Evening Skincare Routine - Autumn 2018

Today we are talking skincare, more specifically my evening skincare routine, I wrote up a similar post a good few months ago so I thought it was time I gave you a bit of an update. Some of the products haven't changed but I am using some new bits that I want to discuss today.

The first step in my nighttime routine is to remove my make-up and cleanse the skin and I'm still using the Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser, I've talked about this product many times on my blog and it's a true favourite of mines, it's a rich cream that can be applied straight to the skin to dissolve make-up, it wipes away easily and leaves your skin feeling soft and clean. One thing I have changed in my routine is how I remove my cleanser, previously I was rinsing away my cleanser using a muslin cloth which helps to exfoliate the skin and is very effective but I've switched to a microfiber cloth as these feel more gentle on the skin and make removing all traces of make-up even easier. I'm using the Primark Make Up Remover Cloths which I believe costs £1.50 each and I keep 3 in rotation so I always have a fresh one available.
After I've removed all of my make-up I rinse the skin with some water and pat dry.

Next, I will take a cotton pad and some of my Liz Earle Instant Boost Skin Tonic and just gently sweep it across the face to remove any final traces of make-up/oil and refresh the skin. The Instant Boost Skin Tonic is another product I've used for quite some time and it's a lovely extra step in your routine to really calm and soothe the skin, I sometimes even take a few drops in my hands and press it directly into the skin which helps me cut down on the number of cotton pads I'm using.

Once a week I will exfoliate the skin, I no longer use physical exfoliants as I think they can be quite abrasive to the face, instead I opt for something like the Alpha-H Liquid Gold Rose. I have a sample size right now but it's lasted really well and helps give my skin a boost. This full-size bottle is quite expensive so I will probably switch over to something like the Pixi Glow Tonic once this runs out. When using this product I will apply it after cleansing and add no other products, I want it to work as effectively as possible and applying moisturiser on top gives a more gentle exfoliation and would be a good idea for anyone with sensitive skin.

On the days I'm not applying an exfoliator I will use a serum, currently, I'm using B.Restored Peptide Rich Elixir which I really like. This serum is lovely and light and it leaves the skin feeling nourished, this particular serum is geared towards those in their 40s but I think it's good to start with ingredients that target ageing before you need them, prevention is better than cure!

When my eyes are looking a bit tired or puffy I will use the Simple Kind To Eyes Revitalising Eye Roll-On, I don't think this helps with fine lines or wrinkles in any way but the rollerball feels very cooling and soothing on the delicate eye area.

I will apply an oil or moisturiser to finish off my routine, the one I'm using at the moment is the Formula Absolute Ultimate Sleep Cream, this is another mini that I'm using but I think I will purchase the full-size in the future. This night cream feels very rich and luxurious, it also smells amazing! After using this your skin will feel plumped up and moisturised, it's a really lovely product that you can buy from Marks and Spencer, it's not cheap but at £22 per 50ml it is reasonable. Finally I will apply some lip balm, currently, I'm using the Nivea Lip Butter in Blueberry Blush which smells great and stops my lips getting dry and chapped.

The weather is starting to change and it's definitely getting colder so I may introduce more oils as we go into winter but right now this routine is keeping my skin looking it's best, my skin is actually looking very clear and I've had fewer breakouts than usual so I don't want to mess around with this routine too much.
What are your autumn skincare essentials?

How I'm Currently Doing My Make-Up - Favourite Application Techniques

Every now and again I change up how I apply my make-up, sometimes I will go through a phase of loving a full coverage base, sometimes I like to really focus on my eye make-up and sometimes I want a very natural finish with glowing skin. Every time I change up my look I adopt different make-up application techniques so today I thought I would give you a rundown of the style of make-up I'm loving and the way I achieve it.

Okay, so for a long time I've been wearing quite a full coverage base but recently I've started to sheer out my application to let my own skin show through and solely focus on adding coverage to imperfections and areas that need it, this gives me a more natural finish and stops my make-up becoming as cakey/worn throughout the day.

The number one change I have made is to apply lighter layers and slowly build up my coverage. I've been applying my foundation with a brush more recently and really buffing my foundation into the skin, I have favoured a beauty sponge for such a long time but now I'm only using it to do some extra blending of cream products and to make sure everything is really pushed into the skin. I'm using a lot more cream products at the moment, I'm applying my Chanel Soleil Tan De Chanel around the perimeter of the face before or after my foundation depending on how bronzed I want to look.
My favourite brush to use right now for foundation is the Real Techniques Expert Face Brush and I'm using the Zoevea 110 Face Shape Brush to apply my cream bronzer.

