| I’ve Got Some Exciting News |

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I’m so sorry that I’ve been MIA for the past month but I have a good reason that I’m about to explain…

To put it simply, I moved home to Ireland!

It’s still incredibly strange to me that I’m sat typing a blog post in my living room in Ireland but yet a couple of weeks ago I was writing my posts in South Africa. Talk about a big change!

To fill you in on how this came about, I was offered a job that I couldn’t turn down. I have been given an amazing opportunity & opportunities like that don’t come around twice so it was a no-brainer that I was going to accept it. While I’m incredibly lucky in that perspective, I’m also lucky in more ways than one. I have such a supportive and encouraging boyfriend who has made sacrifices to move with me. I know that it isn’t easy to leave your family & friends behind to start a new life; I know that all too well. But I’m very lucky that he did that for me without giving it a second thought. It’s one of the many reasons that I love him so much & I’m excited to build our new life together here.

We’ve got our place & I’ve just finished the first week of my job & so far we’re settling in & it’s been lovely. It’s been a crazy month & a big adjustment for the two of us but we’re excited for the future & what it has in store for us.

I can’t wait to take you on this journey with me

 

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| Declutter : The Makeup I’m Getting Rid of & Why |

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For those of you who didn’t read my makeup collection post, you may not know that I like my entire makeup stash to be made up products that are all shown love & that actually get used. I’m not one for having so much makeup that things go off before I’ve had a good stab at them. 

With this in mind, while I was going through my makeup the other day, I realised that there were quite a few products in there that I hadn’t used in a long time because I didn’t like them quite so much or because they were a little old & perhaps past their best. So I decided that it was time to say goodbye to these items because I hate holding on to things that I just don’t need.

Here are the products that I’m saying goodbye to & why:

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The Balm Meet Matt(e) Hughes Liquid Lipstick in shade Doting
I previously wrote a rave review on these liquid lipsticks which you can read here, so you may be wondering why I’m getting rid of this shade. I love all of the shades of this particular liquid lipstick that I own, except this one. For those of you who have been with me for a while, you may know that I’m a pink/brown nude gal through-and-through. This particular shade is very much a peachy pink which means that it just doesn’t suit me. For whatever reason, peach just never looks cute on me so I have never reached for this & because I know it will never look good on me, it’s time for it to go.

L.A Girl Endless Semi-Permanent Lipliner in shade True Brown
As the name suggests, this eyeliner is a true brown shade & the colour is really pretty on the lips. But the colour isn’t my issue with this product; it’s the not-so-nice formula. You all know that I love the L.A Girl Pro Coverage Foundation but unfortunately this particular L.A Girl product let me down. The formula is so dry that I find it difficult to get a smooth line & it really doesn’t look good if you try to fill in your lips with it either. While the colour was pretty, the formula just wasn’t good enough & involved too much effort for me to use it any longer.

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Makeup Revolution Highlighter Palette in Radiant Lights
I am a Makeup Revolution gal through & through. I think they make amazing products for incredible prices & I’m so glad that more people are starting to hear about them. I own quite a few palettes from this brand from blush palettes to eyeshadow palettes & I had never been let down, until I got this one. There are three highlighter shades in this palette and although I love the deepest one when I have a tan, the other two just really disappointed me – especially when all of the other Makeup Revolution highlighters I’ve tried have been great. The two lighter shades had poor pigmentation & colour pay-off so I wasn’t able to achieve the poppin’ highlight that I’m usually after. I’m heading home to the UK next month & there are several palettes that I have my eye on so I decided to let this one go & make room for a better product.

 Essence Get Big Lashes Waterproof Mascara

I’ve really been enjoying Essence mascaras lately because I’ve found that they’re great mascaras for very affordable prices but one that I don’t recommend is this particular one in waterproof. The mascara itself is great as it lengthens & thickens well, doesn’t flake & wears well. But the problem is that it wears too well. This thing is a b*tch to take off. None of my makeup removers can take it off & I’m not all about pulling my eyes around & giving myself wrinkles over a stubborn mascara. Their non-waterproof mascaras are wonderful so save yourself the effort & stick with them instead!

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Soap & Glory Sexy Mother Pucker Lip Lacquer in Charm Offensive
I really don’t have anything negative to say about this lipgloss. It really is a fantastic lipgloss – it’s pigmented, long wearing and nice & glossy. The only reason that I’m getting rid of it is because I’ve had it too long now & it’s gone off. I will repurchase another one but perhaps not in the same shade as this one was a little too pink for me.

Sleek Matte Me Liquid Lip Cream in Birthday suit (middle) & Shabby Chic (bottom)
I wrote a detailed review on these liquid lipsticks here and it was really quite negative. As you can read my full thoughts on the linked review, I’ll keep this short & sweet – I really didn’t like them. The colours are lovely but I hated the formula – dry and uncomfortable to wear. I bought these when they were first released & I’m not sure if they have since changed their formula as a few people had commented on my review saying how much they like them. But if they haven’t reformulated then I won’t be buying any more. Sorry Sleek – I still like your other products though!

