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January Beauty Rota

January 2017 beauty

January has been a pretty bleak month but my January beauty rota has kept me going with some great makeup and skincare finds. Last year, I fell out of love with beauty, but in the past month I’ve bought a couple of new makeup buys and I’ve been giving them a whirl over the past few weeks.

The BH Cosmetics Shaaanxo palette isn’t a new release but I spied this on Beauty Bay when I couldn’t get hold of any Morphe palettes and thought it would be a good alternative. The pigmentation is overall pretty good – the matte shades are a little on the chalky side but the selection of shades is beautiful and they work really well together.

BH Cosmetics Shaaanxo Palette

As well as nine eyeshadows, there’s also nine lip shades in this palette – it really deserves a blog post of its own as its super pretty. This palette is so cheap – its currently £18 at Beauty Bay and $14.50 at BH Cosmetics / around £11.50 but shipping is around £8ish to the UK.

This month, I’ve also been using the Soap & Glory Thick & Fast Mascara – This HD mascara does a good job of lengthening my lashes and enhancing volume. The formula is a little on the wet side for my liking but its one of the better high street mascaras I’ve used.

The Urban Decay Naked Skin Concealer is seriously one of the best concealers on the market – its covers redness, imperfections and undereye circles. I love how well it blends, you can easily blend it with your fingers, sponge or brush. I prefer liquid concealers and I’m tempted to pick up a darker shade for contouring.

The Nails Inc Kensington High Street nail polish is a stunning deep berry shade and the perfect colour to vamp up a dreary January day. Darker shades really work well in cooler months and this colour makes a good transition shade into spring.

Zelens 3T Complex is a night cream I’ve been using for a while. I only have a small tube as the full size costs £95. I’ll be honest when I say that almost £100 for a skincare product is completely out of my budget. Still, this is a lovely cream and if I had the cash, I’d be seriously tempted in making a purchase. Formulated with plant extracts, vitamins, hyaluronic acid and rice proteins, this rich and nourishing cream has a luxe feel to it. Most importantly, it makes my skin feel great instantly – my complexion looks radiant, plumped and feels softer.

What have you been using this month?

A Colourpop Haul

Colourpop

Colourpop is an indie brand that has blown up over the last year. You probably don’t need any introduction, but in case you do, their products are only available to purchase online via the US website.

I’ve been eyeing up a few of their products for a while but since the introduction of UK shipping (you can also use a shipping website like Shipito – see Jasmine’s post here), I’ve made two small orders.

Colourpop prices are super cheap – they range from $5 for an eyeshadow to $8 for a highlighter. International shipping depends on weight. For the first order of highlighter and lipgloss, I paid around £10, whereas shipping on the second order was free for over a $30 spend. However, I did have to pay a £13 customs charge when it arrived in the UK.

Here’s a look at the things I picked up;

Koosh Eyeshadow – Part of the 2016 holiday collection, this silver taupe has a metallic finish with the cream to powder formulation that Colorpop is well known for. This shadow literary glides on the skin with a soft, smooth texture. I adore this shade and its one that would work well on a range of skin tones. *There’s currently 20% off the holiday line*

Tinsel Eyeshadow – Another shadow that was part of holiday collection, this shade is a grey toned lavender with a metallic finish. Again, the texture is extremely soft and smooth. This isn’t normally a shade I would go for but I’m glad I bought it as it’s a great shade for a smokey eye.

Tassel Eyeshadow – I’ve been searching for a metallic white shadow for ages. Tassel is the perfect shadow for highlighting the inner corner of your eyes. My shadow came broken which seems to be a problem when ordering overseas as Smoke N Whistles highlighter arrived broken too. However, due to the creamy, slightly spongy formula, you can simply press it back in to shape so it’s not too big of a deal. If you’re searching for a highlight shade for your eyes, I’d highly suggest this one.

Smoke N Whistles Highlighter – My favourite makeup product has to be highlighter and this has become one of my favourites. I’ve pretty much worn this every day since I purchased it as it’s absolutely beautiful. This shade is a very light pink with silver highlights. Despite its luminosity, it doesn’t enhance pores which is always a plus. It has a super soft texture and is one of the best products I’ve used.

Flexitarian Highlighter – Another stunning highlighter is Flexitarian. This light champagne shade has a shimmery finish and is super blendable. This is a really good quality highlighter and I’d highly recommend it for those who don’t want a pink toned shade a la Smoke N Whistles.

Birthday Suit Blush – I’ve been lusting after this blusher for a long time and it was worth the wait. A medium pink with satin finish, this pretty blush is ideal for pale girls. The colour is slightly sheer, however, it is buildable for more intense pigmentation. Formula wise, it’s easy to blend and soft to touch.

