Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Clothing and Homeware Buys

I don't buy a lot of clothes these days because I'm either in uniform or pyjamas most of the time, but a few items from New Look caught my eye last week. 

I've never been a fan of high-necked tops on myself, but that seems to have changed in the last month or so. The first thing I added to my basket was the colour block funnel neck jumper for £27.99. I personally think this is overpriced for New Look, along with the other two actually, but I've decided to just buy things I like the look of. It's not often that I find clothes I like, so I have to take advantage when I do! Despite me saying it's overpriced, it's good quality. I thought it'd feel quite rough and cheap, but it's soft. I've actually exchanged this for a smaller size because it was huge, hence the phone images - I couldn't wait for my other one to arrive before writing this!

The fine-knit striped jumper was £17.99, and I've already worn it because I like it so much. It's kind of cropped, which will take some getting used to, but at least it makes my legs look longer. I just have to be careful with makeup and food around it!

The jacquard mini skirt was £19.99, and is completely out of my comfort zone. I was drawn to it, though, and kept imagining it with tights and boots. I'd prefer it in a size smaller so it was tighter and gave more shape, but it doesn't come in one, so will just have to deal with it.

When I move out and have my own place, browsing TK Maxx will be one of my favourite hobbies. It is now, to be honest, but I have to restrain what I buy because I currently have nowhere to home things. This weekend's trip was fairly successful, though. I picked up the wire and canvas basket for £9.99, and this is currently storing my Lush products. I previously had them in a box, but would forget about them, so wanted something which would display them, while still looking fairly organised. It's from a brand called JVL, if you were wondering.

The wooden basket tag simply says 'handcrafted in vietnam', and this was £6.99. I really loved the rustic look of this, so bought it to store my teas and other hot drinks in.

The orange rim around the bowls is much brighter in real life, making them a lot prettier, but you get the idea. They're from a brand called Creative Tops, and are part of the Wanderer collection. The larger one was £3.99, while the smaller one was £2.99. I don't have a use for these yet, but couldn't leave them behind!

The last thing already has a special place in my heart. It's the Sabichi Oversized Spots Mug, which holds 600ml, and it was just £2.99. I'm already imagining having an epic hot chocolate in this. Who cares if it'll contain my daily sugar intake?

There were also these ceramic mixing bowls which nested inside each other, and each one had a different colour on the inside, but I currently have no room for them, so had to leave them behind. Sad times.

Have you found any gems in TK Maxx recently?

Friday, 15 January 2016

For My Birthday

I'm not one to lust over designer items, but I've been on the Kate Spade website a couple times, and have appreciated the beauty of the bags and wallets. I happened to be doing just that a couple weeks ago, when I noticed there was a sale on. Along with some other colours, the Cedar Street Lacey Wallet in Cy Blue was reduced to £110, down from £160. If I could have chosen any wallet from the ones available, it would have been this one. It was still an extortionate amount of money, though, so I tweeted my admiration and left it.

Then my sister mentioned that she'd bought my birthday present and I could have it when it arrived, despite my birthday being on the 20th January, because she couldn't keep it a secret from me. After asking for a clue, she said it was fragrance related, so I thought it was another Yankee Candle Electric Melt Warmer I'd had my eye on. Then the word 'perfume' slipped out during conversation, and I was so pleased I'd managed to find it out (I like to know things, which doesn't work well with surprises). A couple days later, with my eyes closed, a box was placed in my hands, and I couldn't believe that it was this wallet. No one ever surprises me because I end up guessing what it is before they can. It turns out that my sister went to say the word 'purse', but I jumped to conclusions and thought she said 'perfume'.

She said that she'd found a 10% off code, making it £99, but I still felt extremely guilty. No one has ever spent so much on me. We then found out that it had been further reduced to £80, £72 with the code, so we decided to buy again and return the first one. It's still a lot of money, but thinking of it being better than half price lessens the blow a little.

Some of you may think telling this story is a little dramatic, especially when you see others receiving the bags all the time, but it means a lot to me. It's more about the thought and surprise behind it, but... it's also about the wallet. Look at it; it's beautiful!

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

The Products Which Didn't Quite Make It

I set myself a limit of fifteen products for my 2015 favourites, but I have to mention the ones above. They may have missed out on a spot at the top, but I still enjoyed using each and every one of these throughout the course of the year. I think I discovered all but one of them during the year as well, so I haven't gone on about them umpteen times before.

Soap & Glory One Heck Of A Blot Primer (review here) | I started using this towards the end of 2015, but it's better than a lot of other primers I've used before, and I'll be repurchasing soon. It doesn't live up to a lot of its claims, but it does make my makeup last well, and my eyeliner less smudgy. I also like the packaging; you can get everything out of the tube, and the nozzle allows for control.

