Reflection 2016: New year Same Me

reflection 2016

Here comes my cliché statement of the year – 2016 went by all too quickly. You knew it was coming, hell I knew it was coming, so I thought it best to get it out there and out of the way.

The ‘new year new me’ statement that many of us adopt seems all too stereotypical doesn’t it? How many of us, regardless of whether or not we announce it, wait until the new year to wipe the slate clean and try again? Unashamedly I’m one of those people. The new year for me means that those all important changes which I couldn’t bear to face in October would be put into action. The new year means new goals, another tick off the 5 year plan, a ‘better’ version of me and a new method of thinking. A life which I’ve aspired to live for many years. A life which I’ve attempted every year, but failed miserably come February. A life which seems…well…perfect (my version of perfection at least). This new year, come rain or shine, I’m becoming that ideal of perfection that I’ve always craved for.

Sounds a little defeatist doesn’t it? I mean, what’s wrong with me? Why do I need to view the new year as a way of turning myself inside out to conform to ‘ideals’? I’ve lived through 2016 perfectly fine, why should 2017 be any different? Let’s think this through now. Do I really need to change in 2017? Yes and no.

2016 has been a huge building block for me. 2015 ended with the notion that the new year will bring prosperity, education and planning for a brighter future. The past 12 months have been used to build upon my knowledge, strive towards future plans and gain a foundation for 2017. Seems like a waste of a year, but 2016 was never about achieving goals, it was about working towards them.

I’ve eagerly anticipated the arrival of 2017 for quite some time. Several life-affecting changes will occur, some planned and some caught by surprise. Whilst working on a ‘better’ me seems like a great way to incorporate a fresh mind frame for these changes, I can’t help but focus on days gone by. My preceding years have been filled with great happiness and positivity. Not to say that I’m now not happy – not by any means. I simply ponder on the person I once was and wonder ‘what changed?’.

Well, for a start, age happened. Granted I’m only 30, but many of life’s occurrences have aged me immensely. Spontaneity, self-importance, personal gratification and a sense of adventure were all integral parts of my youth. Where did it all go? Have I become that much of an adult that I’ve lost my sense of fun? Perhaps. I’ve sacrificed a lot over the past 12 months and with that sacrifice, a little part of me drifted away.

Sounds a little sad when I read this out aloud. I’ve gone over it twice and twice again in my head, but to read it out aloud makes it all seem quite brutal. How could I let this happen? How could I lose my own personal sense of direction in order to achieve a great future for my family? Surely the old me is in there somewhere, just dying to come out. Even if I doesn’t suit my current lifestyle, surely the old me isn’t lost.

Despite my initial statement, 2017 DOES bring new hope for me. A hope that I become the exact same person I once was. A hope that my routine, my hobbies, my self-development, my goals and my aspirations become just as important as everything else that I’ve prioritised in the last 12 months. A hope that while I strive towards these life-changing alterations in 2017, I don’t lose a sense of myself in the process. I need to focus on what is important whilst maintaining self gratification. Find that right balance between responsibility and enjoyment, indulgence and self control and comfort vs self motivation. I need to get out there and do things for myself, even if it means that a little sacrifice will have to be made. Never, ever lose myself again, because the old me wasn’t all that bad.

So with all that said – does 2017 bring upon the opportunity to become a new person? Not for me it doesn’t. 2017 is all about becoming me again.

Wishing you all a happy, healthy and prosperous new year. May 2017 bring to light what’s important to you and give you the motivation to go out there and achieve it. Happy new year beauties xxx

Beauty Trends To Look Out For In 2017

I really can’t believe the new year is just around the corner. As cliché as it sounds, I don’t know where the year has gone. It seems like it was just yesterday when I was writing my 2015 Reflection post and now 2017 is just moments away.

2016 has been a huge learning curve for me, both personally and professionally. I entered the foreign world of beauty blogging with nothing but a passion and a few makeup brushes in tow. Fast forward 12 months and my collection (much to the dismay of my husband) has grown extensively as well as my knowledge.

Of course, 2016 would be nowhere without the inclusion of a few beauty trends. From glitter lips to silver-toned hair, the beauty community has been witness to some good, bad and shocking discoveries. 2017 brings a new era and along with that, new trends. I’ve rounded up 5 of them; which are set to make their mark in the new year. A few have already made a brief appearance, but yet to be released into the mainstream market.

