DESK BEAUTY STAPLES

BEAUTY PRODUCTS FOR WORK
Having started a new course with a crazy intense workload, I'm spending a lot of time at my desk once again and I like to keep a few beauty essentials on hand. Firstly, Soap & Glory Hand Food is my go to hand cream; I love the scent and how quickly it sinks in so you can get back to work.
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THE SUNDAY POST #32

001. Last night I went to Cirque Du Burlesque with Alex from Champagne & Lemonade. It was definitely something different to do on a Saturday night and all the dancers were fantastic. The venue was amazing, although it is a little way out of town (£10 taxi from deansgate) and a bit hard to find. Entry is £25 but you do get a cocktail on arrival. I'd definitely recommend it for a special occasion such as a hen or stag do, or a birthday. I'm wearing some printed trousers from asos and a simple zara cami, which I paired with this hot pink coat. 
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RASPBERRY AND WHITE CHOCOLATE COOKIES

For this simple recipe I used my standard cookie recipe and added chunks of white chocolate and raspberries. You can adjust the quantities according to taste, or substitute the raspberries for blueberries or any other fruit. To make 20 cookies you'll need:
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THE SUNDAY POST #30

001. This week has been pretty hectic, and so I've lived off milk, doritos, cookies and fast food. Whilst I've lost a lot of weight recently, my skin and tummy are feeling the effects of eating such junky food. I've been drinking a lot of peppermint and green tea this weekend, and I'm doing a meal plan and a big grocery shop for next week to keep me on track. If you have any healthy meal ideas let me know in the comments. I pin lots of easy, healthy recipes here so if you have any recipes on your blog I'd love to know.  
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THE SUNDAY POST #29 | HELLO AGAIN

Summer this year has been a 'blink and you miss it' kind of affair. So much has changed for me since July, and in the process I've completely neglected my blog. To be honest, I was falling out of love with blogging long before summer, and once you stop it's so hard to get back into a regular schedule.

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VITAMIN C SMOOTHIE RECIPE

Smoothies are one of my favourite things to drink in the summer months, especially fruity ones like this as a kickstart to the day. This simple recipe is packed full of Vitamin C and antioxidants to get your skin glowing and build up your immunity against summer colds.
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THE SUNDAY POST #28

001. I was back up in Manchester for a few days this week, and having never ventured further than the city centre, we decided to go and explore Didsbury. We ended up stopping for lunch in Thyme Out Deli, and oh god their bacon, maple syrup and vanilla milkshake was amazing. L had a fantastic halloumi and mushroom burger which I ate quite a bit of as unfortunately I didn't love my own food. For dinner we planned to go to Bourbon & Black but as they were quite busy we headed across the road to Croma. I've wanted to go here since I saw Victoria rave about it in this post and it didn't disappoint. The chorizo and black pudding bruschetta is amazing, and the pizzas were delicious and so affordable.
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THE HOLIDAY BASE | BOBBI BROWN TINTED MOISTURISER

This recent heatwave and a few mini-breaks have led to an intense search for the perfect holiday base. I usually wear a sheer coverage foundation, but when it's hot I like to strip it back even further. Having tried a number of high-street offerings, and found them all to be lacking something I knew it was time to invest in something good. 
The Bobbi Brown Tinted Moisturizer provides minimal coverage, but hides any redness and evens out my complexion. When I have this on I don't need to wear concealer on any scars or blemishes, but I do like to pop some under my eyes to brighten my skin up. The medium to dark shade is the perfect colour match for my skin; on good days I only apply this to parts of my face, and it blends out to match my skin tone perfectly. With eight shades in the range, you know you'll get a better colour match than anything in the drugstore. 
I love how easy this is to apply and blend out, either with fingers or my RT buffing brush, depending on what I have to hand. Despite being a tinted 'moisturiser' I like to wear my usual moisturiser underneath, as I have quite dry skin. It contains SPF 15, which is always a bonus, as my current moisturiser doesn't have any. What are your favourite lighter bases, or do you go completely au naturel on holiday?

THE SUNDAY POST #25

001. I've spent most of this week on holiday in Falmouth, I've never been to Cornwall before and it was so beautiful. Every day was sunny and warm and we spent some really lovely days outside, relaxing at the beach and driving boats around Fal river. Pendennis Castle was so interesting, and the walk around the moat was beautiful. Falmouth town was so quaint, full of cafes and little boutiques and we spent our evenings drinking on the beach. I love being by the sea, and I really need to save up to buy my own beach hut

002. As there were nine of us, we couldn't eat out every evening, so we took in it turns to cook. L, E and I made grilled chicken burgers, with sweet potato wedges, salad and corn on the cob. The chicken was so simple to make; just marinate in a bowl with passata, nandos sauce, salt, pepper, chilli flakes and lime for a few hours, and then pop them under the grill at around 200°C. Add some more passata and seasoning about halfway through when you turn them, and then pop some chilli, garlic and lime butter on top for the last ten minutes. I also used the butter for corn on the cob which was delicious. For dessert we whipped up some Eton Mess, one of my favourite lighter desserts. 

003. Summer reading this year consists of A Song of Ice and Fire, I'm only halfway into a Clash of Kings, which is the second book. So only another five to go. I'm not even finding the time to read one a week, so I doubt I'll finish before summer is out. What are you planning on reading this summer?

004. For the best part of this month I've written nothing but Sunday Posts on my blog; each week I've mentioned a desire to get back into regular posting again, but something has stopped me every time. For family reasons, and for needing to switch off completely when I do get time off, I've neglected my little corner of the internet and I really regret that. I guess everyone has slip ups, and unless it's your full time job I don't think anyone really minds? Anyway, this week I've taken some action to get back into posting; I've written and scheduled this weeks posts, replied to all my blog comments and also want to take part in a blogger chat this week. Which ones are your favourites?

