Catogery 1

Catogery 1
BEAUTY

category 2

category 2
MENTAL HEALTH

category 3

category 3
FASHION

TESTING THE DRUGSTORE


It's pretty clear from my blog that I've turned into a huge make up snob, it started a few years ago and ever since I've refused to put anything on my face that wasn't 'high end.' It's not necessarily a bad habit, just a very expensive one.
Anyway, a few days ago Boots had a 3 for 2 and Soap & Glory make up, and since Christmas just passed I had money to play with, and I was going to get 1 item free? Don't get that in Space NK.
Soap & Glory was a brand I loved when I was younger and only used/knew of make up sold in Boots, I remember being obsessed with their Thick and Fast mascara when I was about 14- and since joining the beauty blogging world, I've heard so many great things about Soap & Glory's beauty range.
So I did it...for the first time in years I bought make up that didn't cost a bomb, in fact, I got all of this for around £18- I'd usually pay that for a single eyeshadow!

The item I was most excited about was the newly released 'One Heck Of A Blot Primer,' I've read so much hype about this, and if Lily Pebbles says its good, it can't be that bad. Priced at £10.00, I didn't think this would be that great, or even great on my skin, but first of all, I was really pleased by the packaging, I love the fact it arrived boxed like high end products, the tube feels more expensive than it is.
I hate to admit it, but I LOVE this stuff, it's better than so many high end primers I've tried. it instantly smoothed my skin upon application, leaving it feeling really silky and flawless ready for any foundation. More importantly, it does what it says on the tin and it blurs out pores, which is something I really really like in a primer. I'm also having a dry skin phase because of the Winter, and this hasn't caused me problems at all, it didn't dry me up or make my foundation look caked, in-fact it looks as good as it does with my £52.00 Hourglass primer, as much as that hurts to say. Very very very impressed, this may easily be one of my new favourite bases. What a statement.

The Supercat liner was something I swore by all those years ago, and I wanted to see if it was still as good as it used to be, and if it was any match for my Stila or Tarte liners.
Again, I really like this, it's so easy to apply and creates the skinny flick I like perfectly, most importantly it's jet black and stays that way.

Last but not least, Brow Archery, another product I've read a lot about, I love my Anastasia Brow Wiz like a child and it's become an essential in my stash, but if I can get it for half the price that's okay with me. I'll start by saying it's not quite as good as Brow Wiz, but it's still not bad.
There was only 2 shades to choose from, so obviously I got the darkest, the brush is identical to the one on ABH Brow Wiz but the pencil isn't as pigmented or easy to use- I also find the Brow Wiz good to blend out for a 'gradient' finish, with Brow Archery it just seemed to wipe away.

Over all, I'm really impressed and I plan on trying more Soap & Glory products.

0

THE BODY SHOP'S TEA TREE RANGE


If there's one smell I really adore, it's Tea Tree, so when I discovered The Body Shop did an entire range of Tea Tree based products I was sold. I can't usually use anything from TBS because of my overly sensitive skin, so to be honest just the whole experience of actually going into the store and buying something was great. The scent just really chills me out and makes my skin feel cool and refreshed, (sometimes a little too much around my eyes.)

My favourite from the bunch is the Skin Clearing Toner, I love toners to begin with but this is on a whole new level, I'm so obsessed with this, I just want to rub my face in it all day long. Which I suppose would be okay because there's a very generous amount of product in here. I squeeze a few drops onto a cotton pad and wipe it over my face in circular motions, it leaves my face really smooth and feeling deeply clean.

My second most loved is the Skin Clearing Clay Mask, I love a good clay mask and I ran out of my usual REN one a while ago so it's good to have one in my stash again. Clay masks are great for pores and really giving your skin a deep cleanse, this one feels like a really thick yogurt and sits on for face for 15-20 minutes to work it's magic. The Tea Tree scent is strong enough to cool your face down but not so strong it stings my eyes. But it's definitley the texture/consistency of this mask I love the most. Goodbye blackheads.

If you aren't one for clay masks, try the Pore Minimiser, this can be used as a primer or just a facial mask/treatment. I personally don't like it as a primer on its own, I like to apply this first and then something more hydrating. This product is a thin clear gel that spreads around your areas of concern and shrinks pore size- this would be a great primer if you have oily skin or just want something to treat blocked pores.

Last but not least, the Tea Tree Body Wash, which I am a little disappointed by. The consistency is very runny and thin meaning that this just doesn't seem to lather at all- it smells great but doesn't give the cooling effect like the rest of the products.

You can buy these four items for a total of £31.50, which I think is an absolute steal. 

0

WHEN SANTA WENT TO SPACE NK


Along with all the amazing beauty gifts I received for Christmas was a bag full of Space Nk treats! Is there anything better than coming downstairs on Christmas morning and seeing a big Space Nk bag? No.
I'm so obsessed with looking after my skin to keep it in good condition and prevent problems in the future, and I've been applying these products religiously since getting them.

