Recommended by a friend: The Body Shop British Rose Mask

I love taking beauty recommendations from friends. Not only do you know that it’s probably going to be pretty good, because they wouldn’t recommend anything rubbish, but also it’s usually different to the hyped up products you read about on blogs and see on instagram. I thought I’d start off a mini series about all the products my friends have raved about and that I’ve loved as well. Starting off is something I had my eye on but actually took the plunge and bought because I spotted it when going through my friend’s beauty stash and she said she loved it. It’s The Body Shop British Rose Plumping Face Mask.

This recommendation came at the perfect time because I’m trying to look after my skin a bit more and provide a little more moisture in my routine after years of using oil stripping products. I already have the Himalayan Charcoal Purifying Glow Mask in my collection (back to the oil stripping) so I was already a fan of the Body Shop face masks. The formula is like a jelly which is easy to scoop out (I normally take a lump off with my fingers) and rub it into my face and a bit down my neck. It isn’t a face mask that drys down and it doesn’t change colour when it’s ‘done’ so you kind of have to work out what works for you in terms of how long you leave it on your face. The instructions say five to ten minutes and ten is where I usually go (maybe a smidge longer if I’m in the bath relaxing).I feel the effect instantly with this mask. When my friend was telling me about it she said her face felt plumped and smooth as soon as the mask came off and I have to agree. My face feels smooth, it looks bright and I’m totally in love with it. I haven’t noticed it break me out either which is a massive win because I’m seriously prone to random spots. 

I use this pretty regularly twice a week and it’s something I reach for when I’ve had a bit too much to drink (*cough* last weekend *cought*) or when I need to a boost of moisture. If you’re in the market for something that peps your skin up then I would 100% recommend this and it’s definitely my favourite mask I’m using at the minute.

What’s your current top recommendation?

Putting Aldi beauty products to the test

I didn’t expect a quick trip to Aldi would prove so exciting for me as I entered with nothing and left with a handful of products which were the definition of an impulse buy. I’d heard of the Aldi beuty products and theur ‘dupes’ a few months ago and never really gave them a second thought. But when I spotted a few of them in the middle aisle of doom I had a real urge to give them a go.

I picked up the Lacura Exfoliating Mud Mask – dupe for the Glam Glow Supermud Clearing Treatment, the Lacura Aloha Bronzer – dupe for Benefit Hoola Bronzer, and Lacura Snapshot Ready Foundation Primer – dupe for Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer.

Before I got going with testing everything I wanted to see if the bronzer was similar/the same as Hoola. I don’t have the full size but I’ve got a mini that came free in a magazine a couple of months ago. As bronzers go they’re pretty similar. The Hoola one is slightly more brown and the Aldi has a bit more of a warm orange tinge, but nothing that’s too offensive. Pigment wise I’d say that Hoola is slightly more pigmented but only by a tiny bit. Not much separating the two.

Left: Hoola Bronzer | Right: Aldi dupe

My first impressions of the makeup products weren’t bad but they also weren’t amazing. The primer was very solid and it was a bit hard to rub into my skin so I ended up rubbing it into my fingers and patting on the parts of my face which get oily during the day, my nose, chin and forehead. The bronzer comes with this cute little brush, very much like Hoola, so I thought I’d give that a go. When I swatched the bronzer on my hand it was quite light so I went in heavy handed on my first go. Big mistake. This is a pretty pigmented bronzer, or at least on my skin tone, so I started off with an stripe down the side of my face. Not a great start. But when I blended it in and did the rest of my face I quite liked it. It’s the right amount of warmth and isn’t too dark for my very pale face. Not the easiest bronzer to work with as it took a bit of blending but not too shabby.

I’ve never tried the Glam Glow face mask that this Exfoliating Mud Mask supposedly dupes, but if you have the Himalayan Charcoal mask from The Body Shop then I’d say it’s very similar to that. When I applied it the only difference I noticed was the colour and the size of the exfoliating bits, they’re a lot smaller in the Lacura one (my guess is because it’s billed as an actual exfoliation mask. I first tried it on my nose and my chin as they’re the parts of my face that get the most oily and would benefit from a mask like this. I applied a thin layer and left it for five minutes (instructions say between five and ten so I thought I’d go lower for my first go). It dried down like a normal clay type mask and it brought out my pores which I’m guessing is a good thing as it looked like something was working – me showcasing my lack of skincare knowledge here. When I took it off a gave myself a bit of an exfoliation before getting rid of the rest with a flannel. Everything felt alright but I did notice that a couple of spots appeared on my chin later that night (could be a coincidence but thought it was worth mentioning). After reading a couple of reviews loads of people were saying that if you have sensitive skin the stay clear of this because it can do some damage, which might be something to bare in mind. I have to say that over the next few tries I had noticed that it was stinging a fair bit on my nose when I applied it, so I washed it off straight away because I don’t want it to be burning my skin!

