Benefit seem to continually churn out new products that generate a huge amount of buzz - justified or otherwise. It may be their pretty packaging, quirky names or innovative offerings, but there's something about a piece of Benefit makeup that makes us all go 'oooooh!' This February it's the turn of Roller Lash, the much hyped mascara that's been previewed with Elle Magazine in an industry first; no other place could you get your hands on this latest launch without buying the glossy mag and self-indulgently flicking through the pages. I've had a preview of this little magic wand for a week or so and have been putting it through it's paces, ready to pick its performance apart for the good of all you lovely readers. Knowing their previous 'cult like' mascara is not a favourite of mine by any means (am I the only one that just doesn't get on with They're Real?) I was incredibly skeptical... But my skepticism was unjustified as I soon discovered Roller Lash is really rather fabulous and well worth a try.
Technology is a big a part of my life as coffee (and that says a lot about my relationship with coffee,) as I rely on it so heavily to keep me connected and on top of my workload. I have too many gadgets to mention, all of which have been purchased to save my mind from carrying too much information and my shoulders from carrying too much baggage. Oh how much stress I could’ve saved if I’d have known about the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 Tablet sooner! Combining the best of a computer and tablet in one portable, sleek and shiny package, this is one piece of tech that makes working both from home and on-the-go as easy as pie. I recently committed to staying ahead of the beauty news throughout Awards Season and London Fashion Week, bringing you the top trends and ways to integrate them into your routine. I want to translate what's happening on the red carpet and catwalks, helping you to identify what elements you need to pay attention to and what you can ignore as totally irrelevant; looking good and feeling great starts with fabulous products, but it also ends with the right application and perfect hair style. I've been using the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 Tablet to start that journey and this is how I've been getting on...
Ever since we were kids it's been drilled into us that we need 'five a day' to keep us functioning properly, but did you know we're actually in need of more like 'twenty a day' if we're to be in tip-top health and get all the nutrients we need? Obviously this message is slightly intimidating and much harder to achieve, but there are simple ways in which you can inject much more fruit and veg into your diet without inhaling a vegateble patch alongside every meal. Fruit and vegetables are a great source of essential vitamins and minerals (including folate, vitamin C and potassium,) as well as being an excellent source of dietary fibre (which helps maintain a healthy gut and prevent digestive problems.) Consuming a respectable amount of fruit and veg can help reduce the risk of bowel cancer, heart disease, stroke, diabetes and obesity, so why are we not shovelling as much as phsyically possible down our throats at every given opportunity? Put simply, because it's quite hard to do so. Juicing and smoothie making has become incredibly popular over the last year, thanks to the adoption of celebrities and mainstream press, and for good reason - it isn't just a fad, but an easy way of ensuring a decent level of goodness in your diet with very little effort.
The bloggersphere is currently exploding, with more of us than ever competing for a piece of the pie. With bloggers making careers out of sites that were once a hobby, scoring book deals and cosmetic launches, there's always something amazing for us all to strive towards achieving. I love blogging because I love writing; sharing my thoughts and opinions, documenting my brain blurb all over a page and sharing it with others. I love reading blogs that have a story to tell, a fantastic writing style or that make me think - be it about feminism, politics, page three or the latest lipgloss launch. However, if their writing isn't up to scratch then I simply don't go back for more; although you can be a successful blogger without an excessive writing talent, we all have the capacity to write better blog posts and ensure our readers are as engaged with us as possible. Here are my top tips for improving your writing and increasing the quality of your blog posts.
I would love to be one of those people that jumps out of bed at 6am, ready to face the day with a hop, skip and a jump - but I'm not. I've never been a morning person, preferring to peel myself away from the sheets as slowly as possible while I mourn the lost hours of bed comfort having to make a living brings. Ever since I was a child I've needed at least eight hours of sleep; any less and I don't function as well, greeting everything with a grump and a frown. Over the years the problem has gotten worse and I found it progressively harder to jump-start my day without feeling constantly exhausted or like I needed a mid-afternoon nap. The winter months are the hardest, greeting me with a wet and dark, dreary day that doesn't scream 'jump out of bed and come out to play' like a bright flare of sunshine can. For some time I'd been thinking of investing in a Lumie Light Bodyclock to help inject a little energy into my mornings and start the day off as I intended it to progress, but this January I took the plunge and finally placed an order.