When it comes to concealer I'm using my Zoeva 142 Concealer Buffer and a very fine pointed brush that I think I picked up from a paintbrush set. I'm going in and pinpoint concealing any imperfections rather than relying on my foundation to hide everything and I've stopped applying my concealer in that classic big triangle under the eyes, I'm applying a small amount and working it into the skin using a brush, I'll tap over the skin with my sponge if I feel there are any little brush strokes I want to eliminate. I think we're all applying a little too much concealer under the eyes and it can lead to more creasing, this lighter application technique helps me to keep things looking smooth.

I'm taking my time to get my base looking good without over applying products and when I'm happy with how everything looks I'm taking a small fluffy brush and only applying my powder to the areas that need it, again this helps to stop my skin look cakey or dry, it gives a much softer more natural looking finish. This continues the theme of applying sheer and buildable layers rather than being heavy-handed and making it very obvious you are wearing make-up.

I will finish off my base by applying powder bronze/contour/blush/highlighter over any creams to build colour and lightly set them in place.

My application techniques for my eye/brow make-up haven't really changed, I've been wearing pretty basic and natural eye make-up recently and filling in my brows how I usually do.

For lipstick, I've been choosing a lot of warm autumnal shades and gently patting the colour on before blotting off any excess colour to keep these deeper brown tones very wearable during the day.

These are the techniques I'm currently using when applying my make-up and I'm loving the results they give, this will continue to develop and change over the coming months who knows in another couple of weeks I might be back to loving a really full face of glam make-up, changing up your look is all part of the fun of make-up so don't forget to try new things and experiment you might discover a new technique you really love!

10 Simple Ways To Be More Eco-Friendly

For a while now I've wanted to make a more conscious effort to cut down on waste and be more environmentally friendly so today I thought I'd talk a little bit about the steps I'm taking to make this happen. Before I start I will say I still have a long way to go, I'm sure there's still a million different changes I can make to reduce the impact I'm having on our planet but for now I'm a beginner and these are just some super simple changes we can all make that will make a difference!

1) The first and probably most obvious thing is to sort your rubbish and start recycling, most of us are already doing this these days but sorting out your rubbish and separating your recyclables is a really easy way to be more environmentally friendly.

2) Look for refillable packaging, I'm pretty new to this but recently whilst out getting my household shopping I noticed that the hand soap I usually pick up has a refill pouch which uses 85% less plastic than a brand new bottle and generally it's roughly the same cost. I'm going to be searching for more of these types of refills whenever I'm out shopping, I know many coffee brands also offer refill pouches so this is something to consider before picking up your regular shopping items.

3) Something that's been talked about a lot recently is the use of plastic straws, a number of food and drink establishments have already switched over to paper straws and I think this is set to continue. This was something I never really thought about but now it's been brought to my attention I no longer buy disposable straws, it's strictly paper from now on (or reusable ones).

4) Stop buying bottled water, water is something you can pour straight from your own tap for free so why continue to be overcharged and add more plastic to landfills with expensive bottled water when you buy a reusable water bottle, help the environment and save money at the same time. You can take this a step further and purchase your own travel/coffee mug and have coffee shops fill these up rather than buying disposable cups, some coffee places even offer discounts if you do this.

5) Cut down on use of plastic bags, you can either use the 'bags for life' and take these with you every time you go shopping or purchase the reusable bags that fold up into a small pouch and can easily be kept in your handbag, I love these because they fold up so small, are really strong and can hold a load of stuff.

6) Switch from tampons/pads to a menstrual cup. This one I can't officially comment on.....yet but I have purchased the OrganiCup and I'm going to give it a try when I get my next period and I'm thinking I'll probably write up a full review once I've tested it out. Menstrual cups have benefits for both the environment and your body but I'll talk about all of that in detail in my upcoming review.

7) You may not want to go vegetarian but it's a really good idea to cut down on your consumption of meat. Meat production is actually quite damaging to the planet, I'm not sure of all the statistics but I have read that meat production is one of the leading causes of greenhouse gas. If you love meat and aren't willing to give it up I would suggest having a meat-free day each week, this is a very achievable goal, this year I have majorly cut back on eating meat as I just don't enjoy it as much as a used to and I enjoy finding healthier alternatives, I've also cut back on dairy products as these aggravate my acne so I really see the benefits of a more plant-based diet even though I'm currently not vegetarian or vegan.

