Wednesday, 8 October 2014

3 months of travel starts... now!


My blogging schedule went right out the window over the past couple of weeks, oops. Josh and I have been touring around the country running Headphone Disco events for loads of the UK's universities - did anyone go to one during Fresher's Week? If you did, you would have most likely seen us there, DJing on stage or armed with thousands of headphones for you to listen to! Being that busy and moving around all the time unfortunately meant that blogging just wasn't a priority for me - it happens sometimes and luckily you guys are still here on my return, which is nice! If you're interested in reading what we got up to on our Fresher's tour, then you can read Josh's write up here

I've had a few days to recover from the Fresher's madness, so now it's time to start getting excited and plan for our next adventure! Tomorrow we leave for a 3 month trip to Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Malaysia, New Zealand and Australia! This is the final leg in our crazy year - so far we've lived and snowboarded in the Alps, travelled to Thailand, spent the summer moving from festival to festival - now it's the last 3 months of travel, then home for Christmas and finally settling down. I'm probably manically packing as we speak [/type], it's a bit harder than just packing for Thailand - I feel like I need some more fashionable outfits, compared to the usual travelling clothes, to wear in Australia! I cannot wait to get to Aus and catch up with Kim - I've missed her so much since she's been living out there, we've gone from seeing each other almost every day to not seeing each other for a whole 12 months!

The writing style of this post seems pretty erratic right now ha, but it's the excitement I promise! I had planned to schedule up loads of posts before I left for travelling, but that just hasn't happened [oops again]. I do have a couple of guest posts from some lovely ladies for you to read, then I will get some things scheduled and as with Thailand last time, I will be posting about our adventures as we go along! This blog definitely won't be going quiet for the whole three months, but please stick with me anyway. My Instagram and Twitter will be easier to update, so keep an eye on those if you'd like. I don't even know how to end this post, apart from going AHHHHHH! Wish me luck on the plane, let's hope they have good films to occupy my flight-hating mind!

Sunday, 21 September 2014

I Heart Makeup - The Wow Sticks - Review & Swatches

The Wow Sticks - Makeup Revolution - I Heart Makeup
I Heart Makeup - Super Wow Sticks swatches
The Wow Sticks review swatches
Swatches on hand are in same order as image above showing names. Top - bottom = left - right.

Another new product to the Makeup Revolution website and it's already popping up on blogs all over the place. Makeup Revolution and sister brand I Heart Makeup [stocked on the same website] really have got their blogger fanbase sorted, especially as I saw a tweet a while ago saying they only launched 6 months ago - they have absolutely flown in that time, amazing! 

The Wow Sticks are a set of waterproof, matte lip products designed to stay put through almost everything. And they do - they really do. Usually swatches on the back of your hand will smudge and blend in no time at all, due to the frequency you touch the area and how much it's used compared to your face. However, these swatches would not budge. The packaging of the products does state that they're a 'high-gloss' product, now I'm not sure if there was a production mistake here, but that is not the case at all - they are an incredibly matte product and in no way glossy. Just wanted to clear that up for anyone that might be buying these in store, rather than online where the matte element is made clear.

There's a good range of colours in the collection, although some of the pinks are quite similar to each other. Colour-wise, my favourite shades are Sunday Girl, Atomic and Dreaming. I'm not quite so sure about Heart of Glass, it's almost a concealer shade which isn't for me personally. Naming the shades after Blondie songs has definitely given them big kudos in my books. Before application, the darker shades need warming up a little on the back of your hand but then they will apply easily. Being a stick, the application isn't the neatest, so a lip brush may be handy to accurately apply around the corners and cupid's bow. I found the lighter shades very tough to apply well, then they ended up looking patchy and cracked on the lips - not a great look. Light, matte, lip shades are notoriously hard to get right and unfortunately, the lighter Wow Sticks just don't work for me. Dreaming may be my favourite shade in terms of colour, but definitely not when applied.  

Despite having a few problems with Dreaming and Heart of Glass, the other shades apply well and are incredibly long lasting as promised. They're much creamier to apply, then dry to a matte finish. You can apply a gloss or balm over the top to take the product from matte to a slight sheen, which I quite like for a change. For £2.99 a pop, these are great products to test out brighter colours and a matte finish - just stay away from the lightest shades. 

