have a lovely day filled with as much festivity as possible! I'll be posting as usual on Sunday at 9am on the dot and I'll be sharing my musings and thoughts on 2015! 

What are you most excited for on Christmas day?
Thanks for reading!
Love Charlotte x

Sunday, 20 December 2015

My Hydrating Winter Skincare Routine

Ok. I'm sensing a pattern here. All I seem to blog about recently is lipstick and skincare products. I'm sorry. I'll try harder. I promise. Maybe. But seriously, I have found some incredible products that have been keeping my skin nice and hydrated recently! I made a similar post exactly a year ago (plz don't go back and read it, my old posts are so embarrassing!), and with winter fast approaching, many people battle with the elements, central heating, and various other things! As it starts to get colder (why is it so cold?!), it is extremely important to adjust your skincare routine so that your skin is properly looked after. Winter calls for extra layers of moisture and protection so I've rounded up everything that fits the bill and have been slapping it on my face until I can't take any more! 
I know what you all want me to talk about first, so I will... The new Magnitone The Full Monty Skincare Brush* has been incredible for my skin this winter! It has left my skin so smooth, and I honestly think that it has been the most beneficial to my skin out of everything mentioned in this post. I've been using it once a day (in the evening) to remove all the grime and makeup from my face and I have noticed a visible difference in my skin's texture. It hasn't really done anything to calm down my spots, but my skin looks a lot more 'clean' - if that makes sense? It gently exfoliates and tones whilst removing dirt and impurities and serums and moisturisers soak in so much easier! The other day it ran out of charge for the first time so I had to manually cleanse my face, and I was shocked at how much difference it actually made! 

Alongside my Magnitone, I have been using the Merumaya Melting Cleansing Balm* to remove the bulk of my makeup. I've never tried anything from Merumaya before, but this cleanser is fab at taking my makeup of quickly! I don't use this with my Magnitone out of personal preference, and I just massage it in and use one of the Liz Earle muslin cloths to wipe everything away. The cleanser is very rich and silky, perfect for those with drier skin or those just wanting something that can get makeup off easily. It cleanses the skin very well, and doesn't leave a greasy/waxy residue like some cleansing balms can. You apply it dry skin, add a splash of water and it turns into more of an oil. After I've used it to take all my makeup off (sometimes I use it twice if I have heavier makeup on), I follow up with the Good Things Manuka Honey Creamy Cleanser. I've recently mentioned that it is 'saving my skin' and it still is! I have a bit of a breakout at the moment, but I've had a lot of sleepless nights and deadlines have been stressing me out so I can understand why. I've been using this both morning and night and it is incredibly soothing and calming on blemishes. The manuka honey acts as an antibacterial and is perfect for reducing the size of nasty blemishes. I wouldn't really describe it as 'creamy', as it is more of a rich lotion formula and I think this is perfect for winter. It contains mostly natural ingredients and I think this would be perfect for most skin types - however the brand do advise against those with bee/wasp sting allergies to stay well clear of this particular range of products! 

After I've finished cleansing, I move onto the toning stage of my routine. I've fairly recently got my hands on the Pixi Glow Tonic after it being so hard to get hold of and this stuff is literally like gold dust! It leaves your face so glowy and isn't too harsh at all! It is classed as an acid toner as it contains a mild concentration (5%) of glycolic acid. It is so gentle that it can be used twice a day and usually I do, but sometimes if my skin looks a bit aggravated I switch it up for the Liz Earle Skin Boost Tonic as it is more soothing. After toning I follow up with a serum and I'm not usually one for serums, but the Salcura Bioskin Dermaserum* has performed miracles on any dry patches! They have recently relaunched and reformulated their products and they are specifically formulated for those with sensitive and dry skin conditions such as Eczema and Psoriasis. And even though I have neither, I have found the serum incredibly hydrating in the cooler weather! 

