Wednesday, 24 February 2016

The Pug Life.

I'm just going to say it - my new jumper might just be the most adorable thing in my wardrobe. 

I got this super cute ASOS knit (along with a couuuuuple of other things...) last week whilst in the depths of on-call misery - 2 weeks of acute medicine ain't no walk in the park, lemme tell you. I have an ASOS Premier Subscription, meaning I get one year of unlimited, free next-day delivery - the general consensus is when I'm grumpy/tired/bored/hungry etc etc I usually end up buying things, ultimately returning a couple... but naturally keeping a fair few.

This Pug Elbow Patch Jumper was destined for the 'keep' pile in my most recent ASOS haul (as where the Pepe Jeans I'm wearing, which were an absolute bargain!) - it's made of a loose, lightweight fine knit material, is a really flattering longer length (I have a weirdly long upper body and find most tops are way too short on me) and, of course has the most darling stitched pug faces on the elbows... I nearly got the Bulldog Elbow Patch Cardigan instead, but am glad I got this version, as I think it's a little more versatile, and would layer up that little better with things both under and over it... plus I think it's a great little transition piece for in between spring and summer, when it's just that bit too cold for bare arms, but far too warm for a coat or thick cardie. I've been pairing it with skinny jeans, but think it would look equally adorable tucked into a mini skirt with tights and ankle boots...

The ASOS Jumper with Pug Elbow Patch is priced at £22.00, and available at ASOS.
Sunday, 31 January 2016

January Favourites 2016.

It feels like it was yesterday I was ringing in the new year coming home late from work before getting tucked up in bed at 9PM (don't you be jealous of my hip and happening social life), but lo-and-behold, we're one month into 2016 already... holy moly, that was fast.

Normally, I'm not one for monthly favourites because I tend to stick to what I love, and it's rare I find enough new things to compile into a substantial blog post for you every month... but January 2016 has been something of an exception. We've got it all going on - a sprinkling of new jewellery, a handful of lifestyle bits and bobs (including a new show I've been obsessed with since yesterday, but it certainly counts as a favourite considering I've basically finished the series in the space of 24 hours)... and of course, a good ol' dollop of beauty. 

Let's get cracking, shall we?

In my late teens to early twenties, I was completely obsessed with all things jewellery, and wore about a million bangles and rings to lectures everyday (... much to the annoyance of my colleagues, I'm sure, who probably couldn't hear a damn thing over the jingling of aforementioned jewellery).

I've definitely rediscovered all things sparkly this month - first with the Orelia Crystal and Twist Rings and the Crystal V Midi Ring (picture above, top left), the Orelia Crystal Swing Earrings (front, left and I'm wearing them in the picture at the top of this post) and the  ASOS Open Ear Cuff (top right). I've always wanted to have the top of my ear pierced, but am far too much of a wimp to do so - these little cuffs don't pinch or hurt at all to wear, and look like the real thing when they're on.

I got this stunning rose gold (yes, I'm such a basic with my love of rose goldMuru Feather Pendant for Christmas this year, and don't think I've taken it off since. It was sold out shortly after it was bought it for me, but it looks like it's very much back in stock now. This is such a beautiful, dainty pendant, it looks so lovely on and gets me many compliments when I'm wearing it... the eagle-eyed of you might have spotted in the the photo at the top of this post, and it's featured most of my Instagram posts since Christmas!

Moving onto makeup: whilst I love a bit of daytime shimmer, I've found myself favouring matte eyeshadows this month, and am constantly reaching for my NARSissist Matte and Shimmer Palette (top left). The matte 'shadows create a warm, neutral eye, which is really versatile and can be paired with most makeup looks. Whilst I have grown to love the matte shades, I have to be honest here and say that as a whole, the palette isn't a favourite of mine. I was actually rather disappointed by the quality of it, as it's not up to the normal high standard of NARS products... I never use the shimmer shades as they are horribly chalky, have a large amount of fallout when applied, and crease really badly on the 'lid... so it's a sort of half-hearted favourite really, seeing as 5 of the shades are no longer used!

You might remember I bought two of the the Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar On the Go Palettes late last year as part of an amazing Buy One Get One Free offer. In the madness of the festive period, I actually completely forgot about even owning them until earlier this month *slaps wrist*, but I've rediscovered them, and have been loving the nude-brown hues of The Spy Who Loved Me. I can't comment on the shimmery eyeshadow, as I haven't actually worn it yet, but the lip and cheek colour is stunning, and creates a really natural-looking, dewy flush when applied to the apples of the cheek- it also works beautifully as a lipstick without being drying or difficult to apply, which I find to be something of a rarity in 2-in-1 lip/cheek products.