005. The weather this week has been beautiful, I finally feel like summer has arrived. Whilst I have plenty of beachwear, I don't really have any summer clothes that I'd feel comfortable wearing around my small hometown, or when I'm working in the shop. I also really want to get a pair of Birkenstocks as I know I'll be spending long periods of time on my feet at work. Yes or no? 

THE SUNDAY POST #24

001. This post is coming to you from a stunning penthouse in Falmouth, where I'm staying with L and her family. We drove down yesterday; an eight hour sunny drive in a car with no air con is not the best way to travel! We headed straight out to explore, and then enjoyed fish and chips with a glass (or two) of wine on the balcony overlooking the harbour. Today is actually pretty grey, so we're going to have a lazy brunch and then a look around Pendennis castle.

002. I've been really off my blogging game this June, partly due to things going on at home, and partly due to just being so tired all the time. I really miss getting posts out and chatting to other bloggers though, so I definitely want to get back into a schedule, especially now I don't have exams. Do you have any tips for starting up again after you lose motivation?

003. Highlight of the week? Taylor Swift #1989TourManchester. We went to see her on Wednesday night at the Manchester Arena, and she was amazing. She sang all the songs from the album, as well as rock versions of Love Story and I Knew You Were Trouble. Her outfits were great, as well as her backing dancers and choreography. I've seen her tour before, and she just keeps on getting better.

004. I've been making healthy food swaps recently, things like having peppermint tea instead of normal tea, muesli for breakfast and sushi for lunch. I wouldn't say I eat unhealthily anyway, but I struggle to lose weight because I hardly ever exercise. I'd love to find a type of exercise that I actually enjoy doing, has anyone tried anything new recently? 

005. This weeks best meal came from Federal, we popped down for brunch and I had eggs royale with smashed avocado. L had a halloumi dish, with mushrooms, smashed avocado and poached eggs. I also had a lovely chai spiced latte. The service and food is great and I definitely recommend you check it out next time you're in Manchester. 

SELF CARE FOR THE TOUGH DAYS

Self care is an interesting concept, and something that I never really gave much thought to before my dad passed away. It's all too easy to get swept away with life and not give yourself any time to grieve or explore how you're really feeling. With the help of a University counsellor, I've realised how much I pushed my dad's death to the back of my mind when it happened. I made myself strong for other people, never let myself cry and took on more work than I could manage. Now I'm going through days where it's so hard to come to terms with what has happened, and all I want to do is stay in bed and not talk to anyone. I often feel worse than I did in the few days or months immediately after, and I know that special days will be even more difficult. 

Today is the first time in 22 years I haven't spent Father's Day with my dad, waking up early to make him a huge breakfast and then spent the rest of the day doing something as a family. Today I'm going to someone else's engagement, and I really don't want to go. It might sound selfish, but today my perfect day involves a hot bath, a good book and plenty of tea and talking to my uni friends. Here are some things you could do when you're having a tough day: 

Make time for yourself. Do something that you want to do, even if that thing is sitting in bed doing nothing. Do something that you used to enjoy, such as getting outside for a walk or having a pamper evening. Reading can provide a great escape into another world. 

Don't feel guilty for looking after yourself. There's no shame in having a bad day now and then; if giving yourself the time to grieve or get upset allows you to focus better when you're at work or in public then do it. 

Have perspective. This is personally one of the hardest things for me to do. I wrote this list of the things I'm grateful for, but I don't do this often enough. Although it feels like it sometimes, I haven't lost everything and I need to focus on all the good times I spent with my dad. 

Avoid harmful situations. I switched on the radio this morning and they were having a discussion about Father's Day. I know that social media is going to be full of people posting pictures of them with their dads, so I'm just going to stay away. Sometimes it's OK to do nothing but be by yourself and avoid the world. 

Live Well. Make some time to exercise, spend some time focusing on your skincare and up your vitamins and healthy eating. It's all too easy to order Domino's from your bed, but self-care is about looking after your mind and body, and eating junk constantly won't make you look or feel good. 

What are your tips for self care on the hardest of days?

THE SUNDAY POST #23


001. I've just gotten back from my cousins Hen weekend in Amsterdam; it was so lovely to spend some proper time with her and all her friends before the wedding in August. As we were only there for two days I didn't really get a feel for the city but we did do some really great activities such as a prossecco bike tour, nude painting and going to a sex show in the evening, which was certainly an experience. If you're planning a hen Amsterdam is definitely worth considering as there is plenty to do, and it's less than an hours flight from the UK. 
002. As a post exam treat I picked up this pancake lens for my Canon. I didn't really need it but I wanted something light and portable to take on holiday and I love it. It didn't get in my way at all, and made carrying my camera around all day so easy. The only downside is the fact that it's already quite close to what you want to photograph, I don't know how to explain it but if you want to take a picture of a group you have to stand quite far back. 
003. I'm off home for the week, but I'm not looking forward to it at all. The house feels so empty without dad around, and mum will just have me working in the shop every day. Of course I want to help out, and make her life easier, but living and working in such a small town after being in Manchester seems so dull. 
004. In a few weeks I'm off to Falmouth with L and her family, and I'm so excited as I've never been to Cornwall. I've been checking the weather recently and it hasn't been very good down there, but hopefully it improves by the time we get there. Has anyone been before? Any recommendations?
005. Most of my friends have already watched OITNB this weekend; last year we watched it all on the day it came out, but I've been away. Some of my favourite characters are Sophia, Crazy Eyes and Red, and of course I can't wait to see Ruby Rose. 

