|Review | The Balm Liquid Lipsticks |

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A couple of years ago liquid lipsticks took the makeup world by storm & I for one love them & I know that a lot of my readers are also avid liquid lipstick wearers. However, the hunt to find the perfect formula can be a difficult one so I thought that I’d write a review of The Balm Meet Matt(e) Hughes Long-Lasting Liquid Lipsticks (yikes that’s a mouthful!)

I wanted to try these particular liquid lipsticks as soon as I saw them as the Mary-Lou Manizer is my all-time favourite highlighter so I thought that The Balm’s other products had to be good too. The particular shades that I’m reviewing come from the Volume 1 gift set which included 6 miniature shades of the Matt(e) Hughes liquid lipsticks & was a fantastic way for me to try the formula in a variety of colours (however they can also be bought individually in full size.) So let’s get into what I thought:

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The Shades
The reason that the Vol.1 gift box jumped out at me was because of the shades. I am a big lover of nude/brownish shades so I felt that I would get a lot of use out of these shades. I was completely right in that regard as I have shown these lipsticks a lot of love since I got my hands on them. The nude shades are the exact kind of nudes that I love – the mid-toned kind that are easy to wear & aren’t so light that they give you the ‘concealer lips’ look that I seriously dislike. Here are the colours swatched on my arm (not very well might I add):

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From left to right: Loyal, Dedicated, Charming, Committed, Sincere, Doting

Loyal : A stunning true red. I wore this to death in the Winter months.
Dedicated : A magenta pink. I never wear these kind of shades but I must say that this particular one is incredibly easy to wear.
Charming : The darkest of the 4 nudes & leans on the brownish/burgundy side.
Committed : A pinkish nude. The perfect ‘my lips but better’ shade.
Sincere: A mid-toned rose nude shade in between Charming & Committed
Doting: A very peach nude. This shade unfortunately doesn’t suit me at all so it has been left unloved.

As you can see the shade range is beautiful although you’ll notice that the shades Charming, Committed & Sincere are really quite similar. While this doesn’t bother me as brownish-nudes are favourite my day-to-day shades, it may bother those who like a wider variety of colours. What surprised me the most was the red shade. I found myself reaching for this over all of my other red lipsticks as it’s just so beautiful!

The Formula
This is the part that really makes or breaks a liquid lipstick. There are too many brands out there that make bad formulas that dry, crack & just don’t look cute. The Balm however, have done an excellent job of the Meet Matt(e) Hughes lipsticks as their formula is one of the best I’ve tried. They smell minty & delicious & they apply effortlessly. They’re also very pigmented as I only applied one stroke for the swatches, they dry quickly & they also have streak free finish. In terms of longevity they also last really well without cracking or going dry & that is what ultimately sold me on the formula. I love a low-maintenance lip product & that is exactly what these are as I didn’t feel the need to apply lip balm throughout the day to stop them drying out. They can be a little difficult to take off at the end of the day but if that means they stay on throughout the day, I’ll deal with that!

The Verdict
I absolutely love these liquid lipsticks and I’ll be purchasing a few of them in full size once they run out. I love the scent, I love the colour range (the full range includes 18 shades!) and I love the formula. When I buy a liquid lipstick I want it to be fuss free & The Balm have done an excellent job. I would recommend these to anyone who loves a liquid lipstick – you won’t be disappointed!

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| Current Lifestyle Favourites |

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It’s been a while since I’ve written a lifestyle favourites post & I very much enjoyed writing the last one. I talk a lot about beauty on my blog & I always like to change it up every now & again so that you as my readers can get a glimpse into my lifestyle & what I enjoy doing outside of blogging. This past month I’ve spent a lot of time at home so a lot of my lifestyle favourites have revolved around that. So let’s delve right into it: 

What I’m Watching:

Game of Thrones Okay so I have a confession to make; I am now only getting around to watching Game of Thrones & when I say that we’re talking Season 1 here. I can hear the die-hard GOT fans shouting “where the hell have you been!?” but you all know me, I like to join the party late with these kind of things. I’m usually not into series that involve castles, war & dragons, but I’ve got to say that I’m very much enjoying it so far & it has really taken me by surprise. It makes me so proud to say that GOT was filmed in my home country, Ireland. They have really helped to put Ireland & Northern Ireland on the map so I thank you GOT team!

Fed Up So this was an hour & a half long documentary that I watched this week on DSTV Catch Up but I’m sure that you’ll be able to get it online as well. I would seriously recommend watching it as it completely & utterly shocked me. It was a documentary based around the obesity epidemic in America & what the food industry is doing to encourage bad eating rather than preventing it. It was an eye-opening watch & it made me so outraged to know that the food industry can be so evil. Definitely worth a watch if you’re into that sort of thing.

What I’m Playing

Monopoly I can hear you thinking – “do people still play that anymore?!” Hell yes they do! A couple of weeks ago my boyfriend & I took a notion to play this old school childhood favourite of ours as we are quite partial to a board game every now & again. So after spying it in Checkers one Friday night we decided that we’d pick it up & I must say that it’s been a lot of fun & we’ve shared many, many competitive evenings playing back-to-back games of Monopoly. Whoever said that board games aren’t cool anymore?!