Here are my top 5 beauty trends; which are predicted to rock the new year…

Chrome Nails
chrome nails

Just when you thought nudes were here to stay, in comes the chromes. Spread all over the pages of Instagram and Pinterest, we’ve seen an surge of chrome nails. I’m not talking glitter or even high shine finishes, I’m talking reflective AF golds, bronzes, silvers and rose golds. Mirror powder nails have made a brief entry into the beauty world in 2016, but it seems as though the trend is catching and every Insta-beauty around is sporting these not-so-subtle talons.

Facial Brushing
facial brushing

Originally derived from the Ayurvedic tradition of dry body brushing, this trend is slightly different to the traditional facial cleansing brushes that we’re used to seeing. Much like dry body brushing, a ‘brush’ is used in small, circular motions to remove dead skill cells, promote toxin release, combat texture and increase your skin’s natural radiance. Not only is it cheaper than most facial cleansing brushes and exfoliators, but it’s much more gentle on the skin. You’ll want to use a different brush on your face to the rest of your body as your face is much more sensitive, but 2017 is set to have a number of these specialised brushes on the market. Aveda currently offer the Tulasara Dry Facial Brush; which has received rave reviews and is already widely available.

Coloured Highlighting
coloured highlighters

2016 saw the mention of ‘rainbow’ highlighters. Not a particularly positive mention, more like a wave of ‘wtf’ across the beauty community. Yes they’re pretty to look at, but who can really pull off a multicoloured highlighter?! 2017 will see the rise of coloured illuminators in a much more subtle format. MAC’s infamous Strobe Cream now comes in an array of colours, all of which add that instant glow without looking like a clown. Jeffery Star’s Skin Frosts already have a pretty wacky colour selection, but the latest release of ‘Regina George’ (which is literally my favourite product name of life) really pushes the boat out. As long as you don’t go overboard, I reckon coloured highlighters would be quite fun.

Silicone Makeup Sponge
silicone sponge

One of the most anticipated inventions in the beauty world of 2017. The last month or so has been dominated by the independent cosmetics brand Molly Cosmetics. Ever since their Instagram debut of the Silisponge, beauty gurus around the world have been falling over themselves to get their makeup hoarding hands on one.

Think bra insert, or chicken cutlets in a flat BeautyBlender form. The Silisponge promises to blend out your base makeup with minimal cleaning effort, zero product absorption and no requirement for soaking in water – everything that the BeautyBlender doesn’t offer. Sounds like a dream come true, or is it? I’ll be tested it out once I get past the bloody waiting list!

Graphic Eyes
graphic eyes

Graphic eyes have made a comeback, gone away and made a comeback all over again over the years. However, 2017 is set to be the year for bold and dramatic eye liner to frame your eyes. A strong wing is obviously the safe route, but beauty experts expect to see more ‘detailed’ eye liner looks. Not sure if this trend will make it onto the mainstream market as many women, including myself, struggle to do a simple wing, but nevertheless it’s definitely a fun idea.

The Hangover Beauty Routine

The hangover. The dreaded post-celebration disorder; which involves a slow and painful death typically incurred by excessive consumption of alcohol and a bad sense of judgement. An ailment; which is at high risk during the festive period and can leave many people crawling their way into the new year in hopes for a clean slate. Symptoms usually involve sore heads, unquenchable thirst, insatiable desire for junk food and an extreme lack of mobility. Those who partake in Christmas celebrations often ignore the signs and further indulge in another glass (or bottle), because getting sloshed is pretty much what Christmas is all about.

It’s times like this that I look back at my youth and wonder how I was able to consume that much alcohol without the slightest glimpse of a hangover. Now that I’m in my thirties – that shit takes me two days, a constant flow of trash tv, a full body massage, a mental breakdown, an overdosing on pain killers and a large pizza with extra cheese. If only I could turn back the clock to a happier time. A time when life was simple. A time when everything made sense. A time (just before I ordered my last shot) when I can just walk away…with the tiniest bit of dignity. Unfortunately, that’s never going to happen and neither will my sense of judgement be improved so for now I’ll live with the fact that I turn into a a raging lunatic when it comes to Christmas.