THE ONE PALETTE FACE | FEATURING KEVYN AUCOIN THE LOOKBOOK


This Kevyn Aucoin palette has filled a gap in my life that I didn't even know was there. Containing four shadows, two lip colours and two cream blushes it's the perfect size for travelling. Before I owned this I used to lug around my Naked palette, a few different blush palettes and endless lip options. Now, this palette has me covered. The packaging is a heavyweight cardboard, with magnetic closings and a large mirror. The snakeskin effect is very chic and something I love to show off on my dressing table. It also contains two handy tutorials for a natural and dramatic look.
'Soft Clay' is a pretty pinky matte shade, which works well swept over the lid, and 'Shimmering Wheat' is a pale gold shimmer that serves as a highlight for the inner corner and under the browbone. Out of the four shadows 'Bronze' is my favourite, a beautiful brown bronze shade which can be used to create a really smoky eye. 'Coffee Bean' is the 'liner' colour, but I love it for filling in my brows. The shadows are all buttery and apply easily, with no fallout or creasing.
The two cheek colours 'Tresbelle' and 'Tansoleil' both blend easily with fingers and you only need a little bit of product for a pretty wash of colour. Both are buildable for a stronger look, and both work well as lip colours, making this palette super versatile. 'Beaugonia', the natural lip offering doesn't work for me as a lip colour, instead I prefer to use this as a highlight, for the bridge of my nose, cupids bow and under my browbone. 'Tammabelle' a rosy pink shade is much more suited to my skintone and it also works well as a cheek colour.
Having never tried any products from Kevyn Aucoin before, this palette was a great introduction to the brand. I'm definitely lusting after more of the eyeshadows now, such as this pretty palette. Have you ever tried any products from Kevyn Aucoin?

THE SUNDAY POST #21 | FIVE THINGS TO DO ON SUNDAY

Hello Giggles
Seeing as I really haven't done anything this week except revise, I thought I'd share with you five things I like to do on a Sunday. 

001. Make a plan for the week. Fill in your diary, plan out your revision and make a huge to-do list. Clean your desk and reply to any emails from last week. Come Monday morning, you'll know exactly what your goals for the week are and be able to get off to a much more productive start

002. Head outside and explore. It's all too easy to let another Sunday pass where all you've done is binge-watch netflix in bed. Whilst those kinda days are necessary once in a while, it's also great to do something. Grab a friend and have a picnic in your local park, hit up a market or car boot sale or have a wander around a new area of town. Now that the weather is getting nicer, there's nothing stopping you from taking your lazy Sunday outside.

003. Meal prep. Have a look around the kitchen, see what needs using up and plan out your meals for the week. You could do a grocery order or head to the shops, but having a list will mean you're less likely to throw in the 3 for 2 jaffa cakes.. I often roast a chicken to use in salads and light lunches during the week. Why not try baking breakfast muffins or making smoothie bags for quick and healthy weekday breakfasts

004. Wash your makeup brushes. This one is self-explanatory, I know it's a chore but it also needs to be done if you want to keep spots and bacteria at bay. Pop on some YouTube, get some baby shampoo or Dr Bronners and get going. Nothing beats fresh brushes on a Monday morning. 

005. Have a Sunday Pamper Sesh. As often as possible, I try and reserve Sunday evenings for running a hot bath, giving my self a deep cleansing facial and painting my nails. There's nothing better than taking a few hours for yourself, pampering yourself and getting yourself ready to take on the week ahead.

What do you like to do on Sunday's?

THE SUNDAY POST #20


001. My highlight of the week was definitely #ThePressTentEvent It was a lovely chance to catch up with a bunch of lovely bloggers, have a few cocktails and discover lots of new brands. I was so impressed with Rock on Ruby's summer collection, Twinface had some beautiful jewellery and I also met the lovely Sejal and Divya, who weren't showing at the event but they were both wearing some beautiful statement necklaces from their brand Fashion Killa.

002. So what did everyone think of the Bad Blood video? I loved it, but it really could have been a lot longer. There were so many amazing people involved and it would have been nice to see them for more than a few seconds at a time. I'm also loving the Feeling Myself video, Nicki Minaj and Beyonce are both absolute queens.. But my favourite music video comes from another queen this week: Rastafarian Targaryen for Comic Relief.. If you're a Game of Thrones fan go and check it out, I guarantee you'll be humming it all week! 

003. I've been compiling a huge list of things to do as soon as exams are over, top of the list is go for brunch. Federal and Moose are two of my favourite places in the city, so I'll be heading back to both of those for pancakes, bacon, eggs, avocado toast and more! I'm also going to have a huge wardrobe and makeup clearout and put a load of stuff on depop.. So watch this space for new and unused beauty items, and a whole bunch of barely worn high street clothes in sizes 10/12/14. 

004. At the moment I'm trying out some new products from the Vitamin C range* at The Body Shop. The moisturiser and glow enhancer are perfect to use in the morning, as they leave skin looking dewy and bright. For me, the scent is overpoweringly fruity, but it is an uplifting scent that some people might love to use in the mornings. Overall I'm enjoying the products though, so expect to see a review soon. 

005. I have two exams this week, so I won't be posting again until the weekend, but why don't you check out my revision posts if you're looking for some tips. After exams I'm hoping to have a bit of a blog switch up, with lots of new posts, an improved layout and more consistent branding. Is there anything you'd like to see more, or less of on HIW?