What I’m Eating/Drinking

Cutting out junk Monday-Friday You may remember that I mentioned in my September Goals that I’ve limited junk food to only the weekends & I’ve got to say I’m really enjoying it. Don’t get me wrong, there are days when I could kill for something sugary & delicious but I’ve found that limiting my intake has made me feel better. It also means that I enjoy crisps & chocolate when I do get to have them & that I now see it as a treat. I would definitely recommend trying this if you’d like to improve your diet gradually.

Lots of water Recently I’ve been focusing a lot on making sure I get my 2 litres of water every day & it has made such a difference to how I look & feel. I have more energy, I’m not bloated & my skin looks much better too. I’ve been using a great app called My Water which tracks your water intake throughout the day & it’s been such a help in making sure that I reach my water goal every day.

What I’m Reading

The Night Watch I’m only about one-third into this book at the moment so I can’t give you a full review yet but what I can say however, is that it’s been a great read so far. The blurb reads:

The Night Watch is the extraordinary story of four Londoners: Kay, who wonders the streets in mannish clothes, restless & searching…Helen, who harbours a troubling secret…Viv, glamour girl, redlessly loyal to her soldier lover…and Duncan, an apparent innocent, struggling with demons of his own.
Moving back through the 1940s, through air raids, blacked-out streets, illicit liaisons and sexual adventure, to end with its beginning in 1941, this is an astonishing novel.

I originally bought this book because the title was familiar & also because it’s a no.1 bestseller that was also shortlisted for The Man Booker & The Orange Prize so I thought that it had to be pretty good. So far it’s been such an easy to read, page turning, beautifully written novel that gives a deeper insight into what life was like after the war & how these 4 individuals struggled to come to terms with what they have seen & how drastically their lives have changed since the war. I can already tell that I’m going to love this book.

What I’m Enjoying

Yankee Tarts So this isn’t exactly a new favourite as I’ve been using them for years but does anyone else fall in & out of lighting candles? I feel like I don’t light them for a few months then suddenly I want to light every candle I own & burn them all day long. So right now, I’m in the latter stage. I prefer to buy the tarts rather than the jar candles as they’re much more affordable & I cut mine into 4 which makes one tart last 32 hours! My favourite scents of all time are Pink Sands (it smells like an exotic holiday), Midsummer’s Night (smells like sexy man aftershave) & Autumn Bliss (the clue is in the same, smells just like Autumn).

What are your current lifestyle favourites? 

 

|How to Deal with Homesickness |

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For those of you who might not know, I moved from my home in Ireland to South Africa just over one year ago. I have never regretted moving here & I’m so glad that I took the leap to follow my heart & my dreams out here but that doesn’t mean that it hasn’t been a roller coaster ride. Last month I was hit with an unexpected, almost overwhelming feeling of homesickness that lasted about a week & that was the first time that I had really felt that since the move last year. I missed my family, I missed my friends & I missed all of the familiarities of life back home. 

It was that overwhelming feeling that led me to write this post in the hope that I could help anyone out there who is feeling that same way. Homesickness isn’t easy but I have a few tips that have made me feel better that I’d like to share with you:

Video Call Those You Miss
It goes without saying that if you’re missing friends, family or a partner back home that speaking to them will help. If I’m feeling homesick I always find that speaking to those that I love & miss makes me feel like I’m there with them & gives me such a lift. However, I say this with a warning as speaking to those loved ones too often DOESN’T help. If you’re constantly Skyping/FaceTiming those back home it can make you more homesick or prolong this emotion as you almost become dependent on that frequent contact with them. I tend to video call my family once per week which I think is the perfect amount as I look forward to speaking to them but I don’t feel homesick for the other 6 days of the week. It’s all about finding the perfect balance as you must also deal with living somewhere new, away from everyone else.

Don’t Keep Looking At Photos/Videos 
This is one that I have been guilty of all too often. When I’ve missed home I found myself scrolling through my videos & photos so that I could see the faces & hear the voices of those that I love. While at times this can make you laugh & smile, looking at photos too frequently will heighten your emotions & make you feel worse so try to limit this as much as you can.

Get Busy
When I feel down the best thing I can do is keep myself busy. Sitting around & wallowing in your own misery never helped anyone so when times get tough, you’ve just got to get up, get dressed & do whatever you need to do to keep your mind busy. My favourite ways to keep busy when I’m feeling homesick is to work out at the gym, clean & organise whatever I can, play a game or get out for the day. Whichever way you keep yourself busy is completely up to you but whatever it is, make sure it keeps your mind distracted.

