Life Lately #6 | Lakes 2.0, Giving Blood and Being Ill

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New Year's Eve Selfies, Girly trip to the Lakes, Boat Ride on Lake Windermere, Got my Hands on Origins Mask Marvels, Catching Up with one of my Besties, Glamjan Goodies, Giving Blood, My #Glamjan Selfie, Blogger Mail, Blog Planning and Harry Potter Marathon, Another Selfie, Doodling, Estelle's Flowers, Elle Magazine with the Exclusive Benefit Mascara

I really enjoy writing these posts normally; as it's a great way to look back on and see what I've been up to but for some reason I'm really struggling writing this post today. January is my least favourite month of the year, i just find that their is something really daunting about the whole year looming ahead of us. January has also been a really hit and miss month for me - it didn't start off all that great but the trip to Lakes was a really great distraction and even though it was only for the day it was nice to have a change of scenery. We went on a boat trip along Lake Windermere which was really lovely and the views were amazing - id love to do it again but in the spring/summer time as it was flipping freezing, we were discussing possibly renting a cottage there for a few days which will be really lovely if we do. I'll definitely take my camera too so i can blog about the trip if it happens.

It was also my fifth time giving blood this month which is a big milestone for me because i have the world most stubborn veins - without fail every time i go it takes them ages to find the vein and then even when they do my blood comes out really slowly so it takes me double the amount of time it does everyone else. Which is annoying and it can sometimes be painful but it's an amazing feeling once you've donated to know that you could potentially save someones life - id definitely recommend becoming a blood donor if you aren't already.

Everything else has been a bit up and down; some really great things have happened which have been a lot of fun but I've also spent alot of January being ill - along with the usual cold, i can't seem to shift my sore throat. It's not as bad as it was at one point i couldn't yawn or swallow without it hurting but it's still a bit sore and I'm hoping it goes soon.

I still can't quite believe that February is pretty much upon us but i have some exciting things planned for next month, including hopefully blogging everyday - we shall see how this goes depending on photos as i refuse to post anything that I'm not 100% happy with.

How has January treated you?
Natalie xx

Monthly Favourites | January

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I don't know about you but it scares me slightly that we are already up to the first monthly favourite of the year - where did January go at all. Although, i am glad to see the back end of it - January is quite possibly one of my least favourite months and I'm also rather excited for payday to finally be making an appearance this week.

Beauty Favourites

Mac Lipstick in Plumful
This is a really gorgeous sheer pink toned plum - it's so beautiful and it's almost like a toned down version of Rebel, so it's very wearable. It's really moisturising and pleasant to wear on the lips and i really like the finish; it's a lustre finish, which isn't glossy but it's not matte either - it's somewhere in between and i really like it.

Origins Out of Trouble 10 Minute Mask
This is the perfect quick fix for your skin - if I'm going out somewhere but my skin isn't feeling so great and i feel like it needs a bit of a boost, i tend to put this on. It's so quick and easy to use and it instantly leaves your skin feeling so much softer and smoother, it also makes the perfect base for make-up. It does have quite a strong scent, it reminds me a little bit of Vick's vapour rub so it won't be to everyone's taste but i don't mind it. I absolutely love this mask and i can see such an improvement in my skin since using it.

Witch Spot Concealer
I normally hate these type of concealers but I've been using this for a while on my chin (where i tend to break out the most) and since I've been using it, i feel like my chin has really cleared up and i barely get as many blemishes there as i once did. It may just be a big coincidence but i feel like this has helped it. In terms of being a concealer it blends easily and it covers my blemishes well.

Seventeen Cheek Stamp in Bashful
I did a review on this quite recently (See here) and if you read you will know that i absolutely hate the packaging, the stamp is just unnecessary and inconvenient and i actually just dip my brush into it rather than using the stamp. The blush itself i really like; it's the perfect everyday blush colour, it's like a pinky brown tone and an in between of a blush and bronzer. It looks to lovely and natural and compliments all make up looks, but it does actually work well as a subtle contour too. My only issue with this is that i wish it was in a pan form.

Rimmel Wonder'full Mascara
I really like this mascara; it adds volume and length to the lashes but it's quite natural looking. It adds a subtle oomph to the lashes and the it separates the lashes out really well. It lasts ages on my eyes it doesn't smudge and i just generally love the way it looks on my eyes. I also really love the packaging, it looks way more luxurious and more expensive than the usual Rimmel mascaras.

Estee Lauder Gentle Eye Make Up Remover
This removes your eye make up so easily; it feels a bit like an oil so it breaks down the make up making it much easier to just wipe away. It even removes stubborn products quite well too and its really gentle on the eyes, it barely takes an effort to wipe the make up away.

Natio Glow Skin Brightening Face Balm
I'm trying to use up more products that i have in my stash and since i ran out of my S&G moisturising i decided to give this a go and see what it's like and i actually quite like it. As it's a balm it's a bit thicker than your usual face creams but it really does leave the skin feeling moisturised, it doesn't feel heavy on and my skin always feels so soft and looks much brighter after i use it.

Other Favourites:

My friend has been trying to get me to watch this for absolutely ages but I've just never really fancied it. I was on Netflix and facing the usual struggle of what to watch so i randomly clicked on it and decided to try and it - and well, I'm on season 5. It's so good.

Car Ride and Resolutions
A few days after new year my and my friend gem went on a long random drive and we literally just drove around, had coffee and just had a really good chat. We talked about so much including some of out resolutions and things that we was hoping to improve on this year, we got things off our chest and it was just a really good and empowering chat.

The Lakes
I've mentioned it a million and one times how much i love the Lake District, me and the girls had another day trip down there at the start of the month and it was so lovely. Id felt a bit down so just getting away for the day really made all the difference, we also went on a little boat trip along Lake Windermere which was really lovely - it was freezing but lovely.

