Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Christmas 2014


Hello there!

I know a lot of people have already posted about their Christmas but I've loved seeing what other people get up to, their decorations and their traditions so I thought I'd share mine too.

One of my favourite things about Christmas is my dog; he absolutely LOVES wrapping paper! He waits patiently for you to unwrap your present and then runs away with the paper to shred it up. By the end of the opening session he's surrounded and normally has a load stuck to his tail! What a beauty!

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I've dyed my hair back dark now and have been loving curling it and having it all back to my usual colour again. Blonde highlights were fun for the summer but I do prefer it this colour.

Wasn't long before Christmas dinner was served, we have ours about 1ish so I hadn't had many snacks beforehand and piled my plate up high! We had a massive turkey joint from our local butchers that we are still eating now.....even after the turkey curry!

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My job was to make a cheesecake for the big day so I made a ferrero rocher hazelnut cheesecake in the tin above. It took a good few hours to set but when we removed it it looked really good and didn't last long at all!

My dog seemed pretty happy with his new blanket and teddies that he had, what a spoilt pooch!

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We spent the afternoon playing games including a beetle drive, boy girl fruit flower and a few others. They were so much fun with everyone joining in especially making mistakes and coming up with wrong answers!

I had some lovely things for Christmas. My main present was a Hudl2 which is a tablet, I've wanted a tablet for ages but haven't been able to afford them and had no idea my parents had got me one! It was a lovely surprise and I'm hoping it will make blogging a lot easier too as I can do it on the go.

I also had a jar of nutella with my name on which was a personal highlight:

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I also had some amazing Alice in Wonderland items, my mum went on a bit of a theme! There was a mug and loose leaf tea from Whittards, a vintage Alice in Wonderland book and a diary for the year. I also have an owl diary so will have to decide which is going to be my work diary and which is going to be for blogging and fitness related things!


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In my Secret Santa gift I had a lovely bauble from Molton Brown filled with hand wash; how beautiful is this! I've never seen them before so it was a lovely surprise (though i think was well over our £5 budget!)

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Since Christmas Day we've been making our way through the leftovers by making Bubble and Squeak which is a Boxing Day tradition for us and also our annual winter beach walk. I've been shopping in the sales and spent a ridiculous amount of money on a black wool coat from Linea and a black Ralph Lauren dress that I'd seen full price and loved; I never thought it would be in the sale so I had to get it!

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I have been shopping for a dress for New Year's Eve too, this little black dress cost me £20 in the sale so I'm really pleased with such a bargain! I'm going to a friend's house for the night so needed something nice but also comfortable; this doesn't come with a belt and has a nice elasticated waistband and can be worn with tights so its perfect. I will be keeping warm and comfortable as well as hopefully looking nice too!

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I love the gold details on the bottom of the dress; black and gold is definitely a favourite of mine. I also did my nails nude and sparkly; this is Essie's Sand Tropez with Barry M's Rose Quartz glitter on top. It's a simple but pretty combo and I've added as many layers as possible for the ultimate New Year's bling!

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What have you been up to? Did you all have a good Christmas?

What will you be wearing tonight, do you have big plans or a quiet night in?

I'm hoping mines a bit of both!


L xxx



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Monday, 29 December 2014

Nars and God Created Women Palette

Hey All

Hope you've had a great Christmas. Mine was spent at home with the family. The week I was home has flown by in a busy rush and I'm not lookin forward to work today.

This Nars palette was something I got in my space nk haul bak in October. I was drawn to it as the natural colours looked like something I could use everyday and the palette was much smaller than my naked palettes to throw in a make up bag for when I stay at the other halfs.

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The colours at the top are with primer.


I also loved that it came with a mini eyeshadow primer and brush. I'd heard a lot about the primer and wanted to try it, especially as I'd heard it was good for oily skin.

When the palette arrived it didn't disapoint. I love the compact size of it and the colours were gorgeous. Having never tried Nars eyeshadows I didn't know what to expect with pigmentation and blendibility (have I just made up that word?). The shimmer colours were easy to apply to the eyes and had a soft buttery texture. The two matte shades also b
ended well but weren't as soft as the shimmers. The pigmentation is also impressive and all the colours apply well. With primer the colours are even more intense.

The palette is versitile and the colours easily work for day time but can be built up for a more intense evening look.

Here are some of the looks I've created with the palette. The last few photos also show te shadows after twelve hours where. An eyeshadow that really lasts is imporant to me as I usually end up doing things straigh after work so need something that last through.

