I've currently got a bit of a homeware browsing bug and I don't think it's going to stop anytime soon. Since I painted my room before Christmas, I've bought some new bits and pieces for both my bedroom and around the house and I've also been scrolling through a lot of websites eyeing up homeware I really like the look of. However, January is a very quiet month in terms of blog work and I also have had a couple of unexpected things to payout since the beginning of the month (ugh) so it's safe to say my bank balance is looking pretty sad right now. So I thought I'd just do a homeware wishlist of things I ~really~ like the look of and hopefully some of which will be in my life soon lol.

Sass & Belle Celestial Gold Wire Jewellery Stand £10  H&M Scented Candle £12.99 / Oliver Bonas Alys Five Drawer Jewellery Box £69Asda George Green Jungle Floral Duvet Set (Double) £12 

First up is the cute jewellery stand from Sass & Belle which I first saw on ASOS before Christmas. It's so unique looking! The only thing that puts me off buying a jewellery stand is my cats thinking it's a plaything for them haha. Next is the lovely looking candle from H&M which I personally think looks a lot more expensive than it is. I think it'd be a great coffee table statement candle or a nice gift for someone.

I also love the look of the Oliver Bonas Alys Fiver Drawer jewellery box. I think it'd look really nice in my room against my brick wall and it'd also fit in well with the new warm teal walls. There are also a few other colour options available too if the green version doesn't take your fancy. I tend to buy the majority of my duvet covers from George at Asda just because they're cheap and they wash well. I love the look of the Jungle Floral set and it'd also look really nice with my current cushions on my bed too. I'm a big fan!

Matalan Hello Gorgeous Slogan Bath Mat £10 H&M Window-Shaped Mirror £24.99Oliver Bonas You Go Girl Mug £12New Look Gold Mini Elephant Ornament £3.99

We're currently redecorating the bathroom... again. We've decided that the blue colour we have right now in there looks a bit cold and clinical, especially when you're in the bath, so we're opting for more of a warm blue instead. So I'm also looking for some cute bathroom decor bits and I really liked the Hello Gorgeous bath mat I came across on Matalan. Whilst looking for a sunburst mirror the other day, I came across the window-shaped mirror at H&M and I think it's such a good price at £24.99! It'd look really nice above the fireplace in the living room.

I realised whilst scrolling through Oliver Bonas last week that I haven't bought a new mug in months which is mad because I'm normally always buying mugs. The You Go Girl mug from Oliver Bonas is really cute and sometimes a motivational saying can really make a difference when you're feeling a bit meh, right?

I really like little ornaments of animals, I have a couple already dotted around my room from hedgehogs to owls and cats. So when I saw the New Look mini elephant ornament I was just like ~heart eyes emoji~.  

Oliver Bonas Artificial Plant £5 New Look White Sun Trinket Pot £5.99 / Anthropologie Meadow Ceramics Botanical Trinket Dish £14 / Matalan Lights & Darks Laundry Bin £18

I don't know what's happened over the past couple of months but I've managed to kill two plants, one of which was quite expensive as well and I literally managed to kill it in about three weeks. So I was gutted, not going to lie. So I've decided, for now, artificial plants are the way forward for me. The artificial plants available from Oliver Bonas look really realistic and the one featured above would love really cute in a mini geometric planter I have. 

I'm also on the lookout for some more trinket dishes and bowls to both use and feature in my photos so I've chosen two which I really like. First is the White Sun trinket pot from New Look which looks a lot more expensive than it is. I love the wooden lid too, I think that is what makes it looks extra nice. I also really like the Anthropologie Botanical Trinket Dish and I think it would look especially nice in photos. 

Lastly is a Lights & Darks Laundry Bin from Matalan which I personally think is a genius idea! It'd make life a lot easier as I always fill laundry baskets to the brim with the jumble of clothes I've been wearing and then I have to sort through everything like a mad woman. So I think the Lights & Darks bin would come in handy, especially when I'm having a bad pain day.

