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WHAT I GOT FOR CHRISTMAS 2016

I personally love seeing posts and videos on what people got for Christmas, so I had to do one myself. I know they're controversial but if you don't like them, X off this page and go back to Twitter to complain. I've tried to link everything at the bottom of the post in case you're interested, but I couldn't find a lot of things. (Sorry!) I hope you all had an amazing Christmas and got so many lovely gifts, I sure did, so here's what Santa left me...  (I'm saving up the money I got for a MacBook, it's my birthday in January so why not?)


6 THINGS YOU CAN DO NOW FOR 2017


We have 9 days left of 2016, how insane is that? We’re into single digits people, best start working on that “new year, new me,”

De-clutter
Start with the obvious things, de-clutter your make up, your wardrobe, your bedroom, your handbag, your bedside table. Make everything organised and tidy, (as possible.) Then start with the not so obvious things, like your e-mails, the junk box, your camera roll, your contact book, your jewellery stash, anything you can think of really. There's nothing like a fresh start, a blank canvas, and a tidy environment = tidy mind. It’s true, honest. 


Get closure
This might be with an ex, for example. If things ended badly this year, and it was all rather sudden, maybe be brave and give them a message and see if they’ll take five minutes just to chat and explain things. Reflect with each other, say your sorrys and your moving on messages. This is something I did a few years ago before new years, that relationship ended very badly and on bad terms, and it’s just nice, it’s a peace of mind to get closure, and it’s healthy. Stop hating each other, and just be civil. Move the f*ck on. 


 Tie up loose ends
Stop finding excuses for things and putting off making that phone call or attending that appointment that was supposed to be done months ago. Take care of it NOW, trust me, you’ll be able to sleep better and stress less, because until you do that one thing you keep avoiding, it’ll sit in your brain and just so happen to pop up at 3am. Basically, don't take any unfinished business with you into 2017.


 Reflect on small and big achievements
If it feels like you haven’t achieved anything this year, dig deeper. That will not be true. Ok, fair enough I didn’t get a job, or pass my driving test, but I managed to overcome many things that once were impossible because of my anxiety. And as small and stupid as being able to make a phone call without having a panic attack may seem, it counts, and it’s important. I feel like I really grabbed anxiety by the balls this year. Oh, and I got engaged? Does that count? 


 Learn and practice meditation
This is something I only started doing very recently, I downloaded the app ‘Calm,’ and surprisingly, it actually works. Like seriously, it’s great just too really switch off for ten minutes in bed before you go to sleep, I sleep a lot better when I use this app when I get into bed. 


 Set goals
Write them down, set small goals for yourself that you’re sure are really achievable so you don’t end up feeling deflated. Don’t expect too much from yourself, ease the pressure and just go small. Big is not always better. Miracles don’t happen in just a years’ time, especially with how fast time seems to fly by these days. For example, set the realistic goal of saving money towards a house, not buying a house.


MY ORGANISATION PICKS:




SHOPPING LUXE AND SAVING

I do like to think of myself as quite a savvy shopper, I certainly buy more than I can actually afford and I take 'treat yo self,' to a whole new level. My family often ask me how I afford the things I get, and the amount of deliveries at the door each week- and to be honest, it still baffles me too. But I'll admit I've for sure picked up a few hacks along the way, either to save money, earn money or get money back! And since it's Christmas time, you're all very likely to be spending a lot, so I thought I'd share some of my tips. Happy shopping!

SWEET STOCKING FILLERS THEY WON'T BE SICK OF

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Don't know about you, but when it comes to Christmas I can't avoid getting a load of sweets and chocolate to 'fill my bag up,' and sometimes you just get a box of maltesers too many, you're crying Smarties and you've got toothache from crunching so many Minstrels. Y'know, all the usual stuff. So, this year I did my own Christmas shopping for the first time, and it came to that awkward stocking filler stage where I just needed a few more things to wrap up for people, but it was just going to be so boring buying all the usual sweets, and lets be honest, we don't enjoy opening them, it's so anti-climax.

So I took to the internet and came across Auntie Ammies, which is essentially an online American candy store, that isn't horribly over priced. They sell everything from Lucky Charm cereal to quirky flavoured Fanta. It's a family run store based in Kent, but they offer a delivery service. (My delivery arrived with Hermes.) I was a little worried they might arrive squashed or broken, but they'd been really well wrapped up and protected.