Soap & Glory Glow All Out Luminizing Face Powder | I swatched this multiple times over the course of a year before buying. I thought it was beautiful, but for some reason, always put it back on the shelf. When I finally made the purchase and used it for the first time, I was actually disappointed. It didn't look as nice out of the store, and it was barely noticeable. I don't know why I thought that because I find it to be more than enough now. I find it too shimmery to be used all over the face, but think it looks beautiful on the tops of the cheeks.

L'Oreal Colour Riche Lipstick in Julianne's Nude | I wasn't into nudes and muted pinks before the summer of 2015. I don't know what changed, but I've been wearing shades like this one on a regular basis for months now. This particular one is very flattering, and the formula doesn't go patchy over the course of its wear. It stays looking good right the way through.

NARS Copacabana Illuminator | I bought this in a blog sale, and can see it lasting an age! The smallest amount gives a pearlescent, almost metallic highlight to the places you apply it.

Revlon ColourStay Foundation for Normal/Dry Skin in Ivory (review here) | For someone with oily skin, I was skeptical about this. I bought it over the one for combination/oily skin because it looked lighter. I've since bought that one as well, but find myself reaching for this one more. It has a thicker, more gel-like texture than my other foundations, and leaves my skin feeling more moisturised. It doesn't make me any more oily than I usually get, and seems to last throughout the day better. I just wish it had a pump!

Bourjois Bronzing Primer (review here) | A matte, cream bronzer that blends beautifully. There's not much more to say! I still want them to come out with a contour version.

NYX Concealer Wand in Green | I started using this in December, but still wanted to mention it. I've had the jar version of this for a long time, and started using it again in November. The colour really helped tone down my blemishes and rosacea before applying foundation, but the formula had dried out and become difficult to blend. This liquid version is much better, and incredibly pigmented!

No7 Instant Radiance Highlighter | I bought this all the way back in the summer of 2014, but haven't mentioned it much, and started using it again towards the end of 2015. I love cream products, and this one is no different. A dupe for the Clinique one, it's incredibly easy to use, blends well, and has just the right amount of shimmer. I'm a fan of the blushes from the range as well.

Stila Convertible Colour in Hibiscus | The NYX Cream Blush in Natural is still my go-to blush, but I also love this one. It's mostly the shade I love because I have nothing like this coral red in my collection, but the formula's good, too. It's harder than the NYX ones, almost like a solid gel instead of a cream, but it's pigmented and blends well. The packaging is also pretty, let's be honest!

Have you tried any of these? I'd love to hear your thoughts on them.

Monday, 11 January 2016

Flamingo Candles The Melt Crowd - January 2016

I like how this month's box has been stripped of colour, and there's only a pop of it within its contents. It's like a fresh start for the new year. The scents are what we're all interested in the most, though, and I can say that the majority of this selection smell great. There are three which I don't like (including one which I definitely won't be keeping), but we'll get on to those as we go through them.

Strawberry Jam | It smells like the name suggests, which is similar to The Body Shop's strawberry range, if you're familiar with that. I really like it, and I don't have many strawberry scented melts in my collection, so that's a bonus.

Coconut | Again, it smells like you'd imagine, and I love it. I'm not a fan of the texture of coconut, but love the smell and taste. It's especially nice in the form of Malibu...

Baby Powder | This is the first one I'm not keen on. I know loads of people find it comforting, but I find it to be quite heavy. I think I'll like it in small doses, though, so I'm planning on breaking this into at least four pieces.

Crystal Mountain Water | I don't know how to describe this, other than to say it's fresh. It's just good!

Pink Denim | I had no idea how this would smell, but was pleasantly surprised. If your clothes were washed in a really nice softener, this is how they would smell.

Whiskey | I don't like this one. It's heavy and musky, and I can see it giving me a headache.

B.A.R.E Orange & Lemongrass | My favourite from the box. It's so fresh and fruity! Lemongrass is one of my favourite scents, so I was bound to like it.

B.A.R.E Cinnamon & Mandarin | On the other end of the spectrum, this is my least favourite from the box. I'm not a big fan of cinnamon anyway, but the mandarin takes the warmth of it and turns it bitter. It's so strong as well. I walked in my sister's room holding it, and I had to take it out because it was making her feel sick.

If you're signed up to Flamingo Candles' The Melt Crowd, what was your favourite scent from this month? And if you're not, what's your favourite scent in general?

P.S. The Melt Crowd subscription box is just £10 a month. You can read more about it here.

Friday, 8 January 2016

Purchases & Presents

I was planning on getting this post up earlier than this, but I keep buying things, so have been waiting for them to arrive before taking photos of everything. Even now, I have some sale sets on their way to me, but thought I'd draw the line with this lot, else we'll be waiting all year.