REVISION: TIDY DESK, TIDY MIND

You know the old saying 'tidy desk, tidy mind', well it really does make a difference to the way you work. Clearing your desk won't automatically make you smarter, but you will work more productively. When everything has a place, it won't take you ten minutes to find a highlighter, and you'll never lose those important forms again. 
I'm not a minimal person; there's no way I'd be able to work on an empty desk like this one, but I do like having all my clutter organised or styled in a certain way. Changing the way your workspace looks doesn't have to cost a penny, or take up the whole day, and it's also a great form of productive procrastination, so let's get going:

001. Clear everything off your desk, clean the surfaces and bin anything you don't need. Go through your things and place everything that you really use everyday back, for example, laptop, textbooks and stationery.

002. Find a place for everything, and organise it in a way that will be easy to maintain. Keep your most used items near your chair on your dominant side. Create a space for incoming mail or current projects. Look around your house, what can you re-purpose to organise your stuff? You could use a pretty mug for pens, or a storage basket for staplers and hole punches. 

003. Add a lamp if the room isn't well lit, and pop a waste paper basket underneath your desk so that you can keep things tidy. A plant, such as my lucky bamboo, gives the space some life and greenery. Cacti and succulents are much easier to maintain than fresh flowers. If you don't love your office chair, try covering it with a throw and adding a cushion for a pop of colour.

004. Now it's time to add some personal touches. I love having an uplifting candle to burn whilst I work, diffusers look great too. Print out some inspirational quotes, feel-good pictures or your revision timetable and stick them on the wall using washi tape. It won't damage the walls at all, so it's perfect if you rent. Maybe you have some awards or certificates, display those or your favourite books and magazines. You can add whatever you like as long it makes you happy and you still leave enough space to work. 
005. Before you go to bed, make a start on the next day's to-do list, tidy all your papers away and set out what you need for tomorrow. Getting into this habit will mean that your desk will always be tidy, and you'll come to it the next day feeling ready to work. This is also a great habit to get into before starting a graduate job, as lots of offices operate strict clean desk policies.

If I wasn't renting on a student budget, I'd have this desk in white, and add in a tall copper lamp such as this one. If you're looking for some more workspace inspiration, check out this Pinterest board. What do you think of my workspace?

THE SUNDAY POST #19

001. How excited is everyone for the Bad Blood music video? I don't normally mention music on here as I don't listen to anything particularly *cool* but the video looks so freaking cool. I love so many of the people that will be starring, especially Ellen Pompeo and Cara Delevingne.

002. I bought an epilator this week after watching this Lily Pebbles video. It arrived the next day and I really wanted to try it out but it only had a two pin plug. Check before you buy one as they are usually made for shaver sockets, and if you don't have one you'll need to buy an adaptor. The epilator I bought was the Braun Silk-Epil 7 and I'll pop up a blog post letting you know how I get on. 

003.  Me and L have kept up with the couch to 5K app, but we've also added in a squat, arm and core challenge. We've had a few days where we've both been feeling really sore, but managed to power through and get a workout in with lots of stretching. Today my back is killing me.. I don't know if I slept funny, hunched over my laptop for too long or if I'm running/ squatting incorrectly? Any tips from you runners out there?

004. Every revision break so far has seen me hit up Pinterest and pin loads of recipes, diys and beauty looks that I'm planning on trying out this summer. I'm loving this pom pom wall hanging and these unusal BBQ ideas. If you're on Pinterest let me know your links as I'd love some more people to follow.

005. Most of this week has been spent at home revising, I see posting people on twitter and facebook about their nights out/ spontaneous shopping trips and I have no idea how they do it. I have to go on serious lockdown otherwise I never get anything done. Good luck to everyone with exams, and lucky you if they're all done by now! I've got a little revision post coming up on Tuesday, and you can check out all my old revision tips posts here.

FIVE STEPS FOR BETTER SLEEP

Sleep doesn't always come easy, particularly for those in a stressful job, studying for exams or looking after children. If you're anything like me, you feel tired during the day and can't wait for bedtime, yet the moment your head hits the pillow you're wide awake. Thoughts of unfinished work, dirty dishes and family problems keeping you from nodding off night after night. Having suffered with insomnia but never wanting to try sleeping pills, I've found five simple methods that have worked for me.
HOW TO SLEEP BETTER
Read a book. I'm currently reading 'The Children Act' by Ian McEwan, one of my favourite authors. If you don't usually read, try flicking through a magazine or a lifestyle book with plenty of good photography. The important thing is to stay away from your phone, TV and laptop for at least an hour before bed, as the blue light they emit can disrupt sleep cycles. 

Invest in your bedroom. If you want to sleep well, invest in good quality bedding and blackout curtains. Even if you're on a budget, you can still find affordable high-end products at places like Homesense and Dunelm Mill. Buy a relaxing candle, some fairy lights and plump cushions that support your spine, and make your bed a place you look forward to resting in.

Get into a routine. It's not always possible, but try to wake up and go to bed at the same time every day. Even if you don't feel tired, getting into bed at ten pm and reading until you fall asleep is more beneficial than watching TV until you knock out on the sofa. Stick to routines that you associate with sleep, such as taking a warm bath, having a glass of milk or massaging in a night cream. 

Use sleepy scents. I like to spritz a little of The Body Shop's Deep Sleep Dreamy Body Mist around my neck, and on to my pyjama top and pillow as I'm getting into bed. It's formulated with date extract, as well as lavender and camomile essential oils to help you sleep. You could also try burning a lavender candle or drinking a cup of strong camomile tea at bedtime. 

Write it down. If you're a worrier like me, it might be helpful to write down whatever's on your mind before bed. Scribble down tomorrows to-do list, or any ideas for blog posts in a notebook and pop it to one side. It's easier said than done, but if you can learn to leave those thoughts in that notebook until tomorrow, you will find it much easier to get to sleep. 
What do you do to help yourself sleep better?