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Barry M Satin Super Slick Lip Paint in Shades 171 & 170
I find that Barry M can be one of those hit or miss brands. Some of their product releases are really great & some miss the mark. Unfortunately this lipstick range is a bit of a miss for me. The colour pay off from these lipsticks is incredible but the problem is that the formula is too moisturising (I never thought I would say that!) It’s so slippery that the lipstick goes on your teeth and outside your lipline far too easily making it incredibly difficult to wear. It’s the texture of a lip balm which I don’t think is practical for such a pigmented lipstick. As I bought two purple shades I think it makes it more obvious when they slide all over my face so these lipsticks may be better in a nude shade.

NYX Lip Lingerie Liquid Lipstick in Honeymoon
I must say that I like the Lip Lingerie range from NYX. It’s a collection of nude, liquid lipsticks so what isn’t there to like? The reason I’m no longer holding onto this particular one is because the colour just looks awful on me. It’s a greyish brown & unfortunately I just cannot pull it off. Maybe I’m not cool enough but I just look like I’m very sick when I wear this particular shade. I do recommend the Lip Lingerie lipsticks but unfortunately for me I just couldn’t make this particular shade work.

That is all of the products that I’m decluttering from my makeup stash. Unfortunately these products didn’t work for me for whatever reason & as a blogger I always prefer to be honest in my reviews, but that doesn’t mean they won’t necessarily work for you. 

| Advice That I Would Give My Younger Self |

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Gone are the days of being young, naive & a little stupid. I’m now a mid-twenties gal with some life experience under her belt & I truly feel like I’ve come a long way since my younger days. If I had the opportunity to sit down with my younger-self to have a cup of tea & a chat, here is the advice that I would give: 

You really don’t need to have your life figured out
I mentioned this in my What I learnt As A 24 Year Old Post.  When we’re young we’re told that we have to get good grades in school & that we have to go to university if we want to have any chance at being successful in life. My school drilled this into me which, now that I’m older, I don’t appreciate. It’s such an old way of thinking! At the age of 17 when I was applying to universities, I felt like I needed to have my life planned out in front of me. That if I didn’t, I would be lost like a fart in the wind & I’d never make something of myself.  I’d like to tell my younger-self that this is utter nonsense. You don’t need to know exactly what you’re going to do with your life. You don’t need to have a solid plan that you have to stick to. I only recently figured out the path that I’m good at & that I’m destined for & I’m 25. Guess what? It isn’t what I studied at university for either. Life has a way of putting you on the path that you need to be. Just enjoy the ride & don’t stress about it.

There’s more to life than your weight
I’ve told you all about my weight struggles in my Body Image By The Skinny Girl post. I’ve suffered with being underweight my whole life & I’m open about it with anyone who wants to talk about it. When I was growing up, especially during my teenage years (because we all know how difficult body image can be when you’re a teenager) I tortured myself mentally about my weight. I would cry myself to sleep over it. I would change my outfit 10 times until I found the outfit I didn’t look ‘too skinny’ in & then I would go back to feeling bad about myself as soon as I saw my reflection in a shop window or a mirror. I would take every single stare,  every single look & every single comment about my size to heart & I would let it affect me. I wasted a lot of time hating how my body looked & because of that it still affects me today – although I’m happy to say that these occasions are very rare. I realised that there is so much more to life than your weight. My weight doesn’t define me & I just wish that I realised that at a much younger age.

Value yourself
It wasn’t until I hit the age of 22 that I really began to value myself as a person – especially when it came to dating. I dated people who were completely wrong for me & that I knew were completely wrong for me. But because I didn’t value myself as much as I should have, I stayed with that person. I let them treat me in a way that I never should have allowed. I don’t know at which point the switch flipped, but suddenly I refused to have anyone in my life who didn’t add value to it & who didn’t truly make me happy. Now I’m so happy to say that since that change I have found the love of my life who is a true gentleman who treats me better than anyone else ever has or ever could. It’s so important that we value ourselves enough to demand the love & respect that we deserve.

Don’t be scared to be yourself
This is something that I think a lot of young people experience because it’s with age & maturity that we sometimes learn the art of not giving a hoot. I used to care far too much about what people thought of me. I wouldn’t go out without makeup on in fear that, heaven forbid, someone I knew saw me. I wouldn’t do certain things in case people judged me. I just wanted to be liked by everyone. Now I really don’t care anymore. The reality is that the world is full of judgemental people who will judge you no matter what you do. So instead of worrying about them or trying to please them, worry about yourself & please yourself. After-all, it’s your own thoughts inside your head that you have to deal with, not theirs.

Stay young & don’t rush to grow up
When we were young, most of us remember thinking ‘I can’t wait to grow up’. I also remember many of the adults in my life at the time telling me ‘your childhood goes so quickly so enjoy it while you can!’ Did I listen to this advice? No. I wanted to grow up too quickly. I wanted to dress older, look older, feel older & act older. Now that I am older I wish that I could tell my younger self to be immature while I can. Having no responsibilities and no ‘adult worries’ is a wonderful thing that we only experience for such a short time. You never get to be a kid again. 

My word, life is so short
It seems like only yesterday I turned 18. Today as I write this I’m now 25. I know that I am still young but what scares me is that I’m half way through my 20’s already. The years are flying past at a rate I never would have expected. I wish I could give my younger self the cliche advice that we’re all given countless times – to enjoy life because it’s so short. I want to tell my younger-self to go out and do everything that I want to do. To tick off the items on my bucket list no matter how scary they are. My years are flying by & before I know it, it’ll be tied down with a house & kids so enjoy all the adventures while the opportunity is there & throw yourself into absolutely everything you do.