Make Comfort Food From Home 
I always thought that this would make me feel worse but I’ve found that it helps. I live in a completely different country now where people don’t eat my cultural foods & if you’re in the same situation I’m sure there has been times when you’ve craved that delicious dish from home. I live with my boyfriend who is South African with an Indian heritage so a lot of the time we eat Indian food which I love, however, sometimes I find myself missing my mumma’s familiar, homely cooking. When I feel like that I’ve found that it’s good to cook up one of my favourite homely Irish dishes as it comforts me & makes me feel like I’ve been transported home for a moment.

Talk About It
One of my flaws is that when I’m emotional about something I don’t like to talk about it & I like to pretend that everything is fine. The problem with this is that your emotions build & build without your noticing until you snap. It’s a completely unhealthy way to deal with things & it’s something that I’m working on. So from past experience, my advice to you is that when you’re feeling down & missing home, talk to someone. Just say it out loud & let them know you’re having a bad day. It really makes you feel better to get it off your chest & to know that you’re not alone.

Remind Yourself Why You Moved
It’s hard to leave everyone you love & everything you know behind but generally there’s a reason why you did it. I for one did it for a new beginning, to make something of myself & to be with the love of my life. Everyone’s reason is personal to them but if you made the choice to move then you need to remind yourself of that because generally there is a good reason. Homesickness is a temporary side effect of moving away & if your reason for moving is bigger than that, then you need to keep your reason at the forefront of your mind & keep telling yourself that it’s worth it.

Listen To Happy Music 
The quickest way to make myself good is to play happy music. I have a ‘Feel Good Music’ playlist on my iPod & I really recommend making a playlist of your own. When I put on happy, upbeat music I just cannot stop myself from smiling or from dancing around the room. If you want a quick solution to your homesickness so that you can get on with your day – this is my best solution for a quick fix.

Accept That It’s Normal 
While some of my tips will help you forget about the emotions that you’re feeling, it’s also important to accept them, understand them & deal with them. Don’t wallow in your misery but know that what you’re feeling is completely normal, that you’re not alone & that these emotions will pass & you’ll soon feel like you again. You are not a weak person because you feel this way. So practice your self-care & make yourself feel better – you will get through this.

I really hope that these tips helped you to feel better & that they help you to get through whatever you’re feeling. I’d also like to hear your tips for dealing with homesickness so feel free to post them in the comments. Just remember, this too shall pass!

| My Opinion On Popular Beauty Trends |

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As a beauty & fashion blogger I’m always keeping up with the latest trends & that’s just because I’m Googling them – the gift of social media channels such as Instagram is that you’re always in-tune with the latest trends whether you want to be or not. I for one am a sucker for trends so I thought it would make quite a cool post if I talked about my opinion on the latest beauty trends. So here’s a round-up of the trends that I’ve been noticing lately & what I really thought of them: 

Plaited & Wavy Brows
I mean, come on man! What is happening to the beauty world?! If anyone has spied these two trends then I’m sure you almost spat out your drink like I did. Instagram has been known to feature the newest beauty trends but this new brow trend takes the biscuit. For those of you who haven’t had the pleasure of coming across these new brow trends I’ll give you the low down – there’s the plaited eyebrow trend which involves using the power of makeup & illusion to make it look like you have plaited your eyebrows just like you would with your hair. On the other side is the more popular wavy eyebrow trend which involves, yes you guessed it, making your eyebrows look like two waves on your face. For those of you who haven’t came across this new fad then I ask you to please Google them – you’ll be glad that you did. The long and short of it is that I for one will be sticking to normal looking eyebrows without waves & plaits because quite frankly, this is just one Instagram trend too far for me.

Pink Eyeshadow
Any lady who has Instagram or follows beauty vloggers on YouTube will have seen a hell of a lot of pink eye shadow on a whole lot of eye lids as it’s been everywhere for what seems like the longest time. The craze was made even bigger after the beautiful Huda Beauty released her Rose Gold palette which completely blew up the pink eye shadow trend. I personally don’t suit pink eye shadow or perhaps I’m just not that gifted at making it work for me like other ladies can. I also tend to shy away from colours that aren’t in the neutral family because quite frankly I’m just not that daring & I like ‘boring’ colours in every area of my life. But while pink eye shadow isn’t a trend I see myself adopting, I have seen some of my fellow ladies pull off some stunning eye shadow looks that look just beautiful on them. So if you have the balls to put on pink eye shadow & rock it – you go girl!

Blinding highlight
Now I absolutely love a good highlight. It makes my skin come to life, makes me look healthy & brings my makeup look together beautifully. I’ve been an advocate of a good highlight since the age of 17, long before the highlight trend kicked off, but lately with every browse of Instagram I see several photos of ladies with a blinding highlight & in my opinion, it’s just gone too far. Maybe I’m a little old-fashioned with my makeup, but I feel like when a highlight is THAT blinding it just looks overdone & makes the rest of the makeup look heavy. I know that a lot of ladies will be horrified at these words coming out of my mouth but that won’t change my opinion – I love a poppin’ highlight but I don’t want to be blinded by your cheekbones either.

