{A Beauty & Lifestyle Blog}

Saturday, 30 December 2017

The December Beauty Favourites

December has been an incredibly busy month for me. From endless work deadlines to hosting my very first Christmas party, it's been crazy, chaotic and downright exhausting. Thankfully, these products have been my perfect pick-me-ups during this busy festive period.

Becca Blacklight Priming Filter// My skin's been looking a bit lacklustre lately and this luminous primer has been my ultimate saviour. It feels lovely and moisturising and makes skin look instantly more awake. I usually mix it in with the Glossier Priming Moisturiser for an extra bit of glow and hydration.

Tom Ford Beauty Shade & Illuminate (Scintillate)// This was one of those PMS-fuelled impulsive buys that I thought I might regret, but surprisingly it's been one of my most used cheek products in the last month or so. It's lightweight, silky and imparts a sheer tint of colour. I like formulas that don't set on the skin and this beautiful blusher-highlighter duo retains its dewy shine without fading away. It really is an investment worth making. And I don't say that lightly.

 Jilian Dempsey Lid Tint// I found this while scouting for a Secret Santa pressie at Topshop. I might have done a little happy dance because this has been on my wishlist ever since I saw Lisa Eldridge use it in this video. If you've read this post, you'll know that I love a good glossy eye and this is the perfect product to achieve that look. Creamy and waxy, this eyeshadow imparts a beautiful radiance to the eyelids without looking like an oil slick. Though the texture is lightweight, there is a slight tackiness, which some might find annoying, but personally, I don’t mind.

NAF Cuticle Oil (Juicy Mango)// I have Sahara-dry hands and my cuticles look more unsightly than ever during winter. To stop them from peeling, I've been brushing this oil over my nails every night and they've made a huge difference. Vegan and cruelty-free, it features a mix of Vitamin E, jojoba and mineral oil to nourish, hydrate and strengthen the cuticles.

L'Oreal Nail Polish (Rubis Folies)// I don't usually wear bright nail colours, but recently I was overcome with this urge to find a particular shade of red. I wanted a cross between ruby red and raspberry and Rubis Folies from L’Oreal seemed to perfectly fit the bill. It's a gorgeous claret hue and it feels less in-your-face than a true red. I've been wearing this all of December and I've got tons of compliments, which leads me to believe that it's a pretty unique shade. Also, I was pleasantly surprised with the formula, it's creamy and delivers rich, pigmented colour in just one coat. Top marks all around!

 Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse// I'm extremely lazy when it comes to moisturising my body, but this dry oil makes it a quick two-minute affair. One of the problems I have with using a body oil is that it leaves behind a sticky film but this one from Nuxe sinks in quickly while eliminating the uncomfortable over-lubricated feel. Apart from being deeply nourishing and hydrating, it smells absolutely lush, too.

REN & Now to Sleep Pillow Spray// The first time I used this sleep-inducing spray, I didn't notice much difference but after prolonged use, I can say it works brilliantly to calm my busy mind before bed. Formulated with calming ylang-ylang, frankincense and lavender, it smells incredibly lovely and relaxing. Also, how cute is the packaging?

Escentric Molecules 01// Much like finding the perfect pair of jeans, finding your signature scent can be a bit of a task. However, I can safely say I've found my signature scent in this fragrance. It's musky, woody and transforms into something infinitely more sultry on the skin. It's also the only fragrance I've ever worn that routinely has people coming up to me asking what I’m wearing. And that rarely ever happens in London, so that’s saying something. 
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Sunday, 10 December 2017

The Ultimate Christmas Gift Guide + Giveaway

There’s something so magical about December. The festive lights, mince pies and present planning make it all the more special. While I'm yet to indulge in the utterly delicious mince pies, I’ve got a good headstart on buying pressies for friends and family. Also, rather surprisingly, I’m brimming with ideas this year. So, I've rounded up some amazing (if I can say so myself) gifting ideas to help you tick things off your to-buy list and leave you with extra time in front of the telly for a Christmas movie marathon. Sounds good? Here you go:

Since Glossier is still a fairly new brand in the UK, you can't go wrong with gifting their products. The Birthday Balm Dot Com makes for a super-cute Secret Santa present as well as a multi-purpose stocking filler. Apart from the covetable packaging, it smells exactly like birthday cake and who doesn't like cake, right? If you're looking for a more indulgent present for a pal who is always on-the-go, I can't recommend the Ren Moroccan Otto Bath Oil enough. Apart from turning her bathroom into a spa with its heavenly scent, it'll provide an opportunity for her to kick back and relax.

