So Twitter, Instagram and YouTube are a given, but with so many apps out there it can be tricky to know which ones are really worth a download.  Here's my list of the 6 that I wouldn't be without:

1 // Bloglovin
I don't think any blogger's phone would be complete without this app.  I never really *got* bloglovin before using the app, but it's safe to say I'm a convert.  It's the perfect way to browse through my subscription feed whilst lying in bed on a Sunday morning.  Whilst I rarely comment on blogs this way, it's ideal for catching up quickly.

2 //  Pinterest
There's no way I need to give you a background on the concept of this one.  I love a good Pinterest-binge, and the app is definitely the best way to do it.  Online it's a clicky and laborious process, but with the app you can pin to your hearts content all at the swipe of a finger.

3 // Landcam
This is my favourite photo editing app, and while there's nothing groundbreaking about it I just find it really simple to use.  You can apply filters and get to the nitty-gritty editing to get the perfect shot.  I featured it in a favourites video if you fancy seeing it in action.

4 // Tube Map
A random one and totally unnecessary if you don't travel to London, but this is a lifesaver on our fairly regular day trips.  You can set it to find the quickest route, or the one with the fewest changes, and it works without signal meaning it's fully functional even on the underground.  We'd have been lost in London a long time ago without this!

5 // 2048
Not glamorous in any way, but a totally addictive game.  You can dip in and out of it, playing instantly without having to work at getting to a higher level or keeping up with playing in real time.  You match up numbers to get higher and higher; be prepared to play this solidly for a day or two when you first download.

6 // MyFitnessPal
If you're aiming to lose weight, this is a really helpful app to have.  You can look up or scan in the barcode of any food you eat to get its nutritional values and track your eating for the day.  I've synced mine up to a couple of my friends so we can support and spur each other on.  I need to get back into it again, but it's a must have for me when I'm in the dieting frame of mind!

Which are your favourite apps?

6: Apps to download

30.1.15

So Twitter, Instagram and YouTube are a given, but with so many apps out there it can be tricky to know which ones are really worth a download.  Here's my list of the 6 that I wouldn't be without:

1 // Bloglovin
I don't think any blogger's phone would be complete without this app.  I never really *got* bloglovin before using the app, but it's safe to say I'm a convert.  It's the perfect way to browse through my subscription feed whilst lying in bed on a Sunday morning.  Whilst I rarely comment on blogs this way, it's ideal for catching up quickly.

2 //  Pinterest
There's no way I need to give you a background on the concept of this one.  I love a good Pinterest-binge, and the app is definitely the best way to do it.  Online it's a clicky and laborious process, but with the app you can pin to your hearts content all at the swipe of a finger.

3 // Landcam
This is my favourite photo editing app, and while there's nothing groundbreaking about it I just find it really simple to use.  You can apply filters and get to the nitty-gritty editing to get the perfect shot.  I featured it in a favourites video if you fancy seeing it in action.

4 // Tube Map
A random one and totally unnecessary if you don't travel to London, but this is a lifesaver on our fairly regular day trips.  You can set it to find the quickest route, or the one with the fewest changes, and it works without signal meaning it's fully functional even on the underground.  We'd have been lost in London a long time ago without this!

5 // 2048
Not glamorous in any way, but a totally addictive game.  You can dip in and out of it, playing instantly without having to work at getting to a higher level or keeping up with playing in real time.  You match up numbers to get higher and higher; be prepared to play this solidly for a day or two when you first download.

6 // MyFitnessPal
If you're aiming to lose weight, this is a really helpful app to have.  You can look up or scan in the barcode of any food you eat to get its nutritional values and track your eating for the day.  I've synced mine up to a couple of my friends so we can support and spur each other on.  I need to get back into it again, but it's a must have for me when I'm in the dieting frame of mind!

Which are your favourite apps?
Being the youngest by a few months of my friendship group, I revelled in telling each of them as they turned 21 that now was the time to get a skincare routine down.  Then I hit the big 2-1, and did I take my own advice?  Of course not!  I'm a step above being a face wipes kinda gal, but literally a step.

And now, sitting on the wrong side of 25, I found my skin looking, well, blah and make up really not applying well.  With no skincare routine to speak of, I did my homework online and headed out to create a dream team for my face.

As a caveat, I know that slathering the face in all new products is generally ill-advised, but I threw caution to the wind.  I've been testing this combination for a month now, and with the exception of the hormonal breakout I'm currently suffering, my skin's never looked so good.

Cleansers // Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water & Korres Milk Protein 3 in 1 Cleansing Emulsion
I go with the fairly standard micellar water for removing my eye make up, but prefer a creamier cleanser for the rest of my face.  With my old favourite seemingly discontinued, the lazy girl within me was on the lookout for something that required minimal effort.  I prefer tissue-off formulas, so the Korres 3 in 1 is perfect.  I love the way it smells, plus it's natural, calming and does the job perfectly.

Exfoliator // Lush Ocean Scrub
This isn't a new addition, and you'll find I mentioned it recently and reviewed it here.  It works wonders at keeping my eczema at bay, and this tub lasts an age.

Mask // Lush Brazened Honey
Another one I mentioned in my haul, this beats Oatifix as my favourite Lush fresh face mask.  It's relatively easy to apply, dries to that typical face mask 'hardness' that I appreciate, and has ground almonds to gently exfoliate with honey to moisturise.  I use this once a week to give my skin a real boost.

