The Guys Behind the Blog: September

The questions in this post were created by Betsy from Heavens to Betsy. Each month she and Laura from According to Laura Jean come up with a few questions for the boyfriends/husbands behind the women who run these blogs! I decided to join the link-up and ask Callum some questions from the September edition of The Guys Behind the Blog.

What's the silliest thing you and your significant other have needed to compromise on?
Not texting unless it's lunch time because my texts are so sporadic through the day... I just forget, that's all. I read it and think 'I'll text back in 5 minutes..' and you just forget, don't you? I'm also only allowed to have a very specific length of beard and can't wear my black skinny jeans any more. But they're more like demands.

If you were stranded on a deserted island, what 3 must haves would you bring with you?
Pen and paper so that I keep track of my own mental state on this stranded island. I'd have to have my guitar, always have to have my guitar. I gotta have a Jess there too. However if Jess was on her way anyway I would have to bring sunglasses (I'm awful in the sun..)

Talents aside, what is your dream job?
That's a difficult one because there's loads of things I'd love to do. I reckon a pilot would be pretty cool. The obvious one would be a musician, playing at festivals. Barack Obama's right hand man, or his chauffeur, his photographer, basically along the lines of a 'fly on the wall' kind of job for someone fairly up there. Maybe for me and Jess to own a bakery, a business of any sort - seen as though we make a decent team.

What are three things on your bucket list?
Northern lights would be pretty cool to see, always wondered what it would look like through your own eyes. I've always wanted to visit all the States in America, I'm a 1/5 of the way there I think! Visit Australia and see family out there, it'd be good to do that at some point.

What kind of date is your favourite to go on with your significant other? (Romantic, fun, spontaneous etc.)
Holiday dates (expensive I know..) When we're on holiday and we're wandering around and exploring places that neither of us have explored before. That's my favourite time when I'm with Jess. 

... Cinema is alright.

I hope you enjoyed reading Callum's answers, it was a struggle getting him to think about a bucket list. Come on, Callum, have you got no hopes or dreams? If I can rope him into answering some more questions, there'll be another edition of The Guys Behind the Blog 29th October!

By Terry Ombre Blackstar Cream Eyeshadow

Twitter is the worst for making me spend money. Every day another brand announces a not-to-be-missed discount on a new product or a 30% off voucher that is too good to pass up. When a fellow blogger tweeted that Space NK had gifted all N.Dulge card owners with £5 credit, I immediately took to the website to decide what to buy. 

By Terry is brand I've been hearing about for a while but couldn't really justify splurging on any of the products. With £5 off, how could I say no? The Ombre Blackstar Cream eyeshadows caught my eye and they looked like my kind of product. Simple. No fuss. Nothing to add to the makeup application time and take away from my sleep time. I went for the colour Blond Opal because I found that cream/white shades suit me better.

With it being a bit shimmery, I tend to avoid wearing it on an average day. I might wear it when I'm going out for an evening or when I'm having an afternoon out with Callum. If I wear it on an evening I use a darker shade from my MUA Heaven and Earth palette in the crease of my eye and the outer corners just to give a bit of definition. When I first tried this out I had a bit of difficulty getting it on evenly. I'll put that down to it being the first cream eyeshadow I've used in a pen form. It became easier with a bit of practice and it goes on a lot smoother with an eyeshadow primer. The colour lasts all day too.

This is quickly becoming my favourite eyeshadow, alongside this little beauty from Topshop. I'm forever looking for an excuse to wear it! The great thing about the colour being neutral is that I can pair it with a lot of the shades I already have in my makeup collection.

It does have a hefty price tag and will set you back £29 if you buy from Space NK (or £24 if you still have the £5 treat to use!) I'm really glad I bought it and now I'm hoping to get at least one more shade from the range.

Have you tried any products from By Terry? What is your favourite eyeshadow?

A Weekend in Barcelona

I've been incredibly lucky to be able to do so much travelling this year. I went to New York in February which was nothing but incredible and I had a little weekend in Amsterdam not so long ago. Last Friday Callum and I went to Barcelona for four days with his brothers and we had a really lovely weekend. It was hot without being too uncomfortable so we were able to forget the cold autumnal start in Britain and enjoy the sunshine for a weekend longer. 

We spent a big chunk of our time at the beach in Barceloneta. On the first night we went down to the beach to enjoy the fireworks that were part of La Mercé Festival. From where we were stood it wasn't particularly atmospheric. There weren't a lot of people around and it seemed fairly quiet but the fireworks were lovely! The next day we went back down to the same place and strolled along the sand for a while. We ended up finding a very lively beach side cafe and had some really nice food. After that it was back to sit on the beach and soak up the last few hours of sunshine.