Hella’ Long Stiletto Nails
So this isn’t exactly a new trend as it’s been around for a little while but it’s a big trend so I thought I’d mention it. What girl doesn’t love getting her nails done – there’s nothing better than looking down at your hands & pausing to admire how good they look because your nails are looking fresh! (I say this as I look down at my own hands & spy 3 chipped nails because I didn’t get them done this month – heartbreaking!) When it comes to long stiletto nails & my opinion on them – quite frankly I’m jealous of the ladies who can pull them off. I was born with long, slim fingers and when you add long, pointy nails to that equation it leaves my hands looking rather witchy which, as you can imagine, isn’t my favourite look. I’m not such a fan of stiletto nails that are so long that they add another finger length, but when they’re just the right length – they’re pretty damn cool & I envy those of you who can rock them!

Using Silicone to Blend Foundation
Here’s another trend that has taken the biscuit – silicon foundation blenders. Who decided to take the chicken fillet out of their bra & use it to blend their foundation!? Now I have heard that it is a good tool for blending foundation & I haven’t tried it so I won’t slate what I haven’t tried. But I just don’t see what’s wrong with using a beauty blender or a brush? Why do we need to fix what isn’t broken & bring unusual objects into the mix?

What trends have you noticed lately & what did you think of them?

| Current Beauty Favourites |

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We all love discovering new, amazing products & lately I’ve purchased a few products that quickly made it into my beauty favourites so I just had to share them with you. Here is what I’m loving at the moment: 

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Essence I Love Extreme Volume Mascara

When it comes to mascara I am not the fussiest lady in the world as I am lucky enough to be blessed with super long lashes (thanks mum & dad!) but while I may not need intense lengthening, I do want my mascara to not transfer or crumble, to volumise my lashes, to make them super black & to be easily removed at the end of the day. I’ve got to say that this mascara from Essence does all of those things while being incredibly affordable. I initially bought this mascara in waterproof (the blue tube) but my word; it is THEE most difficult mascara to remove. I don’t know what the hell they put in it to make it near impossible to take off!  I was literally tugging at my eyes to try & get it off & we all know that tugging causing wrinkles & I don’t know about you, but I am not about to give myself wrinkles over a stubborn mascara. However, this non-waterproof version comes off easily at the end of the day & it lengthens & volumises my lashes without clumping, transferring or crumbling. At R60 this affordable mascara is most definitely worth a shot!

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Mac Whirl Lipliner

Recently I’ve been wearing this lip liner more often after having neglecting it for a little while. My favourite way to wear it recently has been on its own with just a little lip balm underneath. It gives a gorgeous natural lip with a slight brown tinge that is so easy to wear with a bunch of different makeup looks. I know that with summer fast approaching that I’ll continue to get a lot of use out of this lip liner as I find that these brownish-nude shades suit me more when I have that tanned summer glow.

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The Body Shop British Rose Fresh Plumping Mask

You guys know that I’m always going on about my dry skin and you’re no doubt bored of hearing about it by now but this mask has been a nice little addition to my skincare routine for dry skin. Recently I’ve been applying this mask to my skin on the days when my skin feels like it needs some dry skin healing. In honesty, I don’t see any difference in regards to plumping my skin but when you’re in your 20s can you really expect your skin to be more plumped when ageing hasn’t kicked in yet? I’m not so sure! I instead like this mask for how delightful it feels on my skin & how delicious it smells. It’s a 10 minute mask so it’s a super quick mask (perfect for ladies who don’t have a lot of time to spare) & it leaves my skin feeling so refreshed & hydrated & I’ve found that it makes moisturiser apply in a much nicer way afterwards. Any mask that makes my skin more hydrated gets a thumbs up from me!

 

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Becca Under Eye Brightening Corrector

I absolutely love this product from Becca! It is a light salmon-pink shade corrector that I use under or over my concealer to brighten up my under-eyes. This product does such a perfect job of giving me that bright-eyed look & who doesn’t love bright under-eyes?! I will say that this corrector has a tacky texture that can crease if not set so I always recommend setting it with powder to avoid this. It also comes with quite the price tag for a corrector but it is so worth it if you’re always trying to perfect that bright & luminous under eye. I’ve even had someone say to me ‘wow you’re so bright-eyed & luminous today’ & when someone says that – you know that this product works!

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L.A Girl Pro Coverage Foundation

I know, I know, I bought into the hype! But when the beauty community is raving about a foundation that is a dupe for the infamous Makeup Forever HD Foundation – I’m obviously going to try it. I’ve been using this foundation every day for almost two months and I’ve got to say I love it. I picked up the shade Natural & while it was a little dark for me over the winter months (nothing a little bronzer on the neck & décolleté can’t fix), with summer coming I’ll be able to wear this shade a lot more easily. Unfortunately their shade range is quite limited so I’ve got to work with what LA Girl give me! This product is so lightweight yet offers a high coverage with a dewy finish. I’ve found that I absolutely must set it with a powder otherwise it will move so it may be a more difficult foundation to wear for all my oily skin girls out there. But for the incredibly affordable price tag that this foundation comes with – it’s an amazing foundation that I’ll continue to keep in my makeup collection.