Serum // Lush Full of Grace Serum Bar
Serums were always in the back of my mind as an important step in a skincare routine, but in all honesty I was just to lazy to add one in.  I'm no expert, but my understanding is that when used together, they work to maximise the effects of a moisturiser....so with my skin feeling dry and flaky I knew it was time to give it a go.  The solid bar formula of this makes it really quick and easy to use, and from day one I felt like this was really making a difference.

Moisturisers // Dr Organic Manuka Honey Rescue Cream, Soap & Glory Wish Upon a Jar & The Body Shop Vitamin E Moisture Cream
I'll be brief with this one.  The Honey Rescue Cream is a thick emollient cream that helps to keep my eczema-prone eyes moisturised, and the Vitamin E Moisture Cream is a standard day moisturiser.  It's nice, but nothing to write home about.  Wish Upon a Jar on the other hand I really like.  It's not sticky and thick without clogging up my skin plus has anti-aging benefits.

Extras // Nuxe Reve de Miel & Seven Seas Radiant You Capsules
Reve de Miel will always be my go-to lip balm.  It great to use as a mask overnight and I've not reached for any other lipcare product since buying this.  The Radiant You capsules were bought on a whim and perhaps it's a placebo but I feel like added into the mix they're really helping to feed my skin from within.

And that's my current regime!  It seems a lot written down like this, but trust me....if I can manage to keep this up then anyone can.

Current skincare routine

28.1.15

Being the youngest by a few months of my friendship group, I revelled in telling each of them as they turned 21 that now was the time to get a skincare routine down.  Then I hit the big 2-1, and did I take my own advice?  Of course not!  I'm a step above being a face wipes kinda gal, but literally a step.

And now, sitting on the wrong side of 25, I found my skin looking, well, blah and make up really not applying well.  With no skincare routine to speak of, I did my homework online and headed out to create a dream team for my face.

As a caveat, I know that slathering the face in all new products is generally ill-advised, but I threw caution to the wind.  I've been testing this combination for a month now, and with the exception of the hormonal breakout I'm currently suffering, my skin's never looked so good.

Cleansers // Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water & Korres Milk Protein 3 in 1 Cleansing Emulsion
I go with the fairly standard micellar water for removing my eye make up, but prefer a creamier cleanser for the rest of my face.  With my old favourite seemingly discontinued, the lazy girl within me was on the lookout for something that required minimal effort.  I prefer tissue-off formulas, so the Korres 3 in 1 is perfect.  I love the way it smells, plus it's natural, calming and does the job perfectly.

Exfoliator // Lush Ocean Scrub
This isn't a new addition, and you'll find I mentioned it recently and reviewed it here.  It works wonders at keeping my eczema at bay, and this tub lasts an age.

Mask // Lush Brazened Honey
Another one I mentioned in my haul, this beats Oatifix as my favourite Lush fresh face mask.  It's relatively easy to apply, dries to that typical face mask 'hardness' that I appreciate, and has ground almonds to gently exfoliate with honey to moisturise.  I use this once a week to give my skin a real boost.

Serum // Lush Full of Grace Serum Bar
Serums were always in the back of my mind as an important step in a skincare routine, but in all honesty I was just to lazy to add one in.  I'm no expert, but my understanding is that when used together, they work to maximise the effects of a moisturiser....so with my skin feeling dry and flaky I knew it was time to give it a go.  The solid bar formula of this makes it really quick and easy to use, and from day one I felt like this was really making a difference.

Moisturisers // Dr Organic Manuka Honey Rescue Cream, Soap & Glory Wish Upon a Jar & The Body Shop Vitamin E Moisture Cream
I'll be brief with this one.  The Honey Rescue Cream is a thick emollient cream that helps to keep my eczema-prone eyes moisturised, and the Vitamin E Moisture Cream is a standard day moisturiser.  It's nice, but nothing to write home about.  Wish Upon a Jar on the other hand I really like.  It's not sticky and thick without clogging up my skin plus has anti-aging benefits.

Extras // Nuxe Reve de Miel & Seven Seas Radiant You Capsules
Reve de Miel will always be my go-to lip balm.  It great to use as a mask overnight and I've not reached for any other lipcare product since buying this.  The Radiant You capsules were bought on a whim and perhaps it's a placebo but I feel like added into the mix they're really helping to feed my skin from within.

And that's my current regime!  It seems a lot written down like this, but trust me....if I can manage to keep this up then anyone can.

I've always been a bit of a spendaholic.  In the words of Macklemore, if they had a broken keyboard, I'd buy the broken keyboard.  If I think I'm getting a bargain, you can sell pretty much anything to me.  But last year I took on a fairly big financial commitment (more on that in another post!) and something had to give.

There's been trials and tribulations, but I actually think I've got this being sensible with money thing down pat.  So if you find reigning your spending habits in a bit daunting, here are my top tips for a detox.

Go cold turkey
I know, I know...this sounds really extreme.  But trust me, not letting yourself buy anything for a little while will really help you to refocus.  I was forever falling into the trap of allowing myself little treats during the month, but spending a little only fuels the need to spend more.  Just try living like you're on the brink of going overdrawn (or bankrupt...whatever works!) and see if you find yourself wanting to shop less.

Remove yourself from temptation
I have three tips here: don't window shop (why torture yourself?), unsubscribe from those mailing lists (an asos 20% off code will inevitably end to an unnecessary splurge) and stop watching Primark hauls.  You don't need any of it!!

