January 2018 Favourites

Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Every month I seem to start my favourites post astounded by how quickly the previous month has gone. However, this time I won’t be because January seemed to drag so much! It’s always such a miserable month and this month was no different, it definitely felt like it was never ending. Despite this, there are definitely some beauty and fashion highlights that I wanted to share with you. 

I recently reviewed this palette so you can check out my full review of it here. Throughout January, I’ve found myself using the Power Hungry palette the most. The shades in it are just so stunning, so pigmented and they’re so versatile so you can create loads of different looks with them. I really can’t get enough of this palette at the moment and can’t wait to try more from MAC.

I featured the NYX Liquid Suede in my Winter Lipstick Must Haves so I won’t ramble on about it too much here, but I couldn’t not feature it in this favourites. I’ve been reaching for it so much over this past month as I’ve been loving making the most of a more dark lip whilst I can! It’s such a gorgeous dark purple and I haven’t been able to get enough of it. It’s so long lasting and is such good value at only £7.
I was very lucky to be given the gorgeous Charlotte Tilbury Lip Lustre for Christmas by my very generous friend Sarah. As I mentioned in my Winter Lipstick Must Haves, although I love the look of Charlotte Tilbury make up, my bank balance doesn’t so you can imagine my delight when I opened this. It’s such a gorgeous nude shade with a peach undertone and really completes a more natural make up look. Also, I’ve been wearing it on top of my Charlotte Tilbury Bitch Perfect lipstick to add a shine and to hold the lipstick in place. They make the perfect combination.

I always used to use the Urban Decay All Nighter Setting Spray, but after it ran out last year, I never got round to replacing it. However, my brother and his girlfriend very kindly bought this for Christmas and I’ve been loving using it to set my make up. I really notice the difference in how long my makeup lasts when I use it, I don’t find I have to top up throughout the day. It’s amazing.

When I first saw Baker Boy hats were on trend, I wasn’t sure. I didn’t think they’d suit me and I wasn’t sure how I felt about them. However, as the months went on, I started to fall in love with them. I soon found myself on ASOS searching through the Baker Boy Hats they had on offer and before I knew it one was in my basket. Even once it had arrived I was still unsure if I would actually be able to pull it off. However, I’ve been absolutely loving wearing it and pushing myself outside my comfort zone. 

6./Peaky Blinders
More of a random favourite to end on, but I’ve been absolutely loving watching Peaky Blinders (I’m only on the first series so no spoilers please.) I’d heard so many good reviews of it, but I just wasn’t sure if it would be up my street. However, from the first episode, I was hooked. For those who don’t know, it’s set in 1919 in Birmingham and centres around a criminal gang (The Peaky Blinders). You can’t help but love the main character Thomas Shelby (played by Cillian Murphy) even though he doesn't always have the best of intentions. If you haven’t seen it, I strongly recommend you check it out, the first three series are on Netflix 

Following Christmas and my birthday I had quite a few products to include in my favourites, it’s always a good time for my beauty collection. What have you been loving throughout January? Let me know in the comments below.

KIKO Smart Nail Lacquer | Review

Sunday, 28 January 2018

KIKO is a brand that I’ve been aware of for a good few years and whilst I’ve ventured into their stores to see what their products are like, I’ve never actually purchased any. I’ve heard good things about their blushers and eyeshadow sticks, but I’ve never loved them enough to add them to my make up collection. However, a few weeks ago, I was walking past a KIKO in Norwich and noticed they had a huge sale on. I couldn’t resist. I went in and saw that they had 30% off their Smart Nail Lacquer. As someone who loves nail polish and a bargain, I had to have a little look. When I noticed the nail polishes were £1.25 each I knew it was meant to be. I have a huge nail polish collection, but the range of colours KIKO had on offer was so impressive and I spent ages browsing and deciding what colour to buy. I finally settled on 96 Pearly Anthracite82 Emerald85 Mint Milk.

