Sunday, 22 July 2018

My Favourite Beauty Tools

Braun Epilator, Beauty Blender, Zoeva Makeup Brushes, Sigma, Gillette Razor
Braun Epilator, Beauty Blender, Zoeva Makeup Brushes, Sigma, Gillette Razor
It was three years ago now since I last shared my current favourite beauty tools, so I thought you were due an update. Although some things haven't changed at all, I've definitely added some handy new tools that are worth a mention especially when it comes to brow preening, leg shaving and makeup applying. 

The Braun Silk-epil 9 SkinSpa SensoSmart* is an updated version of my old epilator and it comes with a variety of new add ons including a trimmer and exfoliating heads. The Body Trimmer is so handy when I want to get rid of the peach fuzz from my face and the exfoliator (which can be used wet or dry) is perfect for getting smooth pins for Summer. Although an investment, if you enjoy having new gadgets to play with and getting all your hair removal sorted in one go then this one would be one to consider. I always have a razor with me anyway and I love the Gillette Snap Portable Razor as it's just so handy for travelling and for getting into precise areas! 

I often leave my foundation application down to the Beauty Blender* as it creates a flawless finish in little to no time and can be used for liquid highlighter to cream blusher too. On top of this I use a variety of different makeup brushes from Zoeva, The Vintage Company and Crown Brushes too. To help clean my brushes I use the Sigma Brush Cleaning Mat* to stop my sink getting dirty and to really give them a thorough clean. I tend to use whatever brush cleaning I've got about. 

Tweezerman kindly sent over a few treats to keep my brows in shape. Their tweezers* are my favourite and I have so many pairs of them around the house as they're super precise at plucking the hair you want out and they never fail me. Their Brow Shaping Scissors and Brush* are two tools I didn't think I needed until I got them and wow - what a difference they make. I've always loved when brow products have a spoolie on the end so I can fluff them up and make it easier to feel them in, but having a separate tool is great now. The scissors help to trim unruly hairs to make them look super presentable. 

Lastly is probably the oddest tool I own and that's a head massager. Here me out because I bet you've had one of these in your Christmas stocking at some point, played with it once and it's sat at the back of your drawer not seeing the light of day. Well now you've got an excuse to get it out as it's my secret to getting long, luscious hair and it does work. I simply use it to massage my scalp at night to help me relax and stimulate my hair follicles. 

What are your favourite beauty tools? 

If a product is marked with a * it is a PR sample. This post contains affiliate links. 

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Saturday, 21 July 2018

10 Summer Self-Care Ideas

It's usually around mid-august time that I start getting the lust for Autumn, the colder days often call for steaming hot drinks, cosy evenings on the sofa and delving into a gripping book. In the Summer, I find it harder to take time out for myself and often yearn for the chance to spend an hour or two pampering myself and taking some time out and I know that over people can feel the same too, so I thought I'd compile a list of my favourite Summer self-care ideas. 

1. Have A Technology Free Day | I often get caught up in the hustle and bustle of everyday life, so spending a day or even a few hours without a TV, laptop screen or phone going off every couple of minutes can make me feel more relaxed. Head outside with a book, play games with your friends or simply take a bath with a face mask. 

2. Pamper | Talking of baths and face masks, I know it can be difficult to soak yourself in a roasting hot bath when the temperature is in the late 20's, so having a refreshing shower can be just as satisfying. Pop on a nourishing five minute face mask, grab a invigorating mint shower gel and spend some time singing your heart out to your favourite tunes. 

3. Make Yourself A Tasty Spread | I love nothing more than quick, easy, convenient food when it's hot outside because I don't like spending too much time over the hot stove. Making your favourite meal, which for me is spicy potatoes, homemade garlic bread and bulgar wheat salad always lifts my mood. 

4. Have A Picnic Outside | Gather all your salads, your delicious spreads of olives, dips, bread and snacks to take on a picnic outside. Either take your lunch outside and eat it SOLO or gather up your friends and bring a dish each. 