It’s the general consensus that doing any kind of manual labour during the period of a hangover is simply not on. Many women would shudder at the thought of a full beauty routine when they feel as though their lives are hanging on by the last strand of tinsel. Normally I would agree, but I’ve learnt that a little bit of TLC can cut my hangover time by half. I’m not talking full spa days or bikini waxes. I’m talking a slight bit of pampering to scrape off the remnants of last night’s makeup and make you feel SLIGHTLY human again. Of course – trash tv and engaging in any sort of human interaction is at your discretion.

Here’s my non-strenuous routine…

Taking off the cake face

hangover 1

When I’ve stumbled into the house, greasy kebab in tow, the last thing I think about is taking off my makeup. I know I come across as a complete skincare advocate, but once in a while I give myself a break and enjoy the prospect of waking up with lipstick smeared across my forehead. Sounds awful to hear, but if it’s not a regular occurrence who cares?!

To rid myself of last night’s shame I turn to Hard Candy’s Take It Off makeup remover and Garnier’s Micellar Cleaning Water. The makeup remover literally ‘melts’ off my makeup (even stubborn waterproof mascara). It certainly beats scrubbing away at my face with a makeup wipe or going in with a facial brush. Garnier’s Micellar Cleaning Water is a lazy girl’s best friend when it comes to cleansing. I soak a cotton pad with the solution and swipe it all over my face and neck after I’ve removed my makeup. The micellar water literally ‘sucks’ out the dirt from your pores and removes anything the makeup remover leaves behind. Your skin feels fresh and clean without having to go through a huge skincare routine.

Scrubbing away the dirt

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My most strenuous, yet satisfying part of my routine. Exfoliating, for me, means ridding myself of the toxins, dirt and shame from the night before. It makes me feel new again, like I’ve shed a layer of skin. Sounds like an awful analogy, but putting in that little bit of effort to exfoliate your skin will make you feel whole again.

Soap and Glory’s Smoothie Star Breakfast Scrub has been a permanent staple in my bathroom for quite some time. It’s perhaps not the best scrub to use considering that I’m sensitive to smells during a hangover, but I absolutely love the texture. I pop myself into the bath, dampen my skin slightly and scrub away the grime from the night before.

Float in the bath

hangover 3

Experts say that a good soak in the tub does wonders for your overall health and wellbeing; such as lowering blood pressure, reducing stress, improving blood circulation and so on. That’s a statement I certainly agree with and when I get the opportunity, I plonk myself in a tub full of bubbles and let the world drift away. When I’m hungover, a good soak in the bath can do wonders for releasing the toxins and relaxing your muscles that, quite frankly, have been abused the night before. A nice, warm bath allows your mind, body and soul to unwind and de-stress; which sounds ridiculous when you think about it, but excessive drinking can cause mayhem for your body so relaxation is exactly what you need.

Being a bit of a bath enthusiast I have an array of relaxing smellies; which get me in the mood for drifting away. Molton Brown’s Relaxing Yuan Zhi Bath and Shower contains Yuan Zhi, a wild plant from the southern region of China; which is traditionally used to balance your Chi (energy). It contains moisturising and soothing properties to combat stress, promote relaxation and ease tension – perfect for washing away the booze from the night before.

Add the moisture back into your skin

hangover 4

You know, I know, my next door neighbour knows, and their cat knows that I LOVE coconut oil. For me, my home is not complete without a jar of this stuff. Coconut oil has a multitude of uses, all of which are too lengthy to list individually. However, when it comes to hangovers, coconut oil is your best antidote.

Oil pulling, in particular, is one of the best natural hangover cures out there. A tablespoon swished around your mouth and through your teeth draws out the harmful toxins from your body and removes the impurities ingested from the night before. Lathering your body in coconut oil, fresh out of the bath, can also do wonders for your hangover. Excessive drinking causes dehydration; which is greatly visible in your skin. Adding moisture back into your skin is essential for re-adding that youthful bounce and you can’t get more moisturising than coconut oil. Unlike many moisturisers on the market, coconut oil also absorbs quickly into the multiple layers of the skin; which means less time getting ready and more time lounging around being a slob.

Don’t be particular about the coconut oil that you use, any will do provided that it’s 100% organic and unrefined. My current favourite is Vita Coco Extra Virgin Organic Coconut Oil; which I get from Amazon.