Pearly Anthracite is a gorgeous metallic colour which is just gorgeous for this time of year as I love wearing dark colours, similarly Emerald is perfect as it’s a deep bottle green shade. I then really liked the look of Mint Milk and thought it would be a lovely pastel shade for the summer months. So despite only being £1.75 each, I ended up buying 3.

Having never used any products from KIKO, I was really keen to see what these products would be like. However, at £1.25, I didn’t have high hopes and sadly I was right. I first wore Pearly Anthracite and I always use a base and top coat which generally means my polish lasts a good week before it starts to chip. However, after less than 24 hours of wearing this shade I had a huge chip and it just went downhill from there. I was really disappointed. I wasn’t even sure whether it was worth trying the others. In the end, I decided to try out Emerald and I must admit it has been better. Still not as long lasting as other nail polishes I’ve used, but it definitely saw me through the week with only a few chips. I wonder if it’s something with the metallic formulation that affected the Pearly Anthracite?

Overall, not massively impressed, but at £1.25, can I really complain? The Smart Nail Lacquer from KIKO claim to be quick drying, but I can't say I've really noticed this as I always use the Sally Hansen Insta Dri as a top coat as I'm prone to being impatient and smudging my nails. However, I know this is a key selling point for those who want nail polishes that are rapid drying. At full price, the polishes are only £2.50, so they're still really cheap. If you're someone who only wears nail polish for a short amount of time, this range from KIKO may be ideal for you because the shade range is so vast and so pretty. However, for me, I don't think I'll be purchasing anymore again because I like my nail polish to withstand my lifestyle (which isn't that crazy!) and last all week!

Have you tired the any of the Smart Nail Lacquer's from KIKO? I'd love to know your thoughts.

Urban Decay Naked Palettes | Review

Wednesday, 24 January 2018

I’m a huge lover of the Urban Decay Naked palettes and have always dreamt of having the whole collection. At Christmas this dream come true (sorry that sounds sooo cheesy ha!) when my boyfriend very kindly bought me Naked 2 and Naked Smoky for Christmas which completed my collection. I’ve reviewed Naked, back when Ramblings of a Blonde was pretty new and I’ve also reviewed Naked 3 and Naked Heat, so I don’t want to go into too much depth about all of them in this post. However, I wanted to share how they compare with each other and to help if you’re interested in buying one of them, but not sure which one to get.

This was the first Urban Decay palette I bought and also the first premium palette I added to my make up collection. I was still a student so if you’re wondering what my student loan went on, now you know! When I first purchased it, I was very unsure what palette I wanted, I just knew I wanted to get my hands on one of the ever popular Naked palettes everyone was talking about. The sales assistant was really helpful and asked me a series of questions and the answers I gave suggested that the palette most suited to me was Naked and she wasn’t wrong. This is still my favourite palette from the Naked collection and as you can see it’s much loved. My favourite shades are Sin, Sidecar, Smog and Darkhorse. I love the range of looks you can create with this palette, from smoky, to more summery purple looks, to more neutral everyday looks. It’s so versatile and that’s why I love it so much.

As I mentioned earlier, this is my most recent palette to be added to my collection, however, I’d had my eyes on it for some time. I’d been using the Makeup Revolution Redemption Palette Iconic 2  which is a prefect dupe of Naked 2, but at a fraction of the price. I loved all the shades in Iconic 2 and whilst the pigmentation is great, I’ve noticed it’s not as long lasting as the Naked palettes. Naked 2 has some gorgeous shades in it, my favourites are Chopper, Suspect and YDK. This palette can be used to create an everyday look as well as gorgeous gold or silver smoky looks for the evening, again a really versatile palette. The packaging definitely got more premium after Naked as well, it went from a more flimsy palette to a sturdy metallic tin. The mirror is also bigger in Naked 2 which is so useful for applying make up whilst travelling. 