I got a re-stock on my much loved Hourglass Veil primer, I talk about this all of the time and no doubt I'll continue to. It's probably the most expensive primer ever, (£52.00) but once you use this, there aint' no going back! I know I have a ridiculous amount of primers but this is the one I'd keep if I had to throw away all but one. My last bottle which I got last Christmas has just ran out after a year too, so good value for money.

A cleanser I've lusted after since it's launch is the Sunday Riley Blue Moon Cleansing Balm, again, very pricey for a cleanser at £46.00, but Sunday Riley is such a luxurious brand and the ingredients in this balm are amazing. And, to be fair, it does look bloody gorgeous! I've been loving this as both a cleanser and an overnight mask- it's so hydrating and rich but still very tranquil and easy to use. I think this may quickly replace my holy grail Emma Hardie Moringa Balm.

I've never tried anything from Sarah Chapman but have wanted to for as long as I can remember, so opening the much hyped Overnight Facial was very exciting. This product retails at around £46.00 but does vary depending on where you buy it, I got mine in Space Nk (obviously...) So far, it's okay, I can't say much because I've only been using it for two days, but once it's put through its tests a review will be written. I'm expecting very good things from this blogger induced buy.

Last but certainly not least is the Emma Hardie Brilliance Facial Oil. (£31.00.)
I've never used an oil on my face but when Winter arrived my skin got very dry so I was looking out for suggestions in blogger Twitter chats, and this one seemed to be very popular. Emma Hardie is a brand I really trust so I wasn't expecting to not like this- and I was right to, because I love it. It's giving me the hydration boost I really needed, my skin loves to drink this up and I've noticed my face feeling a lot less tight already. Not to mention the fact it smells divine.


Let me know if you got any treats from Space Nk this Christmas!
0

BANISH THE BLUSH WITH LUSH



Without a doubt, this is my new favourite face mask from Lush, and from now on, I don't think I'll be without it.
If you're looking for a product to relive redness on your face, look no further than Rosey Cheeks (£6.75.) Unfortunately, it is a 'fresh' mask that should be kept in the fridge, so they only do the little pot, but the texture is very rich and thick so a little goes a long way.

First of all, it looks great, I much prefer applying this to other Lush masks such as Cup O Coffee, which do make a mess and can be a bit of a faff to clean off. This refreshing pink mask pretty much feels like very thick yogurt, it's also kept in the fridge, (well, should be...) so it's cooling on the skin.
Almost like a thick creamy paste, this pink pot of wonder sits on the skin for 15 minutes to work its magic.
For me, one finger full is enough to cover the areas of concern (around my nose, cheeks) and it spreads out evenly, whilst sitting on the skin it gives off a floral fragrance that just smells like a pamper evening.

After washing off, redness is banished and my skin is left evenly toned and matte but not too dry.)
If you're suffering with redness or roseca or maybe excessive oil too, this is the mask for you.
I'm left thinking somedays, do I really need foundation on!?

0

OUT WITH THE OLD, IN WITH THE NEW


With such a vast range of products in the beauty market now, I very rarely re-purchase anything, I'm always wanting to try something new so I can get excited about it. When it comes to eyeshadow primers, it seems there are only two choices, one being the NARS Pro Prime Eyeshadow Base (£20) and the other being the range from Urban Decay. I do love the NARS option a lot but who has twenty pounds to spend on a primer for their eyelids when you can get the same for less, still from a good brand.

The Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion will still set you back £16.00, but it's a product I couldn't be without; I think anyone who wears eyeshadow should be using a prep product. Especially if you're buying pricey shadows. A little will go a long way, so one tube lasts me almost a year.
I go for a pretty dramatic dark smokey eye whenever I go out, I use several different shades so it's important that they stay in place and don't crease, I also like to keep my eyes dark so fading eyeshadow is just not an option.

It's been re-packaged since last time I bought some and I love it- it now has an applicator so there's no more of me squeezing too much out and wasting it! It's shaped in a curve perfect for all over lid application.

I never do my make up without this product now, it's totally an essential for me. When your eye shadow palettes can be £40+, there's no time for smudging, creasing or fall out, and this stops it all.


0

CHRISTMAS, FEATURING MENTAL HEALTH


Christmas, the time of year we're all expected to be jolly, excited and generally happy.
Of course, that is sometimes easier said than done, yes, it is a wonderful time of year, I really love Christmas myself, but when you've got a battle going on in your brain it can be really overwhelming and difficult to behave and feel how you're 'expected' to.
I think the most important thing I want to tell anyone from this post, is that, just because it's Christmas, it doesn't mean your problems and your thoughts and feelings go away for the day- they don't take a holiday. When I wake up on Christmas morning, my depression and anxiety will be very much still there, my anxiety especially, but don't get me wrong, I am still very excited to wake up and start the festive day.

First of all for example, comes dressing for Christmas day. I can't wear a dress or pretty tops, and everyone will ask why i'm wearing a big fluffy onesie.
It's to cover all of the self harming scars on my arms, my family don't know about my struggle with self harm yet and i'm pretty sure Christmas day isn't the day to be announcing something like that.
I hate wearing a onesie on Christmas day, I get hot and sweaty, I get flustered, I worry about photos, I feel like everyone is judging me, it's just not nice at all, I want to wear a skimpy little party dress and feel good about myself just for one day. I can't.

