Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Taking The Stress Out Of Gift-Giving

In one of my previous post about doing something thoughtful and spreading positivity, I mentioned how I love finding quirky items and collecting things that I think my fave girls will like, and send them surprise parcels, for no particular reason, just because. 

Because of how happy it makes someone to receive a surprise present.

There’s no better reason than that 💖💖

Taking The Stress Out Of Gift-Giving, smileaway gift boxes

Taking The Stress Out Of Gift-Giving

Personally, I really enjoy putting gift boxes together for people I know and love. In fact, it doesn’t have to people that I know. In the jobs that I’ve had in the past, I would always be the one to jump at the chance of packing gift boxes and goody bags for clients, customers or prize winners. Even though it took slightly longer, I’d wrap them and make the package look as lovely as possible. Presentation is sooo my thing and if you were ever a customer of the jewellery shop I use to run a few years ago, you’d know this to be true. 

But not everyone has the luxury of time to do that, and that’s where Smileaway* comes in to make gift-giving as easy as possible.

Monday, 23 January 2017

4 Too Faced Products You Need In Your Make-Up Bag

too faced melted matte lipsticks

4 Too Faced Products You Need In Your Make-Up Bag

I have really grown to be quite fond of Too Faced Cosmetics and ever since I tried Too Faced make-up for the first time, a few of their products have become my every day make-up essentials; these are Born This Way Foundation, Candlelight Glow, and Love Flush Blush. 

Sunday, 22 January 2017

A Winter Lush Haul

A Winter Lush Haul

LUSH Winter Haul

Not one to participate in the madness that is the Lush boxing day sale, I stocked up on a few favourites bath bombs at around the end of November/early December time. 

Life got so hectic (as it tends to around that time of year), I didn’t have time to take photos of my Lush haul… which meant I couldn’t use any of my new bath bombs until I had photographed each one for my blog.

Friday, 20 January 2017

19 Things I'm Loving From Primark At The Moment

primark spring summer 2017

Things I'm Loving From Primark At The Moment

After having a brief preview of what's Primark are bringing out this Spring, I can already tell that floral embroidery are going to be sticking around for a bit longer. And there will be a wave of gingham on the way too. You can feel like you're back in your Primary school summer uniform once more! What colour gingham was yours? Mine was baby blue. 

Thursday, 19 January 2017

Stunning Home Fragrances That Are Made In London

It knew it wouldn’t didn’t take me long to blog about my first candle of the year. Candles have played a big part of my winter so far, as it has made it 100% more bearable. I have a couple of small ones firmly planted on my coffee table, a tea light (in it’s Yankee Candle gold star tea light holder) by the TV, and a big jar on sat on my window sill. 

In a small way, it has changed my attitude towards winter - an entirely new notion for me - but for the first time (in forever), it has actually made me look forward to it getting dark. 

Before Christmas, my gal pal from the home fragrance brand, Evermore London sent me a lovely surprise parcel; An Evermore gift box containing their new glass cubed candle, a room spray, and organic potpourri. All handmade and hand crafted in small batches.

In the gift set that’s available on Evermore’s website (£38), it includes a travel tin candle instead of the cube glass candle. The tin candle burns for up to 30 hours so it’s still a pretty decent size candle.


Wednesday, 18 January 2017

How To Contour With Soap & Glory's The Mighty Contourer

Soap & Glory The Mighty Contourer, how to contour, contour tips, contour made easy

New Product Alert: Soap & Glory The Mighty Contourer

I like to keep my eyes peeled on the Soap & Glory website to see what’s new and for a couple of weeks, I have spotted The Mighty Contourer* on there as a product that was ‘coming soon’. 

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Spring Fashion ASOS Haul

I can't tell you how very excited I am to have new clothes to wear! I only buy clothes 2 or 3 times a year now, which would explain why this blog is seriously lacking fashion and personal style posts (take a look!).