5. Take Up A New Exercise | Whether it's outside yoga or a ride on your bike, I feel like the Summer is the perfect excuse to squeeze in a quick game of tennis or play a nostalgic game of rounders in the park. 

6. Catch Up With A Friend | Sometimes all I want to do is sit naked in front of the fan when it's this hot outside, but I want to make the most of the pub gardens whilst I can and one of my favourite self-care activities at the moment is making an effort with making plans with my friends. 

7. Visit Your Local Lavender Fields | Spending time outside in nature is so lovely especially when you're alone with your own thoughts or you're snapping away on your camera. I want to visit my local lavender fields as I loved taking a stroll through the poppies the other month. 

8. Buy Yourself A Bunch Of Flowers | Peony season feels like it was yonks ago now, but that doesn't mean there isn't any other flowers that would look just as beautiful in your kitchen or bedroom. Flowers always lift my mood whenever I have them around and I love treating myself to them. 

9. Watch The Sun Go Down | The sun goes down much later than it does in the Autumn/Winter when you're still in work, so I want to make the most of it going down at 9pm whilst I can, taking all the photographs of the changing skies. 

10. Read That Book You've Always Wanted To | We all have that one book that has been in our to-read pile for what feels like eternity and this Summer I'm finally determined to read that book during one of my self-care activities. 

What are your favourite Summer self-care activities? 
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Thursday, 19 July 2018

A Summer Makeup Routine

With what feels like a never ending heatwave, I think it's safe to say Summer isn't going anywhere anytime soon. I've been layering up on SPF everyday, slathering it on at pretty much every occasion, but I've actually been wearing makeup too alas sometimes I feel like I've been sweating it off, but I've got a pretty long lasting base down considering the temperatures are now in the 30's - eek! 

I've been trying out several SPF's recently, but the Glossier Invisible Shield is particularly good if I'm going for a foundation as it doesn't disrupt my base shade or formula. It's protected my skin good so far as I haven't been burnt on my cheeks once despite putting this to a very good test when cycling for hours in Wales. 

I've got to make a confession, most of my foundations don't match me well at the moment because I've got a completely different shade as I'm so much more tanned. I've been mixing the Drunk Elephant D-Bronzi Sunshine Serum* in with my Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation to create a warm toned, lightweight base that blurs over my complexion and makes my skin look flawless. 

Although my cheeks get pretty flushed...well as soon as I leave the house really in this heat, I still like to apply blusher as I feel like it adds a little something to my complexion after applying my foundation. The Glossier Puff Cloud Paint has been used so many times just like I thought it would be as it's just so gorgeous at creating a soft flush of colour, plus it makes you feel like you're finger painting too. The other option I've been reaching for is the Bobbi Brown Powder Pink Pot Rouge which is a completely different texture to the Glossier offering as I find this is more balmy making it a great option for a natural look. 

When it comes to skincare, Pixi is one of my favourite brands, but despite loving several of their makeup products, I tend to look over them still. They kindly sent me their Glow-Y Gossamer Duo* and it's unreal, it gives that sheen that's almost blinding when built up, but can still be applied lightly if you want something a little bit more subtle. Their Chloette Palette* has been thoroughly used recently too especially the eyeshadows as there is a bronzed duo which I'm just loving for slight definition that's super summery. 

For brows, I've been using the Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz* and I'm smitten with how fast and easy it is to use with such great, natural results too. After applying some lip balm and a lipstick of choice, I spritz my face with my favourite setting spray, Urban Decay All Nighter* to lock all my makeup in place (it really does work). If I want it stay put even longer, I spritz is underneath my base too as well as afterwards. 

What makeup have you been wearing this Summer? 
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Wednesday, 18 July 2018

A Fresh Summer Salad

After getting into food blogs (Mother Cooker I'm looking at you!), I've been inspired to share more of my recipes on my blog. Whilst we were on holiday the other week, somebody whipped up this bulgar wheat salad that they'd got from a book and I knew it was too good not to share. It's super easy, filling and great to create for guests if you're having a BBQ or for yourself paired with some spicy potatoes and garlicy humous. 