Shop online
There are times when you just have to spend.  Birthdays, for example.  There's no getting out of the fact that presents will have to be bought, but on these occasions spend smart.  Look around for discounts that will make your money go further; there are lots of websites that will scour the web and compile these codes for you

Use up empties/shop your stash
Repurchasing necessities is, of course, allowed.  But do you really need another body butter when you have 3 others sitting in your stash?  The answer is no.  Use up what you've got before heading down to Boots.  Because, let's face it, there'll only be some sort of 3 for 2 deal on that you'll just *have* to take advantage of.

Have a wardrobe re-shuffle
I'm aiming for a streamlined wardrobe this year, and the first step will be having a clear out of any unloved clothes.  I feel like once I've decluttered, I'm always much more hesitant to start filling it all up again.  Plus selling on anything still in good condition is a good way to put money back into your bank account....just don't go spending it all!  Alternatively, why not consider getting your friends around to do a bit of shwapping?

Set reminders
We've all been there.  There's always that purchase that you just *need*, so set a reminder on your phone and wait a couple of weeks to see if you still want it.  Anticipation is always better than reality, and I bet that 8 times out of 10 you'll find that you didn't want it as much as you thought you did.

Spending wisely is an ongoing journey for me, so I'd love to know your tips for a healthy bank balance.  They'll come in handy when I'm on the brink of falling off the wagon!

Detox your spending habits

26.1.15

I've always been a bit of a spendaholic.  In the words of Macklemore, if they had a broken keyboard, I'd buy the broken keyboard.  If I think I'm getting a bargain, you can sell pretty much anything to me.  But last year I took on a fairly big financial commitment (more on that in another post!) and something had to give.

There's been trials and tribulations, but I actually think I've got this being sensible with money thing down pat.  So if you find reigning your spending habits in a bit daunting, here are my top tips for a detox.

Go cold turkey
I know, I know...this sounds really extreme.  But trust me, not letting yourself buy anything for a little while will really help you to refocus.  I was forever falling into the trap of allowing myself little treats during the month, but spending a little only fuels the need to spend more.  Just try living like you're on the brink of going overdrawn (or bankrupt...whatever works!) and see if you find yourself wanting to shop less.

Remove yourself from temptation
I have three tips here: don't window shop (why torture yourself?), unsubscribe from those mailing lists (an asos 20% off code will inevitably end to an unnecessary splurge) and stop watching Primark hauls.  You don't need any of it!!

Shop online
There are times when you just have to spend.  Birthdays, for example.  There's no getting out of the fact that presents will have to be bought, but on these occasions spend smart.  Look around for discounts that will make your money go further; there are lots of websites that will scour the web and compile these codes for you

Use up empties/shop your stash
Repurchasing necessities is, of course, allowed.  But do you really need another body butter when you have 3 others sitting in your stash?  The answer is no.  Use up what you've got before heading down to Boots.  Because, let's face it, there'll only be some sort of 3 for 2 deal on that you'll just *have* to take advantage of.

Have a wardrobe re-shuffle
I'm aiming for a streamlined wardrobe this year, and the first step will be having a clear out of any unloved clothes.  I feel like once I've decluttered, I'm always much more hesitant to start filling it all up again.  Plus selling on anything still in good condition is a good way to put money back into your bank account....just don't go spending it all!  Alternatively, why not consider getting your friends around to do a bit of shwapping?

Set reminders
We've all been there.  There's always that purchase that you just *need*, so set a reminder on your phone and wait a couple of weeks to see if you still want it.  Anticipation is always better than reality, and I bet that 8 times out of 10 you'll find that you didn't want it as much as you thought you did.

Spending wisely is an ongoing journey for me, so I'd love to know your tips for a healthy bank balance.  They'll come in handy when I'm on the brink of falling off the wagon!
Image found via pinterest

Blogs::
 - Maybe it's the 'New Year, New Me' effect, but Into Mind has touched on a few aspects of life that I want to explore this year.  It's a little dramatic, but at times I do think I've been a bit of a slave to consumerism and I don't like it.  I buckled under the general stresses of life a fair few times last year, so a blog promoting a clutter-free way of thinking and living, ultimately leading to less stress, can only be a good thing in my eyes.
- A similar blog that I've been enjoying is Un-Fancy, featuring daily outfit posts from Caroline's 37-piece wardrobe.  Whilst there's no way I'd ever manage to cut down to just 37 items, this blog has got me all fired up to be ruthless and streamline my wardrobe.  Having a fairly casual dress code at work, there was a time when I'd be fairly creative with fashion - now I find myself wearing the same combinations on repeat.  And you know what?  That's fine with me, and I'm realising that I really don't need half the stuff on my shelves.

YouTube::
I've subscribed to loads of new channels lately, but one that really stands out is Stephanie Toms.  For starters she's got that bold brows/brunette hair combo that I'm always down for, but she also consistently creates videos that are great quality.  If you're after favourites, tags, hauls or reviews you'll love it.
- The Vintage Vision has been another favourite.  I love Georgia's style in general, but I particularly love the eBay dupes series.  Again, if you're after all things beauty you should head here!