Three Nights
I go out on a lot on night outs but i rarely do three in a row and for some reason all my plans seemed to fall together on one weekend so i ended up going out three nights in a row with minimum sleep in between - i don't quite know how i coped but it was such a brilliant weekend.

Learning CPR
This week in work i was trained in CPR - the place that i work for has made it a requirement for paid staff to know it. Its terrifying and being in that situation i don't quite know how id handle it but it's quite a good feeling knowing that i could potentially save someones life by knowing CPR.

Book Favourite: Thirteen Weddings by Paige Toon
Music Favourite: Uptown Funk by Bruno Mars & Mark Ronson, Blank Space by Taylor Swift and Take Me To Church by Hozier

I was ill for quite a bit of January with a cold and i had one of the worst sore throats I've ever had - to the point i could barely swallow and it hurt to even yawn, so yeah that was not fun!

What products have you been loving this month?
Natalie xx

Review | Stila Smudge Pot in Kitten

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I picked this up a few weeks ago in a blog sale as I've wanted to try Stila's Kitten for ages because I'm always hearing people rave about it and it seems exactly like the type of shade i would love. Ideally, I'd have preferred the powder version of the eyeshadow as i know that it's much better than but when i saw the Stila Smudge Pot i decided to pick up and give it a try anyways.

Kitten is a really beautiful shade; it's a pinky almost peach champagne shade and it's just one of those really great all round shades that looks lovely alone but also works really well paired with other shades in the crease - i really enjoy wearing this on it's own with winged liner, as it creates a really subtle eye look and it goes really well with a bold lip.

As for the smudge pot itself - it's not an amazing product. It takes a bit of elbow grease to apply it because it's not that creamy, it does blend out okay (I'd recommend a big fluffy brush to blend it out though) and it does actually looks really nice once it's on the eye but id probably pick my Maybelline Colour Tattoos or Max Factor Excess Shimmers over this one any day because they are much better quality and less than half the price.

As i mentioned, it does look really nice once it's on - it lasts ages on the eye and it doesn't crease on me either, i will continue to use this but i definitely want to look into the powder version of 'Kitten' because i think it'll be much better. If it wasn't for the smudge pot being on a blog sale, i wouldn't have bothered to buy it as i definitely would not pay the full retail price for this.

I love cream eyeshadows; recommend me some of your favourites?
Natalie xx

My Blogging Desk Essentials

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When I'm blogging there are a few essentials i like to have around me on my desk; some items are useful in terms of motivation and organising, others are just random things i like to have near me.

Diary, Organiser and Notebooks
I literally use all of the above - the diary and organiser help me to plan what posts i want to do and when, i also like to use it to keep track of anythings i need to do whether it be blog photos, scheduling tweets or general life appointments. The notebook i use is to keep track of all my post ideas - i do have a lot of other notebooks that i use for various things like making notes for posts etc... but these are the mains ones i utilise and i like to keep them on my desk so i can refer back to them whenever i need to.

I seriously love stationary - pens and pencils are an obvious essential to have on the desk but i love having different coloured pens near me, especially highlighters because i find them so useful. I used each colour for different things, one will be for crossing something off on a to-do list and another is for marking a post from my notebook that I've done. I'm a visual learner so i work really well with colour and i find it not only helps keep me organised, the satisfaction of marking something off is quite motivating.

Lip Balm
This isn't really an essential in terms of blogging but my lips get dry quite a lot so i like to always have a lip balm on hand. At the moment I've been using the Hurraw! Lime Lip Balm which is really lovely. It smells incredible and it keeps my lips nice and moisturised.

A Hot Drink
My drink of choice differ between tea or caramel lattes (I currently have a cup of tea) but i love having a hot drink when i sit down to blog. I don't quite know why, but not having one next to me just doesn't feel quite right.

Hot Cookie
The hot cookie is a bloody brilliant invention, when you have a hot drink - plug your hot cookie into your laptop and place your hot drink on top and it keeps it warm so you don't face the disappointment of it going cold. Now far too many times have i picked up my drink and its gone cold and it's so disappointing but now with this, it doesn't have to happen anymore!

Post It Notes/Memo Pad
You'd think having a billion notebooks would be enough, wouldn't you? But no, i also like to have a little memo pad on hand for any quick notes i need to make - it's just much more convenient.

So those are my main blogging desk essentials that i like to have; i also like to have hand cream near to but i completely forgot to include it in here.
What are your Blogging Desk Essentials?
Natalie xx

Review | Studio 10 Youth Lift Glowplexion

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I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with highlighters; it's that fine line that can go from having lovely glowing skin to ending up looking like a shimmery disco ball that scares me a little bit. Apart from my beloved Benefit High Beam i tend to stick to powder highlighters, i don't know but i feel like i can control the application better but inbetween my love affair with MUA Undress Your Skin Shimmer Highlight ive been having a little fling with the Studio 10 Youth Lift Glowplexion*.

Studio 10 is a high quality brand that is actually aimed at 35+ to help them enchance their feature and help bring back their youthful looks (Well as much as make up can) and to be honest, despite the fact that i'm 12 years younger than their intended audience, i'm really impressed with this brand - their contour palette and concealer palette are two of my most used products, i've been able to try quite a few of their products out and im yet to be disappointed.

I've had the Studio 10 Youth Lift Glowplexion* for a while but it's taken me ages to actually get round to using it. It's a liquid/cream highlight and illuminator that you can either apply before your foundation to give you an all over radiant glow or concentrate it on the cheekbones and other high points of the face to highlight - i prefer to use it mostly as a highlighter rather than an illuminator but it does work well either way.