The great thing about this salad is that you can add or take away any of the ingredients. I'm tempted to add in lentils, cucumber and some spices next time to add a little spin, but that's the great thing - it's so easy to adapt to your own tastes and needs. I'm sharing the original recipe today and one that I have followed many times (all you have to do is double or half the quantity depending on how many you're serving), so I hope you enjoy it too. 

Ingredients (Serves 4) 
1 Cup Bulgar Wheat
250ml Boiling Water
10 Cherry Tomatoes
1 Orange, Yellow or Red Pepper
1 Avocado
Coriander 
1 Lime
Pepper and Salt

Method
I start off by boiling the kettle and measuring out my bulgar wheat, placing it in a bowl. After I've poured the boiling water over the bulgar wheat with a few pieces of salt, I cover it with cling film and place in the fridge for 40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. 

I chop up all the ingredients. The cherry tomatoes into halves, the avocado and yellow pepper into squares. Chopping up the coriander finely. I cut the lime in half and set to one side. 

Once the bulgar wheat has no liquid left in the bowl, it is ready for you to add your ingredients to it. I place them all into the bowl, squeezing both halves of the lime over them, adding pepper to taste and then I toss the salad, placing the cling film over the top again and letting it sit in the fridge for 15 minutes. 

Viola! Super easy and very tasty! 

Will you be trying out this recipe? 
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Tuesday, 17 July 2018

I Took Two Weeks Off and This Is What Happened

I took two weeks off and this is what happened...the world didn't implode. To say I was nervous about taking some proper time away from my laptop is a huge understatement, as I had so much work to do before I left. But even after completing everything I had to do, I kept getting this gut feeling that something was going to go horribly wrong. Thankfully it didn't and I returned yesterday to a very full to-do list and what seemed like endless emails to reply to... but I managed it; I had a whole two weeks off and here's what I did: 

The first weekend didn't get off to the best start. I went to fix my iPhone and ended up getting into a car crash on the way there. After a few tears and phone calls, by Monday we were on our way to Wales where we were spending our week with friends riding our bikes. Let me tell you, some days were so tough, but ever so rewarding too. It was so hot and I've got some very peculiar tan lines as a result, even though I was slathered in factor 50 all day, every day. Our friend bought down a BBQ, a griddle and lots of veggie goodness, so dinnertime was something to look forward to - it's given me a few ideas for upcoming recipes on the blog, so keep your eyes peeled for that. 

There was only one day I didn't get on my bike and that was when everyone went to ride Snowdon for several hours and I stayed in the town below. I pottered around the shops and lakes, reading my book and spending a lot of time people watching in the pub - it was my definition of bliss! On our last day, we went the beach and saw so many jellyfish I couldn't believe it - I got lots of sunny snaps and despite only being on the beach for a few hours, I was knackered on the drive back. After coming back from our first week away, we spent every day seeing friends and family, catching up and having a giggle. I saw my friend who I haven't seen in four months since she's been travelling and I avoided work by going for lots of pub garden lunches. The weekend rolled around much quicker than I wanted it to, but we made sure we did something every day and it was amazing.  

I also wanted to share a couple of things that I learnt from my time away too as I always like to reflect on it: 


My Brain Doesn't Switch Off | As a blogger and social media manager, I often joke to people that it's a 24/7 job and that my brain doesn't switch off at 6pm like many others, but I didn't quite realise how true this was until I was stress panicking that the 9:00am tweet I scheduled for X company should be going live as I was part way through eating my breakfast. Although I'm not always able to do so and it is part of the job I enjoy, at times I need to take a whole weekend off to do...wait for it...absolutely nothing and let my brain rest for more than five minutes. 

