Sunday, 29 November 2015

My Current Favourite Lipsticks

It's no secret that I am a sucker for lipstick, but my addiction always seems to grow during autumn and winter. And whilst cleaning out my car on Wednesday, I noticed that I had a lot of lipsticks rattling around in my door pocket - so I thought I'd share the ones that I seem to take with me everywhere! 

First up is a red, and I couldn't leave out the Revlon Colour Burst Lip Butter in Candy Apple (even if it is going to be in my November Favourites on Wednesday - if I manage to get photos taken!). I've worn this to university throughout November and received so many compliments! One of my friends asked me what it was, and when I told her she said she'd never heard of Revlon! I really want to go and see what other shades they have as I have a couple - but I prefer the darker shades for a wash of colour! I have been mixing it up/alternating it with the Burberry Kisses Lipstick in Sepia. This particular shade of lipstick is perfect to wear in the daytime, and has been one of my go-to's over the last couple of months!

In my back to university goals blog post, I mentioned that I wanted to try and turn up to lectures looking less like I'd crawled out of bed, and the MAC lipstick in Red Balloon has really helped make me look more awake. It is a really bright fuschia pink and I've been wearing it when I've had a really simple outfit on to make myself feel a little more put together. When I've been wanting a pink, but haven't wanted to go bright, the Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution Lipstick in Amazing Grace has been tossed into my handbag. I've spoken about it many times before on my blog and I've actually treated myself to a couple more shades for christmas!

And finally! For instances where I have been going out in the evening or for when I've wanted a more intense makeup look - the No7 Stay Perfect Lipstick in Grace has been my favourite to wear. It has more of a matte/satin finish and looks incredibly glamourous on the lips!

What is your current favourite lipstick?
Thanks for reading!
Love Charlotte x

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

The Skincare Range That Saved My Skin

If I'm honest this post should be titled "The Skincare Range That Is Saving My Skin", but that doesn't sound half as much as gripping now does it? If I could go back to this time last month and hand myself these products, I will have saved myself so many tears. I'd not heard of the Brand Good Things until the start of the month where I saw the makeup wipes featured on someone's blog. So whilst browsing the supermarket aisles, when I spotted a few of their products - I picked up everything I could find except the moisturiser (as I'm happy with my current ones). 

The first thing that I tried out were the Total Wipe Out Cleansing Wipes (£3.49). I used them prior to cleansing to take the bulk of my makeup off, and wow I was impressed! I usually use the Garnier Micellar Water at this stage, or if I'm tired or being really lazy I use the Simple Skincare Wipes - cutting out the whole putting the product on a cotton pad step. Although I'm not so keen on the sickly raspberry and cranberry scent, they have quickly replaced my Simple wipes as they are more moist (ew I hate that word). After seeing how good the makeup wipes were, I was so excited to try out the Manuka Honey Creamy Cleanser (£4.99). Although being slightly worried that it was going to have a really sickly smell like the makeup wipes, I was pleasantly surprised to find that I really like the smell. It smells really fresh and is incredibly soothing on the skin. Within a couple of days of using the cleanser, I noticed that my skin had calmed down loads and my blemishes seemed to be fading. At first I thought that it was just coincidence and that my skin was just having a 'good skin day', but with continued use I realised that it was actually the cleanser that was banishing my blemishes!

Alongside the creamy cleanser, I have also been using the Manuka Honey Radiance Face Mask (£5.99) and all that needs to be said is it does exactly what it says on the tin (or tube in the case).  As soon as you wash it off your skin looks so much brighter and radiant! I've never really thought my skin looked particularly dull, but I was surprised at how much it illuminated my face! I've found that it is pretty similar to the Antipodes Manuka Honey Mask. Obviously the Antipodes mask is a little more luxury, but the Good Things one does the job perfectly. The manuka honey in the products has brilliant antibacterial properties and I'm putting this down to my improving skin!

As far as I can tell, none of the products contain any parabens, sulphates, mineral oils, and other nasties! And the best part? They don't break the bank! The anti-wrinkle day cream/moisturiser seems to be the most expensive product from the entire brand at a bargain £8.99, so at this pricing I will definitely be trying out more things from the brand! One thing I should point out though, is that people who are allergic to bee/wasp stings can't use any of the products from the Manuka Honey range - however there are a couple of other ranges that you might like (including the rest of the products from the makeup wipe range).