8) A super easy way to waste less paper is to switch to online bills, often we just throw out monthly statements out so it's a total waste of paper and with us all being so glued to our phones it's much more efficient to receive a notification or email than a physical letter.

9) Start thinking about all the disposable items you use and make switches to cut down on waste. If you are constantly using paper towels when cleaning you may want to consider using microfibre cloths instead, these can be used all around the house then thrown in the wash for next time. Another idea is to cut your cotton pads/sponges in half, this is better for the environment and another way to ultimately save money.

10) The final tip I have is to cut back on the amount you buy in general, this is what I struggle with most especially being a blogger/beauty lover I always want to be testing out the latest products and definitely fall victim to marketing ploys but I'm trying to get better and stop buying things that I don't need. I love the idea of a capsule wardrobe and it's something I'm definitely wanting to work towards as well as a more minimalist lifestyle in general.

These are 10 tips I'm currently trying to follow to reduce the impact I'm having on the planet, as I discussed at the beginning of this post I'm definitely a beginner and there's lot's more I could do for our planet but every little helps.
If you have any tips you want to share please let me know!

My Fake Tan Routine 2018

Utan and Tone Turbo Tan Medium > Ultra Dark Lotion

I must admit, I have previously been a fake tan hater but over the last year or two I've given it a second chance and I've really learned to love it. When I've used fake tan in the past I always felt it left me looking a little orange and patchy but I think that over the years companies have developed better formulas and techniques and now you can achieve a beautiful natural looking tan.

I definitely need to try our some more fake tan products and brands but currently, I'm using Utan and Tone which I actually talked about in my first ever blog post which I will link here. I've tried the Medium Weekly Self-Tan Lotion which you apply and leave for 8 hours before rinsing off, this is a good product but it's not my favourite from the brand. I think this would be good when starting out for a very light natural tan but now that I feel comfortable applying fake tan I want something darker so I can really see the results. 

Utan and Tone Turbo Tan Medium > Ultra Dark Lotion

Before I apply fake tan I always exfoliate the skin, this is one of the most important steps especially in preventing patchiness. I like to try and do this the day before to ensure my skin is not sensitive or irritated this also gives an extra opportunity to moisturise which is another important step. I like to use exfoliating gloves because you can pick them up anywhere and they are so inexpensive.

For application I would always recommend using a good quality tanning mitt, this stops you getting those ultra dark hands, a good mitt is the easiest way to get smooth even looking colour. I'm currently using the Skinny Tan Dual Sided Mitt which costs £6.99 and is worth every penny, this has lasted me such a long time and is still in perfect condition, you just use it then give it a wash and it's ready to go for next time.

An extra tip if you are trying to get rid of old fake tan is to soak in a warm bath for a while before exfoliating to help soften the skin and allow easier removal. 

I would also shave your legs at least 24 hours before applying fake tan to allow the time for pores to close up and stop the tan gathering and creating those annoying tiny spots over the legs. 

Utan and Tone Turbo Tan Medium > Ultra Dark Lotion

My favourite tan at the moment is the Utan and Tone Turbo Tan Medium > Ultra Dark Lotion as it gives me a really nice deep colour, you can decide how dark you want to go based on how long you let it develop. You can leave it for one hour for a light glow, two hours for a light tan, three to four hours for medium colour, all the way up to eight hours for a dark tan. 

A few minutes before going in with my chosen fake tan I will apply moisturiser to my elbows, knees, ankles and wrists to stop these areas over developing, I like to choose something light that's easily absorbed.

Utan and Tone Turbo Tan Medium > Ultra Dark Lotion

Next, I'll take my mitt and some fake tan, start at my ankles and go up the body, working in sections and making sure everything is well blended. Once my legs are done I use what's left over on the mitt to gently pat over the feet, our feet and hands tend to develop much quicker and go darker than we would like so you only want to apply a minimal amount. I will do this same technique when it comes to my wrists and hands. Once I'm fully fake tanned I will carefully wash my hands and wait for a few minutes before getting dressed, I will always wear some loose fitting pyjamas and leave it overnight to develop. In the morning I will rinse off the guide colour and very gently pat the skin dry, you don't want to have a very hot bath/shower when rinsing away your tan as it will remove more of the colour, when drying you only want to pat the skin, again, this is to stop the premature removal of your tan.

Finally, if you want to keep your tan looking fresh and smooth for as long as possible I would recommend applying moisturiser each day, this will keep the skin looking smooth and help your tan to fade more evenly.


