Sunday 29 November 2015

The 25 Best Things About the Festive Season

By the time this goes up it'll be the 29th - which means December is nearly upon us! I'm particularly infatuated by list posts at the moment, so I thought I'd try another one and bring you the 25 best things about the festive season. We all (well, a good proportion of us) love it, so why not let the excitement build by listing all of the reasons to dance around the living room in your jammies - because whether we like it or not, Christmas is well and truly on its way!

  1. The chocolate aisle at Tesco. The tubes of Rolos, Smarties and Haribo created to fill stockings with (or lets face it, buy in bulk and eat before, after, and during the big day.)
  2. Christmas jumper day. I'm pretty sure its the 17th this year, but whatever day it is, I'm ready for it. Ready to be decked out in my gingerbread man jumper, with some Christmas tree earrings to spice it up.
  3. Micheal Buble; Nuff said.
  4. Tis the season to be sparkly. Sparkles are my favourite thing, whether its a gold eyeshadow, some tinsel from the tree, or edible glitter from some festive cupcakes.
  5. The 'Elf Yourself' app. Oh my days it is hilarious - and its free!
  6. New pyjamas on Christmas Eve, the fleecier and more ridiculous the better. Nothing feels nicer than snuggling on the sofa in your brand new pjs, waiting until a sensible hour to go to bed and let Santa come.
  7. Crisp winter mornings, and wrapping up tight in a cosy snood to brace the chilly weather.
  8. Peppermint in everything, am I right or am I right? Peppermint mochas, hot chocolates, candles - the possibilities are endless.
  9. Sneaking my kitty cat a slice of turkey underneath the table at dinner time. And hearing his happy little mew when I do.
  10. Advent calendars! This year I've got Mars and Benefit. I know the jury is out on beauty advent calendars and whether they're worth the cash, but I honestly think it's so exciting to get a new beauty treat every morning.
  11. All of the family coming together from wherever they happen to be, and just enjoying each others company. Nothing brings everyone together like the festive season, and as a family gal, it makes me feel all fuzzy to see all my favourite people in the same place at once.
  12. Mashed potatoes, gravy and stuffing.
  13. Secret Santa - but does it really ever stay secret?
  14. My Mum's contribution to this list: bowls of chocolates and nuts on the living room table. I have to admit, when the dish of quality streets gets introduced, my heart does a happy flutter.
  15. Getting slightly tipsy from too many Snowball cocktails (advocaat and lemonade). They're so good. I'm literally getting excited about these cocktails whilst writing this, they're that good.
  16. Driving past the homes of the over-achievers, who've gone the whole hog and covered every spare inch of space with fairy lights and inflatable Santas, just so we'll go past and be all "Ooooo" "aaaaaah".
  17. Being single and laughing at everyone else stressing over price limits and what shade of blue a mens T-shirt looks better in. Is Brian a Hollister kind of guy? Is Steve an Xbox or Ps4 dude? Who the heck knows.
  18. Alternatively, being in a relationship and knowing exactly who you'll pick to share a Starbucks 2for1 deal with.
  19. Christmas cards with punny greetings, because they'll never ever get old.
  20. Waking up at 7am and finding a stocking filled with goodies next to your door (this is interchangeable with whatever your traditions are). We can pretend we're selfless and don't care about the gifts, but we all know that a new eye palette or lipstick under the tree gets us giddy!
  21. Getting old home movies out and watching the tales of Christmas past. I do this every year with my sister, and laugh at our haircuts and how times have changed.
  22. The after-dinner lull in energy, when everybody is too full to do anything but slob out on the couch, recovering from a food coma and falling asleep to the sounds of a Disney film.
  23. Mugs and mugs of hot chocolate bliss. Life hack: dip a candy cane into your hot drink and let it melt *heart emoji*
  24. Reading all the festive blog posts and sharing excitement with bloggers on Twitter during chats. Exchanging wishlists, going to events - all of the general blogger buzz!
  25. Feeling thankful for every smidge of festive (and non festive) happiness.
What's your favourite thing about the festive period? Make sure to enter my Christmas giveaway here!
Emily xoxo

Wednesday 25 November 2015

November Favourites

I've been trying to think of a sassy way to start this post, but is there actually a sassy way to introduce a favourites? Probably not. Honestly, I just centred this whole post around the fact that I have a new MAC lipstick - because we all know that's one of the best things to take place in a beauty bloggers everyday life. I've also trialled a couple of other new-ish products in the last month, and most of them (aside from a few absolute failures) turned out great, so I thought you'd like to hear about them!

