Thursday, 31 December 2015

15 of 2015!

 Yup, I am officially one of "those" bloggers who is about to hit you with a wealth of 2015/2016 blog posts. I couldn't resist and after my blogging game has been seriously hit or miss all year I wanted to do a nice round up of all the things I've been loving this year for you!

First up is the by Terry Touche Veloutee Concealer - this has saved my bacon daily for most of this year and it's still going strong. I've reviewed it in full here but it's a bit like a hybrid of the Touche Eclat and NARS Creamy Concealer, you get a fair bit of coverage as with a normal concealer but it's also brightened up my under eye area. It's been a life saver for me during my first Trimester of pregnancy when no matter how much I slept I still felt and looked exhausted.

Next is the Rimmel London Exaggerate Full Colour Lip Liner, it's actually more of a homage to the fact that I'm using any form of lip liner at all, I like the Rimmel Exaggerate ones as you don't have to sharpen them and they're good value for money but something I'm looking to invest in more in 2016 is high end Lip Liners to see what difference they make.

Anastasia Dip Brow Pomade was something that I wanted to try for a while and on my birthday in October I finally treated myself, I thought I'd got it made with my Stila Eyebrow Pen however I find this slightly nicer to use and creates a more dramatic look. You can build it up if you want stronger brows or if, like me, you prefer to look quite natural then you can do so with a light hand too.

It wouldn't really be truthful for me to not include at least one pregnancy product, the Clarins Tonic Oil has been my most luxurious pregnancy product so far, it's my 5 minutes of luxury every morning whilst slathering this on my bump. It's expensive but so worth it and I've not got any stretch marks yet!

Another Clarins essential is their Instant Light Lip Perfectors, again I haven't put my entire collection here as I think I have about 5 or 6 now but these are perfect for popping on quickly if I've forgotten to do anything or if I just want a quick and natural look. There is a full review of them here and I will be posting on their new colours for 2016 very soon. I don't think I'll ever get enough of these and I know they'll be perfect for next year when I'm a busy Mummy!

Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish must be on most people's ultimate favourite lists, it's just the perfect hot cloth cleanser and one that I always keep in my collection. It never breaks me out and always leaves my skin looking polished and ready for the day. The full review is right here and I know that it'll be something I use throughout 2016 too.

Next up is a purchase that I actually made quite late into the year however have fallen head over heels for.. It's the YSL Luxurious Mascara. It gives me thick, full lashes and doesn't drop or go grey-ish throughout the day. I got it in a Christmas Set in early November and you can read the full review of that here if you wish but I am still yet to review it separately.

For my birthday I also treated myself to the Zoeva Rose Gold Brush Collection, unfortunately I'm struggling to keep them all clean at once long enough for to take photos and write up a review but I use them every single day. I sometimes forget that I have certain ones and find it in my pot to be pleasantly surprised!

I decided in the summer that I needed to invest in a good moisturiser, falling pregnant meant that my skin went a erratic and I put my trust in Origins to sort me out. I wasn't wrong to as the GinZing moisturiser has not only lasted me absolutely ages (and I still have loads left). I reviewed it in full back in June (gosh I can't quite believe I'm had it that long!) and I'd still say I have over half left.

When the Clarins Everlasting + Foundation launched earlier in the year I had a little play with it in store and then didn't think much of it. That is until I was sent some and I must say it's probably my most used foundation since. Some people find it a bit drying but I personally use a good moisturiser (see above) and primer and find that it's fine!

The Stila Stay All Day Liquid Eyeliner is one of those products for me that I actually have a back up in case the one I use spontaneously runs out for any reason. No liquid eyeliner has come even nearly close to the longevity, ease of use and depth of black that this one offers, but you can read more about all of that here... 

Perfume is another thing that I've really been getting into over the last few months, when I worked in a department store you have pick of the bunch every day and I fell in love with loads but it wasn't until later in the year when I really developed my collection. I bought the Jimmy Choo EDP because I really liked it as an every day fragrance but it's taken me by surprise with how much I've fallen in love with it.

The Clarins Ombre Matte Eyeshadows have featured so heavily in my both my day-to-day looks and when I'm going out. The staying power is incredible and they blend into one another so so easily. I actually have almost the entire collection of these but 2, 4 and 6 are definitely my favourites.

This year I was determined to find an exfoliator that I loved as much as the Clarins Gentle Refiner but that wasn't as pricey and the N Spa Brightening Micro-Derma Scrub is definitely that. It's not quite as effective, luxurious or gentle as the Clarins but it's such a fraction of the price that I can overlook it for every day use. It's another thing that I've now realised I've never done a full review of!