Anxiety is my biggest problem at Christmas, you're surrounded by people constantly, having to socialise and be watched.
I love getting gifts, but my God do I hate opening them when everyone is watching! I get so sweaty and shaken up and then I begin to worry that everyone can see that too.
If my mood drops during the day due to my depression, I'll always get told off for being 'ungrateful,' and 'spoilt' and miserable- and I suppose that's what it looks like, but it feels horrific to feel that way and I can't do anything about it.

Please if you know anyone with mental health problems who may struggle next Friday, please show them some love, support and understanding. Don't get angry with them if they're texting you telling you they feel like crying, chances are, they're wishing they could feel 'normal.' There is so much pressure to be 'okay' at Christmas, and sometimes it can be impossible.

0

WHAT'S PLAYING #4


The fourth installment of my 'whats playing' series, where I give you a run down of the songs I've been listening to non-stop over the past month. From mid November to December I've been loving a strange mixture of things, as well as starting with the Christmas playlists on Spotify.

1. Little Mix - Love Me Like You (Christmas mix)
It's just the original absolute corker of a song that I'm addicted to, but with a Christmassy jingle added in the background. Gives me more of an excuse to sing it 24/7 right?

2. Fetty Wap - Rewind
Still loving the Wap. I've now listened to the entire album properly and discovered songs past Trap Queen, Rewind is probably the only song on the album with some meaningful lyrics that say something other than fuck bitches get high.

3. Justin Bieber - The Feeling and All In It
OBVIOUSLY still addicted to this bloody album of his, The Feeling is my all time favourite from the album, closely followed by All In It. Everyone's a Bieber fan now right? So that's okay. They just make me feel so giddy and warm.

4. The Pogues - Fairytale Of New York
This is probably my favourite Christmas song, everyone knows this, it's a classic. The chances of getting through Christmas Day without hearing this are 0.

5. Band Aid - Do They Know It's Christmas?
Another festive tune, this is such a feel good song that makes me feel really happy and festive. It's a lovely little reminder to remember how lucky you are this Christmas too.


6. Sigala - Sweet Lovin'
I loved Easy Love, and now this. This is my drunken song of choice at the moment, it just makes me want to dance around and jump and sing for hours.


7. Grace/G-Eazy - You Don't Own Me
Ever since Lauren Murray sang this on X-Factor I have been hooked! I honestly thought it was Paloma Faith at first, but Grace, whoever you are, well done. This is so empowering and #girlpower. I feel like it would be a brilliant break up song!


What have you been listening to recently? 

0

2015 BEAUTY BEST BITS





It's a little too early for December favourites, but I wanted to do a round up of the main products I've discovered and fallen in love with this year. Finding a new product that works really well for you is one of the best feelings, and I feel like 2015 has been a breakthrough year for me and beauty products. I picked out five things that have really stood out from the thousands I've spent this year.

Lets start with the base, out of the many primers I've tried this year Le Blanc De Chanel has stood out the most. It has such a gorgeous texture, it leaves the skin feeling smooth and looking luminous. It isn't advertised as a primer but it does claim to be 'multi use.' Personally I find it perfect for really smoothing out my skin before applying my foundation, it also has a really subtle but fresh scent. (That packaging though...)
My next base pick was a foundation from Givenchy, it's the Photo Perfexion foundation- this was the first beauty product I've ever tried from them and my God has it made me want to try everything! This is my holy grail foundation, it never ever fails to impress me. No matter what my skin is like, what primer I use, it always looks flawless. It gives a medium coverage that looks fresh, glowy and natural with an over all satin finish. This product also has a subtle but gorgeous floral scent that doesn't irritate the skin.

Finally, I found a contour product that works on my pale skin. Thank God I purchased the NARS Paloma kit! The shade of bronzer is perfect for those of us that suffer with Snow White syndrome, it isn't orangey or muddy at all, and the lighter powder in the compact is ideal for sharpening up any lines and highlighting under the eyes without adding all the glow. Both powders feel very smooth on the skin, have great staying power and the Paloma contour shade is perfectly pigmented.

This year was also the year of the Anastasia Beverly Hills Dipbrow Pomade, and of course I jumped on the bandwagon. This is now my go to product for my sparse brows, it might not give the most natural finish, but I'm not a natural girl. I mix this with the Brow Wiz and together they make the perfect brow! This was totally a product worth all the hype it got this year. Mine is looking worse for wear, it's just very well loved.

Last, but certainly not least, and without a doubt, MAC's Taupe lipstick has been my most used, go-to shade this year. It's a gorgeous warm toned dark nude, and it goes with pretty much anything I wear or any make-up look I go for. The staying power is amazing much like the pigmentation, the satin finish means it isn't at all drying and I can usually get away with not re-applying all day.

What have your top beauty discoveries been this year?

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ALTERNATIVE ILLUMINATORS


When it comes to highlighting and illuminating I'm sure most of us think of glistening powders and vibrant blushes- powders are certainly my weapon of choice for both elements, but I do find myself sometimes impulse buying something a little different. Who doesn't love having something they haven't tried before to play with?
My ultra pale skin is lashed with colour and glow every day, and if I'm feeling like adventuring out of my norm, there are three products in my collection I'd turn to.

