Tuesday, 20 December 2016

A Christmassy Q&A | #BLOGMAS DAY 20

The Christmas Tag Blog Post
The Christmas Tag Blog Post
Guess who's back with another Christmassy tag post? I've mixed together several tag posts that I've seen online to come up with a good mix of Christmassy questions. I really do love writing these types of posts as they're fun and a little something different to my usual content. I think it also has just a tiiiinnyy something to do with growing up on Myspace and posting those bulletin quizzes on a daily basis, way way back in the day. If you're of a similar age to me, I'm sure you know the ones I mean...

1. Do you like to stay in your pyjamas or dress up for Christmas?
Is it bad to say that I genuinely don't think I've ever 'dressed up' for Christmas? I'm all about getting showered and doing my hair/makeup first thing, then climbing into comfy clothes to open up presents. Throughout the day I may get a littttlleee bit more dolled up, but for me, December 25th is a day for comfy clothes and eating lots of festive food. If you need me, you'll find me chowing down in my comfiest loungewear and Christmas jumper.

2. What would be your dream place to visit for the holiday season?
It's such a cliché but I would really love to visit New York in the Winter. I've never travelled to America before, quite frankly, because the thought of a flight longer than 4 hours terrifies me, but it's on my bucket list. I would most like to visit around November time so I can get the most out of Christmas shopping and all of the decorated stores & buildings, but still get to be home for Christmas in December.

3. Are you a pro present-wrapper or do you fail miserably?
Anybody that knows me will know I really go all out with my wrapping. I am such a perfectionist when it comes to getting the right gift bags, tissue paper, ribbon, twine, wrapping paper, cards... you name it, I've been overthinking it. I always have to get the colour scheme just right and stick to this theme with all of my wrapping. With this comes my perfectionist nature when actually wrapping the presents. Everything has to look just right, but I do go in a bit heavy-handed with the sellotape...

4. What made you realise the truth about Santa?
Two words = secondary school. I genuinely think I was one of the last people to find out that Santa wasn't real and to be honest, I really liked my naivety. It was such a special feeling each Christmas to believe in Santa and I'm glad I had as many Christmases as I did, believing, and enjoying the novelty of it all.

5. What do you like to do on your Christmas break?
Um, what Christmas break?

6. Is your Christmas tree real or fake this year?
Our Christmas tree is fake. I would looove to get a real tree but by keeping our fake tree and using it each year, it means I can keep topping it up with new decorations each year. It saves us money in the long run which is the way I see it, but I would love to have the smell of a real tree to greet me when I got home each evening.

7. What is your favourite Christmas song?
It has to be either Merry Christmas Everybody by Slade or Santa Baby by Eartha Kitt. I am absolutely obsessed with both songs and I've been playing them since November. Listening to Slade's song just really takes me back to Christmas lunches in primary school so it feels super nostalgic for me but I don't ever see me growing tired of it.

8. Do your Christmas tree and decorations have a colour scheme? If so, what is it?
Ooh yes, I'm super OCD when it comes to my decorations, like with my gift wrapping. This year and the last have had a theme of pale gold, silver and rose gold decorations with warm lights. I love all of the different metal tones but as each shade is pale, they really compliment each other rather than clashing. I do really want to do a traditional theme next Christmas though with red, white and green decorations.

9. Candy canes or gingerbread men?
I'm going to be awkward and say neither, but that I love a good gingerbread latte. That's close enough, right?

10. Do you make New Years resolutions and do you stick to them?
I don't usually make New Years resolutions as I find that I end up putting too much pressure on myself to achieve them, and I'd rather just take things as they come. I also feel that if you were serious about making a change, you would do so at any point in the year, not just at the start of a new year. Funnily enough, I did set myself some 'goals' this year and I blogged about them too. I managed to stick to all of them but I feel like this was subconscious and not something I pushed myself to do.

11. Which do you like better, Christmas Eve or Christmas Day?
I've always been a Christmas Eve kind of person. I love the build-up to Christmas far more than the day itself. I'm the sort of person that finds it hard to live in the moment, so on Christmas Day, I end up worrying that it's all going to be over soon for another year, so Christmas Eve helps to prolong things. I just love a cosy night in for Christmas Eve, tucking into some festive treats and putting on some Christmassy films or TV. Gosh, this was a hard question to answer without saying 'Christmas' thousands of times...