Have you tried anything from Good Things? What were your thoughts?
Thanks for reading!
Love Charlotte x

Sunday, 22 November 2015

How To Take Good Photos In Bad Lighting

With the days getting shorter and the weather getting more and more gloomy with easy passing day, it is becoming increasingly harder to get some decent looking shots to go alongside your blog posts. Whilst I was at work this week, I was showing students how to use studio equipment to properly light their subjects - and besides wishing I had my own studio, I found myself thinking how I could achieve similar effects with what little natural light I have at home. A couple of months ago, I shared a post telling you all how I take my blog photos, and at the time we had loads of sunlight. But now I feel as though I should update it slightly to fall in line with the current time of year. I do have to be completely honest and say that you shouldn't expect miracles from the advice I have to offer, but I do hope that my tips help you in some small way.

 The Obvious Stuff 

First things first, you will need to make sure your camera is charged. I know this sounds so stupid an obvious, but there are so many occasions over the last couple of weeks where I have thought "omg the lighting is ok, I can actually get some blog photos taken" - only to set everything up to find that my camera battery is flat.  Besides being completely frustrating, it can mean that you miss your opportunity to take some well lit photos!  When your camera is charged up and you finally get to the point of taking your photos - make sure that you find the area with the best source of light, whether it's near a window or outside if needs be (as long as it's not raining or snowing obvs). 

Camera Settings

When your environment is darker, you WILL need to alter your camera settings. As I've said before, one of the main camera settings that will affect how bright your photos are, is ISO. Basically, ISO is how sensitive the camera's sensor is to light. The higher the ISO, the more sensitive the sensor is - making your images brighter (but also grainer at the same time). Generally as a rule, I like to use an ISO of 100 or 200 hundred at a push depending on what I'm shooting. Over the last few weeks I've started using an ISO of 400 as my camera doesn't have a setting for 300 (or I'd use that), and then slightly increasing the aperture accordingly. With a higher ISO, I have also been using a slower shutter speed. As I have previously mentioned, I usually use a shutter speed of 1/125 - but recently I have been going as slow as 1/60. The slower your shutter speed, the more light gets into the shutter - but if you do too slow, your images tend to be blurry if you don't use a tripod. 

Other Techy Stuff

HAHAHA how vague can I be with the term 'techy stuff'?! But like I said in my other post, it is really important to take your files in a RAW+JPEG file format. This may sound majorly technical and professional, but is honestly so easy to do - but I can't explain how as it's different for every camera. But this particular camera setting allows you to essentially 're-take' your photo in Photoshop (and some other editing softwares/programs). You can alter your iso/aperture meaning you can completely change how your image came out! 

If All Else Fails - Photoshop

I know it is technically cheating as you aren't actually taking good photos straight off, but I always end up editing my pictures as they never turn out bright enough for my liking. If you are new to Photoshop or you are just looking for a simpler way to make your photos brighter, I have a really simple way that literally takes me like 30 seconds to edit my photos! It is super easy and (not being biased) I think I've explained it pretty well! 

How are you getting on with your blog photos this season?
Thanks for reading!
Love Charlotte x

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

My Christmas Wishlist 2015

Is it too early to be sharing a Christmas related post? Probably. Do I care? NOPE. And with Christmas fast approaching, I'd thought I'd share with you my dream christmas gifts! I did a similar thing last year and it seemed to go down well with you all, so I thought I'd do one again! Now obviously I don't expect my friends and family to shell out for a Michael Kors bag - but a girl can dream ey!

So the other week I took a trip into town in the hopes of finishing off my christmas shopping, and although I have a couple of small things to get, I've pretty much done all my christmas shopping now, and over the last couple of weeks or so I have been making a note of all the things that I have spotted for myself so I can put them on my christmas list for Santa! Harvey Nichols, Superdrug and Boots were filled with some gorgeous beauty gift sets! I even went into Space NK (I didn't realise that Leeds even had a Space NK!) purely to swatch the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Edit palette (which is completely and utterly gorgeous by the way).