I'd say it's almost a peachy toned highlighter which is quite unusual as most highlighters are either pink or gold toned but this is somewhere in the middle - i tend to opt for pink toned as i find they compliment my skin tone much better. I really like that the packaging uses a pump as you can control the amount it dispense and avoid wasting any product and it also means it's less mess. It is longlasting, lightweight and creamy - although, it does requite a little bit of extra effort to blend in, which is partly one of the reasons im not a big fan of cream products like highlighters and blushes but that little bit of work does end with a really lovely healthy glow.

It is quite a pricey product at £26.00 (available here) and whilst it won't be replacing my affection for MUA Undress Your Skin Shimmer Highlight anytime soon, it's still a lovely product and i will definitely continue to use it - i think it's going to be a lovely product to wear in the spring summer especially because it has a peachy tone to it.

Do you prefer powder or cream highlighters? I'd love to know your thoughts.
Natalie xx

*This item was either gifted to me or sent for review.

Products I Like But Wouldn't Repurchase #1

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A little while ago i came across a post by a blogger who did something very similar to this and i thought it was a really good and original idea - i want to give her full credit but like the idiot i am, i didn't save the link (if you think this is you please let me know!) Since reading the post, I've really wanted to do my own take on it so I've taken my time to peruse my collection and think about what products that i like but not enough to go out and buy them again - i found four products (surprisingly all high end) that fit the bill.

Mac Fix+
I've had this for a little while now and my issue with it, is that i just don't know what I'm really meant to do with it. At first i thought it was a setting spray, then i read you spray it to freshen up and add moisture into the face and I've also seen someone spray it onto a sponge and dab it across the face to give a dewy look to the skin. I've tried all three ways and whilst it is pleasant to use and does give decent results, i just don't think it's worth it. It's fairly expensive for what it is and its just not something i reach for all that often.

Mac Creme Blush in Ladyblush
This was one of the first Mac products i bought a few years ago (it should probably be thrown out by now but I'm too sentimental) When i bought this it was the bees knees, all youtubers were on about it and i felt like i was part of the gang owning it too. It's a gorgeous colour - it's a warm pink tone and it's a very natural looking. It's a good blush in terms of being pigmented and lasting well but i just don't enjoy the formula of it and because of that i find myself rarely reaching for it and when it retails for i think it was £16.00 at the time (now £18.00) it's a lot of money. I have just read up that Mac have changed the formula of their creme blush from 'blushcreme' to 'cremeblend' - mine is a blushcreme so i don't know what the difference is.

Benefit They're Real Push Up Liner
There was so much positive hype around this that i went out and bought it a few days after its release because as a eyeliner lover i didn't see how i couldn't not like it. My problem with this is the way it applies to the eye - considering it's a gel pen liner and a bloody pricey one at that the applicator is awful, it drags along the eyeline and i find it sometimes crumbles too, to me gel eyeliner should just glide along effortlessly. After the battle of applying it, it does look good and i do like that it's really long lasting and it doesn't smudge either but the results just aren't worth the application or the price - their are much better and cheaper alternatives out there.

Urban Decay Naked Skin Foundation
I do actually like this foundation; it's really lightweight and gives a nice natural finish - which if you've followed my blog for a while you'll know are two qualities i like in my foundation. My issue with it, is that it has a tendency to cling to dry patches so it requires some extra effort at blending it in. If I'm paying £30+ for a foundation, i expect it to be pretty amazing and not to require so much effort to make it look half decent. I do try to wear this a lot mostly because i want to use it up as it was quite a pricey foundation but i don't like the results of it enough to go out a repurchase it as  he Revlon Nearly Naked Foundation is the perfect dupe for this foundation which is much cheaper and it doesn't cling to dry patches.

Are their any products you like but wouldn't repurchase?
Natalie xx

The Perfect Everyday Blush | Seventeen Cheek Stamp Blush in Bashful

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Don't you just love it when you've been looking for a certain type of product or shade and you end up finding it without even trying. For ages I've wanted an everyday blush shade that was a really subtle and natural shade that would add a little something to any make up look. I didn't have an intention to try the Seventeen Cheek Stamp Blush in Bashful and it would never have come to my attention if it wasn't for the lovely Mariette sending it to me in the Christmas beauty swap we did and it's quickly become one of my everyday blushes.

My biggest gripe with this product is the packaging - I'd much prefer it to come in your typical pan form as the stamp applicator just doesn't work that well for me. It transfers the colour quite well but the stamp leaves a circle of product on your face so you have to blend it out after you've applied it - unless you're going for that ragdoll type of look. The information given on the product does tell you that you need to blend it out so it's not like it's hiding that from you but i just think it defeats the object -- surely, the idea of stamping the blush on your cheek is to make the application process easier but to me this just adds an extra step.

The shade Bashful is the perfect in-between of a Blush and Bronzer, it's almost like a nude pink toned brown and i find it to be quite a versatile shade - i like to wear it on the cheeks as a blush or sometimes I'll wear it along the cheekbones and on the temples as a very subtle contour. Stamp and packaging aside; the blush itself is really lovely - i adore the shade of it, it really is the perfect everyday shade as it compliments pretty much any make up look. It blends out easily, lasts really well and i do really like the blush - i just wish it was in a pan form.

What's your go to everyday blush?
Natalie xx

Review | W7 In The Buff: Lightly Toasted Natural Nudes Eye Colour Palette

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Teddy Bear | Wonderland | Cracker | Happy | Lady Luck | Twister
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Di Di | Delilah | Magic | It's a Dream | Up in Smoke | Dawn
The latest addition to my neutral palette family comes in the form of the W7 In The Buff: Lightly Toasted Natural Nudes. Neutral shades are my go to eyeshadows - I'm a bit of a wimp and don't like to branch out into bright colours so i like to stick to my neutrals: beige, browns, taupes and gold tones and this palette has the perfect array of those shades. The eyeshadows are predominantly shimmery but there is the odd one or two matte shades thrown into the mix as well, which i really like as i tend to use these more for nights out.