Another lush option is the Lixir Electrogel Cleanser - a no-frills, straightforward (and seriously pretty) cleanser that works for all skin types. When Christmas is long over and the tell-tale signs of too much alcohol start to show on the skin, she'll be chuffed that you bought her this. The Herbivore Botanicals Coco Rose set is perfect for those who enjoy a good dose of bath time. It comes with a tropical-scented body polish, a moisturising mist and a pretty pink lip balm. A French pharmacy-favourite - the Nuxe Multi-purpose Dry Oil is a winter-appropriate stocking filler. Also, who doesn't want glistening skin a la our Parisian pals, right?


Now, I'm super excited to share this! It's a monthly book subscription called Reading In Heels (how posh!), where they send you a book (modern, literary fiction) with a few extra goodies thrown in. If their previous boxes are anything to go by, your (lucky) friend is in for a real treat. This is literally the definition of a gift that keeps on giving. Gifting a fragrance can be tricky business but this scent-sational set from Jo Malone comes with a miniature perfume and candle - perfect for trialling before investing in full-sized products. Velvet is back in a big way, and the best way to embrace the trend is through accessories. This gorgeous red Coffer Bag with gold hardware is perfect if you want to spoil a loved-one (or yourself). This spangly star-strewn pouch from New Look doubles up as a makeup bag and a party clutch. Ingenious! Perfect for the interiors-obsessed, these ceramic pots from Etsy are perfect for storing knick-knacks and work well as a planter too. 

As a thank you I'm going to be giving away the Herbivore Botanicals Coco Luxe Set. It's open internationally. 

Sunday, 3 December 2017

Gift Guide: For The Beauty Lover

This post is the result of a long conversation I had with a friend recently. We were both exchanging gift ideas and she suggested I compile all of my favourite products in one convenient place. From volumising mascaras to comforting body creams, here’s a list of my top picks that’s sure to appeal to the die-hard beauty lover in your life.

For the minimalist makeup lover
She loves nothing more than a good blusher and a lashy mascara. Even if she takes her time to carefully apply makeup, she blots it all off before heading out because she's into the lived-in look. She considers Into The Gloss her beauty bible and Emily Weiss her fashion god. She sometimes buys beauty products purely for aesthetic purposes, and also coz it'll look cool on the 'gram. Her signature look is nude lipstick + nude blusher + failsafe bronze-y eye. (I could be describing myself here) 

For the skincare addict
You can spot her from a mile away because she has gleaming skin that's the result of a multi-step AM & PM routine. She knows how to expertly layer every product. She believes that Caroline Hirons is a skincare messiah. She has 5654 serums and 8786 mists but still continues to buy them because it's boring to not experiment (with skincare). She knows the difference between AHAs & BHAs like the back of her (smooth) hand. Her favourite Sunday activity? Multi-masking! 

For the bodycare obsessed
She loves nothing more than a good Sunday soak. She religiously takes time out of her day to moisturise every inch of her body with comforting lotions and buttery balms. She delights in the sight of her expensive Aesop handwash sitting prettily next to the marble brush holder. She's willing to splurge any amount of money on products if it comes with the word 'detox' written all over it. She loves deliciously scented products - she can totally tell the difference between synthetic fragrances and an expert blend. 


Sunday, 19 November 2017

Unwind With Me: Bedtime Ritual

I’ve found that the best way to deal with stress is to take a moment in the day to treat yourself to some ‘me-time’. When I feel completely overwhelmed, I've realised that nothing makes me happier than taking a nice, long bath and snuggling up in my comfiest pyjamas. Also, of late I’ve gotten into the habit of following a nightly wind-down ritual, which is probably the only reason why I haven't turned into a massive ball of stress.

After a warm bath, I slip into my toasty radiator-warmed pyjamas and make myself some cardamom-infused tea. I'm not much of a tea or a coffee drinker, but this warming brew reminds me of home and that's a very comforting thought before bedtime, isn't it? Then I slather myself in the heavenly Sleepy body lotion from Lush. I initially thought it smelled too sickly sweet but I've slowly grown to like it. Apart from the dreamy lavender hue, I LOVE the soft, whipped consistency. I'm not a big fan of body lotions that are too rich and creamy, so this is the perfect alternative - it's lightweight, sinks in well and coats the skin in a delicious fragranced layer.

 With the turn in the weather, my hands have started to look more pruney than usual, so I moisturise them with the Neal's Yard Remedies Wild Rose cream. It has a lovely medicinal smell and is incredibly soothing with no greasy after-feel. Next, I brush my nails with the mango-scented cuticle oil from NAF Salon - a super cute salon in Glasgow with Pinterest-worthy interiors. I've been looking to buy one for a long time now and I didn't want to pay an extortionate amount for it. So, when I saw that they sold these for just 8£, I added them to my basket immediately. This has restored both my nails and my faith in cuticle oils - they really do work!