'QUIRKY' GIFT IDEAS

So there's a lot of gift guides floating around right now but I really haven't seen any of this 'type,' and I'm really happy with the selection I've created and I know that I would be very happy to receive any of these gits on Christmas Day.
So here's a few ideas or maybe just some inspiration for the quirky/fun/different people in your life, that might be a little difficult to buy for. All products are direct links to shop them for your easy-quick-shopping benefit.


Kate Spade Pencil Set

Skinny Dip 'Rave' Kit

Ted Baker French Bulldog Bauble

Kenzo Keyring

LUXURY STOCKING FILLERS (£30 & UNDER)


I think stocking fillers are the best part about Christmas shopping, I love all the cute little mini products that are released, it's a great way to try brands out or give someone a tester of something you really love yourself. Although all these gifts are luxury brands, I ensured everything was £30 and under so it's 'stocking filler,' apporpriate. I would personally be so happy with any of these things in my stocking on Christmas morning, and I've already bought a few for members of my own family- these are my top picks. All products are linked straight to the website for your own easy buying pleasure.

MARC JACOBS BEAUTY HAUL

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Ok so public announcement: Marc Jacobs beauty is now readily available in the UK and I no longer have to sit drooling at the Sephora website, amazing. You can find Marc Jacobs beauty at John Lewis here.

NOVEMBER MAKE UP HAUL

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It's the return of the beauty posts, where it all began! I haven't wrote a beauty post in what feels like forever because I just really 'went off it,' I lost my passion for talking about it and to be honest for a long time I lost interest in even buying any make up products. Wow, never thought that would happen. I've been a lot happier focusing more on just 'life,' posts and whatever I fancy doing really, but I know that a LOT of people who follow my blog follow it solely for beauty, because that's how Lashes and Luxe started out, a primarily high end beauty blog. So in attempt to try and rekindle my love, I went on a little spree for things I'd wanted for a long time but always put off buying because I never 'needed,' them, so here's what I picked up on my mission...

ASOS CHRISTMAS GIFT IDEAS: FOR MUM


Christmas shopping can be such a nightmare, but if you can get all your gifts from the same place, (and that place being somewhere that is reliable, has great delivery options and rewards like Asos, it makes life much easier.) I'll personally be buying 90% of my gifts this year from Asos, because I can get money off with the A-List and they always have great discounts like '30% off beauty,' and it's also great for last minute because they offer next day delivery for £4, or you can go premier and pay £10 and get next day delivery for a year! (This post isn't sponsored by Asos I promise, I just think it's a really great place to do your shopping.)
For me, buying for my mum is the easiest- she's only 40, so I've based this gift guide on her, she would love anything from this selection! Here's what I picked out... (All products are linked!)

1. Benefit Defined & Refined Brows set (£28.50)
2. Benefit skincare set (£29.50)
3. Asos beauty advent calendar (£50.00)
4. French Bulldog ornament/money jar (£20.00)

French Bulldogs/pugs are everywhere at the moment, and this can be used for 'show,' too! If your mum wants a Frenchie but can't have one, get her this instead.
ALL mums know Benefit, so if they open up a Benefit set on Christmas Day they'll know you wanted to give them a little luxe.

5. GHD Copper Luxe Deluxe gift set (£195.00)
6. Whistles Leather Rivington in Croc Print (£80.00)
7. Elemis Best Face Forward gift set (£39.99)
8. Ted Baker Drink Me Glass Bottle (£20.00)

You cannot go wrong with a hairdryer or straighteners, especially when they're copper and GHD, same with the Whistles bag, it's a classic real leather bag perfect for dressing up/going out- it's simple and black so it can be worn with any outfit. If your mum works in an office, or she goes to the gym maybe treat her to this drop dead gorgeous Ted Baker water bottle, I don't do either but I still want it myself. If you can't afford a spa break for your mum, bring the spa treatment home with an Elemis gift set, this luxury skincare brand is used in high end salons everywhere.

NOVEMBER ASOS WISHLIST

I spend far too much time on Asos, I really wish I never downloaded the app...I'm always lusting after so many things and I usually have to come to terms with the fact I can't afford half of it. So here's what I've got my eyes on right now, (all products are a direct link for easy shopping if you see something you go all heart eyes over!)