It's a very affordable palette that won't set you back too much and considering the price point it's pretty decent quality - I'm not sure of the exact price as it seems differs on different websites on some it's £7.49 and on others i found it's around £5 but it's still affordable. (I found it on Amazon for £5 - if you're interested) They're quite buttery eyeshadows, they apply and blend out really easily and they last quite well  and don't appear to crease either - i do always wear my Mac Painterly Paint Pot underneath to help prolong my eyeshadows.

My favourite shades from the palette are: 'Wonderland' - which is a shimmery champagne pink shade, it's the perfect base colour and it's a close dupe of Sin which is one of my all time favourite eyeshadows by Urban Decay. I use 'Cracker' a lot which is a matte nude brown toned shade - it's nothing too exciting but it's a really good crease colour and it ties all the eyeshadows together quite well. I also really like 'Di Di' a shimmery brown shade with a slight gold and copper tone to it, 'Delilah' a dark shimmery brown and 'It's a Dream' a shimmery taupe shade - these are my three go to shades to blend into the outer corner, there are really lovely shades and i find they pair with Wonderland and Cracker really nicely.

This palette is very similar to the Urban Decay Naked Palettes - in fact I'd actually say it's a dupe for the original Naked Palette - all the shades are very similar and the palette has a similar tin casing that the Naked 2 and Naked 3 both have -- so if you are interested in trying the Urban Decay Naked Palettes but they are a little out of your budget, this palette maybe a good alternative for you.

What neutral palette is your favourite?
Natalie xx

First Impressions | Origins Mask Marvels

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Origins is a brand that is heavily mentioned on blogs and youtube videos, i actually don't think I've heard a negative thing about them yet. I've been wanting to try Origins for ages but i find their price tags to be a little eye watering which is the main reason i didn't branch out into the brand.

Step in, Origins Mask Marvels - i don't know if this is a permanent gift set or was just out for Christmas but i came across this in Boots and it was on offer for £19.99, now considering one face mask retails between £12 to £23 depending on its size, there was no way i could leave this behind.

Ive only had this set a week and already I'm in love - now I've named this post as a 'first impressions' post rather than a review because i don't feel I've used it enough to give an accurate opinion but i really wanted to get this post up incase anyones interested in picking up the set too, so i figured I'd let you know about what my initial thoughts are and then maybe I'll do individual reviews on the masks at a later date.

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Origins Clear Improvement 75ml
I've tried a few 'charcoal' masks in the past but their consistency is nothing like this one - this has a much thinner consistency which was actually really nice. It was easy to apply and spread onto the face and it didn't take up too much of the product for one application so it would definitely last a good while. This mask is supposed to act like a magnet to draw out any 'deep dwelling pore-cloggers' and dissolve impurities - when i used this my skin wasn't all that bad minus the odd blemish so i didn't get the full effect of what it can do but after using it my skin felt really good and healthy.

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Origins Out of Trouble 10 Minute Mask 75ml
I think this one may be my favourite - i actually used this the same day i picked the set up as i was really curious as to what they were like and i absolutely love it. This is the perfect mask if you feel like you need a quick fix or your skin just needs a quick pick me up - you only need to leave it on 10 minutes and my skin felt incredible after, it was so soft and smooth and it just felt really good and healthy. The formula for this is much thicker than the other two it's almost like a paste and the scent of it really reminds me of Vick's Vapour Rub which sounds weird but i actually quite like it.

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Origins Drink Up Intensive Overnight Mask 75ml
This is the product I've heard the most about and i actually tried it out for the first last night - applying a face mask before bed and not washing it off 10 minutes later felt really weird, i was very aware that it was on my face but when i woke up this morning - i instantly noticed a difference. It has a similar consistency to the charcoal mask in that it's quite thin but this doesn't apply black, you can barely tell that you're wearing a face mask. My skin felt so hydrated and healthy, i actually only applied a really thin layer of this because i was conscious of getting it all over my bedding. 

I can actually understand why people rave about these masks a lot - the prices still really bother me but since I've been using these my skin feels incredible and even my sister commented earlier today and said that my skins been looking really good lately. If you do want to try Origins but don't want to fork out a fortune I'd definitely try and get your hands on this set if its available.

Have you tried Origins? If so, what products are your favourite?
Natalie xx

#Glamjan with Max Factor

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#Glamjan is the latest campaign launched by Max Factor - challenge you to Glam Up for January; put on your most glamorous make up, take your most glamorous selfie and upload it to instagram or twitter with the hashtag #Glamjan. The campaign has been launch to co-incide with the announcement that Marilyn Monroe has been welcomed back to the brand as their global ambassador and it also marks 80 years Mr Max Factor opened his studio doors and transformed Norma Jean into the glamorous icon that is Marilyn Monroe. Max Factor very kindly sent a long a couple of goodies for me to go with my #glamjan selfie.

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The Max Factor Masterpiece Transform Mascara* is one i actually already own and you can see my full review of here. It's a lovely mascara; it adds lots of volume to the lashes and leaves the look nice and full - it has a very unusual brush but it works quite well at separating the lashes - it does have quite a wet formula so applying too much can lead to clumpy lashes but as long as your careful with how much you apply it's a lovely mascara.

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Now i got rather excited when i saw this little beauty. The Max Factor Colour Elixir Lipstick in Ruby Tuesday* - it is bloody beautiful and the packaging is so nice too. It's a proper classic true red colour and you can't help but feel glamorous in it. I've never tried any lip products by Max Factor before this but i do really like this formula - it's really creamy and feels so lovely on and i really like that it's neither glossy nor matte instead it has really lovely almost satin-y type of finish.