This post is a combination of a 'what I got for Christmas' and sales haul post because I don't get a lot for Christmas, but wanted to show you the things I picked out for my parents to buy.

I've already shown you the Lush sale products I bought with the Christmas budget my parents allowed, but I placed an order with Whittard of Chelsea before Christmas. I picked the Cocoa Creations Hot Chocolate Gift Set for £20, the Hazelnut Flavour Ground Coffee for £5, and the English Rose & Glass Mug Bundle for £18. They're expensive and not items I'd buy myself, which is why I thought they'd make an ideal present.

Also with my Christmas money from my parents, I ordered Face Paint by Lisa Eldridge from Amazon for around £15. I've never bought a YouTuber's product before, and I've never bought a makeup book, so this is a first on both accounts. I'm a fan of Lisa Eldridge, and I like that this book has been designed with an older audience in mind, rather than young teens. It's beautiful and not tacky at all. What I like most about it is that it's not just another book telling you how to apply makeup, but one which looks at the history and origins of it. I'm looking forward to having a proper read through of this.

I've been wanting to buy a Rituals gift set in the sales for the last couple of years, but they either sell out quickly, or I change my mind and think they're still not worth the money. Last week, though, M&S had the Ancient Beauty Gift Set for £7 down from £19.50, so I had to order it. The common scent across the products is rose, and it's combined with something else in each one. It's a subtle, sweet floral, but in a luxurious, spa-like way.

I bought a couple Origins sets before Christmas because they were on offer, and I'm glad I did because they were nowhere to be seen on the Boots website after then. I've already shown you the Glow So Nice Set, which I managed to get for £20.66 down from £40, but I've yet to show you the Shining Stars Set, which was exclusive to Boots. It was originally £25, which is still great value, considering the moisturiser alone is worth that. It then went down to £20, and when I added it to my basket, my staff discount took off more than it was supposed to, so I got it for £15.50. I've tried the Drink Up Intensive Mask before, but not the others, so I'm looking forward to giving them a go.

The Boots after-Christmas sale is one which I look forward to the most. I didn't buy anything from the main line of gifts because I bought everything I wanted during double discount week in October, but I did get some fragrance sets. The first was Dolce & Gabbana's Light Blue, which was £28 from £42, and the second was Marc Jacobs' Daisy Dream, which was £37.33 from £56. I then found a code for £5 off these, which was a bonus! I already own Daisy Dream, and my sister's already finished the bottle I bought her for her birthday and is on her second, so I thought I'd buy her this as a back up.

Then, earlier this week, Boots further reduced their fragrance gift sets, so I bought Dolce & Gabbana's Miniatures Set and Nina Ricci's Nina Gift Set, each for less than £20. Again, I already own Nina, but bought the set as a present. Still, I should probably avoid buying perfume for a while!

What have you bought in the sales? 

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Free Printable 2016 Calendars

I do the majority of my planning at home, so wasn't fussed if I had a calendar instead of a planner this year. Then I saw Kelly mention the calendar above on her Instagram, and I instantly loved it. The main font is beautiful, the dates start on a Monday, which I personally prefer, and it's incredibly simple. You can leave it as it is, or customise with tapes, stickers, and colour. It was created by Kate over at Small Paper Things, along with a weekly planner. You can find both of them here. I'm going to display them as Kelly and others have done, and that's on a clipboard. Simple, yet effective.

Another one I'm a fan of is from Today's Creative Life, and it can be found here. It features a little colour and starts on a Sunday, if that's what you're used to.

I also like the ones available here, which are designed by Colleen from Lemon Thistle. I don't know if these will be staying up for much longer, so grab them while you can! 

Where's your planner/calendar from this year?

Saturday, 2 January 2016

Top 15 Products of 2015

I didn't give myself a limit to the number of products featured in my 2014 favourites, and ended up having two mammoth posts, so I set about having just 15 this time around. It was quite difficult actually, so I may write another post with the ones which didn't quite make it!

Most of these products are ones which I discovered in 2015. There are three which I've been using for longer, but I absolutely love them, so had to include them. I haven't included my trusty NYX Cream Blush in Natural, The Body Shop's All In One Face Base in 02, Maybelline's Gel Liner in Black, or ELF's Studio Eyebrow Kit in Light, because although I've been through many of each, I talk about them all the time.