Flamingo slippers | Nude jumper | NARS palette | Lace top | Monki pyjamas | NARS lipstick | Adidas T-shirt dress | Ban.Do 2017 calendar | Alice In Wonderland palette

MEN MADE ME TERRIFIED OF MEN

I've only ever had one job, and unfortunately that one job has put me off ever getting another. This job I had was in a factory, I was based in the office side but I still had had to go into the factory, and what can you find in a glass making factory? Men, lots of men.

So, this one man in particular, he was the kind of life and soul of all the men- everyone knew him, his story, what he was doing, he was very outgoing and lively, and for my first few weeks this man had been very friendly/nice to me, spoke to me a lot any tried to make me feel comfortable in the factory with all of the other men. So as time went on he became one of my 'friends,' at work, I was aware he was in his 50's, and I was told he had a wife and kids, seems all sweet right?

SEASONAL SADNESS

So this is way overdue, I have really lost all my blogging motivation, I've fallen out of love with writing and what I write and the way my blog looks, despite the recent makeover. I feel like it's the time of year, in Autumn/Winter my low mood/depression worsens, recently I've been really suffering with 'flat mood,' which is just such a horrible feeling that I cannot do anything to help. Ever since Autumn kicked in I've noticed it becoming harder to get myself out of bed on a morning again and want to do anything, all I want to do is lie in bed and rot away to be honest. It's extremely frustrating because I have no reason to feel like I do right now, it's all down to my brain chemistry which sucks- my personality is just gone. I literally do not even have it in me to force posts out of me, which I was considering doing just because I feel so rubbish I'm not blogging.

SOLEIL TAN DE CHANEL; PALE SKIN

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Probably one of the most talked about luxury beauty products is this cream bronzer from Chanel, despite the hype I avoided buying it for a long time because I was scared of it being extremely orange, or just generally way too dark for my fair skin. But, a couple of months ago I got an amazing surprise in the form of £££ so naturally, I did a lot of impulsive shopping, and if I didn't really splurge then, when would I.
Now I'm not at all a fan of cream contouring, for me it's way too subtle and it's a lot of effort for nothing, but I'd read that I could just slather this all over my face so, perfect. (Not a fan of anything in life that requires a lot of effort.)


CURRENTLY LUSTING #5

It's wishlist time again, time to make myself really sad and remind myself how poor I am and how bad I've got my priorities. Make up > food. I've got a really good mix for October, bit of lip bit of skin bit of eye, shame it's all so fucking expensive. Why am I like this, I always say to myself I've got enough make up and I wont even use the stuff I've got up, half of it's probably out of date to be honest. Being a beauty blogger is so damn expensive and there's always a post to lure you into buying something no matter how hard you try. So anyway. here's the products I'm drooling over this month, even if I get half of them I'll be a happy bunny...but a lot happier if I managed them all. (Set this 'Lust List out a bit differently to usual, let me know if you like it!)

SEPTEMBER LOVES

Oh my God it's bloody October already, what the fuck. I'm usually the first to do my 'favourites,' post because I like to get it out early before the mad rush of them on the last day of the month, but here I am falling behind, (surprise surprise.) I  found it really hard to gather things for this post because all the new things I've tried and loved have been in hauls recently and I didn't want to bore you all, and this isn't YouTube where I can just talk about things, I know we all like the visuals. I know everyone does these monthly round ups of what they loved but I STILL genuinely enjoy them, and enjoy writing them. Anyway, I'm going to talk a bit about the bits that have been new recently (to me,) and why I've been loving them.

DEBENHAMS BEAUTY HAUL

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Coming at you with another haul and first impressions- my favourite type of post to write, and there's still one more to come. Also, side note, hope you all like the new layout I've got going on and my new "logo," it took so much work that really battered my brains. If I see HTML again I think I'll die. Anyway, on with what I got from debenhams and how things went.

ZOELLA LIFESTYLE

I never thought I'd see the day that I was buying stuff with Zoella branding on, not because I'm not fan, because admittedly I really am despite my age, but just because it kind of makes me cringe- she's kind of a guilty pleasure and I feel like her products would only be acceptable for a 15 year old to be excited about, but here I am. An adult, waiting for the launch and paying for next day delivery...
I didn't get everything I wanted but as soon as I'm not in my over draft, you bet I'll be going back for more. I hate myself.
I was quite surprised at the prices of a lot of the products, taking into consideration the majority of her fans are probably only old enough to get £15 pocket money a week for washing the dishes. But I suppose as an "adult," (lol I'm not a fucking adult,) they aren't too bad for good quality good looking products.