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Chanel Vitalumiere Foundation | Rimmel Stay Matte Powder | W7 Brow Bar Kit | Stila Smudgepot in Kitten | Soap & Glory Supercat Liner | Max Factor Masterpiece Transform Mascara* | Studio 10 Age Defy Face Definer* | Nars Blush in Sin | Max Factor Colour Elixir Lipstick in Ruby Tuesday*

Here is my #glamjan selfie - I've also posted it over on my instagram, feel free to follow me if you'd like too. It's such a fun campaign to get involved with and id love to see your #glamjan selfies too - be sure to tag Max Factor in there and nominate a friend to get involved too.

Will you be Glamming Up for #Glamjan?
Natalie xx

*This item was either gifted to me or sent for review.

Review | Rimmel London Wonder'Full Mascara with Argan Oil

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 It's been ages since I've used a mascara from Rimmel - whilst i absolutely love some of their products, i just find it's rare that one of the mascaras really jumps and makes me want to try it but when Rimmel released their Wonder'full mascara infused with Argan Oil, i was quite intrigued by it but i just never got round to buying it as i already had too many mascaras to justify buying another one. Thankfully, it appeared in one of the lovely blog swaps i did at Christmas time!

Adding argan oil into the formula is quite a clever move on Rimmel's behalf - argan oil has made its way into so many beauty products and because of all it's amazing qualities everyone can't seem to get enough. This mascara is described as leaving the lashes feeling conditioned, soft and flexible with zero clumps - now that sounds like my kind of mascara. I feel like Rimmel have upped their game with this packaging - usually i find their mascaras tend to look quite gimmicky and a bit cheap looking but this bronze packaging is much nicer, it looks more luxurious and like it's cost more than it actually as.

The brush on this mascara is described as an ultra Flex Brush with soft bristles that hugs the lashes defining them from root to tip - it is quite a big brush but i really like the bigger bristled brushes when it comes to mascaras. I think the description of the brush is pretty accurate - it's flexible, the bristles are soft and it really does define the lashes from root to tip. It's really good at separating the lashes adding some volume and making them look much fuller than they are.

I've been reaching for this mascara on a daily basis which i don't do usually do; i own a lot of mascaras so i tend to switch them up quite a lot - i wear a different one for work, another for general use and others for evenings and nights out so it's a testament to this mascara that I've been reaching for it constantly. It's adds a nice amount of length to the lashes - it's quite natural looking but still gives the lashes a little bit of oomph - if you're after massive full lashes then this might not be for you; it's really lightweight, it lasts ages, it doesn't clump or smudge and it's really easy to remove.

This mascara is currently on offer for £5.99 in Boots (available here) but it's still quite affordable at full price which is £7.99 - i won't be repurchasing it in the near future just because i still have far too many mascaras i need to use up before i can justify buying another one but i do think this is a really lovely mascara.

What's your favourite mascara to use?
Natalie xx

Girl Online.

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So their has been quite a lot of controversy surrounding this book lately - I've been intrigued to read it since i knew Zoella was releasing a book, not only because I'm a fan of hers but because it sounded exactly like the type of book i usually like to read so my sister very kindly got it me for christmas.

Now before i jump into this post i do want to add a little disclaimer that this is not me trying to personally attack Zoe or anything like that -- I'm just simply posting my personal opinion on both the situation and the book itself.

Since i found out about the whole scandal - I've lost a little bit of faith in Zoe as i don't really understand why she would be so misleading about the whole entire thing. It's made me question her integrity a little and wonder whether she's just taking advantage of the fact that so many people trust her and buy into her brand. Don't get me wrong, i do still enjoy Zoe's youtube channel and I'd be lying if i said I'm not going to be watching her anymore but it has now made me very wary of all 'bigger' youtubers and anything they put their name too -- the more things that are released i.e. beauty ranges, books and especially merchandise its beginning to feel less genuine and more like it's just a quick money making scheme.

For me finding out about it all before i read the book automatically made me more sceptical about reading it than before - If any of you have been living under a rock lately and have no idea what I'm chatting on about it was revealed quite recently that Zoella's first novel was actually ghostwritten. Of course, we don't know the full extent of the situation - we don't know how much or how little Zoe contributed to the novel and it'd be extremely naive to assume that she would have no help at all being a first time author especially when she leads such a hectic lifestyle but in the announcement video for her book she talks about how she's always wanted to write a book and how it's a dream of hers but to me it's not really fulfilling a dream when someone else has done all the leg work for it.

I also completely agree with Hayley in her post, that Zoe has gone the wrong way about dealing with the situation and should at least acknowledge her viewers with a response other than the tweet she posted. I do think some people have responded in the wrong way to this scandal - at the end of the day online hate isn't acceptable regardless of the situation and it's possible it's not all Zoe's fault and exactly as Hayley said we don't actually know what went on in the meetings for it.

Onto the book itself...

Penny has a secret. Under the alias GirlOnline, she blogs about school dramas, boys, her mad, whirlwind family - and the panic attacks she's suffered from lately. When things go from bad to worse, her family whisks her away to New York, where she meets the gorgeous, guitar-strumming Noah. Suddenly Penny is falling in love - and capturing every moment of it on her blog. But Noah has a secret too. One that threatens to ruin Penny's cover - and her closest friendship - forever.

I love a good soppy love story so the plot of this book has everything I love in a book - it's cute, girly and easy to read. It was very hard to miss the similarities between this book and Zoe's life and at times in the book i almost felt like this was Zoe's way of getting her point across without having to say it directly to followers.. in particular the anxiety and also the part when Penny posts about the abuse she receives she writes a certain line that I've seen Zoe tweet it herself a few times before, when she's been targeted with negativity.