My favourite is the new Giorgio Armani Fluid Sheer in shade 3.
I ordered this not really knowing how I'd use it- it arrived and it was a lot more pigmented than I expected. The intensity can be adjusted depending on how much liquid you pump out, if I want a orangey golden blush, one pump on each cheek blended well does the job. It isn't really obvious or in your face, it is pretty true to the sheer name. This would be a great product for those of you that like the 'no make up' look. The finish looks natural and can add a little dewyness to the skin. (10/10 for packaging too!)

My second alternative is the BECCA Poured Shimmering Skin Perfector in 'rose gold.'
Funnily enough (not funny at all,) I bought this as an accident, I thought I'd ordered a powder but didn't realize there was also a 'poured' option. Still beating myself up about that...
This is a really thick creamy product that works good as a blush and a subtle highlight- it requires a lot of good blending to really make it look good- but it's great for days my skin is a little drier. The rose gold colour would probably be a lot nicer as the powder- the cream texture takes away any 'goldness' and makes it more of an orangey rose. However, the staying power is slightly better.

I hate to say this, but my least favourite is from NARS, their liquid illuminator in 'copacabana.'
I just haven't ever really liked this stuff, and I usually love anything from NARS, but I feel like this highlighter really emphasizes pores and even more so when it catches the light. Again, it does look very subtle and natural because of its super light pinky shade, but the finish on (my) skin isn't ideal. I find that this also sticks to some foundations and makes my skin feel dry, or it completely rubs away the foundation I just applied! No time for that when your foundation is over thirty pounds.
But, I didn't want money to go to waste, so I've found a way to (very slowly) use this up. I use a tiny soft bristled brush and apply it on my cupids bow, it instantly makes my lips look more plump and makes the outline stand out, likewise on my brow-bone, it lifts my brows and draws attention to the eye make up I spend a lot of time on.

Let me know if you use any liquid products to add any colour or glow to your complexion- I'd love recommendations!

1

LITTLE LUSHLETS


I love cute little mini things, and I love Lush, so put the two together and you get a very excited Courtney. These little wonders are a great little pick me up to pamper yourself with when you're feeling a bit shitty. (They're also extremely visually pleasing..and good to photograph.)

The Comforter shower cream was the thing I was most excited about, I remember the amazing smell of the bubble bar when I could actually use it a few years ago (sensitive skin suddenly developed, thanks a bunch.) It's all okay, I can now enjoy the amazing scent again but in the form of a shower gel. So far, so good, no irritation. I think this is great for shaving because of the thicker consistency compared to Snow Fairy, I also find it to be more moisturizing, which I really need right now. The smell lingers around my body for hours after washing and If I could wear this as a perfume, I sure would. Without a doubt I'll be getting my paws on a bigger bottle of this stuff.

Everyone and their mother probably knows Christmas at Lush means it's Snow Fairy time. As much as this looks gorgeous and smells insane like candyfloss and bubblegum, I'm not a big fan of the formula. I find Snow Fairy to be very thin and drying on my already dry winter skin. ALSO, WHY have they changed the packaging?! It looks so boring and basic now. Again, I enjoy the smell lingering around my body for hours after a bath, Snow Fairy candle please Lush!
It does however smell the same as the Rockstar soap which again, I love but, all the dryness.

I spoke about the Tea Tree Water Toner in my recent skincare routine post,
I basically just picked up a little bottle because my larger one was running low and I have a huge fear of products getting completely drained and not having anything to use! (Anyone else?)  I think Santa is fetching me another huge bottle but this should see me through until then.

The Lush Charity Pot hand and body lotion is a really handy little beauty product to have in your handbag or on your bedside table. This cream is super nourishing and hydrating, so it's perfect for winter skin syndrome. Sometimes I just wake up during the night and my face or hands will feel super dehydrated, I quickly slather some of this on before going back to sleep to stop my skin feeling tight. It smells really uplifting and fresh and despite the scent it has not irritated my sensitive skin. It's a great product and it helps people in need too, so, whats bad?

4

THE 'PERFECT BLOGGER' EXPERIMENT


It's almost a year now since I entered the beauty blogging world, I've learnt and seen a lot already. Mostly in blogger chats on Twitter I pick up on things people say such as: 'The key to a successful blog is scheduling weeks ahead, scheduling tweets for the week, having amazing photographs, commenting on other blogs." I suppose if that works for you, that's great- but personally I honestly don't have the energy, motivation or head space to do all of that, all of the time.
I very rarely sit down and schedule a load of tweets for the week ahead, I also very rarely have posts in a line all ready to be published, and if I'm honest, some weeks, I don't even have it in me to sit and publish one post.

When I'm really in my blogging mojo, I'll even take my laptop in the car with me and write out posts on Word ready to publish when I'm home, I'll try to take the best photographs possible all at once, and I'll try my best to comment on a few blogs a couple days a week, and often I find myself feeling like I'm not doing anything right.
Surely, if people say that's what works...it must work?
I tried being the 'perfect blogger' for a week and doing everything everyone recommended both in posts and chats just to see what happened with my followers, traffic, comments and social media...