THE SUNDAY POST #18

THE BODY SHOP DROPS OF YOUTH CONCENTRATE
001. I've started using the couch to 5k app this week. It works by alternating jogging with walking; at the moment it's mostly walking but the time you run for increases each week until you can run the full 5k. I've never been much of a runner, and it's clear that although I'm pretty strong, my general fitness and stamina needs a lot of work. I've been getting stitch and shortness of breath but this time I'm determined to keep going, and be able to run for longer than 30 seconds!

002. This week we ordered a Gousto box as I had a half price code. L loved the pork and cabbage stir fry, whilst I didn't really enjoy it. The second meal was a Lebanese dish, Halloumi with rice and puy lentils. Whilst we liked it, there were too many spices and flavours and the taste was overwhelming. Despite looking forward to the lamb curry, neither of us were feeling it last night so we used the ingredients to make lamb kebabs, which were delicious. We have one more meal left to make tonight, hopefully this one will be delicious! It was fun to try out, but it's not worth getting every week. The portion sizes are far too big for two people, and there's no guarantee you'll enjoy the dishes. Even if you're short on time there are healthier meals that can be bought and prepared quickly and cheaply.

003. On Thursday I headed down to The Body Shop in the Arndale to check out some of their new products and meet up with lots of lovely local bloggers. They had some great discounts on the night so I picked up the Drops of Youth Concentrate and a new lipstick in the shade 110. I'm loving the serum already, I've used it the past few nights and my skin looks smooth and much less dull in the mornings.

004. I've been trying to take more pictures in bulk recently. Some days I'm so happy with my photography and I can take pictures for four or five blog posts within an hour. Other days, like today, it just goes awfully wrong. I've been trying to shoot on manual settings a lot more, which can have some great results, but also many overexposed and blurry shots. I'd love it if you shared your DSLR photography tips with me in the comments?

005. Today I have a to-do list as long as my arm. First comes all the boring stuff, cleaning the house, laundry, and emails. If the light improves I'll probably take some blog pictures and then it'll be time to work on my essay. If I can avoid my nemesis, procrastination, I'll have time for a Sunday pamper session later. Fingers crossed. What are you guys all up to today?

#LFBEAUTYBOX: MAY*

When May's #LFBEAUTYBOX landed in my postbox I was really excited to try out all the products, as it's supposed to be one of the best beauty boxes around. In the past I've had Birchbox and Glossybox subscriptions, but ended up cancelling both as I found the brands and products provided to be very same-y, and a lot of the samples ended up unused. The Look Fantastic box is great as you can just order one box at a time, but also order them on a 3, 6 or 9 month plan to save money on each box. Here are the products I received in my May box:
The Tanworx Self-Tanning Lotion isn't a product I'd personally use, but as it's a large 100ml sample it'll be re-homed to one of my tan loving friends. I don't usually wear false eyelashes either, but these Eyelure Pre-Glued Lashes look very natural, and pre-glued lashes are meant to be very simple to apply. Perfect for a newbie like me. 
Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse is a product I've used before and loved, so I'll be throwing this sample in my travel bag for my holiday. It's a great multi-use oil that softens dry skin and hair, and the light golden shimmer running through it looks great on tanned skin. One use of this Christophe Robin Regenerating Mask has already left my hair feeling sleek and shiny. It doesn't contain any nasties like parabens and colourants, and the key ingredient, prickly pear seed oil, is packed with vitamin E to leave hair feeling soft and repaired. 
I haven't heard of the Erno Laszlo Transphuse before; it's an overnight anti-ageing serum that claims to plump up skin and reduce the appearance of fine lines. A tiny sample like this won't make any long term difference, but it's always nice to try a new brand. Similarly, I would have loved a larger sample of the Omorovicza Thermal Cleansing Balm, but it was lovely to use. It contains clay and mud, which are both rich in calcium and magnesium to remove makeup and impurities, and almond oil to hydrate and soften skin. The hard balm melts into a oil to remove every scrap of makeup, and leaves skin feeling clean and smooth. 
If you're looking for a new beauty box I'd definitely recommend this one, you can pick them up from Look Fantastic here

SCENT TO MAKE YOU FEEL GOOD

Scent is one of the most powerful senses, and has the power to change your emotional state. Filling your home with calming and uplifting scents, such as neroli, lemon and geranium, can have a huge effect on your wellbeing. As some of you may know, I've been struggling to cope since my dad passed away, and I've found that little things like trying to keep the house tidy, or lighting my favourite candle can help me get through each day. Freshly washed bedding, a hot, fragrant bath; these are just some of the things we take for granted but they can have an impact on how you go about your day to day life. 
NEOM-ORGANICS-HAPPINESS-CANDLE
So how do you want to feel today? I believe that the key to happiness is a positive state of mind, and in order to achieve this you need to create a positive environment. Surrounding yourself with the right scents can help alleviate symptoms of depression, anxiety, stress and grief, and improve your physical and mental health. Here are my top three products to help you do just that:
NEOM Organics Happiness Candle.* This beautiful three wick candle is one of NEOM's 'Treatment Candles' which work to change your mood as they scent the air around you. The 'Happiness' candle made up of white neroli, mimosa and lemon and mixed with fresh grass notes. The smell is so fresh and reminds me of spring evenings; it's hard not to feel positive with this candle around. The candles are all made with pure, natural vegetable wax and natural fragrance, and each one contains 30-40ml of pure essential oils. This means that the scent is very powerful, and can be detected even when the candle is not burning. 
Dr Salts Relax Therapy Bath Salts with Rose. These 100% natural Dead Sea Salts contain pure essential oils, including rose, geranium and frankincense to relax your mind and body. They have a strong scent; to me it evokes the feeling of being in a spa, and so helps put me in a good place mentally. I like to add two handfuls to a hot bath, this really helps ease my stiff back and neck from too much laptop time. The scent lingers throughout a hot bath and after on your skin and in the bathroom, aiding the spa-like feel, and easing stress. 
Caudalie Divine Oil. This multi purpose oil can be used to nourish dry skin and hair, add a bit of luxury to a bath or applied as a massage oil. Made with grape, hibiscus, sesame and argan oils, it works to hydrate the body and absorbs quickly. I love this travel size version as I can use it when I'm away to relax myself. I can't quite put my finger on the scent, it's sweet and woody at the same time, and very uplifting. Now, if only they made a Caudalie candle.