Bronzer can help contour, highlighter can add a touch of light, but a great blusher can help our skin to radiate a healthy glow from within. I'm a huge fan of blush, using it to add natural contrast and tonality to my otherwise whiter-than-white complexion; a touch of colour on the cheeks can also wipe years of our faces (as we naturally associate flushed cheeks with youth) so it's a great tool to have within your repertoire. I have a huge number of blush palettes and boxes within my collection, never overlooking the power of a quick swipe across the apples of cheeks, but this Sleek Blush-By-3 trio offers an affordable alternative that provides a healthy spring-appropriate glow.
As we all start to recover from a period of over-indulgence, the winter blues and biting chilly winds, it becomes even more important to look after ourselves - both on the inside and out. Seven Seas have developed Perfect7 Woman to help women look and feel great from the inside out; targeting seven different concern areas, these supplements are designed to provide nutrients that help maintain normal skin and nails, marine oils to help maintain normal heart and brain function, as well as a blend of vitamins and minerals to help contribute to reducing tiredness and fatigue. I've been putting them to the test for around two months (read my intro post here,) taking the supplement duo daily as part of an ongoing healthy routine (juicing and swimming has become my addiction) to see if they could make a different to my overall wellbeing while targeting specific concern areas. So, have they started to make a difference already?
The art of film can provide an insight into an event, moment in time or simple piece of commentary like no other medium. Instagram may provide us with beautiful imagery and inspirational content, Twitter may be awesome for quick conversations and a flurry of information, but there's definitely a gap to provide that instantaneous connection through the medium of the moving image. Veeemotion is a new social video app that allows you to film, edit, upload and share video content via your smartphone, rather than having to faff with an editing program that can take hours and be incredibly confusing to use. Veeemotion keeps it simple by providing a variety of filters to add a more professional or fun edge to your films, as well as allowing you to add titles and captions to ensure your videos are as engaging as possible. There's even simple editing functionality where you can join videos together or chop off boring ends, adding music and playing around to ensure you're creating amazing videos in a matter of minutes.
There's no doubt about it, I'm addicted to lip balms. The one part of my beauty collection that's bursting at the seams, and has no chance of dying down any time soon, is my beloved lip treatment repertoire that's more expansive than Boots. I'm never without at least a couple of little tubes in my bag, prepared for any dry-lipped moment that may take me by surprise, sometimes even emptying out the double-digits after a couple of busy days on-the-go. Although I'm loyal to a few products and brands that I can't live without, I'm always fascinated when new exciting things land on my desk to try. With the cold winds brewing and the spring sunshine seeming more distant than ever, our lips are suffering and are in need of an old fashioned pamper; here are five fab lip balms that have made their way into my handbag of late - and for very good reason.
We're once again coming up to one of the busiest periods in fashion when British brand Burberry takes centre stage; the world's fashionista's eyeballs are temporarily on London for all of the ten minutes it takes for Burberry to showcase their forthcoming season's trends. Although their shows are always somewhat thrilling (even just to see who's on the front row,) my attention always turns to the beauty... What nail polish are they wearing, what gloss is on their lips and how have they done their hair? If we take a scoot back to this time last year you may remember a multitude of tones and boho-chic making a comeback, all brought together via this quartet of colour. With spring around the corner it's time to finally embrace a pop of coral, a slick of blue or even a touch of green within our otherwise muted wardrobes - and Burberry are here to give us a helping hand.
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.