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This is with the lightest colour all over the lid and the light matte brown/taupe blended in the crease.

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Here I used the darker colours to deepen the crease and outer V.

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After twelve hours wear

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The handbag size of this appeals to me as I quite oftendo my make up on the bus. The packaging is the standard Nars monochrome so it is quite grubby now from being in my handbag. Each eyeshadow is a gram so a reasonable size (a regular mac eyeshadow is 1.5 grams).

I can't wait to get my hands on more nars eyeshadows. I'm impressed with them. Have youtried the Nars eyeshadows?

Love M

xxx

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Friday, 26 December 2014

Festive Make Up Ideas


Hello there!

I'm sure we are all feeling very full and probably a little ashamed of our eating habits yesterday. As usual I ended up eating a massive Christmas dinner with cheesecake to finish and then following it up with a second round later on in the evening along with chocolates and nibbles....the guilt is unreal.

The last thing that is on my mind right now is getting ready for my next night out, particularly New Year's Eve as it seems so far away and another eating/drinking session seems a bit vile. However the planning necessary for the hair and make up element of the night seems a nice and easy task right now.

I've been looking up some inspiration and instead of trying to create my own to show you I thought I'd leave it to the more capable hands of Pinterest. All of these images have come from my account if you'd like to view them (username is 'thecsigirls' you can find it by clicking in the toolbar to the right)



So yes, to double clarify, none of these are my own just purely some inspiration for some simple and some more extravagant beauty ideas for the end of year party.


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Thursday, 25 December 2014

2014: The Round Up


So a very Merry Christmas to you all!

Hope you are all having a lovely day so far and looking forward to your Christmas dinner as much as I am...

Today's post is a bit of a round up of my year in pictures, I was hoping it would be an easy post to write and read but I seem to have been up to a lot in the last year!

One of my favourite pictures from the year of myself (in a non up myself kind of way - good way to start a post!) is the one below, I finally fitted into a dress that I've had for a while without looking like a right pig. I really liked this dress from M&S Limited Collection when I bought it but although the zip did up it never looked right and I certainly didn't feel comfortable in it.


My actual weight hasn't changed much but my composition of muscle and fat has changed and hopefully will continue to.
Going to the gym initially was something to stop me gaining weight and to get me active again whilst at uni doing my masters. Now it has become habit I enjoy going a few times a week and it feels weird if i don't go; hopefully throughout the next year I will see further improvements as I plan to work harder and push myself even more.


Next up was my first ever festival, Glastonbury. 
I'd also never stayed in a tent before so it was a lot of firsts all rolled into one and I loved it!


I saw so many bands and ate so many different meals it was GREAT. I'd love to go back again but I've no idea what the future holds and the tickets completely passed me by this year, maybe I will have to try another festival.

Not long after I went to Edinburgh on a hen weekend and it was AMAZING. We went to the dungeons and wandered around Edinburgh shops for a bit and also went to the zoo, as well as karaoke and a night out - so much fun and I can't wait to go back to Edinburgh again as it was so beautiful.




I can see exactly why JK Rowling managed to write Harry Potter in a place like this.

A few weeks after this I spent a long time making a decision to leave a job that I thought would be a career that lasted years, if not the rest of my life. It was a massive and scary move to leave a job that I knew I would never be able to get again as they are like gold dust. I also didn't have another job to go to, and leaving a job (albeit one that made me feel like shit) was a pretty risky and some might say stupid move. Thankfully it has all worked out for the best and I have a new job now that I love and feel so much more comfortable and happy in and am really looking forward to the future there.


Around the same time there was a lot of other things going on in my life; my mum was also ill and had to go into hospital to have a tumour removed so it was stressful and definitely taking a big leap into the unknown. Thankfully everything is ok, her recovery has been pretty good and fingers crossed it's all over now and she can enjoy her early retirement (and make me extremely jealous with all of her holidays!).


I'm so unbelievably proud of myself and M for completing a Tough Mudder challenge in August; it was one of the hardest things I have ever done before both mentally and physically and the relief of getting to the finish line was overwhelming. But we both managed to do it and get there to claim our tshirt and most importantly, the headband and the pint.

We've just signed up for another for next year to get the green headband so I feel like comparing it to childbirth (not that I know what that feels like) but in the way that the pain doesn't seem to last as long as the feeling of triumph! Training begins after the Christmas food is out the way.