12. White lights or coloured lights?
For me, this depends on the scenario. For my tree, I like to have warm, plain lights and put in pops of colour with my decorations. If I were to decorate the outside of my flat, I would probably still use warm lights, or alternatively the super pale, cool blue lights. It's hard to describe them but they're almost a parma-violet kind of shade. I would love some day to have more rooms in my home so that I could have two Christmas trees though so I could decorate one with my warm, plain lights, and another with retro lights. As much as I'm all about the simplistic colours, I do love a good retro set with all of the warm pink, yellow, red, blue and green tones.

Thank you all for taking the time to follow along with my Blogmas series. This is actually going to mark the end of my Blogmas posts for the month; I've cut the series a little early as I want to fully focus on celebrating Christmas for the rest of December. It's been a great experience and one that I've wanted to take part in for the last few years. I'm thoroughly looking forward to a good break this week and to work on putting the finishing touches on all of my Christmas presents and wrapping. I hope that you all have a wonderful Christmas and I look forward to posting again soon!

Monday, 19 December 2016

Best of 2016 Blog Posts | #BLOGMAS DAY 19

As the year is coming to a close, I've been looking back at my old blog posts from the year to see how far I've come. For today's post, I've decided to round up my top 5 favourite posts that I've published this year. There are different reasons behind each choice, ranging from my blog photography and flatlay arrangements to just really loving the products that I was trying out. So here they are, my top 5 blog posts of 2016:

Christingle Lush Body Conditioner
Cath Kinston Christmas 2015
I really enjoy taking a good nosey at other people's What I got for Christmas posts and this year is the first year that I decided to publish my own. I remember being sat in bed with a glass of rosé in hand writing this post and just thinking, this is the year I really want to up my game and post more on Vanity Frills. I loved editing the photos for this post as I was so pleased with all of the gifts I received. I really liked the mixture of colours from the products when I was editing the photos and especially the composition of the Lush products with the focus on the Christingle body conditioner and blurred background. It's the little things, but those photos made me very happy.

Lush Valentines Day Range 2015
Lush Valentines Day Range 2015
I love Valentine's Day, as much of a marketing scheme it has kind of turned into, it's still one of my favourite celebrations of the year. I always love when all of the pink, red and white coloured products and food goods pop onto the shelves in my favourite stores and Lush is one brand in particular that always nails their Valentine's Day range. This was one of the first posts where I started to use a proper backdrop for my photos and I think it massively helped with the quality of my photos and the aesthetics of my flatlays. I loved all of the colours in this post too and enjoyed writing about each of them as they're products I had been so excited to receive ever since I hit the checkout button online. I'm already hoping that Lush brings back their Prince Charming shower cream in February 'cause it smells like a dream.

Too Faced Love Palette Review
Too Faced Love Palette Swatches
For Christmas last year, I was very lucky to receive Too Faced's 'Love' palette which had been on my wishlist for so so long. The product itself was so beautiful to photograph with its many metallic shades and beautiful colour scheme and I couldn't wait to write about it. One of my resolutions for this year was to feature 'me' on my blog a little more and I started to do just that in makeup posts and swatches. For this post, I put together 3 looks using the templates provided with the palette and I really enjoyed trying out each look. The post actually took me around 3 weeks to put together believe it or not as I was trying out a different look each weekend and photographing it as I did. I was really happy with the final outcome and the time put into making the post felt worthwhile. I'm excited to feature even more makeup tutorials and looks on the blog in 2017, particularly when products look as beautiful as this palette did.

Easy Mince Pie Recipe
Easy Mince Pie Recipe
Although this is a yearly roundup, admittedly some of the content I've most enjoyed working on has come from this Blogmas series. I absolutely loved putting together my mince pies recipe post as it's an idea I had been wanting to get onto the blog ever since last Christmas. Last year, I quite frankly couldn't bake to save my life. This year, I've been baking sweet treats most weekends and my confidence has really grown with this. I loved the aesthetic of this post and as dorky as it may sound, I couldn't wait to use my new Anthropologie Christmassy tea towel and fairy lights as a backdrop for the photos. I think it's just a blogger's intuition but when you have an idea of how you want a post to look and then it turns out as you'd hope, it really is such a good feeling. I'm looking forward to baking up a storm on Christmas Eve and cooking another batch of these to share with my family on Christmas Day.

Top 5 Makeup Highlighters
Top 5 Makeup Highlighters
Admittedly, this really was not a post I expected to love as much as I did. It was a spur of the moment idea when I hit blogger's block in the middle of Blogmas and I'm so glad I was able to pull it off. I'm a bit of a hoarder when it comes to highlighters and it seemed the perfect opportunity to round up my all-time favourites for a post. It may have a whopper of a title but for the post itself, I loved the flatlay composition again and the mix between the golden tones of the highlighters and the silver of the stars and crystal gems scattered in the background. I fully believe that when you love what you do, it shows, and as I was passionate about the products, I think it reflected in my writing. Fingers crossed it did anyway!