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wax melts
-If a product is marked with a * then it was PR/Gifted to me. This post contains no paid content-
 I was first introduced to Sassy Shop Wax towards the end of last year when I was doing my Christmas gift guides. They kindly sent over a variety of their wax melts for me to try out and also feature in one of the gift guides and I've been a fan ever since! So working with them again and getting to try out more of their wax melts scents is exciting. I decided this time to try out some scents that sound like they were made to be kind of "dupes" of other well-known scents.

First up is Rhubie Rose* which is described as a crisp mouthwatering rhubarb fragrance with elderflower, tea rose and pineapple and base notes of musk, velvety woods and dry fruits. I think this is supposed to be a dupe or similar to the Molton Brown Rhubarb & Rose range but I'm not 100% sure. I haven't tried that range is particular but I am a big fan of Molton Brown and I tend to buy their products as a treat because they are on the pricier side.  The Rhubie Rose scent is really nice, quite strong but not overpowering and you can smell it in all of the rooms upstairs when I have my wax melt burner on in my bedroom. It also smells really similar to the Method Wild Rhubarb scent so if you like that then you'll definitely like this!

wax melt review

Next is Snow Pixie* which is described as a vibrant sweet fruity accord with notes of bubblegum, banana, pear drops, musk and vanilla with sweet candyfloss. I just knew before I even got the parcel that it was supposed to be a dupe to Lush's much loved Snow Fairy and it literally smells exactly the same to me. I'm obsessed!

Pink Peony & Blush Suede* is described as a luxurious fragrance with flirtatious top notes of juicy red apple, floral notes of peony blossom, jasmine, gillyflower and rose with soft blush suede. I'm guessing that Pink Peony & Blush Suede is supposed to be a dupe of the famous Jo Malone scent which I've not tried myself because your girl has got bills to pay lol but I have tried quite a few different dupes of the Jo Malone range and I can say that Sassy Shop Wax's Pink Peony & Blush Suede smells extremely similar. I can see myself using this scent a lot in the springtime. I love anything peony scented so I kind of already knew I'd like this scent.

Lastly is the Rose Jam* wax melt bar which is described as a soft floral blend of rose petals with a touch of vanilla. I just had to try this one out as Lush's Rose Jam scent is up there in my top three favourite scents of all time. It's got a really captivating rose scent with a touch of vanilla as described and I really like it. I think it's my favourite out of the four I've tried! 

Another thing I like about their wax melts is that they look pretty both in the packaging and in the wax melt burner (especially if you have a white wax melt burner!). They also try their best to use biodegradable glitter wherever they can too.

If you're interested in trying out any of the above then you can pick them up over on Sassy Shop Wax for just £2.75.

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-If a product is marked with a * then it was PR/Gifted to me. This post contains no paid content-
 Awarding winning ARK Skincare are fast becoming one of my favourite brands for skincare. They're cruelty-free and they make sure their formulations free from parabens, SLS, mineral oil, S.D, alcohol, formaldehyde and artificial colours and fragrances. They also cater for every age and skin concern. They kindly sent over two more products for me to try out towards the end of last year and I thought it was about time I reviewed them. I was planning on getting this review up around mid-December but I fell behind a little because I had quite a few paid opportunities with short deadlines and then I had some other life dramas going on over Christmas so I ended up taking almost two weeks off instead the four days I had initially planned.

The Advanced Action Plumping Lip Cream RRP £32* contains clinically proven plumping peptides which increase the lip volume appearance as well as adding hydration. I'm not going to lie, at first, it seems weird to be applying a cream to your lips as opposed to your standard lip balm but I really do feel like ARK Skincare's lip cream does a lot more than a balm and it also plumps up your lips (temporarily) too. Obviously, at £32 it does sound a bit pricey but I literally only use a pump per use and it's more than enough, so I can see it lasting pretty well. I really like to use it as a lip treatment at night too because the ingredients can help firm, smooth and reduce the appearance wrinkles on the lips and surrounding area and I feel like applying it a night lets the product get to work whilst you sleep. I'm a big fan!