I popped into Harvey Nichols and there are so many gorgeous limited edition gift sets out this year! Clarins have a few cute stocking filler type products with little miniature samples,  Benefit have their usual giftsets in christmassy packaging and NARS have their recent collaboration with Steven Klein. One of my favourite brands last christmas, Bobbi Brown have some absolutely gorgeous limited edition palettes again this year. They are however very similar to the ones they had out last year - so if like me you bought or were gifted one (or more you lucky lucky person) last year, then you may find that the brand is a little disappointing! However, Charlotte Tilbury are making up for any other brands' poor attempts and have some AMAZING gift sets available. I may have even accidentally treated myself to a couple as a little christmas present to myself. I'd love to have the two gift sets that contain every single one of her lipsticks, but unfortunately they are insanely expensive (*over £200 each*)!

Although I'd love to have everything I've featured, my favourite pick, that has gone straight onto my christmas list has to be the pink glitter clutch bag from Topshop! All that glitter is perfect for the festive season! I only have one or two clutches in my bag collection at the moment and I am looking to expand my collection to include some more occasional pieces. I absolutely love this and it is a bargain to say it is from Topshop! My other favourite is the makeup bag from Skinnydip, and it is actually the 'Charlotte Makeup Bag', which I didn't realise until I went to get the link for it - so it feels right that I should own it at some point ha! 

What are you asking Santa for this year? ;)
Thanks for reading!
Love Charlotte x


Sunday, 15 November 2015

Recent Skincare Additions

My skin has taken a (big) turn for the worse recently. I thought it was getting better; my scars were fading and I had less breakouts. But I was being lulled into a false sense of security and now my acne looks like something you would see on an episode of embarrassing bodies. As soon as all this cold weather came around my skin was like BAM.. here you go, have a few more spots. It probably doesn't help that I'm only getting around 4 hours of sleep a night and my stress levels are through the roof atm. I'd love to be brave and show you how bad they actually are at the moment, but I'm sure if you Google image 'severe acne' you can imagine my skin is somewhat similar to the less severe results that come up *cries*. You can tell they're bad as I've been popping out to the shops with at least 2 layers of full coverage foundation on, and you know that usually I'd just bob out makeup free (or with a dash of light concealer at most)! 
With my usual products failing me, I began scouring the shelves for some products that would help calm things down a lot a bit. And with the help of the trusty blogging community, I picked out a couple of products that had seemingly 'worked miracles' for other people, in the hopes that they would too help out my skin! 

First up I picked up the incredibly hyped up Antipodes Aura Manuka Honey Mask, which aside from the antibacterial properties, was meant to really help calm skin down whilst keeping it hydrated. I'd wanted to try it out for a while but was always put off by the price tag. But it has gotten to the point where, if someone would work, I'd pay ££££ for it! But when had a little offer on (which was well timed with my breakout), I decided I had to pick it up to see if it would sooth my skin. The moment it arrived I ran upstairs to the bathroom, ran a hot bath and slathered my face with a thick layer of the stuff. It smells amaaaaaaazing and is so so so relaxing. It has calmed by skin down a hell of a lot over the last couple of weeks, and I can noticeably tell a difference after using it. 

At the same time I picked up the La Roche-Posay Serozinc spray which is targeted at blemish prone skin. I'm not sure if it has had a difference on my skin, but when I first used it alongside the mask - my skin looked tonnes better by morning! I really love that it is slightly mattifying as I noticed that my makeup seemed to stay on a little better throughout the day. However after finally buying the Pixi Glow Tonic last week, I have been using the Serozinc less and less. After Caroline Hirons (goddess of all things skin) mentioned it last year (?) the blogging/youtube world went crazy for it. I was going to jump on the bandwagon then, but as always I was a little skeptical about the claims. In a brief moment of online-shopping-weakness, I bit the bullet and bought myself a bottle. And what can I say? WHY DID I NOT GET ON THAT FLIPPING BANDWAGON?! It is working wonders on my skin. I never thought my skin looked particularly dull, but this has really added a glow to my skin. It has smoothed it out beyond belief and is really helping to reduce the number of blemishes. 

