| My Everyday Makeup Routine |

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I don’t know about you guys, but I love to know what other women keep in their everyday makeup bag. It contains the products that we reach for over & over again & that our daily routine doesn’t feel complete with out. So I thought – why not show you what I use every day?

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When I apply my makeup in the morning my goal is always to make my skin look glowy, make my eyes stand out & to make my lips look more defined which is why I tend to reach for the products in this post. While I tend to use quite a few products every day I like my makeup to still look fairly natural so I use them all quite sparingly – minus my setting spray because THE GLOW! So without further ado, let’s get into my every day makeup routine!

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The Foundation | L.A Girl Pro Coverage HD Foundation

I have literally been obsessed with this foundation for the past couple of months. When I look for a foundation I want something that gives me full coverage to cover my freckles without being heavy to avoid causing spots on my easily clogged pores. This foundation provides both of those things. It has a more dewy finish than some of my other foundations which is great for giving my skin a glowy sheen but it will definitely move if it’s not set so make sure to set it with a powder! ( I bought the shade Natural although it’s a little too dark for me so I’ll be opting for a slightly lighter shade when I repurchase.)

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The Concealer | Collection Lasting Finish Concealer

First of all, let’s ignore the worse-for-wear packaging as unfortunately the writing always wears off on this concealer but because the product inside is so good, we’ll let that slide. This has been my holy grail concealer for the longest time & I try to stock up on them when I travel home to N.Ireland. I use the lightest shade (Shade 1 Fair) & it is perfect for brightening up my under-eye without being too light & it covers everything including the dark veining on my eyelids. It’s also lightweight & easy to blend out & isn’t tacky or sticky.

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The Under-Eye Setting Powder | MAC Studio Fix Powder

When I last repurchased this product I accidentally bought the wrong shade (NC20) which turned out to be the perfect shade to set my under eyes & keep them looking bright. This powder is actually a powder foundation but as I prefer to use liquid foundation, I like to use this as a setting powder as it provides extra coverage. It sets my under eyes so well & keeps my concealer in place all day. If you do want to use this as a face powder it’s very mattifying so it will keep oils at bay if you have oily skin.

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The Bronzer | Bourjois Delice de Poudre Bronzing Powder

I cannot finish any makeup look without applying bronzer to my temples & around the outside of my face as it brings life to my face & stops me looking sickly pale. I originally bought this bronzer because of the massive hype around it & honestly, I hate it but because I don’t like wasting products I’ve been working on using it up (which is the only reason it’s in this post.) It is so hard to actually pick the product up on a brush so I end up spending more time than I’d like working my brush in the pan. I also find the shade a bit too orangey for my liking so I definitely won’t be repurchasing this product but it’s mentioned only because of how important bronzer is in my daily face routine!

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The Blush | Makeup Revolution Blush Palette in Hot Spice

I raved about this blush palette in my Top Favourite Blushes post & I’m still obsessed with it. It’s full of gorgeous peachy shades that look beautiful on the cheeks & I’ve found myself reaching for it even more with the arrival of our summer months. The great thing about these blushes is that they are also so pigmented which is why this palette looks almost untouched. This palette is a big favourite of mine & I definitely recommend to anyone!

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The Highlighter | The Balm Mary-Lou Manizer

I’ve mentioned this highlighter in my Best of the Best Highlighters post so I’ll try not to go into too much detail here. Can you see how much of a creature of habit I am? I’m always using the same products! Basically, this is my ride or die highlighter and I am absolutely obsessed with it. It’s a pale gold shade that can be worn on any skin tone & it gives the most gorgeous sheen to the skin than can easily be built up if you love to blind people with your highlight. I really cannot be without this product. Like ever.

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The Brows | FREEDOM Eyebrow Pomade

I bought this product about a year and half ago & I’ve used it everyday since & it’s still going strong as it’s so pigmented that I only need a small amount of product each time! It’s a fantastic dupe for the Anastasia Dip Brow but at only £5 it is only a fraction of the cost. I use the shade Medium Brown & it is a perfect shade for my brows. I like my brows to look as natural as possible rather than being heavily filled-in so I simply use an angled brush, outline my eyebrows very lightly & fill them in with light-handed strokes. It’s a very easy to use product for an even better price!