What advice would you give to your younger self? 

| 5 Foundations You Need To Buy|

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As a beauty-lover I am always on the hunt for the next perfect foundation that will make my skin look as flawless as possible. But with so many options out there it can feel a little overwhelming. Over the years I’ve tried countless foundations from inexpensive to high-end & I’ve found a few solid favourites along the way. Here is my list of the 5 foundations that you must buy: 

Vichy Dermablend Fluid Corrective Foundation 
I have used this foundation for years & have mentioned it on here a couple of times before. Vichy Fluid Corrective Foundation is marketed as a high coverage foundation that is suitable for minor to moderate skin concerns including acne & blemishes, rosacea, vitiligo, tattoos and scars. As it is targeted in this way you can imagine how fantastic the coverage is. When I initially bought this foundation I was a little concerned that it would be incredibly heavy because of how high the coverage is but it is the complete opposite. It’s so incredibly light on the skin & that’s because it is formulated with a 25% pigment concentration (much higher than your average foundation) instead of being a thick consistency. It’s also non-comodogenic so if you suffer from acne or breakouts, it shouldn’t clog your pores & cause additional breakouts. It’s also hypoallergenic so won’t irritate sensitive skin. All in all, if you have skin concerns or if you don’t, this product is fantastic & at £20 it’s more than worth the money!

Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place Makeup
It’s a foundation that has won numerous awards & is famous across the world & for good reason! It’s a foundation that gives great coverage and lasts so well throughout the day – they don’t call it ‘stay-in-place makeup’ for no reason! If I’m going to an event & need my makeup to stay on the entire day without going patchy or wearing off, this is the foundation I’ll always choose because it never lets me down. It also comes in a whopping 36 shades & caters to women of colour. A big plus in my books! A word of warning however to my dry-skinned ladies out there – if you use this foundation it’s important to moisturise your skin well beforehand for a smooth finish & to avoid it clinging to any dry patches.

Estee Lauder Double Wear Maximum Cover
This foundation is a similar concept to the Vichy foundation in that it’s packed full of coverage and can be used to conceal scars, acne, birthmarks, sun spots and varicose veins. I personally don’t need foundation to cover these things, but I do love a high coverage foundation & that is exactly what the Maximum Cover offers. It’s incredibly light for such a high coverage foundation and it’s also non-comodogenic so won’t clog your pores. I like to use this foundation on it’s own and I also like to mix it with other foundations to up their coverage. I’ve also seen other lovely ladies using this as a concealer so it’s a versatile product! This foundation isn’t quite as long-lasting as the Double Wear Stay-In-Place foundation so I do recommend that you set this foundation with a powder to avoid transfer and to keep it in place for longer.

Wet n Wild Photofocus Foundation
If you follow me on Instagram (you can follow me here if you aren’t yet) you’ll have seen me testing this foundation on my stories for the first time. Honestly, this foundation completely blew me away! I had seen beauty bloggers raving about this foundation & I finally bought into it & they really weren’t wrong. I must say I don’t like the smell of this foundation but when the formula is so good, I can handle it. It has a medium to full coverage (it’s definitely buildable) with an almost matte finish. As a dry-skin girl I’m normally reluctant to pick up matte foundations but the finish of this foundation is beautiful & didn’t look dry on my skin at all. It lasts so well throughout the day & looks just as good when I go to take my makeup off as it did when I first applied it – I just can’t believe that its a $5 foundation! In South Africa you can pick it up at your local Clicks store but if you’re in the UK it’s a little harder to get a hold of. I found it on Amazon & I really recommend that you pick one up for yourself. It’s my best beauty find of 2018 so far!

L.A Girl Pro Coverage Foundation
I bought this foundation after the beauty community was raving about it and claiming that it was a dupe for the infamous Makeup Forever HD Foundation – Of course I had to try it too. This foundation is so lightweight yet offers high coverage with a beautiful dewy finish. It looks absolutely gorgeous on the skin & leaves me looking dewy & healthy. Although it can move around on your face if you don’t set it so I recommend using a powder to set your foundation to avoid this. L.A girl is such an affordable brand and this foundation is no different – the value for money is unbelievable! I picked up the shade Natural but it’s a little dark for me so I’ll be purchasing a shade down next time!

You may spot in the picture that there is a 6th bottle (the very first one) & notice that it is clearly a lot darker than my foundation shades. I wanted to include it in this post because I think that it’s a fantastic product that you need in your makeup bag:

The Body Shop Darkening Shade Adjusting Drops
This little wonder product, as the name explains, darkens the shade of your foundation. If like me you wear fake tan quite a lot, it’s such a wonderful product. Simply add a drop or two into your current foundation & wallah! it now matches your tan. Not only does this make life easier, it also saves a fortune on having to buy 2 or 3 different shades in a foundation in order to match your skin. The Body Shop also offer lightening drops which will lighten the shade of your foundation if it is too dark for your skin. What a great idea from The Body Shop.

I love discovering new, wonderful foundations so please feel free to leave your personal favourites in the comments. 

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links

| How To Stop Procrastinating & Stay Focused |

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There are days when I am the absolute queen of procrastination. A task that should take 30 minutes can end up taking 1 hour 30 mins because I simply can’t focus on one thing at a time. We’ve all been there & when your mind is struggling to stay focused it can be so difficult to get yourself back in the zone. 