I'm usually somewhat reluctant to feature limited edition collections on the blog, as in the past I've been pretty frustrated when I've found what looks like an awesome product... only to discover it's no longer available. As soon as I saw the Ellie Goulding x MAC Cosmetics collection, I felt a little weak at the knees - it essentially creates my idea of the perfect makeup look: soft smokey eyes, peachy lips... it's me down to a tee, so I obviously had to feature it and tell you how gorgeous it is!

The Cremesheen Lipstick in Only You is a beautiful mid-toned, dusty coral shade and I've been reaching for it most days this month. It's sold out online, but there's definitely still a few lurking on MAC counters when I last checked. As a side, I also have the Halcyon Nights Palette from the collection which creates an elegant gold, peach and plum smokey eye, and I absolutely adore it (but haven't featured as I've been reaching for matte shadows on a day-to-day basis this month). The shades are really stunning, and of a much better quality than the shimmers in the previously mentioned NARS palette.

I think this might be my favourite beauty discovery of the month... the bareMinerals Complexion Rescue Tinted Gel Cream. I know everyone is raving about it, and funnily enough that almost made me all the more reluctant to try it, but it really is seriously good stuff. For the latter part of 2015, I was beginning to hate the feel of foundation on my skin, and now my skin is generally clear and spot-free, I didn't feel like I needed foundation-level coverage on a day-to-day basis... I craved something with a dewy, light, natural-look and, above all, natural feel for my complexion, and ended up caving and buying this. I think it might just have usurped the NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturiser, and you guys know I loved that stuff.

I use the shade Tan and think it's the perfect match to my skin - I was a little flustered when I bought this, as I felt the sales assistant was quite pushy in trying to get me to purchase a more orange-toned, darker shade. I stuck to my guns and got the one I wanted (rather than the one she did), and am so glad I did. As someone who, a few years ago, probably would have agreed and bought the shade she felt was right, I just wanted to mention to you all that at the end of the day it's your money and you should never feel pressured into buying something which you don't think is right for you... because chances are, you are probably right. I digress, I digress, but I think it's an important message to get across!

Before I lose you all to another rant, just to mention, I am actually wearing every single one of my makeup favourites in the top picture! :-)

My girl crush on Rosie Huntington-Whiteley is not much of a secret round these parts - she is my inspiration in most things (style, gym, beauty... heck, life in general). I loved her first fragrance for Autograph (which I reviewed here), and was gifted the night-time version this Christmas. Rosie for Autograph Nuit Parfum has become my go-to scent, and I'm about a quarter of the way through this bottle already! This is a much more sultry version of its predecessor, with notes of Jasmine and Musk added in with the original rose notes. Simply gorgeous, so well-priced and something I urge you all to buy... it's made me ditch my high-end fragrances, as I think this is so much nicer (not only to smell, but also to my wallet!).

My favourite candle of the month has been the Yankee Candle Medium Jar in Fireside Treats - this is truly yummy and smells like marshmallows and all things delicious when it is burning... it usually makes me pretty hungry for all the delicious things, come to think of it.

My next favourite is a TV show I only started yesterday... I've now watched 8 episodes and am completely and utterly hooked. Jessica Jones is a Netflix original series based on the Marvel comic book character about a former superhero (called Jessica Jones, if the title of the series didn't give it away) who lives in New York City and runs a private investigation agency. She can still use her powers of superhuman strength and flight, but is something of a reluctant superhero, and has a very dark past which she is, initially, trying to escape... I don't want to give away too much of the plot but it's one of the best shows I've seen of late. Krysten Ritter plays the lead who is seriously moody, sassy and sarcastic, and it also stars one of my favourite actors, David Tennant... except he isn't exactly what I would call 'loveable' in this show.

I've been loving Instagram this month (I think it may even be my favourite social media app!) and have been working really hard on my account this month to make it a little more eye-catching. I'm going to do a post on my favourite Instagram accounts and editing apps soon, so keep your eyes peeled, but if you're not already following me, please do so by clicking here!

My final favourite is this adorable mug I got from John Lewis late last year, which I've used every day in January. Polar bears just happen to be my favourite animal (I even call this cutie my 'little polar bear'), so as soon as I saw this mug, I had to get it. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to be available anymore but I'm sure there'll be something similar online somewhere!

If you made it to the end of this rather wordy post, congratulations - it's a fair bit longer than my usual ones, but hopefully you enjoyed it! Now I'm off to finish watching Jessica Jones and eat peanut butter with a spoon straight from the jar... I'm sure Rosie Huntington Whiteley will be spending her evening in a similar fashion.