They also sent over their Gua Sha Jade Facial Tool RRP £20* which ARK Skincare claims to help stimulate blood circulation and also encourage lymphatic drainage. With regular practice they also claim that the tool can help to make your jawline become more define, reduce fine lines and also help to lift and de-puff your skin. Now I'm not sure about it making my jawline become more defined, I think for me personally, I'd be looking more into having some sort of facelift if I wanted my jawline to look slimmer and more defined because I do have a chubby, round face and neck lol. But I do think there's some truth in it encouraging lymphatic drainage and here's why I think that... when I get ill or when I'm about to become ill, my cheeks, jaw and neck tend to swell up quite bad due to my lymph nodes getting infected and swollen (I'm guessing?). But when I got ill at the end of December (thanks to Christmas food and stress lol) I had already been using the Gua Sha Facial Tool for a few weeks and I found that my face didn't look and feel as swollen and sore as it usually does when I'm ill so I do think it helped a little in that respect. It also comes with a helpful guide which is super easy to follow to help you use it in the right way as well as a velvet pouch. 

Overall I'm really happy with both of the products, if you haven't already looked into ARK Skincare and what they offer then I highly recommend checking them out!

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5 Pairs of Shoes Every Woman Should Own *

in , , by Kirsty Milward, 24.1.20
-This is a collaborative post-
Whether it’s getting to and from work, running daily errands, going on a date night, or jetting off on vacation, it’s important that you have the right pair of shoes in your closet to ensure you’re ready for any occasion. When it comes to bringing a whole outfit together, having the right footwear at your disposal can help complement your finished look. With that in mind, here are 5 types of shoes that every woman should own.

If you’re on your feet for most of the day, it’s important that you invest in footwear that supports you and provides maximum comfort. One of the most popular types of shoes that every woman should own is a classic pair of sneakers. Whether you’re heading to the office, hitting the gym, or performing day to day errands, sneakers can help support your feet throughout the day. Check out high-end fashion stores like SSENSE where you can find Gucci shoes and sneakers that can transform your outfit for the better. SSENSE also sells accessories, bags, and clothing that can be perfect additions to your closet.

Ballet Pumps
Ballet pumps are known for their ease of use and serious comfort, so if you’re after footwear that keeps you supported, a pair of ballet pumps can look great as part of many different outfits. If your feet are sore from running errands, slipping on a pair of stylish and chic ballet pumps can help you stand out from the crowd.

High Heels
Another staple that you should own in your closet is a pair of classy high heels. Whether you’re off on a date night, a night out with friends, or a swanky evening meal, dolling yourself up and dressing to the nines is important, so teaming your outfit with a pair of killer heels can help finish your look and leave you looking and feeling your best. If you’re a high heel lover, make sure that you invest in a pair that support your feet, as the last thing you want is to get blisters on your feet.

Ankle Boots
Another trendy shoe that every woman should own is a pair of ankle boots. One of the reasons why they’re so popular is that they can be worn for just about any occasion and can be teamed with all sorts of different looks. Whether you’ve thrown on a pair of jeans and a sweater, or you’re in a maxi dress, a pair of ankle boots can be a great addition to your overall look.

Flat Sandals
Once the summer months roll in, it’s important that you have the right summer staples in your closet. Your first port of call should be to purchase a pair of flat sandals that are comfortable to wear, and suitable for when you are out and about. Flat sandals are known to be lightweight in both how they look and feel, meaning they won’t weigh you down.

No matter the occasion or footwear, it’s important that you pick shoes that are comfortable, durable and long-lasting. Having a pair of shoes that provide maximum comfort and stability can put a stride in your step and have you turning heads for all the right reasons. 

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-If a product is marked with a * then it was PR/Gifted to me. This post contains no paid content-
 January's Roccabox theme focuses on getting your skin looking nice and glowy after Christmas and my skin definitely needs some TLC! It's not looking great right now because obviously it's been Christmas and I definitely ate way too many Lindt Lindor chocolates, I've also been unwell with a bad cold at the beginning of January and I'm feeling a bit hormonal too, so yeah it's all fun and games here lol, not. 

Inside this month's box, all but one of the products are full size which I think is great! 

First up is the Dirty Little Secret Jelly Blush in either the shade Apricot or Exposed RRP £12*. As Roccabox explain in the leaflet in the box, the blush is in between sheer and densely pigmented so it can leave you with a wash of colour or can be build up to a pop of colour if that's your preferred look. I find jelly products really satisfying to use and the DLS one kind of reminds me of Colourpop's Super Shock Blushers and Highlighters but not as pigmented. I got the shade Exposed and I think it's nice to use when I'm having a more natural, minimal makeup day to just lift your complexion. 