Picture this. It's so cold outside that your breath turns to clouds of ice - but inside the house you're all snugged up under a fluffy blanket, in your penguin onesie with the biggest mug of hot chocolate/gingerbread green tea (depending on how luxurious the occasion is), and a festive movie. Isn't that just the idyllic winter situation? Forget meditations about secluded beaches on tropic islands - whack on a Christmas film and you're automatically taken to a happy place. I come from a long line of festive family members, so it's in my blood to have been watching these since October 1st, but this month has been even better because everyone else has been watching them too! My favourites are Love Actually, Nativity, and Home Alone, but I'm always on the lookout for more, so be sure to comment any suggestions. 

Now we get to the lipstick of my dreams - Whirl by MAC. This has been sold out online for a seriously long while, so when I spotted in it the MAC store in Carnaby I knew I had to get it! I write so many blog posts about nude lip colours and my everlasting love for them, and this one is no exception. The formula isn't drying at all, and its this beautiful terracotta nude (it's a close second to Spirit, but I don't think any colour could beat that so its all forgiven). I also picked up a Stila eyeshadow in the shade 'Blue Sapphire', a pretty sparkly blue that's perfect for winter, especially with a silvery lipgloss. Although I've only worn it twice, I know I'll get a heck of a lot of use out of it in December. 

For many years I've been a firm fan of Taylor Swift fragrances, but in the last few months I've started to branch out and try some other brands. Victoria's Secret 'Victoria' is literally the only floral perfume I've ever come across that I've loved, with notes of red berries, crème brulee and rose - its a shame I could only afford the smallest bottle! I've put this on my 18th wishlist for next year, so hopefully this will become my signature scent. I've been using this Skin Purifying Masque from ARK which I got from #NWMeet, and so far its doing the trick because my mega (and I'm talking seriously mega) breakout of late has cleared up! Definitely recommend, since the only thing changed about my skin routine is this mask, and I've seen major positive changes in my skin.
The last thing I wanted to mention is this black and gold statement necklace from CloClo London (I know I know, I need to shut up about this brand). I placed a huge order back in October with about 8 pieces of jewellery, for various gifts and some treats for myself. The jewellery from this brand is so lovely, and such good quality, and this piece is so versatile that I've been able to pair it with about five different outfits so far - and its only been a month!
I hope you've been having a great week, have you entered my giveaway yet? If you haven't seen it, click here to see the post and find out how to win gifts from the like of Stila, Lush and NYX.
What have you been loving recently?
Em xo


Sunday 22 November 2015

Christmas Goodies Giveaway

*Micheal Buble Christmas music plays*
Hi guys,
I hope everyone is enjoying their day, wherever you are and whatever you're doing!
I'm so excited to show you my Christmas giveaway, to say Thank you for all the support I've had with my blog lately, and spread a little bit of festive joy. This time of year is my absolute favourite, and giving and choosing gifts is definitely up there with my favourite Christmas accompaniments.
I know that most people couldn't enter my ClothesShow giveaway since it was quite specific (Congrats Sarah for winning!), but this one is open to anyone in the UK! I've had to put up this post early so that the giveaway will be over in time for me to send out the gift.
The prize includes:
  • Two Maybelline Color Tattoos (Metallic Pomegranate and Eternal Gold)
  • NYX Butter Gloss in 'Tiramisu'
  • Nip and Fab Exfoliating Facial Pads
  • Lush Snow Fairy (100g)
  • Stila Magnificent Metals Lipgloss in 'Moonstone'
  • Statement Necklace from Clo Clo London

I wanted there to be something for everyone, so I tried my best to in cooperate fashion, beauty and skincare. I'm honestly never going to stop raving about CloClo jewellery, so I'm glad I got to include one of my favourite pieces from their collection. Maybelline Color Tattoos have always been a staple for me, so I bought two festive colours to spice up eye makeup during this time of year, and the Stila lipgloss is literally SO pretty (I ended up getting one for me and one for my sister as well). 

If you want to enter this giveaway, then these are the terms and conditions:
  • You have to follow the instructions on my Rafflecopter, and tweet the link once you've entered. (Following my twitter entitles you to an extra entry, but it isn't mandatory since you might not want my constant ramblings about cats and make up on your feeds.)
  • You have to be following my Bloglovin (Link at the top of my blog)!
  • I'm going to make sure everything is packaged safely, but I won't be able to cover the cost or replace any damaged items, since nothing from this giveaway is sponsored.
  • The giveaway runs from 22nd of November to 6th of December. When the giveaway is over I'll check the winner has followed the terms and then give them 48 hours to respond to a message. (If you don't respond I'll have to choose again, since I want the Christmas gift to be received, obviously, by Christmas.)
  • I'll send out the prize within a week of receiving the address.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck with the giveaway!
Emily xo

Wednesday 18 November 2015

London Trip (Vlogpost #2)

Hey guys! I thought I'd share some of the photos from my recent trip to London with some of my closest friends to celebrate some 18ths. We travelled on the Saturday and spent the day shopping and ice skating - if you're near London and haven't been to the Swarovski skating rink outside the Natural History Museum then please consider going, its beautiful and so festive. I've got to be honest and say that I mostly clung to the sides of the rink, but it was a lovely winter evening and soaking up the atmosphere made the experience well worth the expense.


