DIY Christmas Beauty Advent Calendar

I don’t know how many times I seen a beautiful Christmas Beauty Advent Calendar, only to see how ridiculously expensive it is, especially when I probably only use half the contents? Every year I treat myself to a traditional chocolate advent calendar, it wouldn’t be Christmas without one. Three years ago I bought the Tanya Burr Beauty Advent Calendar. As pretty as the products inside were, I found that things like the glitter eyeliner pens were still sitting in my draw untouched and I ended up giving them away.

Last year, I began my search yet again for the perfect beauty advent calendar and read bloggers reviews but I still wasn’t able to find one that I really loved and thought was worth the money. Adrian quite possible needed ear plugs by that point because he decided to put together one for me.

DIY Christmas Beauty Advent Calendar

He searched on Etsy for a set of mini stockings which he could put mini gifts in ready for me to open in the lead up to Christmas. Eventually he found this set of 24 from a company called All Sewn Up By Sophia which comes complete with 24 mini gold pegs and a long piece of string to hand them on.. Luckily we have a chimney breast and the length of the DIY Christmas Beauty Advent Calendar hung perfectly along it.

Adrian then went to the Boots 3 for 2 gifts and choose a selection that were small enough to fit in each stocking. He knows me so well as he found a gorgeous Ted Baker rose gold makeup set containing 12 products and it was on a half price offer at the time. He definitely scored extra brownie points with that one.

I absolutely love my  Homemade Beauty Advent Calendar, not only was I able to use it last year but I’ll be able to recycle it for many years to come. I’m sure if I ever get bored of makeup it can be filled with my favourite chocolates or mini drink bottles.

Do you have an Advent Calendar each year? Is yours a beauty or chocolate one, or do you make up your own version  too?

DIY Christmas Beauty Advent Calendar

 

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Winter Beauty Essentials From Freshly Cosmetics

The constant change in temperatures during the colder months can really affect our skin and hair, so I love to add a little TLC into my beauty routine. I go from being outdoors in the freezing cold, wrapped up in so many layers, then straight into a warm cosy house with the central heating on and that really does tend to try out certain areas of my body.

I’ve been using 3 products from Freshly Cosmetics to help keep those troublesome areas hydrated and looking healthy during the colder months. Freshly Cosmetics make skin and hair care which are 100% natural, suitable for vegans and they’re even gentle on sensitive skin.

With winter just around the corner I’d like to talk you through the 3 Beauty Essentials that every girl needs to be using during the colder months.

Winter Beauty Essentials From Freshly Cosmetics

A good lip balm has to be one of my winter beauty essentials as during the colder months it’s much easier for your lips to become dry and chapped. I like to use a thick lip balm to help nourish and soften my lips and prefer ones where you don’t have to put your finger into a pot.

The Pink Protection Lip Balm is an extremely moisturising lip balm which contains SPF 7 to protect against sun damage and natural pigments to leave your lips with a very subtle pink tint. It contains natural plant-based butters and oils such as shea butter, almond oil and jojoba oil, which all help to soften and hydrate the lips and help stop them from drying out. It glides on smoothly, absorbs quickly and I love the natural fragrance that has a light fruity smell. It’s small enough to pop in your bag and is an absolute must if you want  smooth, moisturised lips and protection from the sun with a pretty pink tint where ever you are.

The Deep Nourish Lip Balm is designed to nourish, repair and protect dry, chapped lips. It’s packed with super rich plant based butters including shea, cupuacu, murumuru which have been blended with nourishing plant based oils such as passion fruit,  almond, babassu and virgin marula. It’s deeply moisturising and in under a week I really noticed a difference in the condition of my lips, they were soft and smooth and it made applying my lipstick much easier. For one small tube it’s pretty powerful stuff, my lips were craving something nourishing and hydrating and this worked a treat.

Both lip balms are gluten free and suitable for sensitive skin. Each one costs £7 for a 10ml tube from Freshly Cosmetics.

Winter Beauty Essentials From Freshly Cosmetics

During the colder months my hair can become dry and frizzy and a hydrating hair mask is an absolute Winter beauty essential. As with your skin, the constant change from a heated house to the cold temperatures outside will most definitely affect the condition of your hair.