One of the resolutions I've made for this blog during 2015 is to stay ahead of the beauty trends coming in from celebrities, fashion weeks and awards shows, digesting them and providing you with relatable advice and information that you can translate into your every day life. More on this resolution and how I'm planning on managing it later, but first up in this series of posts is a look at the hair styles strutting down the red carpet at the Golden Globes. As the first big award show of the year, and the one that starts them all off, anticipation was rife and we weren't left disappointed. The fashion may have been full of shape, sparkle and couture, but the hair was relatively simple and understated. I've indentified three key hair trends from the Globes that were seen on everyone from Kate Hudson and Amy Adams, to Sienna Miller and Naomi Watts - and the great news is that you can sport them all yourself this Saturday night with very little effort.
Every time Benefit launch a new product it becomes the most hyped-up and anticipated of the year; they have a very clever marketing department that can make even the most 'seen that a hundred times before' lipgloss seem like something completely revolutionary. Hot off the tails of their lustworthy Majorette blusher (which is so loved that I've hit the pan and still continue to dig my finger in to see how much more I can get out of it,) is their 'Puff Off' Instant Eye Gel that combines the benefits of a smoothing eye cream with highlighting and light reflecting qualities.
Back at the tail end of 2014 I spent a day with Collect Plus, the largest store-based parcel service in the UK, letting them follow me around and ask their burning questions about blogging. If you've not seen the other two videos I've featured, then make sure you check out 'A Day In The Life Of LBQ' and 'Returns Made Easy #FashionFreedom' but today there's a little insight into my blogging journey. From where the obsession began, to how I turned my hobby into a career and even how I wake up in the middle of the night thinking about new ideas, this short and snappy video gives you a little insight into my world. (I just wish I did my hair that day...!)
Orange faces, tide lines and mismatched skin tones may be the stuff of nightmares, but so many of us are guilty of unwittingly participating in such makeup faux pas. For some time I believed a darker shade of base was the answer to injecting a more healthy tone into my face, contrasting the overwhelming whiteness a perfectly matched shade would provide. As someone with an 'English Rose' complexion, it's so easy to wash away any resemblance of a living human and create a flawless base that also makes me look somewhat ill. Blush can add a bit more life into my cheeks and help to to create some contrast, but it's the surprising addition of a delicate bronzer that really helps to create a healthy glow.
Eyeshadow palettes bursting with colour may seem like a great idea when you're standing in the beauty hall of your local department store, cooing over the variety of tones that can be used to enhance your eyes. However, when you get the palette home the shades and sheer number of options often become overwhelming and hard to fathom. How often have you purchased a palette that contains six, ten, fifteen colours and found yourself sticking to only a handful of shades that you know what to do with? Here's my anatomy of an eyeshadow palette, how to use the different tones and where best to apply them. Start this year as you mean to go on and get to grips with all the shades within your repertoire, becoming an eyeshadow extraordinaire...
I named the Clarins Instant Light Natural Lip Perfector lipglosses as one of my most adored products of last year, so it's incredibly exciting that they're extending the range with the launch of six new lip balms that continue the story of their glossy counterparts. These balms offer the same delicate sweet scent that we know and love, combined with a hydrating formula and just a hint of colour to ensure lips look totally juicy. The formula is rich in active plant ingredients, contains nourishing mango, moisturising shea, Vitamin E and natural peptides which encourage the synthesis of hyaluronic acid to boost hydration over the long-term while helping to nourish lips in the short term; these aren't just lip balms, but lip balms with serious power.
Numbers are big business within the social media landscape. Bloggers have become media fodder thanks to a huge Twitter following and overnight stars have arisen because of a hugely aspirational Instagram account. Building up influence takes a huge amount of time, effort and sometimes money, so it can be awfully tempting to cheat the system and buy your way to the top via unethical channels. With bloggers making serious amounts of cash from their sites and the bloggersphere becoming even more competitive, it's even harder to maintain growth and prove your value to those interested parties. With the click of a button and only a few dollars, it's easy as pie to buy yourself a few thousand new followers and fool both readers and brands into thinking you're more influencial than you are. It's long been a topic of conversation amongst the community, but buying fake followers really isn't the way forward - it not only opens a can of worms, but it can impact upon your long-term credibility and place within the bloggersphere.