I seem to have saved the best (and my favourite of my favourites) until last - the Soigné Nail Polishes. I only own 2 other polishes that aren't by this brand and that's because I'm sat waiting for Soigné to bring out a deep plum and purple colour. Hopefully they'll come next year and I can have a completely Soigne collection!

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Thursday, 17 December 2015

My Perfume Collection

A slightly different post from myself today as I thought I'd share with you my favourites from my perfume collection! After working in a cosmetics department over Christmas last year I seriously fell in love with different fragrances for the first time in my life. I'd never normally been bothered by perfumes but after being surrounded for them and being able to try them at my leisure I fell in love with all of the above and have slowly added them all to my collection over the past year. Armani Si Intense was first introduced to me in Stansted Airport before I think it had really been released into the shops properly and it's safe to say I was hooked from the first time I sprayed it. It's deep and sexy and lasts for absolutely hours, it's rather pricey but you only need a small amount at the start of the day and it will see you right through until home time. I tend to reach for this on date nights or for a night out as it's a very mature scent as opposed to being particularly pretty. Next up is certainly the "prettiest" scent of them all, Signorina by Ferragamo. Again it's the EDP (I don't tend to wear Eau de Toilette as I find it doesn't last on me) and I actually bought the Eleganza version of this for my Sister to wear on her Wedding day. It's a light and pretty scent but still lingers nicely, I love putting on a certain scarf of mine that I think will smell like this forever. If any of these could be "my scent" I think I would chose this one as it's so simple and uncomplicated yet gets me so many compliments. Next up is Chloe's signature perfume, it's quite a strong one and I'll admit it took me a couple of wears around the department to decide whether I loved it or loathed it but in the end I fell head over heels. This one has real staying power and I find that I get compliments on my perfume even at the end of the day, for that reason I chose to wear this on my Sister's big day and will continue to do so on every special occasion as I know it'll last and last and I won't have to even think about needing a top up. Lastly is Jimmy Choo EDP, I think that this one is actually James' favourite of the lot, it's very sweet but still a deep and sultry scent, I reach for this mostly for work as it's similar to the Armani Si Intense but not quite so... intense and feels a bit more work appropriate. Plus it's nowhere near as pricey so I don't feel as guilty using it just for work or a day out shopping. I can always smell this on my clothes in my wardrobe if they've not been washed since (I'm talking jumpers, not vests and things!) so it's another for good staying power. There's definitely a theme with my collection that they all last all day (or night) long and I suppose I was lucky enough to only purchase those that I had tried and tested. For that reason I'd definitely recommend going to any cosmetics department and asking to try them and go off shopping for the day before making a purchase if a long lasting scent is important to you. They're also all fairly strong scents as I like to be able to smell it on myself, even if that does mean overloading people near me! so if you're into a scent that will last on you on all day then any of these are made for you!

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Tuesday, 15 December 2015

AEOS Optimal Essentials

AEOS Optimal Essentials Kit* £68 -  If you're looking to splash the cash this Christmas on someone you love and want to treat but know that they won't treat themselves, then this skincare kit is the one for you. It is pricey at £68 but the quality of the skincare inside is fantastic as is sure to make whoever you decide to give this to (if you can bare to part with it!) truly pampered skin. I know of a few ladies myself (I'm looking at you, Sister) who could do with being exposed to some fabulous skincare and would refuse to buy it for themselves without giving it a thorough go first and what better way to enable someone to do that than by gifting them 11 luxury samples (generous samples at that I might add) for them to try, and fall in love with. I also think when buying luxury skincare that it's a bit of a risky one really, you don't want them to think it's the bees knees but then not be able to afford it, so perhaps don't go giving this to your 16 year old cousin if you're going to cause a headache later on when she wants the full sized products! However if you know it's sustainable for them to carry on using once they've given it a go then why not? I also make it clear when gifting something such as this that if they do really like it, to let me know and I'll be sure to snap it up for them on andy upcoming birthday's or Mother's Day. AEOS is a brand that I didn't know much about before they ever so kindly sent me this however after trying each product there isn't one that I don't like! They're super luxurious and remind me of being at a spa but in the comfort of my own home. I tend to keep them for real pamper nights when the other half is at work and I can really indulge myself (so maybe a good idea for a new mummy who could do with some "me" time?). I think that the list is endless of people you could get this for and the fact that it comes so beautifully presented makes it a fantastic present this festive season. 

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Sunday, 13 December 2015

New Mum Questions Pt 2

I'm not sure if you guys liked my first "New Mum Questions" post but I received some really good answers on twitter and personally via text to all of them that definitely put my mind at ease. I'm not sure how many more of these I'll do (probably at least another one as I nowhere near know enough yet!) but you can find the first one here. I knew as soon as I wrote that one there'd be another as I've never felt so out of my depth but I'm very lucky to have you guys to help me muddle through this!