Shopping::
 - In keeping with my whole minimalist vibe, I haven't actually done that much shopping lately.  I received a Monica Vinader ring for Christmas and bought one in the sale, but they both had to go back to be resized.  So whilst I'm awaiting their return, I've had a great time stacking virtual rings to create my perfect combination!
- One thing I am considering adding to my hopefully much smaller wardrobe this year is flared jeans.  Yes I did just say that.  I'm still not sold even though I've seen a few bloggers rocking them in a seriously fabulous way.  Gut feeling is that they'll be a more flattering fit on me than skinnies, but I'm just not sure if I'm fully on board yet!

General::
- This month has been the month I've gone instagram-crazy and found lots of new accounts to follow.  In particular, Anine Bing...owner of some pretty good hair, gorgeous simple jewellery and legs to die for.
- And while I'm on the topic of good hair (seriously, when am I not?), can we all take a minute to appreciate Sienna Miller's 'do?  She looks so good and I'm 100% jealous.  If anyone can tell me how to get that wavy but not quite curls look I'd be forever grateful!

bookmarked #8

23.1.15

Image found via pinterest

Blogs::
 - Maybe it's the 'New Year, New Me' effect, but Into Mind has touched on a few aspects of life that I want to explore this year.  It's a little dramatic, but at times I do think I've been a bit of a slave to consumerism and I don't like it.  I buckled under the general stresses of life a fair few times last year, so a blog promoting a clutter-free way of thinking and living, ultimately leading to less stress, can only be a good thing in my eyes.
- A similar blog that I've been enjoying is Un-Fancy, featuring daily outfit posts from Caroline's 37-piece wardrobe.  Whilst there's no way I'd ever manage to cut down to just 37 items, this blog has got me all fired up to be ruthless and streamline my wardrobe.  Having a fairly casual dress code at work, there was a time when I'd be fairly creative with fashion - now I find myself wearing the same combinations on repeat.  And you know what?  That's fine with me, and I'm realising that I really don't need half the stuff on my shelves.

YouTube::
I've subscribed to loads of new channels lately, but one that really stands out is Stephanie Toms.  For starters she's got that bold brows/brunette hair combo that I'm always down for, but she also consistently creates videos that are great quality.  If you're after favourites, tags, hauls or reviews you'll love it.
- The Vintage Vision has been another favourite.  I love Georgia's style in general, but I particularly love the eBay dupes series.  Again, if you're after all things beauty you should head here!

Shopping::
 - In keeping with my whole minimalist vibe, I haven't actually done that much shopping lately.  I received a Monica Vinader ring for Christmas and bought one in the sale, but they both had to go back to be resized.  So whilst I'm awaiting their return, I've had a great time stacking virtual rings to create my perfect combination!
- One thing I am considering adding to my hopefully much smaller wardrobe this year is flared jeans.  Yes I did just say that.  I'm still not sold even though I've seen a few bloggers rocking them in a seriously fabulous way.  Gut feeling is that they'll be a more flattering fit on me than skinnies, but I'm just not sure if I'm fully on board yet!

General::
- This month has been the month I've gone instagram-crazy and found lots of new accounts to follow.  In particular, Anine Bing...owner of some pretty good hair, gorgeous simple jewellery and legs to die for.
- And while I'm on the topic of good hair (seriously, when am I not?), can we all take a minute to appreciate Sienna Miller's 'do?  She looks so good and I'm 100% jealous.  If anyone can tell me how to get that wavy but not quite curls look I'd be forever grateful!
Last week I introduced you to my new contour kit, and in today's post I thought I'd show you the products I use in conjunction with it to get a really sharp, defined look.

After carving out cheekbones with the bronzer and my Real Techniques Contour Brush, I then use the matte highlight in the Seventeen Define and Conquer Contour Kit with the Real Techniques Setting Brush to brighten the tops of my cheekbones.  Next comes MAC's Pinch Me Blush; a product I bought ages ago but often felt it was too red-toned to work for me every day.  In actual fact, I'm finding it to be the perfect shade to blend the difference between contour and highlight.  I tend to think of it as having something a little more *extra* than MAC's Melba, which I favoured previously as a contour/blush hybrid.  My MAC 187 picks up the perfect amount of product and helps create a seamless look.

The icing on the cake comes in the form of Topshop's Glow in Gleam, which I reviewed here.  It's a cream highlighter in a beautiful golden shade that I really wouldn't be without.  Blended with my fingers along the tops of my cheekbones and up to my temples it tops off the look nicely.

What's your go-to combination for cheeks?

The sculpted cheeks squad

21.1.15

Last week I introduced you to my new contour kit, and in today's post I thought I'd show you the products I use in conjunction with it to get a really sharp, defined look.

After carving out cheekbones with the bronzer and my Real Techniques Contour Brush, I then use the matte highlight in the Seventeen Define and Conquer Contour Kit with the Real Techniques Setting Brush to brighten the tops of my cheekbones.  Next comes MAC's Pinch Me Blush; a product I bought ages ago but often felt it was too red-toned to work for me every day.  In actual fact, I'm finding it to be the perfect shade to blend the difference between contour and highlight.  I tend to think of it as having something a little more *extra* than MAC's Melba, which I favoured previously as a contour/blush hybrid.  My MAC 187 picks up the perfect amount of product and helps create a seamless look.

The icing on the cake comes in the form of Topshop's Glow in Gleam, which I reviewed here.  It's a cream highlighter in a beautiful golden shade that I really wouldn't be without.  Blended with my fingers along the tops of my cheekbones and up to my temples it tops off the look nicely.

What's your go-to combination for cheeks?
1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6

For the past 6 months I've really been getting into house plants.  They add a bit more interest to a room, and when I buy them I feel like a proper grown up.  Which means they're basically guilt-free purchases!

