These past few weeks have been the longest I can remember; it seems like months ago I was huddled around with loved ones eating as much turkey as I could manage, sipping champagne at every opportunity and integrating glitter into as many outfits as possible. January is always the longest month - not helped by chilly air, empty bank accounts and failed resolutions that lasted as long as that opened box of After Eights. I always find the opening few weeks of every year a struggle, bogged down by endless messages from the media about the fact I should be revolutionising my diet and exercising in my sleep in order to kick-start another year with a bang. For most of us it's not that simple, but making small steps towards looking after yourself a little more can make a cumulative difference overall. As we near the end of the worst month of the year and step into February refreshed, this week I'm going to be talking about the little ways in which we can be good to ourselves throughout 2015. From hard working products and juicing, to gadgets that can help you sleep and supplements, there are really easy ways in which you can look after your body and mind. To kick start my 'Be Good To Yourself' Week, here are five ways in which you can make a difference without committing to something unrealistic.
Every day in the UK, eight women are diagnosed with cervical cancer and three will lose their lives to the disease. It's hard to fathom that cervical cancer still claims the lives of around 1000 women in the UK every single year, but research has shown that one in five women don't attend their screening appointments when invited. It's an illness that is largely preventable thanks to cervical screening and the HPV vaccination programme, but the uptake of smear tests is now decreasing year on year as we become complacent and 'too busy' to attend appointments. Although smear tests aren't enjoyable, they're so quick and painless that we should all be making the time to get tested and look after our health. However, it seems that we all make excuses to delay our appointments - from not having the time, blaming work commitments, not being able to get a convenient appointment or simply prioritising everything else over a smear. Today marks the start of Cervical Cancer Prevention Week, an initiative from Jo's Trust to help raise awareness of the importance of smear tests and the symptoms associated with cervical cancer, and it's something I'm wholeheartedly supporting.
I adore the power that a slick of lipstick brings, but half way through the day I inevitably regret my choice as my pout becomes dry and the colour fades away. Glosses are great at adding a touch of shine to lips and subtly bringing a look together, but they're super sticky and wear off often within minutes. This new launch from Smashbox provides the best of both worlds, coating lips in a powerful colour that's glossy without being sticky and long-lasting without being drying; 'Be Legendary' long-lasting lip lacquer contains the maximum amount of pigment Smashbox could squeeze in for serious impact, paired with comforting Vitamin E and glossy-finish pearls.
I have a very special relationship with the Be Delicious fragrance franchise, and seeing as it's one of the most popular global perfume brands it appears a lot of you do too. The original Be Delicious apple scent was the first I ever really truly chose for myself and paid for with my hard earned cash; it wasn't a gift or what someone else thought I may like, but something I knew I loved instantly as soon as I inhaled the delicate fruity notes. The brand just keeps on expanding with DKNY launching extensions to the core range every year, and this March they expand their reportoire even further with a trio of Delicious Delights that are set to get you all in a tizz. Inspired by cool and refreshing sweet sorbet treats that are delicious, fruity and comforting, these three scents provide a delicate twist on the perfumes we know and love so well.
My love for blogging will never cease. Having your own little corner of the infinite internet to share your thoughts, news and views is like nothing else ever seen within the modern age; never before have we been able to catapult our voices around the world with the click of a button and reach out to others that may share our passions. Blogging has changed my life, like many other millions of people globally, and opened up a plethora of opportunity that I couldn't be more grateful for. With more and more of us clicking that 'start new blog' button and embracing all that it brings, more and more of us are juggling a growing site and our full-time jobs, as well as busy social schedules and the demands of keeping in touch with readers via social media. If you're struggling, don't know where to start or just need a helping hand to organise your time a little better, I've pulled together some of my top tips for juggling a blog with a full-time job and still ensuring you're kicking ass.
As someone who spends their days attached to a combination of laptop, smartphone and tablet, technology is an essential part of my life. Running a blog, maintaining my social media channels, researching new trends, collaborating with brands and staying one step ahead of the latest launch means I rely on hardworking tools to provide me with the experience I need. However, I could do without the weight or inconvenience associated with gadgets that weigh the same amount as a small child - there's enough lipgloss in my handbag to do some serious shoulder damage alone. The new and innovative Microsoft Surface Pro 3 is the perfect tool for anyone wanting the best of a laptop with the convenience of a tablet, without scrimping on performance. In the spirit of a new year, I'm going to be using the tablet to help me execute my blog resolutions in 2015 and I'm inviting you along for the ride.
If you're a fan of the classic Bobbi Shimmer Bricks, that provide a combination of bronzing and highlighting within a subtle portfolio of colour, then you'll love their Brightening Bricks that work on the same concept but help to add a touch of flush to the face. Available in six different shade combinations, each palette contains six individual complementary tones that can be used individually or together for a natural finish. From a delicate pink, to a shimmery nude, peachy bronze and deep summer glow tone, there's something for every stage of your seasonal skin. Although the pretty pattern does start to disappear after the first use, underneath is a pan of shades that really work together to create a healthy spring glow without overdoing the need for colour - these provide just a flush of something beautiful.
