Tuesday, 31 January 2017

MONTHLY FAVOURITES: JANUARY 2017



Beauty products i've been loving throughout the month of January...

Body: When I opened a particular Christmas present last month, I found myself unscrewing the lid and inhaling it's scent before you could even say 'Needles and pins'. Anything from Lush is a real treat for me and whilst i've tried pretty much everything else from their catalogue, i've never tried a shower jelly. Needles and pins is an absolute delight in the shower, described by Lush as a 'song of ice and fire' put it in the freezer then retrieve under a hot shower to stimulate circulation and get clean through a herbal infusion of Siberian pine nut oil and cypress leaves. Not only is it super moisturising, but it makes shower time extremely invigorating and smells just like that moment you put up a real Christmas tree.


Lips + Tips: I have been brightening my January blues this year with pops of colour on my lips and nails. My personal favourites have included the MUA 'Sweet Sheen Balm' in red and coral - a totally wearable formula that is comfortable and easy to wear when devouring several cups of tea throughout the day. And not forgetting 'Revlon 'Cherries in the snow' which has adorned my nails all month, love the colour and the nostalgia, but the chipping is pretty terrible! 


Hair: In 2016 I vowed that not a single box of permanent hair dye would cross my tresses in January 2017, and they haven't though I have been meddling with some colour. Having had platinum blonde hair which I then dyed brown, my hair is prone to going a little murky coloured and needs some warmth injected into it to counteract the conflicting colour. I have always enjoyed the Schwarzkopf Live Colour Refreshers and this variant for warm browns is no exception. I apply the foam formula to damp hair for 30 mins every 2 weeks, just to keep any green tones as bay and refresh my hair colour to a mid-tone auburn/mahogany. 


Skincare: I keep my skincare very simple but I recently have been experimenting with a new serum. It is probably no surprise that I am using the 'Simply Pure' - Hydrating serum from Superdrug which you can pick up for under £4. Recommended by the legend that is, Sali Hughes I wanted to try it. The gel formula is extremely hydrating and leaves my normal skin plump and perky. I've heard that it's particularly good for dehydrated skin. It contains a number of ingredients which are outlined in this very informative post. It's definitely staying on my skincare shelf for now.

This month I have also been trying out an extremely special skincare mask from Jivesse the anti-ageing, marine collagen brand who develop Jivesse beauty - an online registered UK pharmacy with a number of years of medical experience behind it. 


The 'Collagen and gold youth defining mask'* is in one word, majestic! Before we begin though, here is exactly what the formula on the mask is made up of...

24 Karat Gold Leaf – Possesses anti-ageing properties - lifts, tightens and firms the face - reflecting light and penetrating the skin

Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice – Moisturises skin + reduces discomfort

Palmitoyl Tripeptide-5 - Anti-ageing properties and hydrates skin Collagen - For smoother, firmer skin

Hyaluronic Acid – Firms and moisturises skin

Acetyl Octapeptide-3 - clinically proven to reduce the depth of wrinkles on the face caused by the contraction of the muscles of facial expression.

Top: Working the mask baby! Bottom: The results, dewy, bright, soft and seemingly blurred skin


Okay, so I need to say first and foremost that this sheet mask is £125 to buy and I would never dream of spending that kind of money on a mask, but the results really speak for themselves. Below, you can see me very sassily and dare I say, quite scarily wearing the mask which I applied after a shower. 

So I guess the selling point is that the mask itself is infused with 24 karat gold which is why it is so indulgent. It is suitable for all skin types and claims to stimulate the skin's regenerative capacity to improve texture and  radiance as well as evening out skin tone and improving elasticity. It also claims to soften the look of fine lines and diminishes the appearance of wrinkles (Remember I said my skin looks pretty blurred) and hydrate, helping the skin to retain moisture. 

I stayed make-up free for the whole day after wearing the mask (Which I might add is reusable) and two people commented on how 'glowy' and 'bright' my skin appeared. This is a really high end skincare product and I am of the opinion that the results can be achieved with a really good facial for a fraction of the price however, for a super treaty product I recommend giving it a go if you need hydrating, glowy and nourishing results fast.

Life. TV. Music and more...

Life: January started well, with a work promotion! I managed to climb from content executive to content marketing manager in under 2 years and I couldn't be prouder. This month I also made a conscious effort to absorb more, whether that's through articles, podcasts, TV, Youtube - whatever and here are a few bits and pieces I have enjoyed...