THE £4 LA GIRL LINER YOU NEED

This is a huge statement to make, I've worn liquid liner since I was about twelve years old and I've tried so many, from Collection to Yves Saint Laurent and this is the best one...so far. You can buy LA Girl products from Beauty Bay, and for £4 I couldn't really go too wrong with it. And I didn't, because this stuff is bomb, like yesssss jet black pigment I see you girl. This liner is cheaper than a Big Mac meal. (I'd still rather spend £4 on food.)

PANIC PROOF POWDER

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Despite the fact I have dry skin, I also get major anxiety sweats including a really bad SULA. (Sweaty upper lip alert, for those of you that haven't seen Wild Child.) So although my face might feel dry after finishing my make up, once I leave the house it instantly starts to naturally dew. I always use to shy away from powder, only using the very bare minimum, sometimes none- but as I got older and my anxiety grew, I began to realize that I probably really could do with some good mattifying powder, no matter how dry my skin naturally is when I'm not a sweaty mess among the public. I mean, it's dry when I'm at home, I have to prime and use sprays when doing my make up, but as soon as I see people? Bye make up I just spent 2 hours on. (This sounds so grim, I promise I smell great.)

SELFRIDGES BEAUTY HAUL + SPEEDY REVIEWS

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I'm back bitches. I've been really hating my blog recently and yet really miss it, so I figured if I bought some new products (I just got a very nice surprise involving money, so expect more hauls!) and got my camera back out I might want to write. It worked. No more photos from Instagram. Although my Photoshop trial ended so I'm really missing editing well, still contemplating paying for it. Anyway, so I did a little spending in Selfridges beauty department and this is what happened. 

CURRENTLY LUSTING #4


Just in case any sugar daddys or Santa come across my blog, here is a whole load of new products that I would very much like to add to my collection. If anyone wants to donate to the 'Courtney really wants new make up to make her happy,' association, just ask for my PayPal in the comments.

Two concealers, probably stupid considering I already have four and never use them, but I can't resist all the hype and build up around these two being available in the UK now.
I love the Born This Way foundation so I can't NOT have the matching concealer right? That would be rude, this is now available at Debenhams for us in the UK although the very fair shade I'm after is sold out 100% of the time.
The second concealer I can't ignore is the Tarte Shape Tape, Nikkie Tutorials has been raving about this, designed for contouring and highlighting this is also available in a very fair shade. What's even more exciting that for us in the UK, QVC are selling this with their new sponge, which is their own take on a Beauty Blender but purple and differently shaped.

Something else I'm swooning over for my face is the new Hourglass Vanish Foundation Stick, but it is very pricey, I've been reading rave reviews and I've never tried a stick foundation so that's enough reason to super splurge right?

One last thing for the complexion, the Anastasia Beverly Hills Glow Kit in Sweets. I already have one of these in the shade 'that glow,' which is full of golden toned highlights, but this is totally different to any other highlighters I own, and I love the whole pink theme and the name of course. Sadly this isn't in the UK yet, (as far as I'm aware anyway, and I'm very aware...) But when it is, I'll pounce.

Something I actually NEED is a new mascara, I've had mine for so long now it's not healthy, pretty sure it's making my eyes itch and water. I've used Better Than Sex for so long now I'm getting bored, so I'm gonna change things up on payday and add some luxe to my lashes with the Marc Jacobs Velvet Noir mascara. I like how fat and fluffy the brush looks, just how I like them.

Last but not least, the liquid lipsticks everyone's going mad for. I've been waiting for these to come to the UK for what feels like forever, it's the Too Faced Melted Mattes. Too Faced is my favourite brand so I have to try everything, and the packaging is a 10/10 as per. There's 2 nude shades I need but both are sold out, no surprise.

WHY I STOPPED BEING PART OF THE 'BLOGGING COMMUNITY'


I made a Tweet a few days ago saying that I no longer wanted to be among the bloggers on Twitter, I unfollowed around 200 people - so I thought I'd just have a rant and explain why and whatever and what I meant.
Everyone refers to it as the 'blogging community,' which makes me vomit in my mouth, and I feel like everyone is always trying to be clever, always having to make a clever remark on whatever is happening, it seems 70% of the 'community' take everything personally and too seriously, and y'know what? It's boring, it's miserable. Have a laugh, take things with a pinch of salt, stop being so uptight and trying to be so professional, you're a girl with 900 blog followers and not even Kim Kardashian acts as pro as you do online.