I've jabbered on before about how highlighters can be your best friend in the winter months, injecting radiance to otherwise dull and 'flat' skin. However, it's often tricky finding highlighters that are available in different shades that can be used with varying complexions. The standard highlighter provides a touch of light, but Makeup Revolution have developed a trio of products that offer differing tones so that you can add more warmth to your look. Aptly named 'Breathe, Exhale and Glow', all three highlighters are wearable and bring together the benefit of a light bronzer and subtle shimmer. Unlike many other contouring products that can be a bit too much outside of the peak of summer, these bridge the gap perfectly and provide a dreamy result.
I've made no secret of the fact I'm a bit of an eye cream fiend - anything that will help cover and conceal the fact I've had a bad nights sleep and not nearly enough time away from my laptop. Although I have dozens of tubes within my collection, never before have I seen an eye balm that's formulated to provide a luxuriously rich experience. Bare Minerals Mineralixirs Eye Nourishing Oil Balm aims to revitalise your delicate eye area and smooth away the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles; the solid balm can be melted using a warm finger and massaged into the under-eye area.
Since their launch a couple of years ago, the Real Techniques makeup brushes have developed somewhat of a 'cult like' status. They're a staple within millions of makeup bags across the globe, a beauty blogger favourite and seriously effective. Considering their reasonable price point, it's no surprise that they've become a huge success and a great little earner for the Pixiwoo sisters behind them. Sam and Nic are experienced makeup artists that know what they like; Real Techniques embodies their mantra, passions, techniques and lessons learned from working professionally over the years, helping makeup enthusiasts like you and me to get the most from their products. In 2015 Real Techniques have caused quite the stir on social media by announcing the launch of their extravagant and elegant 'Bold Metals' collection of brushes that take makeup tools to a new level.
Sometimes the little things pass us by without even a fleck of interest, but when you get to grips with them and actually integrate them into your routine they become something you can't live without. Pencil sharpeners are one of those must-haves-but-don't-pay-attention-to type products, keeping eyeliners and brow pencils sharp enough to perform at their best. Although I have about ten different ones that I've accumulated over the years (both bought and provided with new eyeliners) they're all blooming messy and a pain in the backside to use. This little red pebble from slice makes keeping your tools in perfect working order super simple, clean and efficient.
Antonia Burrell's self-named brand was one of my favourites of 2014. Her incredible formulas are paired with knowledge of working in her Notting Hill practice with real patients (how many of these 'experts' putting their name to brands haven't seen a client in ten years?) providing products that really do provide solutions to problems. During January (after a few weeks of indulgence, lack of sleep and little exercise,) our skin can look and feel a little worse for wear; I know that my complexion is in need of serious moisture, a little attention and lots of pampering. Antonia Burrell's 7-in-1 Mask Supreme offers everything I want from a face mask without drying my skin, causing an overload of product or cracking all over my bathroom.
There's one sure fire way to sell a beauty product: tell people it's 'cult'. From Pixi's Glow Tonic, to Elizabeth Arden's Eight Hour Cream and Collection's Lasting Perfection Concealer via a Naked Palette, Touche Eclat and NARS lipstick, are these products so incredibly popular because they're really rather awesome - or because we're told their cult classics we need within our beauty collection? It's easy to fall for the hype and part with good money in the hope that you're discovering the holy grail, but how much of a 'cult' product is based on actual performance and how much is built-up in the media to keep the advertisers happy?
There's no doubting the fact that photography now plays a massive part in blogging. Nearly five years ago I started this site with only a basic understanding of t'internet and a smartphone camera; for quite some time photos weren't nearly as important as the text that accompanied them. However, as the bloggersphere expanded and evolved, the focus definitely shifted towards glossy magazine-style images that could only be shot with an uber expensive camera. Although I'm no photography whizz, looking back at my early attempts makes me cringe; it's amazing how a little time and perspective makes something previously thought acceptable look like utter tosh. I've really tried to work on my imagery over the past year and it's definitely paid off, giving my words more life and showcasing products in a much better light. There are only five things I rely on to get my images looking as good as possible - and you'll be happy to know they don't cost the earth.