THE SUNDAY POST #17


001. My life right now is a whirlwind of coursework, revision, essay writing and work experience applications. It's hard to believe that after three years this is my final exam season of university, and of course it's harder than ever. This year I've been really proud of myself as I've committed to blogging three times a week, but for now I'm definitely cutting down to focus on my studies. I've also ditched the 'Monthly Roundup' feature as I felt there was no place for it alongside 'The Sunday Post' which you guys seem to enjoy.

002. Artisan is now one of my favourite places for a meal or a few drinks in Manchester. I've only ever heard good things about it, so we decided to try it this week, and safe to say we were not disappointed. The cocktails are fantastic and both me and L loved our dishes (wood fired pizza and pork ribs with kimchee). We've made a mental note to go back for pudding as they do some childhood classics like Arctic roll and jam roly poly with custard. 

003. I finally saw Cinderella, and I thought it was one of the best live-action Disney movies I've seen in a while. Lily James was fantastic, and I loved the romance between her and Robb Stark Richard Madden. Helena Bonham Carter played the fairy Godmother, and she did it so well. I was swept away by the magic and the romance of this film, and when I saw this cute little postcard in paperchase I knew it had to go on my wall to remind me of the fairytale.

004. This week I read Shopaholic to the Stars. I love Sophie Kinsella, she's the ultimate chick lit author and I've followed the Shopaholic series from when I was around ten; I used to borrow the books from my older cousin and imagine that my grown up life would be a world of credit cards, cocktails in London and designer handbags. How wrong was I? This book was laugh out loud funny in parts, and I highly recommend the whole series for some light holiday reading. 

005. I've been struggling to get back into a workout and clean eating routine. When you study for a full day it's so easy to order a takeaway from the comfort of your sofa, rather than spend time whipping up a healthy meal or doing any exercise. I'm thinking of booking in for a few personal training sessions, just to get me back into a more regular workout routine. Has anyone ever tried personal training? How did you find it?

SPRING STORAGE AND DECLUTTERING TIPS*


001. Out of sight out of mind. Put some clothes/ children's toys/ cooking utensils away in a box under the stairs. Set a deadline (say three months) and if you don't find yourself needing those items before the time is up then you probably don't need them at all. Get rid. 

002. Buy more storage. OK I know it's counter-intuitive to buy more stuff when you're trying to declutter your home. But storage bins, wicker baskets, and drawer dividers all help your home look neat and streamlined, and help you find things quickly. Homesense is great for pretty and affordable items, and try muji for all your acrylic storage needs. Chalk labels are also a practical and stylish way of ensuring you know where everything is. 

003. Rome wasn't built in a day. Don't set aside one day to organise your whole house. No one can focus on a single task for eight+ hours. It's much better to set aside a few hours when you can, and focus on one room. This also gives you a chance to deep clean areas that don't normally get cleaned, such as the airing cupboard or under the bed. 

Mobile Mini kindly gifted me £50 to spend at NotOnTheHighStreet.com and I wanted to use it to sort out some storage issues in the kitchen. Despite me and L being students, we're both total foodies and our stuff fills a large-ish kitchen. We struggled to fit everything in, and end up buying duplicate ingredients because we can't easily see what we have in. Until I found this beautiful vegetable cart. Each crate has a metal label, with French script in the style of a chalkboard. They're not screwed together, which means you can have them in any order you want or separate them around your kitchen. It slots in perfectly next to the fridge and holds all our potatoes, onions, garlic as well as fruits and veg that don't go in the fridge. We've freed up a lot of cupboard and counter space, and cooking is so much easier now that everything in one place. 

What do you think of this simple storage solution? Share your top decluttering tips in the comments. 

TRILOGY SKINCARE*


A few weeks ago I was invited to try out Trilogy Skincare at a Manchester event. Having heard great things about the brand but having never tried their products I was eager to go along. I was very impressed by the whole ethos of the brand; Trilogy aspire to create high-performance products that are "better ethically, aesthetically and environmentally." All their products use natural and organic ingredients, avoid synthetic fragrances, colours and genetically modified ingredients, and they don't test on animals. The packaging of the products is fully recyclable, and each product should be used within 6 months of opening. A lot of skincare has a life of 24 months, and this just highlights how fresh Trilogy products are. You can find out more about their principles here.

One of their cult products is the Rosehip Oil, which is also an ingredient used throughout this whole range. Rosehip oil has many benefits, including soothing and hydrating dry and chapped skin, fade scarring and nourish brittle nails. Rosapene, a unique Trilogy formula, brings together rosehip oil and oat extract with tomato, acai and cranberry seed oil to replenish and nourish skin.

Rosehip Oil Antioxidant + The original cult product, reformulated with antioxidants to form Rosapene, has become my favourite product from the range. Every morning and evening I use a few drops before my moisturiser, and take the time to massage it into my skin. It absorbs quickly, and has a lovely, spa like scent. I'm hoping that this will reduce my acne scarring, and whilst I've only been using it for a few weeks my skin tone looks a lot brighter and more even.