On Sunday we went to Camden and ate in an American diner for breakfast (red velvet pancakes with frosting and syrup anyone?) I've never visited Camden before but I LOVED it - so much creativity and character in one place, its mind boggling! I didn't take too many photos because I was just enjoying the weekend; its crazy to me that all my friends are turning 18 one by one. I'm sure it was just yesterday we started high school together! 

How was your weekend?
Emily xo

Sunday 15 November 2015

GIVEAWAY - The Clothes Show!

Hey guys - are you ready for my first giveaway?! (This is actually so crazy, because my Christmas giveaway goes up soon as well - major prize chances gang!)

If you've been reading for a while now, then you'll know that fashion is something that I am extremely passionate about, and is something that I have concentrated a lot on in my posts. The Clothes show is one of the biggest fashion events of the year, with pop up shops galore and a fashion show filled with beautiful clothes, music and dance. I know this year I was pretty excited to see that two of the performers are Ella Eyre and Charli XCX! (Also did I mention that one of the pop up shops and brands at the event is NYX - you know about my recent obsession with this brand and their soft matte lip creams *squeals*) We are so lucky to have festivals and events that celebrate fashion and beauty, and this one is the crème de la crème of the events in the UK that are open to the public.

If you want to purchase tickets or search for general information and line ups, then click this link and it will take you straight there. Thankyou to GoodResultsPR for presenting me with this opportunity.

An official description of the event says:

" The Clothes Show in association with ALCATEL ONETOUCH returns to the NEC Birmingham from 4-8 December 2015. With over 350 leading fashion and beauty brands, non-stop catwalk shows, makeovers, manicures, beauty demonstrations and style advice, 2015 will offer an all-new fashion experience.
Whether you’re looking to update your wardrobe, fuel inspiration for a career in fashion, or meet your favourite celebrities, prepare to immerse yourself in the world’s largest fashion festival."

I personally am SO stoked to be attending this event in December, as getting an invite to such a prestigious event is something I never expected, and I'm even more happy about the fact that you guys get to experience this too! If you want to enter the giveaway and win a pair of tickets to the event on Friday 4th December, then you can do it by following the link to my Rafflecopter!

All of the details are on my Rafflecopter, but its my first time using it and I can only try my very hardest to get it right. You enter by answering a question about your favourite fashion trend...and voila! You're in with a chance to win.

The competition starts at 12am on the 15th of November (the day this post goes up) and ends exactly one week later on the 22nd of November. Once I randomly choose and message the winner, they have 24 hours to reply to my message and claim the prize. After 24 hours I will choose a different winner.

Thankyou for sticking with me and I would LOVE it if you could take part in my first ever giveaway on this blog (if you can't attend the event and therefore are unable to enter, a Christmas goodies giveaway is on its way to y'all, so don't fret!)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Emily xoxo

Wednesday 11 November 2015

NYX Soft Matte Lip Creams First Impressions

Hi guys - I'm so happy that I managed to find a gap in the horrendous weather long enough to take some photos!
Last week I used my Boots points to delve into a makeup brand that I've been lusting after for quite some time - NYX. The products are so reasonably priced and from what I've tried so far, are amazing quality as well. Today I thought I'd review the Soft Matte Lip Creams; liquid lipsticks which dry matte and have an incredible staying power.

When I went online all of the shades were in stock so I was absolutely spoilt for choice - I love my nudes so I picked two of those, and then a brighter one as well because why the heck not. The first shade from the left is 'London' - a brown nude which honestly, is so beautiful it hurts me a little. It feels so lovely on the lips and I think this is my favourite shade (it reminds me a bit of MAC spirit, which if you know me you know that it is my holy grail lip product).

The second, pink plum colour is called 'Prague' - and looks a lot like it does in the packaging. In fact the colour on the tube is a good reference for what it will look like when you wear it, which can't be said for a lot of lippies. This shade is extremely pigmented and you only need one coat to pack on the colour - its bright but it isn't too 'fuchsia', a colour that personally I can't stand on lips. This is bold but wearable, and honestly is perfect for Autumn with the transition into plum colours.