This is a post I've umm-ed and ahh-ed over whether to actually write... but I've finally decided to do it!

People seem to have a bit of love-hate thing when it comes to tattoos - I've personally always loved them, and I've wanted a small one for many, many years. I'd never quite had the guts to do it, but I knew I wanted either an anchor (à la Kate Moss) or a swallow (à la Sienna Miller)... I just wasn't too sure which or where

Last year on one of our last few days at University, my friend and I were walking past a renowned Bristol tattoo parlour, and she confided in me that she'd always wanted a small, hidden tattoo of an anchor, and she was surprised to know I also wanted something very similar... after a bit of deliberation, we decided to go and get them done together! It ended up being a lovely commemoration of our friendship, the end of medical school... and we thought it was a nice nod to Bristol (an old harbour town) to get an anchor!

If you squint hard enough at the above photo, you'll see I went for my tattoo on the right side of my ribcage - I wanted mine to be hidden (as did my friend), so I went for this area as it would only be on show if I chose it to be (most bikinis actually cover it, as it's right on the line of the bra strap!). It's been about 10 months since I took the plunge, and I still absolutely love my tattoo. Although it sounds like it was quite a spontaneous decision, it honestly wasn't - I've wanted a small tattoo since before I went to University, and when my friend told me she, too, wanted an anchor, but was too scared to get it, it just made complete sense to go together.

I love that my tattoo is hidden (in fact, I'm sure there will be a few surprised friends reading this!), and I tend to only tell people when it comes up in conversation, or if I feel comfortable to divulge so... unfortunately, there's still something of a (unfair) stigma attached to tattoos, especially in my profession, so this is another reason I went for a secret tat!

Today, I thought I'd share with you a few things I think you need to know before rushing off to get inked!

1. It's permanent.
I know, I know. It seems obvious, but it's really, really important to remember that a tattoo is basically a lifelong commitment. Sure, you can get it removed, but from what I've read, that's even more painful than getting the tattoo itself (more about that in a second).

2. Don't do it on a whim.
Do your research, and do it thoroughly: find the exact tattoo style you want, research different parlours, get recommendations, go in and chat to the tattoo artists and make sure they're listening to you and not trying to talk you into something different! If you're not happy or feel like they're not really getting what you want, there's simply no point in forking out your money.

3. Go for something with meaning.
Whilst I always wanted a  tattoo, I'm glad I actually waited it out - now, when I look at mine, I'm reminded of my six years at Bristol University. Personally, I think you're much less likely to regret a first tattoo if there's something of a sentiment behind it! Perhaps don't go for a loved one's name though... let's all learn a lesson from Lauren Conrad, who swiftly changed her wrist tattoo of her ex boyfriend's initial, J, to an L. It might seem like a great idea, but the relationship may not be as permanent as the inked remnant of it... however, this is a personal opinion!

4. It really doesn't hurt that much.
Another personal opinion: I was pre-warned that the ribcage is the most painful place to get a tattoo... okay, it wasn't a totally painless experience (needle + skin - of course it's going to hurt!), but it honestly didn't hurt all that much - I'd liken it to being scratched quite hard! The black outline of the tattoo was probably the most uncomfortable part of the process, and even that wasn't too bad!

5. Don't get a secret tattoo, not tell your Dad, then post a picture showing said tattoo on Facebook (where your dear Daddy is your friend)
... woopsy daisies.
Monday, 11 January 2016

A Berry Nice Palette.

If there's one makeup item I've been reaching for consistently since December, it's the Grooving Gold Eye Palette from The Body Shop... isn't it dreamy?

Consisting of 4 buttery-soft, super pigmented, shimmer-packed eyeshadows, this Body Shop beauty is beyond gorgeous. I'm a sucker for peachy pink and plum hues when it comes to my makeup... so it should be no surprise that I love this palette.

Housed in decadent glossy black and gold packaging, it certainly looks as pretty on the outside as it is on the inside. I have to be honest and say I'm generally not a fan of cardboard packaging (as is on this product) as unfortunately it tends to fall apart in my over-filled makeup bag... something a little sturdier maybe wouldn't have gone amiss.