I hope that you're all still enjoying my Blogmas rambles and here's to the final week of the series!


Sunday, 18 December 2016

Top 10 Christmas Mugs | #BLOGMAS DAY 18

Best Christmas Mugs Online
I can't be the only person that's obsessed with mugs. Please tell me I'm not...

In true Christmas spirit, I've decided to put together the 2 things I love and round up my top 10 favourite Christmassy mugs that I've found online this year. There were some real gems in the stores this year, some fantastically tacky and others that were a lot more subtle.

Whether you're shopping around for a stocking filler or you're looking for the perfect mug for a hot drink to have on Christmas Eve whilst wrapping presents ('cause let's face it, that'll be me), these are a few of my favourite picks for you to shop this Christmas:

  1. Cath Kidston Robins Stanley Mug
  2. Matalan Hand Painted Christmas Tree Mug
  3. Emma Bridgewater Three Kings Gold 1/2 Pint Mug
  4. Matalan Sausage Dog Mug
  5. House of Fraser Linea Nutcracker Mug
  6. Anthropologie Holiday Icon Mistletoe Mug
  7. George Home Winky Santa Mug(s)
  8. Emma Bridgewater Joy Robin 1/2 Pint Mug
  9. Zara Home Christmas Print Mug
  10. Matalan Stag Christmas Mug

What's your favourite from my picks?

Saturday, 17 December 2016

The Christmas Tag | #BLOGMAS DAY 17

The Christmas Tag
The Christmas Tag
The Christmas Tag
Guys, I cannot quite believe just how close we are to Christmas now, eek! Tonight I'm off to my work's Christmas party and today's post is just a little bit of fun. I've never actually posted a 'tag' blog post on Vanity Frills but I found this one on 'Makeup Savvy' and I thought it would be fun to give it a whirl today. Um, and who doesn't love talking about Christmas? Heck, I've been trying to talk about it ever since Summer ended.

1. What is/are your favourite Christmas movie(s)?
Ooh there are just so many. I absolutely love putting on 'The Holiday' every Christmas especially. It's usually the first 'Christmassy' film that I put on and this usually starts in November. As we get closer to December 25th, I really 'up' the Christmas and that's when I'll start to watch my other favourites such as Elf, Santa Clause, Miracle on 34th Street and Home Alone. I just love how each film takes me back to old Christmas memories and I won't ever tire of watching any of these films, or singing along to the theme tunes and soundtracks either.

2. Do you open your presents on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning?
I could never personally open Christmas presents on Christmas Eve unless I wasn't going to get to see the gift-giver or recipient until waaaay after the holidays. For me, it's all about sitting down with family on Christmas morning and going through our presents each in turn.

3. Do you have a favourite Christmas memory?
I honestly couldn't pick just one. I love every Christmas I get to spend with my family and friends. The year we got our Nintendo 64 probably is quite high up there though.

4. Favourite festive food?
Don't make me choose! They're all AMAZING at this time of year. I absolutely love mince pies, home-baked and shop bought. I loooove pigs in blankets, stuffing, YORKSHIRES ('cause I have them at Christmas), brussell sprouts, After Eights, the biscuits that come in the Christmas Family Circle boxes, crispy roast potatoes... the list is literally endless. As for festive drinks, don't even get me started.

5. Favourite Christmas gift?
This is almost impossible to choose. I have so many sentimental presents I've received over the years but some of my fondest memories are from when I used to receive Sylvanian Families in my stocking when I was younger or new Barbies (I fondly remember getting a bright pink Jeep for my Barbies too). There was also a year when bottle cap necklaces were a *thing* at Claire's Accessories and I was so happy to receive a rainbow printed one in my stocking. Another year I got a scooter for Christmas and I remember going up and down the kitchen on it, slowly learning how not to fall over each time I pushed off - it must have taken me a good week to learn how to use it properly but I absolutely loved it. I used to love receiving new films, most likely on VHS, when I was little and new computer games like the Sims. I would spend most of the afternoon on Christmas day watching my new films whilst waiting for the dinner or playing Sims for hours on end. Oh, and Zoo Tycoon and Rollercoaster Tycoon were pretty darn awesome gifts too.