This was the second palette I added to my collection and whilst I love it, I go through phases of using it. This palette mainly comprises pink toned eyeshadows, which don’t always work well with my fair complexion. I find I use this palette much more during the summer months as the lighter colours really ‘pop’ against my tanned skin. Again, you can use this palette to create a more smoky look with Darkside and Darkhide which I tend to wear in summer evenings. I would definitely recommend this palette for those with a more tanned complexions or who suit more pink toned eyeshadows as they’re gorgeous shades, I just find it harder to work with.

This palette came out last year and as soon as I saw it, I knew I had to get my hands on it. I’ve featured this palette quite a lot on my blog, so I don’t want to ramble on too much about it again. Out of all the Naked palettes this is definitely the one that is most out of my comfort zone, however, I have fallen in love with the shades. I find this a little bright for work, but it’s perfect for weekends or to create a more smoky look in the evenings. I got this palette in August last year and really enjoyed experimenting with the different shade range leading up to autumn, so I’m looking forward to using this palette in the summer months to create glowy looks that pop against tanned skin. My favourite shades are Lumbre, Dirty Talk and Scorched, they're the perfect combination. Whilst this will really suit darker skin, I definitely think it works well with my pale skin and really compliments my blonde hair - I love it!

When I first saw that this palette had been released by Urban Decay, I was initially really excited as I thought this would be right up my street. However, once I saw the palette and swatched a few of the eye shadows, I wasn’t so sure. I’m not a huge smoky eye person as I don’t often have an occasion  to wear a smoky look to and when I do, I have a few darker eyeshadow already, particularly in the Naked palette. However, I hadn’t expressed these thoughts to my boyfriend until a few weeks before Christmas and unbeknown to me, he'd already gone out and bought me the Smoky palette (how bad did I feel when he told me this?!) Anyway, despite my reservations, I’ve been so impressed with this palette and have found I’m using it a lot more than I had originally thought. My favourite shades are High, Dirty Secret and Radar, they’re perfect for an everyday look without being too heavy. I haven’t used the full range of shades yet, but am excited to give them a try throughout the year. The best thing about this palette is that it will suit all skin tones as there’s such a range of shades in here. It’s definitely a lot more versatile than I first thought, I’ve been pleasantly surprised.

In case you hadn’t guessed by now, I’m a huge fan of the Urban Decay palettes and I definitely think they are all perfect for different occasions. Some palettes such as Naked 3 and Naked Heat are ideal for different times of the year, whereas Naked 1 and 2 are perfect for all year round. If you want to get your hands on a Naked palette, but aren’t sure which one, I think Naked 1 or 2 are a great place to start as they’re so versatile. At £39, they’re not the cheapest palettes in the world, but I think they’re so worth it!

Have you tried any of the Naked palettes from Urban Decay? I'd love to know which is your favourite! 

MAC Power Hungry Palette | Review

Sunday, 21 January 2018

I'm a huge eyeshadow lover and love using palettes to help experiment with different looks. I have numerous eyeshadow palettes, but most of my high end ones are mostly Urban Decay and so I was really excited to see MAC had brought out a new range of eyeshadow palettes last year. I first discovered the Personality Palettes when in America and whilst I was really tempted to buy one, I managed to resist, instead preferring to get make up that isn't as easily accessible in the UK. However, my brother and his girlfriend very kindly bought me the Power Hungry palette for my birthday.

MAC have released five Personality Palettes all in a range of different shades. However, for me, the shades in Power Hungry were right up my street - I just loved every single eye shadow in the palette. It comprises 8 eyeshadows, 4 of which are shimmery and 4 are satin, plus one highlighter. All of which are warm shades with bronze, silver and pink undertones - I love it!