Before this ASOS haul, I bought a couple of chunky knitted jumpers from Primark in November, and before that I treated myself to a timeless little black dress, and there was a mini ASOS haul back in April. Come to think of it, those really were the only three time I treated myself to new clothes last year.

What I Bought From ASOS

It's a good thing and a bad thing that I’ve lost interest in shopping for clothes. The good is that I have saved myself A LOT of money, but obviously, the bad side is that I'm wearing the same things over and over again. Let's just say that I have become incredibly good at the whole 'capsule wardrobe' thing! 

The older I get, the less bothered I am about fashion. I prefer to spend money on things for my home than clothes (oh good God, I just heard myself say that out loud. Who even am I).

It's a mixture of not knowing what style I genuinely like and the fact that I despise ill-fitting clothes; and I can tell that some high street brands have tried to cut corners (and quality - whereas price tags have kept going going up and up), so I have to really REALLY like something to pay money for it. I have to know that I'll be able to wear the item hundreds and hundreds of time. 

But I am fed up of wearing the same clothes, plus, I think I need to incorporate colour back in to my life. I've been wearing mostly black and it is getting a tad boring for me.

I enjoyed browsing on ASOS recently. Initially, I was looking for a dress that I could wear to my little sister’s dance show next week, but as I've also got ahead of myself and currently have Spring on my mind, so I decided to give myself a budget of £100 (Crimbo money) to (finally) buy some new clothes to fill my (very full but rarely used) wardrobe and here is what I bought. Why the hell not, eh!

I went £9 over budget but I managed to choose 5 things from ASOS that I really like. 

Polkadot Fluted Sleeves Skater Dress

Polkadot Fluted Bell Sleeves Skater Dress (shop link)

This New Look dress is the one I have chosen to wear to my sister's dance show, along with the Kurt Keiger black heels I got for Christmas. I love everything about this black and white polka dot dress and I am glad I bought it! It's flattering, fits well, is comfortable, and non-restrictive in movement. It's perfect and is only £24.99.

The bells sleeves are 3/4 length and are a flared, fluted shape. They are great as they make the dress look more interesting, but also, because they're 3/4 length, they're don't cause nuisance by dangling in places you don't want them to dangle in (mainly, food!) ! I love it!

red floral skater dress

Floral Contrast Skater Dress (shop link)

Red isn't usually my colour but this dress looked interesting due to the two different fabrics use. They're the same but different! It's a very pretty dress and it is going to look great when Spring finally arrives, so I will save it for then. It has a round scoop neck so once it's warm enough to lose the scarf, I am putting this beauty on!

The only annoying thing about this dress is how the fabric sticks to you and it becomes to static-y, I'm like 'No one come near me. Don't touch me. Omg. It's going to spark and we're going to die'. 😅😅 Does anyone have any tips on how to get fabric to become less static?

monochrome stripy dress

Monochrome Striped Tea Dress (shop link)

Hmm. So I'm hardly incorporating colour with this monochrome dress, but when I came across is on the website, I thought it looked really lovely and flattering on the model. Obviously, it doesn't look quite as nice on me, it is an inch or two too long, and I think the middle panel of the dress looks really weird in real life. Sadly, this one will be the only item from this haul to be returned for a refund. 

t-shirts from ASOS, Stripy t-shirt, spotty t-shirt

Stripy T-Shirt (shop link)
Spotty T-Shirt (shop link)

My day to day style is most definitely black skinny jeans and a loose-fitting top. If it's cold, then I'd throw a cardi over the top, but I work from home most days so jeans and t-shirt is what I feel most comfortable in. 

Two patterns you simply can't go wrong with are stripes and polka dots! I keep buying stripey tops and I don't need anymore but I couldn't resist buying a new one since some of the ones I bought in the past have become so tatty and faded. 

Both of these t-shirt are quite boxy and the fabric doesn't flow as nicely as I'd like but they do look great with putting much effort in!

Please check out my personal style blogposts. I'm sure I'll be updating my blog with new outfit posts soon, so you can see what these look like on me!