6. Favourite Christmas scent?
The White Company's 'Winter' candle is literally to die for. I received one recently and I managed to burn the entire thing within a week. I just adore the orange/cinnamon scent it gives off. If we're going for favourite Christmas foodie/drink scents, I love the smell of mulled wine & hot cider at the Christmas markets and the roasted chestnuts too.

7. Do you have any Christmas Eve traditions?
I wouldn't say I have any traditions as such but I love to wrap Christmas presents (what's left of the wrapping anyway), write my last few cards and throw on a Christmas movie to watch until I fall asleep.

8. What tops your tree?

We have been living in our flat now for almost 3 years, and this will be our third year with the same Christmas tree and we still don't own a Christmas tree topper. We have a tree decoration of a deer which Alex is adamant on putting at the top of the tree each year so we have a deer as a tree topper. Yep, a deer. *Note to self, buy a tree topper for next year.

9. As a kid what was the one (crazy, wild, extravagant) gift you always asked for but never received?
I don't think I ever asked for anything too extravagant. Mum, Dad, I know you're reading this so feel free to correct me on this one. I just remember flicking through the Argos catalogue each year in the run-up to Christmas and I would naturally gravitate towards all of the kids food 'appliances'. I always loved the look of the slushy makers, mini cake ovens, popcorn makers... all the food making kits that I would probably have only used for a good 10 minutes before my attention span wore off.

10. What's the best part about Christmas for you?

I just love how everything changes in December. In real life and on social media, Christmas just oozes everywhere. All of the red/green/white and gold/silver decor pops up on Instagram photos. All of the coffee shops changing their menus and bringing out their Christmas cups. All of the fairy lights everywhere, and it being acceptable to have them on throughout the day if its dark and rainy. All of my family and friends being together. ALL OF THE FOOD. All of the TV in the lead up to Christmas (yes, the Walking Dead and The Apprentice still come under this category. What's more festive than Negan and Lord Sugar?). Oh, I just love Christmas.

Friday, 16 December 2016

Last-Minute Secret Santa Ideas for Him (£10 & Under) | #BLOGMAS DAY 16

Christmas Gift Guide for Men Under £10
Following on from yesterday's post, I've decided to round up several gift ideas for men, that are   £10.00 and under. I am aware the men's category collage a litttleeee bit more jumbled than the likes of the pretty, girly pink, gold and white collage I had made yesterday for the women's gift guide, but I have thrown in a few more comical options for the men.

Although I don't personally watch or read Game of Thrones, I know lots of men that do and I found this colouring book online. Adult colouring books are a great therapeutic tool and brilliant for de-stressing, particularly when colouring one of your favourite TV series. On the same line of things, I  found a Ridley's 'Movie Buff' Quiz and Star Wars mug (perfect for the big *kids*) which would be perfect for any film or TV lover. If you were to be doing Secret Santa at a family dinner or gathering, the quiz would make a great after dinner or drinking game too. Oh, and I'm sure Ridley's 'Sleight of Hand' magic trick set would be entertaining too after a few drinks...

For the stationery lovers out there, Tom Dixon's range is definitely one to keep an eye out for. All of the items have a very luxurious feel to them and the notepads/sketchbooks particularly would make for a classy office accessory on a budget. Lots of the items are detailed in gold and rose gold which look eye-catching on display and serve a purpose too.

For the homebody, John Lewis have a pretty big selection of candles and their Frosted Spruce scent would be perfect for this time of year. The packaging is more masculine than some of their other candle designs and would make a lovely gift to keep the recipient's place smelling Christmassy throughout the season. For a cosy night in, to gift with the candle, Holdsworth's Peanut Butter Caramel truffles would be a welcome guilty pleasure too I'm sure.

And last but not least, it wouldn't really be a men's gift guide without throwing in a Nerf gun, would it? I may have found this on Toys 'R' Us but I think a lot of men, regardless of age, would quite happily receive one of these bad boys for Christmas. Am I right?

Thursday, 15 December 2016

Last-Minute Secret Santa Ideas for Her (£10 & Under) | #BLOGMAS DAY 15

Hands up who hasn't finished shopping for their Secret Santa this year...

Okay, it may be getting on into December now and the time may be ticking by but I've decided to do a few more gift guide roundup posts to help if you're still struggling with your Christmas present ideas. Today's post is all about gift ideas for 'her' for Secret Santa and I've kept it under £10.00 to help with most budgets. I personally love the idea of Secret Santa and I love trying to find the best possible gifts for the budget that gets set.