My last purchase was 'Athens' (how adorable are the names oh my goodness) - I'm not great at descriptions but I would say that when put straight on the lips its a coral nude. I'm not a huge fan of coral, but I've discovered that if you stick a bit of Chapstick on before applying Athens it becomes a gorgeous pink and brown nude; right up my street! I'm so happy with the shades that I picked, but I've got my eye on 'Abu Dhabi', a deeper brown nude compared to London, and 'Stockholm', another pinky nude. Can you tell what colour category is my favourite at the moment by any chance?

One thing I adore about these products is the applicator - but seriously help I cannot describe it (why do I even attempt beauty posts I'm so basic). After doing a bit of speedy research, I can now confirm that this is a Doe Foot applicator, and although I'm not sure what it means I can tell you that it is incredibly easy to apply. At £5.50 per lippie, this is such a quality product for what you get, and I can't recommend it highly enough. The smell also reminds me of cake batter, so its a win-win all round! The ONLY downside is that it can be quite drying for your lips - but I've found that lip balm underneath solves that issue without a problem. NYX, you have my attention, and I am ready to empty my bank balance for you. 

From left; London, Prague, Athens

Have you ever tried any products from NYX?
Stay beautiful!
Emily xoxo

Sunday 8 November 2015

My Take on Social Media (Part 2)

Everyone is putting their piece into the giant jigsaw that is the debate on social media, and I won't be the first, and certainly not the last, to take my opinions and type them up for all to see and evaluate. This is actually a follow up to my first post (see it here), where I discussed certain platforms and asked: does removing an online presence have the ability to remove your social presence? It was a tough question to tackle, but I'm not sorry I embarked on it, because deactivating and reactivating my Facebook account has produced results that shocked me, but also didn't shock me at the same time.

First of all let me start by saying that this isn't a rant specifically about Facebook. I think Facebook is a useful tool, which allows us to connect and remain contact - a pretty impressive and important feature of technology. This post is about social media in general, but Facebook has mainly been the target of my mini experiment, purely because that's where I feel the hub of online social life lies.

I deactivated my Facebook over four months ago, because I was tired of having my time consumed by (what I thought was) a pointless app on my phone. I knew that it was a great way to keep in contact, but I was of the thought process that if anyone wanted to include me, they'd find other methods of doing it. How naïve I was, because after my little four month experiment, I can safely say that in a society overwhelmed by technology and everything related to it - social media isn't budging, and its something we need to adapt to, instead of adapting it to ourselves.

When I first scrapped the whole shebang, I felt so freed - it may have just been psychological but I honestly felt like I had more time on my hands - a few minutes here and there adds up, and before I knew it I had extra time to polish off blog content, and sped through more books than I usually did. For the first two months I was totally unfazed by the fact that my profile no longer existed - I was happy with my real life friends and family, and didn't feel the need to tap into an online world outside of college, where all the people I knew glorified their lives.

(Also, I know you might think I'm a hypocrite for remaining online in other ways, but hey ho we can't all be perfect. I wanted to see the results of removing myself from a personal platform - I only kept friends and family on Facebook, whereas Twitter and my blog have such a different variety of followers. It's different, at least in my opinion.)

I want to give credit where its due - my nearest and dearest kept me included at all times. But for the most part, not being online started to take its effects and I kept not being invited to events - I'm only human, and when FOMO turns into AMO ('actually missing out', I just made that up on the spot soz) I started to waver, my strong mentality cracking when I saw instagram the mornings after parties and listened to personal jokes in school. I'm a stubborn person, and I hate going back on things I've said - but I've changed my mind. I thought Facebook wasn't necessary in a social environment, but it is; at least at my age, where everything is a bit less permanent and up in the air.

In answer to my original question, I would say that at least partially, the withdrawal of an online presence does slightly retract your social presence, no matter how much effort you put in. The existence of a messenger app where you can contact all your acquaintances all at once is convenient, and its way too much effort to pick up the landline and give someone a call. I love the internet, but it can promote laziness and neglect to relationships. I dreaded opening up the app again, partly out of embarrassment, but also partly because I desperately want to encourage the application of effort again. Gone are the days where you can hide in your room all weekend and go back on Monday feeling totally a member of the gang. Social media has drawn us all in and changed the way we see communication.