After - Using Utan and Tone Medium Weekly Self-Tan Lotion

Maybelline Superstay Matte Ink Liquid Lipstick

Maybelline Superstay Matte Ink Liquid Lipstick

Now that autumn is almost upon us I'm ready to start wearing deeper lipstick shades and I've been really wanting to pick up a long-lasting red lipstick for a while now so I went out a few weeks back and swatched all different offerings from the drugstore and finally settled on the Maybelline Superstay Matte Ink Lipstick in the shade Pioneer. I've wanted to try out these liquid lipsticks for a while now and I definitely want to pick up a nude shade at some point in the future.

The Matte Ink lipsticks cost £9.99 and claim to be an intense ink colour with 12-hour wear. The packaging is really pretty with each tube being coloured to match the lipstick inside and a white cap with an all matte finish. The applicator is a pointed doe-foot which allows you to get a precise application easily without the need for a lip liner. 

Maybelline Superstay Matte Ink Liquid Lipstick

The shade Pioneer is a deep red but still very bright and vibrant, it has that blue undertone that I love in a red lipstick, I'm not the biggest fan of more orangey-red shades purely because I don't think they suit me. I was really surprised at just how pigmented this liquid lipstick was, it is intense! It applies really easily and evenly, I was impressed that there was no patchiness and I didn't need to go in with a second coat. The shade is stunning and gives a really glam look in an instant, I love it! Once applied it takes a few minutes to dry down and initially feels a tiny bit sticky but over time this goes away and your lipstick is locked in place. Okay, so the claims state it can withstand 12 hours of wear and I actually believe them, even when I had initially swatched this on the back of my hand the day I picked this up I really struggled to remove it, it took several attempts and and a fair bit of scrubbing to get it all off and when I've worn this on the lips I've had a similar experience where I've really had to give my lips a good scrub at the end of the night after a few too many drinks and still woke up to some colour left on my lips the next morning.

Maybelline Superstay Matte Ink Liquid Lipstick

I've worn this lipstick a few times now and I'm really impressed, it's extremely pigmented and very long lasting, the shade range is great and I definitely want to try out one of the nude shades in the future.


Wet N Wild Photo Focus Foundation Review

Wet N Wild Photo Focus Foundation

Today is my first review of a product from the brand Wet N Wild and I picked one that's been very hyped up in the beauty blogger community, the Photo Focus Foundation. Wet N Wild is a brand that up until recently wasn't available in the UK but Beauty Bay has come to the rescue and I can finally get my hands on products from the brand. 
This foundation costs just £6.00 and I picked up the shade Nude Ivory, it claims to be a high-performing matte foundation that has been tested under 7 different light conditions. It's also worth noting that this foundation is cruelty-free and vegan.

Wet N Wild Photo Focus Foundation

The foundation comes in a square glass bottle with a large spatula to apply the foundation, now I usually prefer a pump dispenser for my foundations but as the consistency of this foundation is quite liquidy I do appreciate having the spatula as it makes it easier to get the right amount of product out of the bottle. You could apply it straight to the face and blend out but I prefer to put some on the back of my hand then apply it using a sponge. I will also mention that it has quite a strong scent which slightly resembles paint which I'm not a fan of.

Wet N Wild Photo Focus Foundation Applicator

The coverage is decent, I wouldn't say it was full coverage but it can be built up and it evens out the skin tone, the colour is a good match for me when I don't have any tan on, this foundation comes in 20 different shades which isn't too bad although the shade selection for deeper skin tones is pretty limited.

Once applied it feels pretty lightweight on the skin and it has a matte finish, sometimes this foundation can look a little dry on me so I try to go in with moisturiser and a hydrating/glowy primer beforehand, initially, I really like how this foundation looks but as the day progresses my make-up starts to look worn, from a distance everything still looks good but look closer and I can see it breaking up and sitting in fine lines. I think for £6.00 this is a decent foundation but it's not quite as long lasting as I'd like it to be and I don't know that it works the best for my skin type, I have combination skin and I think this would be better suited to someone with oily skin.

Wet N Wild Photo Focus Foundation

I was also intrigued by its claims about being tested in 7 different lighting conditions and although I didn't test out all of them I will say that it photographs well in bright natural light and indoors with the flash on, I took a couple of quick pictures and noticed no flashback so I also think this would be a great budget friendly foundation for anyone who only needs to wear it for a few hours and knows they will be getting photographed.