In fact leaving my job, my mum being in hospital and Tough Mudder all happened within 4 days so it was a pretty stressful, crazy and emotional few days and I'll be grateful for that to never happen again.

I've also been on a lot of walks around Wales that I am really looking forward to doing more of in 2015. My dog loves joining me and with views like this who can blame him?! It has certainly been an active year.







Beauty wise a few things have changed too. I had highlights and ombre in my hair so many times my hair was unrecognisable from its natural state. After a summer in Glasto and multiple hen weekends it certainly took a bashing so I've decided to go back dark again to my natural colour. You can see the massive difference in the photos above! I'll be staying dark for a long time now.

I kept telling myself I'd be restrained in 2014 and not buy so much....I did a lot better than previous years but seemed to have 2 rather large splurges at the end of the year. Oops!


I managed to use a lot of points, vouchers etc to get these and even cashed in a few Back to Macs this year so I definitely can't complain. The Pulp Fiction collection has been a firm favourite of mine and Nars is my latest favourite brand as I've been so impressed with everything I've tried from them.


2014 has been a massive whirlwind and for the first time since I started working at 16 I actually have time off over Christmas; and I'm not just talking the UK holidays, I have a whole 10 days off!

This year I'm really looking forward to spending the day with my family, eating a lot of good food and of course our annual Boxing Day walk on the beach (yep, you read that right!)



Having such a busy year has been both good and bad but I'm keeping everything crossed that next year will be happier and more successful than ever.

What are your plans for 2015? Do you have any hopes and dreams or resolutions to complete?


I'm having a little think about mine before publishing them next month!


L xxx


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Monday, 22 December 2014

Last Minute Crafty Christmas Ideas

Hey All

I cant't belive it's Christmas in three days! I wanted to share a quick and easy present idea I gave to the other half and his parents. I always find buying for someone else's parents one of the hardest presents to buy, especially as I've only met them a handful of times.

Back in July we went out to celebreate his parents birthday's and induldge in a few cocktails. They both kept to drinking the same cocktail all evening so I decided to make them personailised cocktail kits of these drinks.

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This is an easy present to make for someone but it can get pricey dependingo the drink you make and can be better to do it for a group like I did as some items then fell into the communal kit. Items I included in the communal bag were:
  • cocktail shaker
  • sugar syrup
  • lemons
  • lemon juice
  • soda water
I decided I wanted to go for a rustic look and not like I had just bought the stuff and shoved it in a bag so I decided to get plain glass bottles, luggage labels and as many little jars as was reasonable to put things in. I also opted for 500ml glass bottles as it worked out cheaper for the main alcohol. A litre bottle would have significantly raised the cost per kit. TK maxx is great for cheap kilner bottles but I found a great alternative in Clas Olshen. The500ml bottles were £2.99 and on 3 for 2 as they had Merry Christmas on. Ikea and asda do ver reasonabley priced litre bottles.

Sugar syrup was someting I made as it worked out cheaper. I bought a litre glass bottle for bout £2 then used a 500g bag of sugar. To make it I measured out the sugr in cups then added half the amount of water, melted over the stove then reduced down for 5 mins.

The last part was assembley. I washed and sterilised the bottles then filled them added the luggage tags wit what the cocktails were and how to make them.

I always think a personalised gift goes down well. With the alcohol make sure you shop around. It makes such a difference. Plus by making 500ml cocktails you start a little bar for yourself with leftovers.

Do you make presents?

Love M

xxx



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Saturday, 20 December 2014

Beauty Rehab


Hey there!

I thought I'd end the year on a Beauty Rehab post; I've been working hard to use up my stash over the last few months. Body products suddenly seemed to be taking over my life so I've been working through them and trying not to replace them. I was doing well but now facial skincare appears to have taken its place. Nothing like being prepared though right?!

So let's get started on the mammoth collection of empties I have this time:

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Label M Protein Spray: loved using this and as someone who doesn't dabble in many hair products that's a pretty big deal!
Korres Shampoo and Conditioner for coloured hair: Bought in Waitrose, expensive but did last longer than other shampoos and conditioners I've used, would repurchase as a treat or when it's on offer.
Batiste: Nothing better than the original dry shampoo! Always have a stash of this
Philosophy Vanilla Birthday Cake Shower Gel: Bit of a sickly sweet smell for me but extremely thick and luxurious and was a lovely present, wouldn't repurchase though.