Overall there were hits and misses. I think it’s going to take a bit longer to test out the mask but it’s not terrible. The exfoliating part is good but when it burns your skin, that’s not ideal. The bronzer is pretty fab for everyday. Not streaky and nicely warms up the face. The primer is a funny one. I like how it works on my nose but any other area, even my chin which is just as oily as my nose, sucks the life out my skin. So it may be a nose primer but not used for anything else.

My favourite restaurants from the last 12 months

Today is my birthday! To celebrate turning 24 I thought I’d look back on some of the best places I’ve been to eat over the past 12 months. I love eating out, it’s one of my favourite things to do, and so I thought I’d put together my top picks from last year which could be helpful if you ever find yourself in these areas looking for somewhere to go!

A stand out highlight of last year was my trip to Roots in York. Probably the best meal I’ve eaten in my entire life, no exaggeration. The food was incredible, the vibe of the place was amazing and I had the best time. I went with my mum and dad back in November for lunch because I’m obsessed with Tommy Banks (and because we’ve heard very good things). It was fab. Amazing food, which is all small sharing plates, in a chilled out atmosphere. We decided to go for ten plates and they just brought the food out that was ready. Everything was so good it was hard to pick a favourite but I loved the beetroot cooked in beef fat, lamb bao buns and the apple cake.

Location: York

Perfect for you if: You love top quality dining and are willing to pay the prices but enjoy more of a chilled out vibe.

During another November trip, this time to Paris with my friends, we went to Frenchie. Super cool vibes, it felt like the worst kept secret as the place was small and intimate but packed with people. We didn’t book and had to wait about an hour for a seat but with a bottle of wine and space at the bar it wasn’t a problem. The menu was small and kind of had a sharing plate vibe but we all went for our own thing. I had the squid ink ravioli and it was amazing. So tasty. I also had the tarte tatin which was delicious! I would totally recommend giving this a go but maybe book, it was rammed on a random Tuesday in November so strikes me that it’s busy all the time.

Location: Rue du Nil, Paris

Perfect for you if: You want something a bit special that isn’t too pricey. Also if you need a picture for Instagram.
Just down the road from where I live, the Sun Inn at Rastrick does cracking food at a great price. Think ‘pub food’ but ten times better and two for one fish and chip Fridays. Dream! They also do two for one gins on a Saturday, so I mean you really can’t go wrong with this place.

Location: Rastrick, West Yorkshire

Perfect for you if: You don’t want to cook on a Friday night or need somewhere to chill out on a Saturday afternoon.

Potentially the most instagramable place I’ve ever stepped foot in, Red Roaster was subject to a very hungover visit when I was with my friend in Brighton. The fact that we were both feeling a little worse for wear after a major prosecco session didn’t ruin the visit though. Such an amazing breakfast was had. I went for the waffle with bacon egg and apple washed down with a latte and it was glorious. The different food options here were pretty special and interesting and I have to say I would like to go back and try some of their lunch options – especially when I’m feeling a little perkier than I did the last time.

Location: Brighton

Perfect for you if: You want breakfast with a twist or to take advantage of the marble tables and amazing lighting for your instagram.

Trips to see friends seem to constantly produce new restaurant favourites! An amazing meal that left us all full to the brim was had at Farmshop. Located in Bicester Village, I think it’s in associaton with Soho ____ (am I a real blogger yet?) and has a lot of hearty meals on offer like burgers, pies. mac and cheese, etc. We all went for chorizo and smoked mozzarella croquettes to start (sensational) and that was followed by a delish chicken burger. I’d love to go back and sample the desserts but those croquettes have definitely stuck around in my memory.

Location: Bicester Village, Oxfordshire

Perfect for you if: You want to live out your YouTuber life with a smaller price tag and delicious food.