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The Eyeshadow | Zoeva Smoky Eyeshadow Palette 

I like to change up my everyda0y eye shadows now & again but I’m a creature of habit & I’ve been reaching for this palette the most over the past few months as it is absolutely stunning. The quality of these eye shadows are fantastic as they’re highly pigmented, easily blended & I don’t have any fall out. For my everyday look I like to use brown shadows that make my eyes stand out & that give definition while being fairly natural. To do this I apply:

Relieve The Moon (top left) | All over the lid up to the brow bone
Sweet Smell (top row, 2nd from right) | In the crease & slightly above
Ashes Awake (bottom row, 2nd from right) | In the outer corner
Real Light (Black) | In a thin line along my lash line to thicken appearance of my lashes

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The Lip Liner | MAC Lip Liner in Soar

You can tell how much I love this lip liner by how small it’s gotten – I think it’s almost time I bought a replacement don’t you? This is one of the famous ‘Kylie Jenner’ lip products & for good reason. It’s a stunning mid-tone pinkish brown shade that looks absolutely stunning on the lips. It makes my lips stand out & is the perfect shade against my skin tone. MAC Lip Liners are also very pigmented, easy to work with and last really well throughout the day so even if I’m not reaching for Soar, I’m generally reaching for another shade of MAC Lip Liner.

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The Lipstick | MAC Lipstick in Brave

The perfect for pairing for Soar lip liner is MAC’s lipstick in Brave which is yet another famous ‘Kylie Jenner’ shade. MAC describe Brave as a pink-beige shade with white pearl and it is a satin finish. Satin finishes have always been my favourite MAC lipstick finish as they’re highly pigmented while being moisturising on the lips. Just like Soar it looks beautiful against my skin tone & I think it would look good against almost all skin tones for that matter. When I wear this lipstick with Soar lip liner it’s a killer combo that I just can’t get enough of!

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The Finishing Spray | MAC Fix +

This is one of those MAC products that is raved about time & time again across the world & until I bought this product for the first time a few years back, I didn’t know just how much I needed it in my life. It’s a finishing spray that takes away the powdery look that can be left by your makeup & leaves your makeup looking dewy, glowy & gorgeous. I also sometimes use it under makeup too when I need that extra moisture blast & it makes my foundation glide on. I mentioned that I love my every day makeup to look glowy & this product finishes my makeup & gives me the healthy sheen that I love so much.

 

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| Thank You for 1000 Views |

Ice Cream Party

I just wanted to put up a quick post in celebration of reaching 1000 views on Beauty & The Blouse. As a new blogger this is an exciting milestone for me as I put a lot of hard work into writing & perfecting my posts, taking beautiful photos & coming up with new ideas for blog posts that I think you will all enjoy.

I just want to thank all of my followers and my readers for taking the time to read what I have to say, to comment and to like my posts. You are all amazing & I’m so grateful for you all.

You're invited to an

 

 

| Body Image by The Skinny Girl |

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Let’s talk body image. It’s one of those topics that can touch every woman because whether we admit it or not, it has played a big part in our lives growing up. I want to talk about body image from one perspective & one perspective only. It’s the side of body image confidence that we never really hear about because the media has twisted it completely. It’s the side of body image that doesn’t always have a voice & by writing this post I intend to give it a voice – it’s the body image of the ‘skinny’ girl.I hate the word skinny & I always have. For me it has so many negative connotations around it & my insides continue to squirm when I hear it even at the ripe old age of 25, but I’m going to use it for the purpose of this post.

So let me give you a little bit of a background – I’m that skinny girl. I have been very slim my whole life which has a lot to do with a thyroid condition that I was born with (but we’ll not get into that) so I have never been this slim by choice. Now when I say slim I don’t just mean slightly smaller than average – I mean that my legs were minuscule & shockingly tiny. I hated them more than could imagine. Growing up I had serious confidence issues & was so self-conscious about my body. While I am no longer as skinny as I was as a teen, I’m still tiny but I’ve just learnt to accept it & deal with it. But I’ll never forget the things that people called me, the sly comments & the judgemental stares. That is the reason for this blog post – I want to talk about what it’s like to be a skinny girl in today’s society & how harmful it can be.