TV: Z - The beginning of everything. My favourite piece of literature is 'The Great Gatsby' and I have long since been fascinated by Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald's mark on the jazz age. Z, which is now available on Amazon Originals tells the story of Zelda's life in short 20 minute episodes. I am only at episode 5 of the season but it's brilliant, the acting, the costumes and the storyline make it well worth a watch. The first episode is available free on Amazon, if you want to give it a go.

Listening: I have really enjoyed Emma Gunavardhan's 'The beauty podcast' - especially the episodes with Sali Hughes and Fleur De Force - perfect for beauty lovers and anybody who likes reading The Pool, I think you'd enjoy them.

 I've also loved revisiting the ASOS podcast, 'My big idea' - particularly the interview with Missy Flynn of the now defunct Rita's bar/resataurant in Hackney. I had the pleasure of meeting Missy and eating the best fried chicken of my life at Ritas, so it was nice to hear more from Missy and her entrepreneurial story.

Music: This months playlist is a total mash up, it includes a-load of 70s cheese, dance and new wave on there and my stand out tracks this month are: 'In The Midst' by Sir Was, 'Good Beat' by Deelite and 'Flame' by Sundara Karma.

I also LOVED Gemma Cairney's 'Lost Clubs' show talking about iconic clubs of their time including Blitz and the Hacienda. Davina McCalls 'Desert Island Discs' is also pretty good, hearing and learning more about her younger years as a drug addict and how she turned her life around to become one of the most well known TV presenters of our time.



What have you been loving in the month of January?

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Friday, 27 January 2017

BEAUTY: REVLON 'CHERRIES IN THE SNOW' NAIL POLISH + LIPSTICK


You may or may not have noticed that bright nails and lips are having a moment within my daily beauty routine. Whether it's a cool coral, a racy red or a punchy pink, i'll wear them all. I have recently been wearing the iconic 'Cherries in the snow' nail polish and lipstick from Revlon. 

The legendary raspberry shade was created in the 1930s when Charles Revson employed chemist, Charles Lachman to create a bold, wearable lip shade for women. The matching 'lips and tips' concept then came about and soon Revlon had brought out a matching nail lacquer. 



'Cherries in the snow' looks the part in the vintage Revlon black and gold packaging and the super creamy lustrous lips formula is exceptionally comfortable to wear. Voted one of the best lipstick shades of all time, it looks awesome against most skin tones and I particularly like to wear it with a a coating of mascara and dewy skin. 


The gorgeous Michelle Keegan is currently working with Revlon as a brand ambassador and the 'Cherries in the snow' nail polish is being promoted with her name. I love the brushes and formula of Revlon polishes so this was always going to be a winner in my eyes.

Have you ever worn 'Cherries in the snow'? 

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Tuesday, 24 January 2017

BEAUTY: GLOVE YOUR BODY TANNING MITTEN AND BODY TREAT TRIO


When it comes to a flawless fake tanning application, for a seriously sassy result it's all about how well prepped your skin is and what exactly you apply your tan with. I have recently been trying out the Glove Your Body 'Treat me trio*' and I like the products that much, I thought i'd introduce you lovely lot to it too. 

Firstly there's no getting away from the fact that anything with a touch of leopard print is totally appealing to me so i'm going to start with the seriously leopardy 'Self Tanning Application Mitt' which I use to apply St Moriz dark lotion, though I have tried it with a foam formula also. If you want to see more about the fake tanning formulas I currently use - check out this post on my updated fake tanning routine.

The mitten fits as the name would suggest, just like a glove as it includes internal finger sockets to keep your hand steady when applying your chosen tanning formula. It is also seriously sturdy, no fingers poking through the seams here. More importantly though, the application is flawless all thanks to the soft, towelled mitt that works foam and lotion into the skin effortlessly, streak free and in moderation. Once you're finished with your application, you can throw the mitten in the wash to clean ready for your next application.


Also included in the 'Treat me trio' pack which retails for around £20, is the 'Dual cleansing and exfoliating pad' which in itself is brilliant. I have long since been using a flannel to cleanse my face with a rich cold cream. Over time the flannels can get worn and less effectively as they are constantly transitioning between wet and dry. This perfectly travel size pad exfoliates and removes make-up in a few swipes, once you're done let it air dry on the sink top ready for it's next use - very simple and very effective.


Exfoliating is probably one of my least favourite steps when it comes to my tanning routine, i'm lazy and I have never found the right tool for the job, exfoliating gloves you can pick up cheaply in Boots are fine, but they go all stretched and bobbly in the shower after a while. The Glove Your Body  'Exfoliation Mitt' is really effective whether you are prepping your skin for fake tan or not as the removal of dead skin cells gives the skin a fresh, smooth and radiant feel.