Last but not least is where I went for my birthday meal this year, and somewhere which is probably going to become a new favourite. Eric’s Resturant in Lindley (wonderful West Yorkshire again) has everything you want and more. I’d class it as British food that’s fancy but not lacking in the portion size department. We went for the early dining menu and there was a nice selection on offer at a good price. I had chorizo gnocci (creamy goodness in a bowl), tasty pork with dauphinoise potatoes and pecan piece (HEAVEN).Not only is it great for an evening meal but there are also a number of events like afternoon tea and brunch to sink your teeth into. We went to a brunch at the end of December which was fab. Anywhere with pancakes gets two thumbs up in my book!

Location: Lindley, West Yorkshire

Perfect for you if: You’re celebrating something and you want to try somewhere a bit special that won’t totally break the bank.

Mini Boots haul and if the products are any good

I love Boots. It’s my spiritual homeland. Pretty much every time I go in, I come out with a armful of stuff and a shed load of advantage points, I can’t help it! So when I went to visit my friend who also has a Boots/beauty obsession I knew that I was going to be getting a lot of stuff. I was quite restrained (a little….maybe?) and left with a basket full of recommendations and impulse buys. I’ve given them a bit of a road test over the last few weeks so here are my thoughts on these products I picked up from Boots.

First up are the Barry M Unicorn Primer Drops Beauty Elixir. I’ve known about those £50, massively expensive unicorn drops from a brand I can’t actually remember for a while now but was never really interested in giving them a go. When I saw this shining purple bottle though I instantly picked it up and put it in my basket. It’s basically a hydrating primer that smells amazing and gives such a boost to by dehydrated skin but don’t make it oily – which is a big deal because I am an oily human being. It’s a bright pink colour with bits of shimmer in it, so looks a bit scary, but I’ve found it gives me a great base for foundation. My only problem is that there doesn’t seem to be a lot of product in it and I it might run out quite quickly but on the whole I’m a big fan.

Whenever I meet up with my friends, there’s always a moment before we go out when we pass round the Mac Fix+ with gold glitter in it. It’s something pretty special but because I’m tight I don’t fancy splurging on it myself (sorry). But when I saw Makeup Obsession, a brand I hadn’t heard of, had done one I got it straight away. Sadly I’m not a massive fan of this. The spray was okay but your face ends up soaking wet after a couple of sprays and after two weeks of use the nozzle on mine has broken with loads of product still left inside which is a bit annoying. But if you’re looking for a body spray then this could be fab because there’s so much glitter in it, it would look great on a night out. Not amazing but also not terrible.

After getting a recommendation from said Boots loving friend to get the Natural Collection Blush in Rosey Glow I took it and ran. How is this so cheap?! It was £1.99 and is a great product. Perfect on my skin as it’s pretty much my natural blush colour and builds up nicely so I don’t end up with a splodge of pink on my cheek. It really makes me want to try more Natural Collection products because I’ve been very impressed.

I was in need of a new foundation but didn’t really know which one to give a go next. Another friend recommendation later I picked up the Maybelline Fit Me Matte and Poreless Foundation. This is really great. I use it day to day and it blends really well, doesn’t take too much working with and looks pretty natural on my skin. The shade 100 is a good match for me as well. It gives medium coverage and a matte finish but doesn’t suck all the life out of my skin, and if I use the Barry M Beauty Elixir underneath I find it is a winning combination. I don’t know if I’d use it as a ‘night out’ foundation as my Revlon Colourstay gives me a bit more coverage but for everyday I’m a big fan.

When I was on a train on New Year’s Eve, I sadly lost the lid to my beloved Maybelline Eraser Eye Concealer and because I didn’t want my makeup bag to become full of sticky concealer, I had to bid it farewell. A few weeks on I realised I couldn’t live without it in my life and repurchased it without a seocnd thought. This time I went with the shade Ivory (is it new because I’ve always got light before now thinking that was the palest shade?). It’s a pretty good match for me, probably the palest I would go in a concealer but it does look fab under my eyes. I’ve professed my love for this product before so I won’t go on about it but if you haven’t tried it then I recommend you give it a go. It’s the best concealer I’ve ever used, especially under my eyes.

What TV shows to watch for a cosy winter binge

I’m a massive TV fan. Like huge. Especially if it has something to do with murders/crime/mysteries. I also love winter with it’s snuggly blankets and giant mugs of tea (although to be fair this is me all year round). So what could be better for a TV fanatic that’s permanently cocooned in a blanket than a cosy night in with a hot chocolate and cake watching a fab box set? Nothing, that’s what. So, I thought I’d share my favourite box sets with you in case you’re in need of a good old binge and also some of my favourite things to get cosy.