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Surviving London as a Tourist

London-transport-apps
Until I started full time office work when I was 21, I had only been to London once or twice to do the normal tourist things. Whilst working, I spent more and more time at meetings, events and visiting venues in London - probably quadrupling the amount of my lifetime visits in a few months. I was never the most confident London transport user, with it being nothing like the rest of the UK's transport systems and pretty manic, but I slowly got better and more confident. There have been a couple of apps that have helped me get to grips with the system, so I thought I'd share them for any other tourists in their own capital city, like me.

surviving-in-london
Navigating London
Citymapper

A friend has just moved to London and swears by Citymapper - rightly so. It's a free route planner app that's not just limited to London - if you ever find yourself in New York, Boston, Paris, Madrid, Barcelona, Berlin or a few other cities, it'll work there too. 

Choose 'Get Me Somewhere', plug in the postcode, area name or nearest tube station and Citymapper will provide you with a selection of transport options to get you there. Compiling results from the underground, buses, taxis, Boris bikes and walking - it'll let you know how long it's going to take you for each method, how much it'll cost and even how many calories you'll burn! It'll even let you know the current weather situation at your destination. It's all well and good being told by an app that you need to leave from so-and-so tube station, but if like me you have no idea where that is, it's not much help. Once you've selected your preferred method of reaching your destination, Citymapper will show you as a little dot on the map and guide you to the start point of your journey - whether that's the tube station you need to be at, or the bus stop. 

All in all, Citymapper is a handy bit of kit - it's already got me out of a couple of embarrassing lost-in-London situations. Without this app, I'd have no idea how to even get hold of the London bus times, or have any idea whether it's quicker or cheaper to get a bus, tube or taxi. Definitely something I'd recommend downloading before your next trip into the city.

This has turned into a pretty long post, so read more after the break :)

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Emma Hardie Amazing Face Cleansing Balm - Review

Emma-hardie-cleanser-review
Emma-hardie-cleansing-balm-review
Also available here.

This product is well known in the beauty world, as a gentle yet luxurious cleansing balm that gives Liz Earle herself a run for her money. I personally love the Liz Earle Hot Cloth Cleanser so I was interested to see how Emma Hardie's product would compare. 

Upon opening the tub, you're met with the most amazing scent. The website tells me that the lovely smell filling my nostrils is a combination of orange, neroli, mandarin, jasmine, cedarwood and rose - I'm not the best at identifying scents in products, I just know it smells citrusy and nice. At room temperature the product has an almost wax-like look, it's not as solid as wax though it's more like soft vaseline, easily allowing you to scoop a dollop out for use. 

I warm a 50p size blob of product in my palm, melting it to an oil-like consistency, then smooth over my face. I've been enjoying using this as more of a face mask than a cleanser, although both work well, leaving a coating of the product on my face for about 10 mins while pottering around the bathroom. I then remove the product using the cleansing cloth [posh word for flannel], which is double sided for multi-use. One side is a very soft microfibre towelling, ideal for smoothing the product off the face if you don't need to exfoliate, whereas the other side is similar to a muslin cloth, ideal for gently removing dead skin. I find that leaving the product on for longer increases the hydrating qualities and leaves the skin feeling completely revived and moisturised. 

All in all, whether you use the product as a cleanser or a mask, it leaves the skin looking rejuvenated, hydrated and feeling amazingly soft. It's definitely lived up to the hype and deserves to have been mentioned as much as it has in the blogging world. Although, at £36 a pop it is classed as an indulgent product for me, so I'm inclined to save it as an occasional treat for my skin and continue to use my Liz Earle cleanser in my daily routine. 

Have you tried any Emma Hardie products - what do you think? Which is your favourite cleanser?

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Blogging: Where do I fit?

Where do I fit in blogging categories?

I was taking part in an #lbloggers twitter chat a couple of weeks ago and it soon came round to the busiest part of the chat, sharing and swapping blog links. I saw a tweet that went something along the lines of 'please send me strictly #lbloggers links only, no beauty or fashion posts'. Now, this is completely fine, if a blogger is only interested in reading lifestyle posts then that's their personal preference and there's nothing wrong with that at all. But it got me thinking - do I fit into the lifestyle bloggers category... do I fit into any category? Does that matter?

I enjoy taking part in the lifestyle chats, just as much as I enjoy the beauty and fashion chats too. I do post lifestyle related posts talking about day trips, recipes, restaurants and more, but I do feel like my blog is a pretty even split between beauty, fashion and lifestyle. My fashion posts are focused around my personal style and purchases, I don't claim to be a trend-setting fashionista in any sense of the word, but I do really enjoy fashion. I also really love beauty, skincare and makeup in my day to day life, so it's only logical that I share that on my blog too.