With our hallway finally almost finished (thanks Kevin!) I'm looking to bring some more plants into the space to add the final touches.  I'm swaying towards the idea of investing in a small olive tree, although I know nothing about the logistics of this and will have to do some research before making a decision.  Alternatively, we've got quite a bit of unused space in the room and I really like the idea of having a low bench to display a variety of plants.

One thing for sure is that I'll be following Cat's tutorial to create DIY macrame plant hangers.  Having two cats who love to chew on the leaves of my plants, having them up high *should* solve that problem....although I am a little worried about them climbing up to swing from the pots!  I'm looking to Kate on inspiration for which plants to use, and would appreciate suggestions for any that would look nice and perhaps hang down nicely!

And of course I'll have to have some sort of copper touch to the whole project.  I'll be stocking up on spray paint and we've got an old stool which is just crying out for a face lift!

Interior Inspiration: House Plants

19.1.15

1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6

For the past 6 months I've really been getting into house plants.  They add a bit more interest to a room, and when I buy them I feel like a proper grown up.  Which means they're basically guilt-free purchases!

With our hallway finally almost finished (thanks Kevin!) I'm looking to bring some more plants into the space to add the final touches.  I'm swaying towards the idea of investing in a small olive tree, although I know nothing about the logistics of this and will have to do some research before making a decision.  Alternatively, we've got quite a bit of unused space in the room and I really like the idea of having a low bench to display a variety of plants.

One thing for sure is that I'll be following Cat's tutorial to create DIY macrame plant hangers.  Having two cats who love to chew on the leaves of my plants, having them up high *should* solve that problem....although I am a little worried about them climbing up to swing from the pots!  I'm looking to Kate on inspiration for which plants to use, and would appreciate suggestions for any that would look nice and perhaps hang down nicely!

And of course I'll have to have some sort of copper touch to the whole project.  I'll be stocking up on spray paint and we've got an old stool which is just crying out for a face lift!
I've never been one of those girls to go in and drop a wad of cash in Lush.  There are a few staples that I love, but otherwise I only indulge as a treat.  So with a voucher from Christmas burning a hole in my pocket, I was eager to get down there and start browsing.  Here's what I bought...

Full of Grace Serum Bar // buy here
This is a solid serum bar that I'd never heard of before despite it receiving 5* reviews on the website and apparently being a best seller.  I find it a little hard to use; having chronically cold hands means that warming this up isn't so easy to do, but a layer of this before my nighttime cream really helps everything soak in and benefit my skin.  It's early days with this one, but I'm really enjoying it so far.

Big Sea Salt Shampoo // buy here
This was a naughty repurchase....I bought it, loved it and reviewed it a couple of years ago but after learning about the stripping effects of SLS (from what I understand, basically like detergent for your hair) I stopped using it.  The smell is *too* good pass up though, and I figure using it once in a while can't be that bad....right?

Brazened Honey Fresh Face Mask // buy here
In the past, Oatifix has been my fresh face mask of choice but I fancied a change.  I'd heard good things about the revitalising effects of Brazened Honey and despite its somewhat questionable colour, I really like it.  It's easier to use than Oatifix; drying quicker on the skin and is a much smoother consistency.

Ocean Salt Face and Body Scrub // buy here
This is my HG exfoliator, which I've reviewed here.  Lush have recently added a self-preserving formula to the range, which in my opinion is slightly more slushy and doesn't smell the same.  The sales assistant told me that the self-preserving version includes mango butter, which could explain the change in scent.  There's also an alcohol-free option, so while it's good to know there's an option for everybody I'll be sticking to the original (and best!)

American Cream // buy here
So this conditioner has snuck into this haul, when technically it was a Christmas present.  Either way it's a firm favourite.  I first bought a bottle waaaay back when I was 18, so having it back in my life is a real trip down memory lane.  It's a bit pricey for conditioner, but smells of everything I like.  Think sweet, delicious milkshake and you're almost there....the perfect partner for Big shampoo.

Buying in bulk from Lush is a real treat which I doubt will happen all that often.  The good thing about so many purchases though?  I'm well on my way to having 5 empties to take back and get a free face mask!

Mini Lush Haul

16.1.15

I've never been one of those girls to go in and drop a wad of cash in Lush.  There are a few staples that I love, but otherwise I only indulge as a treat.  So with a voucher from Christmas burning a hole in my pocket, I was eager to get down there and start browsing.  Here's what I bought...

Full of Grace Serum Bar // buy here
This is a solid serum bar that I'd never heard of before despite it receiving 5* reviews on the website and apparently being a best seller.  I find it a little hard to use; having chronically cold hands means that warming this up isn't so easy to do, but a layer of this before my nighttime cream really helps everything soak in and benefit my skin.  It's early days with this one, but I'm really enjoying it so far.

Big Sea Salt Shampoo // buy here
This was a naughty repurchase....I bought it, loved it and reviewed it a couple of years ago but after learning about the stripping effects of SLS (from what I understand, basically like detergent for your hair) I stopped using it.  The smell is *too* good pass up though, and I figure using it once in a while can't be that bad....right?

Brazened Honey Fresh Face Mask // buy here
In the past, Oatifix has been my fresh face mask of choice but I fancied a change.  I'd heard good things about the revitalising effects of Brazened Honey and despite its somewhat questionable colour, I really like it.  It's easier to use than Oatifix; drying quicker on the skin and is a much smoother consistency.