I love MAC eyeshadows as I've always find them so pigmented, so I was eager to find out how pigmented the Power Hungry palette was compared with their eyeshadow singles. It hasn't disappointed. All the eyeshadows are extremely pigmented and there isn't any fallout either which is one of my biggest bug bears. Although some of the eyeshadows are really small, I think they'll still last quite a while as I really don't need much product to complete my eye look. Also, they're really easy to blend which I love as there's nothing worse than an eyeshadow that doesn't blend well, leaving you with block colour and a look straight out of the '70s!

Eyeshadows that last a long time are really important to me as I'm out of the house all day and I hate it when eyeshadows start to fall off your eyelids half way through the day. However, I have been really impressed with the Power Hungry palette and how long the eyeshadows last. I always use the Urban Decay Potion Primer in Eden before applying eyeshadows and so this really helps to keep the product in place all day. I've been really pleased with how long the eyeshadows last without smudging, they stay in place all day.

One thing I love about the Urban Decay palettes is the packaging, you may pay a premium price, but you get the premium packaging along with the premium product. Whilst, I love the eyeshadows in Power Hungry and I think they're worth their price tag, the packaging does let it down. It feels quite flimsy and doesn't quite match up to the Urban Decay palettes. However, I do like that there is a mirror included in the lid, although a little thin, it is useful for when you don't have a mirror to hand. 

At £32, this isn't the cheapest palette out there, but compared with other more premium brands it is definitely more on the reasonable side of things. 8 eyeshadows plus 1 highlighter for £32 is pretty good value for money in my eyes and given the quality of them, I think Power Hungry is well worth its price tag.

Overall, I've been loving using MAC's Power Hungry palette and have found myself reaching for it more than other palettes. The shade range is so beautiful and I love the quality of them. Having never tried a palette from MAC before, I've been really impressed with it and really recommend the Personality Palettes from MAC.  Have you tried any of the Personality Palettes? I'd love to know your thoughts!

Winter Lipstick Must Haves

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

I love the winter months. I know that can sometimes be a controversial thing to say, but I just love how cosy they are, I love getting home lighting candles, popping the fairy lights on and settling down with a mug of green tea to watch a series on Netflix. Also, I'm a big fan of winter make up looks, particularly a bold lip. This winter I seem to have expanded my lipstick collection considerably and have fallen in love with so many new products that I hadn’t tried before. I’m always on the lookout for new shades as you can never have too many lipsticks, right? However, over the past couple of months, there's a few that I've found myself reaching for more than others and have definitely become my 'Must Have' lipsticks for winter

My best friend bought this for me for my birthday towards the end of last year and it was actually a lipstick I’d not seen from MAC before. It’s a red shimmer (though it looks more pink on the website) which I wore so much over the festive period and I still can't get enough of it. I have a matte red lipstick which I love wearing, but sometimes it’s a bit too bold. As New York Apple has more of a shimmery undertone, I don’t find it as bold or bright. I definitely recommend this if you’re looking for a red lipstick that isn’t too bold.

This is definitely one of my favourite lipsticks I own and like all make up I seem to love – it’s limited edition which is really annoying. It was part of MAC's Snowball Collection which was only released for a limited time at Christmas, but the whole range was absolutely stunning. When I first saw Shimmer and Spice on the stand, I wasn’t sure I’d like it. It looked really glittery and not at all like a lipstick shade I would normally go for. However, my mum bought it first and I loved how it looked once applied, so I couldn’t resist, I had to give it a try and I fell in love with it. Every time I wear it, I seem to get lots of compliments, it’s been perfect for the festive season and the packaging too is just stunning!

Until recently, I’d never tried a Charlotte Tilbury lipstick, I’d admired them for sure, but my bank balance had always prevented me from doing anything other than admire from afar. However, I was extremely lucky to be given this for my birthday from my very generous friend who shares my passion for beauty. As soon as I saw it, I knew I’d love it. It’s a nude lip, but has a peach undertone to it which is my favourite kind of nude lipstick. Everything about this feels so premium, the packaging, the consistency of it and the colour pay off – I love it! Also, it’s one of those lipsticks that you can wear all year round.