The highlight of the weekend, for me anyway, was seeing La Sagrada Familia. I don't think I've ever seen anything that I've been so astonished by. Neither me nor Callum took many photos but the photos we did take don't do it justice. It's huge and it's the most beautiful detailed building I've ever seen. With it being quite gothic looking on the outside, I wasn't expecting it so be quite as light and delicate as it was on the inside. Again, I don't have any photos that do it justice but believe me when I say that Gaudi really knew what he was doing. It was just so beautiful. 

On Sunday evening to made our way to Nou Camp, no doubt the highlight of the weekend for the lads. Needless to say I wasn't exactly excited to go watch a football match but it was an experience. I think I was more taken with the sunset than the stadium. Callum, who felt antsy sitting on the balcony of the third floor apartment we were staying in, didn't exactly enjoy being so high up and spent the first few minutes clutching my hand (I think it was actually payback for my nervous hand-squeezing during the dodgy plane landing we had on the way to Barcelona.)

Compared to the other holidays we've had this year, this was the most relaxing. In New York and Amsterdam we were constantly walking around, finding things to do and things to see. We were conscious of having a lot to do in such a small space of time. Barcelona was much more relaxed and easy going and I think part of it was due to a lack of planning. But that wasn't necessarily a bad thing. Not having researched anything meant that we could freely wander around and just stumble across things that ended up being special parts of the weekend.

Have you ever been to Barcelona? What has been your favourite holiday to date?

The Fashion Edit: 70's Vibe

The playsuit and shoes in these photographs were gifted to me from Boohoo

Last week Boohoo got in touch with me and asked if I'd like to take part in their 70's Vibe campaign. After spitting my tea out and rushing to tell my family, of course I said yes, absolutely, definitely, without a doubt. After composing myself I sent a message to my friend Olivia and asked if she'd be the photographer and she was more than willing. She has some serious skills with a camera so I was really excited to get her involved! 

I chose a couple of items from their 70's/Boho items (which you can shop here) and it was not an easy task. There are so many items I love including this cute open shoulder kimono and these skinny trousers. In the end I settled for this gorgeous printed playsuit and the suede gladiator heels.

I am in love with this playsuit. First of all, it's so comfy and such a flattering cut too. The neckline allows for a bit of a longer necklace so I went with a cute feather and arrow necklace that I bought last year. The pattern of the playsuit is beautiful and the variety of colours makes it really easy to accessorize. I chose to add a couple of brown/blue toned chunky bracelets, a gold necklace with a hint of blue as well as a tiny Michael Kors clutch to offset the bolder blue in the pattern. I'm planning on taking this playsuit to Barcelona with me at the weekend and I think it'll make a lovely outfit for an evening out! 

The shoes were really comfortable and I know they're going to look lovely dressed up with a playsuit like this or dressed down with a pair of skinny jeans and a white top. The heel was just the right size too - big enough for a lift and to add a bit of something to the outfit but not too big that I couldn't walk down the street without clutching Olivia's arm. Perfect size. The suede material also make them perfect to add a touch of the 70's to any style.

I tried to channel my inner Farrah Fawcett with my makeup - I went for a bit of winged eyeliner as well as a big brush of peach/coral blusher and a sweep of a similar coloured lipgloss. I also curled my hair and back combed it for some extra volume but the rain had it's way and flattened it (you can always count on the British weather to ruin something!) 

I owe a massive thank you to Olivia for taking these photos. You should check out her website and also give her facebook page a like too. She also has a blog full of her university photography work so give that a peak too.

Also big thanks to Boohoo for getting me involved in this campaign, it has been an immense pleasure!

What do you think of the 70's Vibe trend? I definitely recommend checking out what Boohoo have to offer. They have some really cute pieces in at the moment that have made me fall in love with the 70s era. Speaking of which, off I go to binge watch That 70's Show on Netflix!

Rituals 24 Hour Hydrating Cream

I'm always on the hunt for a really good moisturiser. Since it's a product we all use everyday, I think it's important to get it right. I've tried my fair share of high streets brands and a couple of higher end brands but I haven't yet found my perfect product. I always try to mix up my moisturisers depending on the season. I use a more heavy-duty product in the winter when my skin needs an extra drink but for Summer and the transitional seasons, I'm still struggling to find the one.

That being said, I do love the Rituals 24 Hour Hydrating Gel Cream. I got this as a sample when I bought a scrub from Rituals in Amsterdam (which is AMAZING, by the way, keep an eye open for that review) so it was only enough for about four uses. It just about saw me through the weekend but I have to say, it was a pleasure to use.

The gel/cream is a light blue colour and you can tell straight away that the texture is different from an ordinary moisturiser - it's more gel than cream. It soaks in fairly quickly but it leaves the skin feeling smooth and hydrated. My main issue with moisturisers is that they don't always sit well on my skin, so when I go to put a primer on and then my foundation, it ends up looking patchy and uneven. But this didn't do that at all. It sat really well under my primer so my foundation application was a breeze.