First up, Bodyguard. I became OBSESSED with this after I watched it, and when I say obsessed, I mean it. Any article with it in, I’d read it, talk of a series two, mate I’m all over it. I had one last exam to take last year and when I finished, my treat to myself was to binge the entire series again (also thinking about doing this for my brithday in a few weeks – I have a problem). If you lived under a rock for the back end of 2018, here’s a run down. Man becomes bodyguard to the Home Secretary and lots of drama ensues. It’s six episodes, an hour long, and can comfortably be binged in a day. I’m a wimp when it comes to blood/gore/general crime and I was fine with it. Also what can be better than staring at Richard Madden’s face for six hours?

If you have a fair few days/weekends free then RuPaul’s Drag Race is a great one to dive into. It’s so easy watching and most importantly addictive. If, once again, you’ve been living under a rock, it’s like America’s Next Top Model but for drag queens, and there are most of the series on Netflix. Perfect if you want something that’s not too heavy, maybe you can dip in and out of it or have it on in the background that doesn’t need total concentration. I think season six is my favourite but five is also great and the later seasons are fab too. Just be warned, you may have an urge to start randomly tongue popping and say things like ‘yaaaas queen’ or ‘tens across the board’. No? Just me?

I said it once and I’ll say it again, if you haven’t already WATCH HAPPY VALLEY. It’s everything you could want in a TV police drama and more. Murder? Yes. Gripping storyline? Yes. James Norton? Yes. Also it’s set in the best place to live ever in the whole entire world, Halifax! I may be slightly biased but there is some great scenery. There are two series, six episodes each, so could be an intense day long session or a great weekend in.

This one is a little bit out of my comfort zone (which as I’ve said is very low because I am a huge wimp) but we’ve recently been watching Luther. Several things to note: 1.Don’t watch it on your own, 2. Keep a pillow handy for the gory bits, and 3. Don’t watch it on your own, especially in the dark. It’s basically another crime drama set in London with Idris Elba as Luther (he’s really great in it) who goes around solving crimes but is a bit flexible with his morals. This has been less of a programme binge and more of a series binge as we’ve been watching a series over one or two days. The amount of episodes in each series vary but the most in a single series is six, so pretty manageable. It’s really addictive so you may fall down a rabbit hole with this one, sorry in advance.

GET COSY

A blanket – I know, I know, this is just a bit cringe because 1. it’s obvious that if you want to get cosy then a soft sheet of fluff the size of Yorkshire will do the job and 2. as soon as September hits, Instagram is full of flat lays with autumn leaves and carefully place blankets. But I mean it when I say I could not live without my blanket. It’s not worthy of instagram in the slightest, I’ve had it for about six years, maybe more, and it’s a little on the sad side. But it never fails to do the job when I want to snuggle down.

A comfy spot – What I mean when I say this is, for a ‘proper’ binge (AKA at least four hours without moving) you want to sit somewhere so minimal movement is possible. My go-to seat of choice is the sofa in the lounge. Not only is it the room with the best TV in but the seat reclines and I have a table next to me so I don’t have to stretch far for my couple of tea. It’s the little things.

A giant mug – This goes back to the minimal movement thing (can you tell how lazy I am) but a massive mug means that you can get more in so don’t have to keep trailing to and from the kettle to fill up. I have an amazing mug from Morrisons which lets you have two cups worth in one massive mug. Absolute dream! Same goes for cold drinks, the bigger the better.

Something delicious – Whether it’s a tasty piece of cake or a giant pizza, having something really delicious will round of a great day-long binge perfectly. Maybe go for something that’s not too time consuming so that you can get straight back to watching but something quite stodgy and full of carbs, especially in winter, can really hit the spot. Sorry healthy eating it was nice while it lasted.

I have a fair amount on my top watch list at the minute with You and the Fyre documentary at the top. What’s top of your binging list?

Books, perfumes and my perfect lip liner | January Favourites

Oh January, how slow you’ve been. Nah, it’s not been too bad but I’ll be glad when February finally rolls around. That might have something to do with the fact it’s my birthday though! I’ve been loving a fair few bits this month, mainly books surprisingly – New Year, new me, blah blah. Not so many beauty bits this month but I’ve bought a few makeup bits recently (haul coming soon) so maybe next month.