It started by getting up earlier than usual one morning so I was ready to catch some sunlight, I made the most effort I'v ever made to set up a scene for taking photographs, I lifted my TV off a set of white drawers, pulled the chest of drawers in front of my bedroom window, undid my fairy lights, got out a few props and pieces of white cardboard in attempt to banish shadows I would usually have.

The first picture I took was the 'flat lay' above, which is the first one I've attempted, they seem to work and look amazing for bigger bloggers, so why not? Obviously mine didn't turn out as perfect, and I suppose I'll see if it attracts more readers than my usual photographs do once this goes live.

I then edited all of those photos on an online programme, 'Pic Monkey' which was recommended by other bloggers. I admit they did turn out a little better than usual.

The biggest change I saw came from joining in all of the Twitter chats, scheduling advertising tweets and interacting with other beauty bloggers on social media. My Twitter follow count seemed to zoom up, gaining 40+ in one day after 2 chats! I was suddenly at over 720 followers from about 550 in a week from all the interaction, and of course, that meant extra traffic and 20 new followers on Bloglovin' so I'm closer to my 300 milestone!

However, I found that posting everyday/every other day was difficult for each post. When I only post twice a week, the posts views will be high, when I was posting daily, it was hard to advertise the post enough to a decent amount of 'reads' before the next one was up, so my entire Twitter seemed to be filled with link after link, which wasn't good for the followers I'd gained.

So after this little experiment, I'm still not sure if all of the hard work is the 'right' way to blog, I think the real secret is time. Waiting for your blog to grow.
Let me know how you manage your blog and its content!

12

Marc Jacobs (Under) Cover Coconut Primer



On a recent Sephora order, I picked up my first Marc Jacobs beauty product, the new Marc Jacobs Under (Cover) Coconut Primer, (not that I needed any more primers, but whatever, you can't have too much of a good thing, right?) 
Before writing this, I've read several other reviews and they all seem pretty positive, but unfortunately I have some bad feedback to share.

Texture? Yes, all good. It leaves the skin smoothed and soft, the perfect blank canvas infused with nutrients for your skin to go under your base make up. It soaks into the skin quickly, and the water like formula means that one pump will cover your whole face. 

Packaging? 10/10. Sleek, modern, monochrome, all the things I love. Frosted glass bottle? Yes please. Black and white colour scheme? I'm all over it, just like my obsession with NARS packaging, my Marc Jacobs beauty obsession is just beginning. 

Formula? It feels very hydrating, perfect for dry skin but still gives a natural finish. The coconut smell only lingers until you cover your face in foundation, but I suppose it's the fact it's 5 of the ingredients that counts. I'm ALL for skin loving make up products. It applies completely clear so it won't help even your skin tone, but it does provide a smooth base for a foundation to do the job instead. It isn't great at filling in pores or lines. 

The downside? So far, every time I've used this primer my skin seems to turn very red and irritated, and my skin will feel uncomfortable under my foundation all day. I don't know what it is in the formula that my skin doesn't agree with, but something makes it a little upset. It doesn't itch or burn or cause me any break outs, it just generally seems to create redness around the cheeks and nose, so I always follow with a high coverage foundation. 


2

LITTLE EXTRAS FOR PARTY SEASON






Christmas is the season for all things glitzy and glam, it’s the ‘party season’ which gives me a new excuse to bring out all of my little pigments, and nobody can tell you what’s too much, because nothing is too much. Glow all out. I’m all about adding extra highlight in every area possible, so much that Santa could look down and see me glowing from the sky.

I’ve pulled out my Illamasqua white/silver glitter pigment, which looks gorgeous in the corners of my eyes, it makes a smokey eye that extra little party like and festive. Mixed with a drop of Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer, it stays there for a very long time too. I get compliments every time I load this on my eyes about how ‘pretty’ it looks.
If I go for a really warm smokey eye, I’ll replace this for my gold glitter pigment from MAC, this was a miniature from last years Holiday collection, but I find that I get a lot of drop down with this one and sometimes it gets in my eyes, which you can imagine isn’t very comfortable.
For extra glimmer and light on the brow bone, I use a tiny little pot of powder highlight from Bare Minerals. It’s easy to swipe on just with my finger, it adds a little golden incandescent glow which really shapes my eyebrow well and makes me eye make up stand out.

My all time favourite product for adding a little extra something to my eyes is my Eyes To Mesmerise pot from Charlotte Tilbury, in a rich golden shade, this is a perfect match for my everyday brown smokey eye, it really makes my eyes stand out and makes them appear wider. I apply this with a tiny little Real Techniques brush with soft bristles, and paint it on from the very corners to the middle of my waterline.

What products do you turn to for an extra little glow? 


2

An Ode To Eyeshadows From Too Faced



I have enough eyeshadow to last me and 10 other people the rest of their lives, but it never stops me buying more, some people hoard lipsticks and have 10 the same shade, I'm the same with eyeshadow, it's my ultimate beauty weakness and I cannot resist a good nude or warm palette, no matter how ridiculously priced. (Hourglass Modernist, you're next.) I've tried shadows from almost every high end brand but one brands formula in particular really stands out. Too Faced, you're a winner.