Next is the St Tropez Self Tan Purity Bronzing Water Face Mist (14ml) RRP £5* which I've actually not tried because I very rarely wear fake tan as I find it's a bit of a faff if I'm being honest and most of the time I think it doesn't look right on me. I guess I'm just used to looking pale all of the time lol. So I can't say if it's good or not.

The Daily Concepts Mother of Pearl Sponge RRP £6.95* is probably the product which intrigued me the most in this month's box. I do like something that works in more ways than one. It's a soap sponge which you can use either on your face or body as an exfoliating cleanser. I've been using it on my body instead of my face as I find my face doesn't like cleansers in a soap bar form usually but I think it worked pretty well as a body cleanser/exfoliator. It's not super abrasive but it does enough to notice a difference so I do think it's worth trying if you're into multi-functional products or trying to save some space in your bathroom!

The Bang Beauty Blush Brush RRP £13.98* has been designed to work with powder blushers because of the rounded shape. I think it's a nice blusher brush and works well in terms of application as it's not super dense but not super flimsy. But I don't know if I'd spend £13.98 on it just because I usually buy the majority of my brushes from Spectrum and they're actually cheaper to buy.

Lastly is the BeautyPro Brightening Collagen Sheet Mask with Vitamin C RRP £4.95* which I was excited to try as I really want to add some more products containing Vitamin C to my routine and the mask contains a mixture of Vitamin C, herbs and botanicals which all help to reduce pigmentation and brighten a dull complexion. I am trying to cut back on sheet masks or opt for ones that are biodegradable ideally but I thought I'd still give it a whirl. It worked okay and left my skin feeling a lot softer and plumper. I can't say much on the pigmentation reduction claims as I don't really have any pigmentation issues. But overall it was a nice, refreshing sheet mask to use.

You can easily sign up to Rocacbox for just £10 per month (+postage) on the website.

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-If a product is marked with a * then it was PR/gifted to me. This post contains no paid content-
Because my hair is quite limp and flat at the roots, anything that says it's going to create some volume and add texture will always pique my interest. So when I got a surprise package from Feel Unique just before Christmas containing the Bed Head by TIGI Hair Volume Gift Set* I couldn't wait to try both of the products out. The gift set contains their Superstar Queen For a Day Volume Spray* and their Oh Bee Hive Dry Shampoo For Volume and Matte Finish* and the total value of the set is £30.50 but Feel Unique was selling the set for £19.99 at the time. However, as I'm writing this it's £9.95 in the sale which is a complete steal! They're also selling other gift sets for other hair types/goals for or around the same price. I did use to use a couple of products from TIGI's Bed Head range but for some reason, I just stopped using them, so it was nice to be reintroduced to them again. 

The first product I want to talk about is the Bee Hive Dry Shampoo RRP £15* which they claim will give you volume and a matte finish. It has a very strong vanilla scent, so if you don't like vanilla, then this isn't for you. I personally really like the scent and I like that it's quite strong as it means it'll definitely freshen up your hair if you're trying to go an extra day or two without washing your hair. It's super light and it doesn't leave you with a white residue like a lot of dry shampoos do which is a huge plus in my book and it also gives you some tips on how to get the most out of the product on the back of the bottle which is always handy. I do really like this dry shampoo, it is a little pricier than I would be willing to pay as I do use a lot of dry shampoo as I use it as dry shampoo and to also add texture but if I saw it on offer then I would pick it up again. 

I find a lot of texturising products leave your hair feeling either super sticky straightaway or leave you with a weird sticky residue, even after you've brushed the product out at the end of the day. This is why I tend to turn to dry shampoo when I want to add texture. TIGI claim that their Superstar Queen For a Day Thickening Spray RRP £15.50* will create thicker-looking, voluminous hair with incredible texture. It's formulated with Palm Kernel Glycerides which creates the volume and texture, Triglycerides which helps to condition, smooth and soften the hair and Film Forming Polymers that helps to hold hairstyles and volume so they don't "drop". I've got to say this is definitely one of the best texturising and volumising products I've tried, I also really like the Berry Medley fragrance. It just works so easily, adds a decent amount of volume to your hair without it looking like something from the '80s and it doesn't leave you with any sort of stickiness. You also get a good amount of product for the price (311ml). I will be repurchasing this again as soon as I run out.