Monday, 16 January 2017

8 Thoughtful Ways To Make Someone's Day

8 Thoughtful Ways To Make Someone's Day, good vibes only, positive quotes

8 Thoughtful Ways To Genuinely Cheer Someone Up

'Blue Monday' which (apparently) means that today is the most depressing day of the year. 

Personally, I associate Blue Monday with Yo Sushi and that makes me happy because sushi is my favourite food everrrr. But someone, somewhere (*cough* marketing *cough*) has dubbed this day the 'most depressing' for the various factors which includes the winter blues, post-Christmas slump, the pressures of being a 'NEW YOU', lack of motivation, looming bills, and debt level. Oh, the joy!

Life is gloomy as it is without playing into the hands of a day that was invented by marketing to make things even more miserable. But here we are. Blue bloody Monday. 

I promise you that there is NOTHING blue about this blogpost, and I'm not going to persuade you to book lavish beach holidays or buy expensive gift to remedy the blues of Blue Monday, so I hope you do read on! 

While Blue Monday is not entirely real, being sad and depressed is. Depression hits close to home as I watched a family member go through this when I was younger, so I've always been extremely aware of it. 

Sunday, 15 January 2017

First Impressions on Pixi by Petra Make Up

First Impressions on Pixi by Petra Make-Up

Please excuse the festive ribbons and candy canes in some of the photos below.

I took these photos before Christmas and intended to push this post live by the end of December, but things kept being added to my to-do list that I eventually ran out of time to slot this fabulous Pixi feature in. One of the things I have learned about blogging is not to rush it and not to publish a blogpost for the sake of it. 

So I decided to put this one on the back burner and come back to it when the time feels right. AND THE TIME IS NOW. 

pixi by petra cosmetics make up products, affordable make up

A couple of month ago, I got to try some make-up products from Pixi x Petra. I was so excited to receive this surprise parcel through the post, I was all set for the party look for the rest of December!

Pixi Beauty is a brand that I have been familiar with since I start blogging about beauty. There are always rave reviews but I haven’t had a chance to try their cosmetics products until now. It’s one of those brands that isn’t sold near in a shop near me (the nearest one is the big M&S branch an hour away) and since I’m so fussy with colours and shades, the sensible side of me always takes over and I’m reluctant to buy their makeup online without swatching first. 

Now that I’ve tried and test Pixi make-up, I would be more confident in placing an order online knowing that their products are great quality and highly pigmented. (I had no doubts to begin with… but it’s the voice of sensible Sarah that stopped me!)

Even though these are in Christmas packaging, you can still buy these products (or something similar) within Pixi x Petra’s core range. 

pixi by petra Palette Rosette

Palette Rosette*, £24

This stunning palette includes everything you need for a party look, but with the rose, beige, and taupe shades in the all-in-one kit, it is also versatile enough for day time too.

Pixi by Petra Palette Rosette includes a trio of highlighters, 8 eyeshadows, and 3 brow powders (which could double up as eyeshadow). For the face, there is a blush, contour, and illuminating glow powder.

The face powders are really subtle and I love how all three can be used to enhance one another. Very portable, so this is such a good kit for travelling; it's got all the make-up essentials you will need for a day-to-night transformation. It comes with a double ended eyeshadow applicator, so don't forget to pack a couple of powder brushes too.

It might be a limited edition but these beautiful shades (and similar) can be found in the range. 

pixi by petra Mattelustre Lipstick classic red
pixi by petra Mattelustre Lipstick classic red

Mattelustre Lipsticks*, £14 (shop link)

I just remembered that I have tried Pixi by Petra make up once. It was tinted lip balm that I received in a beauty box subscription. It's waxy, it drags, and the flat tip doesn't help much in the ease of application. But it didn't feel bad on your lips once you managed to get it on.

I was worried that the Mattelusture Lipstick would be as difficult to put on, but thankfully, it is soft and creamy formula. I received in Classic Red It's too blue toned for me but I'm determined to get full use out of this shade because of how nice the formula is.