The fragrance which I'm choosing as my 2015 favourite is Viktor & Rolf's Bonbon. I haven't had it that long, and I still love all my others just as much, but this one is so different to anything I own. It's rich, warm, and sweet, rather than light, floral, and fruity. The caramel note is really what makes it, and I'll catch whiffs of it throughout the day. One spray on the neck, and one on the wrists, is all I need, and my mum will comment on my perfume when I get home from work. I've avoided smelling Flowerbomb because of the patchouli note, but everyone seems to love it, so I think I'm going to have to track down a tester or sample of that one as well.

I'm grouping the MUA Sweet Sheen Lip Balms together, but thought I'd show you two of the five shades I own; Cherry Bomb and Dusky Rose. They're light, balmy, and last surprisingly well. They're also only £2 a piece!

I've been using the Superdrug Colour Effects Wash In Wash Out Conditioning Colours for years, and have spoken about them an awful lot, but I had to include them in my 2015 favourites because I've been using them more than ever, and have been receiving more compliments on my hair than ever. These bottles (£1.49) add different tones to your hair, depending on which shade you opt for. I tend to use the Mahogany shade the most, which makes my auburn hair deeper and richer. I also like True Chestnut, which is less red. I'll either leave it on for an hour once a week, or put it on in the shower for ten minutes and gradually build it up over the course of a few days.

I discovered Lush's Ultrabland Facial Cleanser in 2014, but it became the only cleanser I use in 2015. When you first start using it, it feels very heavy, and so moisturising that you think it'll clog your pores, but it doesn't. The texture has become the norm for me now, and the simple ingredients are great for my skin. The best thing about Ultrabland is how well it removes your makeup. It just melts it away, and doesn't sting your eyes.

Rimmel's The Only One Lipstick in Naughty Nude wasn't going to be in here, but when I thought about it, it's a lipstick I go to a lot. It's opaque, creamy, and lasts for hours. It kind of dries down to feel like a satin/stain, but it's not drying on the lips at all.

Barry M's Satin Super Slick Lip Paint in Berrylicious isn't one I've had that long, but I really do love it. Again, it's opaque and incredibly creamy, but it lasts well, especially when I dab and work it into my lips. The colour is different to other berry shades I own as well. It's slightly more purple, more muted. It's also only £4.49, which is a bonus.

My new favourite mascara is Maybelline's Lash Sensational. I'm not great at distinguishing the qualities between mascaras, but I know that this one separates my lashes, somehow makes them look better than other mascaras do, and doesn't flake.

I also discovered Lush's Ro's Argan Body Conditioner before 2015, but I love, love, love it. I found the scent overpowering at first, but now it seems to calm me. The actual product is what does it for me, though. You put it on in the shower, wash it off, and voila. You're left with moisturised skin. No need for butters or lotions in the cold.

Boots were selling Origins Mask Marvel sets, left over from Christmas, in the spring for a great price. I think they were £20 for three 75ml tubes. My favourite out of these is the Drink Up Intensive one. You sleep with it on overnight, and wake up to incredibly moisturised, plump skin. I usually find that once you wash your face, the effects of other moisturisers and masks seem to disappear with it, but this one doesn't. It also smells like apricot, which I love.

The Body Shop's Shade Adjusting Lightening Drops are a game changer. I've been loving them so much. You simply add however many drops to your foundation to make it lighter, which is great if you're pale and find it difficult to find a foundation light enough. It doesn't change the formula of the foundation either.

I became a big fan of Nip & Fab in 2015, especially of the Glycolic Fix range. I love the mask and serum, but decided to include the pads here because of their ease. Wiping one of these over your skin will improve the texture, making it smoother and brighter. You'll see more of an effect if you incorporate them into your daily routine, but I like to give my skin a break after about a week.

I've been loving highlighting in general, and have a few favourites, but the one which tops them all is probably Topshop's Glow Highlighter in Polished. You only need a small amount of the cream formula, and it blends beautifully. If you want something that's warmer than this pearlescent shade, they have a golden shade called Gleam.

Overall, I love my cream blushes more than my powder ones. My NYX, Stila, and Illamasqua ones in particular. But I thought I'd include Max Factor's Creme Puff Blush in Nude Mauve because, out of the blushes I bought in 2015, it's the one I go to the most. The colour is so natural and easy to wear, and the formula is a dream to use. It's soft, yet not chalky, and blends incredibly well. These blushes were talked about a lot last year, and for good reason.

I found a new brand to dominate my brush collection in 2015, and that brand is Zoeva. They look and feel more expensive than they are, and the ones I own have not disappointed. The two I use the most are the Silk Finish and Brow Line ones. Even after using the Silk Finish brush to apply my foundation after all these months, it's still just as in shape and dense as it was when new. The Brow Line brush is thinner than any other eyebrow brush I've used, so it doesn't pick up as much product, and allows you to have more control. This comes in particularly handy when using pomades.

Have you used any of these products? What were your favourites of 2015?

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