Have you got any faves from TIGI's Bed Head range that I need to know about?

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-This post is in collaboration with The English Shaving Company-
It’s been a talking point for some time in the world of beauty; what’s the difference between a men’s razor and a women’s razor? Is there really a need to separate the two, and what would be the harm in using one over the other? 

Just to make sure we’re all on the same page, it’s worth knowing that there is a difference between the two, but essentially, they do the same job for any gender. There is also some debate as to whether there should really be a price difference. 

Men’s razors are more commonly used to shave beards, whereas women’s razors are used to shave different areas of the body, such as legs, underarms and bikini line. When you view the argument from this perspective, the logical choice would indeed be to choose a men’s or women’s razor depending on what you’re using it for, but there may be some cross over depending on personal preferences.

The differences.
The main function of the razor is the same, whether you opt for a men’s or women's; to temporarily remove the hair you don’t want to have. Here are some of the main differences between the two to help make things a little clearer. 

Blade angles.
At the end of the day, blades are blades; they all work to do the same job. However, when creating men’s and women’s razors, there has to be some sort of difference in their manufacture to make shaving as quick and effective as possible for any gender. The blades on men’s razors are angled differently to women’s to make them easier and more comfortable to use on the face and to enable you to shave a beard with ease. Facial hair is also much thicker than other parts of the body, so this has to be taken into account too.

The design.
To make shaving those harder to reach areas easier, women’s razors are created with a slightly different design to enable you to see the skin and hair you’re shaving. The arc in the handle of a women’s razor is higher, whereas men’s razors are usually more straight.

To make it easier to spot a women’s razor from a men’s razor in a shop or supermarket, you’ll often find that there is a difference in colour. Men’s razors will be in darker colours such as grey, black or dark blue, whereas women’s razors are brighter, such as pink, yellow or light blue. Of course, these colours don’t indicate a razor that is better or worse; it’s simply to help you identify one kind of razor than the other when shopping around. 

Can I share a man’s razor?
If you usually use women’s razors for example and you’re wondering if you could use your partner’s razor, then there’s nothing stopping you. However, doing so can be very unhygienic, so you’d be better off purchasing and using a razor that is used for you alone. 

If you use a man’s razor regularly, you’re more likely to make those blades become duller quicker, resulting in them having to be replaced more often. If you’re a regular razor buyer, you’ll understand how expensive it can be to constantly replace!

The verdict?
So, is there a difference between men’s and women’s razors? The simple answer; yes. If you want accurate results quickly and safely, then choosing the right razor for you is essential. Everybody is different, and using the right razor can be much more effective.

What are your thoughts on the men’s and women’s razor debate? Let me know in the comments! 

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Okay, I'll admit, the title seems super dramatic, doesn't it? The changes I'm making aren't going to be massively drastic changes, I'm still focusing my blog mainly on beauty, lifestyle and fashion as well as throwing in some posts about mental health, my chronic pain/possible endometriosis journey too, just because I know I have some followers following me for those posts and want updates. But I've hit a bit of a brick wall with my blog. I don't know if it's because it's January and I'm feeling a bit meh and because I've had quite a lot of rubbish life things happening recently or if I'm just a bit bored of the content I'm producing. So here are a few things I'm planning on changing and why... 

As much as I love a flatlay I'm just a bit bored of them and I think my instagram grid, in particular, looks really repetitive. You might have noticed that I haven't been posting as much on there and that's partly the reason why. So I'm planning on creating one or two different "backgrounds" for my photos as well as doing flatlays. The reason why I like doing flatlays is because I find it easier to take those type of photos with my chronic pain. I just whack my white foamboard on my bed and get all of the blog props and products and just take one after another. Even that makes my pain flare up a bit and I usually have to lie down for a few hours after taking the photos. It's mad, I know. But I'm hoping to start taking photos against the brick wall in my room and also using more homeware bits as blog props such as candles, mirrors, prints and more. But it just depends on how my pain is being and things like that. 