I really like the finish too. It isn't a true matte (which, to me, is a good thing - my lips are too dry for mattes at the moment) and it's definitely easy to apply (and wear) as it has a slight sheen to it's finish with a plumping effect. I didn't experience the plumping effect but the vividness of the lipstick made my lips appear fuller. 

I've got my eye on a shade that's a little warmer or more orange toned, like Coral Red. 

pixi by petra Fairy Dust Set
pixi by petra Fairy Dust Set

Fairy Dust Set*, £12

HOW PRETTY do these look? They are really beautiful, I can't stop looking at them! It's FAIRY DUST!

Each of the 5 stackable pots contain a good amount of 'Fairy Dust' loose eyeshadow pigments in them. They're shimmery, easy to blend, and you can layer a shade on top of another to create unique looks. 

Metallic Warmth Fairy Dust Set include shades: Sheer Peach Glow, True Bronze, Ruby Sheen, Sunkissed Amber, and Black Pearl. £12 for five highly pigmented eyeshadows is such a bargain!

The shades are great but I wish they were packaged individually as opposed to a stackable design that comes with, essentially, one lid. It's only because I'm mega blind, and when I've got all the pots on the table (open, with no lid), there is a massive chance that my blind and clumsy self will accidentally tip/brush them off the surface. Argh. It's not a huge problem, of course, I just have to be super careful when using Fairy Dust. 

Endless Silky Eye Pen in Opal Overcoat

Endless Silky Eye Pen in Opal Overcoat*, £12 (shop link)

At first, I was slightly gutted to see that this wasn't a black eyeliner. But actually, this gel pencil in Opal Overcoat (which is a pretty champagne pink) will get as much use as a black one. I would describe it as an highlighter pencil for eyes, so you can add it to wherever you want (in the lower lashline, corners of your eye, even the brow bone for an instant lift!

Check out the Pixi Beauty range here.


Friday, 13 January 2017

5 Way To Sprinkle Happiness | Birchbox January 2017

Sprinkle happiness. Sprinkle all around and kick start 2017 on the right foot. Sounds good to me!

Birchbox has acknowledged that their lovely beauty subscription box may be the only nice treat someone might get this January. So for the latest edition edition, they have designed a vibrant, bright yellow box with lots of bright, inspirational ideas to help make this month a positive one. I love it and it actually ties in with another blogpost that I am working on at the moment.

As well as the usual beauty products, if you've signed up for Birchbox this month, you will receive a few ideas for how to keep happy through a tough and dreary month. I hope you don't mind but before I move on to the beauty samples, I would love pick out some of these tips and reflect on what I am doing for myself to stay happy at a difficult time of year.

Birchbox January 2015

5 Way To Sprinkle Happiness

1. Create a ‘Positivity Playlist’ for an upbeat start to a less-than-sunny days

You'd think that having lived in England all of my 31 years of life (coming up 32 in 4 weeks time. OMFG), I would be used to those less-than-sunny days. But the miserably, rainy, freezing cold days doesn't get any easier.

Not only does this puts a downer on my mood, it also effects my work. I rely solely on natural day light to take those all important blog photos whether it be beauty products or personal style outfits. And when I can’t get these jobs ticked off my to-do list, I beat myself up about it… even when it’s completely out of my control.

But Birchbox are right; a kick-ass, positive playlist will help me snap out of it. What songs would be on your playlist? My playlist would definitely include: Stevie Wonder’s Sir Duke and Cheryl Lynn’s Got To Be Real

2. Take 10 minutes to get to grips with meditation

I've been really open minded towards meditation in the past year. Whenever I feel stressed, panicked, and anxious, I just put a meditation YouTube video on and it helps me calm to down. Sometimes it relaxes me so much that I actually fall asleep! There's also a great app called Harmony Hypnosis with lots of mediation and hypnotherapy audio on it.

