Monday, 9 January 2017

January Sales 2017 | Beauty and Skincare Haul

I received a fair amount of money for Christmas this year, and rather than putting it towards something sensible like my next month's rent or into my savings, I spent the lot on fun things. Those fun things mostly comprised beauty and skincare, with a good dash of stationery that will be appearing in its own haul post soon. I also received a few beauty bits for Christmas which I've lumped in here rather than writing a whole separate post on them as that seemed like a waste of everyone's time. By combining the two I hopefully have enough products to keep us all entertained (me for an hour as I write this, and you for about 30 seconds before you click away). 


One of the first things I did on Boxing Day was head straight to the CultBeaty website. I had been lusting after the By Terry Ombre Blackstar in Bronze Moon for yonks after seeing it used by countless Youtube beauty mavens and bloggers galore. I am all about minimal eye makeup, especially for the days when I'm wearing my glasses and can't actually see what I'm doing when I apply it. A cream eyeshadow stick in a warm bronze with just a hint of shimmer sounded like the answer to all my problems. 

I do absolutely love the Ombre Blackstar, but I'm actually a little disappointed in it. After hearing people rave about how it does not crease, no matter what, and the long lasting colour, I was a bit gutted when it had disappeared from my crease by the end of the day. For £29 for a little eyeshadow stick I expected a bit more. I've tried it both with and without a primer without joy; clearly my oily eyelids are beyond help. However, this is nothing new for me when it comes to eyeshadow. I still adore the colour and the ease of application; I can swipe this across my lashline and lid and then blend with my fingers, a lick of mascara and I'm done for the day and looking like I spent ages blending. While I don't think it's worth the hefty price tag, I will admit that I would buy more shades. 

I honestly don't know what came over me when I bought these Smith & Cult Nail varnishes. I hardly ever bother to paint my nails and constantly chip them when I do. I will confess that I was greatly influenced by TheAnnaEdit and her love of the formula. I picked up two shades, Kings & Thieves, a gorgeous ink blue, and Bitter Buddhist, a pale sage green. I've only used Bitter Buddhist so far and I must admit that I absolutely adore it. The big bulky metal top pulls off to reveal a much less aesthetically pleasing but infinitely more practical brush lid. The brush itself is tiny, which is perfect for me because I'm actually really pants at painting my nails, so the added control is a massive bonus. I needed two coats for complete opacity, but probably could have got away with one as the formula is extremely pigmented. It also dried very quickly which is great because I'm forever messing up my nails because I got hungry while they were still drying and tried to make dinner while not letting anything touch my nails, which can prove tricky if oven gloves are involved.

I never owned the original Urban Decay Naked Palette back when it was blowing everyone's minds, only joining the bandwagon when I bought Naked 2 a few years after the hype. This was a Christmas gift from my Aunt, who clearly knows me well and loves me a lot because she also gave me two of the Vice lipsticks. They were the very-me orange-red Temper which is a comfort matte formula, and Trance, which a nude-mauve metallic thing of beauty. I've worn Temper and Trance almost non-stop since I received them, and have had a brief play with the Naked palette and can confirm that the shadows are as buttery as I've come to expect from Urban Decay.

Skincare is one of those things that I never seem to have much look with. My skin is both dry and dehydrated, gets oily and eats makeup on my forehead. I also suffered with acne for a long time (hooray for Roaccutane!) and am still prone to the odd sprinkling of spots, usually after overindulging on chocolate. 

I've been after a decent serum for a while, as while I'm happy with the cleansing and moisturising aspects of my routine, I felt that I was missing the skin-boosting clout provided by a serum. I ended up with two different serums, one for day and one for night, from one of my favourite skincare brands, Kiehl's. I've been a fan of their Ultra Facial Cream for yonks and even mentioned it in my very first blog post (It's terrible, don't judge me) and thought that they would be a good place to start my hunt for a serum. Since I couldn't decide between them I purchased the Midnight Recovery Concentrate and the Hydro-Plumping Re-Texturizing Serum
So far, so good with these two! I use about two pumps of the Re-Texturizing Serum in the mornings, and a few drops of Midnight Recovery in the evenings. The former has an almost silicone slipperiness to it and really does seem to improve the texture of my skin throughout the day. When I take my makeup off at the end of the day my skin is noticeably smoother than it was before I started using the serums. It also doesn't make my skin at all oily, and instead soaks in beautifully, meaning sometimes I don't feel the need for moisturiser and I skip straight to SPF and primer. 

In the evenings I use Midnight Recovery after cleansing, and it's all I apply to my face at night. It's packed full of essential oils and smells like it; lavender has always been one of my go-to scents for an easy night's sleep when I'm struggling, so this doubles up as a helpful way to drift off. I massage a few drops into my face and neck, allow it absorb a little so it doesn't end up all over my pillow and wake up the next morning with my skin looking far better than it has any right to.

That's the lot, I'm afraid! I'm trying not to think too hard about how much I spent on a grand total of five products. Keep your eyes peeled for another January Sales haul, where I'll be looking at all of the stationery goodies I picked up from Ohh Deer!