First of all, they offer every shade you could ask for within the wide range of palettes they sell, from a palette full of nudes, to bright 'pop colours. Both of which they do very well.
I've tried my fair share of both bright colours, nudes, darks etc, and I'm yet to find one single shadow that I don't love.

The formula of the shadows is incredibly buttery, smooth and they glide onto your eyelid like a dream. The pigmentation is as good as pigmentation could ever be, one swipe of any colour is enough. The creamy, buttery formula means they blend together seamlessly and due to them being quite thick in texture, they last all day long on the lids.
Drop down is pretty much a non-existent issue with Too Faced shadows, it's straight from brush to the eye.
If you thought the Naked palette shadows were soft and bouncy, you need to try out a Too Faced palette this Christmas. I have the "Natural Eyes" palette on my list which I'm expecting from my best friend, it's filled browns, golds and creams, which are generally the shades I use everyday for a smokey eye.

Let me know if you've tried any eyeshadows from Too Faced and what you thought- because clearly, I can't fault them!

                                                    
6

November Favourites



Commence, the weirdest favourites post I'll probably ever do. My annual cold and flu arrived this month, (woo!) and I've been coughing my guts up, aching like an elderly, had car alarms going off in my head and just generally feeling run down and unwell, wow, I love the cold weather. 
A hot water bottle has been my best friend the past week, as well as cough medicine and pain killers, but I couldn't find a nice way to present a bottle of medicine and ibuprofen in a blog picture...

However, I've been living in my pyjamas, I can't remember the last time I got up and dressed, and these Alice In Wonderland pyjamas so happen to be my newest (and favourite) pair I own. I find a lot of joy in new pyjamas.
Whilst lying in bed wrapped up, I've been having to apply layer after layer of lip balm, my current balm of choice is the 'Born Lippy' from The Body Shop, it smells and tastes like Watermelon and it's super hydrating and long lasting, so what's not to like? If my lips feel extra chapped I go in with some Bubblegum Lip Scrub from Lush, Not only have I been putting this on my lips, but I've been eating it, because mm. This is such a great exfoliant that it removes dead skin from your lips and leaves them smooth again.
If painkillers just aren't enough to tackle my booming migraines, I apply some 4head stick, which my mam just picked up for me in Asda. I didn't think it would do anything but this stuff genuinely works, it's like a giant lip balm that you rub on your forehead, it instantly cools and soothes your strain.
I obviously haven't been sitting putting make-up on everyday to lie in bed, but just to make myself feel a little better and look a little fresher, I've been loving my NARS Radiant Tinted Moisturiser again, I usually mix this with light coverage foundations but it's just been a nice, easy and quick step in the morning that makes me look a little less ill.

Let me know what you've been loving, or if you also like any of the products I've mentioned...also let me know if you're also cold ridden.

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THINGS I'VE LEARNT IN MY FIRST BLOGGING YEAR



January 11th will mark my blogs first birthday, and I know it's going to fly by. I mean it's almost Christmas already, and it certainly doesn't feel like a year since I started up Lipstick Full Of Optimism. I remember the night I sat and created my little space, I was watching The Devil Wears Prada, mind mapping a name, and playing with the layout for a good few hours. It was terrifying and putting my words out there for anyone in the world to see STILL scares me. I've learnt so much in my first year, and I'm grateful for it- what I've learnt this year is going to help me out so much next year, I think LFO will grow a lot next year now I've passed the awkward first stages and never doing things properly. 

I've had a few brands e-mailing me this year interested in working with me, sending products etc, but I've so far turned all offers down because I do claim this blog as high-end beauty based, and obviously, smaller brands have been contacting me about products that don't fit in- and I wanted to stay true to why I was blogging and not just start accepting any free products offered to me.

I've also received some great, lovely and supportive feedback on my mental health posts- they actually prove to be the most popular ones I write, which is great, because I love to write them.
I appreciate support, comments, saves, follows, tweets, etc so much. 


1. Doing it properly, is time consuming, stressful and at times, difficult.
Taking photographs, editing them, thinking of post ideas, writing the post, advertising the post, advertising your blog, sharing your links, interacting with other bloggers, commenting on other blogs...scheduling tweets, joining chats, maintaining the look of your blog, checking old links work, checking for comments and replying to them, scheduling posts, research.
You know, there's probably even more things a blogger does but this is the huge list that comes straight to mind. When I began my blog, I didn't think it would be quite this much work and effort to get it even to where it is now. 


2. It often leaves me feeling deflated.
There's a lot of other bloggers out there, the community is growing so quick, meaning there's even more competition. It's hard to stand out and be seen in such a huge crowd, and sometimes I feel like giving up because I'll never move from the back row. I often think 'there's millions of us, I am not necessary.' I am such a small fish in such a huge pond and half of the time it feels like I'll never grow.
Even things like not getting a comment on a post is really demotivating, I think to blog in this 90% online world you have to be really strong headed, persevere and ignore the progress of others to concentrate on you. 