Shopping for skincare has long been complicated: taking into consideration age, skin type, problem areas, stage and texture leaves us with an expanding repertoire that's hard to tackle on a daily basis. Anything that makes my life a touch easier while simultaneously ensuring radiant and glowing skin is worth taking note of, which is why I'm such a big fan of the new KITA Moisturising Serum Complexes. KITA offers avant garde skincare inspired by the ancient oriental philosophy of the Five Elements (a simple and essential concept of perfect equilibrium,) of which we all belong to either Wood, Earth, Metal, Fire or Water. You can easily identify your element via their online widget (I'm Metal) and you simply pick up the relevant product for you - there's no need to worry about skin type or age as each serum has been developed to deliver everything you could need in one beautiful pump.
When it comes to the beauty industry, I'm a massive geek. I love nothing more than discovering a leap forward in innovation, a revolutionary application technique or scientific advances that make beautifying ourselves even more effective. There's no doubt that 2015 will the year that provides us with oodles of innovative products that we wonder how we did without - and if these launches are anything to go by we're in for a huge treat. I've picked five products that push the boundaries of what I thought possible, providing ease of use and effectiveness paired with fabulous ingredients. Here are the five beauty technologies you need to know about in 2015...
I've never been a huge fan of metallic nails, preferring to keep metal tones hanging around my neck, but occasionally a collection comes along and changes your mind completely. Models Own are well known for pushing the boundaries, creating innovative collections and re-inventing the wheel in every way possible, so it's no surprise they've hit the nail on the head yet again with a ten-piece Colour Chrome line-up. Including indigo, mauve, cerise rose, pink, gold silver, olive, green and blue, there's a colour for every need and desire; each shade provides an understated shine and luxe metallic effect that can be worn either alone or used as a statement touch to nude nails.
Great foundations are hard to come by; there's a reason why we all tend to stick with what we know and mourn the loss of anything that's discontinued. I for one struggle to find formulas that offer the coverage I require without coating me in a heavy, thick mess that's half way down my face by 3pm. Although a few affordable formulations provide the results I crave, on the whole you really do get what you pay for when it comes to foundation. NARS are a brand that offer some great colour products, but I don't tend to think of them when it comes to bases. However, with the launch of their new All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation they've created an incredible formula that's a great investment for anyone wanting great coverage without feeling like they're wearing a mask.
The best thing about the blogging community is that like-minded individuals can share their stories, tricks and tips so we're all looking fabulous with the minimum time requirement possible. Beauty hacks have long been on my radar and are a constant source of inspiration; I'm always jotting down ideas and hacks that I stumble across, but it wasn't until I started asking you guys for your favourites that I had the sudden urge to document them all down in a post. From creating your own leave-in conditioner, to helping your manicure last longer and applying perfect eyeliner in seconds, there are so many crazy ideas that really do make a difference. I've narrowed down my top twenty beauty hacks from personal experience, a little research and some of my fabulous readers' contributions to give you an edit that will help you look and feel amazing every day.
It's well documented that honey is one of nature's power players, providing antibacterial properties and an injection of antioxidants to ensure our bodies perform at their best. The beauty industry has been adopting the ingredient for some time, but in 2015 Lipstick Queen are putting their own twist on the evolving trend with the launch of Queen Bee. Oozing with nourishing ingredients to soothe, repair and hydrate the delicate skin of the lips, Queen Bee is a treatment with a difference. Enriched with Royal Jelly (a nourishing active that replenishes moisture,) as well as chamomile and sunflower extract to help to soothe and heal, this little golden bullet can help care for dry lips a little more glamorously thanks to its moisture-rich formulation.
Twenty-Fifteen is undoubtedly going to be the year of the blogger. Evolution over the last twelve months has laid the groundwork for a breakthrough year, turning blogs and bloggers from the 'celebrities you've never heard of' into mainstream household names. If it isn't The Independent discussing the evolving bloggersphere and those sitting snuggly at the top, GQ naming a male vlogger as one of their best dressed, or Cosmo and Company celebrating the style of their favourites, it's Stylist discussing the 'rise of the superblogger' and The Guardian dissecting the growth of quality sites that have real value within the mainstream. However, there's a clear trend and focus of questions within all of these articles and it's not doing anything for the long-term credibility of the blogging community. Why is the mainstream media just so ruddy obsessed with the finances of these hot young things and so focused on how much money they make?
There's no better time to hit the reset button on your skin than at the start of a new year. Over the festive season we all over-indulged, let our skincare routine slip a little, replaced fruit n veg with Quality Street and interrupted our sleeping patterns. I know that my skin looked a little worse for wear at the start of January, with my normal radiant glow and clear complexion being replaced with pigmentation, dryness, sallow skin and huge under-eye circles. It was time to put serious action into place, so I embarked on a seven day intense treatment with Bare Minerals; their '7 Day Skin Detox Mineral Brightening Peel' aims to bring vitality back to your skin in just a week. The intensive skincare regimen has been specifically designed to leave skin looking brighter and feeling smoother, evening skin tone and reducing dull build-up - all from the comfort of your own home.
The daily commute has re-commenced, the kids have gone back to school and the festive party season is a distant memory. You may be feeling a little lethargic, your skin may have seen better days and your makeup may be screaming 2014 because you've not even thought about updating your routine. No need to fear, because I have some some tips and tricks that will help you to look and feel fabulous right the way into Spring. We have a tendency to just keep bubbling along and applying the same products as we did in December, but a few small changes could see you step out of your door with a spring in your step and a glowy look on your face - no holiday required! Here are my five best pieces of advice to help you get that understated and radiant glow this January.