Now I want to add a little disclaimer here because body image can be a sensitive topic for many: I am in no way undermining those who are overweight or what they go through mentally when it comes to body image. I am simply giving my perspective from someone on the opposite end of the spectrum because it’s something that is rarely talked about.

The media has shaped society’s thinking around weight massively. We’re constantly seeing and reading about celebrities losing & gaining weight featuring unflattering photos & nasty articles. It’s a horrible world & can hurt so many peoples self-esteem. A pattern that you’ll notice if you pay attention, is that according to the media anyone who is too thin MUST have an eating disorder because no one can naturally be that thin. It is this thinking that can be so detrimental to people like me who are naturally  underweight. Throughout my life I had to constantly explain myself when people made comments like ‘you’re so skinny, do you not eat?’, ‘you’re too thin, you need to go eat lots of burgers’ & so on. The problem was that because the media had shaped society in such a way no one could understand that I could possibly be this size if I ate a normal diet.

This is where society is so wrong. As a ‘skinny’ girl I have received as much criticism, as much judgement & as much hurtfulness as someone who is over weight but people struggle to or can’t see or understand that. People assume that we couldn’t possibly understand how a larger person feels but I’ve stood in front of the mirror & cried about how I look, I’ve felt self-conscious in every outfit I tried on and I tried to hide my body because I felt it was ugly. So the reality is that those of us who are very underweight can relate to those who are overweight more than you think.

There has also become an acceptance in society that if someone is too slim, that it’s okay to tell them. You would never go up to an overweight person & say nasty things but if it’s a ‘skinny’ person it’s perfectly fine to do that. I am not saying that overweight people never get horrible comments made at them by lowlifes, I’m just saying that people feel like they have a right to tell someone that they’re too thin because ‘its for their own interest’ or because ‘society says it’s okay’. I’m here to tell you that you have no right to comment on anyone’s weight. Ever.

This may have been a slightly long-winded blog post but I just wanted to create awareness about what you say & how you act towards ‘skinny’ people. We have feelings, we’re sensitive about our size & we feel body issues like anyone else. I didn’t choose to be this size & it’s very, very difficult for me to change it. My challenge to you is that if you don’t already, treat ‘skinny’ people with the same respect as you would anyone else because you have no idea how they feel about themselves. Don’t make comments about their weight. Don’t make them feel inferior, worthless or bad about themselves.  If I ever have a daughter with a similar body shape to mine, I would never want her to feel what I have felt & neither would you.
Basically, be nice & don’t be a dick!

|What I learnt as a 24 Year Old |

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So here it is, the big 25 & this is possibly the hardest birthday to take. When I woke up yesterday I was no longer 24 & instead I had suddenly reached my mid-twenties & flippin’ heck does that scare me. It feels like just yesterday I turned 20 & now I’m as close to 30 as I am to 20 – where did those years go?!

With this passing birthday I had an idea for a blog post – what I learnt as a 24 year old. With every year that passes we learn new life lessons & this year was a big one for me. I have lived in a foreign country for one year, I have started businesses & I’ve gone through one hell of an emotional roller-coaster. So I thought how better to enter another than to reflect on my year as a 24 year old woman.

Here is what I learned:

To believe in myself
I never realised how much my mind controls me until this past year. When it comes to every day life I am generally a very positive person but when it comes to thoughts about myself, I’m full of doubts & I completely underestimate my own abilities. I’m not sure where this mentality came from or how long it’s been there because I’m a confident woman but inside my own mind I guess I’m not as confident as I portray myself to be. I think things like ‘I can’t do that’ or ‘I won’t be good at that’ or ‘I won’t do a good job’ when in fact every time I push myself out of my comfort zone, I surprise myself. It hasn’t been easy to control this mind set & sometimes I still catch myself doing it but it’s just about saying to myself ‘I can & I will!’ because I’m capable of much more than I give myself credit for.