And finally, I apply a generous layer of the By Terry Baume de Rose to my lips before cuddling up to R. It's super posh and pricey, but it's worth every pretty penny! It's a deliciously thick and buttery balm with a soft rose smell. What I particularly like about it is that it’s emollient without being greasy and, it stays put the whole night. I'm seriously obsessed! (Two exclamations in one paragraph- can you tell I'm in love?) I'm even considering buying a miniature version of it for my handbag.

All this takes me a little over five minutes and I've found that carving out this little time for myself in my busy day makes me keep my cool and not feel like a wound up robot. 


Sunday, 22 October 2017

Vacation Wardrobe// Tuscan Edition

Well, hello everyone! I’m back after a brief hiatus. Although I thoroughly enjoyed my time away, it feels great to pen down my thoughts again. If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know that I was away travelling and I’m currently experiencing a serious case of holiday hangover, but the good news is I’m off to Malta in a month’s time. Also, after months of job scouting, I finally started a new role and I’m still settling in. It’s a pretty fast-paced environment and I have tons of responsibilities, so if you don’t see regular updates around here, you’ll know why. Since I’ve had a busy past few weeks, I haven’t really had a chance to read much or listen to any new podcasts (shocking, I know), so I'm going to share all the things I packed for my Italian Riviera adventure. 

 The weather was gloriously warm with just a spot of rain on one of the days, so I mostly packed breezy frocks and sandals. I’m currently having a full-blown love affair with off-the-shoulder pieces, so that’s all I wore on pretty much all days. Our first stop was Pisa and I wore one of my favourite dresses ever – this blue embroidered Zara dress is slightly big on me even though it’s an extra small, but I like how billowy and comfortable it is. Also, it comes with pockets, so I didn’t have to constantly check my bag to see if my phone was in there. 

For sauntering through the historic streets of Florence, I chose a spotted off-the-shoulder dress from New Look. I rarely shop from there but this one is so well made and fits me really well. Since rain was forecast, I threw on my leather jacket from Next and swapped sandals for these suede espadrilles. I love the effortlessness of this look and the espadrilles are the comfiest pair of shoes I own.

After spending the day queuing up to see Michelangelo’s David and other seminal works of art, we made our way to La Spezia, and from there we explored the five historic villages of Cinque Terre.  For Riomaggiore, I chose a pink and black floral midi dress from Topshop. What I like about this dress is that it cinches in the waist and falls to a flattering length on me. I paired it with my trusty suede tie-up sandals from ASOS. I didn’t buy a new beach bag knowing that I wouldn't get much use of it throughout the year, so I carried my old striped basket bag. Wandering through the beautiful lanes of Riomaggiore and Corniglia was definitely the highlight of my trip.

 The next day, we visited Vernazza and Manarola, and I picked a red floral maxi dress from Urban Outfitters. It’s so hard to a find maxi dress that doesn't dwarf me and this one falls to the right length. Though I had packed four pairs of shoes, I ended up wearing the tie-up sandals again – it’s incredibly comfortable and imbues an effortless holiday aesthetic to any look.

For our final day, I wore another Topshop midi dress, but I don’t have a single picture of me from that day because all we did was lounge under the warm autumnal sun with a drink by our side. While R snoozed, I read a sweet tale of romance set in Sicily by Nicky Pellegrino. The perfect beach read if there ever was one. 


Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Redecorating My Dresser

I wouldn’t necessarily say I’m a minimalist, but the idea appeals to me more and more as I grow older. I’ve ruthlessly edited down my wardrobe, and my makeup collection fits neatly into a small drawer. I really enjoy the freedom that comes with having to choose from a small curated collection as opposed to tackling an overflowing wardrobe/drawer that's bursting at the seams. Last Sunday, after a weekly flat tidy-up, I decided it was time to give my dressing table a much-needed facelift. I had a Muji drawer filled with used up samples and expired makeup, so I got rid of it along with some old makeup brushes.

I used the pink ceramic vase from Tiger to store the remaining brushes and some eye pencils. The gold brush holder behind it is from Kikki K; it holds all the makeup tools I reach for on a day-to-day basis. The gold tray from H&M is one of my favourite pieces - it's perfect for keeping everything in one place. When I'm in a rush, the last thing I want to do is rifle through the drawer trying to find certain products, so I use the tray to keep a few of my favourite everyday essentials like mists and moisturisers within reach.

The jewellery stand is another stellar find from Tiger; it has a sturdy marble base and looks particularly lovely on the dresser. I bought it in an attempt to be more organised, as I'm known for leaving jewellery around the house. The candle is from SpaceNK's Christmas range; they bring it out every year with different packaging. It fills the room with a heady scent and burns for hours and hours. I used to have a dracaena plant on the dresser before, but it started to wilt, so I've replaced it with fittonia verschaffeltii, which doesn't need as much sunlight as the other one does.

The gold and blush theme was entirely unintentional, but I like how it looks now. After this little rearranging experiment, I've come to realise that transforming your space even in little ways can make the world of difference to a room. 

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