Having been self-employed for the past year & a half, I’ve come to learn a few tricks that I’m forced to pull out of the bag when I’m struggling to get even the smallest of tasks done. Here are my top tips to stop yourself from procrastinating & to actually get sh*t done:

Make yourself a to-do list with small manageable tasks
If I feel like I have too many things to do I find myself procrastinating more. Ironic right? I feel overwhelmed & frantic so I end up trying to do too many things at once which means things are left half-finished and nothing actually gets completed. This can leave you with even more tasks to do the next day & so the viscous circle begins.
To avoid this evil procrastination circle it’s important to keep a to-do list. Work always seems less intimidating when it’s written down on paper. I always create little check boxes beside each task so that I can tick it off as I go along, but of course you don’t have to do this. Also, if I have any big tasks to do e.g. creating a marketing strategy for one of my clients, I like to break this down into smaller, more manageable tasks. As humans we tend to avoid the big tasks like the plague, but when it’s broken down into smaller tasks it becomes less intimidating and is much easier to complete.

Put your phone away!
I referred to social media as being the devil in my Top Tips for Working From Home post because it is so distracting if you’re trying to get work done. If I’m procrastinating you’ll find that at least 70% of the time it’s because of my phone. There’s times when I have to be on my phone for work but the rest of the time it’s just completely unnecessary. If you too are distracted by social media or your phone then you need to get it away from you. If you’re at home simply leave it in another room. Just make sure that it’s on silent so that you can’t reach for it or hear any notifications coming through. If you’re out of the house & it isn’t possible to leave your phone somewhere else, then you’re just going to have to exercise your own self-control (which is easier than it sounds!) Look at it this way, the more time you waste on your phone, (yes, I do mean waste) the longer it’s going to take to get your work done and you know what that means? You’re eating into your own free time later, when you could be doing more enjoyable things!

Take a break or take regular breaks between tasks
If you are really struggling to get into your work groove & nothing seems to working, it’s okay to take a break for a while. Go and watch an episode of your favourite show, go to the gym or just do what makes you happy for an hour. But just make sure you take a break that lasts no more than one hour otherwise you’ll find yourself not wanting to get back to work.
The other thing that you can do is make use of something called the Pomodoro Technique. The Pomodoro Technique uses evolutionary biology that is based around the length of time that our brains can fully concentrate on a task. It involves the use of a timer to break down work into intervals (usually 25 minutes long) before taking a short break. These working intervals are called Pomodoro’s. You can use this method by following the 6 steps below:

  1. Set a timer for 25 minutes & set to work on your first task
  2. Stop working on your task when the timer goes off
  3. Take short break of 3-5 minutes
  4. Repeat step 1 another two times
  5. On your fourth pomodoro take a longer break of 15-30 minutes
  6. Once your break is over go back to step 1 & repeat


Listen to music

Now this method may not work for everyone because I know my partner can’t work with music in the background. However I find that when I have music in the background or playing through my headphones, that I am so much more motivated. I find myself getting so absorbed in my work that I don’t notice the time passing. If you can’t listen to music with lyrics then you can also try listening to instrumental music instead. You can find one of my favourite instrumental playlists here on Youtube.

Get in your most productive environment
There will be days when you can work anywhere because you’re feeling super productive & nothing will stop you from banging out your work. But on the days when you’re feeling less productive it’s up to you to put yourself in your most productive environment. Don’t sit in a room with a TV or any unnecessary technological distractions. Your most productive environment is personal to you. I am most productive when I’m working in my office (as long as the house is quiet) or in a coffee shop filled with other people working. Take time to discover the environment in which you’re most productive & work the hardest, then make sure that you’re there as often as possible.

Give yourself rewards
Give yourself something to look forward to & make it good. The catch is that you don’t get to reward yourself unless you get through everything on your to do list or until you reach your goals for that day. It’s tough I know, but if it’s really good reward then you’re going to work extra hard so that you can treat yourself later.

I hope that these tips help you out if you’re feeling a little (or a lot) unproductive. If you have any additional tips I’d love to hear them! 

| My Makeup Collection |

makeup collection, acrylic containers, beauty blogger

Being a blogger who writes mostly about beauty, my makeup collection is perhaps slightly larger than the average person. However, I am by no means a hoarder & I like to think I’m pretty good at keeping my makeup addiction under control, using up products & keeping my purchasing to a minimum.
I have always loved looking at people’s makeup collections to see what they have & how they store it. Beautifully presented makeup just makes me happy. So I thought why not show you exactly what makeup I have?

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To be honest I am not completely happy with how my makeup is stored. My partner and I weren’t planning on staying long at this property but we ended up staying longer than expected & I just never got around to buying makeup drawers. But when we move I’ll give you all a storage update that is hopefully a lot prettier than my current one.

You’ll have seen this little corner of my room many times in my photos but you won’t quite have seen it like this before. This is my ‘getting ready’ corner. On the left hand side you’ll see my handheld mirror & 2 jars full of brushes (90% of which are Real Techniques – check out my Best of Real Techniques post) On the other side I’ve added some girly decorations to add a little bit more excitement to my vanity corner.

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The long white drawer is where I keep all of my hair stuff but the brown set of drawers underneath is where my makeup is kept! I’ll admit, before I start applying my makeup I always take out the products that I’ll be using & then I sit my bum on these drawers to do my makeup – can you tell that this was a thrown together makeup area?