Vital Moisturising Cream This hydrating cream can be used morning or evening, on all skin types. You only need a little bit of product, and it absorbs quickly providing a smooth base for makeup. My skin feels soft and nourished after using this, although I find it a little to heavy to use every morning. I love the smell of this moisturiser; it's very calming and I love to take the time to massage it in when winding down in the evening. It contains Rosapene for hydration and protection against signs of ageing, and evening primrose oil and orange flower to soothe and rejuvenate skin.

Mineral Radiance Mask This mineral-rich Kaolin clay mask deeply cleanses skin, whilst rosehip and evening primrose oils add moisturise back in. I love that it comes with a little spatula to make application less messy. It also doesn't dry and crack on your face like traditional clay masks, and doesn't leave your skin feeling tight or dry. I love to pop this on when I have a bath, as you can really feel it soothing skin with the hot steam. My skin looks radiant after use, and it doesn't break me out as I find lots of other clay masks do. 

If you're looking for some natural and affordable skincare I'd definitely recommend you check out Trilogy, but if you can only afford one product to add to your routine, make it the Antioxidant+ Oil. 

THE SUNDAY POST #15

001. I'm supposed to be handing in two pieces of coursework this week, and I'm nowhere near finishing either of them. So why am I writing this post I hear you ask? Because once again, I find myself stuck in procrastination mode. I'm in my final semester of my final year at University, and I just can't seem to get my work done. Is anyone else having the same problem?

002. We went for a walk around Cannock Chase this week. The weather was beautiful, and it was so nice to escape into the woods and hear nothing but birdsong. Is there anywhere you'd recommend for getting some peace in Manchester?

003. The worst part of this week was Friday; we were stuck on the M6 for almost five hours! We didn't move for two hours, everyone switched their engines off and opened their doors. Luckily the sun was shining and I had great company.

004. I started reading A Song of Ice and Fire this week.. talk about procrastination. I've been hooked on the TV series for a while now, and I can't wait for the new season to start next week. The book is really enjoyable so far, it's very descriptive and you get much more background knowledge and depth of character than the TV adaptation. If you love the show, you'll love the books even more. 

005. As the weather was so good this week, we decided to sort out the front garden of our house. First we had to dig everything out, as there were lots of weeds and rubbish. We came across snails, caterpillars and other creepie crawlies in the process, luckily I was wearing gloves! Then we laid down some compost and plant food and planted dahlias, roses, honeysuckle, freesias and begonias. Did anyone else get their green fingers on this weekend?

FIVE MOVIES I WATCH ON REPEAT

Harry Potter. Technically eight movies, but watching any of them instantly makes me feel happier. These are the movies I turn to, and will always turn to after a bad day. If I had to pick a favourite it would be Order of the Phoenix, because I love Imelda Staunton and the portrayal of Harry, Ron and Hermione's friendship in the film. 

Titanic. I'll forever love this classic, and I'll cry every single time. I don't watch this all the time, but when I do I'm hooked; the drama, the romance, the sinking ship. It's also fantastically made, despite being almost twenty years old, you'd never know. And Leo.

Les Misérables. I love musicals, and Les Mis is one of my all time favourites. Ever since seeing it on the West End I've been hooked on the story, the music and now I'm hooked on the film. Russell Crowe does a wonderful job of playing Javert, and I particularly love Eddie Redmayne and Daniel Huttlestone too.

Love Actually. The ultimate Christmas movie, and the ultimate love story. The casting is fantastic, featuring some of my favourite actors and actresses. Why can't our PM be as cool as Hugh Grant

Frozen. Whilst there isn't a single Disney movie I don't like, Frozen has been my all time favourite since it's release. I guess it would be fair to say I have well and truly been hit by Frozen fever, just like every five year old girl in the world. I know the lyrics to every song, have the pyjamas and aspire to braid like Elsa.

The Parent Trap, Wild Child, Devil Wears Prada & all the James Bond movies are also favourites of mine. What movies can you watch over and over again without getting bored?  

THE SUNDAY POST #14

001. I'm heading back to Manchester on Tuesday, so my Sunday Post's *shouldn't* be as boring from next week. Home feels so quiet compared to the busy streets of Manchester, and everywhere feels so far away.. No chance of a quick trip to Nando's when the closest one is forty minutes away! I also missed a few blog events I really wanted to go to.. Check out Holly's post on Trends IllustratedGail's post on the Avalanche Relaunch and Em's write up of Hancocks Jewellers. How great do all those events look?

002. We went to a wedding reception yesterday, and whilst I was getting my sari ready I thought I'd photograph a few details with my new camera. I love how this photo came out; the colours appear so vibrant and the embroidery catches the light so well. We have saris in most colours, and I think they'd look lovely photographed in complimentary colours and framed along a white wall.

003. This outfit post got an insane amount of comments, I was so happy that people liked it. I love reading personal style blogs and putting looks together, but I've struggled with weight loss and acceptance of my body shape for a while now. I compare myself to others constantly, and find it hard to hit publish on outfit posts and put myself out there for everyone to see. After all your lovely comments I'm starting to realise that people are genuinely more interested in what I'm wearing than judging me on my size. 

004. I've realised that I cannot write a blog post until my pictures are taken, edited and in place. Having the final images in front of me gives me the inspiration to get my words out, and also goes a huge way towards making a post feel complete. Does anyone else feel the same?

005. Whilst I've been at home I've made an effort to wear no makeup most days, as well as nurture my skin with Trilogy Rosehip Oil Antioxidant + and the Emma Hardie Moringa Cleansing Balm. My skin looks ten times better than it did two weeks ago,  much smoother and brighter. I'm going to make a huge effort to go makeup free during the revision period and keep on using both of these products.