The Burn Out Has Gone | In June, I was reaching a point where I felt like I wasn't progressing and a burn out was on the horizon, but honestly my holiday has made it go away completely. I feel like I have super fresh ideas for my blog and I've had to write them all down just so I don't forget them. I think having half a month to myself and to think about everything else has actually been beneficial for my creativity too, especially as Summer is a struggle for me when it comes to blog post ideas. 

Shirt - New Look
Skirt - ASOS

Has taking time off ever benefited you in any way? 

This post contains affiliate links. 
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Saturday, 14 July 2018

A Summer Perfume Selection

I already have quite the collection of perfumes as I'm a bit of a hoarder of old, empty bottles and keeping my most loved for a special occasion, but whenever I get a new bottle I always get excited and when the Miller Harris Powdered Veil* and Peau Santal* duo came through the door it felt like all my Christmases had come at once. 

For me, the name Powdered Veil reminds me of soft roses and floral scents, but I actually find it pulls a little deeper and more Autumnal on me meaning this is probably a scent I'll save for the cooler months. It's one I can imagine being worn when I'm wrapped up under several layers and hiding from the frost. 

In comparison, Peau Santal sits a lot fresher on my skin than the notes would suggest and is the perfect fit for the warmer weather especially in the evenings and for date nights. They both last an impressive amount of time on the skin, but I'm looking forward to trying them out further and working out if they work in conjunction with some of my other perfumes too. 

After the success of the Maison Margiela Flower Market* perfume, I knew I wanted to try out more of them, Lazy Sunday Afternoon* being next on the list and I was lucky enough to be sent it by World Duty Free! I've been wearing it everyday since I got it and I thought I would share with you my thoughts. 

I've been looking for a clean, fresh fragrance for some time now as most of my collection is floral and I wanted to switch up the kind of scent I wear on a day to day basis. Although I've seen people say this is subtle on the skin, I do find that it's rather sharp too. This doesn't necessarily mean that it's bad though as I find that it means it lasts longer the worn. 

It's not powdery at all, which is what I was worried about nor is it too overpowering, settling into the skin as the day goes on, becoming more and more natural. You don't need too many sprays to fulfil your perfume needs, but I do get a little bit carried away and end up dosing myself in it - oops! All of their scents are simple, yet totally beautiful and I feel like this is yet another one great for an occasion like wedding, party or just to make everyday an occasion like I have. 

Have you tried any of these scents? 

If a product is marked with a * it is a PR sample. 
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Wednesday, 11 July 2018

Mid-Year Goals

We're now half way through the year and after reading From Roses recent blog post about what she wants to achieve in the rest of 2018, it got me thinking about my own goals and aspirations for the next six months. 

Book A Holiday | I've been talking about booking a holiday for some time and we opted for a more sporty staycations, but it hasn't stopped me from wanting to book an Autumn getaway to a city or somewhere warm! A city break when it's a little cooler definitely appeals to me, but maybe I could sneak in both of them if I'm lucky. 

Do More | I can't quite believe how fast this year is going and I have so many things I want to do before the year is out like head back to the Peak District for a bike ride and head down to London for a couple of days, but I have small things I want to do too like go fruit picking, go to a yoga class and spend an evening in an escape room with friends. I'm thinking of complying a list to keep them all in one place! 

Build On My New-Found Love For Instagram | A work related goal of mine now and that is to continue working on my new found love of my Instagram feed, taking lifestyle and fashion shots as I go. Despite not growing, in fact losing followers, it hasn't stopped me from using the app to inspire me daily to get creative with my photographs. 

Friendships | One of my goals for 2018 was to make more of an effort to make friends and with the success of my 'making friends in your 20's' post I did a few months back I'll definitely doing a follow up post to it. I'm happy to say I've found some amazing friends and some budding friendships which I just want to continue to build on for the rest of the year - no pressure though, what will be will be! 

What are your goals for the rest of the year?
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Friday, 6 July 2018

Top Tips On Taking Blog Photos In The Summer

I find taking photographs in the Summer super difficult as the blue skies play havoc with my colour balance and I struggle with general inspiration for my flatlays. I feel like it's been a while since I shared some more of my blog photography tips, so here are they are! 