The Nourish Restore Hair Mask is a thick, silicon free, non greasy hair mask. Firstly, I have to say I will be purchasing this in the future and it will most definitely have made it into my top 10 beauty discoveries of 2018. This incredibly nourishing hair mask combines 7 vegetable oils and other natural ingredients to nourish, repair and protect hair fibres. Packed full of goodness, including organic Argan, macadamia, extra virgin chia, rosehip, Karite, almond and avocado oils, all aiming at giving your hair intense hydration.

I colour my hair and use heated appliances which leave it feeling dry and brittle. This nourishing hair mask made my hair feel incredible soft and looking healthy and shiny. Even my hair dresser asked what product I’d been using and complemented me on how good my hair felt. This highly concentrated mask helps to moisturise dry, brittle hair and avoiding damage to your hair’s natural keratin, sealing cuticles and provides protection against external agents. It has the most amazing fragrance and smells like an exotic cocktail.

Nourish Restore hair Mask is suitable for all hair types and cost £16 for a 150ml bottle. A little goes a long way, so this size bottle will last you ages and that’s coming from someone with long hair.

Winter Beauty Essentials From Freshly Cosmetics

It’s so easy to forget about using a body care product during the winter months when we’re all wrapped up warm in thick jumpers and tights, yet it’s equally as important to look after the skin on your body all year round. As I’ve mentioned with the other products, your skin can dry out so easily when you’re going from a warm home or office with the central heating on full and then out into the freezing cold outside.

Using a deeply hydrating product like The Golden Radiance Body Oil will help soften and nourish your skin. The oil has so many benefits thanks to a mix of scrumptious ingredients such as virgin marula, babassu, jojoba, rosehip, hazelnut, macadamia or virgin chia. This 100% natural body oil not only helps to soften and hydrate your skin but it will also help to reduce cellulite and improve the appearance of scars and stretch marks. Microalgae technology act as powerful antioxidant to help damaged areas, while deeply nourishing the skin. Natural ingredients such as grapefruit, bergamot, orange, mandarin, pineapple, apple, pomegranate, cardamom and sandalwood are not only beneficial for your skin, they also give the oil an amazing exotic fragrance that’s not too overpowering. It’s not greasy and gets absorbed quickly, I’ve been using it before I go to bed at night and I’ve woken up with silky soft skin which feels really hydrated and nourished. It’s great for prepping the skin in-between fake tans, giving you a more even colour. As always, any residue left on my hands I’ll give those a quick massage, concentrating on my cuticles to help keep my hands in great condition.

The Golden Radiance Body Oil costs £23 for a 100ml bottle and is suitable for all skin types.

What are you waiting for? Head over to Freshly Cosmetics to see what other beauty treats they have in stock. Their products are not only fabulous for looking after your hair and skin, they make excellent winter beauty essentials if you’re putting together a pampering hamper as a gift.

What are your winter beauty essentials?

Winter Beauty Essentials From Freshly Cosmetics

*This post contains PR samples

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Remembering my Nan

For those of you who have lost someone close you’ll know exactly how I am feeling today. It’s the anniversary of my Nan’s death and I still miss her so much with every single year that goes by. She passed away when I was 17 and I had spent so many of my early years with her, between my Nan and my Aunt they gave me the love that I needed as a child. Sadly I only have these three photos and not any from when I was a teenager, that breaks my heart. If I could go back in time I would spend more time with her and take a stack load of photos. Thank goodness I’ll always have my memories.

Remembering my Nan

Alongside losing my Nan, the hardest thing I had to deal with was not being “allowed” to attend her funeral. A certain person in my family wouldn’t let me go, I think she thought I was going to tell the rest of the family things that had been going on, when all I wanted to do was say goodbye to “Nanny”

In 2006 I was seeing a counsellor for a number of things and she suggested I said goodbye to my Nan in my own way. So went into the nearest florist and purchased a bunch of Sweet Williams, which were her favourite flowers, and a took those and a copy of our photo to the river in town where she used to take me to feed the dunks as a young child. I do the same every year to remember my Nan.