And finally! I've been trying out the new Claudia Louch Mint Exfoliating Facial Polish* which so far I am really liking! Claudia Louch is a relatively new brand to me and this scrub is a little different from my usual face scrubs in the sense that is a more gentle (but still effective) with larger grains of sugar. It is also unusual, as you use it on dry skin rather than damp skin. It is 94% natural and packed full of plant extracts, it is incredible for a deep clean without drying out your skin. 

And they're are my recent skincare buys! 
What is your one holy grail skincare product?
Thanks for reading!
Love Charlotte x


The Claudia Louch Mint Exfoliating Facial Polish (RRP £59) was kindly sent to me by Claudia Louch for the purpose of a review. All thoughts are my own and you can read my full disclaimer policy here

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

My Favourite Picks: Jewellery

** I am writing this post incredibly late as it is due to go up in less than an hour, and I've spent the whole day writing assignments, so my brain is mush! I need to get back on track and get my posts written so I schedule them and not have this INCREDIBLY last minute panic, whilst I'm already panicking and stressing out! But because I am writing it so late, it means I can remember to give you all a massive thank you! Last night on my very long train journey home I hit 1500 followers on my blog - which is  absolutely insane!! **

I'm a big fan of minimalist jewellery. You won't find many (if any) statement pieces in my jewellery box! Although I have quite a few (ok, a lot) items in my jewellery box (seriously it is beyond full), I only really tend to wear a few select pieces and I thought I'd share them with you today!

One of my favourite pieces is my Pandora charm bracelet which was a gift from my mum for my 18th birthday. Alongside that I received the 18th birthday charm from my sisters. I now have a total of five charms on my Pandora bracelet and I love them all! I am incredibly fussy with Pandora charms and my friends and family know this haha! I only like the silver ones (no gold or diamonds here) and I can't stand the ones that dangle off. My favourite charm has to be the circular nativity one I received last christmas (the one on the far right)!

Alongside my Pandora bracelet, I have my Pandora birthstone ring. I was born in June (#summerbaby) so I obviously got the June birthstone (moonstone). The ring has a gorgeous sterling silver bubble design and features a simple moonstone set in more silver shaped like flower petals. I don't own many rings as they aren't something I really wore until recently, but my Pandora ring alongside the gold zig zag one from ASOS. The gold zigzag ring is so simple and dainty, but it can really make your outfit look a little more interesting. Plus is always matches the colour of my nails which is a win win situation. 

My ASOS watch has revolutionised me. Until I bought this one back in June/July/August (the whole summer blurs into one haha), I hadn't worn a watch since I was seven years old. A teacher in primary school told me off for wearing my Disney diamante encrusted Ariel/Little Mermaid watch, and I've never worn one since (#childhoodtrauma). But when I decided I was going to be commuting to university this year, I knew I'd need a watch to help me catch my trains on time. So I browsed and browsed and it took me forever to find one that I liked for a decent price! But eventually I found this one on ASOS for £20, and into my basket it went! I love how simple the design is, the navy wrist strap, the rose gold face - everything about it! 

I've had this Miss Selfridge necklace (the one with a little pearl inlaid in it) for a couple of years now and I wear it on almost a regular basis. I have a couple that I may switch it out for incase it doesn't look right with an outfit, but this is the one that I wear the most out of all my necklaces - infact I'm wearing it right now! I got my Accessorize necklace around the same time and I used to wear it with EVERYTHING. I love that it is a more modern take on a St Christopher necklace and it will remain around my neck until it either falls apart or gets lost! For when I'm not channeling the gold jewellery, I usually reach for my silver Topshop C necklace. I got this yeaaaars ago as a gift and I love it! It is a little worn now after so much use, but I still wear it!

Thanks for reading!
Love Charlotte x

Sunday, 8 November 2015

Giant Lush Haul (Feat. Christmas Products!)