In my eyes, I don't think you can ever go wrong with gifting a mug as a present at any time of the year. I'm a little bit of a mug hoarder and I think that this Anthropologie one would be perfect for a Secret Santa gift. You could even fill it up with the recipient's favourite penny sweets or sachets of their favourite drink for a finishing touch. Or perhaps your budget can stretch a little over and you could add in a Hotel Chocolat Nibby Pot for good measure (their marshmallow one sounds just perfect to me) or some Liberty shortbread. I mean, how beautiful does the Liberty packaging look? Also, it would be a great choice if you're not quite so good on the wrapping side of things - simply pop it in a gift bag and let the Liberty print do the talking.

Another present that I don't think you can really go wrong with is a trinket dish or jewellery holder. Oliver Bonas have some seriously cute ones in at the moment, including this gold-detailed kitten ring-holder. It would add a lovely touch to a desktop either for its purpose or just for decoration. I also think that candles make great gifts. Particularly when they can also be used for decoration or to add fragrance to a room. I really like H&M's candles, their packaging is understated but chic at the same time. Their 'Sense' candle would make a great addition to a desktop or dresser too.

As a beauty-lover myself, I couldn't not throw in a few makeup brushes into the mix. I love that so many brands have incorporated gold and rose gold details into makeup packaging and beauty tools throughout the past year and Morphe are no exception to this. I was immediately drawn to their rose gold detailing on their brushes over on the Beauty Bay website and I think these would be lovely to gift for Secret Santa either individually or as a custom set if you could overstep your budget somewhat.

When it comes to gifting, I like the idea of giving and receiving paper goods, whether that be in the form of diaries, notebooks or just generally books. I think that it feels a lot more personal than other gifts. I found this incredible Karl Lagerfeld notepad online which would be a great little gift for any fashion-lover and a lovely addition to any handbag. A perfect pairing to this would be the 'Outfit of The Day #OOTD Fashion Flat Lay' colouring book by Laura Hickman. For those with wanderlust, '36 Hours In' range would make a great read and the covers are pretty darn cute to have stacked on a coffee table too for anybody that loves a good coffee table read when guests are over.

Are you doing Secret Santa this year? What's your favourite gift idea from this post?

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Festive Nail Picks from O.P.I | #BLOGMAS DAY 14

Christmas Nail Colours by O.P.I
Christmas Nail Colours by O.P.I
Christmas Nail Colours by O.P.I
Christmas Nail Colours by O.P.I
When it comes to Christmassy nails, to me, it's all about the red tones & aaaall of the glitter. I recently decided to raid my nail varnish stash and I honestly didn't realise just how many 'Christmas' shades I owned and almost all of them were from O.P.I. I'm a little bit of a nail varnish hoarder and I've built up this collection after years of collecting them as individuals and in gift sets too.

Whilst I was rummaging through my stash, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to share with you just a few of my favourite colours from their past and present collections. I must own almost 20 shades of red but just a few of my favourites for a really rich red colour have to be 'Big Apple Red', 'Love Is in My Cards', 'Coca-Cola Red' and 'Amore At The Grand Canal'. If however you prefer a little more muted red shade, Cajun Shrimp may be more up your street. It's not as rich or vibrant in colour as my other picks and it has a slightly more coral undertone, still perfect for the festive season but better-suited if you're not quite as daring when it comes to sporting bolder colours.

At this time of year, I also love wearing rich red-toned plum/burgundy shades, which I carry over from Autumn each year. Particularly when I haven't tanned, I find these types of shades very complimentary on pale skin tones. Two of my favourites from my collection have to be 'Guys And Galaxies' and 'Lincoln Park After Dark'. I also have a few metallic options when it comes to these shades too, such as 'German-icure' (a chromatic mauve shade) and 'Today I Accomplished Nothing' (a chromatic dark purple shade with bronze glitter). I think that the metallic options would be perfect for a Christmas or New Years party nail look. 

Lastly, my favourite sparklier picks from O.P.I's collections have to be 'Is This Star Taken?' a silver with iridescent glitter chunks and 'My Signature is DC', a trusty metallic silver. These are perfect to use on their own, for feature nails or as top coats over my other favourite red/plum shades.

Do you have any favourite O.P.I polishes? Have you tried any of my favourites?