Based in Ireland, you've probably not stumbled across the ah-mazing Glove Your Body range but it is available in the UK from Lloyd's pharmacy's and on their website.

What are your favourite tanning application products?

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Friday, 20 January 2017

BEAUTY: MUA SWEET-SHEEN BALM


If I were to choose one beauty product that I could only wear for the rest of my life, it would be some kind of lip formulation. Lipstick perhaps? Though I recently discovered a formulation that is really taking my fancy at the moment. Step forward the 'Sweet Sheen - Lip Balm' formula by MUA.

There's no wishy washy colour here, these balms are seriously punchy and super pigmented which pleasantly surprised me. I have the shade 'Coral Reef' which is the perfect pop of pink. I wear this lip balm most days to work when I don't want a heavy lip and can freely drink numerous cups of tea without the issues of feathering or smudging!

The formula is super comfortable to wear and for £2.00 you can literally buy them all as the colour palette is just so wearable, everything from pink to purple to red.

Which is your favourite pigmented lip balm?


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Tuesday, 17 January 2017

BEAUTY: COLLECTION SPEEDY HIGHLIGHTER + BLUSH


I've found myself recently drawn towards beauty in a bullet - for some reason the thought of carrying my make-up in convenient stick format, to roll on and go if you will seems pleasing. Whilst in Superdrug looking for a weekday pick-me-up one lunchtime, I discovered the Collection 'Speedy Blush' and 'Speedy Highlighter' which come in a variety of different shades. For £3.99 you get 5g of product in a push up stick format meaning there's plenty of product beneath the surface. 


I chose the blush shade '02 Cheeky' which is a slightly terrifying bold red colour, as someone who is naturally very pale the red, when blended acts as a sort of Benetint glow. Pinched cheeks with a rosey hue. I blend my blush out with a Beauty Blender but if you're on the go, fingers work just as well. 

The highlighter stick in the shade '01 Pearl Sheen' has quickly become a hero product for me as the creamy glow is just so lovely. I apply this in an arc shape from my cheekbones through to my brow bone and I have to admit the glow is even better in cream format as opposed to a powder highlighter in my opinion. I find myself re applying the formula throughout the day as it isn't too glitzy and wears on the skin well. 


Have you ever tried anything from the Collection 'Speedy' range?


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Friday, 13 January 2017

BEAUTY: HAIR + BEAUTY PRODUCTS THAT BEST DEFINE ME


This blog post was inspired when my boyfriend said that he could 'instantly recognise me' from the perfume I was wearing. It got me thinking about other beauty bits and pieces that best define me, you'd see them on the shelves and immediately think they belong to Hollie. 

When it comes to practical beauty i'm pretty old school and very very rarely sway from the classics. Looking upon this collection I am about to introduce you to, today it remind me heavily of the skincare, haircare and make-up featured in 'The Icon's' and 'The Nostalgic's' chapters in Pretty Iconic by the glorious Sali Hughes.
Skincare...


My skincare routine is so simple, it would most likely make many people recoil - I dread to think what Caroline Hirons would think, but it works for me, keeping my skin clear and supple and at the end of the day that is all that matters right? These two products look like they belong in my Grandma's bathroom cabinet but they work for me. My skincare routine begins by cleansing my face with a traditional cold cream from Boots, sometimes I use the infamous Pond's variety. 

Cold cream is a rich, thick, moisturising cream that for £2.95 is a serious bargain. I apply the lanolin-free formula to my face and then remove with a warm flannel. I will then go in with a serum, perhaps 'Advanced Night Repair' by Estee Lauder before moisturising my face with Oil of evening primrose, a rich moisturising cream that my skin just drinks up. 

Make-up...


My usual nail colour of choice is some shade of red, sure I love gold and aqua blue in the summertime, but mostly I opt for a deep burgundy shade. I feel like it looks the least offensive when my nails are bitten and makes me look more 'put together' for a dressy occasion. I often covet 'Ruby Night Sky' from the Nails Inc 'Alice and Olivia' collection, the shade is a pearl finish dark red that goes with pretty much everything. 

My make-up bag is also rarely without a Bourjois Little Round Pot Blush which smells divine when applied to the apples of your cheeks. The legendary blush has been on the market for almost 150 years and has become synonymous with Bourjois'  place in iconic make-up history. The little pot is pretty sweet too and has a very satisfying magnetic snap closure.

Fragrance...


I talked about the fragrances that best define me in my perfume collection post but it is fair to say that I am never without 'Cinema' by YSL and 'L'Aimant' by Coty - both sexy scents, suited to the evening with woody, floral, amber and powdery notes. They're both fragrances that make me feel like myself.