I preordered ‘An Edited Life’ by Anna Newton when it first went up on Amazon using my brother’s account and pretty much every time I saw him it was “has that book come yet?”, “when you getting that book” and “that book’s taking a while to come”. But finally it was released near the beginning of the month and I was over the moon when it came through the letterbox. I went straight to the capsule wardrobe section because for the last few years I’ve been wanting to dip my toe in that pool. So far I’ve cleared out my sock drawer, started organising my budget and looked at spice racks on Amazon. I love how it’s written (just like a chatty vibe) and if you need a kick up the back side then this is perfect. Also I love Anna’s blog and videos so I was always going to be a fan of this!

If there was ever a lip liner to steal my heart then it was this one. The LMX Lip Liner in Hold Up is such a little star and I cannot get enough of it. I mentioned it in my post where I went through what’s in my lip drawer (read that here) but it’s from Little Mix’s makeup range at Boots and is a brown which also learns a bit pink/purple. Not too vampy but something that’s a little more interesting than your standard ‘nude lip’. I wear this most days either with the LMX Matte Lip in Cupid or my Dior Lip Glow and I’m 100% obsessed.

We’ve been watching so many crime dramas and murder mysteries since Christmas that it’s getting a bit scary when I go to bed and think someone is hiding in my wardrobe! But when I fancied trying to start reading before going to sleep as we entered the New Year, I carried on the murder theme by reading ‘And Then There Were None’ by Agatha Christie. I watched the BBC drama when it was on a few years ago and loved it so I bought the book for my mum for Christmas (I’d like to point out that she likes Agatha Christie so it wasn’t that selfish of a present). I read it quite slowly, about 30 pages a night, but it’s only a thin book so it didn’t take me that long to finish and it had me gripped from the start. SO GOOD! If you don’t know what it’s about, basically ten people go to an island and drama/murder happens. Even though I thought I could remember who the killer was (I didn’t, turns out I have the world’s worst memory and had forgotten most of the plot) I found it hard to put it down. If you’re wanting a quick read that’s easy to understand but keeps you on edge then I totally recommend this.

Earlier this month I went to the cinema to watch Mary Poppins Returns and oh my goodness gracious it was SO GOOD! I thought the film really good, easy watching and if you’re a Disney fan like me I’m sure you’ll be just as obsessed. I think the soundtrack is what’s made me fall in love with the film. Upbeat? Tick. Catchy? Tick. Has songs with fast talky parts that make me want to learn them instead of things I should be doing? Yes. A Cover Is Not The Book is my favourite but most of them are great.

Last, but not least, a special mention goes to the Molton Brown Perfume in Muddled Plum. I got this for Christmas and I’ve been wearing it everyday since, completely in love. It’s wintery, fruity and comforting – perfect for this time of year I think. I also have the shower gel which is just as fab (and glittery so a massive win), the only thing that’s missing from my life is a body moisturiser in this scent and then my life will be complete. Also it’s made me want to try more Molton Brown perfumes. If they did a rhubarb one I would be all about that.

How to make long distance trips easier

I’d say that I’m quite a conciser of the motorway. I don’t drive on it that frequently but when I do I go in. I’m talking three/four/five hour journeys down south, usually with some sort of musical soundtrack to get me through. I feel like after a few trips to visit my friends  along the M1 I’ve perfected the art of the long distance drive (it’s long distance for me anyway – someone who only has a 20 minute drive to work in a morning). These are the four things which can make a daunting drive a bit more manageable:

Know where you’re going

Seems obvious but stick with me. There’s nothing worse then getting three quarters into your journey and seeing a sign flash up saying ‘road closed between junction A and junction B on random motorway’ and thinking “am I going on that one?”. “Do I turn off before we get there”. If you know which main roads you’re going to be heading on throughout your journey then you won’t get the fear when a warning pops up that has nothing to do with you. Also, knowing where you’re going means that you can work out how long it’ll take you to get to each point, breaking up the journey and making it seem a bit less daunting.

Take at least one break

It took me a while to realise the importance of this one because as soon as I get into the car, all I want is to get there as fast as I can. This usually meant no stops, no food and no toilet breaks (not great thinking on my part). Now when I travel down, Watford Gap is my service station of choice. Not because it’s the best but it’s one of the last ones on the M1 before I head off on what I class as the ‘second leg’. It’s also usually half way through my journey so I know there’s not much more to go. Make sure to grab a toilet break (if you don’t need it now trust me you will in 15 minutes!) and get some food. Even better, take food with you and have a moment in your car when you don’t have to concentrate on lane changes or traffic lights.