Bestie Ultra Glossy Lip – Matte lips might be the in thing but I’m still partial to a lip gloss. Bestie is a mid-tone pink in a creme finish. Unlike many lip products, I don’t detect a discernable scent with this one. Bestie has no stickiness and feels really comfortable to wear. It makes a great day-to-day lip as it really feels smooth and soft. Like most glosses, I don’t find it wears for a particularly long time but it’s a pretty shade for anyone looking for a wearable, glossy lip product.

I’m really impressed with Colourpop so far. For the price, they are great quality. I do wish shipping was slightly cheaper, however, I’m sure I’ll take advantage of a future promotion. There’s also $5 off your order when you sign up to the newsletter, so be sure to do that if you want to save a lil’ money.

Have you tried any Colourpop products?

A New Look & Reflections on 2016

This year has been a complete whirlwind. I swear that time goes quicker as you get older and now I’m in my thirties, it’s whizzing by. In time for the new year, I’ve given the blog a new look and I’m really happy with it. There’s still a few small tweaks to make, including a new header but, for now, I’m pleased with how it’s come together.

At the end of a year, it’s pretty standard to reflect on the past few months and start to focus on your goals for the future. I thought I’d share a few thoughts and a catch-up on my year so far, including my blogging journey.

Blogging

I’ve been a rubbish blogger over the past 12 months. Blogging is still very much a hobby for me and due to my workload and other commitments, I’ve had little time to write in this space. I really miss regular blogging so I’m determined to get a couple of posts written each week. I don’t own a camera at the moment, so if you have any suggestions let me know. I’m thinking of maybe going back to Canon.

Freelance writing

I feel very lucky that I get to work as a freelance writer, work from home and make an income. I know so many people that hate their jobs, so I’m fortunate to do something I love. I write posts on freelance writing over on my other blog Diary of a Freelancer and I have lots of posts planned for the new year as well as a Facebook group for job opportunities and how to get started in the industry.

Going out of my comfort zone

As someone who struggles a lot with panic attacks and anxiety, going out of my comfort zone is incredibly challenging. This year, I started driving lessons, which is something I’ve been putting off for years due to my fears. I won’t lie, I was pooping myself during the first few lessons, but I as it turns out, I love driving and I’ve got my test in February. I’m looking forward to buying my own car and having the freedom to go to wherever I want without relying on public transport.

Self-care

This year, I decided I needed some help with my mental health. I currently take anti-depressants and beta blockers , but I’ve felt for a long time that I’ve needed help with getting to the route of what’s causing anxiety and how I can deal with it effectively. Earlier this year, I had some counselling sessions which were really helpful. I’m currently undertaking CBT but its something I feel I continually have to work on. I really feel that with mental health issues, you’re given medication, put on a waiting list and left to drift along. However, I’ve found the charity MIND very helpful and I’d recommend them to anyone struggling with their mental health.

Heath & fitness

In summer, I had a health scare and it made me realise how little I look after myself in terms of health. I’ve also put on half a stone this year, which doesn’t sound like a lot but as I’m only short, it feels like more. A combination of being content in a relationship, eating crap and little exercise has left me nursing a muffin top and extra love handles. Next year, I’m thinking of hiring a personal trainer and going to the gym to shift my extra pounds and get toned up. Mostly, I think it will really help my overall mood though and help me to be more positive.

Travel and other projects

The furthest I travelled this year was Blackpool. I’d love to spend a few weekends away next year, depending on my money status. I’m hoping to move into a nice house with my boyfriend next year so we’re going to be doing a lot of saving, however, there are some lovely places in the UK to visit so even a few small trips would be great.

I have quite a few projects lined up for next year as well as starting a masters degree in mental health science. I don’t know if I’m crazy to be taking on so much but I enjoy being busy. I also have a little somethin’ planned in relation to this blog which I’ll mention more of in the new year.

It’s almost my five year blogging anniversary and after a few name and platform changes, I’m starting to feel on my feet. I have a few free resources in the pipeline which will be handy to both new and old bloggers. I’ll write a blog post as soon as the resources are launched!

I hope you have a wonderful new year and that 2017 brings you lots of happiness.

What are your goals for next year?

How To Save Money On Your Christmas Shopping

There’s no doubt that Christmas is an expensive time of year, but there are plenty of ways you can save money on your shopping this year. From saving a few pounds to making substantial savings, everything counts.

Make a list

Before you consider spending, make a paper or mental list of what you need to buy. This will prevent panic buying from kicking in and ensure you only spend what you really need to. It’s also great for researching prices online or in stores. Once you have your list together, it’s time to start shopping.

Search money saving websites

Deal websites like HDUK show you offers that are on both in-store or online. A lot of these might be offers you might miss otherwise or glitches. You can search the hottest deals and the newest deals on the site as well as voucher codes. I normally use the search tool if I’m looking for something specific.