NEW IN FROM REAL TECHNIQUES

Exciting news for fans of Real Techniques, (so everyone right?) there's some new releases hanging around in your local Boots now. SO. MANY. SPONGES. Now we all know I love my original Beauty Blender, but I'm not a fan of the Real Techniques complexion sponge- however I am a sucker for a new release. I've needed smaller sponges for my eyes for a long time, I used to apply foundation with my BB and concealer under my eyes with my ring finger, but now I have acrylic nails on, it's pretty impossible. 

MY EXPERIENCE WITH PROZAC

-Trigger warning: mentions of suicide and self harm.-

I’d say the saying ‘nobody cares until it’s too late,’ applies to this whole story a lot, because it took me 3 years in therapy, 4 years of self-harm and 5 suicide attempts before I was given anti-depressants, something that me and my family had wanted for me for a long time, but it was always ignored or swept under the rug. I’ve now been on my anti-depressants for about 2 year, and I haven’t self-harmed for a year or tried to take my life. So why wasn’t I given the medication quicker? It might have just saved 2 of those overdoses and stopped me cutting my skin so deep it’s left me with thick red scars on my arm.

7 WAYS TO USE MAC FIX+

I feel like a lot of people mistake MAC Fix+ for a setting spray, and it's not really intended for that, it has so many uses for those people that have went past the beginners stage of doing their make up and are now venturing into more advanced things. It's definitley not a must have, you don't need some of this, but if you're really into your make up and you really enjoy (and are good at,) applying it, then this is a gem to have around. It's under £20 and has a lot of uses, some that I might not even know about, but I've listed seven ways I use Mac Fix+.
I feel like it's a lot more handy for dry skinned gals and if you really suffer with it, this might just be your new bffl. 
Fix+ has some ingredients in that are great for your skin too, such as cucumber and caffeine, so it's not 'just water.' 

DRUGSTORE PRODUCTS THAT ARE BOMB

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Since my last post went down so well where I talked about pricey products worth the dolla, I thought I’d do a drugstore version. Like I said in that post, 99% of the time I buy high end, so when I do buy drugstore, it’s always products that I’ve everyone raving about. Here’s a roundup of the products you said were great, and they proved you right. 

PROMISING PRICEY PRODUCTS

I know some people are very careful when it comes to buying more 'high end,' make up but I'm certainly not, 99% of my collection is more high end so I feel like I have more than enough to be able to tell you what's really worth investing in. To be honest I've never really had a high end product that I've hated, but there's a few in particular that I think anyone starting off with high end or maybe just treating themselves really need to know about first.

MY EXPERIENCE WITH AMITRIPTYLINE

I did a poll on Twitter asking if you would be interested in a series of posts on my experiences on several different medications that I'm taking to aid my mental health problems, 87% said yes so here's the first installment. (I've also just had my room decorated and I'm obsessed with the brick wallpaper.)

I used to sleep like a baby every night until I was about 16 when my anxiety really got severe, and since then I've really suffered with insomnia and night terrors. My mind is very active at night, I can't relax or really turn off my brain because I'm so anxious. It's a problem I've told psychiatrists and doctors about for years and nobody did anything about it, it started affecting my moods, my appetite and pretty much every aspect of daily life. 

When I turned 18 I was discharged from my adolescent mental health services, so if I needed any medication I had to now just go to my usual GP. I was first prescribed Beta-Blockers, (or Propranolol,) to help with my anxiety and my anti-depressants had already been doubled but neither helped my anxiety at night and I was suffering with night terrors. Night terrors are such weird experiences, I used to have really scary dreams and scream, like, I'd be screaming in the dream but I'd actually also be screaming out loud, waking myself up in a huge panic and sweat. 

After months of telling my GP about my problems she finally give me some medication, her excuse for not giving me some sooner was that she didn't want me on so many pills whilst I'm still so young, and sleeping pills are really addictive. I pretty much had to beg her for them but I was so happy and relieved when I got prescribed Amitriptyline. 