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Instagram Diary: Visiting St. Albans Christmas Market | #BLOGMAS DAY 13

If there's one thing that gets me excited for Christmas each year, that has to be a Christmas market visit. For the last 3 years, I have visited St Albans Christmas market which has become a sort of yearly tradition now. On the weekend, I paid a visit with my parents, and it certainly did not disappoint. I couldn't wait to get inside and see what stalls they had on this year (..and not to mention which mulled wine & cider stalls were on offer).
St Albans Christmas Market
St Albans Christmas Market
St Albans Christmas Market
Alongside the actual market itself, is St Albans Cathedral, or referred to as 'The Abbey' by locals. The grounds and the Cathedral itself are so full of history, and well worth a wander if you do ever pay a trip for the Christmas market. Inside the Abbey, there are an array of stalls when you first go in; the stalls are filled with decorative items and books mostly, with many of the book sales contributing towards various charities. There was also a carol service taking place shortly after we visited which would be lovely to see in the run up to Christmas.
St Albans Christmas Market
St Albans Christmas Market
Once we stepped foot inside the market, we were immediately greeted with a mix of smells; the market just oozes with the smells of roasted chestnuts, hot cooked bratwurst, mulled drinks and the scents from the candle stalls too. Naturally my nose led me to the mulled wine stall and I couldn't resist grabbing a drink to peruse the other stalls with.
St Albans Christmas Market
St Albans Christmas Market
St Albans Christmas Market
One thing I love about St Albans market is the real variety of products being sold; I loved the Moroccan-inspired lighting stall I stumbled upon in the centre of the market. All of the warm-toned lanterns looked particularly lovely together and stood out from many of the other stalls...
St Albans Christmas Market
St Albans Christmas Market
Another stall I particularly enjoyed was that of the company 'Zeal Illustration'; their stall had an array of homewares and prints, all screen-printed by the owners and their attention to detail was impressive. One of the owners even joked that they were pushing the boundaries of screen-printing with the fine illustrative details they were aiming for. Their collections included gold-adorned home decorations and prints mostly of insects and birds. I fell in love with their golden hand-pulled screen print of a bumble bee which took centre place at the front of their stall. Their collections which are being released at the beginning of next year are mostly featuring prints of 'ugly birds' as they named them in jest, which are well worth a look at. They can be found on Etsy here, and their items would make great gifts at Christmas or even gifts for a new home.
St Albans Christmas Market
One of the other stalls that I really liked was more of a Scandinavian-themed knitwear and homeware  stall. The seller's collections were adorable, including animal-themed wooden homeware which ranged from tea light holders to decorative moose & rocking horse ornaments (which came complete with their own cute knitted jumpers too).
St Albans Christmas Market
With 'hygge' being all the rage at the moment, I thought this stall fitted in perfectly. I also loved the fairy light-lit wooden wreaths, which took a modern twist on the classic Christmas wreath. 
St Albans Christmas Market
I hope that you have enjoyed my little Instagram diary from our afternoon at the market. I had the loveliest day and it has been one of my highlights of December and Blogmas so far, even if we did end up a little drenched from the heavy rain which met us at the end of the afternoon...

If you have any recommendations of Christmas markets to visit, I would love to hear them. I'm always on the lookout for other markets to visit, along with our old favourite which is of course St. Albans Christmas market.

Monday, 12 December 2016

The Highlighter Edit: My Top 5 Choices for The Party Season | #BLOGMAS DAY 12

Best Highlighter For Pale Skin
Best Highlighter For Pale Skin
Best Highlighter For Pale Skin
Best Highlighter For Pale Skin
Best Highlighter For Pale Skin
Best Highlighter For Pale Skin
I am loving working on Christmas party makeup looks at the moment and I thought it was the perfect time to share with you my top 5 favourite highlighters for the party season. Admittedly, I use these highlighters all year round but I like to go a little more heavy-handed on application at this time of the year. Let's face it, who doesn't?

The Budget Cream Highlighter
If you are on the lookout for a creamy highlighter on a budget, I would always recommend Topshop's 'Glow' highlighter. I use the shade 'Polished' which adds a champagne-coloured glow to any makeup look. Glow retails at £10.00 so it fits into the slightly more budget end of the spectrum. The only real downside to Glow is that I find if it is applied over the top of my base on my cheek bones or forehead, it can begin to rub out the makeup beneath it. I would usually stick to using Glow just to highlight minor areas of the face such as the brow bone, inner eye corners and cupid's bow. When applied with a fine brush like the Real Techniques 'Detailer' brush it can add real definition to specific areas of your face.

The Budget Powder Highlighter
Like with Glow, Topshop also have a great budget pressed powder option, which was in fact the first ever powder highlighter I tried. I have had 'Sunbeam' by Topshop in my makeup bag ever since I can remember. It's a really great entry level powder highlighter and is also a more 'budget' option, retailing at £12.00. I find that Topshop's highlighter lasts for such a long time as there is so much product in the pan, and this is coming from somebody that goes all out when applying highlighter. One thing that has drawn me back to this product for so long is the fact that there is little to no fallout on application. The product is quite thick and powdery, but this doesn't crumble away or look heavy on application. Sunbeam is a little more yellow-toned than some highlighters however but if you're looking for a more beige/champagne-toned shade, I would recommend their newer shade which is 'Crescent Moon'.