3. Things do not come easily.
A lot of people (that obviously do not blog,) seem to think that you start up a blog, write a post and then loads of free make up, skin care, clothes etc. are sent your way!
I’ve been working at this for a year and only received 2 offers of any ‘free products’ being sent to me, you have to work and build up your status, build your blog, your audience, and generally get noticed- which is all hard work, which can be really mentally draining.


4. It makes me buy things I don’t need.
Did I need to buy 7 primers this year? No, not at all. Could I of gotten through the year with the 1 really expensive primer I received last Christmas? Probably. Do I need 50 of the same eyeshadow colour? No. Do I need a different foundation for every day of the week? No, not at all. Beauty blogging especially makes me spend a lot of money- it almost makes me sick how many thousands I must of spent this year on make up, some of it, I never even touch. It’s all because beauty blogging gives you an excuse to buy it, you don’t need it? Yeah, but you can blog about it! 


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Contouring Tools - The NARS Edit



NARS brushes are probably my favourite, but they unfortunately come with a large price tag- here are the three brushes from NARS in my collection that are perfect for my contour/sculpting routine. 

The Ita (£43.00) 
Probably the most ridiculously priced brush ever, it's super thin, has a thin head and I can't see myself EVER paying that much for the full size, I have the mini, it's the same brush, just with a smaller handle- I got mine included in the Tahiti Laguna Bronzer compact.
I will admit it is good for contouring, not good enough to be worth the full price tag, but if you literally have money to throw away- go for it. I know you can get much better/softer brushes for a little less. The bristles are a little harsh, but it's what makes the application so good.

The Contour (£31.00)
All time favourite brush in my entire collection, I'd take this over the Ita anyday, a super fluffy, full brush that applies contour in the hollow in the cheekbone perfectly, the perfect size and shape, it also picks up the perfect amount of product. I've had this a year in December and apart from a couple of hairs sticking out from harsh washing as you can see above, it's proving a winner.

The Diffusing (£26.00)
NARS actually advertises this as an eyeshadow brush? Strange, it's way too big for eyes! I love this with a highlight or a really light powder from a contour kit such as the one from ABH, it sharpens up the contour perfectly and is the perfect size for the job. I also use it with more 'sparkling' highlights such as MAC Soft & Gentle, the side of the brush gives a gentle sweep of glow.

6

AM to PM Skincare Routine


I bloody love skincare, talking about it, using it, buying it, trying it, reviewing it, everything. I've been taught to look after my skin from a young age, my mum had me using Liz Earle and Clinique products from about 11 years old, so maybe I've got her to thank for the fact I never experienced any teenage spotty skin, or any issues in general. I'm really happy with my skin- I look after it everyday and it pays off, I rarely see a spot, it's soft, takes to make-up well and I'm so grateful for it.
It certainly hasn't come cheap, I think skincare is something you should always splash out on, even if you don't buy high end make up, if your skin is great, you'll always look better.
Through Spring, Summer my skin is normal, as we go into Autumn it starts getting dehydrated and by Winter it's needing moisturiser top ups 3 times a day, unless I go out and buy a very rich cream.
Prior to this post, I was using all Elemis products- their cleanser, toner, exfoliating paste and moisturiser, so since things have been switched up a lot, I thought I would do an updated skincare routine; the following products are what get my through day to night to keep my skin in tip top condition. (Oh it's also quite sensitive.)

So first I start with the Oskia Renaissance Cleansing Gel, "an illuminating vitamin melting cleanser."
I never ever thought I would swap my cleanser from my old favourite, Emma Hardie Moringa Balm, however, I watch a lot of Lily Pebbles and she always talks about this, so when my EH was hitting a low point I got my hands on this from Oskia.
The products are pretty similar, and I can't really decide which one I like best- although the Emma Hardie is a little more convenient because you can actually see how much product you have left, which is probably the only con to the Oskia gel. However, it is cheaper and does exactly the same job, both have a balm to oil like texture when applied, both smell super amazing and both remove make-up effortlessly. At the moment I'm using the Oskia gel to cleanse, and then if my skin is feeling particularly dehydrated, I'll apply a dollop of Emma Hardie and sit with it on my face for hours, sometimes even over night. I'll remove both with a muslin cloth and warm water.
Oskia Gel, £28.00.
Emma Hardie Moringa £35.00-£55.00.

If I want an extra something, I'm having a little pamper night or I'm lying in the bath for a while, I'll apply a generous layer of Mask Of Magnaminty from Lush.
This is a gorgeous mask that reminds me of the Aesop Parsley Seed mask and the REN Invisible Pores Detox Mask. It's not too clay like, so it's not drying at all, it's so so refreshing, it makes your skin feel deeply clean and fresh, it also has a minty aroma which really cools and soothes the skin, as well as just generally making me feel chilled out. I'll sit with this mask on for about 15-20 minutes and then just use my hands to gently wash away with warm water.
I find that it leaves my skin baby soft, a little glowy and radiant and it also helps my pores a little.
Mask Of Magnaminty £9.95.