 

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Nu Skin Polishing Peel

I had previously mentioned this peel in my skincare haul so I’ll try to keep this as short as I can. If you have ever been for a microdermabrasion you know how painful it can be and how raw it can leave your skin. I had to try this product after it claimed to do the exact same thing as a microdermabrasion at home without being as harsh – and I’ve got to say, I love it. I began using it twice per week and after a few weeks I cut that down to just once per week. It’s such a strange product in that you apply it on your skin like a mask, let it dry for about 30 seconds & then you rub your skin in circular motions & watch all the dead skin cells & the crap from your skin fall into the bathroom sink – it’s so oddly satisfying. And holy moly did it leave my skin so soft & smooth! I even had my lovely boyfriend try it out as he loves a good scrub & he loves it & wants one of his own! I’d really recommend this product to anyone who loves their skin to be super soft, exfoliated & free of dead skin & let’s be honest – who doesn’t want that! I’ve been able to offer this product with a 35% discount so if you’d like to get your hands on it, just pop me a message & I’ll hook you up!

What are your current beauty favourites?

|The Gift of Gifting | Gift Guide |

If you’re anything like me, you love buying gifts for other people. There’s nothing better than seeing someone you love filled with joy & excitement when they open a gift that they truly love. The next few months for me are full of birthdays, anniversaries & not to mention Christmas (I’ll admit I just did a little excited squeal then) so I’m trying to plan ahead so that I’m organised & not rushing around last minute.

I was recently asked to check out an online company called Uncommon Goods & you guys know that I’m always looking for new fantastic brands that I can fall in love with, so of course I agreed to check them out. After perusing their site of goodies I just fell in love with their brand, their company ethos & their fantastic range of gifts & I’m all for supporting great brands so I wanted to share it with you in a blog post.

In a nutshell, Uncommon Goods is an online store that sells a variety of hand-crafted goods that have been created by incredibly talented people across the world. It’s like going to a craft show online & we all know how beautiful craft show products are! They sell everything from mugs to wall art to handmade jewellery so when it comes to gift shopping, you’ll find something for almost everyone.

As I’m currently shopping for gifts for my loved ones I thought it would be a nice idea to pick out a few of my favourite products from their site & create a mini gift guide. Any help when it comes to gift shopping is always appreciated, right?!

Choices for the Besties

My besties birthday is coming up next month & I’ve been on the hunt for the perfect gift for her. Besties appreciate thoughtfulness behind their gifts as after all, we’re the ones who know them the best. Here are my top picks:

Anatomy of a best friends heart mug
For the Sentimental | Anatomy of a Best Friend’s Heart Mug
Womens Organizing Travel 4-Pack
For the Traveller |Women’s Organising Travel 4-Pack
Literary Candles
For the Book Worm | Literary Candles

A full selection of products perfect for your friends, including my faves above which can be found here

A little help for the men

Shopping for girlfriends isn’t easy. We’re fussy & sometimes we just can’t decide exactly what we want so ladies, if you want to give your men a nudge in the right direction tell them to check out Uncommon Goods. They’re been super nice & dedicated a list of gift ideas for the lost men out there who can’t decide what to buy for their girlfriend.You can find it here. Gentlemen, if your lady’s taste is anything like mine, I’ve also included a few items that I loved from that list below. Just don’t forget the card!

Wine glass set
For the Wine Lover | Iridescent Stemless Wine Glass Set
ring
For the Fashionista | Aquamarine Branch Ring
what i love about you by me book
For the Romantic | What I Love About You By Me Book

 

Christmas Gifts

I know I’m thinking quite a bit ahead but I’m one of those people that likes to be super organised at Christmas time & have all my shopping done by the end of November. The Christmas rush is just too much for me to handle & I’d rather be sipping on a glass of mulled wine than dealing with crazy crowds of manic shoppers. Thankfully, if you’re a little less organised than me but hate the mental atmosphere of Christmas shopping, Uncommon Goods have a wonderful selection of Christmas gifts herewhich you can shop in the comfort of your own home. My absolute favourites are:

 

Driftwood Iphone Charging Dock
For the Tech Lover/Interior Decor Enthusiast | Driftwood Charging iPhone Dock
Box of Chocolate Soaps
For the Chocolate Obsessed | Box of Chocolate Soaps
links of love bracelet
For your Mumma | Links of Love Bracelet

 

I really hope you all enjoyed this gift guide & that it gave you a few ideas of your own. If you check out Uncommon Goods please let me know what you think of their products, I really think you’ll love them!

| Blogger 12 Questions Tag |

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In the blogging community (whether you’re a blogger or a reader) most of us love a good tag so that we can get to know the bloggers we follow & learn a little more about their lives – whether that’s out of curiosity or in my case, nosiness. So you can imagine that I was a little excited when I was tagged by a lovely fellow blogger, Hayley from Hsaysblog (who’s blog you can find here), to do the 12 Questions Tag. 