Just Wait | You're probably thinking "that isn't an helpful tip Lily", but with it getting dark at such a late time at the moment, taking the pressure off yourself to photograph at certain time of the days can help too. I know some people rely on the weekends, but even waiting just an hour or two later can make all the difference to how to light casts shadows on your images. 

If In Doubt, Block It Out | I've spoken about this before, but if I'm really struggling with photographs, I put a white sheet over my window to block out the harsh blue light and then edit it brighter afterwards. This isn't always the best, but if you're struggling with photographs and you only have that afternoon then this may work well with you. I remember seeing this tip on another blog, so if you know who it is then let me know so I can credit them! 

Flowers are Your Friends | There's something about the colour of fresh blooms and how I can make them look all pretty in a blurred background that just makes my heart sing. If I have a bunch of blooming peonies, you can bet that I'll have a photography day or two dedicated to taking images when them in even if I don't get to use these stock images for weeks or maybe months. This is a great way to stock up on images for lifestyle posts or when you need some generic shots for Instagram. 

Let's Not Forget Fashion | I originally was going to dedicate this post to purely indoor photography, but with my recent delve into fashion content I had to share a top tip for that too. It's nothing too groundbreaking at all as I stick to picking places that I know will be gone once Summer's gone. Lavender fields, fruit picking and the glorious fields of flowers won't stick around forever, so I think it's nice seeing them on my Instagram even if five other people take them similarly - it's Summer and before we know it we'll all be layered under scarves and hats so I say go for it! 

What are your top Summer blog photography tips? 
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Wednesday, 4 July 2018

Watermelon Beauty Favourites

Watermelon is not only a firm favourite in my diet, but it's now in my skincare routine thanks to brands coming out with almost edible smelling products that I love to slather on my face. My skin loves it too and drinks it up every time, so here are my top picks: 

Last Summer was when I started my love affair with watermelon as I discovered the SkinFood Freshmade Watermelon Mask upon my trip to Sephora. It made my skin look plump and help me defeat the blazing Summer sun that was drying my skin out. My only gripe with this product is it's not easily available in many places including the UK, so it's a hard one to track down. I was kindly gifted the Glow Recipe Watermelon Mask*, a very close alternative to the SkinFood offering and I put it to the test. 

They are similar there's no way about it, but as the SkinFood one is cheaper it'll be definitely one to consider if you're wondering if you'll like the scent or not because there's no denying what it's supposed to smell like. Saying this, the Glow Recipe pick is just divine as it has a more slick feel to it and makes my skin feel smooth for days after use which rarely ever happens. It makes my skin look plump, glowing and healthy - just don't be tempted to lick your lips whilst you have this on! 

The newest addition to my collection is the Milk Makeup Watermelon Serum Stick and although it doesn't smell like well...anything, it does give me that water on the skin feeling that is super cooling and hydrating too. I still need to give this a proper whirl, but I had to include it in this line up because underneath makeup it seems to work like a dewy primer and makes my base g-l-o-w. 

What are your favourite watermelon themed products? 

If a product is marked with a * it is a PR sample. This post contains affiliate links. 
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Tuesday, 3 July 2018

Instagram Makeup

A few months ago I did a full round up of Instagram beauty and whether they were worth their hype and today I thought I'd do one dedicated to just makeup. There are a few brands that pop up time and time again, plus products that can a great amount of coverage on the famous app, so today I am sharing my thoughts with you. 

Huda Beauty is a well-known brand on Instagram and one I wasn't too bothered in trying until I got sent their mini nude Liquid Lipsticks* and then I started to get where the love was coming from. They're super comfortable, long lasting and they never make my lips look dry - they're honestly one of my favourite formulas of liquid lipstick ever! When the Rose Gold Remastered Palette* was sent to me too, I couldn't believe my luck, but knew it had to be mind-blowing to live up to my love for the lipsticks. It's definitely beautiful to the look at, the shimmer shades in particular are unlike anything I've seen in a palette before, but I'm still unsure if it'll beat my love with the next two palettes I'm going to talk to you about. 