1. Maternity Leave, when is too early? - At the moment I'm scheduled to leave my full time job two weeks before I'm due to give birth, it fits in fairly nicely that I have to use one week as "maternity leave" (as it has to start on a Sunday and I'm due on a Friday, it's the minimum that I could take) and one week as holiday, but will two weeks be enough and am I asking too much of myself? I want to be as fair to my employer as possible and not just have to give up at short notice but then I want to keep as much of my maternity leave to actually be with my little girl.

2. Maternity Bras - At what point should I start using one? Plenty of my normal bras still fit me fine even though my boobs have grown astronomically. Am I doing myself harm in not wearing a maternity bra from a certain point in my pregnancy? I'm not uncomfortable and I don't want to be wasting money prematurely.

3. Cot Bumpers - They look absolutely beautiful and really set off a nice cot bed but are they safe? I've read a few articles saying that they can be bad for the baby (although I'm not sure why) however if I'm placing her at the foot of the bed and therefore away from the head where the bumper will be, what's the harm?

4. Spa Days Yay or Nay? - I will hold my hands up and say that I'm verging on addicted to spa days, I have at least one already penciled in for next year but ideally want one fairly close to having my baby to relax me when I'l probably be feeling most uncomfortable. But when's the closest to my due date that I should be going? I'd like to go in my 2 week maternity leave and possibly wouldn't go on my own just in case (oh look at that Mum, you'll have to come with me).

5. Stocking up Vs Over loading - We've started stocking up on nappies and wipes but how many will we need? At the moment we have 72 of the first size and 48 each of the next two sizes up. I don't pretend to think that'll be enough of either but also don't want to be left with loads too many if she's grown so quickly out of them.

6. Baby Bouncers - I know of some Mum's personally that can't live without their baby seats that either gently bounce or rock their little one to sleep but I've read in a few books to be wary of the baby becoming dependent on them to drop off. We're not really in a financial position to be splashing the cash on things we won't use but if it's best for the baby then we're not so hard up that she'll have to go without. I just don't fancy walking around rocking her to sleep every time she stirs.

7. Shaping up for labour - I actually got into a really good routine before falling pregnant and was super happy with my figure, obviously now it's a little rounder in the middle but although I've only put on 6lbs in weight (at the time of writing this on the 5th December, that is) I definitely don't feel as physically strong or "tight". Am I safe to do exercises such as squats, lunges, leg raises etc. Are stomach exercises bad now? Obviously swimming is my exercise of choice but unfortunately we don't have our own pool at our house and I want to come up with a nice little regime that I can do every night before bed.

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Thursday, 10 December 2015

Clarins The Essentials Eye Make-Up Palette

Clarins The Essentials Eye Make-Up Palette* £35 - First of all sorry (not sorry) for the fact I've obviously used this palette before photographing it, quite simply, I wanted to use it on my sister's wedding day so I couldn't resist! When this arrived on my doorstep I was a little nervous opening it. The exterior isn't what I would call luxury as I'm sure it's made from hardened card as opposed to plastic which did make me wonder just how portable this is. Having said that, this has since survived the trip to Oxford for the aforementioned wedding and also to my friends for my office Christmas party and it's not got any marks or signs of being battered about! I was pleasantly surprised, however to find that it comes with a brush that's actually really rather good! I hate transporting brushes as well as palettes around as you can guarantee I'll either forget to take it with me, or forget to bring them home again but this one is double ended meaning you get a fluffy blending brush and a finer detailer all in one. If you weren't fussed on using too many colours you could do your entire look with just this palette and brush alone. The colours themselves are wonderful, they're neutral but the purples and pinks add a little something to them that I don't really have in any other palettes. I find that I reach for this on both normal Saturdays when I want something simple for the day time and also ready for a (rare) night out to celebrate Christmas or a date night with my fella! The darkest colours could also be used as an eyeliner. This would make a wonderful Christmas Present for either someone that you love dearly (It is £35 after all!) but also for someone who you perhaps didn't know so well such as a Sister-in-law or a pricier Secret Santa, the colours are non-offensive and there are combinations in there to suit absolutely everyone so it'd be a really safe bet whilst still being extremely luxurious and, as always with Clarins, fabulous quality. I know I'd certainly be thrilled to receive this in my stocking!