I'd be lying if i said i didn't enjoy the story because i did, it was really cute and light-hearted and really easy to read - i got through it in a matter of days but saying that i also think that it was quite poorly written, which is slightly ironic considering the situation. I'd personally say Girl Online would be classed a YA book, now maybe it's just me getting old but at times i felt like it was written in quite a childish manner.

Overall, it's not a bad book - it won't be making it into my Top 10 favourite books anytime soon but it's an easy read, if you want something light-hearted.

Have you read Girl Online? What are your thoughts on the whole scandal?
Natalie xx

Review | Mac Lipstick in Plumful

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I asked for this lipstick for Christmas - technically, i knew i was getting it because i went and picked it up for my mum as letting her loose in Mac would not have ended well and she'd have probably come back with something completely different. I mainly wanted this lipstick because Essiebutton is constantly wearing it and raving about it and for some reason anything that Essiebutton loves, i usually want. I'll give her credit though, any purchase ive made because of her i'm yet to be disappointed and this lipstick is no exception.

I'm sure by now a lot of you are familiar with Mac Lipsticks but if not - they are definitely a worthwhile treat, their prices are definitely getting cheeky and keep creeping up each year but there is something about treating yourself to a Mac Lipstick that feels a little naughty and luxurious all at the same time. Not only do they look lovely in your collection but they are such good quality - they're long lasting, pigmented and they all have a really lovely vanilla scent.

Plumful is a really beautiful colour; as the name suggests it's a plummy colour but it almost has a pinky tone to it - it's so pretty and i don't have a colour similar to this in my collection (and trust me, i have quite a few lip products). It is a lustre finish so it is slightly more on the sheer side but i actually really like it - it's has a really nice sheen to it and it's really moisturising on the lips - despite being slightly sheer it still gives a really good amount of colour to the lips but you can build it up easily if needed. This formula actually reminds me of lip butters which I'm sure you all know are some of my favourite type of lip products.

The only slightly negative is that being slightly sheer it's not as long lasting as some of the other finishes but i love it so much that to be honest, i don't really care about that. It's seriously beautiful colour and i just love wearing it. It's one of those shades that's quite versatile - you can easily wear day to day or to dress up an evening look. I'm loving this lipstick a lot and this is fast becoming a firm favourite in my make up collection.

What's your favourite Mac Lipstick?
Natalie xx

Best of Beauty | 2014

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One thing i absolutely love about the New Year is that everyone starts uploading their yearly 'Best of Beauty' favourites; it's the ultimate testimony to a product to make the cut into those favourites and today I'm going to share with you mine. I found it really difficult this year because i feel like I've discovered and rediscovered some really wonderful products - i have managed to narrow it down to 14 which still feels like a lot but these are the products that I've reached for the most throughout 2014 and just generally fallen in love with.

Chanel Vita Lumiere Aqua Foundation
I've wanted to try this foundation for so long and this year i finally plucked up the courage and treated myself to it. It very quickly became my absolute favourite - it's a water based foundation so it's extremely light but it's so easy to build it up and layer if you need more coverage. I just love the finish this gives, as it leaves such a flawless finish to the skin and i honestly don't know what i did without it.

YSL Youth Liberator Serum Foundation
I technically bought this towards the end of 2013 but i still find myself going back to it time and time again. The bottle is just beautiful and the foundation itself has a medium to heavy coverage, it feels really pleasant on the skin and it blends out to give a really gorgeous and smooth finish.

Studio 10 Visible Lift Face Definer*
I've been looking for the perfect contour for ages and whilst i find myself liking a lot of different ones i move onto others rather easily. I've been using this particular one since July and it's still the one i find myself reaching for the most. I don't use the blush and highlight in this palette - just the contour, it's grey toned so it's the perfect shade for creating really natural looking shadows. It's so easy to blend out and it's made contouring so much easier for me to do.

Nars Sin Blush
I pined for this blush for so long that i finally took the plunge and treated myself earlier this year. It's is definitely an expensive product but it is so beautiful that i don't know what i did without it before. I own a ridiculous amount of blush so i sometimes move onto another one quite quickly but i find myself reaching for this time and time again. It's a really gorgeous purple/plum toned pink and it looks really lovely on.

MUA Undress Your Skin Shimmer Highlighter
I've had this for absolutely ages but didn't really get on with it that well so it literally lived in my drawer for a good while up until a few months ago when i decided to throw it back into my make up rotation and now i absolutely love it. I wear this mostly on nights out; on the cheek bones, brow bone and in the inner corner and it gives my face such a healthy glow and I've received many compliments about it too.

Maybelline Mastergraphic Liner
I love felt tip liners - they make applying eyeliner much easier because they allow you to control the application. I've tried many eyeliners but this one is easily one of the best i have tried. It has an angled tip so it gives you even more of a precise line - it did take me a while to get to grips with it but now that i have, its made such a difference to my eyeliner.

Nyx Single Eyeshadow in Sahara
Normally, I'm not a big fan of single eye shadows i just find it much easier to have them all in one place in a palette and i genuinely thought i would put this in my drawer and not bother with it. Sahara is a very neutral beige shade with a slight shimmer to it and on a whim i added it into my make up rotation just so that it would get a bit of use and it has now become my everyday eyeshadow. I've used so much that I'm on the verge of hitting pan. For work and general day to day use; i wear it all over the lid alone other times ill add another colour into the crease (usually satin taupe) and it creates a really lovely neutral eye. It's probably one of my most used shades this year.

Urban Decay Naked 2 Palette
Up until this year I've not shown my Naked 2 palette all that much love but at the start of the year it literally became one of my go to palettes - it's filled with cool toned neutral shades and has a mixture of shimmery and matte shades too. I found myself using 'Bootycall' (Actually quite similar to Nyx Sahara) and Verve the most but I've found a lot of the shades in the palette to be really lovely and they're such good quality too.