Ocean Salt Face and Body Scrub // buy here
This is my HG exfoliator, which I've reviewed here.  Lush have recently added a self-preserving formula to the range, which in my opinion is slightly more slushy and doesn't smell the same.  The sales assistant told me that the self-preserving version includes mango butter, which could explain the change in scent.  There's also an alcohol-free option, so while it's good to know there's an option for everybody I'll be sticking to the original (and best!)

American Cream // buy here
So this conditioner has snuck into this haul, when technically it was a Christmas present.  Either way it's a firm favourite.  I first bought a bottle waaaay back when I was 18, so having it back in my life is a real trip down memory lane.  It's a bit pricey for conditioner, but smells of everything I like.  Think sweet, delicious milkshake and you're almost there....the perfect partner for Big shampoo.

Buying in bulk from Lush is a real treat which I doubt will happen all that often.  The good thing about so many purchases though?  I'm well on my way to having 5 empties to take back and get a free face mask!
This is relatively old news on the blogger circuit, and I really didn't expect to love it enough to write about it....hence the lack of a pristine, not-yet-used product photo!

If you're looking to disguise the aftermath of a month of festive indulgence, look no further!  After being told I looked like I'd lost weight in my face, I like to call this little wonder 'Cheekbones in a Compact'.

On a first swatch in Boots I quickly stepped away from this, deeming the contour shade too warm and borderline orange.  The highlight was divine though; a unique (for the drugstore) matte lightening powder with no hint of shimmer at all.  A pressed (and less yellow) powder version of the Ben Nye Banana Powder, if you will.

A few weeks later and this little kit was still playing on my mind.  Needing that highlight in my life, I duly headed back to purchase.  Since then this has become a daily staple.  Despite my reservations, the bronzer blends beautifully and really does carve out cheekbones.  And that highlight?  Everything I hoped for.  A dusting of it on the high points of my cheeks really plays up the dimensions of my face.  Much as I hate to trot out that old cliche, but I do feel very Kim K when I step back and admire my handiwork.

Two bugbears with this though.  First up....the name.  Define and Conquer?  Why not just go with Define and Contour??  Baffles me.

Secondly, the highlight is a little loose and dusty.  As you can see, it creates a lot of fall out and that's with the lightest of swipes with a brush.  I'm not sure if this is just the nature of the product and part of the reason it works so well, but from an aesthetic point of view it's a little annoying!

At £5.99 I'm really impressed with this product.  It looks, and works, like a much more expensive brand.  If you're a fan of contouring you need to give this a go!

Acclaimed: Seventeen's Define and Conquer Contour Kit

14.1.15

This is relatively old news on the blogger circuit, and I really didn't expect to love it enough to write about it....hence the lack of a pristine, not-yet-used product photo!

If you're looking to disguise the aftermath of a month of festive indulgence, look no further!  After being told I looked like I'd lost weight in my face, I like to call this little wonder 'Cheekbones in a Compact'.

On a first swatch in Boots I quickly stepped away from this, deeming the contour shade too warm and borderline orange.  The highlight was divine though; a unique (for the drugstore) matte lightening powder with no hint of shimmer at all.  A pressed (and less yellow) powder version of the Ben Nye Banana Powder, if you will.

A few weeks later and this little kit was still playing on my mind.  Needing that highlight in my life, I duly headed back to purchase.  Since then this has become a daily staple.  Despite my reservations, the bronzer blends beautifully and really does carve out cheekbones.  And that highlight?  Everything I hoped for.  A dusting of it on the high points of my cheeks really plays up the dimensions of my face.  Much as I hate to trot out that old cliche, but I do feel very Kim K when I step back and admire my handiwork.

Two bugbears with this though.  First up....the name.  Define and Conquer?  Why not just go with Define and Contour??  Baffles me.

Secondly, the highlight is a little loose and dusty.  As you can see, it creates a lot of fall out and that's with the lightest of swipes with a brush.  I'm not sure if this is just the nature of the product and part of the reason it works so well, but from an aesthetic point of view it's a little annoying!

At £5.99 I'm really impressed with this product.  It looks, and works, like a much more expensive brand.  If you're a fan of contouring you need to give this a go!
The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August // Claire North
This book took me three weeks to read, which I think says it all.  It tells the story of a man who, each time he dies, wakes up at exactly the point he was born yet with a full memory of all of his lives before.  A really interesting concept, I really couldn't wait to read this book.  Long story short, it really wasn't what I expected.  It was far too serious and took a lot of effort to read.  In my opinion, too much of the book was taken up with setting the scene and helping us to understand Harry.  I eventually got hooked about 100 pages from the end, when the real action set in.  I had high hopes and was left thoroughly disappointed.
Rating: 2/5

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves // Karen Joy Fowler
This was a book which seemed fairly hyped and I seen frequently.  Loosely summarised, it's a story of family and centres around the mysterious, mutually-agreed disappearance of a member of that family.  The reviews dotted across the cover promised that I'd be "compelled" - I wasn't.  There's a twist midway through which didn't actually make me feel any more interested in the story, and I felt like there was a build up to *something* good towards the end....only nothing happened.  It was easy enough to read, despite an overload of psychology throughout, but all in all I felt underwhelmed by it.
Rating: 3/5

