Thursday, 25 December 2014

The big 3 0 & Merry Christmas

It's official... I am now 30 and so here's to the 30's being the best decade of my life ever!! I just want to express how truly grateful I am for everything I have in my life, I'm humbled by your comments on Instagram everyday and I pray I can do better and be a better person everyday. Thank you all for your amazing support, I truly appreciate it.

How amazing does this 'Flake' cake look, I feel huge just staring at it but feel even better when it's in my belly of course! How can one person love chocolate so much!? A massive thank you to my husband who knows me too well! :)

Merry Christmas to all of you who are celebrating today, I hope you are all having an amazing day with your loved ones.


Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Smashbox Double Exposure Palette + Swatches

Time for some palette drooling!

Introducing 'Double Exposure' the new palette by Smashbox including 14 shades that transform slightly differently when wet enabling you to have 28 shades. The palette contains shimmer, satin & matte shades that either turn metallic, sparkly, get deeper or intensify when wet. It's housed in a sturdy cardboard palette that comes with a mirrored magnetic closure lid that is practical and hard to miss.

The palette is the ultimate neutral lovers dream, I definitely prefer it to the UD Naked palettes and that's quite a strong statement as the Naked palettes are beautiful too.

I love that the palette contains cool and warm tones to create any type of neutral look, it has light shades suitable for daytime use and deeper darker shades perfect to create dramatic looks for the evening. It has every single type of shade you need including highlight, crease and depth enhancing shades.

It also includes a double ended brush, personally this isn't enough for me to create an eye look t, but I like the short side for upper and lower lash line, and the angled fluffy side to deepen the outer V.  However, the quality of the brush is no doubt amazing as I have been using Smashbox brushes for years with no problems and they still look brand new. Plus, it's always a handy bonus when a palette contains a brush.

Here's what they look like swatched...

Some of the colours like 'Quartz' and 'Flushed' have a lovely duo chrome finish with hints of gold which look really pretty. The texture is smooth and pigmented, the matte shades are a little dusty but all you have to do is tap off the excess like with most matte shades. I really can not fault the palette.

You can see that the shade 'Copper' turns completely metallic and looks so beautiful and warm, 'Fig' & 'Espresso' get deeper perfect to intensify any look. The shade 'Midnight' really reminds me of 'Contrast' from Mac, you can see it adds a little sparkle and same with the shade 'Temper' too.

I love this palette and think it's truly beautiful. I can see me recreating lot of lovely looks with it and I think I will be using this for New years eve along with my birthday too.

Price £37 
See more info HERE.

What are your thoughts on the 'Double Exposure' palette?

(Disclaier - PR sample sent for consideration for review, I was not paid for this post and all opinions are my honest views as always - no affiliate links.)

Monday, 22 December 2014

Nail Care Must Haves

Happy Monday! *pass over the coffee please*

I love taking care of my nails but being a busy mama they get neglected more often than they should. However, recently my nails are looking in tip top shape and I couldn't be happier. My problem was that my nails would grow and then chip or break really easily and I would have to start all over again. I also couldn't decide on a nail shape and I have finally agreed that almond nails suit my nail bed much nicer than square. I have been doing this routine for a few months now and everything is working great. Here's what my nails can't live without;

OPI Nail Envy - This is an amazing nail strengthener that I apply it to my nails whenever I remember, it's recommended to apply a layer everyday for a few days and then remove, I do that sometimes too but I also use it as a top or base coat. This has definitely made a difference, my nails are no longer weak and instead a lot stronger with less bending as it contains protein and calcium to strengthen the nails. I sometimes also put a couple of coats on and use it like a clear polish which looks pretty too.

Sally Hansen Gel Cuticle Remover - I apply this to the cuticles, let it sit for a bit and then wipe off and push my cuticles away, it seriously does the trick and I prefer this method to cutting them which I used to do. I do this about every 3 - 4 weeks.

Cuticle Pusher- I use this to push my cuticles back and away after I have used the cuticle remover. It's so cheap and no nail care routine is complete without it.

Leighton Denny Crystal Nail File - This is the mother of all nail files, I can not ever imagine using anything else, it's made a huge difference to the smoothness of the edges and strength of my nails. It's washable and reusable and you will never need another one unless you break it. If you are not using a glass nail file and your nails are breaking, that is probably a key factor as to the weakness and quality of the nail. This file is so smooth and a pleasure to use and I highly recommend it.