 

How to deal with financial struggles
This year I have had to face some of the toughest financial times I’ve ever gone through & for anyone, that isn’t easy. When I was living back in N.Ireland I had a lot of disposable income & I was able to go shopping & buy whatever I wanted without much thought. Since moving to another country with a high unemployment rate & where it can be so difficult to find a job, I had to face financially difficult times & it really wasn’t easy. But now that I’m out the other side I am so much stronger because of it, I am now so careful with money even when I have it & going through this has really taught me the value of money again. Be thankful for what you have & always save for a rainy day because you never know how your situation can change.

You don’t need so much ‘stuff’

This leads on from my previous point as when I was going through a tough time financially I just didn’t have the money to treat myself to anything, I only bought the essentials which meant no buying clothes & no buying makeup that I didn’t need. Suddenly I was using everything in my makeup collection & I was wearing all of the clothes in my wardrobe because there was nothing new being added that took my attention. This made me realise that I have more than enough already & when I had a lot of disposable income I didn’t appreciate what I already had as I was always looking for my next purchase. Now my shopping habits have drastically changed for the better as I only buy things that I really love & I don’t throw my money around. This is a life lesson that I am so thankful for.

 

Be the fiery, opinionated woman that I am
When I moved to South Africa I was suddenly living in the biggest country I’ve ever been in & I was thrown into a fast paced world that was completely different to my home. After moving I became conscious of who I was & how I acted as I no longer had my best friends with me & I had to meet new people & make new friends of my own. Because of this I began to feel like I was losing myself a little as in certain situations I stopped myself from voicing my opinion even when I wanted to & that just isn’t who I am. I realised that just because I live somewhere new, that it doesn’t mean that I have to change who I am because I’m a still a warm, likeable person but I just prefer the warm, likeable girl who voiced her opinion when she needed to.

No one else has their sh*t figured out either
There is a crap element of society where we’re made to believe that we need to have our lives figured out ASAP. I think a lot of that comes from the generations before us when the goal was to work hard in school, get a safe & secure job & start a family before you’re 30. The problem with this is that as 20 somethings we feel like we should have everything together & if we don’t then we’re failures, but you know what? That’s bullsh*t because I don’t know anyone my age who has their whole life figured out. We’re all just running around & trying to find our ‘niche’ in life so the sooner you realise this & stop panicking, the better you’ll feel because we’re all in the same boat. I’m just glad I realised this at the age of 24!

 

| The Best of Rimmel Lipsticks |

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For many of us who have tried a Rimmel lipstick or two it’s not difficult to see why they’re incredibly popular. In recent years I became obsessed with MAC lipsticks & as a result I don’t tend to purchase many drugstore lipsticks as in many cases the formula just doesn’t compare. However I haven’t stopped buying my Rimmel lipsticks as they are just fantastic & in my opinion offer some of the best drugstore lipsticks on the market. 

Rimmel’s formula is in most cases great, offering high pigmentation & longevity while being non-drying. They also have a large shade range & they tend to release new collections that keep up with the ‘it’ shades of the season. From the long list of Rimmel lipsticks that I’ve tried I have come up with a small list of what I deem to be their best of the best lipsticks. Now this list is in no way exhaustive as there are shades that I haven’t tried from their ever-growing range but out of the many that I have tried – the below list contains the shades that I really loved. 

Lasting Finish Lipstick by Kate Moss

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So let’s start with the Kate Lasting Finish lipsticks. Kate’s collaboration with Rimmel has been incredibly successful & for good reason as she creates beautiful, wearable & unique shades that I am always attracted to.

From this particular range my favourites ended up being the darker, more bold shades not only because of their wearable tones but also because of their long-wearing formula, their moisturising finish & their pigmentation. As I have mentioned in previous posts, I will only reach for a bold lipstick over a nude if it’s easy to wear & hastle free. These lipsticks are perfect for that!