The Ocean at the End of the Lane // Neil Gaiman
This book was nothing like I expected.  I was prepared for a magical, fantastical tale, but this was something else.  It's strange, unapologetically strange, and not a book I'll be reaching for again...I still don't feel like I actually know what it's about. Things I thought I anticipated and/or understood easily changed at the writer's whim and no rules of logic seem to be followed.  I don't mind fantasy stories (I thoroughly enjoyed The Night Circus by Erin Mogernstern), but this was a little too out there for me.
Rating: 2/5

Keep Quiet // Lisa Scottoline
When Jake Buckman lets his son drive home one evening, he hits and kills a jogger.  What follows is an emotionally-charged and morally complex story which, fundamentally, I enjoyed.  What I didn't enjoy was that it felt really 'American'.  I don't mean that in a derogatory way, but it was full of dialogue (too much, I felt) and the Americanism made it slightly harder and less enjoyable to read.  It just didn't seem to flow well, but it probably was the best of a bad bunch this time round.  This was my favourite book out of the four, but another one that won't stay with me.
Rating: 3/5 

Read // 4

12.1.15

The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August // Claire North
This book took me three weeks to read, which I think says it all.  It tells the story of a man who, each time he dies, wakes up at exactly the point he was born yet with a full memory of all of his lives before.  A really interesting concept, I really couldn't wait to read this book.  Long story short, it really wasn't what I expected.  It was far too serious and took a lot of effort to read.  In my opinion, too much of the book was taken up with setting the scene and helping us to understand Harry.  I eventually got hooked about 100 pages from the end, when the real action set in.  I had high hopes and was left thoroughly disappointed.
Rating: 2/5

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves // Karen Joy Fowler
This was a book which seemed fairly hyped and I seen frequently.  Loosely summarised, it's a story of family and centres around the mysterious, mutually-agreed disappearance of a member of that family.  The reviews dotted across the cover promised that I'd be "compelled" - I wasn't.  There's a twist midway through which didn't actually make me feel any more interested in the story, and I felt like there was a build up to *something* good towards the end....only nothing happened.  It was easy enough to read, despite an overload of psychology throughout, but all in all I felt underwhelmed by it.
Rating: 3/5

The Ocean at the End of the Lane // Neil Gaiman
This book was nothing like I expected.  I was prepared for a magical, fantastical tale, but this was something else.  It's strange, unapologetically strange, and not a book I'll be reaching for again...I still don't feel like I actually know what it's about. Things I thought I anticipated and/or understood easily changed at the writer's whim and no rules of logic seem to be followed.  I don't mind fantasy stories (I thoroughly enjoyed The Night Circus by Erin Mogernstern), but this was a little too out there for me.
Rating: 2/5

Keep Quiet // Lisa Scottoline
When Jake Buckman lets his son drive home one evening, he hits and kills a jogger.  What follows is an emotionally-charged and morally complex story which, fundamentally, I enjoyed.  What I didn't enjoy was that it felt really 'American'.  I don't mean that in a derogatory way, but it was full of dialogue (too much, I felt) and the Americanism made it slightly harder and less enjoyable to read.  It just didn't seem to flow well, but it probably was the best of a bad bunch this time round.  This was my favourite book out of the four, but another one that won't stay with me.
Rating: 3/5 

Way back before the excitement of Christmas and New Years, I put up a December bucket list.  It was full of little goals for the month and it was actually quite fun to look back on it periodically and add some structure to the otherwise crazy month that is December.  So what did I manage to achieve this past month?

Make these biscuits // check!
I made these the week before Christmas with Ella.  We just decorated rich tea biscuits in the end, but she had fun sticking the marshmallows on.

Visit Winchester Christmas Market // check!
Nick and I took a trip to Winchester at the beginning of the month, and whilst the market was a little too crowded for our liking we had a really nice day out.

Bring the duvet downstairs and have a Christmas Movie Night // check!
My sister Zara came over the week of Christmas to watch The Holiday.  Undoubtedly one of the best Christmas films, made better with takeaway, chocolate and a huge duvet.

Try the Costa Brownie Hot Chocolate // check!
I managed to squeeze this in towards the end of the month during a sales shopping trip and man, was it good!

Decorate the tree // check!
This year's tree was better than ever with double the lights, a proper tree topper (unlike last year!) and the multiple expensive baubles purchased during our October trip to London. 

Read Life After Life //
I started this book but haven't got into it yet.  It's a Sliding Doors-type affair, telling the story of parallel lives, but I just haven't found my stride with how it's written yet.  Will revisit this goal!

Use Lush Cinder's Bath Bomb on Christmas Eve // check!
I was so disappointed with this one.  It didn't crackle, didn't fizz, just left me with very yellow bath water which looked suspiciously like I'd had an accident.

Eat Eggs Benedict for breakfast on Christmas Day // check!
This is becoming a yearly tradition; we drove over to Mum's house first thing in our pyjamas for my favourite breakfast.

Take a festive trip to Norwich // check!
We tend to go back to visit Nick's family either just before Christmas or at New Year's, so this year we went on Boxing Day and it was really nice to see everyone while they were in the Christmas spirit.  Fitting a 10 stone dog in the back of a Toyota iQ was fun too!

Go ice skating on an outdoor ice rink //
Perhaps I was a little ambitious with this one; if you read my Making Memories post from March you'll know that ice skating isn't my forte!  Plus the only outdoor rink I've come across was at the Christmas market and that was way too busy.