3. Be a tourist in your town

I honestly think that the town that I currently live in really doesn't offer much but the town where I grew up in is a totally different story (and you can see from that blogpost why I love it so much). Even though it's an old Georgian town in Yorkshire, it's ever-changing and I love exploring.


Thursday, 12 January 2017

Clinique Collaborates With Your Childhood Fave

I’d say that lip crayons are my number one choice of lip product. So for someone who loves lip crayons, why have I never tried Clinique’s Chubby Sticks yet?! The thing that will change that is this limited edition collection in which sees Clinique collaborating with Crayola.

CLINIQUE x CRAYOLA Limited Edition Collection

CLINIQUE x CRAYOLA Limited Edition Collection

On the one hand, I am really surprised to see that Clinique, a premium beauty brand, has partnered with Crayola - the number brand of our childhood memories! But then again, Clinique Chubby Sticks have always been a little playful, so it seems like the perfect pair, after all! And if you’re going to have lip crayons as part of your beauty range, what better brand to work with than Crayola!

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

7 Beauty Heroes For Dry, Dehydrated Skin

I know it has been ‘back to business’ for a couple of weeks but I’ve been a little flakey with getting back in to the swing of things - as I’m sure we all are after the Christmas break. (Totally suffering from the Christmas blues right now)

Now we’re in the second week of 2017, it means it’s time to take EVERYTHING seriously. There is no excuse. It’s back to the daily grind.

7 Post-Party Hydrating & Restoring Skincare

Skincare Heroes For A Radiant, Healthy-Looking, Glowing Look

December was a busy but fun month. It was the month when it was acceptable to eat chocolate for breakfast, scoff yourself silly with cheese, and enjoy a festive tipple or five. The month of “oh, go on then!”. The month of the guilt-free ‘all you can eat’. And holy moly, has my skin suffered for it! Dry, irritated, an outbreak of spots, rough texture… I felt (and looked) a bit ghastly.

Besides from over-indulging and the late nights, other factors that effected my skin includes being out in the freezing cold for hours and hours (the Christmas markets were 100% worth it though!), wearing more make-up that usual, and straying from my usual skincare routine for the last week of the year. Strangely, also, the hard water at my parent’s house didn’t do me any favours either. 

Luckily, being a beauty blogger, I get to test a lot of skincare and have accumulated a plethora of products to help me fix any skin problem I’m experiencing. Everything is (almost) back to normal now; work, routine, life, and my skin! And where my skin is concerned, I have this lot of thank for.

Thursday, 5 January 2017

9 Ways To Take Your Blog To The Next Level

I learned a lot about blogging in the year I closed my business to become a full-time blogger.

Blogging was something I was doing almost every day since 2011 alongside running my shop, so when the time was right (in the Spring of 2014 to be exact), it felt natural to make the jump. It was a smooth, seamless transition that happened overnight. I was happy with the decision and I was positive about the change.

But it became really tough when I set myself such unrealistic goals and along with the pressure I put on myself, I realised that my expectations were too high and unreachable. 

It is always a great idea to have ambition and drive, but the thing is, I was comparing myself to the super bloggers who were gaining 10,000's new followers a day and hitting a million every month. I continued to work really hard, creating more content than ever (content that I am proud of), jumping through hoops and trying to impress people - but it didn't go far, or that was how it felt at the time.

In reality, I was doing just fine and things were growing steadily. But when I didn’t hit a certain goal by a certain timeframe that I set myself, or achieve the results I wanted, I’d rack my brain to come up with solutions.

I must try harder. I must hit my target. I must do this. I must do that. Must not stop. Can't stop. Go. GO GO GO.

Looking back now, I realise that I was setting myself up for a fail.

Instead of letting it get me down, I took a step back in the beginning of 2015 to set myself some blog resolutions and I think that now is a great time to look back at them. I want to reflect on the past two years as a blogger and take a look at whether I've taken my own advice.

Have things improved since then? Have I become a better blogger?

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