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From left to right: 30, 01, 107

Shade 30 – This lipstick is a beautiful plum-berry shade with pink undertones making it extremely easy to wear for most skin tones. When it comes to these kind of colours I can be incredibly fussy but shade 30 is a great berry shade as it is warm toned & isn’t too vampy. It also leaves a semi-matte moisturising finish that doesn’t need a lip balm underneath & that doesn’t dry out making it a great easy to wear lipstick!

Shade 01 – If you’re looking for a classic pillar box red lipstick, then look no further. Shade 01 couldn’t be a more perfect shade of red & for this reason it will go with all skin tones. Like the previous lipstick, shade 01 also has a semi-matte finish that glides on easily & wears easily throughout the day. It really is beautiful!

Shade 107 – This is an unusual shade of red but one that has been given a lot of love from me. I love a deep red but I find that most have brown undertones which don’t tend to suite my complexion. However shade 107 is a deep red with plum undertones that leans slightly more on the vampy side of red while being incredibly easy to wear. It has more of a matte finish than the previous two lipsticks without being drying. A perfect shade for the autumn & winter months!

Lasting Finish by Kate – Nude Collection 

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Anyone who has followed my blog for a little while will know that I just love a nude lipstick so this collection was one that I got incredibly excited about when I heard about it. Unfortunately for me most of the lipstick shades in this collection weren’t ones that I would wear as they were either too light or too dark but from the shades that I picked, they certainly didn’t let me down.

 

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Top shade: 45 Bottom Shade: 43

Shade 45 – This is a great ‘my lips but better’ lipstick for me. It is a mid toned pink nude with blue undertones & a semi-matte finish. This particular shade isn’t as pigmented as other Rimmel lipsticks but it’s very easy to build up. This is a great ‘throw on’ lipstick that is easy to wear & will go with all makeup looks.

Shade 43 – This is a lighter shade of nude than I would normally reach for but while it is light, it is also wearable & doesn’t give you ‘concealer lips’. 43 is a warm toned beige lipstick with peachy undertones that looks great on my warm skin-toned ladies. This is a great lipstick to wear with a dark smokey eye or I love to pair it with a slightly darker lip liner (Tiramasu by Rimmel to be exact.)

Lasting Finish Lipsticks 

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These are the original Lasting Finish lipsticks & there are many shades available in this range. One thing that I do notice when shopping this range is that there are many metallic shades which I’m just not such a fan of. But the formula, like all Rimmel lipsticks, is creamy & moisturising with great colour pay off.

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Shade 077 Asia – This is the perfect dupe for MAC’s Brave lipstick which is one of my all time favourites (which you can tell from the almost finished bullet.) It is the perfect mid toned warm pink nude with slight blue undertones & is one of the most flattering lipsticks I own. It goes with any kind of makeup look, wears really well & is so moisturising. Out of all the lipsticks I have mentioned in this post, I would recommend this one the most.

I’m always on the hunt for new Rimmel lipsticks that I can fall in love with. What are your favourites?  

 

| Tips for New Bloggers |

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Starting a blog isn’t easy. Blogging is a big industry with a lot of people in it & it just keeps growing. I had wanted to start a blog long before Beauty & The Blouse began but I always thought ‘why would anyone want to read what I have to say!?’ – Well it turns out that people do want to hear my views & opinions & starting a blog was one of the best decisions I ever made. 

I am quite the newbie when it comes to blogging, in fact I uploaded my first ever post only 6 months ago, so I certainly don’t claim to be an expert. However over this past 6 months I’ve learnt a few lessons that I wanted to share with anyone who is considering starting a blog of their own so that you can get your blog off to the best possible start.
Here are my 7 tips for new bloggers:  

Don’t Underestimate the Power of Social Media: The day that you set up your blog is also the day that you should set up your social media accounts because social media is the best way to get your blog out there & to grow your following. Social media is a way for you to engage with your audience & to get to know them as well as allowing them to get to know you better.
For me Instagram & Twitter have been most successful in growing my blog following so far but I’ve heard a lot of positive things about Pinterest as well. When creating your social media accounts it’s important to add a link to your blog in your bios to take them directly to your site & it’s also a good idea to post about your newest blog post as soon as it goes live – this will help drive traffic to your blog.
With all this being said, the reality is that not all of your social media followers will read or follow your blog & instead will engage with you on Twitter/Instagram. Getting these kinds of followers is also incredibly important as in today’s blogging world your blog following is only a portion of your reach & it is your social media following that makes up the rest of it. When company’s look for bloggers to collaborate with they also want to see your social media follower numbers & how engaged they are so don’t neglect these avenues or you’ll find it almost impossible to get your blog off the ground!