In a nutshell the purpose of this tag is to answer 12 questions that I have been asked & afterwards I must ask 6 other fellow bloggers to answer questions that I myself have chosen for them. I’m all for helping my readers to discover other fantastic bloggers out there so I will be tagging the 6 ladies of my choice over on my Twitter which you can find here (Not that I’m promoting my Twitter or anything!)

So let’s get into it shall we:

Question 1| Who’s your idol and why?
I don’t really have an idol per-say. There are of course many people who I greatly admire e.g. successful female entrepreneurs such as Arianna Huffington or humanitarians such as Mother Teresa but I’ve just never really had an idol.

Question 2 | Do you have a fashion icon? If so who and why? 
My fashion icon is Olivia Palermo – She is so effortlessly chic, classy & elegant & I am yet to see her wear something I hate. She is one hell of a style icon & there have been many occasions when I’ve seen her outfit & felt true style envy.

Question 3|Whose your favourite musician?
I feel like I’m such a cliche in so many ways when I answer this question but it is undoubtedly Ed Sheeran. Since little ol’ Ed first showed up on the music scene I completely fell in love with his music & how honest & beautiful his writing style is. He is truly a talented musician!

Question 4 | What’s your favourite animal and why? 
The answer to this question for years was monkeys but since moving to South Africa I have learned that they can be really quite vicious & that they like to steal from you, so while I still think they are beautiful & intelligent creatures, they have in fact been bumped down my list of favourite animals & have now been replaced by DOGS. I have always loved little doggies but since moving away & no longer having a dog around for the first time in 13 years, I’ve realised just how much I miss having one. They are the most loyal, loving little animals & they have truly been sent from the gods. Do I sound like a crazy dog lady or what?!

Question 5 | What’s your favourite item of clothing?
My favourite item that I own is my little leopard print booties which you may have seen in my previous OOTD here . I got them from Dune last year & I have worn them to DEATH because they’re just my style in a shoe. They look amazing with dresses or with black jeans & they smarten up any outfit!

Question 6 | What’s your favourite TV show? 
My absolute fave will always be Sex & The City. But since I’ve watched the entire series more times than I can count, I now love to snuggle up with a good series on Netflix. My favourite shows from Netflix to date are Luther, Making a Murderer & Mad Men.

Question 7 | What inspires you to write your blog? 
For about 10 years I’ve read blogs & watched YouTubers because the beauty & fashion industry is something that I’ve always loved & that has always been a big part of my life. Starting a blog was something that I always wanted to do but that I never had the courage to start & a lot of that was to do with what people would think. But it’s true when people say that you hit a certain age & you stop caring what people think – The day I hit that stage of my life was the day I started my blog. I am so thankful that I took the leap because now I can share my passions with the world & I can meet wonderful people who love the same things – It really is a wonderful community.

Question 8 | What’s your favourite food? 
Can I really just choose one thing?! Anyone who knows me well enough knows that I LOVE food & I would eat all day from dusk to dawn if I could. If I HAVE to choose just one thing then I’ll go for Chinese food. I freakin’ love it & now that I’ve been made to think about it, I now want some. I will say however, that South Africans cannot make Chinese food like back home. They make great Asian food but their Chinese food sucks & the first thing I’ll be eating when I’m back home visiting is a Chinese takeaway as I’ve gone without a decent one for 10 whole months! Tragic, I know.

Question 9 | If you were stuck on an island and could only take on thing what item would you take and why? 
I’d take my partner as I feel like no matter how little I had on that island that I could make light & enjoy the situation with him by my side. So cheesy right?!

Question 10 | If you won the lottery what would you buy first?
I’d pay for my family to come out & visit South Africa. I know how much they all want to see this beautiful country & why I loved it so much that I decided to move here. So I’d like to treat them all, take them on safari & give them the holiday of a lifetime that they all deserve.

Question 11 | What’s your dream job and why?
My dream is to be a successful entrepreneur. To me there’s nothing like working for yourself & creating financial freedom for yourself while doing something that you love. Being able to have time freedom & financial freedom is what I want for my future.

Question 12 | Have you ever met a celebrity and who? 
I’ve met a few but never anyone very famous – I’ve met Jack O’Connell, the big guy from The Chase & Prince Charles waved at me from his car – yeah I know, cool right?

 

Now that’s my answers so my questions to the 6 lovely ladies I’m tagging are:

  1. If you had to eat any food for the rest of your life, what would it be?
  2. What is your favourite quote to live by  & why?
  3. What is your favourite blog post to write & why?
  4. Are you happy with the direction your life is going?
  5. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you go & why?
  6. If you could travel back & time what advice would you give to your teenage self?
  7. What colour describes your personality & why?
  8. What is your favourite beauty product of all time?
  9. How has your 2017 been so far?
  10. If you could go back to being a kid, would you?
  11. What were your biggest fashion faux-pas?
  12. What is on your bucket list of things you want to do before you die?