Max Factor Excess Volume Mascara*
I was sent this mascara for review at the start of the year and honestly didn't expect much from it but it has to be one of the best mascara that I've used this year. Its dual ended which as a rule i tend to dislike as layering tends to leave my lashes quite clumpy. This however, didn't and it gave my lashes a lot volume and length. I've actually used all this up now but i purposely kept hold of it as i knew it i wanted to include it in this - I'm definitely going to go and repurchase it as it's such a brilliant mascara.

Barry M Gelly Hi Shine Lips in Vega
This is a very late addition to my collection but it's impressed me so much that i felt it deserved a mention. I've reached for this alot since getting it both during the day and on nights out too - it's a really lovely product, it's long lasting and i just love the colour. 

Mac Lipstick in Rebel (With MUA Lip Liner in Brooding Plum)
This is another product that I've owned for a while but didn't use much but these past few months it's become a staple in my collection. Mac Rebel is a really beautiful plum shade and i tend to pair it with the MUA Lip Liner in Brooding Plum because I like to define my lips and prevent the lipstick from bleeding. It is quite a daring colour to wear if it's not what you're used to but i absolutely love wearing it on nights out - it's so pretty and it lasts on the lips for ages too.

Collection Work the Colour Lip Butter in Cappuchino
This is not the type of colour I'd usually go for as i tend to go for more pink toned nudes whereas Cappuchino leans more towards a brown tone but this literally became one of my everyday shades. I didn't think that i really suited these type of nude shades but i actually found it quite a complimentary colour and because it's a lip butter it's so easy to apply, it's glossy and really moisturising on the lips too.

L'oreal L'Extraordinaire Liquid Lipstick in Rose Melody
I still stand by the fact that this is more like a lipgloss than a liquid lipstick but it's such a lovely lip product; i wore it non-stop when i first got it and it's still a product i reach for often. It's very glossy, has a slight shimmer to it and the shade Rose Melody is a really pretty rose pink shade. It's really lovely to wear both over a lipstick to add a gloss or to wear it alone. It's not the most long lasting lip product but i really love wearing it and it compliments a bold eye look really well.

Revlon Colour Burst Lip Butter in Juicy Papaya
I genuinely wish i had this during spring and summer because i think it would have been the perfect everyday lip shade not that it's stopped me reaching for it now. Juicy Papaya is a lovely coral/peachy toned shade - it's really nice and its quite subtle which makes it perfect for everyday wear and because it's a lip butter it's really moisturising on the lips.

Those are my 'Best of Beauty' Favourites for 2014 - they're still products i imagine I'll be reaching for well into the foreseeable future as i have definitely discovered some 'Holy Grails'. If you have done a best of beauty post for 2014 please link it below as i love reading them!

What's been your most stand out product for 2014?
Natalie xx

*This item was either gifted to me or sent for review.

2015 Reading List

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Towards to the end of last year i got into the habit of reading a bit more; so much so that i was able to complete my Goodreads challenge of 20 books, which believe me is quite an achievement as sometimes i can start a book and not pick it up again for another 3 months. This year i hope to continue with reading more and i thought you might like to see what books I'm hoping to read at some point this year - the descriptions for each book I've had help with from Goodreads.

Girl Online by Zoe Sugg & Siobhan Curham
The debut novel by Zoella which has caused a heck of a lot of controversy, my sister got me this for Christmas and it is the type of story that i like, so I've been very intriqued to see what it's like, how it's written etc... Penny is a blogger, she blogs about her life, school and boys under a secret alias of Girl Online, she suffers from anxiety and whilst on a trip to New York she meets Noah and falls in love.

Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green & David Levithan
I don't actually know too much about this book, i saw it in a charity shop and decided to pick it up as it was by John Green - they are always rated pretty high and i have read a few of his before so i thought I'd see what it was like. From what I've gathered (mostly thanks to Goodreads) it's about two complete strangers who cross paths with the name Will Grayson - from that meeting their worlds collide and lives intertwine.

An Abundance of Katherines by John Green
I picked this up for the exact same reason as i did the last one - i like John Green so i thought I'd give it ago, although I'm not too sure what I'm going to think of this one as it's quite a strange story. It's about a boy named Colin Singleton who's type of girls just happened to be the ones called 'Katherine', he's unlucky in love and is always getting dumped by said Katherine's so he goes on a mission to prove The Theorem of Underlying Katherine Predictability, where he hopes to predict the future of any relationship and finally win the girl. It's sounds a bit strange but i think it might surprise me and be quite an interesting read.

It Felt Like A Kiss by Sarra Manning
I've read a few books by Sarra Manning; both YA and adult ones and i quite like her style of writing. This is a typical romance style book; it's about a girl named Ellie who's has a pretty good life; good job, good friends, good hair and a loving family. The only things that lets her down is her luck with men and the famous father she's never met. Her entire life is blown apart when her secret is sold to the highest bidder and splashed all over the tabloids and everyone suddenly thinks shes a gold digging fame whore. Enter David, an ambitious lawyer whose job is to manage the crisis and her. It doesn't take a genius to figure how this is probably going to play out but what can i say I'm a sucker for these kind of books.

Here's Looking At You by Mhairi McFarlane
I really enjoyed 'You Had Me At Hello' by Mhairi McFarlane so I'm really looking forward to reading any other books by her. This follows a girl called Aureliana; returning to school after 15 years for a reunion - her school years consisted of constant bullying. Now grown up and in her 30s - she wants to face the bullies that made her life hell. Completely different to the girl she once was, no-one recognises her - she loses her battle and starts to back out on her plan of revenge. However, fate intervenes and she keeps crossing paths with James - the high school hunk. Again, a typical kind of romance book but she has a really great way of writing.