Amitriptyline is used to treat several mental illnesses, improve mood and relieve anxiety. It's mostly used for depression but it can be used to treat Insomnia. It's a special type of anti-depressant called an tricyclic. I was prescribed 10mg a day to take a few hours before bed time. Annoyingly I'm only given 2 weeks supply each time I go for some because they can be fatal even if I was to overdose on the fourteen, and I'm still classed as a risk to myself. 

I usually take my tablet at 9pm and get into bed around 10:30, but I have to bare in mind what time I need to wake up, because If I take it at 9pm and have to be up for 7am, it's nearly impossible because I'm still so drowsy. But most of the time I don't ever have to be up for a certain time so it makes life easier. I'm now in quite a healthy good sleeping pattern of falling asleep around 11-12 and waking up at 9/10.

I was so overjoyed that this medication worked for me, (and still does,) but my GP was right and I am already very dependent on them and I definitley feel the difference in my mood, sleep and energy when I run out. I've not had a night terror since I started taking these and I can fall asleep so easily, I feel so relaxed and generally tired so some nights I pretty much fall asleep as soon as I hit my pillow, which is a miracle for me.
I'm already taking another type of anti-depressant called Fluoxetine, I take 40mg a day of that, and with the added bonus of the Amitriptyline I feel very happy and elated on a morning, I find myself feeling more productive and getting out of bed is so easy. 


10 SASSY QUOTES FOR WHEN YOU'RE NOT FEELING SO BADASS

I'm a sucker for a good quote, I literally live by them and I think when you read enough positive things, your brain just becomes happier. I've picked out 10 quotes I like to think about when I'm not feeling very confident, y'know when you want your superwoman sass back instead of sitting hating yourself and feeling fat. 

1. "Wake up every morning and tell yourself you're a badass bitch from hell and that no one can fuck with you, and then don't let anybody fuck with you." - Kate Nash.

2. "If you can't love yourself, how the hell you gonna love someone else?" - Ru Paul.


3. "You're not going to tell me who I am, I'm gonna tell you who I am." - Nicki Minaj.

4. "Bitches get stuff done." - Tina Fey.

5. "Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius, and it’s better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring." - Marilyn Monroe.

6. "Don't get bitter, get better." - Alyssa Edwards.

7. "When in doubt, freak em' out." - Sharon Needles.

8. "The most courageous act is to think for yourself. Aloud." - Coco Chanel. 


9. "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." - Eleanor Roosevelt.

10. "Unless they paying your bills, pay them bitches no mind." - Ru Paul.


Sending love and positive vibes.

PORE PRIMING PERFECTION

My experience with any primer targeted at reducing pores isn't great, they are usually solely made for oily skin, why?! Us without oily skin have pores too. I've tried the likes of Body Shop Instablur and Tarte, both of which are very thick and dry and not right at all for dryer skin types. 

I've found something L I F E changing guys, I haven't heard anyone talk about this primer, ever, and when I swatched it I was so impressed and excited to buy it. Say hi to the Urban Decay Pore Perfecting Complexion Primer, my new holy grail, (that is a huge statement, I have a lot of primers.) I'm genuinely so shocked that I haven't seen anyone raving about this stuff, I've been so impressed by it and it does the job so much better than some of my more expensive primers. Coming in at £19.50, it's not that bad really considering there's a lot of product and a little goes a long way, and the packaging is so unique and gorgeous - it's not your average boring tube or lid, I love the whole vampy sassy theme. (Even applies to the box it comes in.)

I don't know about anyone else, but if I'm wearing a dewy foundation that's not really high coverage, pores really stick out and look bad, and throughout the day it ruins your make up completely and your pores are standing out like hell, and this is where this primer saves the day - because pores are my ultimate pet hate.
This primer will totally smooth out your skin and give it a velvety, cushion like finish and totally blur all your pores, your skin pretty much looks airbrushed, it's amazing.

I apply such a thin layer over areas like my chin and around my nose where pores are the most visible, despite having normal/dry skin it doesn't flake off or feel dry, it actually feels quite comfortable. Obviously oily skin types would need a thicker layer, but I'm so glad I've finally found a primer that WORKS for my pores and suits my skin! Obviously I use a moisturiser underneath as always. 