The full size 50ml jar costs £26.50 which I think is a bit steep to have as an everyday moisturiser. However I would definitely consider repurchasing this as a birthday treat (to myself, obviously. Does anyone else do that?) I'm beginning to really love Rituals as a brand, they have some lovely products and the quality is good too. They give you what you expect for the price you pay.

What is your go-to moisturiser? Do you have any recommendations for me?

A Pink Lip for Everyone

If you regularly read my blog you might remember I wrote a post on my favourite red lip colours not so long ago. Each applied differently and each had a different finish so there was a little something for everyone! Since you all seemed to like it so much, I though I'd do a second edition including my favourite pink lip picks. 

I'll warn you now, this post heavily features Revlon. I didn't even realise I had such a love affair with the brand until I started to write this post. Apparently they're my go-to for a pink lip and you know what, I'm okay with that. The first is the Revlon Colour Stay Moisture Stain 010 LA Exclusive. this is probably the most gloss-like of the lot, I wouldn't argue it was anything like a stain. The colour is sheer and the finish is a bit sticky but it's lovely for a wash of colour. The Revlon Colourburst Lip Butter in 080 Strawberry Shortcake is probably the best for day-to-day wear, alongside the Carmex Moisture Plus balm (featured in the glass jar above). Both are super easy to just pop off the cap, swipe along the lips and throw back in your handbag. Or place neatly, whichever you prefer. The Carmex is a bit of a deeper pink but both have a moisturising, buttery finish. If you're looking for something with subtle-ish colours and a product that won't dry out your lips, go for either of those ones.

I went through a stage of loving lip crayons. I bought my first from the Revlon Colourburst Balm Stain range in the colour 001 Honey. I love this product because it lasts ages. I went to a wedding last year and this was my lip product of choice. I applied it at about 2pm and by the morning after (I know, I didn't take my makeup off... Gross. Feel free to judge) it was still there. It does have a tendency to dry out my lips a little bit but it's nothing a bit of prep and extra balm (usually vaseline) can't handle. As I loved this colour so much, I went and bought a lip crayon from the Revlon Colourburst Lacquer Balm range in the colour 105 Demure. This is more of peachy shade, especially in comparison to the others and it has a slight shimmer to it so I think it wears best over the top of another colour. It does have a balmy finish though so perfect for if you need something a little less drying. 

The Too Faced Melted Peony lipstick is my favourite of the bunch. It dries matte, unlike the others, and the colour is the most pigmented of them all. The soft sponge applicator makes it really easy to apply on the go and the colour is beautiful. Read my full review of it here. I'm dying to buy more from this range but until then I'll be wearing this to its death. 

What are you perfect pink lip shades? I'd love to hear your recommendations!

The Body Shop Japanese Camellia Cream

I have a terrible habit of going into The Body Shop when I have absolutely no money and just testing everything. I usually find a product I love and can't get out of my mind so I always, without fail, end up going back at some point to buy it. I did it with the Drops of Youth Bouncy Sleeping Mask and I did it again with the Japanese Camellia Cream. Part of the larger Spa of the World range, the Camellia Cream claims to be 'a rich body cream with a light, velvety texture.' (TBS) It is designed to moisturise as well as relax and I can just imagine that this product is going to be  a staple on a home pamper evening.

Inspired by the Japanese Camellia flower, the scent is subtle and soft and very feminine. I'd even go so far as to say classy. The Camellia scent isn't at all floral like you would expect, which is good for me because I'm not the biggest lover of floral scents. It just smells so good. The great thing about it is that the scent lingers for ages after you've used it. I tested a little bit on my arm one morning and hours later I was still catching the scent whenever there was a light breeze (sounds pretty dreamy) and shoving my arm under Callum's nose saying 'doesn't it just smell amazing?' (not so dreamy.)

The next best thing about The Body Shop's latest addition to the moisturising family is the texture of it. It's really light and fluffy. Think a Mr Whippy, only a non-edible version that you smear all over your body. I fear it has been released at the wrong time of year because it feels too light to be a winter moisturiser. Hopefully it will do the job for the transition between seasons and I'm really looking forward to properly digging into it now that my blog photos have been taken. See that self-control?

The only thing I'm not happy with is the packaging. It looks good, don't get me wrong. I love how different it is from everything else that The Body Shop sell but it's so impractical for travelling. I still have a weekend trip to Barcelona to come this year and I was hoping to take this with me. However the hefty 350ml tub is mega heavy and bulky. I will probably resort to transferring some to a smaller tub because I just can't bear the idea of leaving it behind.

Of course it does the job of moisturising pretty well too.

It does cost £23 but definitely worth it as a gift or a treat! Have you tried any of The Body Shop's Spa of the World range?