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
I've been wanting to read this for ages and then Hayley mentioned it on her blog and gave it quite a rave review - from what I've gathered Hayley doesn't tend to read much romance so the fact that she enjoyed it so much makes me think that it must be good. From what I've gathered this is a typical girl meets boy type of story - Anna is less than thrilled to be shipped of to boarding school in Paris until she meets Etienne St Clare; smart, charming and already in a serious relationship.

Thirteen Weddings by Paige Toon
I'm always hearing really good things about Paige Toon so it's about time i checked out some of her books - i have technically finished this book but i wanted to include it anyways. On a trip to London for a wedding Bronte meets newly single Alex and has a one night stand - under the illusion they'll never see each other again they part ways and Bronte returns home to Sydney. Fast forward a year and Bronte is now working as a picture editor for a magazine in London and is joined by a new collegue...Alex, now engaged to the girl he was on a break from. As Alex and Bronte grow closer it's clear they have some unfinished business.

Attachments by Rainbow Rowell
Rainbow Rowell seems to have taken the world by storm this past year as I'm constantly hearing rave reviews about her books -- Beth and Jennifer exchange hilarious and detailed emails about their lives at work, despite knowing that they are monitored. Lincoln's job is to read through people's emails; when he comes across Beth and Jennifer's emails he know he shouldn't report it but instead he finds himself entertained and captivated and falling in love with Beth. I'm really excited to read this - i think it sounds like such a lovely read.

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Now I've come to write this post I've realised i don't actually know too much about this book and what it's about... Enter Goodreads - Cath and Wren are twins who do everything together until recently. Now they're off to University and Wren's decided she doesn't want to be roommates anymore, Wren wants to go to parties and meet boys whilst Cath would rather bury herself in the fanfiction she writes. Cath has to decide whether she's ready to open her heart to new people and new experiences. Again, it sounds like a really good read and i can imagine this being the type of book I'm going to really enjoy.

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
I started reading this ages ago when my sister borrowed it from the Library but i didn't finish in time before it was due back and therefore never finished it but i managed to get my hands on my own copy so i really want to get round to reading it again...Suddenly orphaned and penniless, Jacob Jankowski jumps a freight train in the dark and by morning, he's landed a job with the Flying Squadron of the Benzini Brothers - by evening, he's fallen in love. I love the film version of this so I'm looking forward to reading this and seeing how it differs.

There are a few others books i really want to get round to reading but i don't actually own those yet so for now these are what are in my 'to-read' pile. I've set myself another Goodreads Challenge which you can follow the progress of here - i went a little wild and aimed for 25 this time round.

Let me know if you've read them or if you have any other book recommendations!
Natalie xx

2015 New Year & Blogging Goals

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So 2015 has officially dawned and like most people I'm sure, I'm spending the day curled up on the couch, watching lots of TV and feeling quite worse for wear. The start of the year always sees people recycle that good ole phrase 'New Year, New Start', now I'm under no illusion that the changing of the year is going to make me into someone different but like most i do like the idea of turning over a new leaf and along with that setting myself some goals for the year.

New Year Goals:

1. Keep Reading
Towards the end of 2014 i got myself into a good routine of reading more and i really want to keep that up as there are so many books piling up in my room that i want to read. I've set myself a challenge on Goodreads to read 25 books this year - you can follow my progress here if you'd like to. I'm also going to do a post soon on what books i want to get round to reading during 2015.

2. Improve My Lifestyle
This probably sounds a bit extravagant but what i mean by this is to just try and make more healthier choices - it's pointless putting myself on a strict diet where i cut out everything because it just doesn't work. I just want to try and make some little changes and then build on it from there. Technically, this goal will be slow to start because i still have a lot of Christmas goodies left over!

3. Start Driving Lessons
This was something i intended to do last year but i just never got around to doing it but this year i definitely want to start as I've put it off for long enough.

4. Start Saving Money
I'm terrible at saving money and things always seem to get in the way - I'm currently saving up to pay for my holiday for this year but once that's paid for theres a few others things i want to invest in like; a new camera, studio lighting and possibly a new laptop. Not only that I'd just like to save up some money to have it set aside for a rainy day.

Blogging Goals:

1. Redesign Blog
Technically I've already started this as I've changed my layout but there are some other changes and updates i want to make to it.

2. Get Business Cards
I've put off getting these as i knew i wanted to switch up my layout and I'd like the design of the cards to be coherent with my blog. Business cards are so handy to have especially as a tool to get your blog out there and also to hand out at blog events.

3. Keep on Top of Replying to Emails & Comments
I've developed a horrid habit lately of reading emails and comments and telling myself I'd reply to them later and then a week or so has passed and I've forgotten to reply. I want to try and get more organised and may set a day each week where I'll spend an hour catching up on replying to comments and emails.

4. Improve Photos
This is an on going goal that I'm still working it - i definitely think they've improved a lot but i want them to be even better - I'm hoping to invest in some lighting at some point this year and I'd love to get myself a new camera too. I also want to work on my composition as that is definitely something i struggle with.

5. Attend More Events
I was lucky enough to attend a few brilliant meet ups and event during 2014 but i want to make more of an effort to attend more this year. There was multiple events i got invited to that i didn't go to mainly because i hate the thought of going on my own and standing on the corner like a loner. The few events i did go to, i had such a lovely time and i met some really lovely bloggers too - so i definitely want to make more of a conscious effort to go to more events.

6. Comment More
The biggest one i want to work on and one that I've noticed seems to be a common goal amongst bloggers is that i want to make more of an effort to comment on blogs. I read so many posts but don't often leave a comment and as a blogger myself i know how lovely it is to know someone has taken the time to leave a comment so this is definitely something i want to make more of an effort to do.

What are your goals for 2015?
Natalie xx