Swatches of Wet N Wild Photo Focus Foundation

My overall opinion is that this is a good foundation for a very fair price although it doesn't last the longest and isn't 100% suited to my skin type I do still think it's good and I really want to try out some more products from the brand.


My Blogging Essentials!

Laptop and notebook

I have been blogging for a little over a year now and I still consider myself a beginner but over that time I've learnt a lot and created a little kit of essentials that I use to run my blog and create new content so I thought I'd share those with you today. Quite a few of these items you can actually do without when you first start a blog, so long as you have a way to write and take pictures you can start blogging and at the beginning that's enough! Some of these items are investment pieces so you want to make sure blogging is something you truly enjoy and want to pursue before you start spending all your hard earned cash on it. 

The first thing you need to start up your blog is a computer or laptop so that you can get your blog set up and write your blog posts. I use a Sony Vaio that I've had for a few years now and although it's slightly beaten up it still works fine, I will probably upgrade this at some point in the future but it's not at the top of my list of priorities.

Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge

This is probably the number one essential that you will need, these days you can do so much on your phone if you didn't have a laptop/computer you can even write up your posts using your mobile. I currently have the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge and when I started out I used the camera to take all of my photos, the camera quality is great so don't feel like you need to invest in an expensive camera right away. I'm constantly using my phone to check my social media, respond to comments and check how my blog posts are performing. I also use my phone to edit all of my photographs and I've created a post talking about my favourite apps to use so if you want to read that click here. I'm now eligible for an upgrade so I may be getting my hands on a new phone soon, I'm trying to decide between the Samsung Galaxy S9 and the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 but right now both are so expensive so I'm waiting for the cost to come down a little.

This is by far the biggest investment I have made in blogging, I wanted a good camera for a long time and a few months back I bought the Olympus Pen e-pl8 which cost roughly £400! I saved up some money to put straight towards this camera and have been paying off the rest for the last few months. This was expensive but I do love it, it's small stylish and gives me great quality photographs. I won't pretend I know a lot about photography but I am trying to learn and I feel like this camera makes learning a little easier as all the settings are easy enough to figure out and play around with.

Laptop, notebook, external hard drive and camera

Okay, so once you have everything you need to take your photos and write your posts you'll need some items to help take your pictures to the next level, this is where backdrops and props come into play. These don't need to be expensive and you'll probably be able to find lots of items around your home to help style your photographs. You can use a plain white bedsheet as a backdrop to give a bright clean feel to your photos, you can also use wooden flooring and any other area around your home that looks pretty and photographs well. I picked up a piece of white card with a marble print on it from Paperchase which cost less than £2 and I use it all the time in flatlays, there are also websites that sell photography boards with all different kinds of prints which look great and I really want to pick some of these up in the future. For props I think my favourite thing to use are artificial flowers, these can be picked up so cheaply and are great for making your pictures look that little bit more pretty. The use of backdrops and props are also a great way to start creating a bit of a brand identity, the way in which you use colours, light, styling and photography can all help to create a distinct look for your blog.

Selection of artificial flowers

External Hard Drive 
This is my most recent purchase, I bought the Seagate 1TB Ultra Slim Portable Hard Drive because my phone was constantly running out of space with the number of photos I had stored on it. This is a really great way of backing up all of your work wherever you are in such a quick and easy way. It's important to try and back up all of your work because things do sometimes go wrong and if something happens to your blog you could lose all of the posts you've created.

Phone Stylus  
I've already mentioned in this post that I use my phone all the time for editing pictures and posting on social media and my favourite social media platform is Instagram so I picked up a super inexpensive phone pen to be able to draw more easily on Instagram Stories. I got mines from eBay but you can also pick them up from websites like Amazon and they cost just a few pounds.

I love to have a cute notebook that I use for blogging so I can make notes, write down ideas and plan out my posts. Sometimes I can't be bothered to set up my laptop and I want to quickly make some notes especially if I'm planning a review of a product I like being able to make notes throughout the day that I'll want to include in my post.

Laptop lying next to dog

These are just a few of the essentials you might want to pick up when you start blogging, many of these are items you will already own and the others can be picked up for a reasonable price, it's important to remember that you don't need lots of very expensive and fancy products to create a blog, if you want to start blogging then just start and the rest will follow in time.
There are lots of other items I want to invest in, in the future to keep evolving my blog and improving my content but for now, these are my essentials and the items I use most often when blogging.

Laptop, camera and external hard drive