Stalk me!

Monday, 2 January 2017

Hopefully Realistic Resolutions | 2017

I've always been very good at making resolutions at the beginning of a new year, but, like many of us, I haven't always been very good at keeping them. While I've heard that telling other people about your resolutions makes you more likely to keep them, that's never worked for me. My friends and family know I'm a lazy bum, so when I tell them I'm going to do something they half expect me to not bother. I can't really blame them! 

While I could tell you that this year is different, this year I'll stick to them and really make the changes I want to see in my life...I say that every year. If I really wanted to make these changes I would have done already. The problem with that way of thinking is that it's pessimistic in the extreme. I couldn't live with myself if I gave up every time without even trying, so once again I'm doing the cliché thing and writing a list of resolutions and convincing myself that this year, I really will do it. 

This year, I'm planning to write this list down nice and large and stick up somewhere that I'll see it every morning, because half of my problems with things like this is that I simply forget that I'm not supposed to be eating chocolate, to be reading that book instead of mindlessly browsing Twitter...maybe it will make a difference, but I'll report back either way! 

Personal Resolutions
Read at least one book per month 
Not so very long ago I was reading at least a book a week; a book a day sometimes. Granted, I was extremely unemployed and very bored, but I miss it nonetheless. While the time I actually have to read is often taken up by other things that I enjoy, I want to start making time for my books again. I have a constantly increasing Amazon wishlist that needs to be added to my ever-growing pile of books (side note, I really need to buy a bookcase).
Keep track of spending
I am not very good with money; I never have been. The reason, I'm sorry if this sounds like bragging, is because I've always had it. Back during uni I had several thousand pounds of savings (dead people, y'know the drill) that eventually ran out during my failed attempt at postgraduate study. Now I live pay cheque to pay cheque and I'm not very good at it. My Mother calls it a "champagne lifetsyle on a lager salary" and if I'm being honest, she's right. Nobody ever tell her I said that.
Go outside at weekends (me-time)
I tend to become a bit of a hermit at weekends. I don't have a huge amount of friends here in Manchester, so unless I'm seeing my boyfriend or I have errands to run I'll stay inside all cosy with my best friend, the internet. One thing I miss doing from those awful six months of unemployment and heartbreak (there actually is something I miss!) is coffee shops. I miss sitting in a coffee shop for a few hours, with a good book and my laptop, writing a few blogposts and reading a little, but mostly watching the world go by. That sort of environment works for me, allowing me to completely relax and just let all the stresses of the week drift away. I'm determined to make time for me to sit and chill, preferably with a black coffee.

Post twice a week
I thoroughly enjoyed Blogtober in 2016, and I really miss the creative buzz of writing frequently. There's no chance of my going back to daily posting any time soon, but I think twice a week is manageable providing I plan my time carefully.

Read more blog posts
I've been lacking in inspiration lately, and I recently realised why. I don't read blogs anymore, except for one or two that I keep up with pretty much religiously. I'm completely out of touch with the blogging community, and I miss sharing the love and being able to tweet and share my favourite posts and bloggers. This is definitely something I want to start doing again. My current plan is to pick a blog each morning and read it on the tram on my way to work because hell yes I'm taking advantage of the free wifi.

Health and Fitness
Run twice a week
Ah, here come the real clichés! Yes, I do want to get fitter, but I've broken it down into a few (hopefully) doable sections rather than just writing "GET FIT YOU LAZY BUM", which is what I'm thinking. I miss my running, something I used to do very regularly and brought me a great deal of joy and a sense of achievement. At one point I was able to run 5k no problem, and I really want to build back up to doing that regularly again, which brings me to my next point.

Do Parkrun at least once a month
Parkrun is a volunteer organised scheme that brings people together to run a timed 5k once a week in parks around the UK. I discovered their website a few days ago when I should have been working and decided that it would beright up my street - once I can actually manage 5k again...
Only eat office biscuits on Fridays
This is a big one. My office is the type where there's usually a chocolate orange, a box of Heroes and a pack of chocolate digestives floating around, and it's far too easy to snack and not even realise. My new policy is to only eat office biscuits on a Friday, and even then only if explicitly offered one. I'm also not going to accept biscuits from anyone I don't like (sorry creepy guy who personally walks up to every desk to offer you a biscuit then lingers awkwardly).

Plan meals ahead of time
This is likely to be another tricky one. I live right by an Aldi and am used to just dropping by after work and grabbing something quick and easy to eat, usually a ready meal. It's not healthy, and not the cheapest, even shopping at Aldi. As for lunches, Pret is my demon, and I will gladly give them a large portion of my pay cheque if I don't keep an eye on myself. Meal planning and preparing my lunches ahead of time is my best bet for controlling both my profligate food spending habits and my equally reckless calorie intake.

That's the lot, but I think I've set myself a serious challenge this year. As to whether or not I'll be successful, only time will tell, but surely I can keep at least one of them.
Stalk me!
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