Remembering my Nan

She used to work on Hitchin market and while I was staying with her during school holidays I’d go with her. Even in the coldest of weather she’d always be there at some ridiculous hour of the morning. Tuesdays were my favourite, she’d take me into the near by cafe for a bowl of hot soup and an ice bun. I got to know all the stall holders and some of the local shop keepers, one year I went round telling everyone “I’m going to be 5, it’s my birthday soon.” One shop had a collection and bought me a little red bag with Mr Happy on the front.

Ny Nan used to cook the most amazing Sunday Roast followed by apple pie and custard. Then we’d take a walk through the park to visit my Great Grandmother Agnes, we’d make jam tarts and have some with a cup of tea. I remember we’d sit in my Great Grandmother’s room at the back of the house which was always kept for “best” and there’d be china cups and saucers, at 5 I felt very grown up.

My Nan was a great lover of music, it was mainly songs from when she was a girl. She’d always be playing records by Andy Williams (who sang Moon River), big band music such as Glenn Miller and tunes by Henry Mancini. If you’ve seen Love Story or you’re an Audrey Hepburn fan then you may recognise some of Mancini’s music. I still love listening to these even today, they remind me of special times when my Nan and I used to dance round her living room, it was great fun.

It’s not always the big grand gestures that you remember. It’s the simplest little thing that can often mean so much, like when she’d make me chicken soup if I’d got a cold and the biggest hugs she’d give me for no reason at all.

I used to love taking her little black poodle, Francis, for a walk with my Nan. That tiny dog had so much energy and would always come back for more. I think he was company for my Nan and I literally cried on the day he was driven away by his new owners when my Nan could no longer look after him by herself.

Remembering my Nan

As the years when by and my Nan got older she started having falls and was constantly in pain. She had to move from her two bedroom flat into sheltered accommodation and eventually into a nursing home. I used to travel by bus to visit her and each time I went she’d deteriorated a bit more. I’d read books to her, tell her about my day and read her horoscopes from the news paper as she’d always read those herself.

I was living at my Foster Mother’s house when the phone rang, I knew exactly what she was going to tell me just by the look on her face. On 21st November in St Katherine’s Nursing Home, my Nan had fallen asleep for the very last time.

Good night Nanny, sleep tight.

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October Beauty and Lifestyle Favourites

I honestly can’t remember how long it’s been since I wrote a beauty and lifestyle favourites post, I thought it was about time I told you what items I’ve really enjoyed during October. First of all, where has this year disappeared to? It really doesn’t seem a whole 12 months ago since I was sitting here planning my December posts, and here we are 2018 is almost over. Isn’t that scary? To be honest, I kind of lost my way with the whole blogging thing for a few weeks. I felt my posts were getting lost in the huge blogging ocean, partly because I wasn’t promoting myself on social media and I didn’t feel like I had enough new and exciting content. Real life events had taken over the time I would normally have dedicated to my space on the internet.

I happened to be talking to a friend and she asked me what I hoped to gain from blogging. Was I purely writing for myself, other people or to be liked? I don’t know how many times I’ve had this conversation with myself, and the last option was a definite no as over the years I’ve learnt you can’t please everyone. Taking that time off gave me the space I needed to breathe, and the fear of almost losing my blog a few days ago gave me the kick up the backside I needed to feel inspired again.

One thing I have really enjoyed recently is a trip to Sandringham House, The Queen’s country home in North Norfolk. It has the most amazing gardens and woods where you can walk round, it’s filled with beautiful flowers and statues. If you don’t fancy walking all that way, there’s even a shuttle that will drive you round to take in all the wonderful sights. I even had a picnic on The Queen’s lawn, I’m sure she won’t mind. I had to have my photo taken outside York Cottage, which is on the other side of the lower lake at Sandringham and will be the country home of The Duke and Duchess of Sussex. I did wonder if Harry and Megan were in one of the upstairs rooms measuring up for nursery furniture, but no, there wasn’t any sign of them. Oh well, maybe next time. You may like to read what else we got up to on our visit to Sandringham House.