Wrap up warm for a late night walk with Nick //
Another one we didn't manage, but there'll be plenty more cold nights in January to give this one a go!

Eat as many roast potatoes as possible // check!
I managed five Christmas dinners, all with roast potatoes, so it's fair to say I achieved this one!

Go for dinner with friends // check!
We didn't actually go out for dinner, but we had a mini Christmas party round a friend's house complete with party food, crackers, Secret Santa and board games.

Decide on a New Year's Resolution // check!
I've realised that choosing a big resolution is only setting myself up for failure, so this year I've picked a few smaller goals to focus on. Check out this post to see what I went with!

Go out for cocktails //
I didn't manage this and I'm really disappointed.  It was a friend's birthday at the beginning of the month and everyone went out for cocktails - I've pretty much been ill for the whole of the month though and had to give it a miss.  Gutted!

December Bucket List: How did I do?

7.1.15


Way back before the excitement of Christmas and New Years, I put up a December bucket list.  It was full of little goals for the month and it was actually quite fun to look back on it periodically and add some structure to the otherwise crazy month that is December.  So what did I manage to achieve this past month?

Make these biscuits // check!
I made these the week before Christmas with Ella.  We just decorated rich tea biscuits in the end, but she had fun sticking the marshmallows on.

Visit Winchester Christmas Market // check!
Nick and I took a trip to Winchester at the beginning of the month, and whilst the market was a little too crowded for our liking we had a really nice day out.

Bring the duvet downstairs and have a Christmas Movie Night // check!
My sister Zara came over the week of Christmas to watch The Holiday.  Undoubtedly one of the best Christmas films, made better with takeaway, chocolate and a huge duvet.

Try the Costa Brownie Hot Chocolate // check!
I managed to squeeze this in towards the end of the month during a sales shopping trip and man, was it good!

Decorate the tree // check!
This year's tree was better than ever with double the lights, a proper tree topper (unlike last year!) and the multiple expensive baubles purchased during our October trip to London. 

Read Life After Life //
I started this book but haven't got into it yet.  It's a Sliding Doors-type affair, telling the story of parallel lives, but I just haven't found my stride with how it's written yet.  Will revisit this goal!

Use Lush Cinder's Bath Bomb on Christmas Eve // check!
I was so disappointed with this one.  It didn't crackle, didn't fizz, just left me with very yellow bath water which looked suspiciously like I'd had an accident.

Eat Eggs Benedict for breakfast on Christmas Day // check!
This is becoming a yearly tradition; we drove over to Mum's house first thing in our pyjamas for my favourite breakfast.

Take a festive trip to Norwich // check!
We tend to go back to visit Nick's family either just before Christmas or at New Year's, so this year we went on Boxing Day and it was really nice to see everyone while they were in the Christmas spirit.  Fitting a 10 stone dog in the back of a Toyota iQ was fun too!

Go ice skating on an outdoor ice rink //
Perhaps I was a little ambitious with this one; if you read my Making Memories post from March you'll know that ice skating isn't my forte!  Plus the only outdoor rink I've come across was at the Christmas market and that was way too busy.

Wrap up warm for a late night walk with Nick //
Another one we didn't manage, but there'll be plenty more cold nights in January to give this one a go!

Eat as many roast potatoes as possible // check!
I managed five Christmas dinners, all with roast potatoes, so it's fair to say I achieved this one!

Go for dinner with friends // check!
We didn't actually go out for dinner, but we had a mini Christmas party round a friend's house complete with party food, crackers, Secret Santa and board games.

Decide on a New Year's Resolution // check!
I've realised that choosing a big resolution is only setting myself up for failure, so this year I've picked a few smaller goals to focus on. Check out this post to see what I went with!

Go out for cocktails //
I didn't manage this and I'm really disappointed.  It was a friend's birthday at the beginning of the month and everyone went out for cocktails - I've pretty much been ill for the whole of the month though and had to give it a miss.  Gutted!
Image found via pinterest

I like to believe in implementing change if and when something's not right for you, but New Years is the perfect time to take stock and set goals, right?  To me, resolutions have a tendancy to seem too big, too much of a commitment and too unattainable so instead of long-term goals I think that right now I'd like to focus on those little day to day things that will *hopefully* bring a little bit more joy to my life.

1 //  Take regular photos of Nick and I.
2 //  Visit the bookshop once a month and buy two new books.
3 //  Make firm plans to spend time with friends.
4 //  Go on regular road trips with Nick to visit new places.
5 //  Set up another Memory Maker project with Zara.

And on that note....Happy New Year!  I hope you've had a wonderful festive season, and would love to know if you have any goals for the coming year?

New Year Goals

1.1.15

Image found via pinterest

I like to believe in implementing change if and when something's not right for you, but New Years is the perfect time to take stock and set goals, right?  To me, resolutions have a tendancy to seem too big, too much of a commitment and too unattainable so instead of long-term goals I think that right now I'd like to focus on those little day to day things that will *hopefully* bring a little bit more joy to my life.

1 //  Take regular photos of Nick and I.
2 //  Visit the bookshop once a month and buy two new books.
3 //  Make firm plans to spend time with friends.
4 //  Go on regular road trips with Nick to visit new places.
5 //  Set up another Memory Maker project with Zara.

And on that note....Happy New Year!  I hope you've had a wonderful festive season, and would love to know if you have any goals for the coming year?

Instagram Feed

© LORNA, LITERALLY.. Design by Fearne.