The first is the Too Faced Sweet Peach Palette* which has 18 shades ranging from a soft pink to a deep plum, perfect for creating a variety of looks all whilst smelling good enough to eat. These blend beautifully and always last a long time on my oily lids. The second palette is from another Instagram loved brand, Anastasia Beverly Hills and it's their Soft Glam Palette*. Due to the disappointment people felt after the Subculture palette, I felt like this hasn't got the love it deserves - it's honestly beautiful and one of my most used palettes already! 
Talking of Anastasia Beverly Hills, I have tried a couple of their eyebrow products now, both of which I'm super impressed by. I started off with Dipbrow Pomade* but quickly realised I had it in the wrong shade, which put me on the fence a little bit, but the longevity is just something that can't be messed with. However, it's been beaten and that's by Brow Wiz*, it's pencil sister which is just the best shade match I've ever had - it honestly makes filling in my brows a dream and 100% the hype it gets. 

When Glossier first came to the UK, I'd already tried a few bits out, but having everything there to buy made me go on a huge splurge and now, quite a few pennies down, I'm discovering the products that are really worth buying and the one's that aren't. For me I've fallen out of love with the Haloscope Highlighter just because it's no longer the look I go for, but their Cloud Paints are beautiful. Wowder Powder however deserves so much more love than it gets! 

When Fenty was first released, everyone went mad for it, but many months afterwards the hype has died down expect for their new releases, but it's the Amber Match Stix that I feel like it stands out from the rest. The concealer I wasn't very happy with and the highlighter stix I haven't picked up in a while, but the Amber Match Stix is the perfect shade for contouring and it blends into my base perfectly too. 

What are your thoughts on the makeup brands you see on Instagram? 

If a product is marked with a * it is a PR sample. This post contains affiliate links. 
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Sunday, 1 July 2018

5 Things I've Added To My July To-Do List

I know I say this every month, but I can't quite believe where the time goes and now we're half way through the year it's become even more obvious that before we know it it'll be Christmas again. I've got a pretty hectic month ahead of me and I wanted to share with you what on my current to-do list. 

Enjoy our time away | We've got two weeks off work in July to go on holiday to Wales, go to a race in Exmoor and enjoy having a few days in-between to relax at home. It's going to be weird having half the month off, but it's very much needed. I want to make the most of it by only shooting products or outfits when I want to rather than feel like I need to, so I've been working hard to get all my work finished so I can enjoy the time off. 

Plan Trips | Once the holidays are done, I know I'll feel in a bit of a lull having nothing else planned, but after our Joe Lycett gig, I'm going to look into places to go, potential holidays to book and things to do in our local so that we still have things to look forward to for the rest of the Summer. A lavender field visit, a trip to London, fruit picking and much more are currently on the cards. 

Find Some Tasty Summer Recipes | I struggle with eating in the Summer because all I want to do is pick at foods and although this isn't necessarily a bad thing at all, I just want to add a bit more variety. I don't want to be stuck in the hot kitchen for hours over the stove, so I'm on the hunt for some nice Summer recipes maybe salads, vegetarian platters etc. Any recommendations would be welcomed. 

Just Enjoy The Sunshine | The weather has been super warm and glorious recently, so I'm hoping to just enjoy it. I've got a soft spot for pub gardens so I'm hoping to head there with friends this month and even have an evening picnic with Tom to watch the sun go down. 

Find A New Rug + A New Duvet Cover | Probably quite a mundane task to many, but I love finding new homeware pieces for my house. At the moment I'm eyeing up a new rug from Pimkie (who knew ASOS did so much interior pieces) and they're all so super affordable and in the sale, so they're calling me. My duvet covers are looking a bit shabby, but Urban Outfitters have some amazing patterns in that are super cute like this dreamy set and peach one too! 

What's on your July to-do list? 

This post contains affiliate links. 
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