After applying all this to my skin, I want it back to a normal pH level and I want to make sure every last bit of dirt, make up or product is taken off my skin.
For this I turn to a toner from Lush, the Tea Tree Water toner.
I swipe this over my face using cotton pads, to refresh, cleanse, and just to make my skin feel more supple and clean. I adore tea tree products, I love the smell of it and It's a really helpful product, it's anti-bacterial, so it will keep away bacteria that could cause spots.
Not only do I use this after my routine, but I just use it at any point during the day (when I have no make-up on, obviously,) to refresh, it's just a great little pick me up for your skin and I promise it'll thank you for it. (GREAT when you have a hangover...)
Tea Tree Water £8.50.

As my exfoliant, again, from Lush, is their new mask Cup O'Coffee. 
I LOVE me some coffee, so obviously when I heard about a mask that smelt like coffee and had actual coffee grounds in it, I was all over this straight away,
This is not at all gentle, so I only use it once a week, otherwise I'd probably have no layers of skin left. But when I do use it, it does a wonderful job, it's a paste filled with tiny bits of coffee which Lush claim this keeps the skin caffeinated and energizes the skin.
Any dead or dry skin is sure to be swept away with this down the sink, I have to be super gentle washing it off however because my skin is a little sensitive and I don't want it going red from scrubbing too hard. Again, I don't find it drying or tightening in any way, it's really fresh and obviously it's a huge bonus if you're a coffee lover!
Cup O' Coffee £12.25.

Finally, we have Dream Cream, also from Lush. This is my moisturiser of choice, not only can I use it on my face but my body loves it too. Lush claim this to be soothing, gentle calm and hydrating.
It's not moisturizing enough for my dry skin in Winter, however the rest of the year it's spot on.
It's full of natural ingredients which are great for us with sensitive skin, the lid reads that it's designed to be applied to "even the most easily upset skin." It has a refreshing gentle scent which smells pretty oat like but still good, it makes my skin appear very luminous, soft and generally gives it an all round better texture. It's a perfect cream for a make up base also, it's not too thick and it doesn't roll off any of my make up.
Dream Cream, £19.95

4

Chocolate Contouring


Okay, so, when I ordered this Debenhams totally sent me the wrong one, so I've ended up with Dark Chocolate Soleil instead of the light. (My mum actually has the original and I think it's too orange.)
I'm trying to make it work...just because it smells good. 
So I am writing this review based on both the dark and the original. Unfortunately, neither have particularly lived up to the hype. 

It is a very matte bronze, so ideal for contouring, just not if you're anywhere from BR10 to BR30 in foundation. 
It's incredibly pigmented and even after tapping excess off my brush I find that still too much is applied, I also found the texture to be quite thick and creamy making it harder than usual to blend out when too much is applied. 

Ideally for my super pale skin, I need a bronzer with a cool hue and unfortunately this has super warm undertones which make me look like I'm caked in bad fake tan.
On the plus side, the packaging is super gorgeous, it comes with a really decent sized mirror and a lot of product. I don't know if it's just me and my minimalist monochrome ways, but I think it does look a little cheap and tacky...which, it isn't. Obviously the stand out feature of this product is that it really does smell like chocolate, and I can smell it on my face all day long.


10

What's Playing #3


Following up from my last 'What's Playing' post, it's now mid month and I've got a whole lotta new loves. I mean, Justin Bieber and One Direction releasing new albums on the same day!? It's too much. I'll admit I used to be totally against both artists, I thought Justin Bieber was tragic when he first came into the scene but this new album is something else. Likewise, One Direction are all grown up, Harry Styles now has hobo hair and looks gorgeous- I don't even think they're guilty pleasures anymore, I don't care who knows I love them. 15 year old me would be laughing at me right now, what's happened to me?

1. Justin Bieber - Purpose (The Album)The art work, the song titles, his voice, the lyrics, everything is so much better than it used to be. This new album Purpose has been on repeat non-stop since it's release, 'Children' is my favourite and I think it's very under-rated, it's up there with the bangers like Where R U Now and Sorry.

2. The Cribs - Burning For No One, Men's Needs and Different Angle
I've known of The Cribs for a long time but I've never gave them a proper listen, my friend introduced me to them properly recently and they're easily a new favourite.

3. Bad - David Guetta (Ft. Vassy)
I've been getting drunk a lot recently (oops), and this is my ultimate drunken happy song. It's always playing when I'm getting ready for a night of alcohol consumption and it never fails to get me in the mood.

4. Robert Miles - Children
Any 90's kid should know this classic, if you don't remember this, get on YouTube now and relive your childhood. What a tune.

5. Fetty Wap- My Way
I expressed my love for Fetty Wap in my last What's Playing post, and it's still going strong. My Way is my new favourite from him, closely followed by 679.  It's a little slower than his other stuff- but his voice just makes me weak. The version featuring Drake is on YouTube and I prefer it to the version on Spotify with Monty.

6. Tyga - Stimulated
Still loving this as much as last time- I couldn't not mention it because I just can't stop listening to it, sorry not sorry.

What have you been listening to recently? Are the Christmas songs coming out yet?

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