Set Yourself a Blog Schedule: When people hear the word schedule, they immediately think boring! But trust me, when you run a blog it’s important. I like new posts to go live on a Wednesday & Saturday but you can choose whichever days of the week suit you best. I always try to plan my posts at least 2 weeks ahead of time so that I can plan my photographs & also so that I’m not suddenly stuck for something to write about. If you know that you’re not going to be available on blog posting day (because bloggers do also have a life outside of the internet) you can also plan your posts ahead of time & schedule them to go live on a certain date & time. But also remember, sometimes things happen & life gets in the way so if you’re blog posts don’t go out on time – that’s okay too. The world won’t explode & your followers won’t magically disappear. Just try to stick to a schedule as best you can.

It’s Okay to Write Negative Reviews: For some reason (of which I just cannot understand) there are many bloggers out there who rave about every single product they have been sent & never have a negative to give. In the real world we know that this just doesn’t happen. As a beauty blogger I’m always trying products that don’t suit my skin type or that I just don’t like the texture or consistency of. When you’re a blogger it’s important to develop a sense of trust with your readers & followers – they want to hear honest reviews & opinions not something that has been dressed up to please the brand. I understand that some people don’t like negativity on their blog, but if you’re worried about writing a negative review because you’re scared of getting removed from a PR list, then don’t write about it or use constructive criticism e.g. ‘It may work for dry skin types but it just didn’t work for my oily skin.’ Ultimately I always believe that honesty is the best policy & that writing negative reviews is okay – as bloggers we don’t have to love everything that we’re sent & to me I’d prefer that my readers trust my opinion.

Take Photographs in Bulk: Those who aren’t bloggers themselves won’t know just how time consuming it is to take blog photos. It’s a terribly long process! It isn’t easy to set aside time to rearrange your entire bedroom, get into awkward positions to take good photos at good angles & then to be left with a heap of random objects & products to put away at the end. So if you have time to take lots of photos in one go, do it! It’ll save you trying to find time to take photos when time is limited & it also makes it easier to blast out your blog posts on one day & schedule them for the week or month ahead. Trust me, you’ll thank me for it.

Have a List of Go-To Blog Post Ideas: We’ve all heard of the term ‘writers-block’ & unfortunately as bloggers we too get hit with this from time to time. The best way to combat this is to have a list of blog post ideas in a notebook that you keep with you or like me, just use the notes in your phone. Whenever I have an idea for a blog post I always write it down otherwise it’s guaranteed that I’ll forget it. If you’ve tried this & you’re still really stuck for inspiration you can also find a lot of pins on Pinterest with lists for blog post ideas which can be a great help to get your creative juices flowing again.

Rome Wasn’t Built in a Day: Sometimes people enter the blogging world with a expectation that within a couple of months they’ll be working with brands & being paid for posts. While I was lucky enough to work with my first brand only a couple of months into starting my blog, for most this just isn’t the case. It takes time to build a following as a blogger so in most cases your first year will be spent growing your following & building a relationship with these followers, not working with brands. My blog is still in it’s baby stages & I still have a small following 6 months later – it’s about being patient & being consistent before the rest will follow.

Be Yourself: In a world full of bloggers, the only way to stand out from the crowd is to be yourself because if you try to do what everyone else does then you’ll just get lost among the crowd. This is possibly the best advice that I can give to you. If you’re not being true to yourself & who you are then how can you be happy with your content? Or how can you possibly keep it up in the long term? Your readers want to get to know the real you so let them!

I really hope you find these tips helpful. Which one did you find most useful? 

|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!

| 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?