The Walking Dead has also returned to our screens, I bloomin love that show. Season 9 has definitely come back with a bang, I can’t believe one of my favourite characters is leaving, no spoilers but his last scenes will be aired in the UK on Monday 5th November and I shall be inconsolable and sobbing into a pile of soggy tissues.

I suppose I should move on to some beauty products I’ve loved using this month. You know what it’s like, that gorgeous item of makeup arrives, beautifully wrapped and you want to delve straight in and start using it. But you can’t as you want to take a million photos and there’s just no time, the pile is building up on that chair in the corner of your room. Yeah, that was me. I don’t know, do people prefer to see something in pristine condition, or would you rather see a product that’s well used and covered in a layer of excess powder?

October Beauty and Lifestyle Favourites

I’ve been obsessed with Bobbi Brown Rose Nude Eyeshadow Palette, the shades are absolutely beautiful and there’s one for just about every natural day look you’d want to create. If I’m in a rush I’ve been swiping Nude all over and Tan on the lid and lower lash line. It’s a good size palette with 10 different colour eyeshadows in a mix  of matt and shimmer, there’s also a decent mirror, just in case you want to take it on your travels. The powders feel creamy soft and blend in beautifully.

I didn’t think I’d ever get as excited about a foundation as I have with the Charlotte Tilbury Magic Foundation. I love a moisturising base and this one is super creamy, almost as though you were applying a rich face cream. It’s a full coverage foundation but doesn’t feel heavy or cakey on my skin and really evens out my complexion. I find it easy to blend over my skin using a damp beauty sponge and shade 4.5 matches perfectly for a really flawless base. It contains Vitamin C and Hyaluronic Filling Spheres which help to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and ageing, leaving your skin looking smooth and plumper. Concentrated mushroom extract helps to firm, tighten pores and thoroughly hydrated. I’ve been using this with the Charlotte Tilbury Magic Away Concealer and if you’d like to know my thoughts on it I’ll leave a full review here.

I don’t know how many times I’ve purchased Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara but it really is my go to mascara for beautiful fluttery lashes. I love the large brush, it coats every single lash, making them look thick and full of volume, one coat is definitely enough. It wears lovely throughout the day, no flaky bits drop onto my cheek.

To keep it all in place I’ll been applying Too Faced Primed and Poreless Powder, it feels incredibly smooth and doesn’t clump up on any dry patches. I’m not one for layering loads of powder all over my face but I do like to set my concealer with a light dusting. I just use a large fluffy brush and gently sweep over those areas. This powder doesn’t look dry, my skin still looks dewy, which I really like.

October Beauty and Lifestyle Favourites

 

Now we’re well and truly out of the summer months I still want to have a sunkissed glow to my complexion. I’ve been using one of my old favourites, the Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess which gives a subtle hint of colour and looks super natural.  I use a large fluffy brush to achieve that all over holiday look, then a smaller one to blend it into the hollows of my cheeks and around the top of my forehead to give my face some definition. It give my skin a little warmth where the sun would naturally hit.

I’ve rediscovered how much I love Pixi Rose Flash Balm Skin Booster to prime my skin before makeup and applying a thicker layer twice a week which acts as a mask, you just leave it on for about five minutes and gently wipe it away. It contains rose extract and rose flower water, these are incredibly gentle on my skin, The balm is oil free and glides on beautifully without leaving any greasy residue, making my skin feel ultra soft and hydrated. It’s a great multi-purpose product that’s the perfect compact size for popping in your overnight bag.

October Beauty and Lifestyle Favourites

The Glossier Balm Dotcom is an all purpose balm that can be used on dry lips, cuticles, elbows, anywhere that needs some TLC, perfect for this time of year. It comes in 6 different flavours, from Original to Coconut. Naturally I went for the Rose one. The balm has quite a thick consistency, I’ve been applying it to my lips every evening as part of my night time skincare routine and it’s really nourished my dry lips, they feel super soft the following day. I’ll also be using this on a minimal makeup day, when I want a hint of colour on my lips but can’t be bothered with lipstick. The tube is also a handy little size to carry in your bag through the day.