GIMME (FREE) BROW

What's better than getting a new 'high end,' beauty product? Getting it for free.
If you aren't already aware, Glamour have free miniatures of the new Benefit Gimme Brow in the latest issue. No it isn't full size, but I've had a proper Gimme Brow before and it lasted well over a year, so considering this is free and probably half the size, it's going to last a few months- AND IT'S SO PRETTY.

In fact the entire new range is gorgeous, the only product I've tried from Benefit is their famous Gimme Brow, and I went through phases of loving it and then hating it. I think when you first buy Gimme Brow the formula is very wet, so it's very easy to make a mistake and then you've got dark brown gel smudged all over, it's not great if you want the gradient look to your brow either, best wait until it dries out and goes a little lighter. I find that too much gel sticks in the bristles too, so sometimes your first stroke turns out to just be a huge clump.

The new packaging is so much nicer and makes it look more expensive, but I'm not keen on the shape of the wand. The original was just a simple round wand, easy to hold stable, where as this is a queer little shape and for me who wears acrylic nails and probably has coffee shakes when doing my make up, the shape makes the job a little more difficult.

For me this isn't worth paying full price for, but it's a freebie so you might as well go and try it, maybe it'll be more for you than me. I suggest the MAC Brow Gel, I purchased it after Gimme Brow and I much prefer it, (and it's cheaper.) 

READY, SET, AUTUMN EYES

Here I am sitting in the garden this Tuesday morning of what is supposed to be the hottest day of the year, and what am I doing? Writing a post about Autumn make up. Can you tell I hate Summer? I just want it over, I want jumpers and fluffy coats.

Last Autumn I tried to rock MAC's Cranberry eyeshadow but it just wasn't for me, against my skin tone it just looked like pink eye to be honest, but after bronzing up and using the pink and reddish shades in my ABH Modern Renaissance palette, I decided to try again. This time I got something more on the purple cool side, say hello to NARS Dual Intensity Eyeshadow in the shade Phoebe. 
I knew this was a shadow that wouldn't let me down quality wise because I already own and love the Dual Intensity palettte they released about a year ago (limited edition, soz to tease you.) They are such versatile little squares of goodness that can be used and worn amazingly wet or dry and for £21 they promise the following...

"Mesmerizing new Dual-Intensity Eyeshadow features a luxuriously smooth transformative texture. It goes on dry for a sheer soft touch of sensual colour may be applied wet for mind-blowing impact with dramatic luminous matte and high shine finishes."

The shade I chose is described as a deep shimmering amethyst with a metallic finish. I'm thinking dry for winter, so it's more crisp and cool, and using it wet during Autumn for a deeper purple.
I find that these work well if you spray the shadow with some Mac Fix+, it makes the pigmentation mega intense and it's easier and less messy than using water. When used wet, it's best to use a flat brush and pack on the colour and then quickly do any blending before it dries and it's quite stiff to work with. I personally use the NARS Wet/Dry Eyeshadow Brush that came with my Dual Intensity palette and a MAC 217 to blend. I don't find that using an eye primer makes any difference, the colour pay off is exactly the same with or without.

I'm not the biggest fan of these shadows used dry, for me it's too sheer and glossy looking, and I like to always be rocking a pretty bold and dark eye look- and for me Phoebe almost looks like two different eyeshadows when it's wet and dry.
I just wish that the pattern on top didn't disappear so quickly from your wet brush being dunked in because I think it adds a really luxurious looking touch, but still the compact is very sturdy and has the classic NARS matte black finish.



10 REASONS I'M A CRAP BLOGGER


It's totally normal for us to feel inferior sometimes, blogging is a huge community that can be very competitive, we constantly compare our work to others, photography, writing, ideas, followers etc and recently it really got me down, to the point I wanted to quit. I'm back bitches, and to make some light heartedness out of a crap situation, I decided to put together a list of reasons I'm a shit blogger, hope you can all relate. Or maybe it's better if you can't relate, means you've got more confidence than me ha.

1. After 1 and a half years blogging, I still haven't mastered the flat-lay.
I just can't do it, I get all the items wonky, it's never straight or perfectly aligned. I don't have enough of the same stuff that's 'themed,' and I end up throwing in a fork or some shit to fill in empty spaces.


2. I only just downloaded Photoshop and began to edit with curves, dodging and levels.
Big mistake I've been doing all these years, just upping that exposure and highlights, no Courtney, it's time to move up. I've brought the big guns out now, Photoshop. I'm just learning my way around but already I've seen improvement, (you'll see it gradually, hopefully...)