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In each of my two makeup drawers I have acrylic containers to keep my makeup organised & pretty. Acrylic containers are my container of choice because I can see all of my products at one time & they’re also easy to clean. Although, the only negative is that they do show up all of the makeup marks!

I bought the acrylic container you see in the above photo from B&M (believe it or not) and is stored in my top makeup drawer along with my eye shadow palettes. This container is generally full of the products that I use on my face first (apart from the lipsticks, but I have so many that I couldn’t fit them into the one container!)

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At the very back I keep my face primers, which I have successfully whittled down to just two. TWO! (any recommendations for great primers are welcome.) I also keep my MAC Fix + back there to use before and/or after I finish my makeup. In the next compartment I keep all of my foundations, of which I only have 6, as well as my travel sized MAC strobe cream for that glow from within & The Body Shop Darkening Drops in case I have a bit of a tan & need to darken any of my foundations.

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In front of my foundations you’ll find all of my drugstore lipsticks which are predominantly Rimmel lipsticks (read my Best of Rimmel Lipsticks post) but there are also lipsticks from L’oreal, Ted Baker & Barry M back there too. I love that these acrylic containers have specific spots for my lipsticks – it makes my lipsticks look so neat & tidy which will always get a BIG thumbs up from me!

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Moving over to the other side of this container; I keep all of my eyeliners right at the back. I really don’t like to keep a lot of eyeliners because I just don’t see the need as I only ever use black or brown & it takes me forever & a day just to use up one eyeliner. That is why I only have 3 eyeliner pencils & 1 liquid eyeliner pen!
I also keep my mascaras back here & again its the same story – I never have more than 2 at a time – a waterproof & a non-waterproof one! You’ll also find my concealers next to my two tubes of mascara & in front of that are my bronzers & contour powders from Barry M, Sleek & Bourjois as well as my setting powders from MAC, Vichy & Bare Minerals. The two little pots you see there are samples of the Ben Nye powders in light pink & white because I wanted to try them before I bought the big-ass container that they normally come in. (Although Makeup Revolution have since released a white Bake & Finish powder so I think I’ll get that instead for 1/4 of the price!)

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Moving onto the second drawer of my makeup storage you’ll find two acrylic containers this time. The one in the above photo is the same container from B&M that you already saw but this one is the home of all my favourite kinds of products!

At the very back left side, although you can’t really see them, I keep all of my individual eye shadows. I don’t have lots of them, probably about 10 or so, as I prefer eye shadows in palette form. In front of that are all of my Makeup Revolution Blush Palettes (can you tell I’m a fan?) They fit so perfectly in this little spot & I still have room for one more if I want to buy another. Highly, highly recommend getting yourself a couple of these palettes!

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In front of my blush palettes you’ll find all of my MAC lipsticks as well as one lonely little Dior lipstick.  Don’t MAC lipsticks look so pretty side-by-side?! You can read about my favourites on my Favourite MAC Lipsticks post!

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To the right of my MAC lippies you’ll find my highlighters as well as any blushes I have that aren’t in palette form.  This little section includes highlighters & blushes from brands like MUA, Makeup Revolution, Topshop, Dior, The Balm & Sleek. I’m not completely happy with this little section because I’d love to be able to lay all of my highlighters side by side for easy access but unfortunately they won’t fit!

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Behind my highlighters you’ll find my lip liners. I like to separate them by brand so that I can easily find what I’m looking for. At the front you’ll see all of my MAC lip liners. I keep these at the front because they’re my most reached for liners. The formula is amazing – creamy, pigmented & lasts well on the lips. Next to that are some thick liners that I bought from Ebay (you can find them here) They’re not my favourite because they can dry out my lips from time to time but I do like the shades & generally they’re not bad when paired with a lip balm or lipstick, so they can hang around for now. Behind these I also have my drugstore liners, of which there are only a few from L.A girl, Rimmel, Maybelline & L.A Girl. I’d love some recommendations for great drugstore lip liners if you have any!

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Last but not least we move onto my last acrylic container. This one is from Clicks and is a lot smaller than my other containers but it’s perfect for storing 16 lipsticks at one time. This container houses all of my liquid lipsticks & glosses perfectly as well as my Christian Louboutin lipstick. My Louboutin lipstick takes pride of place in my makeup collection as it was a gift from my wonderful boyfriend & because it’s my own little piece of luxury. I’m not one for keeping packaging normally, but I just had to keep this lipstick in its box. I mean, look how gorgeous!
On the right you’ll see all of my liquid lipsticks & glosses. I have 13 liquid lipsticks in total from Sleek, NYX & Bourjois as well as my 5 mini liquid lipsticks from The Balm (which you can’t see in the photo). I also keep my lip glosses in this container but you can tell I’m not a massive lip gloss wearer from the fact that I only own two, total!

So that’s it folks! My whole entire makeup collection. You may or may not agree but I do think it’s pretty small for a beauty blogger but I like it that way because nothing gets neglected & things rarely go off before I’ve used them up! How big is your makeup collection? 