I’d wanted a really dark purple lipstick for ages, but I really wasn’t sure if it would suit me or if I would have the confidence to wear such a dark lip. Therefore, I thought I’d try a more mass brand to see if I like the shade rather than jumping straight to a more high end brand that comes with a high end price point. Having tried the Liquid Lipsticks from NYX before, I knew how much I loved them and when I saw the exact shade I was after, I knew I had to get it. Whilst Vintage is a lot darker than any other lipsticks I own, I do really like it. It’s definitely out of my comfort zone, but having worn it a couple of times, I’ve received some really lovely compliments. It’s the perfect colour for this time of year.
I’ve had this for a little while now, but have been reaching for it so much these past few months. I love a bold red lip, I think it’s the perfect wintery shade and just completes any make up look, you really can’t go far wrong with it. I love that it’s matte too, it’s just the perfect staple red for any make up bag.

What lipsticks are your lipstck must haves for this time of year, I’d love to know!         


Beauty Products I Discovered and Loved in 2017

Sunday, 14 January 2018

As a beauty addict, I love discovering new make up and skincare products and am always on the look out to try products I haven’t tried before. 2017 was a definitely a year where I grew my make up and skincare collections drastically, so I thought I’d share my favourite products I discovered last year. 

I’d heard nothing but good things about the Estée Lauder Double Wear Foundation and so was keen to give it a try. You can check out my full review here, but it’s definitely one of the best foundations I’ve ever used. I really like the high coverage it offers as well as its longevity. Although on the pricier side, it’s definitely worth it as it helps provide a flawless look.

I’m a huge lover of MAC lipsticks and added a few to my collection last year. However, my favourite was Shimmer and Spice from their limited edition Snowball Collection that they released near Christmas. I had seen it in store, but hadn’t bought it which I came to regret as I then found out that it had sold out and they wouldn’t be restocking it. I was so annoyed. However, to my joy, mum had already bought me one for my birthday. It’s such a gorgeous Christmas shade, dark and sparkly - I love it!

There was so much hype about the release of the Urban Decay Naked Heat Palette last year and I could resist, so jumped on the bandwagon. I’m a huge lover of the Naked Palettes and so I wanted to to add another to my collection, though I was a bit unsure on the shade range because they’re a bit out of my comfort zone being orange toned. However, I've loved having the opportunity to experiment with different shades and reach outside of my comfort zone. It's such a gorgeous Palette. 

Last year was the year I discovered CC creams and I can’t believe I haven’t been using them for longer. I wanted to try a high street CC cream first just to check I liked the product before spending loads of money on it. I spent ages in Boots swatching lots of different of CC creams and settled on the Bourjois 123 Perfect Colour Correcting Cream. I wear this everyday to work as I find a foundation too heavy to wear on a daily basis and I’ve been loving it. Whilst it covers my blemishes it doesn’t feel heavy on my skin and at £9.99, it’s really reasonably priced.

I had wanted a BECCA Highlight Palette for a while and whilst I was in America, I was spending all my money in Sephora and came across the Chrissy Tiegan Glow Face Palette, I took one look at it and knew I had to have it. The full review is here, but the 2 highlighters, blusher and bronzer are so pigmented and such gorgeous colours. I’ve been reaching for this Palette so much over the most few months and can’t wait to create glowy looks with it for the summer months.

Glossier was such a big brand in 2017 and every beauty lover seemed to be trying to get their hands on their products. I went to their showroom in New York and stocked up on a few of their products (read my full review here). I've been using the Balm Dotcom for a few months now and I've been absolutely loving it. It leaves my lips feeling so nourished and has got me through the winter months, which often sees my lips suffering from the cold weather. It's definitely become my 'go to' lip balm, I can't recommend it enough.

Not only did I manage to get my hands on the Balm Dotcom, I also got the Glossier Milk Jelly Cleanser which I have been loving. Again, I reviewed this here, so I won't ramble on about it too much, but I've found myself reaching for this more than any other cleanser. It leaves my skin feeling so clean and fresh and removes all my impurities. 