It seemed like there were three hundred makeup launches a week last year. Practically every day something new was landing on my desk and had me cooing over it like a baby, instagramming the hell out of it and hailing it a complete must-have. Although I do love me some makeup, I'm very fickle and rarely stay loyal to anything - as soon as there's a slightly new version available, I'm there with bells on. However, there are ten products that have stayed in my makeup bag all year long and will continue to play a fundamental part in my look for the months to come. Here are the shortlist of products I've really relied upon and can thoroughly recommend for those of you looking for something new to add to their collection in 2015.
When I was a young whipper-snapper, skincare used to be the boring bit of beauty that I just bought into because I thought I should. My passion was always in makeup and hair products, preferring to spend my hard earned cash on a fancy lipgloss or new pair of straighteners than a face cream that may reduce fine lines in approximately twenty years. However, as I've aged (and believe me I've started to notice it!) that's totally changed; skincare is now my passion. I can't apply my makeup without applying an eye cream, serum and moisturiser underneath; I can't go to bed without removing my makeup thoroughly and massaging in some skin conditioner followed by night cream. I love discovering new products, textures and finishes that help my skin to look really rather awesome for its age. (My claim to fame is that at 32 I still get asked for ID in my local.) Over the last twelve months I've tried hundreds of skincare products, but this collection contains my ultimate favourites that I've been reaching for day after day.
At any one time I have at least five different balms, glosses and lipsticks in my bag - it's the one element of beauty that I take with me wherever I go. I can happily leave behind my compact powder, eyeliner and hand cream, but I simply can't step out of the house without various options with which to coat my lips. Over the last year or so there have been oodles of fabulous lip products landing on my desk, but these three are the ones I've loved to death and adore more than any others. Consisting of a lipstick, gloss and cream stain, there's something for every lip desire.
It seems appropriate to start a new year with a look back of some of the products that have really stood out for me over the last twelve months. It's easy for me to rave about a product and call it the next big thing, only to cast it aside a few weeks later for something marginally better - the real test is whether or not a product stays within my repertoire and continues to offer the results I love over a longer period of time. 2014 was a great year for hair styling products, with brands really pushing the boundaries and innovating like never before; in the years previously there had been a lot of repackaging and passing off old technology as new, making us all stand up and take notice when a product really did offer something unique. These six products are the ones I've kept hold of since the very first day, relying on them to help me manage my tresses and ensure the hair I've always wanted. Here's why I'll continue to love them in 2015...
The last week or so has seen my timeline filled with reflective posts, tales of lessons learned and resolutions to be made for the following twelve months. There's something about January that allows us to reset and reboot, preparing our bodies and minds for the year ahead. 2014 certainly was a big year for the bloggerphere, with our previously under-the-radar pastime or job becoming a little more widely understood and respected; from bloggers launching their own beauty lines, to more and more taking the leap into the unknown world of 'full time writing' to the mega vlogger almost taking over the world one video at a time. It seams that blogging has suddenly become 'mainstream' and understood as a viable career path for those lucky enough to be given that option, but I've no doubt there are bumps in the road ahead and curve balls waiting to be thrown at us in 2015. So how will blogging change in the next twelve months? Here are some of my predictions...
I love it when brands you think you've filed away in a certain box push the boundaries and create something you never expected. This forthcoming season Bare Minerals have done just that, with this gorgeous 'Modern Pop' collection that puts a feminine twist on something traditionally quite bold. Described as "beauty with a carefree spirit and effortless appeal," the collection is instantly recogniseable thanks to it's silver packaging with simple embossed dots. Featuring an eyeshadow palette, lipstick duo, mascara, liner and innovative lip topcoat, all the products are wearable and perfectly timed to take us out of the dark winter shades and into the spring season with ease.