A Few Favourites: January

So there it is, the first month of 2016 done and dusted. We began the year setting off fireworks at midnight, comparing New Year’s resolutions, taking down the Christmas decorations (sob) and heading back to work.

Despite threats of a serious case of January blues setting in, it’s actually been a fun and busy month. Temperatures have dropped, we’re thanking the high heavens for the car’s seat warmers and even awoke one Sunday morning to a dusting of snow. Tiarnan and I were lucky enough to escape on a spa break, and having massages, chilling in the Jacuzzi and generally being waited on was more than enough to banish any post-Christmas sadness.

So onwards and upwards to February – the month of all things lurve. I plan on spending it under a duvet waiting for winter to pass…

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*Turtlenecks: I have always had two clothing obsessions: white lace and stripes. After banning myself from buying anything stripey (because it really did get that out of control), I seem to have developed a new love… Turtlenecks. They are everywhere at the moment, and with good reason. There’s just nothing warmer! And somehow they manage to keep you feeling toasty while still looking good. I do enjoy a good blanket scarf, but they can leave my hair looking somewhat mad professor-ish. With the turtleneck, you don’t even need a scarf. All hail the turtleneck!

*Kindle: Ah, my Kindle. I’ve had it for over two years and we have a bit of an on-off relationship if I’m honest. It always comes out for summer holidays, but most of the time I just want to hold an actual book. But a combination of countless train journeys and getting back into Game of Thrones (hello enormous books) has made the two of us best friends. I can take it everywhere without even noticing I have it and any book I want to read is only a tap away.

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*Back to basics make-up: After all the glitter and excitement of festive make-up, I thought I’d be sad to see it go. As it happens, I’ve gone completely the other way. Heavy on skincare, light on make-up has been the way of January. For a polished but minimal look I’ve been absolutely loving my Urban Decay Naked Basics palette. The shades are mainly matte, but still beautifully creamy and so easy to blend. I’ve also been loving my Dermalogica skin smoothing cream, it feels like such a skin treat after a long day!

*The Mae Deli: One of my New Year’s resolutions is to explore London more, and this has to be my favourite January find. I wrote all about it here so I won’t bang on, but it’s such a friendly, welcoming place and everything is super healthy and so delicious. Deliciously Ella has generally been on it this month with her new book as well, and I’m excited to get recipe testing in February!

*The fit life: This month has been all about counteracting the festive indulgences. I’ve been hitting the gym and really enjoying it for the first time in a while. I also took on the 30 day squat challenge and I’ve absolutely loved it, I would highly recommend doing a 30 day challenge to feel great about yourself! Tiarnan and I have been creating healthy dinners together each evening and visiting juice bars to decide on our favourite (I’ll report back on that…) It’s very typical to be all about fitness in January, so let’s hope it continues.

Festive Make-Up Essentials

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With just five days until Christmas (eee!) I’ve started to pull out all of my favourite festive make-up items that are a bit OTT at any other time of year. Christmas calls for glitter, does it not? And even if you dress casually for the big day, it’s still fun to spend a bit of extra time on your make-up. Here are my favourite (mainly glittery) beauty bits and pieces for this time of year.

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First up, let’s talk eyes. One of the easiest ways to incorporate a bit of sparkle into your look is through eyeshadows. My absolute favourite eyeshadow quad for this is bareMinerals The Soundtrack. It has a deliciously creamy, matte champagne to use as a base and then three shimmer shades to play with! My favourite is the copper eyeshadow, and a wash of this all over the lid makes for a really easy, Christmassy look. For single eyeshadows, MAC All That Glitters (an absolute classic) and L’Oreal Pin-Up Pink are the best for a more subtle look with a hint of sparkle. And finally, bareMineral Prime Time, their brightening eyelid primer not only keeps your eyeshadows look amazing all day, but also adds a really nice glow.

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Moving on to pigments, because if you want to do glitter properly, they are the only way to go. I find them a bit of a messy faff usually, but for Christmas I’m willing to make an exception. I always feel that bareMinerals is such an underrated brand. Their foundations get a lot of hype, but their eyeshadows (both loose and pressed) are amazing. Here is a selection of the bareMinerals Eyecolour in (moving left to right) Flawless Diamond, Zany and Centre Stage. All three are beautiful colours, but zany is a bit more unexpected as a super glittery forest green. bareMinerals also do amazing gift sets for Christmas, and you can get great selections of their Eyecolours in them. If you are feeling a little more bold, look out for the Illamasqua Precision Ink. This one is in Wisdom which is a gold, glittery liquid eyeliner. They have a selection of crazy (and more conventional) colours, and you can create some really fun eye looks with them for parties and the festive season.