Get something good to listen to

If you’re a music lover or a podcast obsessive put something on that will 1. Fill the time, 2. Be enjoyable and 3. Not distract you from the job in hand – driving a tin can at stupid speeds on a busy road! My usual plan is to listen to one playlist for the first few hours and then to switch it up once I’ve stopped for the rest of my journey. My favourite things to listen to are my musical playlist with songs from the Greatest Showman and Mean Girls the Musical, and also a good podcast which is usually At Home With or Happy Mum Happy Baby. Something easy listening as well as songs I can swing my little heart out to (badly, very badly).

Chill out

I need to take my own advice here because from the minute I get in the car to the moment I’m on the drive at the other end, I’m constantly excited and desperate to arrive at my destination. You’ll get there when you get there. As long as you’ve given yourself enough time to get there, there’s no need to rush. Especially if it’s a long journey, like most of mine usually are, the time your sat nav tells you you’re going to get there isn’t going to be right. Add at least half an hour on. But no stress! Every mile you drive is a step closer to where you need to be so chill out and enjoy the ride.

What’s in my everyday lip stash

Buying a set of acrylic makeup drawers was a great decision on my part. I’ve had them for the best part of 18 months and although it means I have access to fewer products day to day, it means I can give things a good go. I tend to rotate things every few weeks to make sure I’m mixing up the things I wear, and it makes things more exciting when you rediscover a product you used to love. Anyway, what relevance does this have to this post? Well, welcome to my current lip drawer in my everyday makeup stash. These are the products I’ve been using day to day. Here’s what I love, what’s okay and what I won’t be going back to.

I mentioned this in my last post as it’s one of the favourite things to come out of the 2018 Glossybox Calendar – the Nars Velvet Lip Glide in Burning Love. I have so much time for this product purely because of how versatile it is. I won’t bang on about it too much because I mentioned it in last week’s post (you can read that here) but just know I love it and I think it will be sticking around in my drawer for a long time.

When it comes to lip colours, I’m a bit of a coward. I constantly think I’ll try and be bolder with my lip choices but I always stick to my trusty nudes or a darker variation on my natural pink-y lip colour. But, as per usual in the New Year, I’m determined to step out of my comfort zone and wear something a bit more exciting. Enter the Fenty Beauty Mattemoiselle in Candy Venom. When I visited Paris last year we popped into Sephora and in the panic of the people/products/everything, I picked up a box of Sephora’s ‘best bits’. There was a lot of great stuff in there including this mini lipstick. The shade, a vibrant pink, is something that I would normally stay away from, but after giving it a go on a nightout in the French city, I fell in love with it (although at the end of the night it did end up all over my face which wasn’t fun). With this one it’s all about the formula. Hands down the best matte lipstick I’ve ever tried and I really want to pick it up in more colours. Stays put for a very long time but doesn’t make your lips feel like they’re in a desert. I do need to start wearing it more though so I’m hoping that by putting it in my lip drawer I’m more likely to pick it up.

This was a massive impulse purchase (when I say massive, I mean I wanted it for a while and one day picked it up and bought it without looking at the price) but one which has been 100% worth it. It’s the Dior Glow in 001 Pink. So easy to wear, it gives a sheer pink sheen and plumps up my lips a little bit. This was amazing in Summer for just a bit of something and it still works great when I want a lip balm with a little bit extra.

Oh look, it’s another moment where Abz thinks she can wear bright lipsticks day to day and ends up just leaving it in the drawer. It’s really sad because I love this product (Lancome L’absolu Lip Lacquer in Be Unique) and, although it’s bright, the colour but I haven’t been reaching for it much. I think it’s because I bought it at the end of summer and now we’re in the depths of winter I don’t reach for it. I may have to swap this out for something else and then it can come back with a vengeance in the spring. If you love lip products that feel like nothing on your lips then this is a winner for you. It has the consistency of water with a bit of a glossy finish but throughout the day as the gloss wears off you’re left with a really nice stain. I definitely need to get more wear out of this but it might just be in a few months time.

This little Nars duo came with a mini blush and I just love how tiny they are. Both in the shade Orgasm, they’re probably my perfect nude shade of pink that I used to wear constantly. The lip gloss is amazing. There’s so much to love. Great shade, as I’ve mentioned, with a hint of gold to make it pop, and a glossy formula that isn’t sticky disgusting. The size makes it amazing to chuck in my handbag and it works over SO MANY other products. A great buy. The same can’t be said for the lipstick though which is really disappointing. You would think that because they come as a pair they would both be cracking, but the lipstick really isn’t anything to write home about. The colour is nothing really, the formula is dry but not matte and I just can’t get it to work. Also, every time I use it I feel like the bullet is either going to drop out or break off. So the lipstick may have to be relegated to either the main makeup stash or the bin. Lip gloss is a keeper though!