Burts Bee's Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream - This smells amazing and is also so nourishing and beneficial at the same time, it's perfect for dry cracked cuticles and will have them back to normal in no time as it contains 100% natural sweet almond and lemon oils. (At the moment you can get little duo sets which contain the cuticle cream and lip balm which is worth checking out, see HERE)

Nails coated with Nail Envy.

What are your nail care favourites?

Sunday, 21 December 2014

Current Favourites...

Happy Sunday, I hope you are all well and enjoying the festivities of this busy month! I wanted to share a few of my beauty favourites today with mini reviews that are putting a smile on my face.

These are a few of my favourite things....

Garnier Ambre Solaire Self Tanning Lotion 
I have been using this stuff for years, I generally use it for my face at night when I want to wake up with a natural tanned glow, I sometimes mix it in with my moisturiser for a more subtle effect. I mainly use it every 2-3 days to keep me looking fresh.

Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Even Finish Foundation 
I have this in the shade 'beige' which is a tiny bit light for me, but I actually prefer it that way as I use it as a concealer for under my eyes and to highlight my cheekbones and centre of my face, this way I get a light coverage with a natural look that lasts all day without me wearing foundation all over my face.

Beauty Blender 
I love this for natural looks, it makes any foundation & concealer apply seamlessly and beautifully. I love it with the foundation I mentioned above, I wet the sponge and squeeze out the excess and dot the foundation under my eyes and on the centre parts of my face and blend out with the beauty blender using bouncing motions, it makes any foundation feel lighter and sit better on the skin.

Body Shop Mini Strawberry Hand Cream
I love that the body shop is doing mini hand cream versions of their amazing body butters, the strawberry one just smells so delicious I want to slather it all over my dry winter hands. I have the coconut one too which smells equally as delicious.

Essie 'A Cut Above' Nailpolish
I love this rose gold glitter topped over a nude polish, it's perfect for the festive season and definitely a winner for new years eve nails. I shared an image on IG but you can see it pictured below too. 

This smells sweet, fruity and floral at the same time with a hint of spice and liquorish, it contains almond essential oil, star anise and bourbon vanilla extracts. It's a nice evening scent and I have been loving using it this past month as it's a sophisticated kind of sweet. It's also small which is perfect for the handbag or travel.

What are you loving lately?

(Disclaimer - The perfume was sent for consideration for review, I wasn't paid for this post and this post contains no affiliate links. I was also sent other items from the brand but only included the perfume as it was the only one I liked. Honest opinion as ALWAYS!)

Friday, 19 December 2014

Toys with a Conscience..

Good afternoon and hello! I have been MIA recently as Esra has been ill with viral infections for several weeks now so everything has gone off track. And, just as she was getting better she now has another ear infection and all my attention has been turned to her for major cuddles as you can imagine. She's doing a little better today and I'm praying it will continue that way....

This morning we had a squishy delivery from Ikea which included this rather big brown bear who has taken over the cuddling role!

Ikea has launched 'Soft Toys for Education' campaign  where proceeds from soft toy sales help fund to save the children and UNICEF's educational projects around the world. For every soft toy, book and children's game sold between 26 Oct - 27 Dec, Ikea Foundation will donate €1 to children's education through UNICEF and Save the Children. That's seriously amazing as there are so many fun & beautiful toys to choose from at Ikea which literally sell themselves, so the fact that part of the money is going to a good cause is truly wonderful. 

I don't always run campaigns on this blog as you know, but since this one was about children it hits home and any way which we can help any child around the world is simply beautiful. I wanted to get the post up ASAP and maybe help you with a Christmas gift if you are stuck for ideas whilst helping a good cause.

The big brown bear pictured is the Vandring Bjorn and priced at £13.

It's the perfect gift to pair with a bear themed book, our current favourites are 'I want my hat back' by Jon Klassen and 'We're going on a bear hunt' by Michael Rosen. It will also work great with 'Brown bear, brown bear what do you see' by Eric Carle.

It's also the perfect tea party guest.....

Next on our wish list is this adorable little sausage dog (Smaslug) and deer (Sotnos) I can't wait to pick them up for Esra on our next visit to Ikea.

What are your favourite soft toys from Ikea? 

(Disclaimer - The bear was a PR sample sent for consideration for review, I was not paid for this post, there are no affiliate links and this is an honest post as always.)

Saturday, 13 December 2014

Earring Storage + Date Night

Happy Saturday and good morning to you, the reason for my lack of posts the past week is simply organising and cleaning. I have been separating, donating and reorganising like crazy. I have really put pressure on myself to get the whole place sorted before the new year, I need to chill. Anyway, today I am showing you how I store my earrings.