 

I really hope you all enjoyed this tag & if you’d like to find out who answered my questions – I’ve tagged the 6 fellow bloggers I choose over on my Twitter! 

| My August Empties |

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I am currently writing this blog post from a sweet little cafe in Cape Town & it’s such a pleasure to be writing here. After living in South Africa for a whole year (which I just cannot believe) I am finally getting around to visiting Cape Town for the first time & I can now understand why people love it so much – it’s just stunning. However you came here to read an empties post so I’ll get into that rather than raving about Cape Town.

It’s been a hot minute since I have written an empties post as I haven’t been using up many products as of late & I just don’t see the point in writing an ‘empties’ post on just one or two products. This month’s post includes old favourites & also some products that were completely new to me. So without further ado let’s get into the products I used up in the month of August & what I thought of them.

Nip + Fab Dragon’s Blood Plumping Serum

I have previously talked about this serum in my Current Skincare Routine post which you can read here (my skincare routine has in fact completely changed since I wrote this post but it may interest you all the same.) I used this serum religiously for about a year & I enjoyed it because of the extra hydration boost it gave my skin but other than that I just didn’t notice any plumping effects. That could be because I’m still on the right side of 25 with already plump skin that cannot benefit from any extra plumping – but who knows! The Dragons Blood serum is a nice product for creating a hydrated base which makes applying makeup that bit easier, however would I repurchase it for £19.95 just to give my skin extra hydration without any other benefits? In all honesty, no. Serums are the no.1 solution to anti-ageing & I just don’t think the ingredients in this product are potent enough to make any real changes in my skin & to prevent the later development of fine lines & wrinkles.

Nivea Cocoa Butter Body Lotion

I was never a Nivea body lotion user until I started living with my partner. One day when I had run out of my own lotion I borrowed his Nivea lotion for dry to very dry skin (the one in the deep blue bottle) & I loved that it made my skin feel highly moisturised from morning to night. Following this discovery, I decided to purchase this lotion as I adored its delicious cocoa butter smell. Unfortunately however that’s where my love for this product ended. Yes it smells delicious, but it just isn’t moisturising enough even though it claims to cater to dry skin. Johannesburg is so incredibly dry in the winter & this product just wasn’t rich enough for me & left my skin feeling dry again after just 30 minutes of application. Because of the dry climate that I live in I don’t want to bash this lotion too much as it may work for my skin in a less dry climate but while I live here, I won’t be repurchasing this particular product as it just didn’t do what I needed it to.

Collection Lasting Perfection Concealer in Shade 1 – Fair

I have raved about this mascara in my The Products I can Trust post so I’ll try to keep this short & sweet. In a nutshell – I am obsessed with this concealer & it’s very affordable price tag. Since I purchased it for the first time several years ago I have repurchased it more times than I can count. It is so lightweight, provides high coverage & it doesn’t cake or feel tacky on the skin once applied. It’s a product that I would highly recommend to anyone & still stands as my favourite concealer of all time. Unfortunately, I have only 2 tubes left from the stash I brought with me from home & I’m going to have to get a hold of some more before I run out completely as I just cannot be without this baby.

Nivea 3-in-1 Refreshing Cleansing Wipes (Normal to Combination Skin)

I don’t know what it is with beauty bloggers & our need fix things that aren’t broken by trying new products even though we’ve already found the ones that we love. In my Current Skincare Routine I raved about the Dry Skin version of these wipes & because I loved them so much I decided that I would try the other kind – even though I am a dry skin girl. Please tell me where the sense in this decision was! I think you know what I’m going to say before I say it – of course these wipes didn’t compare to the dry skin version. Firstly, they smell completely different & not in a good way. The dry skin wipes are scented with the iconic, soft Nivea scent however this version smells strongly of old-fashioned perfume. They did remove my makeup but the wipe didn’t feel as saturated with product so it took me longer to remove my makeup & I also found myself tugging on my skin more – not good if you’re trying to keep wrinkles at bay. I think the Normal to Combination wipes would be good for the people with this skin type (if you can get past the smell) but I’ll be sticking with my fave dry skin version.

What products did you use up in the month of August & what did you think of them?

| September Goals |

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I just cannot believe that we are already into September. Where is 2017 going?! Although I must admit, I am happy to see September as we are finally now in Spring & the temperatures have already gone up this week. Believe it or not, South Africa does get cold in Winter & with no central heating in homes you really do feel the cold when the temperatures drop. So hooray for the long-awaited arrival of  heat, sunshine & summer clothing!

This month my goals are focused around my own personal growth. I am one of those people who always strives to improve myself so that I can get that little bit closer to the best version of myself. With that being said, let’s get into my goals that I want to achieve in the month of September:

Get to the gym more regularly 
When I first arrived in South Africa last September I was so good at getting to the gym 3-4 times per week but this year I’ve found that more difficult & I’m just not happy having lost the tone that I worked hard to get. Life has gotten busier leaving me with less energy & when you’re tired it’s just too easy to make excuses & not go to the gym. I want to get into the best shape of my life so this month I plan on getting to the gym 4-5 times per week.

