Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Songs to blast on a long journey

I love a good sing-a-long in the car, especially when I'm by myself on the M1 pretending I'm in some sort of broadway musical (anyone else?). Blasting out my 'guilty pleasure' songs it the safety of my car is a great way to end the day and is a great way to pass the time on my way to visit my friends who live a hundred million miles away (slight exaggeration but you get my point). As I live out my pop star dreams I thought I'd give you some of my go-to sing song songs that I shout to passing pedestrians on the way home from work:

*Disclaimer - I'm probably the worst person to talk about music as I only really like whatever's in the charts and songs from musicals. You've been warned*

#SELFIE: This takes me right back to first or second year at uni where my mission in life was to learn all the words to this and perform at pre drinks (which I did - many times). If you like feeling a sense of accomplishment when you finish a very wordy song, but don't want to be judged by singing cringe-y lyrics, stick this one on in your car. All the fun and no judgment.

Man's Not Hot: Same as above, I always think that passers by must think 'what is that girl doing' when I'm sat at a set of traffic lights trying to perfect my 'scraaaaap' or whatever it is. Also one of my favourites to go all out on with friends on a drive (that and pretty much any song by Little Mix).

The Sound: I'm all about The 1975 and this song gets me in the mood to go out. Another song that does the same is Biebs What Do You Mean. Stick those on on the way down to to friend reunion and I'm ready and raring to go.

The Entire Greatest Showman Soundtrack: Yeah, I'm in on the hype, but only when it comes to the soundtrack (I'm too lazy to go to the cinema to go and see the film). I mean, it's pretty great and such an addictive soundtrack to have on repeat. If you have somehow managed to avoid this completely and love a good musical then this will be right up your street. My favourites (if I'm forced to narrow it down) are The Greatest Show, Rewrite the Stars and the Other Side.

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Friday, 26 January 2018

Mac palette of dreams

I've always wanted to try Mac eyeshadows. Every time I've been in the area of a Mac counter I've had a cheeky swatch but never actually put my hand in my pocket to buy any. That all changed when for Christmas I had this little treat waiting for me (thanks v much parents). It's the Amber Times Nine palette and *spoiler alert* I'm obsessed.

It's the size of one of their usual quads but houses nine eyeshadows, all warm toned with a great mix of glitters, mattes and shimmers. I've been using it pretty much everyday since I've got it and it's fast become one of my favourites. There's a variety of daytime shades which are great for day to day and others which are ready for something a bit more jazzy. This will be a great palette to travel with, it has pretty much everything you need in it. Simple matte shades for when you just want to throw something on your face and also to use as crease shades on a more smokey option. A dark eyeshadow to use as a liner and two glitters that look great in the centre of the lid.

Here are some of my favourite shades. Georgia Peach may look like nothing in the palette but is a really good crease shade and is one to use when you want to put something on your lids with minimal effort. Cork is another cracking matte that's versatile and works well in the crease. I'm a big lover of glitter so Creative Copper and Don't Tell are both winners for me - Don't Tell just edging it out a bit because this on it's own all over the lid looks great and is a seriously way to make yourself put together on a dark winter morning.

Really want to get more Mac eyeshadows in the future - any shade recommendations?

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Wednesday, 24 January 2018

Two month trial | La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo

Recently I've been getting more and more into skincare. During November and into December my face HATED me. It was red, angry and nothing I was doing was helping, so I thought it was time to bring in the reinforcements. Enter La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo. I'd heard of this before, a few friends had used it in the past, but I didn't know exactly what it was what it was meant to do. I've trialled it for two months (and finished my first tube) and here's how I got on with it.

When I started to use it, I applied it after my eye cream and before my moisturiser day and night, like a serum. At first I think I applied way too much, to the point where I was making my skin really oily and worse than before. But over time I worked out how much to use for a thin layer to keep the oil at bay but not starve my skin of moisture. To be honest, during the first month I wasn't convinced this product was for me. My skin wasn't improving at all and I thought it may be making it a bit worse. So instead of using it twice a day I dropped it down to once in the morning, mixed with my Dr Botanicals serum in the evening. This was a game changer.

I'm not saying it worked some kind of miracle and overnight my skin was suddenly clear but over time I have seen improvement in the amount of breakouts I've had and the level of redness on my face.

Would I recommend this product? I seriously would but I'd also say patience is key. on the box it says you'll start to notice some results but I'd say if your anything like me it'll be a month before there's any difference to your skin. Not a bad price at £12 a tube and although I used up this first one in two months, cutting back to only using it once a day my next one will last me four. I've already repurchased this along with a tinted version in the hope I can use it day to day instead of foundation- I'll let you know how it goes.

What are your skincare saviours?