I have so many earrings, many of which I have purged. I can't truly appreciate them unless they are stored properly. I have used various storage options including hanging them around vases, on burlap, inside a multi pocket hanger and many more and none of them have been as effective as I would have liked. I have finally found the simplest easiest solution that is working great for me and they are tiny grip seal bags, it was either this or ice cube containers and I knew that would look pretty but wouldn't work. I love having a rummage and this way nothing gets tangled or lost, it's a nice organised type of chaos I can handle.

I have stashed them all inside one of the Ikea Alex unit drawers alongside other bits of jewellery and it's working a treat. I really love that unit, it houses EVERYTHING!

And hello from me, so last night was date night and it seems I can't whip out my SLR before we leave and opt for phone photos instead, which is why I hardly share date night photos anymore but I seriously need to, maybe that can be my new years resolution.

I got the prettiest dress from H&M, I couldn't see it on the website but it's new as I haven't seen it in store before, it was a steal at £24.99. It's fitted at the waist and then has floaty with slightly shorter sides with quite a bit of fabric which is unusual for the high street. I wore it with black tights, block heel boots and a cropped leather jacket with a cream crochet shawl. I went for red on the lips using Illamasqua 'Box' and Mac 'Impassioned' lipstick to get the perfect raspberry shade tone to match my Barry M Raspberry nails. I LOVE the 'Mary-Lou' highlighter as you can tell I lathered it on lol, but it's just so pretty! I teamed it with bare eyes with just a little eyeliner, mascara and a low up-do. It's a perfect festive date night look and I can't wait to wear the dress again! 

Wishing you all a lovely weekend! x X x

Saturday, 6 December 2014

Mary-Lou Manizer...

Welcome to my life Mary-Lou, you are possibly the best highlighter ever.

If you are looking for the perfect highlighter to sparkle this festive season, then look no further.

Hope you are having a lovely Saturday morning, last night I came home to a nice little parcel and of course I had to blog about it first thing this morning. I have seen quite a few 'The Balm' products floating about the bloghesphere but never actually tried anything. Laura from 'Buy Now Blog Later' raved about this product and did a little giveaway on IG too as it was THAT good, so of course I immediately ordered one for myself and here I am.

The packaging is beautifully retro and sweet...

It comes in a nice little mirror compact and holds 8.5g of product.

It's a candlelit champagne shade with a beautiful shimmer without any glitter.

It's highly pigmented with one swipe.... 

And now let the angels sing... It's so beautiful once applied on the skin, it adds a candlelit glowing shimmer without any sparkle and has a beautiful velvet like texture that applies smoothly without being chalky or powdery. It's such a gorgeous warm champagne/vanilla shade and perfect to highlight the tops of the cheekbones or even use as an eyeshadow. I can see it working with many skin tones as it's quite light for fair skin tones yet warm enough for darker skin tones to not turn ashy. They also do several other shades too which may be great for deeper skin tones. This brand is certainly worth checking out and definitely worth the hype, and the price point is good value too, so no complaining from me. Next one my list, is the Bahama mama bronzer.

And here's a comparison with some of the other highlighters I own, as you can see it's definitely the one that stands out the most.

Price £16 - Available from many online UK websites including Feel Unique, Asos, Superdug and many more. Give google a go if you are interested for the cheapest price. I ordered mine from Amazon via Beauty B a third party seller.

Do you own Mary-Lou? If not, what's your favourite highlighter?

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Top 10 NUDE Lipsticks

Nude lips are my ultimate favourite... My signature look without a doubt is a subtle smokey eye with winged liner and nude lips! I am a nude lipstick addict, and can spot a very special one in an instant. I have owned them all throughout the years from high end to drugstore and these are the ones that have lasted and are my current favourites.
If you would like some nostalgia you can see my 'Top 10 Nude Lip Products' here from 2009 and I am happy to say that a couple have made it through to this post too.

Now time for some swooning....

All of these photos of nude lipsticks just makes me so incredibly happy, you just can't go wrong with them. You can see how greatly loved these lipsticks are just by looking at the condition of them, some lipstick shopping is on the cards I think.

And in an almost lightest to darkest order....