I was keen to add a serum into my skincare routine, but was a little unsure what to try. I had a look around The Body Shop and I was recommended the Vitamin C Skin Reviver. As a huge lover of The Body Shop I was excited to give it a try and it hasn't disappointed. I apply this after cleansing, followed by a moisturiser and primer before continuing with my make up routine and I've noticed a real difference in the longevity of my make up. It makes foundation so easy to apply and my make up look really flawless, I love it.

2017 was a great year for beauty products, I discovered so many different products that I love and have incorporated into my daily routine. What products did you discover and love in 2017?

2017 | Review

Monday, 8 January 2018

I'm back! I've had a few week's off from blogging, mainly been to a hectic work schedule which left me with very little time for much else. I was hoping to be able to get back on top of my blog over Christmas, but unfortunately I was really ill and so had very little energy to blog. Anyway, I'm much better now and whilst work is still really crazy, I'm keen not to neglect my blog any longer and review 2017 and the goals I set myself.

2017 was an interesting one for me. At the beginning of the year, I had high hopes for it as 2016 had just been one of the toughest years of my life and I couldn’t imagine another year quite like it. However, 2017 didn’t end up being the year I had hoped. Sadly, several family members fell ill, we suffered a family bereavement at Christmas, I had my first car accident, we had to clear out and sell my nans house after her passing away in 2016 and at one point everything that could go wrong, seemed to. I was crazy busy at work which meant I had little time to switch off and as a result, my mental health really suffered last year. However, I can’t ignore the ups that 2017 offered, I’m extremely lucky and I do recognise that. I got to go back to my favourite place on Earth - America which was an incredible holiday, I was a bridesmaid at one of my best friends weddings which was one of the happiest days and I got to experience so much with my wonderfully supportive boyfriend Émil. I’m hoping 2018 will be a much happier and healthier year and I’m excited to see what it has to offer.

So despite the turbulent year that was 2017, how did I do against my goals?

1./Get promoted at work
I was keen to get promoted in the July round of promotions last year and I'm very pleased to say that I met my goal and was promoted in the summer last year. I was so happy because I'd worked really hard to achieve this goal and I'm always keen to progress in my career. Now onto the next promotion! 

2./Give more to charity
At the beginning of last year, I really wanted to start giving to charity on a monthly basis, however, I never got round to researching and finding a charity that I really wanted to commit to. Instead, I continued to give to charity on an ad hoc basis. In December, I gave to the local foodbank on a daily basis so looking forward, this is something I want to continue and this year I'm determined to find a charity to give to on a monthly basis.

3./Grow my blog
I started off really well at the beginning of the year and definitely started to grow my following across all social media platforms. I even attended my first blogger event, which was so much fun! However, towards the end of the year, I wasn't able to put as much time or focus into growing Ramblings of a Blonde. Again, this is something I want to focus on again this year.

4./Watch more films
I sort of met this goal! I definitely didn't watch as many films as I'd hoped and I definitely didn't branch out in terms of genres, but I'm very slowly adding to my repertoire. 

5./Start a YouTube channel
2017 was the year I finally started my YouTube channel, which you can check out here, however, like everything else, this started off strongly at the beginning of the year and suffered towards the end. I currently have a grand total of 7 videos on my channel, but at least it's a start. I'm keen to grow this further this year (if work quietens down a bit!) However, I’m still getting used to filming for YouTube, I feel so much more vunerable in front of a camera than behind my computer screen typing away on my little blog. 

So overall, not quite the successful year I had hoped for, but at least I met most of my goals (to some extent!) Thank you so much to everyone who has supported me and my blog, it genuinely means the world. It's definitely been the most successful year for Ramblings of a Blonde so far and I'm keen for this to continue, I hope you have a very happy and healthy 2018.

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