Sometimes I feel like not having a dedicated blog topic slows the growth of my blog down, but I'm not sure if that really matters or not - I don't think it does. It does make sense though, I feel like people are more likely to follow and regularly read a blog that posts purely about their interest. For example when reading a dedicated topic blog, every post will appeal to them, as it's always focused on their favourite topic - whereas my blog flits between various topics, all of which I enjoy personally but not everyone will. But, I think I would rather write posts covering a variety of topics, like I do at the moment, and carry on blogging for me - as selfish as that might sound. So that considered categories shouldn't really matter, but I'm just curious to find out what everyone else thinks about blogging pigeon holes. Also, how am I meant to know which category to select on Bloglovin'!? First world problems...

Do you feel like your blog easily fits into one category? Or do you flit between various topics like me? Do you find that you'd rather follow a blog that fits into one specific category? I'm really interested to hear what everyone else thinks!

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Favourite Blog Posts: August

Slightly later than planned... but seeing as this is the second post in my favourites series, it's not too bad for me! I'm always thinking about starting up series of posts, like monthly product favourites or empties, but never actually stick to it! I'm forcing myself to carry on with this one because I enjoy it, despite being almost halfway through September already. So here's some of the posts I enjoyed last month...

How could I resist including these amazing lime tarts from the Nouvelle Daily team?! The recipe seems so simple but they look incredible, definitely something to impress at tea time. I want to get back into baking more, but it's pretty hard with all the moving around at the moment. When I'm more settled again I'm definitely going to be scouring the Nouvelle Daily recipe tag for inspiration!

If you're looking for photography tips then head over to Emma's blog. Not only did she create this handy guide in August but she's also got posts on how to use some awesome photography apps on your phone too! I've been having a look around and improving my phone and Instagram photography with the help of Afterlight and Emma's guides! 

I love the look Caroline has created, with the cute blouse and structured backpack, it definitely gives off a super cute back to school feel. I've always been a fan of Caroline's style so had to include her in this month's faves! I also loved her photo diary style post of her 26th birthday [happy birthday!], her little girl Chloe is so cute. 

Bess' post about her Dad's honeycomb made me dream about summers spent in the countryside with my own hives of bees [plus someone to actually go near said bees], gathering in frames and frames of tasty honeycomb. I've never actually tried honeycomb but it looks amazing, so one day.

Who'd have thought that Lidl beauty would get a big thumbs up? It's not even something I've previously considered looking for in Lidl! I always trust Sarah's reviews so I'm definitely going to be checking out Lidl beauty next time I'm passing a store - for those prices I just can't say no.

What do you think about my August favourites? What have been your favourite posts for last month?  

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Polaroid Sunglasses Giveaway!

Sunglasses competition
Polaroid Sunglasses Shop giveaway

I didn't know that the well known camera brand, Polaroid, also made polarised sunglasses designed to allow only the helpful light through the lens while protecting our eyes from the not-so-helpful light. Or that Lady Gaga has been their Creative Director since 2010. Did you? It wasn't until Sunglasses Shop got in touch about the collection that I found out. I love finding out about unexpected product ranges and  learning fun facts about well known brands! 

I love the shape of these sunglasses, with large lenses but delicate gold arms to add a bit of glamour to a functional item. They're going to be perfect to take travelling with me next month - it's worth investing in good quality sunglasses when your eyes are going to be exposed to that level of sun! I don't believe in hiding slightly more expensive sunglasses away for  rare occasions - what's the point in that?! The tinted, polarised, lenses allow the perfect amount of light through making it so easy to see clearly in bright light, while tinting the world lovely golden colour. These already have been, and definitely will be, put to good use over the next few months! The whole Polaroid collection is lovely, it took me a while to whittle down my selection to just this pair! As well as Polaroid, Sunglasses Shop also stock a wide range of other well known brands like Ray Ban, Chanel, Michael Kors plus loads more.

Sunglasses Shop are very kindly giving one of my readers the chance to win a pair of Polaroid Sunglasses from their site! All you need to do is enter through the Rafflecopter widget below and make sure you've completed the mandatory requirements! The competition will end next Tuesday. Good luck! 

What you need to do:
- Be a follower of my blog on Bloglovin'
- Let me know which sunglasses you'd like to win from this page in a comment
Make sure you mark each of these as complete on the Rafflecopter app, otherwise your entry won't be counted! These three are mandatory, but there's also some further optional entries to earn more points!

a Rafflecopter giveaway