Add a sheet mask for instant hydration

hangover 5

The skin on your face should never be treated as same as the skin on the rest of your body. The skin on your face is far more delicate, far more sensitive and requires far more attention than the robust skin on your body. However, like I mentioned earlier, I’m not up for strenuous routines when I’m hanging. In situations like this, a sheet mask is a life saver.

Much like my bath products, I have a collection of sheet masks to choose from. Most sheet masks are used for intense hydration so picking which one to use isn’t a difficult decision. However, on a recent trip to Boots, I noticed that the Garnier Moisture Bomb Tissue Masks were reduced down to 99p! I quickly gathered a couple (10…I got 10) and added them to my collection for days like these when I really need some deep moisturisation. These masks promise to add intense hydration in just 15 minutes, just enough time for you to get your Dominos order in. They’re slightly thinner than your average sheet mask, but the amount of serum that is included perhaps exceeds the amount which you really need for one use. Nevertheless, this mask is exactly what you need to add a bit of life back to your face, because let’s face it – none of us look particularly delightful after a night of drinking. Excessive alcohol draws out moisture from the skin, adds deep pigmentation around the eyes and exaggerates fine lines and wrinkles. Once you remove the mask, pat in the remaining serum around your face and you’ll feel like a new person by the time that delivery guy rings the doorbell.

Add some more coconut oil

hangover 6

You would think by now that I would’ve left the coconut oil alone, but alas, I’m not done yet. Upon a recent trip to TK MAXX (TJ MAXX for my American readers), I discovered the Pearlessence Coconut Water Facial Mist. I absolutely loved scouring the shelves of TK MAXX to find little beauty discoveries; which aren’t as widely available in the UK. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to locate the facial spray on the internet so I have no link to share with you, but I suggest heading down to your local TK MAXX, where you will find it in abundance.

When I’m hungover, I bundle myself in a blanket, crank up the heating and wallow in my own self pity. Whilst that sounds like complete bliss, it’s also very bad for the skin. I keep a bottle of this facial spray on hand so that I continuously add moisture back into my skin; which can dry out due to excessive heat. It’s not greasy by any means and despite its moisturising capabilities, it’s actually quite absorbent.

Veg out and chill

hangover 7

We finally made it! I know my routine looks lengthy, but I promise it takes me no more than 45 minutes to complete.

It’s now time to put your feet up, veg out with some junk food, put aside any important tasks you needed to complete and switch off until you’re ready to do it all again. Oh how I love Christmas!

The Body Shop’s Seasonal Body Butter Range 2016

body shop christmas 4

Christmas scents evoke a certain kind of feeling for crimbo lovers like me. A feeling; which is indescribable to those non-believers who don’t have egg nog running through their veins. Christmas is a magical time of year and there’s nothing better than literally smelling festivity in the air.

For me, cinnamon and roasting chestnuts are all I need to get my Christmas juices flowing, but for some (like my husband) the smell is hard to swallow. Whether it’s roasting nuts or tarte cranberries, Christmas scents have a direct affiliation to your memories; which is probably why many of us go gaga for Christmas smellies.

body shop christmas 5

Upon a recent shopping trip, I found myself stumbling into my local Body Shop store. I’m a huge smelly person (that didn’t come out right) and fighting the temptation of beautiful scents is something I find hard to resist. Sure enough, I was trying on every product available on every body part imaginable…only to walk out with three products.

I’ve been a big fan of TBS’s Body Butters for many years. Not only do they come in deliciously alluring scents, but they offer the kind of hydration that is surely welcomed during the colder months. The Christmas period sees the inclusion of their seasonal scents; which I naturally gravitated to first. Disappointingly, the only new scent this year was Vanilla Chai; which I’ve been waiting for with bated breath. Nevertheless, I wrapped my greedy fingers around the three scented body butters and prepared myself for a very honest review (is there any other way?).

Frosted Berries – £14.00

body shop christmas 1

If you’re into sickly sweet scents then Frosted Berries is your jam (so to speak). Infused with scents of juicy berries, white flowers, creamy praline and sweet vanilla – this is by far the most ‘girly’ scent of all those available.