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Nip and Fab Cleansing Fix Oil: No longer available to buy from what I can gather but actually works well at removing make up - not convinced though as it contains mineral oil so I'm worried it will make me break out
No7 Brush Cleaner: had lots of hope for this but unfortunately you need to use a lot of it to get make up off and sometimes it still wasn't enough. Useful for emergencies but baby shampoo is always the best!
S&G Righteous Butter: Finally down to my last 2 pots of this (eek!) it's a fabulous body butter and smells divine I'm just not patient enough to sit and let it sink in sometimes! Love it.
Dove Summer Glow Lotion: the best one for me and my pale skin, usually go through bottles of this but I've been embracing my pale skin for the last few months. (seeing photos at Christmas parties has brought me back to my senses though...)

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Lush So White Shower Gel: Kindly given to me from Lush Cardiff at an event, was a new product to me and I loved the apple scent as some are overwhelming me, I'm so not adventurous with scents!
Nivea Facial Wash Gel: Made my skin drier as I no longer need products for combination/oily skin it would seem! Definitely need something more hydrating nowadays!
Neutrogena Deep Clean Daily Scrub: Unfortunately not a product available in the UK, this was sent to me from a friend in America and I have treasured it until now!
DGJ Berutti Oil: Hair products don't seem to have any effect on my hair, this one smelled lovely and did add shine but didn't seem to help the condition long time. 

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Dr Nick Lowe Age Correct Eye Serum: I love an eye serum, this one sunk in easily and I'd consider repurchasing on a Boots 3 for 3 deal.
Laura Mercier Silk Creme: already repurchased; the perfect second skin look, and although it's pricey it does last a really really long time as you use so little.
Clarins Body Wash: A sample given to me, not a fan of the smell so wouldn't repurchase. It smelt herby which was weird!
Origins MAD Cleansing Milk: I prefer a foaming wash but this was great on days where my skin was feeling sensitive so it was good for my gym wash bag.
Nip and Fab Viper Venom Wrinkle Fix: Loved this and would repurchase, probably will when I run out of my other 6 or so serums...(oops)

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E45 cream - massive allergic reaction to this, used it for ages so no idea why but won't be repurchasing!
Origins MAD Plus Rejuvenating Moisturiser - love love love! Hoping to get a Christmas gift set of this to fill my stash back up....
Nip and Fab Bee Sting Fix Eye Cream - this was ok, not the best eye cream and I was disappointed with the amount of product inside the pot
Origins High Potency Night A Mins - another love, I have another in the sidelines...
Lush H'Suan Wen Hua Hair Treatment - I thought this worked well but the huge pot only covered my hair 2 or 3 times so the price and value might be a bit off, would like to try others

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L'Occitane Shea Lip Butter - this was quite hard so wasn't great on chapped lips but really moisturising when it melted a bit, wouldn't repurchase
Balance Me Wonder Eye Cream - lovely, would repurchase
Benefit Porefessional - love the mini/travel sizes, extremely useful!
Benefit They're Real - again another love, but I wouldn't purchase it on its own, value is much better in a set and it's often in magazines...it's a Boots points kind of purchase!
Lancome Hypnose mascara - love their range of mascaras, their Christmas sets are great (fingers crossed)
Caudalie Polyphenol Detox Oil - loved this, will need to buy it in full size to fully get the benefits!

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Rimmel Wonderfull mascara - not sure the Argan oil makes a load of difference but it was a good mascara and Rimmel always seem to be the best for me
Boots Brazil Nut body butter - love these small pots, great for travelling!
Boots Nail Block - the cheapest and the best, always pick these up in 3 for 2 deals
Rimmel Stay Matte pressed powder - Always have more of these, the best pressed powder for the money, would never use any other


Phew what a way to end the year, so many pots and tubs I've gone through and still so many more to go!
Fingers crossed I'll carry on ploughing through at this speed for the rest of the year. What have you been using up over the last few weeks?


L xxx



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Friday, 19 December 2014

2014: Favourite Products of the Year


Well it isn't long until the big day now is it?! 

I've been having an enjoyable time looking over some of my posts from the last year and trying to decide which products have been my favourite. Some months it was easy to pick one out, others it was difficult to choose between some and I did end up listing a few!

So without waffling on any longer here are my favourite products from the last year, if you click on the product name it will take you straight to the original review.