Amsterdam Mini Break

I've been fortunate enough to have done a fair bit of travelling already this year (I'm counting my lucky stars!) I went to New York in February and the New Forest in July, both of which you can read about by clicking the links. Callum's new job took him to the Netherlands in August for a month and we quickly agreed that I'd go see him one weekend, talk about gate crashing a business trip. Amsterdam is a place we'd both been wanting to go for a while so there was no discussion, I booked my flights asap and almost immediately started fretting about the journey. It was going to be the first flight I'd taken on my own and I'm not a good flyer at the best of times, generally I have Callum's or a friend's hand to squeeze during take off and landing but I wasn't so sure the strangers sat next to me would appreciate the unnecessary physical contact from the girl with nervous clammy hands. 

Thankfully the flight there was pleasant and short and Callum was waiting on the other side with a bag of goodies - white chocolate covered oreos, um yes please. We went to the hotel to drop off my bags and made our way into the centre of Amsterdam to grab some food. We ended up doing a lot of walking and exploring and spent a good few hours at Hard Rock cafe filling each other in on our weeks. We were both exhausted as it approached midnight and we made our way back to the hotel.

From the stories Callum had told me from the time he'd already been there, it was going to be a rainy and chilly weekend. It actually turned out to be beautiful weather. Warm and sunny but not too uncomfortable so we could still enjoy walking around. And that we did. The first photograph above was taken in Vondelpark and we spent the afternoon sat watching a theatrical orchestra play music and perform little skits in the bandstand. We had planned to visit the Anne Frank House in the morning but the queue was huge so we decided to wait until the evening. After we'd eaten we gave it another go. No luck. By 8pm the queue was still winding around the streets so we decided to just continue walking and exploring. We did lots of nipping in and out of shops and lots and lots of walking. Did I say that already? We had a little wander around the Red Light District which was an experience in itself. It was daylight when we went so obviously it didn't have quite the same affect as it would've if we'd have gone in the evening but it was interesting nonetheless and I do think if you're going to go to Amsterdam then you might as well have a walk around. Just prepare yourself!

Sunday was a very similar affair. We hit the Anne Frank house in the morning but it was still massively busy and we decided that since we only had a few hours left that we'd skip it altogether and enjoy the nice weather. We found a lovely little secluded side street to sit by the canal and just enjoy each other's company in the beautiful setting. It was busy everywhere in Amsterdam that weekend so as soon as we spied a quieter corner of the city, we took advantage. More shopping was done before heading to the airport to fly home. Nobody warns you how bad airport goodbyes are. There should be a public warning in airports about crying women and children.

I didn't take as many photos as I would have liked, I was too busy just enjoying the little bit of time I had with Callum. I did have a lovely weekend though and we've already decided we'll go back one day and do all the things we couldn't do last weekend. Have any of you been to Amsterdam? What did you get up to?

My Top Highlighting & Illuminating Products

Not so long ago I wrote a post containing my favourite skin brightening products so I thought I'd follow up with some cosmetic partners that give a lovely glow. I have been higlighter obsessed lately, I really don't know what came over me but in the past few months I've accumulated quite a collection of highlighting products.

Let's start with my most recent purchase and most recent love - the Topshop Glow highighting pot. First of all I love this because it's a cream highlighter so it blends in really easily with foundation, perfect for those of you who like a dewy finish. I also love it because it's a neutral colour.

Let me explain further. The Makeup Revolution Baked Highlighter featured on my blog a few months ago. While I still love it and while it's still my most reached for highlighter (powders tend to be easier and quicker to apply - lazy!), it's a peach/pink toned product. Therefore I only really wear it alongside pink-toned blushers. I just think it ties a look together that way. The Topshop highlighter, however, can be paired with any blusher. A little dab along the tops of the cheekbones is just enough for a subtle highlight that looks lovely on it's own or paired with your favourite blusher. I like to wear it alongside my Hourglass blushers.

The B. Sweet Illuminating Serum is another product that featured on my blog this year. This is a good one for an all over glow (maybe for the new strobing fad that I've been reading about everywhere rather than just highlighting). If you wear it on it's own or under foundation, it gives a soft, healthy glow. I tend to still go in with the Makeup Rev highlighter on my cheekbones for a little added glow.

The Sleek Contouring and Blush Palette is probably my least reached for product. But I like it because it's really handy for travelling. I also already have the Rose Gold blusher that features in it so I use it less than my other highlighting products. All that being said though, it's ideal for a three step contour, highlight and blush in one go. Quick, simple and no fuss. The colour pay off of this highlighter isn't as good as the Makeup Rev product but it's a relatively neutral shade (well, more so than the Makeup Rev highlighter) so it has it's pros and cons.

I'm slightly sad that summer is ending and I'm having to fade out my highlighters in favour of a more autumnal makeup look. Well, we'll see. I might cave in every now and then. It's going to be a hard love affair to end!

What are your favourite highlighters?