Along with the scent, the packaging and the texture of the butter can almost be comparable to that of the Strawberry range which is available all year round. I’ve always been a fan of the Strawberry scent, but Frosted Berries has an air of musk to it; which makes it slightly more appealing to a mature palette.

If you’re sensitive to smells, this one is certainly not for you. The potency of the scent is overwhelming and although the fragrance mellows through out the day, it’s still very prominent. What does make this body butter so incredible, however, is its moisturising abilities. The Body Butters, in general, are fairly luxurious, however, the texture of the Frosted Berries is super thick, super creamy and super hydrating.

Spiced Apple – £14.00

body shop christmas 3

Strangely enough, I was slightly disappointed to see Spiced Apple on the shelves again. I’m not adversed to the fragrance, by any means. However, I had hoped that The Body Shop would have steered away from the usual and released a number of fragrances that have never been seen before. Regardless of my reservations, I lapped up the opportunity to pick up Spiced Apple, because…well…Christmas isn’t Christmas without this smell.

The scent is described as crisp apples, warm notes of cinnamon, fresh orange and white flowers. Now – if someone can explain to me what orange and white flowers are meant to smell like I would be much obliged as I was completely baffled when I read that. Nevertheless, the flowers do give this scent a delicate touch to an otherwise robust fragrance.

The smell isn’t a potent as Frosted Berries, in fact, the smell does tend to disappear within an hour. However, I find myself reaching for this butter in the mornings when I need a little mood enhancing ‘pick-me-up’. It’s certainly refreshing, to say the least and the moisturising benefits are definitely there, but in comparison, Frosted Berries is way more hydrating.

Vanilla Chai – £14.00

body shop christmas 2

This is TBS’s latest and most prominent addition to their seasonal range. I’ve eagerly awaited the arrival of Vanilla Chai since the beginning of Autumn. I’ve had a long standing love affair with chai for quite some time now. Ever since my first magical sip of chai tea latte, I’ve never been let down by this wonderful elixir of spices.

TBS’s Vanilla Chai is, without a doubt, the worst smelling chai fragrance I have ever smelt. The scent is hard to describe – it’s an almost synthetic, plastic smelling odour. Much to my disappointment, this body butter replicated none of the aromatic and exotic perfume that chai normally exudes. The fragrance smells even worse once it’s applied to the skin and the inclusion of star anise really leaves a robust, man-like scent to your skin.

Fair to say I’m definitely disappointed by Vanilla Chai. From what I thought would be the ultimate Christmas body cream, turned out to be a complete dud. Granted, the moisturising qualities are great, but there are certainly other products available; which offer the same hydration with a much better scent. Sorry TBS, but Vanilla Chai has made it onto my naughty list this year.

The entire Body Butter range can be found here on The Body Shop’s website.

Christmas 2016 Gift Guide

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It’s officially Christmas…well…not really, but it’s now December; which means that my inner Christmas geek is allowed to be released in full force. We all know that I love Christmas. An understand if you will, but Christmas has been and will always be my favourite time of the year.

My loved ones, who have had the unfortunate task of buying me a gift, will know that I’m not the easiest person to buy for. In fact, I rarely receive a gift that I haven’t initially picked out myself. Call me spoilt, overbearing or even controlling, but each year like clockwork, I roll out the Christmas Wish list lovingly referred to as ‘The Expensive List Of Crap That I Don’t Want To Buy Myself’. This year I decided to leave my fate in the hands of Santa’s little helpers. Better yet, write a blog post about all the things that I secretly desire so that my husband gets the hint.

I’ll leave the typing out of this post, because Christmas gift guides (or secret wish lists) need no explanation. If you’re on the hunt for some gift inspiration this year or you’re just nosey, like me, here’s a little indulgence for you…enjoy!

Gucci Princetown Leather Slipper £715

Bosch Tassimo Charmy £139.99

NYX Cosmetics Soft Matte Lip Cream Vault £85.00

Coast Peyton Faux Fur Scarf £39.00

Stadler Form Jasmine Aroma Diffuser in Black £37.52

Laura Mercier Le Petite Souffles Souffle Body Creme Collection £45.00

Bulgari Serpenti Forever Calf-Leather Shoulder Bag in Antique Bronze £1,850.00

China Letter Cup And Saucer Set £19.95

Diptyque Figuier/Fig Tree Candle £42.00