 

| Current Lifestyle Favourites |

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You all know by now that talking about all things beauty related is my favourite pastime but I do like to change it up as much as I can, you know  with variety being the spice of life & all that. What better way to bring a little change to Beauty & The Blouse than to let you delve into my current lifestyle favourites. That way you can see exactly what I’m watching, reading & getting up to outside of the blogging world, so without further ado, let’s get started:  

Peaky Blinders: I am so happy that I’ve finally watched this series (well, seasons 1-3 because 4 isn’t on Netflix yet.) A few months ago I had made my other half watch the first episode, but at the time he just complained about how it was ‘yet another gangster series’ – What can I say, I like them (and to be fair to him we had watched a lot of them last year!) But fast forward several months I sneakily put it on again & got him hooked enough so that we could keep watching & it was SO good! In a nutshell, it’s set in Birmingham in the early 1900s & is the story of a family of criminals who run the city & is set around their attempt to take down everyone who tries to get in their way. The acting in this series is unbelievable & although violent at times, the story line is great too. I imagine that a lot of my readers have already or are already watching this series, but if you haven’t add it to your list – it’s a good one!

The Night Of: So I just binge watched this 8 episode series over the course of last week and holy heck is it great! After hearing that it had won an Emmy Award & after reading the description, I knew I would enjoy The Night Of  because any series about murder & I’m sold (as psychopathic as that sounds!) It’s the story of a college guy who meets a girl, they go back to her house & long story short, she ends up dead but you have no idea how it happened & he is charged with murder but denies guilt. Sound like a hell of a story line? It is! I was completely hooked & I’m so disappointed that it’s finished. Seriously, give it a watch. It’s an unbelievably great series that will leave you hooked & dying (excuse the pun) to know what happened.

Old school R&B music: The past few weeks have been so crazy for me & I’ve had an absolute ton of work to get through. I love being busy so I don’t mind having a big to-do list but sometimes you need a little bit of motivation to get you through the mountain. Music is usually the best way to keep me motivated & I really enjoy listening to music while I power through my work. However, my iPod needed a serious update as I’ve been listening to the same music for far too long, so I took to YouTube & rediscovered all of the old R&B music I used to listen to back in the early 2000’s. You can find one of the playlists I’ve been listening to here. I’ve been that chick dancing at her laptop for the past week & boy, it makes working so much easier. Click the link, put your headphones in & go back in time – you’re going to love these tunes!

Eating well & training hard: Back when I wrote my goals for the month of January I had mentioned that I wanted to stick to my training & healthy eating plan. I’m still continuing with this & I’ve been eating well as well as training a lot in the gym & I’m loving it. I feel so much better and I’m starting to see the changes in my body which is making me even more motivated. My stomach is more muscular & doesn’t get bloated & I’m starting to see more shape in my arms & shoulders which I never had before. I said that I would get into my best shape in 2018 & I’m loving doing it (which is surprising from a girl who always loved junk food!)

Movie dates: My boyfriend & I have been going to the movies a lot recently & it has been so wonderful. We’re both big movie lovers so it is such a pleasure getting to spend quality time together on cinema dates. In South Africa they even have a Pizza Hut inside some cinemas so you order your pizza before your movie starts & they bring your pizza to you while you watch the movie. You can imagine how much I’ve been loving eating a big ol’ pepperoni pizza while watching a blockbuster movie. Delightful!

The Book Thief: I’m such a lover of curling up on the sofa with a cup of tea & a great book & just getting lost in the words. But I’ve got to be honest, I’ve been so busy recently that I really haven’t had the time to read much this year. Certainly not as much as I would have liked to at least! So with this in mind, I’ve been trying to make a much more conscious effort to read when I can. Even if it’s just half an hour here & there. I’m currently reading a great book called The Book Thief & while I’m not even a third of the way through this book yet, I already know that it’s going to be a great one. It’s written from the perspective of Death during World War ll & is the story of an albeit naive, young girl who has been sent to live with a German family where she begins to learn what it’s really like to live in Germany under Hitler’s rule. Well, that’s what has happened in the third of the book that I have read. It’s such an unusual read that is really well written & if a book can educate me at the same time, its always going to be a pleasure to read.

What are your current lifestyle favourites? 

 

| January Empties & Mini Reviews|

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The longest month of the year has finally ended & I can hear the sighs of relief. Holy heck January sucks when it comes to finances! With this new month comes a new empties post but it’s only a little one this time as I seem to take forever to use up products.

Here is my itty bitty selection of products that I finished up in January & what I thought of them:

Dexe Lip Balm in Pineapple
This was a completely random purchase from me but it turned out to be a great one. I love the EOS lip balms but they are so freaking expensive here in South Africa so there was no way I was repurchasing another one. But much to my delight, while on my way to the checkout at Dis-chem, I spotted these lip balms because their packaging is so like that of the EOS lip balms. The difference? These are R14.95 – that’s less than £1 compared to the R200ish for an EOS lip balm! What I love about the Dexe lip balm is that it’s entirely made of natural ingredients in the form of different oils & you know me, I love as much natural as I can get. The pineapple scent of this is delightful & it’s so moisturising on the lips while giving them a pretty sheen. I’ve already purchased another scent in this range & I’m totally converted.

Nip + Fab Glycolic Fix Extreme Pads
Saying farewell to this product means saying farewell to the last of my Nip + Fab stash from back home. I bought these pads after getting hooked on the Glycolic Fix Daily Cleansing pads when I lived in the UK but to be perfectly honest, I wasn’t blown away by these. At £15 they aren’t the cheapest for only 30 pads & with the more concentrated blend of glycolic acid, I expected more results. I liked to use them as a chemical exfoliation & I did feel that something was working when I used them (in the form of a light sting) & my skin did feel nice afterwards, but I just didn’t see a difference in my skin the next morning. I haven’t given up on glycolic acid yet because it’s benefits are raved about but I just wouldn’t repurchase these as I didn’t see enough of a difference. The hunt continues!