Late last year a new matte liquid lipstick came into my life and I have to say, I’m not mad at it. It’s the LMX Matte Lip in Cupid. The shade I have is a light brown-peach and is probably my perfect ‘autumnal’ shade, so easy to wear for me and works on most days. As much as I love the colour, it’s the formula which makes this product a winner for me. No matter how many times I go over it when I apply it, it doesn’t get crumbly or ‘bunch up’ on my lips. It’s a smooth finish that’s matte without being drying and lasts a pretty long time. A total winner and is what I’m wearing nine times out of ten whenever I leave the house.

There are two lip liners currently in my lip drawer and both of them are fab. First up is my favourite lip liner from 2018 (click here to read my best in beauty post) which is the Charlotte Tilbury Lip Cheat Lip Liner in Pillow Talk. I think it’s pretty much my perfect lip colour, maybe a little bit on the pinker side, but it looks amazing under any nude lip colour. It’s a perfect base for other products and when the lipstick on top rubs away throughout the day, this keeps it looking okay. The second lip liner is from LMX and is in the shade Hold Up. The formula of this is great, isn’t too hard when you apply it, stays put but isn’t drying. The colour is a deep pinky-brown and this paired with the LMX matte liquid lipstick is a dream combination. Not sure if you can still get the LMX products in Boots but if you can I really recommend the lip stuff.

What’s your top lip product of the moment?

My top picks from the Glossybox Advent Calendar

After three years with three cracking advent calendars, I have to say that this year’s takes every biscuit in the biscuit tin. I went for the Glossybox offering in 2018 and every day it was a Christmas cracker of a gift. I love pretty much everything I got in the calendar but here is the creme de la creme, my top picks.

I’ve picked my five favourite products from this year’s calendar. I haven’t included the two brushes I got – a Real Techniques Expert Face Brush and Luxie 552 Tapered Highlighter Brush – partly because I forgot and partly because it was so hard to choose my top five anyway it made it easier to leave these out.

Day one got off to a cracking start. I didn’t know what to expect from the calendar in terms of the type of products they were dishing out but when this made an appearance I knew I was in for a good month. This is one of the Nars Velvet Lip Glide– a sort of cross between a lip gloss and a lip lacquer I’d say. Packs a punch colour wise, sticks around for a decent length of time and is pretty moisturising. The colour I got was Burning Love, a red/pink that is pretty vibrant. When I first saw it I thought it might be a bit bright and out of my comfort zone but this type of pinky shade seems to work well for me and I couldn’t get enough of it during December. You can wear it full whack and be bold or I also quite like to put a little bit on and smudge it in day to day. Great forumla, fab colour and a win all round.

Anyone who doesn’t think there is something special about Huda Beauty needs their head testing. I honestly don’t know what it is about it, because let’s face it the packaging isn’t exactly the most premium in the world, but every time I look at it I get excited to use it. The ‘it’ I’m talking about is the Huda Beauty Winter Solstice Highlighter Palette. Normally I would take one look at these shades – a white with pink glitter, sheeny purple, yellow gold and blush pink – and run for the hills but after giving them a try I’m a big fan. I don’t think I’d be able to get away with them by themselves but by blending them together with The Balm Mary Lou Manizer I can make it work. The two shades that are my favourite are Arctic Glow and Winter Rose. Both add a bit of extra sheen and I’m totally into it. Not something I’ll use everyday but when a special occasion rolls around I’ll definitely be cracking this out.

I didn’t think that a lip primer would appeal to me that much but when I need something to last, this little black bottle is what I turn to. It’s the 3INA Lip Primer and is a pretty unnecessary product in the grand scheme of things but when you’re putting 125 products on your face ready for a night out, what’s one more. It has a slight pink tint so is ideal for putting on just after my foundation to get rid of any concealer lips I have going on. By the time I then get round to putting my lip product of choice on it’s gone to a semi-matte and allows pencils, creams and lipsticks to glide over the top. Not something I’d have ever bought myself, but something I’m enjoying.