 I also really want to start writing more about lifestyle and fashion on my blog. I do already cover both but I feel like the beauty side takes over a lot of the time and sometimes I can go a whole month just talking about beauty related things on the blog and again, it seems a bit repetitive. So I want to try and make more of an effort in creating lifestyle and fashion content too. This isn't saying that I'm about to become one of those people who go and stand by a pretty wall and have their photo taken because that's just not for me, I don't have the confidence for that haha. 

I've noticed recently that I'm being described as a "skincare blogger" by both other bloggers and brands and although that's nice that people are coming to my blog to read my skincare reviews and trust my opinions and etc, I don't want to just be known as Kirsty the skincare blogger. So not only am I going to start writing more lifestyle and fashion posts, I'm also going to start covering makeup and hair more and I'm planning on taking more photos of my makeup looks (on instagram) and just show what a product looks like on instead of my followers just reading my review if you get what I mean. That's the plan anyway. Again, it depends on how I'm feeling both mentally and physically too.

I would also love to work with more of a variety of brands too. I'm hoping once I've changed up my content a little, I'll start getting more opportunities from these type of brands ~fingers crossed~. I already have a few brands and companies in mind who I'm going to pitch to in the future after I've changed up my blog a bit! I still love working with beauty brands and I won't stop working with them but I just want something a bit different to come along here and there too, just to mix it up a bit. 

So yeah, that's where I'm at with my blog right now. I'm literally writing this on the day this post is going to go live which is rare. I guess you could say it's a bit of a "brain dump" kind of post haha. 

If there's any particular type of posts you'd like to see on my blog then let me know in the comments and I'll see what I can do!

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-If a product is marked with an * then it was PR/gifted. This post contains no paid content-
  Latest in Beauty surprised me with their Haul of Fame Roundup 2019 Box* just before Christmas which was exciting and as I'm writing this it's actually still available to buy! I've been trying out the products in the box that I've never tried before over the Christmas period and I thought I'd share my own review of the products. The contents of the box is worth a whopping £180 but you can get the box for just £32 which is a complete bargain!

I'm already familiar with the Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant* and I actually have the full-size bottle and I can honestly say it deserves to be in LiB's Haul of Fame Edit because it is a great exfoliator. It is a bit messy but it's 100% worth it and it's quite fun to use too and it always helps to brighten up my skin if it's looking a bit lacklustre. 

I've been wanting to try Marc Jacobs Velvet Noir Major Volume Mascara* for a while now but I've just not wanted to drop £25 on the full-size version. So I was happy to see a travel-size version in the box to try. It has what I would call my ideal brush because it's in an hourglass shape and has lots of bristles, so it works really well at getting right into your lashes and adding volume. I do think it works well and gives me lovely, voluminous lashes but I do kind of feel like my fave drugstore mascara does a very similar job for a fraction of the price. However, if I fancied treating myself to a high-end mascara then I would probably opt for this out of the other mini/travel sized high-end mascaras I've tried over the past couple of months.

The Eyeko Eye Do Liquid Eyeliner* is the only product in the box I've not tried just because I don't wear ever liquid eyeliner. I just don't feel like it suits me and I also find it quite tricky to apply anyway. So I'm probably either going to pass it on to someone who wants it or I may pop it in my next giveaway which is coming soon by the way!

You also get the Nude By Nature Perfecting Primer* in the box which I really liked the sound of. I love anything that claims to perfect and even out your skin and this does a really nice job doing just that. It also has a combination of active natural ingredients which has to fight visible signs of ageing whilst you're wearing it and it just gives you a nice, natural glowing base without being too OTT. You can also just wear it on its own to give the illusion of smoother skin and I like that the formula is quite lightweight and easy to work with. 

Show Beauty Mini Dry Shampoo* is definitely the boujee-est dry shampoo I've ever tried, you can tell that just by the packaging. It definitely sorts out your hair if it's need of a pick-me-up or hair wash but you haven't got the time or can't be bothered, it also helps to add some volume to your roots which I'm always up for because I do have quite flat hair naturally. I do really like this dry shampoo and I also think it smells quite similar to one of my fave scents from LUSH which is the Honey I Washed The Kids range which is an added bonus, however, it does come with a price tag... the full-size 265ml is £30.