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Friday, 19 January 2018

Top five picks from Look Fantastic advent calendar

Last year I thought I'd treat myself to another beauty advert calendar. With my Body Shop calendar impressing me back in 2016 I wanted to take it to another level. After lots of research (without spoilers) I went for the Look Fantastic calendar - a steal at £67 (thank you Black Friday) and products inside adding up to £300, this definitely didn't disappoint. Every day was a new exciting product to try with a great mix of makeup and skincare and because I loved the products so much I thought I would pick my favourites from the 25 days.

I'll start with the only makeup product in my top picks, the HD Eyeshadow Palette in Foxy. I was so surprised to see a palette in this calendar (I mean seriously - the biggest bargain) and it's such a good one for everyday. What I like about this palette is that I could take it on a weekend away and make it work for day and night. The shadows aren't the most pigmented in the world but with a bit of work you can build them up. The shimmers work well and with just five shades there pretty much all you could need - except maybe a black but the darkest shade does the job at a bit of lashline smudge anyway. The centre matte brown is also great on my eyebrows. I've tried it with the small angled brush that comes in the palette (side note: great angled brush) and it gives a fluffy, natural-ish brow which I'm totally into.

Onto skincare. I never thought that I would be so pleased to receive moisturisers in a calendar and here I am with two in my top picks. I've heard so much about Caudalie and was buzzing (urgh who am I) to give this one a go. The name 'moisturising sorbet' put me off a little as I thought it was going to be really light with a silicone type feel, a bit like the Body Shop Sorbets which I love for my body but wasn't feeling good about that texture on my face. But I was wrong and it's a really good face moisturiser that my skin laps up. Doesn't feel greasy and is an all-round good product. The Korres Wild Rose moituriser is what my skin has been NEEDING. After about 12 months of thinking 'I don't need a night moisturiser, my skin is fine', I've realised that at night all my face wants is to be smothered in a thick cream so it can be hydrated and plumped up.This is so thick but in a good way and is like a mask but moisturiser in one. I have to be careful not to apply too much but when I get the balance right I wake up feeling ready to go.

I have heard so much about the Queen of Hungary Mist that when I opened the box to see this falling out I squealed to the point where it was embarrassing. Like ,come on Abz, it's basically water in a glass bottle. But it does such magical things! I've never understood what people said when they talked about a 'fine mist'. Surely all sprays are the same, but oh no. This is like a little puff of goodness on your face. I can't say I've seen a major difference in my skin since using this but do I love it? Yeah I do!

Last but not least is what I think has saved my skin, a Dr Botanicals serum. Now I don't know this as a fact but since using this little bottle of joy my face hasn't looked as angry and red. Don't get me wrong I'm still having a few issues but during December things weren't looking good. A very watery consistency, I put three or four drops onto my hands, rub them together and dab it on my face, simple. I'm in two minds as to whether I repurchase this or look for something similar but I'm going to enjoy the few applications I have left.

Honourable mention: Oskia renaissance mask. I never thought a more hydrating mask would be up my street but I have fallen in LOVE. From the 10ml sample I've had about six applications so far with a couple left to go and my skin seems to be really enjoying it! The only thing that kept it out of my original line-up was the full price - it's £50 for 50ml, I don't think I'm at the point in my life yet where I can justify that, maybe one day!

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Wednesday, 17 January 2018

One year of Q&A a day

I'm back baby! Nearly three months of laptop problems and the festive season has led to things being a bit quiet over here but I'm back and ready for some new posts. I thought I'd start off my first post of the New Year with a look back on 2017 and what I've learnt doing Q&A a day. I got this the Christmas before last (2016) and I'm pretty impressed that I managed to stick it out for 12 months - I'm notorious for starting diaries in January and never getting past the 10th. I think the fact that there're questions to answer makes it more interesting than a 'traditional' diary as it doesn't matter if nothing has happened that day or not, there's still something to write down. But if something exciting has happened I try and work it in.

So, what did I learn? Well, I discovered that I was quite negative in January - everything was an effort and reading some of my answers back it was just a bit like 'pull yourself together'! Things seemed to be going great in the middle of the year around June or July time. Lots was going on, I went on holiday, went to Ascot and it was just a generally fun time and you can really tell I was upbeat most of the time. Other than that my mood was pretty average throughout the rest of the year and I found that writing something down every night was a good way to quick look back on the day but without being like 'okay what happened step by step, minute by minute'.

As we're a bit into the month already I've started answering the year two questions and seeing what I was writing last year. Safe to say the answers are pretty much identical (I mean it's only been a year) and in some cases I'm writing the exact same thing without realising. I try not to look at last year's answers before going into my current thoughts because I don't want past me to influence present me.

I'm looking forward to continuing to write in this throughout 2018 and I'm really intrigued to see where I am in life when I finish the book in 2021!

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