Don't mind me, I just have a serious Lush problem. I went online to order a couple (as in 2 or 3!!) of things to treat myself after having a pretty rough week at uni, and I ended up ordering about half the Christmas range plus a good few things off the normal range too. Whoops! I must be honest though, this haul was pretty much me replenishing my stock with some of my favourite Lush picks, but I did also purchase a few new things (new to me at least!) and some of the limited edition bits!
First up is the Frozen Bath Bomb! I actually thought it was part of the christmas range but it turns out it's not? With uplifted neroli, rose oil and grapefruit, it smells so relaxing and is perfect for a weekend pamper session! I used it the other day and it left my bath a gorgeous shade of dark blue/turquoise with plenty of specks of shimmer. 

The Experimenter Bath Bomb is always popping up on my Instagram feed and I can't believe that I've never tried it before! It is supposed to be such a cult classic! I must admit I'd probably never have picked it up in the shop as its not the type of scent I usually go for. It is fragranced with vanilla, tonka and verivert - but if I had to describe it I'd say it smells like the incense a priest waves around during a mass at church.

The Bar Humbug Bubble Bar is another newbie for me. Although it doesn't smell too christmassy, I really do like the scent! It smells like liquorice and blackcurrant which is a nice alternative to The Comforter this winter. One thing I will say though, if you're ordering it online - it is a lot smaller than I thought it would be. I thought it was the same size as The Comforter, but it is probably about half the size! Nevertheless, it still looks and smells beautiful!

One of my new favourites is the Milky Bath Bubble Bar and it is so hydrating and perfect for winter. I believe it is one of the newest releases from the Lush Kitchen, and having bought it a couple of times over the last month or two, I'd say it was a winner! Jam packed full of skimmed milk and cocoa butter, Milky Bath doesn't leave your bath all colourful, and although it isn't very impressive - it does however make some gorgeous bubbles and leaves your skin feeling incredibly soft. 
The Magic Wand Reusable Bubble Bar was one of my favourites last year so I definitely had to pick one up again this year! The Magic Wand is a reusable bubble bar so you can get plenty of uses out of it - simply wave the magic wand around in the bathwater and you are left with Snow Fairy scented bubbles (sweet, like candyfloss). It supposedly lasts around 10 baths, I can't remember how many times I used it last year, but I do know that it leaves your bath a gorgeous shade of pink!

From the halloween range, I picked up the Sparkly Pumpkin Bubble Bar. I also wanted to pick up the Lord Of Misrule Shower Gel but it was sold out when I went to order! I used the sparkly pumpkin the other day in my bath and wow it smells amazing! Packed with juniperberry, lime and grapefruit oils, it has a really sophisticated scent which leaves your bathroom smelling amazing. 
Urgg how gorgeous does the Holly Golightly Bubble Bar look? All that glitter! I think I'm going to save this one for Christmas Eve as it smells and looks so christmassy! Packed full of spicy cinnamon leaf and patchouli essential oils, it is perfect for getting you into the festive spirit. With the addition of glitter, which may annoy some, it leaves your skin with a wonderful glow after you've hopped out the bath! 

The Candy Mountain Bubble Bar is another newbie for me. I knew it had the same scent as the Magic Wand (and Snow Fairy) so I knew that I would like it. I must admit that I prefer the scent of Snow Fairy and the Magic Wand, as they smell a little sweeter. I really love the design of the mountain and I can't wait to use it!

Another repurchase is the Rose Jam Bubbleroon! Lush recently reformulated it, and this is the second time I've bought it since. I loved it before but I honestly prefer the reformulation as it looks so much nicer. It smells exactly the same, but they have added a little glitter - and you can't go wrong with glitter!