Beauty and Lifestyle Favourites

Another box set I’ve been watching again is Sex and the City, I enjoyed even more this time round. The fashion, the friendships between the four women and of course the “will they, won’t they” relationship between Carrie and BIg. I’d love to be like Carrie and whip open my laptop with every “last night I got to thinking” moment. I’m certainly not a talented writer like her but there’s always hope. For now I shall just be inspired by the many fashion choices she makes, My friend treated me to a name necklace in the same style Carrie wears, it is a very early Christmas present but I love wearing it. My friend also bought me the Love key ring like the one that was given to Carrie in the first film.

What beauty and lifestyle things have you been loving during the last month? Have you been anywhere exciting or watched any good shows on TV?

 

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Charlotte Tilbury Magic Away Concealer

I was so excited when Charlotte Tilbury recently launched the Magic Away Concealer as I already love a number of her base products. This had been five years in the making and I had high hopes after reading reviews where people said how great it was. It’s a full coverage, cream concealer which claims to reduce the appearance of dark circles, fine lines, blemishes and imperfections to instantly give a fresher looking skin. It lasts up to 15 hours, plus it’s water resistant. That covers just about everything I’d want from my concealer, so of course I had to try it out for myself.

I’ve been a fan of Charlotte Tilbury for quite a while now, the products look extremely glamorous and classy with their stunning gold packaging. The brand puts so much work in their products and really understand what their customers want. My collection has definitely grown over the last few years and no doubt I’ll be adding to it again soon.

Charlotte Tilbury Magic Away Concealer

The Charlotte Tilbury Magic Away Concealer wand comes in classic rose gold packaging and along one side it has a tiny window so you’re able to see how much you’ve used and the actual shade. As I’d expect from a Charlotte Tilbury product, it feels very luxurious and the tube itself is quite sturdy.

The Magic Away Concealer contains Persian Silk Tree Bark Extract which helps to reduce the appearance of fine lines, dark circles and puffiness around the eye area. It also contains a native Indian plant called Extract of Wild Indigo which helps to brighten under the eye area and enhance your skins luminosity. If all that wasn’t good enough, there’s Palmitoyl Glycine to help rejuvenate your complexion, reducing fine lines and wrinkles, and making your skin look more youthful and fresh.

The wand is a twist up style with a sponge tip applicator. When you use it for the very first time you do have to give it a couple of twists to release the product out of the sponge. Then every time you use it after that just slightly twist the tube to allow a small amount of concealer to be release ready for you to use.

The concealer come in 16 different shades, which i think is quite a good variety. I got mine in shade 4 as I’m usually a warm ivory in foundation shades. This matched my skin tone perfectly, as you can see by the photo it’s concealed under my eyes lovely and reduced any signs of the previous late night. The magic precision sponge has been designed to roll over any imperfections and fit right into the eye contour without dragging the delicate skin. It really does give you the most flawless application compared to other concealers I’ve used. The sponge applicator is also shaped which comes in very handy for getting right into the corner and I simply used a beauty sponge to make sure it was completely blended in. For any small blemishes and around my nose I just dabbed gently over the concealer with my finger tip.

The Magic away Concealer has a thick, creamy consistency giving a full coverage which blends out beautifully. It may be a thick formula yet it feels comfortable and lightweight on the skin. I love that it has a sponge applicator making it easy to apply and I’m absolutely amazed at how flawless it looks, no caking or sinking into any fine lines. It’s so good that there have been days when I’ve just worn a CC cream and this concealer as my base and felt like I was hardly wearing any makeup at all. My skin looks natural and fresh, which I love, and the concealer even managed to cover up a few tiny spots I had on my chin without making that area look dry. Occasionally I set my concealer with a fine dusting of loose powder if I’m going to be out all day but honestly I didn’t have to do too much with this one at all. It’s extremely long lasting and I didn’t have to top it up once.

I love everything about this concealer, it’s full coverage, lightweight, doesn’t crease and covers up dark circles and reduces fine line. What more could a girl want from her little magic wand?

Have you tried Charlotte Tilbury,s Magic Away Concealer?

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