After the serum I usually go in with something like tea tree oil or Sudocrem and apply it directly to blemishes to reduce any swelling and calm them slightly by morning. I don't always apply something and I mainly only use it on spots that look a bit more red and angry. I then follow up with the Liz Earle Skin Repair Moisturiser for normal/combination skin. Although a little more on the expensive side of things, it really agrees with my skin, and acts as a perfect base for makeup! Plus the tub lasts forever as well! It is such a lightweight formula and absorbs into the skin straight away, leaving your skin feeling nourished, hydrated and thoroughly pampered. 

Talking about pampering! A couple of times a week I use a face mask as a real treat for my skin, and the only one I've really been using recently is the Good Things Manuka Honey Radiance Face Mask. Ok it doesn't really do much in terms of hydrating but it certainly doesn't dry out your skin, and boy does it leave your skin radiant! Plus for only £7.99 you can't really go wrong!

And that's it! Sorry this post has been so long - major brownie points to those that read through to the end! 
What one skincare product could you not live without?
Thanks for reading!
Love Charlotte x


The Magnitone Full Monty Skincare Brush (RRP £130), the Merumaya Melting Cleansing Balm (RRP £15.50), and the Salcura Bioskin Dermaserum (RRP £11.99) were each kindly sent to me by Magnitone, Merumaya and Salcura Skin Therapy for the purpose of a review. All thoughts are my own and you can read my full disclaimer policy here

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Alternatives To A Festive Red Lip

Every year when Christmas rolls around, I whack out my MAC Ruby Woo lipstick, and pretty much adorn a red lip throughout the majority of December. But I know that there are others out there that either hate wearing red lipstick or a simply to scared to where anything that bold. So after sharing my favourite festive red lipsticks on Sunday, I thought it only fair to share some that were less bright and... festive. We all know how much of a lipstick hoarder I am, so you can imagine how hard it was for me to whittle it down to a select few. It was waaaay easier for my other post as they all had to be red which limited me slightly! I wanted to get it down to five so that there were five reds and five alternatives. But after a lot of thought I realised that there was no chance and eventually managed to select six. Instead of going for lots of bold lipsticks, I thrown in a couple on the more natural side and a sheer lipstick for those of you who don't feel comfortable with a bright lip. 

I'll start off with the brights. Not everyone wants to wear red lipstick, so the MAC (Satin? Amplified? God knows!) lipstick in 'Red Balloon' is a good option. Don't be fooled by the name, it isn't at all a shade of red - it's an absolutely gorgeous shade of fuschia pink, and I tend to wear it all year round. Often you can find that fuschia lipsticks fall on the cooler side, but this shade is quite a warm with red undertones. To say it isn't a matte lipstick it has incredible staying power. I've worn it before (without a lipliner) and it has lasted over 8 hours with minimal touch ups - so it's perfect to wear whilst eating your Christmas dinner! If MAC isn't really in your budget, I've found that Revlon's 'Fuchsia Shock' is a good dupe. 

Another similar sort of shade is the Rimmel Lasting Finish lipstick in 'Heartbreaker', but it seems to be getting harder and harder to find it anywhere! I managed to get one of my friends hooked on this shade and she wears it almost everyday and has used up multiple lipsticks! I'm still on my first lipstick as I wear it less often than she does, but it doesn't mean I don't love it any less! It is a gorgeous shade of pink, and is a perfect alternative to a festive red lip! 

If you're looking for a pink but aren't wanting anything too bright and you're wanting to treat yourself this Christmas, the Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution lipsticks just scream luxury. They do have more shades if this one isn't for you, including a few reds! I actually wore the shade Amazing Grace last christmas, and that is the shade I am sharing with you today. It a gorgeous brown toned pink as is one of my favourite neutrals in my collection at the moment. Because it's a matte lipstick, it is a great one to wear whilst eating or sipping drinks as it clings to your lips - not in a bad way, but it one that gives it incredible staying power! 