Haircare...


I really made a pact with myself to look after my hair in 2017. So far so good, I haven't chopped, dyed or radically restyled my tresses in well over 6 weeks. I am quite loyal when it comes to the products I use which include Pantene Pro-V shampoo, particularly the repair and protect range which smells iconic of my childhood when Sunday night was 'hair wash' night. I love the fresh, clean scent and the ugly commercial packaging. For me, Pantene reminds me of freshly washed hair.

I also use a lot of hair oil, especially before bed when I brush my hair using a Denman bristle brush and apply a palm full of the Garnier 'Ultimate Blends' - Sleek perfector oil. Not only does this leave my hair more supple and shiny but also smelling divine. 

Finishing Touches...


I bet you're not surprised to see the classic L'Oreal Elnette hairspray here, it's a staple and has been donning women's bathrooms and dressing tables for over 50 years - It's the perfect finishing touch. I also couldn't write a post featuring products that best define me without giving an honourable mention to 'Ruby Woo' matte lipstick from MAC. I'm rarely without a bold lip colour and this one is usually found in my handbag for emergency pick-me-ups and retouching.

Which beauty products best define you?

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Tuesday, 10 January 2017

BEAUTY: MY PERFUME COLLECTION


Gorgeous scents make my world go round and I find nothing more pleasing than shortly before heading out of the door, picking up a decadent bottle from my shelf and spraying on a fragrance.

When my clothes, skin and hair smell alive with scent I feel ready for anything. Over the years I have built up quite a nose for the kinds of scents I like and after a quick look on Fragantica (an amazing resource for all perfume junkies) I have deduced that my favourite fragrances always include amber, white floral, powdery and woody notes. Most of the scents I am about to introduce you contain almost all of those notes therefore, I think it's fair to say I have a signature 'smell' when it comes to the kinds of scents I like and am attracted to. It's kind of nice to be recognisable all thanks to scent, for example whenever I smell 'Red Door' by Elizabeth Arden, my Aunt must be around somewhere. 

I store my fragrances on a shelf tucked away from direct sunlight in a little alcove in my flat. Most of my favourite perfumes are sold in clear, glass bottles and therefore are more prone to spoiling from the sunlight. I do however love to see them sat cheerily beside my bed, some of the bottles are so beautiful and that is why they are not hidden away in a dark cupboard.

This year i'd like to experiment more with scents from independent perfumeries as well as try more obscure fragrances, the kind of crafted scents you'd find in Space NK and Liberty of London. Think, Diptyque, Frederick Malle and Jo Malone - If only my pockets were deeper right?

All time favourites...


No fragrance collection of mine could be complete without my 'signature' scents. I have worn Cinema by YSL since the age of 10. My Mum had given me a sample tester of the fragrance when it first came out and I couldn't get it out of my mind. Upon purchasing my first ever bottle, my Nan who shared the same love of scent as I do, was told by the sales assistant that I was 'far too young' for such a sexy scent. Little did she know some 13 years later i'd still be wearing the same fragrance and of course feeling god damn sexy. This fragrance saw me through starting high school, GCSE's, my first kiss, starting university, passing my driving test and graduation - I can always call upon it to make me feel like myself, though I was pretty peeved when my friend decided to make it her signature scent too... I still had the claim first. 

Main notes of Cinema: Floral, Vanilla, Sweet, Citrus, Amber

Main notes of L'Aimaint: Woody, Aromatic, Aldehydic, White Floral, Sweet, Rose

My second signature scent is what my boyfriend describes as 'autumnal' and ' instantly recognisable' -whatever that means. I can't help but feel somewhat decadent as I spritz on the infamous 'L'Aimaint' from Coty. It reminds me of my Nan, it reminds me of Chanel No.5 and at just a tenner for the largest bottle, I get through this stuff like water. It's on my secret Santa lists, it's on my stocking filler wish-lists, it's on my 'just popping to Boots' list. I have a teeny bottle by the side of my bed, a bottle on my desk at work, and several scattered between my handbags...It's somewhat of an icon and I love that it is sold in Boots amongst the likes of 'Anais Anais' 'Rive Gauche' and 'Yardley English Lavender'

The Michael Kors Collection...


I'm not entirely sure how I managed to build up such a collection of Michael Kors fragrance, but it happened. I have 6 perfumes from the designer and some of them I love more than others. My particular favourites include; 'White Luminous Gold', 'Sexy Amber' and 'Rose Radiant Gold' which are all very sexy and tempting heavier evening fragrances. 