  1. MAC Myth - A light neutral almost matte nude, the lightest nude I own. This is way too light for me to wear on it's own, so I will either lightly dab it on, use it to tone down other lipsticks or use in the centre of the lips for a slight 3D effect. This would be great on fair skin tones if you want to wear it full on. 
  2. MAC Creme D'Nude - A creamy muted peachy beige nude that goes on ever so smoothly due to it's creme sheen finish. It's the perfect night time nude to match ANY smokey eye.
  3. RIMMEL Kate 113 - A pigmented peach nude which compliments smokey brown eyes beautifully, it has an almost matte finish and I love the warmth it adds.
  4. MAC Shy Girl - A light peachy coral beige, this one is also a creme sheen so it has a slight gloss to it, it's perfect for day or night time looks.
  5. MAC Pure Zen - This is a slightly frosted warm nude which has a subtle sheen when applied and it's one of my ultimate favourites, it's extremely similar to 'Hue' in finish and they are definitely close sisters but this is a tad warmer. Definitely a special lipstick!
  6. MAC Hue - A soft milky pale pink nude, this is my most favourite lipstick ever! I wear it in the evening mostly and is one I always count on and that always works well with me. It has a slightly cool undertone which I love and it's one I will forever keep on repurchasing. I have been known to wear it in the day too, and it's always in my bag.
  7. YSL Rouge Volupte 2/Sensual Silk -A creamy pigmented light neutral nude, this always looks polished and adds a beautiful shine with no need for gloss, it smells and feels amazing. This one is definitely for special occasions and night outs.
  8. MAC Creme Cup - A milky light pink nude that has a cool blue undertone. This is my ultimate daytime nude to pair with a clean winged flick. This is always in my bag too!
  9. MAC Honeylove - A light beige rose toned nude with a matte finish, this is the perfect daytime nude that looks like your natural lip colour, perfect for olive skin tones.
  10. RIMMEL Kate 03 - A dark warm nude that looks like 'my lips but better' shade, I love this for everyday particularly because it's almost matte yet still hydrating. This will look amazing on deeper skin tones too.

Honourable mention goes to Rimmel 'Nude Delight' a warm toned peachy neutral nude perfect for daytime which has a subtle sheen. I couldn't include it as I have run out but still feel it deserved a mention.

FYI: The lipliners I use on rotation with these shades are, Mac Oak, Mac Dervish, L'oreal Cappuccino & L'oreal Honey.

What are your favourite nude lipsticks? Next on my list is Mac Velvet Teddy!

Monday, 1 December 2014

Hello December // Chit Chat

Good morning and can you believe it's already December?! December is my birthday month so I am always excited and now on the hunt for the perfect dress. I am determined to go into January more organised and better than any year before, if I can get over my cold that is. *blows nose*

Image Source

  • This December I will be decluttering my home in a bid to go into the new year fresh instead of making resolutions and to forget about them 2 weeks later. I will be re editing my wardrobe and trying to live on less with a more minimalist style if that is even possible. I have spent the last couple of months getting rid of "stuff" slowly in every room and now December is the time to go full force. Power to me!
  • This year I turn 30!!! Wow it's crazy because when I was younger I always thought 30 was really old,  but actually now I see it's just the start of being a woman and appreciating everything. The past 10 years have been so amazing and rewarding, I graduated from university, got married, started a blog, had a baby and here I am.  I now want to do something more challenging, whether that be doing a masters or getting back into designing. I am excited to see what the next decade will unravel for me.
  • I aim to be more organised with my blog and am now scheduling posts beforehand to help me with time management. So get requesting your favourite kind of posts. I will also be trying to squeeze in more FOTD posts like I used to as the world needs to get in on the secrets of this mamas daily makeup. However, I feel that blog posts are not enough... I have been playing with the idea of YouTube as that is the next step forward to explain myself more clearly, it's one thing reading something and the next visually seeing them. But, I can't seem to bite the bullet and do it. Wish me luck and watch this space!!
  • Christmas? OK so we don't celebrate Christmas or have a tree and it's been quite hard trying to explain that to a 3 year old. But, she knows we have 2 Eids and that they are very special, she knows that different religions have different celebrations. It's my birthday on Christmas day so we still have something to celebrate. Furthermore, we will be celebrating winter and doing lots of winter crafts & activities to enjoy the jolly season.  I did consider getting a tiny pink tree for her room but fear that is the wrong way forward. I may do new year gifts but am undecided, any help on this subject is appreciated. However, I LOVE Christmas, I love looking at other peoples decorations and getting cozy at home watching cheesy Xmas movies!

Wishing you all a blessed and jolly December.... And I hope we get some snow this year!! x X x