The Bronzed Highlighter
If you prefer a highlighter that adds more of a bronzed glow, particularly if you are as pale-skinned as I am, I would recommend the Becca x Jaclyn Hill Shimmering Skin Perfector Pressed in 'Champagne Pop'. It is a little more pricey (£32.00) than the Topshop options but you do get what you pay for as its much more pigmented and a lot more 'buttery' on application. I do find that there is a little more fallout however with this highlighter so its best to be a little more light-handed on application. Although the name would suggest that the shade is a champagne-toned glow, I would say it's much more of a warm golden/peach-toned shade. If you're after a luxurious option which is finely milled and highly pigmented, this Becca highlighter is for you.

My 'Go To' Highlighter
Behold, my all-time-favourite highlighter. I really hate the phrase 'holy grail', but that is exactly what The Balm's 'Mary-Lou Manizer' is to my makeup collection. It ticks all the boxes for me. I adore the shade of the M-L M (let's just stick to abbreviations for this one as it's a bit of a mouthful). It's a gorgeous champagne/beige-toned highlighter and on application, it has a silver under-tone. I find that there is no fallout with this product as it lasts me for months at a time. I use M-L M in my everyday makeup routine and I also wear it for nights out and just add an extra few sweeps of the product across my cheek bones and along my brow bone. M-L M retails at around £17.50 so it's a mid-range product but it is a product I would probably cry over if The Balm ever discontinued... and I'm not afraid to admit that.

The Luxury Liquid Highlighter
Lastly in my highlighter edit is another product from the Becca range. I was gifted the Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector liquid highlighter for my birthday and I have been using it ever since (as you can probably tell by the photos). I love to team this with my Mary-Lou Manizer to pack on that extra glow to my forehead and cheekbones and it has great lasting power too. I have the liquid version in the shade 'Moonstone' which is much better-suited to my skin tone. I actually think that this would have been more appropriately named 'Champagne Pop' as ironically its more champagne-toned in my opinion than the actual Champagne Pop. The liquid highlighter is super creamy on application and it adds a very bold glow. This one isn't for the faint-hearted as its a much more bold highlighter than the rest, but I love that. This would be perfect for a Christmas or New Year's party to really pack on the glow this season. It retails at £30.00 and is a great luxurious product.

So there we have it, my top 5 highlighter picks for the party season. I would love to hear what you think of these products if you have tried any and likewise if you have any recommendations, I'm all ears.

Sunday, 11 December 2016

Threads Beauty Angel Lashes Review | #BLOGMAS DAY 11

With the Christmas party season now being in full swing, I've been finding myself on the lookout for false lashes more and more when pulling together makeup looks. Admittedly, I never usually stray from Eylure's false lashes and Fleur De Force's collaboration range with them until I was recently sent 2 sets to try by Threads Beauty, a brand which I hadn't heard of before. Along with false lashes, they also have their own range of eyeliner, brow pencils and hair colour treatments, but admittedly its the false lashes that I liked the look of the most.

I was kindly sent their Be-Bop* and Celestial lashes* from the Angel Lashes collection which retail at £9 per set; one thing I immediately loved was how wearable & versatile both sets were. Although Celestial is the more 'loud' option of the two with its slightly more bold texture, the individual lash strands are still dainty enough in my opinion to be worn either for a day or nighttime look. Both of the lash sets are very light once applied and they have a tailor-made flexible lash band to ensure they are comfortable when worn for longer lengths of time. I also really like the concept that the Angel Lashes range is handmade by the brand and that they were fragrance and latex free. From past experience with false lashes and eye products such as liquid liner, I have found that my eyelids can be very sensitive and easily irritated when I have been wearing eye products for a long period of time, which I have previously believed to be linked to latex being in the products. It's reassuring knowing that as the Threads Beauty lashes have been carefully handmade, latex has been skipped out of the production.

Threads Beauty's lashes are currently available online through their website and would make the perfect addition to any Christmas/New Year's party makeup look, or even as a stocking filler for any beauty-lover this Christmas.