Supersalve Cell Care Oil
Supersalve was a brand that I had never heard of until I wandered into a random little health store & wallah! there it was. Turns out that they have a whole range of products which you can find here. This product is packed full of natural ingredients including avocado oil, calendula oil, lavender oil, grapeseed oil & tea tree oil & claims to do many wonderful things for your skin including:

  • Alleviate dryness, itching & flaking
  • Repair sun-damaged skin
  • Reduce age spots
  • Rejuvenate & regenerate cells
  • Soften & moisturise
  • Reduce stretch marks

That’s a list of pretty damn impressive things if I do say! I orginally bought this little bottle of goodness when I was going through my natural oil skincare phase but as it turns out, my face doesn’t like oils so I had to find another use for it. Turns out it’s a great body oil to lather yourself in at night – my skin felt so moisturised & it completely got rid of my dry, itchy skin. I can’t vouch for it’s age spot & stretch mark reducing properties but I did enjoy using this product. It also smells divine – you know that natural, essential oils smell? Yeah, just like that! Would I repurchase this product? Probably not, because it’s not easy to get your hands on but I would recommend it.

African Extracts Rooibos Pore-Clearing Face Scrub
Being a dry skin girl it is so important that I give my face a good exfoliation about twice a week to get rid of all the dull, dead cells that can turn into a flaky, ugly mess if I’m not careful. When it comes to face scrubs I can be quite fussy. I want them to be really gritty but with natural grit. By that I mean that I refuse to buy any scrub that contains little plastic beads as they go down the drain & kill marine life & I’m not about that life. If you want more information on this you can find it here. This African Extracts scrub doesn’t contain any cruel plastic beads and instead has that gritty, sugary texture which is why it made it into my bathroom cupboard & has been well loved since. I love that this scrub contains vitamin B3 & salicylic acid, is paraben free & is cruelty free & it left my skin feeling so soft & clean. I would absolutely recommend this scrub as it’s great for getting rid of dead skin at the very affordable price of R64.99!

 

| What I’ve learned from living in a developing country |

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So for those of you who may not know I’m originally from Northern Ireland but I moved to South Africa in 2016. It has never been my plan to settle here permanently but I really do love this country & I’ve learnt so much since moving here. 

If you’ve never been to South Africa then please add it to your bucket list of holiday destinations because it is a truly beautiful country with amazing people, delicious food, gorgeous scenery, a rich culture & there’s a hell of a lot to do here. Sadly however, South Africa is still classed as a developing country. While there are so many opportunities to be successful here & it really is an amazing place for business, there is still a high unemployment rate (26.6% of South Africans are unemployed compared to the 4.2% in the U.K) and there is a lot of poverty (30.4 million South Africans currently live in poverty). 

Having been born & raised in a 1st world country I’ve had to learn a lot very quickly since moving to a developing country & this has led to this blog post. I want to talk about the things I’ve learnt since moving here because it might make people who’ve only ever lived in 1st world countries think. This can be a touchy subject for some & I just want to throw a disclaimer out there that I write this blog post with no intention to offend or upset anyone. I am very grateful to come from a 1st world country & I am also very grateful for the opportunity I have been given to live in a developing country. 

Here is what I’ve learned since moving here:

We are so lucky to have our benefit system
As I mentioned South Africa is rife with poverty. 1 in 2 people here live below the poverty line. That poverty line is only R441 per person per month. Do you know how much that equates to in pounds? £26.42 per month! That’s only 88p per day! Can you imagine trying to pay for everything you need with so little?! It breaks my heart that so many people can’t afford what they need. In this country if you’re unemployed for any reason there is no help for you. You’ve got to find your way yourself. Now I know that there are many problems with our benefit system & there are many reasons why it frustrates those of us from the UK, but the long & short of it is that we are so lucky to have it because when we need it most, when there’s no income coming in – it’s there for us.

The NHS is a gift that shouldn’t be taken for granted
A lot of people have a lot of negative things to say about the NHS but unless you’ve lived in another country where they don’t have it, it’s difficult to see why it’s amazing. Here my partner & I pay an absolute fortune a month (about £240) in medical aid (medical insurance) which covers us if we ever need emergency hospital treatment. A lot of the time this only covers some of your medical costs & doesn’t include things like prescriptions, gp visits, dentist appointments, opticians – nothing outside of hospital care. Sometimes medical aid won’t even cover you if you get cancer! It’s insane! Do you know how difficult it is to pay that much money as a ‘just in case something happens to me’?! The NHS is a godsend & in my opinion is one of the best things about the UK. Everyone, including those who live in poverty, will always been seen by a doctor, will always be given emergency medical care & will always get their prescriptions because they’re free. In a developing country many don’t have that luxury.