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And finally, it wouldn’t be Christmas without festive nail varnish! I always think nail varnish is so much fun to play around with and it’s really easy to build up a collection of your favourite colours. December calls for a classic red shade, and the best I’ve found is Essie Russian Roulette. It looks great on its own or as a base for glitter. As far as red glitters go, you can’t go wrong with Barry M Ruby Slippers – super cheap and super festive! For a more high end option, OPI always have beautiful Christmas collections. This is one of their’s from last year, Red Fingers & Mistletoes and probably my favourite festive nail colour, a stunning blend of red and gold glitter. If you aren’t a fan of red or just want to mix it up a little, gold, silver and copper are my favourite options. butter London have a great selection, but I love Champers (copper) and Posh Bird (silver). Sally Hansen Coat of Arms is one of the sparkliest shades I own and Essie Buy Me a Cameo  is a bit more subtle, and a beautiful rose gold shade. And if you’re looking for something a little different, Tanya Burr Cosmetics Under the Sea is an amazing blend of chunky blue, green and silver glitter. Perfect for New Year!

I hope this has given you some festive beauty inspiration, what are your favourite Christmassy make-up items? Merry Christmas, everyone!

On a Budget: L’Oréal Eyes

Expensive make-up is lovely to have and own, but sometimes it’s the budget finds that are the real gems. For me, L’Oréal is one of the best brands at this and I always find myself lingering over their stand in Boots.

An invaluable tip that I have learnt about L’Oréal is that as an umbrella group, they own many of the most famous high end brands. Lancôme, YSL, Kiehl’s and Urban Decay are just some of the much hyped brands that they own. This means that while initially new products are launched into the high-end groups, the best cosmetics filter down into their budget options and this is where you can find the best dupes. Because they are owned by the same group, the products really are the same, even at a fraction of the price.

Today I’m going to chat to you about a trio of L’Oréal products that my make-up bag (and my eyes!) couldn’t live without. I’m a big believer in mixing and matching products to find the best from each brand, so it really says something that all of these are from L’Oréal.

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*Color Riche L’Ombre Pure Eyeshadows: These are some of my all time favourite budget finds and, as you can see, they are well loved. These come in an absolutely enormous array of shades with 24 colours in the range. They also have a variety of finishes, in Nude, Matte, Pop, Smoky, Cameleon and Lumiere.

On the left is Lumiere 507 Pink Up Pink. While it looks quite alarmingly pink, it really doesn’t look like that on the eye. It has a gold shimmer running through it that creates a beautiful glow, rather than being really glittery. It works really well under other eye shadows to brighten the whole look up or just on its own if you’re in a rush.

On the right is Matte 107 Macaron Vanille. This looks really boring in the pan, but it’s one of my favourite eyeshadows. Despite being matte, it is so creamy and blends easily in a way not dissimilar to the Urban Decay shadows. It is amazing as a base for any eye look, or on its own and it makes you look so much more awake on those sleepy Monday mornings!

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*Mega Volume Miss Manga Punky Mascara: I have loved all of the L’Oréal mascaras that I’ve tried (the Telescopic and Volume Million Lashes mascaras are both worth trying!) but this is my current favourite. It is marketed as creating ‘spiky lashes’ but don’t be put off by that. It’s super black and creates amazing, thick, fluttery eyelashes, rather than clumping them all together like normal spiky mascaras. I’ve also heard people saying it’s really hard to get off. I didn’t find this at all, so definitely give it a go!

*Super Liner Perfect Slim Eyeliner: The whole cat eye look does not come naturally to me. I don’t have the patience to practice and I don’t have the time in the morning to get it right. However, discovering this eyeliner has simplified the whole process for me. It’s a really thin felt tip liner, which is easier to control than most of the others, and the fact it’s so thin means you can go for a more subtle look or build it up gradually. It’s also super black and stays all day. For all the other liquid liner dummies out there, I would definitely recommend giving this one a go!

If you have any L’Oréal recommendations (for eye products or anything else) I would love to hear them!