Potentially the best pigment/glitter I’ve ever used, anyone who loves a bit of sparkle needs this in their lives. I audibly gasped when I pulled this out of the box. It’s the Pop Beauty Pure Pigment Eyeshadow in Metallic Copper and is a fine glitter pigment that is the most gorgeous copper colour. It’s so glittery and gorgeous but also surprisingly easy to work with. Even though it’s more of a pigment than a glitter, I still use a glitter glue before I use it to make sure it sticks to my eye, and that has been working really well for me. Fall out wise there isn’t that much, especially considering it’s such a fine powder. It looks great on a smokey eye and also with that all over the lid and a light matte brown in my crease. I would seriously consider getting more shades of this because the formula is so great.

Last, but certainly not least, is the only skincare product in my top five. This is the Mitchell and Peach Fine Radiance Oil. It’s the perfect mix of oily and watery – what I mean is that it isn’t greasy and doesn’t make my oily skin even worse. I can’t report back on if it’s dramatically changed my skin for good but I do wake up in the morning with a plumped up face so I think it must be doing something good!

My makeup favourites for 2018

FOUNDATION – Revlon Colorstay mixed with the Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk: This combination is perfect for me. The staying power of Colorstay mixed with the seamless blending of the Luminous Silk. I do like them both individually but they are a formidable force together.

CONCEALER – Urban Decay Naked Skin Concealer: An old faithful. It gives me the coverage I need (which is a lot) but isn’t cake-y. An all round good egg.

POWDER – Rimmel Stay Matte Powder: I used the RCMA powder for most of the year but when I was travelling about a bit for a few weekends I wanted a powder that was easier to travel with. I thought I’d pick up an oldie but a goodie and oh wow did it change my life. It made me realise that the RCMA powder wasn’t stopping any oil from sneaking through during the day and I was ending up a cake-y mess. The Stay Matte just does the job and I’m very grateful to have rediscovered it this year.

CONTOUR – Jordana Contour Stick: A surprise choice, I picked this up to take a Beauty Bay order one the £50 mark for free next day delivery. This doesn’t work for me really when I’m fake tanned but normal, pale Abz totally gets on with this. It’s a great shade to give a little bit of sculpting, is really easy to blend and is compact for travel.

BRONZER – Too Faced Milk Chocolate Soleil Bronzer: After two years this one is still going strong. It’s the perfect matte shade for my naturally pale self but I can build it up when I’m a bit more tanned.

BLUSH – Mac Immortal Flower: I’ve been a bit of a blush slut this year but if I had to pin down a favourite I’d go for my old faithful, Mac Blush in Immortal Flower.

HIGHLIGHT – Tanya Burr Highlight in Champagne Sorbet and The Balm Mary Lou Manizer: I couldn’t pick just one highlighter, it was too difficult. There are two that I have in my life, one for everyday and the other for when I need something a bit more popping. The Tanya Burr one gives a great sheen with some sparkle and I love it for everyday. But the Mary Lou Manizer gives me that glow and ‘pow’ highlight when I need it. Best of both worlds!

BROWS – Glossier Boy Brow: This has literally changed my life. Bold statements but it’s 100% the truth. There’s some magic in that tiny little bottle that fluffs up the brows to the point where when I have my eyebrows tinted I don’t need to use anything else. On other days I’ll give them a bit of a boost with a brow pencil but this is the only thing I really need.

EYE PRIMER – Nars Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base: Life changing makeup moments happening all over 2018. Ever since I got it for Christmas back in 2014, the Mac Paint Pot in Painterly has been my go to, everyday eyeshadow base, but when it came to an end I pick up the Nars one and oh my golly golly gosh it’s great. I swipe it on and then set it with my powder. It does not budge, like at all. I’m in love.

EYESHADOW PALETTE – Revolution Sophdoesnails Extra Spice Palette: I’ve been obsessed with this palette ever since I got it back in August. It has so many amazing shades in it, from everyday to random colours, that I can’t get enough. And it was only a tenner! Cookie dough is my favourite shade (obviously, it’s nearly all done) followed by cheesecake and dreams. If you don’t have this already I 100% recommend.

MASCARA – Maybelline Lash Sensational Mascara: Another magical product, this creates lashes like no other.

LIP BALM – Dior Lip Glow: I love this so much. It’s so easy to wear, comfortable and a gorgeous colour. It may not be the most moisturising lip balm but when I want a bit of something something on my lips then this is my go-to.

LIP PRODUCT- Charlotte Tilbury Lip Cheat in Pillow Talk: It may not be a lipstick or a lipgloss with bags of colour and selling points but it is my most used lip product of this year by far. It goes with a lot of my other lip products (my fave at the moment is the LMX Matte Lip) and just makes my lips look ten times better. Love you long time lip cheat.