PINK FOR BOYS, BLUE FOR GIRLS? | OUTFIT POST

Before heading to the Trilogy skincare event, I had a chance to shoot with the lovely Laura from Fashion, Eats & Treats. You can see her outfit pictures here. The standout piece of my outfit is this pretty pink coat, which was a bargain in the Primark sale. My mum and friends were a little shocked when I brought home a pink coat as pink is just not my colour! I do love the bright shade though; I feel it suits my skin tone and livens up my usually dark outfits. The classic shape is great too as it makes it a very wearable piece for spring. I wore MAC lipstick in Capricious to add another little pop of pink.

The blue skirt was also £3 in the Primark sale. I didn't plan to wear so much blue but I love layering with this vintage denim shirt. I tied it at the waist to give my outfit some shape, and popped a black Zara cami underneath. This beauty of a bag is from M&S, and my low heeled boots are these from H&M. My jewellery is a mix of pieces I've picked up in Accessorize, Topshop and Primark. I love the contrast between the pink and the blue, and it makes a change from my usual, all black errythang. What do you think of my bright outfit?

MARCH ROUNDUP

This month I...
  • Watched Indian Summers & The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt 
  • Stuck to a 30 day squat and ab challenge
  • Read I Am Pilgrim, the Hunger Games Trilogy and The Long Goodbye
  • Ate at Teacup, SoLita and Handmade Burger Co. 
  • Swapped tea for matcha green tea
What have you been up to this month?

THE SUNDAY POST #13

001. It feels like only five minutes since I penned my last Sunday Post, probably because nothing interesting has happened at all over the past few days. I've been home for the past week and whilst it's quiet and a little boring in my village, I've enjoyed being able to drive my car again! I don't need it in Manchester as I live so close to uni and the city centre, but it is so nice to just drive around, especially on sunny days. 

002. I thought I'd share a few of my favourite Instagram accounts with you. If you love white backgrounds, clean style and well composed photos then here are five to follow: thepaperbunnywhistleandawhimacupofchicjosieldn & julia.linnea

003. This week I reread the Hunger Games trilogy. I got through it at a ridiculous pace, and I literally couldn't put the books down. I enjoyed reading them much more than the first time, but that was probably only because I was procrastinating from doing my essays. 

004. I forgot to mention this before, but a few weeks back I went to see Sam Smith and he was amazing. Not only does he have a beautiful voice but he is a beautiful person, inside and out. Gosh could this point be any more cheesy. Seriously though, Sam has lost two stone recently, and he looks great, and he genuinely seemed surprised that all these people were there to hear him sing. He introduced all his backing singers, talked about his personal life and smiled the whole way through. What a cutie!

005. The weirdest thing happened on Instagram; I found out that I was following around fifty accounts that I have never followed. I don't know how it happened, but it's really weird to think that it even could happen. Has this ever happened to you?

INIKA FACE IN A BOX STARTER KIT*

The Inika Face in a Box Starter Kit* is great if you want to dip your toes into the world of mineral cosmetics and test out a few different products. It contains five mineral products and two vegan brushes, and comes in four different shade ranges. My box is called 'Patience, which is formulated for medium - dark skintones.

Inika pride themselves on being a luxury natural cosmetics brand, with certified organic and pure mineral makeup. This year has seen me try more natural skincare brands, such as Arbonne and Trilogy and so it makes sense to move towards more natural makeup too. The products are all vegan, certified halal and certified cruelty free, and all come in recyclable packaging. The products are also free from parabens, mineral oils and fragrances, so great for sensitive skin. The kit contains:

Organic mineral powder foundation in 'Patience'. Having only ever used liquid foundations before, application of the powder foundation took me a while to master. I dip the kabuki brush into the product, ensuring it's evenly coated, and then tap the brush handle on my dressing table to embed them into the bristles. You only need a tiny bit of product for a light to medium coverage, but can buff the brush over your face in a circular motion for fuller coverage. I've never used foundation that isn't an exact shade match before, but this shade matches my skin tone well. If I'm heavy handed with the product it can highlight dry patches, but the Inika primer helps with this.  

Mineral bronzer in 'Sunloving'. This bronzer applies like a dream, you only need a little bit as it's very pigmented and it blends easily. It is orange toned, so it can make my face look muddy, but it'll be perfect for my darker skintone in summer. It also contains a lot of shimmer, so not the best for every day wear but beautiful for nights out and for dusting along the collarbone.

Two brushes: the vegan kabuki brush and the vegan contouring brush. The brushes are my favourite part of the kit; both of them are good quality, with solid handles and beautifully soft synthetic bristles. Both pick up just the right amount of product, and make application very smooth and quick. The kabuki brush is dense, and specifically designed to work with mineral products. The contour brush is far too small for me to contour with, but blends in the concealer really well. 

Certified Organic Liquid Mineral Foundation in 'Honey' (Trial Size) This foundation applies well, again you only need a tiny amount of product for a heavy finish. However, the shade is far too dark and orange toned for my skin, and I would prefer it if the brand had a few more shade options. 

Natural Perfection Certified Organic Concealer in Medium (Trial Size) This liquid concealer is much more suited to my skin tone. A dab of products covers blemishes and dark circles very well, yet doesn't look cakey on the skin. 

Certified Organic Pure Primer (Trial Size) The primer is nothing like the traditional 'silicone' primers I use a lot; instead it feels nourishing, and sinks in like a moisturiser. It contains Shea butter and avocado oil for hydration. The powder foundation applies a lot more evenly on my skin with this primer underneath, and my skin looks radiant and natural. 

You can purchase the kit from Beauty Expert for £47.45. I'll definitely be purchasing full sizes of the powder foundation, concealer and primer. What are your thoughts on natural makeup? Will you be trying Inika mineral products?