Saturday, 10 December 2016

Baking Christmas Shortbread Cookies | #BLOGMAS DAY 10

Well, well, well, look what we have here... it's another baking post! It's safe to say, I'm really getting into the swing of the festive baking this year as I've had a list about as long as my arm of recipes I've wanted to try out since the last Christmas. For my birthday a little while ago now, Alex picked me up some cookie cutters as part of my gift, including all sorts of cute Christmassy shapes such as angels, stars, snowmen and Christmas trees.  I decided what better way to put them to use than to bake some Christmas shortbread.
Christmas Shortbread Cookies Recipe
To bake my shortbread cookies, I decided to follow Tanya Burr's recipe that she posted last Christmas. In Tanya's post, she made Christmas shortbread stars, but I wanted to throw Christmas tree-shaped cookies into the mix too so I've used both of my cutters for this bake. The recipe itself is so straight forward and I loved the fact that it only needed 4 ingredients.

As noted, all credit to Tanya for this recipe! The ingredients I used, as per her recipe, were;
  • 300g plain flour
  • 200g softened butter (I used Lurpak lightly salted)
  • 100g caster sugar
  • A few drops of vanilla extract
  • Icing sugar (for snowy topping)
Step one: Preheat your oven to 130°c and line a baking tray with some baking paper.

Step two: Rub your flour and softened butter together in a large mixing bowl until the consistency becomes crumb-like. Stir in your caster sugar and a few drops of vanilla extract and work the mixture until it pulls into a dough.

Step three: Wrap the dough in cling film and set this aside in your fridge for around an hour.

Step four: Lightly flour a work surface, take out your dough and using a rolling pin, roll out the dough gently to around a 1cm thickness (or however chunky you would like your cookies!).

Christmas Shortbread Cookies Recipe
Step five: Using your chosen cookie cutter(s), gently cut out individual shapes from the dough and carefully place these onto your lined baking tray. As you can see, my Christmas tree shapes were a little round at the corners which meant the shape became slightly lost once baked (oops!). Try to keep the shapes as clean cut as possible to ensure they hold their shape once out of the oven. I managed to get around 12 small cookies out of my dough, and 1 as a tester.

Step six: Bake your cookies in the oven for around 20 minutes until they start to turn a golden brown colour. If they are still a little pale, keep checking them and add a further 3-5 minutes to the baking time, subject to your oven's temperature.
Christmas Shortbread Cookies Recipe
Step seven: Once your cookies are baked, carefully place them onto a cooling rack and allow them to fully cool down to avoid any crumbling. Once they have cooled, it's time to add your snowy topping (which works perfectly with the Christmas tree shapes especially!); sift your icing sugar to add a light 'snowy' coating.
Christmas Shortbread Cookies Recipe
Now all that's left is to plate us, settle down with your favourite Christmassy film and enjoy!

Friday, 9 December 2016

JewelleryBox.co.uk Christmas Collection | #BLOGMAS DAY 9

JewelleryBox.co.uk Christmas Collection
JewelleryBox.co.uk Christmas Collection
JewelleryBox.co.uk Christmas Collection
JewelleryBox.co.uk Christmas Collection
Some of you eagle-eyed readers may have already spotted these gorgeous jewellery items over on my Instagram recently but they were too pretty not to share on my blog too. A few weeks ago, the lovely team over at JewelleryBox.co.uk reached out to me giving me a chance to choose a few items from their Christmas collection. I also had the pleasure of hosting a giveaway to give one lucky follower on Instagram a chance to win the same items I had chosen. Although the giveaway may have now closed, I wanted to share their Christmas collection with you all.

When I was looking through their Christmassy jewellery, I immediately gravitated towards their rose gold pieces. My love affair with rose gold just doesn't seem to want to budge and I will naturally always scout out rose gold jewellery, homewares, makeup.. quite frankly, whatever I can get my mitts on. If it comes in rose gold, I'm sold. Based on this, I chose to feature their 18ct rose gold dipped Christmas tree earrings* and their 18ct rose gold dipped snowflake necklace*... because, I mean, HOW CUTE.

I also sound like a broken record 'cause I've said this time and time again on the blog but I am a major sucker for cute packaging so you could imagine the little squeal I let out when this adorbs delivery arrived in my mailbox. Their jewellery arrives intricately wrapped in brown paper packaging (...tied up with string) and mini colourful pegs keeping all of the wrapping together. Although these items are admittedly for myself, and I've already been sporting the necklace in the office in the attempt to bring Christmas to my workwear, these would make the cutest of gifts or stocking fillers for a friend or loved one.

Although I am in love with JewelleryBox.co.uk's Christmas range, they do all kinds of collections on their website at really purse-friendly prices (most for less than £10) and I think their attention to detail would be appreciated by any lucky recipient.
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