Main notes of White Luminous Gold: Amber, White Floral, Fruity, Sweet

Main notes of Sexy AmberAmber, Woody, Balsamic, White Floral, Powdery

Main notes of Rose Radiant GoldFloral, Musky, Warm Spicy

'Coral', '24k Brilliant Gold' and 'Sexy Sunset' are all lighter, daytime and more summery scents that are perfect for spritzing throughout the day. 

Everyday scents on rotation...


A few other fragrances that I have on rotation, some I like more than others, my stand outs are, 'Fobidden Euphoria' by Calvin Klein which I have to admit was a friends signature scent I just had to get on-board with. As well as 'Body' from Burberry, the scent I wore non-stop throughout my time in London back in 2014. This was around the time I had an obsession with Cara Delevigne's look who was fronting the brand and my eyes were mainly kohl and my hair a dirty blonde. Whenever I wear this scent I instantly reach for my trenchcoat and a grungy make-up look.

Main notes of Burberry Body: Woody, Musky, Powdery, Rose Floral


What are your favourite scents?

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Thursday, 5 January 2017

LIFESTYLE: HOW I STORE MY JEWELLERY

As you have probably guessed, I absolutely love antiques, one of my favourite things to do is browse flea markets, and visit the most calming shop in Liverpool, 69a Intande - Home to a very beautiful ginger tom cat named Murdoch who is often found reclining on a brass lion. 
Finding unique treasures makes my heart full and even more so when my nearest and dearest see something and think of me.


So when my parents gifted me this beautiful silver jewellery box for Christmas, I was delighted. Not only did it give me an aesthetically pleasing place to store my prized jewellery, but it also looks absolutely beautiful.


Lined with a beautiful sapphire blue velvet lining, I keep my bracelets, watches, brooches and earrings in the compartmental jewellery box. As you probably already know if it sparkles, has beads and is colourful this magpie will swoop it. 


As for the rest of my jewellery including necklaces and rings they live in various different places. My necklaces (well, some of my costume collection) lives on a coat-hanger and is categorised into colours to help when I am styling up an outfit.


My rings live in other boxes such as a Pearl Lowe Glossybox and an antique box from the infamous snoopers in Brighton. And a few of the larger cocktail rings live on 'the hand' which is from Oklahoma in Manchester. Easy to grab and go, and when you wear as many pieces as I do, it's good to have everything to hand.

How do you store your jewellery?

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Tuesday, 3 January 2017

LIFESTYLE: MY FAVOURITE CANDLES


Everybody and their cat is a candle fiend these days, but believe me, I appreciated, fawned over and revelled in candles first IMO. In terms of cheapy candles, I absolutely love the Primark selection which are not only packaged up pretty lovely but smell awesome too. My only gripe, is they are notorious for burning inefficiently....

So when I want a little more luxe in my life I turn to the bad boys of the candle world. I have to admit, all of the candles I am about to show were given to me as very special and treaty gifts for my birthday and Christmas. But would I buy them with my own money? Of course! What I believe you get from expensive fancy, dancy candles is an efficient burn, casting a strong scent across the room and an even melt. Less chance of tunnelling and wastage!



Okay, so I know the infamous 'Baies' by Diptique is somewhat of a legend. You wouldn't be a serious blogger without a glass Diptique candle holder re-purposed as a make-up brush holder right? I remember seeing Carrie Bradshaw burning Baies in an episode of very early SATC, so even before the blogging revolution, Baies was a thing.


For £48 the Baies Noir 190g candle in the largest variant comes in a black glass jar and for £20 you can have 70g worth of candle in the more recognisable clear glass jar. So what exactly does it smell like? Like heaven that's what - Baies translates from French as 'Berries' and belonging to the fruity family, the scent is fresh like a bouquet of roses, sweetened with blackcurrant leaves. So sexy and summery.


Sitting pretty on my bar cart is my alphabet candle from Next. I love personalised items and initials are everywhere at the moment. Whilst this candle isn't luxury at £4, it is a main player alongside the more expensive candles in this post. Scented with white lily, honeysuckle and jasmine it's a floral number that smells luxurious and seriously punchy.


One of my favourite scents of all time is from the classic Aveda 'Shampure' range. My Aunt who introduced me to the Aveda brand very, very kindly treated me to the official soy wax 'Shampure' candle for Christmas and I am in absolute heaven whenever the scent fills my studio apartment. A very clean scent of lavender ylang, ylang, rosemary I love the botanical notes of this candle which burns evenly and cleanly and is extremely calming - perfect for those days when you need a little Zen time.

Which is your favourite candle?

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