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Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Yves Saint Laurent Luxurious Mascara Christmas Gift Set

Yves Saint Laurent Luxurious Mascara Christmas Gift Set £18.75 - I actually stumbled across this way back when in October/November if my memory serves me correct, I was on the hunt for a new mascara after my old faithful Stila Glamoureyes had run out and thought I might try a more high end product. I've has Benefit and Clarins Mascaras before but never something from YSL. Truth be told, I've never actually owned any YSL make up in my life! This time of year is always wonderful for gift sets and if you were eyeing up any of your high end favourites, it's always worth finding out whether or not you can get a few added extras thrown in for free. The mascara itself is wonderful and I've used it religiously every day since purchasing it however I'm going to review that separately later on so I shan't go into too much detail. The one included in this set is the Luxurious Mascara to give a False Lash Effect, I personally don't usually go for the "false lash" look as my lashes are super long anyway so it's easy for them to end up looking like spider's legs however if I'm brutally honest with you, I had this put on me whilst a girl in House of Fraser did my whole face ready for a date night that I really couldn't be bothered to prepare for myself (I was upfront and honest with her that I wasn't actually looking to buy, just feeling pregnant and lazy and could she possibly do my makeup as the store was quiet? Speaking as an ex-counter manager myself, it's not a bad thing. I'd have loved someone to kill time with some days!) low and behold, however, she got a sneaky purchase out of me. I also got a sample of their latest foundation (also doing a full review on that later) however wasn't sold there and then so decided to just go for it. At the time I think I paid £25 for it however I've just seen that on Debenhams it's only £18.75, so you're getting a bargain on the mascara and two extra samples for free! The little extras are their "Top Secrets Toning and Cleansing Water", it looks similar to many that I've seen before however is a little greasy for my liking. It'd be fine if you were removing your makeup and going straight into cleansing etc but for me I just didn't enjoy it and much prefer my Garnier £4.99 version. You also get a New Top Secrets Instant Moisture Glow which reminded me much of the Illamasqua Radiance Veil, again for me it didn't wow me enough to want to go and purchase it. It's lovely underneath a foundation if you do want that extra glow however I'm fairly lucky that pregnancy is doing that for me, and for free! I'll keep it handy for post-baby when I'll be desperate for a pick me up but for now, it's one product I could kinda live without. The obvious bonus if you're buying this as a gift is that it looks so much more substantial than just the mascara on it's own. I know from experience that buying makeup can sometimes make it look a little lacking in the packaging department and often go way over budget buying extras to make the present look more appealing. This just looks like a little bit more than a tiny mascara box and you never know, it may give them ideas for presents in 2016 (I'm looking at you, pesky mother's who always say they don't want anything!). I know that I cheekily bought this for myself and I have been loving it on the run up to Christmas however it would make a wonderful gift for either a friend, sister or your Mum on the big day and the mascara itself is also fabulous. 

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Sunday, 6 December 2015

22 Week Bump-Date & Gender Reveal

How far along: 22 Weeks & 2 Days
Days until due date: 124 days
My bump: Getting bigger now, it seems to have gotten "rounder" too.
Weight changes: I actually weighed myself out of curiosity the other day and found that I've only put on 6lbs since getting pregnant. 
Stretch marks? Nothing new so far!
Cravings: Still loving my eggs, but I find I have one-off random cravings such as Diet Coke and as much pasta as you can throw at me.
Sleep: Dreadful, the slightest thing wakes me up and I spend all day exhausted. I can only really sleep when I'm on my own in bed but I keep having nightmares and waking up wanting James. 
Symptoms: I'm still struggling with big meals, I feel starving hungry but then am full after a few bites. I'm also really groggy (probably due to the lack of sleep) and aches and pains are becoming more frequent.
Best moment this week: We actually found out the sex a week ago now but I've only just found the time to grab my laptop and write an update! They're in a little routine for movements now which is quite reassuring and James can feel them kicking away too, which seriously melted my heart. 
Worst moment this week: Trying to think of a name, we just can't agree! We have plenty of time though so not to worry, I'm also finally bursting out of my normal clothes and I think I only have until just after Christmas before I'll have to ditch them for something roomier. 
Miss anything? Not having to carefully think of the wriggle room in each outfit, sleep and pate!
Maternity clothes: I own a few pairs of maternity trousers but as nowhere near me seems to stock maternity wear in store I'm struggling to find a style and fit that I like. I'm not regularly wearing maternity clothes yet but I don't think it'll be long!
Movement: We can both feel them kick now and sometimes it's like I can feel that they're turning over or just generally wriggling around. Gender: It's a girl! After a really disappointing anomaly scan where they couldn't see and therefore wouldn't say for sure, James kindly paid for us to go just two days later to The Brayford Studios where they confirmed that we definitely have a daughter on the way!
Belly button in/out: In
Mood: I've started doing irregular bit of exercise and swim at least once a week, I also want to do some squats and things but need to research into what's safe. I always feel more positive the more active I am and maybe it'll help me sleep better.  
Looking forward to: Her cot-bed arrives on Monday and today we received her Angelcare device. I love that it all seems to be coming together and can't wait for the January sales to go and raid Kiddicare and Ikea to finish off her furniture. 

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