If you prefer to opt for a sheer lipstick, or are simply scared of bold lips, the Revlon lipbutters are incredible! I included the shade 'candy apple' in my red lips edit, and a few of you agreed with me in that the formulas are spot on! They are perfect for daytime wear, and even if you've already planned your makeup, I'd highly recommend adding some into your makeup collection!

Last but not least! I have the Nars Audacious Lipstick in Anna. It is a gorgeous cool toned pink and again is incredibly well lasting. I have mentioned these lipsticks tons of times already on my blog so I won't bang on about them too much. The formula is amazing and they come in sooooooo many different shades!

What makeup will you be wearing this Christmas?
Thanks for reading!
Love Charlotte x


Sunday, 13 December 2015

Festive Red Lipsticks

The festive season is finally upon us, and it brings with it a whole host of wonderful parties and celebrations. So this post is dedicated to those of you who are going out with family and friends, eating lots of delicious food and sipping lots a few cocktails, and simply just enjoying yourself! Like many makeup lovers, I love wearing a red lip in the run up to christmas. So I have finally decided to share my favourites so you are covered for the entire festive season! I wanted to share with you my top 5, but I just couldn't narrow it down! I managed to get it down to 6 lipsticks each with a variety of shades and finishes. For those of you just starting out in makeup or those that haven't yet ventured as far as a bold lip, I'd recommend the Revlon Colour Stay Lip Butter in 'Candy Apple'. It offers an easy to apply balm that adds just a touch of colour. It looks great with fresh, glory skin and simple eye makeup, and can be built up to a slightly bolder colour if desired. Also, as has a sheer finish you don't have to worry about it leaving a ring round your lips whilst eating - which is great if you're nibbling! 

If you're looking for something a little more opaque, yet still easy to apply throughout the festive season - then look no further than the NARS Satin Lip Pencils. Here I have the shade Mandore which is a gorgeous dark red. They are so creamy and there are tonnes of different shades to choose from, so if you aren't after a red you can have a look to see what else floats your boat! For something a little more long lasting, opt for a matte lipstick such as MAC's Retro Matte Lipstick in 'Ruby Woo'. It is quite a deep, sophisticated red that would go perfectly with almost any outfit. Charlotte Tilbury's Matte Revolution in 'Red Carpet Red' would also be a good option, but I don't have that particular shade in my collection yetRuby Woo is a bit of cult classic, and one most people tend to try out when they are looking for a new red lippy. Ruby Woo has an extremely matte finish which, if you can handle it, can switch up your look in an instant. Some people say that this lipstick is slightly drying, but I disagree. Although in the winter months, you will want to make sure your lips are properly hydrated before application. So if it is one that you reaaaaally like the look of - you can do what I do and apply a touch of lip balm whilst prepping your skin.

For a touch of luxury at a slightly cheaper cost, why not take a look at the Daniel Sandler Lipsticks. They are on a similar price level as MAC, but my oh my are they more luxurious. Here I have the shade Casablanca which a beautiful deep red. I'm 90% sure that this is the lipstick that I plan to wear on Christmas day. But I'm torn between it and the Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution Lipstick in Love Liberty - a slightly more berry toned red. The Daniel Sandler lipsticks however, are extremely hydrating and have more of a satin type finish - not matte at all! The Body Shop's Colour Crush Lipstick in 'Enraptured Red' is the one you want if you love (and I mean love) a glossy finish. I'd say it was almost like a lipgloss but without the unpleasant stickiness. It is similar in colour to the Miss Sporty Lipstick, although costs slightly more. And finally, if you aren't feeling the traditional shades of red, why not opt for something more on the berry side. The Rimmel Kate Moss lipstick in '107' is one I have often reached for in the festive season. It is very similar in formula to the Daniel Sandler lipsticks, but obviously being off the high street it is a lot more affordable. Although this particular shade is one of my all time favourites, there are a couple of different toned reds in the same collection which are also well worth checking out!

If you have any recommendations, I'd love to hear them - as you all know I'm a sucker for lipsticks!
Thanks for reading!
Love Charlotte x
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