3. I still haven't mastered perfect composition. 
Maybe I just don't have the eye for it, but I can't take images like some bloggers with peonies and blankets in the background looking perfectly placed, doesn't matter where I put products, they still look boring.


4. I never schedule Tweets.
Just nah, so boring and tedious. I don't have a full time job anyway so I've always got my phone around to make a few Tweets in the day promoting my blog, but past 10pm when I go to bed? Nah, nothing, views stop there- I only promo between 11am and 10pm basically.

5. I very rarely comment on other blogs.

To be honest I just don't really like reading, I do read a few posts but it's always on my phone and commenting is sometimes impossible to do on your phone. If I can comment easily on my phone, I've probably got nothing to say that somebody hasn't already.

6. I still haven't purchased any 'props.'
Every time I'm in town I walk past the likes of Tiger and Paperchase knowing I should go and buy props, but I just can't bring myself to spend money on them, there's so many other things I want like clothes and make up so I can keep my blog going, I don't have enough spare cash for fancy props like mini baskets and peonies.

7. I can never properly articulate what I want to say.
When it comes to mental health and lifestyle posts I just feel like words aren't enough and I wish I could make words up or make you feel a feeling to get my point across.


8. I'm super awkward at responding to comments.
I appreciate comments, but sometimes it's just really awkz because I never know what to say, for example if someone comments on a product post with something like, 'this looks so nice,' like, there's nothing for me to really respond to, I've said in the post that it's fabulous, and 'haha i know,' sounds so ew.

9. I never reach out to brands/companies etc.
Never know what to say and how to contact the right person, and even if I did I think they would just laugh at me or ignore me.


10. I rarely have posts scheduled or photos took in bulk, if I do it's only one.
So sometimes comes a week I actually have plans and there will be no post for days, other weeks I do nothing all week so I have all the time to upload a post everyday. I'm very inconsistent. Oops.


A VOLUNTARY DRUGSTORE PURCHASE

Guys, I went into Superdrug to buy make up...is my make up snob dying? I can't remember the last time I walked into a drugstore to buy make up, but this palette was something I could no longer deny myself. Nikkie Tutorials uses and loves it, so if it's good enough for her, good enough for me. Not just her, but every beauty blogger I follow on Twitter is raving about this, I can confirm its worth all the fuss. 
I usually pay anywhere from £20 to £45 for a single or double highlight pan/palette, so being able to get almost  the same pigmentation and four shades of glow for £9.99 is daylight robbery.

Sleek tried with the packaging, I love that they've made it gold for a highlighting palette, but it still feels cheap, not helped by the pathetic and awful rough "brush," that's slotted down the side, that went straight into the bin. But for £10 and 4 good highlighters, you can't slate the packaging, it is drugstore after all and it could be a lot worse. Perks are that it has a huge mirror, but I reckon if you dropped this it would very soon be in a million golden pieces.

Inside are four highlights, one cream and three powder, and I love the variety of colour, I certainly don't have a pinky/purpely toned highlight, but now I do and I love it.
The cream shade looks way too dark for my skin, but once I actually swatched, it's totally fine and this palette works amazingly with pale skin. The pigmentation isn't 'wow,' like the likes of my beloved Champagne Pop, but it's half the price and for drugstore the pigmentation is really unbeatable, I don't know how they've managed to create such four beautiful highlighters with great pigmentation for only ten pound.

The powders are more pigmented than the cream, but if I use the cream it'll be solely as a base for a powder, to really blind everyone with my highlight.
The hype around this really hasn't let me down, I'm so in love with it and I'm really impressed by the quality- I don't have any shades like this that are so gleaming and iridescent, I'm so glad I put my snob aside for five minutes and purchased this, and if you're still on the fence about it- get off and go and buy it now. (It's literally sold out everywhere,) I actually got the last one in my local Superdrug, phew.

I did have to 'double dip,' with the swatches to get them to this intensity for a picture, but I think if you're using a good brush it should work great first time around. (Also bare in mind I have fake tan and scars on my arm that might make them look different to others.)

Until now my only drugstore 'must haves,' that have really impressed me are the Soap & Glory primer and the NYX Soft Matte Lip Creams, but this has definitley earned a place on the very tight list, so it must be good
.