A couple if weeks ago I popped into the Lush in Leeds and picked up the Blackberry Bath Bomb. I loved it's fresh, fruity smell and I'm so glad I have another one to use! I'd go as far to say that it is my new favourite bath bomb from Lush! Although it doesn't actually have any blackberries in it (or as far as I can tell from the ingredients list anyway), the citrusy scent is really refreshing! Plus there's a little surprise inside!
If there's one product that truly captures christmas, it has to be The Magic Of Christmas Reusable Bubble Bar. I mean just look at it! The Magic Of Christmas smells just like one of those christingles you used to make it primary school - with the orange, the cloves and the candied fruit. Like the Magic Wand, it is reusable and you can supposedly get up to 10 baths out of the product - although knowing me I'll want to use the entire thing in one go haha! 
I didn't realise that there was such thing as a luxury bath melt. Although whilst on the website I noticed that a couple of my favourite bath melts were infact included in the catergory. Something I'd not seen before were the solid bath oils. I liked the sound of the Razzle Dazzle Bath Oil (Luxury Bath Melt), although I'm still undecided whether I like the scent or not. For the size, it was quite expensive and I don't think I will buy it for myself again. It is supposed to melt away and leave you bathwater all pink and hydrating so I'm quite excited to use it.
Another one that I haven't tried before is the Snow Fairy Shower Gel *gasps* and every year I see bloggers stocking up on the festive favourite so that they can use it all year round - so I thought I'd order it to see what all the hype was about. And now I see! It smells bloomin' gorgeous! I've used it a couple of times since receiving it, and my oh my I might have to order myself another bottle! It has an incredibly sweet fragrance, almost like it was pure sugar!

I've heard lots of people say that the Sakura Bath Bomb is unimpressive and boring, but it's one of my all time favourite products from Lush (after the Comforter of course). It doesn't do much exciting, other than fizz away - but it has such a gorgeous scent! Sakura has a very refreshing fragrance and little pieces of green popping candy on the top which act as an exfoliator, gently softening the skin whilst you relax away in the bath. 

What is your favourite thing to buy from Lush and have you tried anything from the christmas range?
Thanks for reading!
Love Charlotte x
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Plus, if you're interested - I also filmed some close ups of each product and you can watch it below!

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Simple Ways To Improve Your Blog

Hello folks! If you couldn't tell, I've been really loving sharing my tips with you lately. So here I am with yet another post, but this time I'm sharing some incredibly simple ways to improve the quality of your blog! I'll try not to ramble too much - I promise! 

Learn how to use your camera properly. A good photo can honestly say a billion words! You could write one of the best blog posts in the world, but without some quality photos to go alongside, you won't engage people visually! I have done quite a few posts (here, here and here at least!) about blog photography, and I have a couple more in the works for the next few months - so stay tuned for more tips! 

Use social media. Use Twitter and other social media to promote your posts and get you blog out there. Pinterest can be a really good website for bloggers. It is not only a great place to share and promote your posts and drive traffic to your blog, but is also a great place to look for inspiration! I think of so many ideas for blog posts when I'm browsing through Pinterest at 3am! I've recently changed over to a business Pinterest account which is recommended for bloggers. 

Filter your posts by category (and have a search bar). Attach labels when writing your posts to help future readers locate specific posts. If someone is wanting to find a review for a moisturiser that you wrote a couple months ago, make sure your posts are tagged with things like 'moisturiser' and 'skincare' so posts are easily located from your archives. 

Display a list of your popular posts. They are your most popular for a reason. Display them somewhere on the main page of your blog, alongside photos so new readers can see things that might be of interest to them. Maybe display them down one side of your blog under your sidebar? If you use the Blogger platform, there is a widget you can install in the 'Layout' section.

Invest in some business cards. If you a dead serious about blogging, why not invest in some business cards? I know, I know - the first time someone told me I needed some I laughed questioning why I would need some as I am by no means a 'professional blogger'. But then I was asked for one whilst out and not having any, I knew I needed to get myself some! If you are going to buy some though, do make sure they have a similar design to your blog as it showcases your brand.

Post regularly and try and stick to a schedule. If you stick to a schedule, readers will know when you have new content going up so they can pop back! It increases your return readership and is such a simple thing to do yourself. Pick a day (or multiple) and stick to it - I post every Wednesday and Sunday and I have it mentioned on my blog.

Get rid of the navbar. If using the Blogger platform, get rid of the nasty navbar that comes built in at the top of the screen. It looks soooo unprofessional and tacky. I did this almost a year ago and I am so glad I did! I was a little hesitant at first, I thought I'd hate it but it made my blog look so much more sleek. Plus if you really don't like it, it is really easy to get it back.

Are any of you planning on making any improvements to your blog? Let me know what you plan to do - it's always interesting seeing other peoples plans! 
Thanks for reading!
Love Charlotte x
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