Another thing I couldn't keep from noticing is the amount of times I looked at someone and thought they looked completely different from a profile picture or cover photo. Is there some kind of magic formula to get a satisfactory number of likes? Is beauty suddenly defined as the mental capacity to pick the right filter and choose a funny caption? I don't really know where my beliefs lie in the whole Essena O'Neill discussion, since some of the time, I do agree that identity can be removed in order to be liked online, whether in the literal sense, or a number displayed on a page. We all do it, heck I know that I have to make sure my selfies are acceptable before I post them! It's so interesting to me to read everyone's thoughts on this. I haven't really picked my side of the fence yet, but I know that there are some things I've made my mind up on. Just because I posed for a picture, or collaborated with a brand, doesn't mean that I'm fake. We all make our lives a little bit glossy, because no one wants to post a photo on days when our hair is way flat, or when we have a breakout. That's human nature, its what we do (and isn't a result of social media) and editing out the nasty parts doesn't make us unreal. When a movie is made, or a book is written, you don't leave in the dodgy scenes or the spelling mistakes. There's definitely a difference between glorifying and making yourself appear perfect, and posting photos that you want to look back on and feel good about. I know that on my blog I am 100% myself, or at least 100% myself with the content that I feel comfortable sharing. Telling you about a horrific day, or showing you what I look like after I've bawled my eyes out isn't within my comfort zone, and sticking to that zone doesn't make me fake.

What's your opinion on all of this? Link me your posts because sitting down and reading them is my favourite thing to do at the moment. Yay for spreading awareness and feeling like we can have a say!

Emily xo

Wednesday 4 November 2015

A Lush Haul

Is anyone else struggling to take any decent photos with this dull, grey weather? I apologise for low quality, but the weather here in England is dismal every day so I had to just go for it! I keep having to remind myself that Christmas is at the end of this gloomy tunnel. The other day I popped into Lush to get a couple of festive bits, because I'm 100% a bath person and a Christmas person rolled all into one. I only had about five minutes so I grabbed some old favourites and a new bath bomb, and thought you might like a nosy.

Firstly I picked up a mini Snow Fairy shower gel, purely because the festive season wouldn't be the same without it. It's a rich candyfloss scent, but for some reason it reminds me of a marzipan fruit (just me? Okay.) It wouldn't be for everyone, due to how strong and sweet the scent is, but if you enjoy smelling sugary then this would definitely be for you. The small 100g bottle is £3.95 if I remember correctly, but its worth the money and I've already ordered myself a bigger one to add to my collection.

Next is my favourite bath bomb of all time - Cinders. On the packaging it describes the fizzer as a 'hot fruit punch' fragrance with oranges and almonds, but as usual with scents I smell something completely different. To me it smells cinnamon-y and sweet, your typical Autumn scent, and the best part of the Cinders experience is the addition of popping candy, which you hear when you step into the bubbles. It's one of the cheaper products for £2.95, and is always a repurchase for me. If you're feeling festive and want to continue the mood, add this to your bath! I honestly love it - it would come in a close second to the mango bath melt, my all time favourite Lush product.

Lastly I bought something I've never seen/tried before. The Star Dust bath bomb looks innocent from its white exterior - but when you add it to your bath multi-coloured stars come out to play! It has scents of vanilla and lemon, but honestly when I take a sniff the most prominent smell is Coconut, like the inside of a Bounty chocolate bar. It's another cheapish buy for £2.95, and its so darn pretty. I love anything sparkly, and what could be more magical than a star?

Lush is one of the best shops at Christmas, there's so much going on and something for everyone - take a trip and you'll see what I mean!

What's your favourite festive bath bomb?
Emily xoxo

Sunday 1 November 2015

I leaf you

(Moment of appreciation for that punny title). I wasn't actually intending to do an OOTD in the next couple of weeks, but it was a lovely crisp Monday afternoon, and Harry said he would take some photos for me if we went on a here we are! I've realised lately that I have a heck of a lot of purple and mustard in my wardrobe, which is why this outfit is so heavily based on those colours.

My booties are from New Look last year, and are so comfy! They were a reasonable price if I remember correctly, but I do find it hard to pair them with anything other than black tights. Chelsea boots are very in right now though, so its definitely worth investing.
My mustard and purple scarf is from New Look (again), and I actually featured it in my last favourites. It's super comfortable and my go to Autumnal accessory right now. I used it as the main feature of the outfit, and paired it with a thin Zara jumper, black tights and a Forever21 patterned velvet skirt.
My purple coat (told you I was obsessed) is also from New Look, and has lasted me over two years so far. The lining is warm and fleecy and it has a chic vibe, whilst still maintaining high levels of cosiness - which is obviously the most essential thing to check off the list. Lastly, if you wondering where my rings in the first photo are from, they're both Pandora!
What colours do you gravitate to in the colder months?
Emily xo
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