We are born into a country of wealth & opportunity
Here’s a little story for you to explain what I mean by this: it’s common in South Africa to have a helper, or a cleaner as we’d call them in the UK, who cleans your house for you. We have a helper called Teresa who works for us 4 days a week & she’s a lovely woman who is originally from Malawi in South East Africa. She moved from Malawi to South Africa which meant leaving her daughter behind (she lives with her grandmother) because they had no money in Malawi & she wants to save enough money to take care of her family. She has worked for us for almost a year & during this time she hasn’t been able to see her daughter. Helen was born into a very poor country with little opportunity so she had to leave those she loved the most in order to take care of them. In the UK we are born into a country that can offer us so much & we really take that for granted.

There is so much more that I could say on this but these were the biggest points that I wanted to share. My advice is to travel the world as much as you can, especially if you can’t or don’t want to live in another country for a while. Travelling is one of the most enriching experiences & it will truly make you a better person. Those of us from 1st world countries are really so lucky & blessed compared to so much of the world. Don’t take it for granted! 

| 20 Things You Might Not Know About Me |

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I’ve mentioned a bunch of times on my blog that I love to learn about people, their life & their personality. Call it nosiness if you may but I’m incredibly interested in people & what makes each of us different. That is why I have been absolutely loving the ‘5 random facts tag’ that’s been happening on Instagram recently. If you haven’t seen this yet (I’m not sure where you’ve been!?) but it’s essentially where you post 5 random facts that people may not know about you on your Instagram stories & then tag others to do the same. Simple right?

It was this trend that inspired me to continue this trend & to give you a more in-depth look into what makes me unique by giving you 20 random facts about me that you may not know!

Fact 1
I was born without a thyroid. Crazy right? Thyroids are pretty damn important things & for whatever reason my body decided it wouldn’t make one. It happens to only 1 in every 40,000 babies born in the UK so it makes me pretty unique.

Fact 2
I pride myself on my ability to eat a sh*t tonne of food in one sitting. For someone so slim, I can pack it away.

Fact 3
I’ve been in 2 flipped car crashes. I wasn’t driving when either of these happened but they were pretty hectic. I’ll never forget the sound of the metal crunching & I’ve been such a nervous driver ever since. I like to think I have one heck of a guardian angel watching over me

Fact 4
I am addicted to crisps. I can eat a share bag of crisps in one sitting without any problem at all. I don’t know why they even bother to call them share bags! They are my kryptonite.

Fact 5
I have lived in 3 different countries. I was born in the Northern Ireland then I moved to Scotland at the age of 18 to study. I now currently live in South Africa & have done for a year & a half.

Fact 6
I don’t really like children who aren’t family. (I feel like such a bad person even saying that!) I do want kids of my own someday but I’m just not in any rush to have them because I know how demanding they can be & how much my life will change once I have them.

Fact 7
I have an allergy to face paints. I can’t tell you how much that destroyed me as a kid. (I did still get my face painted now & again but I paid for it in the form of the red, painful skin afterwards)

Fact 8
I am so particular about the way things are organised. My wardrobe is organised by ascending length (e.g. strappy tops followed by short sleeved tops followed by long sleeved tops)

Fact 9
When I was at school I really wanted to go on to study psychology so that I could become a criminal psychologist but my careers teacher talked me out of it. Part of me wishes that reincarnation really does exist so I can follow that career path in my next life. Shame on my old careers teacher for talking young, impressionable people out of their career choice.

Fact 10
I am a feminist. I know that people tend to flinch when they hear that word nowadays because of the negative connotations but I am proud to be a woman & I will continue to do my part to fight the fight for equality.

Fact 11
I am someone of two extremes. I’m so relaxed in my every day life & not much worries me yet I’m such a wimp & I’m scared to do a lot of things. I know how confusing that sounds!

Fact 12
I hate tomatoes yet I love tomato ketchup & pasta dishes with tomato based sauces. To me they taste totally different!

Fact 13
I’m made up of 80% leg. I’m 5 ft 8 & yet I wear a 34″ inside leg jean. My dad is 6 ft tall & wears the same length of jeans as me! It makes jeans/trouser shopping really quite difficult sometimes.

Fact 14
I’m both an introvert & an extrovert. I’m very outgoing & chatty & make friends easily but I also really enjoy time by myself & I feel exhausted if I’m around lots of people for long periods of time. Typical qualities of both personality types.

Fact 15
I am a Harry Potter nerd. I grew up watching it & reading the books & I’m pretty sure I know most of the lines in every movie. I’m dying to go to the Harry Potter Studios in London.

Fact 16
I can’t cook much but I can make a damn good lasagna & I can also bake pretty well. My brownies are what I’m known for.

Fact 17
I grew up with most people thinking I had some form of eating disorder (even though I ate like a tank) & being really nasty towards me because I was always naturally so tiny. I never did have an eating disorder & I never wanted to be so small. It still affects my self-confidence even now but thankfully I’m okay with it most of the time.

Fact 18
I like to think of myself as mildly psychic. When I’m dreaming random scenarios pop up in the middle of my dreams & they come true. It’s not deja vu because I remember them when I’ve woken up & I can remember it happening in my dream when it happens in real life

Fact 19
I love animals so much that I can’t watch animal movies/documentaries because I couldn’t handle seeing an animal left alone or hurt. Animals are such a gift so it breaks my heart seeing them alone or hurt.

Fact 20
I’ve had the same best friend since I was 4. That’s a friendship of 21 years & by today’s standards that longer than most marriages!

I really hope that you all found this post interesting & that it’s helped you to get to know me a little better & also that it didn’t put you to sleep!