Also look on voucher sites for discount codes or printable coupons you can use in-store. Here are a few of my favourites;

Voucher codes – on here, you’ll find codes for stores and restaurants. For eating out, just download the code to your phone/email address and show it to your waiter/waitress when you pay for your food.

Paypal shopping – If you’re paying by PayPal, check out the offers on this official website as you’ll find money saving offers for several stores.

Latest free stuff – You’ll find lots of freebies on here as well as discount coupons.

Coupon Mama – You’ll also find lots of coupons on here to spend in-store.

Cashback sites

I always use a cashback site when I’m shopping online and I’ve made over £500 back in cashback so far.

Cashback sites work by tracking your purchase at the time of your spend. You may get a percentage of your spend back or a specific amount. For example, you can currently receive 7.35% cashback when you make an online purchase at Boots via Topcashback.

You can get cashback at a wide range of store via Topcashback and you’ll find exclusive discount codes.

Current stores include Feel Unique, Groupon, Debenhams, Fragrance Direct, Matalan, The Body Shop, Cult Beauty, and more.

It normally takes a few weeks to months to receive your cashback into your account but its well worth signing upto as you can potentially save so much money on your shopping, phone suppliers and insurance.

Amazon

Amazon have many deals and offers throughout the year, however, I find the site is best for specific products, such as books, DVD’s and beauty. A few current offers include;

Real Techniques Core Collection – £11.79

Vera Wang Princess 100ml – £23

GHD Styler – £89

Face by Pixiwoo – £9.99

Little Women (Rifle Paper Co Version) – £7.49

Ebay

Many brands have outlet stores on eBay offering good discounts. Here are a few stores to check out;

Boohoo outlet – up to 50% and free delivery on many items.

Ann Summers – Half price items.

Joules – 50% off.

Littlewoods – Savings on products you’ll find at both Littlewoods and Very.

Office Shoes – Auctions starting at 99p.

Tesco – Savings on homewares to fragrance.

Discount stores

If you’re braving the shops, consider looking in discount stores for bargains. B&M, Home Bargains, TK Maxx, HomeSense, as well as outlet stores are all good places to look to save money on a range of Christmas gifts.

 

7 of The Best WordPress Templates for Bloggers

the-best-wordpress-templates-for-bloggers

Design elements can help to make or break a blog. We all want our blogs to look good, but not everyone has the budget to hire a designer. I’m a big fan of premade templates – I’ve used several over the years from talented designers, saving me both the time and hassle of attempting to try and create something half as good.

Earlier this year, I moved over to WordPress – I find the platform easier and more convenient to use than Blogger or Squarespace. However, using a custom design can cost thousands which is simply out of my budget right now. Luckily, I found several gorgeous WordPress templates on Etsy and I’m super happy with how my blog has transformed.

If you want to give your blog a refresh, take a look at the beautiful WordPress templates I’ve found below.

P.s. If you want to start a WordPress blog, check out my tutorial – 5 proactive ways to start a WordPress blog.

Linda

Linda-wordpress-theme

Linda is a responsive WordPress theme with a magazine style design and easy customisation. This template is perfect for all kinds of blogs or for creative entrepreneurs. You’re able to switch between a full width page or blog and sidebar, change colours and there are two optional sliders to feature your posts. All in all a great option for beginners or those who’ve been blogging for a while.

Freyja

Freyja=-wordpress-template

Freyja is a stunning template that I’ve had my eye on for a while. It gives you the option for 5 differing blog layouts so you can choose the one that best meets your needs. It’s also compatible with Woocommerce, so its perfect if you have an online store. However, if you just want to blog, its ideal for that too.

Evangeline

evangeline-wordpress-template

Evangeline is a pretty WordPress template for feminine blogs. As well as the template, you also receive the Genesis framework that the theme requires to work on. With 6 different page layouts, a featured slider and 4 colour schemes, this template is for those who are searching for something a little different than your standard monochrome theme.

Anissa

Anissa-wordpress-template

Anissa  is a WordPress theme for blogs and e-commerce – ideal if you’re planning on opening an online shop. This feminine style has a custom image header, about me widget and featured post slider.

Meraki

Meraki-Wordpress-Template

Meraki  is a beautiful minimal template. If you like simple but classic designs, you’ll love this theme. With this template, you have the choice of using a landing page, photoshop template for header and sidebar image, 15 social media icons and installation guide.

Willow

Willow-Wordpress-Template

Willow is a responsive WordPress theme with the choice of 6 layout options, including full width pages and 1 or 2 sidebars. There’s also a fixed menu bar, custom widgets and 10 social icons. You receive both the theme and Genesis framework when you purchase this template.

Charlotte

charlotte-wordpress-template

Charlotte  is a theme that both bloggers and creatives will enjoy. This responsive template has four layout options, optional slideshow and newsletter areas, changing colours, custom logo and is SEO optimised.