January

The Tangle Teezer was a present that i told my brother to buy me when I had no pennies left and my hairdresser recommended it to me. It was a winner and I need more of them, one for my gym bag, a mini for my handbag...the list is endless! You really do need one.


February

The Antipodes Aura Manuka Honey Mask has been raved about for a while and it took me a few months to get my hands on it but it has solved so many skin problems varying from dehydration to breakouts that it's a necessary product in my cabinet now.


March

As an avid Origins fan I love it at Christmas time when they bring out their sets. Last year's Origins Morning to Midnight Set was my first chance to try the popular Night A Mins and Ginzing moisturiser. All I need to tell you is that I've already picked up this year's version, they're so great for value and it comes with a make up bag this year too!


April

Urban Decay 24/7 Glide On Eye Pencil in Naked Basics was something I bought at the Electric Palette product showcase. The 24/7 pencils are awesome and I wanted more variety of every day colours to add to my make up bag; this one matches my Basics palette and has been used quite a lot throughout the year for a subtly lined eye for work.


May

I'll start by telling you now that Urban Decay have taken a large amount of cash from me this year so expect to be bombarded with pictures. Urban Decay Naked Skin Foundation is a gorgeous lightweight foundation that really does look like a second skin; though I find it doesn't cover enough on those bad skin days that crop up.


After my successful purchase of the Naked Basics eye pencil when I saw the Triple Threat set with 3 of the most used colours I knew I had to have it. Urban Decay 24/7 Glide On Eye Pencil Triple Threat set contains Perversion which I now find I have 3 of in my make up bag; it really is as good as everyone says and I wouldn't use anything else.


June

I bought a palette last year to put all of my MAC pan eye shadows into but am yet to complete a side of it. It was my plan to buy more but clearly I've been side tracked throughout the year... I did pick up MAC Eyeshadow in Satin Taupe after many recommendations and can say it's another worthy of the reviews. It blends out super easily for day and can be applied heavier for night for a smoky eye.


July

With all of my new 24/7 pencils it was only time before I picked up the Urban Decay 24/7 Blending Brush It's a must for those who like a blended and smoky line on the eyes and like the blend multiple colours too. I haven't seen many brushes like this either and the quality is great. I use it daily.



August

Good Things Manuka Honey Cream Cleanser was a random purchase but one I loved; I've since been back to try more from the range and am yet to be disappointed. No nasty chemicals, products that work and all for an affordable price! No brainer.


September 

Urban Decay have killed it this year with their new products; the Pulp Fiction collection was no different. The eyeshadow palette and the lipstick and liner were very welcome additions to my life - note the happy face wearing it all below!



Not to mention also their Perversion and Subversion mascara and lash primer. The mascara is fab on its own but the lash primer really makes your lashes thicker and longer; I save this for my nights out for a false lash effect.


Neal's Yard Remedies Wild Rose Beauty Balm was kindly given to me to review after a NYR Organic Beauty party. It was a lovely and fun event and I've been using this multi functional wonder product ever since. The 10th Year anniversary design is gorgeous and gives you an inkling of how loved the product is; 10 years is a brilliant achievement!


October

Not much needs to be said about this one if you've seen it. Benefit's Cheeky Sweet Spot is their first ever palette containing a variety of blushes from the Box O Powder product extraordinaires. Get it before it sells out!


Nars entered my life at this point for the very first time. Cue lots of rave reviews from myself including Orgasm Blush and the Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Cruella



November

Another of my first Nars purchases, the Nars Satin Lip Pencil in Hyde Park has become a firm favourite in my handbag as the satin finish allows it to be worn for a variety of occasions and the colour is a beautiful berry colour perfect for the Autumn Winter season.



December

It was a tough call for the December favourite but luckily for me there weren't a lot of products to choose from as the reviews were replaced with yearly round ups and lifestyle posts. The infamous UD have brought out another corker of a Christmas gift set in the form of the Urban Decay Black Magic 24/7 Double Ended Pencils. You need this if you love eyeliners, if you love the 24/7 pencils, if you love darker liners or if you travel and like to carry a variety of colours with you at one time.



Special mention also goes to Nip and Fab generally seeing as I've purchased pretty much their entire range this year, and also to the Nars Virtual Domination palette which I haven't yet reviewed and am totally in love with, plus the UD TEN 24/7 eyeliner set which is another staple for a coloured liner fan like myself. Cue lots of party looks coming my way!


What have been your favourite products of the year?


L xxx



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