Eat healthy
Are we noticing a theme here? I promise that I haven’t just started caring about these things because bikini season is on its way. A couple of months ago I decided I wanted to eat healthier & we all know that Rome wasn’t built in a day so I decided to make small changes to avoid failure after a couple of weeks. So I decided that I wouldn’t eat any junk food from Monday – Thursday but on weekends I was allowed to eat treats. So far it’s gone really well & I’ve been sticking with that rule. Now I want to improve it further by not eating junk food for 3 days a week & by making small healthier choices on the days when I’m not eating junk food e.g. opting for a healthy stir-fry over a burger & chips at lunchtime. Incorporating these smalls steps will lead to prolonged success!

Meet new people
Moving to a new country is incredibly rewarding but it isn’t easy to meet new people. Lately I’ve found myself needing ‘girl time’ again as I never have that anymore & sometimes you just need that. I think I became complacent as I have my boyfriend here & his friends & while he also has some lovely female friends who I enjoy hanging out with, I also need friends of my own away from his circles. My own friends. This month I’m making a conscious effort to strike up conversations with strangers so that I can meet new people because you just never know where a new friendship may strike up.

Grind, grind, grind!
Last month I had a complete mind shift. It was like my motivation levels were kicked up a notch & I achieved a lot more last month than I did in previous months – and honestly, it felt so good. It made me want to work even harder this month so that I can be proud of myself when it hits September 30th. So basically, I am going to work my little butt off this month as often as it takes & for as long as it takes because I WILL achieve my goals.

I can’t wait to get working on my goals this month. What are you goals for the month of September? 

 

| Why Am I An Entrepreneur? |

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We all know that being an Entrepreneur is the job of the future. The scary reality is that jobs that were once viewed as ‘safe’ are no longer safe anymore. And yet, becoming an entrepreneur is something that will never cross many minds as it seems too scary, or maybe they don’t believe in themselves enough or maybe it just seems unthinkable.

After working regular jobs after university I decided that I wanted to start my own business. So I quit my job, moved & started my own company. Fast forward one year & I now own 2 businesses & my life couldn’t be more different. So why did I decide to leave a life of security & become an entrepreneur? Here are my reasons:

I decide my working hours, days & patterns
Following university I worked for 3 years in a few regular jobs. I think it’s important for any entrepreneur to spend a little time working in a regular job as it teaches you invaluable skills that you may not otherwise gain. Working in these jobs gave me security & a regular pay cheque which was nice but it just didn’t fulfil me. I was working crazy hours for the company owners dream & that was never what I wanted. Now I get to choose when I work & how I work & it’s just the best thing ever. Waking up & starting my working day isn’t a difficult task anymore – it’s a pleasure. Every day I look forward to what I can accomplish, what challenges I can overcome & how much I can make my business grow.

A ‘secure job’ isn’t a secure job anymore 
Over the years I have watched people I love being fired from jobs or having to leave their job because of their health & when you don’t work, you don’t get paid. If you’ve worked your whole life for someone else in a particular field & you’ve no skills in other other profession – what do you do when you lose your job? People are constantly being laid off from their jobs & being an entrepreneur leaves that risk at the door. Don’t get me wrong, owning a business isn’t easy – but when you make it, you make it big.

I want financial freedom
Let’s face it, we all want to be able to at least be financially comfortable. We at least want to be able to pay our bills, feed our family & have enough at the end of the month to spend it how we want to. I want all of those things & so much more. I want to be able to buy my dream house & my dream car & not worry about the payments that come with them, I want to be able to go on holiday 3 times a year, I want to be able to take care of my parents the way they have always taken care of me. If I want to do these things with a regular job it would take me most of my life to get there & by then I wouldn’t be able to enjoy it the same as I’d be a lot older. I wouldn’t be able to go on holiday 3 times a year because I’d have to ask permission to go on leave & I wouldn’t have enough leave to even go on those 3 holidays. Owning my own business gives me the opportunity to earn more than I ever could in a regular 9-5 so that I can achieve financial freedom.

I want to prove it to myself
I want a challenge. I don’t want to go to work & know that at the end of the month I’ll get the same pay cheque that I always do. I want to decide what my pay cheque will be at the end of the month. I want my hard work to pay off & reflect in my pay cheque. I want to prove to myself that I can do this. I can achieve what I set out to do. I want to achieve my own dreams rather than working for someone else so that they can achieve theirs.

I want to help other people
My second business involves helping people to realise their dreams, start their own businesses & achieve whatever goals they may have. Out of everything that I do, this is the most rewarding. I can watch people achieve things that they never thought possible, I can watch them grow & flourish into the best version of themselves. Above everything else, this is the most rewarding part of my work & I am so incredibly blessed to have that opportunity.

If this blog post has struck a cord with you, has made you think again, has awoken something in you or has intrigued you &  you’re interested in starting your own business contact me at beautyandtheblouse@outlook.com. It’s free & I promise I’m a super friendly lady!

‘Be the game changer’