The pink shadow (top left in the palette) is a gorgeous, warm peach-pink shade packed with delicate shimmer which I wear across the 'lid. The lilac shadow (top right) is a slightly cooler toned shade, also heavy on the shimmer, which I wear in the crease. The deep plum shade (bottom left) is probably my favourite, and one I like to wear right on the outermost corner of the eye. I tend to line my lower lash line with a combination of the two purple shades, and I finish the look with a slick of liquid eyeliner along my top lash line... my least-used shade is probably the gold one (bottom right) - I tend to stick to one colour 'theme' with my everyday eye makeup, so I personally think the gold looks a little too much as an inner corner highlight with these plum-toned shadows... for daytime at least, but that's not to say it's not a truly stunning colour. 

The shadows are so highly pigmented (swatched above, that's one swipe of colour, and no primer!) and have minimal fallout. I'm so, so impressed with the quality of this palette, and I've worn the 3 pink/plum shades virtually everyday since I got my hands on this product. I think these colours would compliment every eye colour, but they do seem to look especially good with hazel and brown eyes, if I do say so myself.

This palette formed part of The Body Shop 2015 Christmas Collection, and is now half price in the sale (d'oh, I paid full whack) - so definitely worth treating yourself if you're suffering with those dreaded January blues... Dr Ambi's orders if anyone asks you why you're buying yet another eyeshadow palette.

The Body Shop Eyeshadow Palette in Grooving Gold is priced at £8.00, and available from The Body Shop.

Have you guys seen the most recent Alexa Chung makeup tutorial by Lisa Eldridge? In it, Alexa refers to her skin issues in the colder months as 'a classic case of winter face,'  which is certainly something I suffer with.

The drop in temperature, indoor heating, blustery winds and abundance of cold/flu around makes my skin go a little crazy - it's red (especially around the nose), it's dry, it's itchy, it's sallow... not really the most glamorous of looks.

Most of these skin changes come from the fact the skin is incredibly dehydrated and sapped off moisture... luckily, I've recently found something that helps with this.

I was sent the Merumaya Everything Everywhere Beauty Oil* back in early December, and loved it pretty must instantly - but I like to trial things extensively before telling you guys all about them!

I've previously used Merumaya products before (their cleansing balm is one of the best I've ever used - click here to read the review) and have always been impressed by the quality - they often contain ingredients you'd find in similar high-end products, and at a fraction of the cost. They also don't test on animals if you're interested in cruelty-free beauty (something I'm trying to adopt now I'm no longer vegan).

The Everything Everywhere Beauty Oil is a relatively new product from the brand and contains a blend of lots of lovely natural plant-based oils... rather than your standard Rosehip, Almond and Argan Oil combinations which seem to be in every bloomin' beauty product under the sun right now, it contains Kahai Oil. If you're currently scratching your head wondering what the heck Kahai Oil is, let me enlighten you. It is produced from the nuts of the Cacay tree, which is found in the Amazon. The oil itself is twice as high in its Vitamin E and (...nerdy beauty word alert) Linoleic Acid content than the aforementioned Argan Oil, and contains three times more Retinol than Rosehip Oil.

To break down a bit of that geeky technical bumf, Vitamin E is an antioxidant which reduces the risk of sun damage and the effects of ageing, as well as having beneficial super-charged moisturising properties. Linoleic Acid is an essential fatty acid, much-needed by our skin to maintain its youthful elasticity and plumpness. Finally, Retinol is another name for Vitamin A and is widely used in the skincare world, as it is known for its anti-ageing properties, and its ability to fade hyperpigmentation. As you have probably gathered by now, this oil contains some pretty awesome ingredients.

I've been loving using this product for the last month - even though it's an oil, it's not remotely greasy and hasn't caused me to breakout. It's light and quickly absorbed into the skin, and leaves such a lovely glow after it has sunk in, plus I've had next to no issues with inflamed, dry skin since using it.  I don't think I can necessarily comment on the claims of fading hyperpigmentation in just one month, but I do think my skin is looking much healthier of late, and I've had a few people comment on how good my skin looks recently, and I do really believe it's mostly down to this (along with the Charlotte Tilbury Wonderglow Primer, that stuff is magical).

My favourite way to use this is after I've cleansed my skin - I massage in 3-4 drops of the Everywhere Everything Beauty Oil in, leaving it for about 15-20 minutes before proceeding with my day/night cream.

As the name of this oil would suggest, it can be used everywhere - I haven't actually tried using it anywhere other than my face, and I'm quite a simple girl when it comes to moisturising my skin, hair and nails (coconut oil is my favourite).

I'm really enjoying using this oil and think it's been brilliant to combat winter skin - Alexa, if you're reading, I've found you the cure to a Classic Case of Winter Face.

The Everything Everywhere Beauty Oil is priced at £26.50, and available from Merumaya.

*PR Sample
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