Another product I'm already familiar with is the Aromatherapy Associates De-Stress Muscle Bath & Shower Oil* which I do buy for myself as a treat here and there when it's on offer because it really does help to de-stress and calm achy muscles whether you use it as a bath or shower oil. It's definitely another one I think really deserves to be in Latest in Beauty Haul of Fame Roundup for 2019.

Murad are a brand I've heard skincare queen Caroline Hirons talk about on her Youtube channel so I was excited to see their AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser* in the box as I don't think I've actually tried anything from them before. Also, the fact that it contains both AHA/BHA intrigued me even more because I am suffering with what I call "after Christmas skin" right now as it's breaking out all over the place and I've also got quite a lot of texture going on around my cheeks for some reason too. I've been using it as a second cleanse in the evening so I know the AHA/BHA part of the product is going to get to work on my freshly cleansed skin. I've only used it a handful of times so far and I do think it's helped a little.

You also get a lipstick from Lipstick Queen from their Nothing But The Nudes range (in either Sweet as Honey or Blooming Blush)* formulated with natural oils, waxes and antioxidant Vitamin E. I got the shade Blooming Blush and I just love it! It's quite a glossy lipstick which is comfortable to wear (it feels as if I'm just wearing a lip balm) and I just think it's a pretty mid pink kind of shade which compliments any makeup look. 

NARS are a brand I really want to explore more so I was excited to find their Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base* inside the box. I will admit I don't wear eyeshadow that much but it is something I want to change this year. I really want to post more makeup looks and things like that on my insta and just show my face more I guess. I've tried the Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base with two different eyeshadows so far (one matte and one glittery) and it really does help to prolong the longevity and also increase the vibrancy of the colours. 

The Clarins Beauty Flash Balm* is a cult beauty product but one I've never got around to trying until now. It is a nice product to put on when you feel like your skin needs a pick-me-up and needs some TLC and it also has a nice fresh scent which I really liked but I just don't know if it's something I would pick up again just because I've got other products which do a similar job that I already own.

I already have a couple of tubes of Jurlique Rose Hand Cream* and I just can't get enough. It's got a super-rich formula but it doesn't take ages to dry down which is why it gets a thumbs up from me. I just think it's a must-have hand cream in the winter and the rose scent is really uplifting too.

Lastly is the Shiseido Ultimune Power Infusing Concentrate* which I'll admit I didn't really "get" at first as it apparently reduces the impact of future ageing which means I can't see immediate results if that makes sense. But I've been using it more as a soothing serum instead and I find it really helps to make my skin look and feels plumper.

Have you tried any of these products before? If so, what are your thoughts?

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-This post is in collaboration with Aromatherapy Associates-
A lot of us suffer from the January Blues when a new year comes around, whether it's because of the long wait until payday, feeling skint after Christmas or even missing being in the festive bubble. It could also be because you've set yourself some unrealistic resolutions and worried about failing or the colder, miserable weather could be affecting your motivation levels. In this post, I'm talking about some things which I find tend to really help when I'm feeling low at the beginning of a new year.

Enjoy the little things
I really find that when I'm feeling low, no matter what season or month we're in, trying to enjoy the little things in life really helps you to appreciate what and who you have around you. Whether it's getting all cosy and sitting down to watch your favourite film, treating yourself to some aromatherapy body oils which can really help to lift your low mood, having a long soak in the bath whilst using your all-time fave products, booking a meal at your favourite restaurant with your loved ones etc. It can really help to perk you up and be more appreciative.

Take time to reflect 
Remember to take time to reflect on the previous year, think about the good and bad things and write down what you want to do in the fresh new year ahead as well as the things you want to change or improve and so on. I feel like getting everything out in the open and written down in front of you can just alter your mindset sometimes.

Organise your life 
Something I love to do in the new year is to organise and sort through pretty much everything in the house from my wardrobe, perfumes, beauty bits, the bathroom, the kitchen and more. I just feel like it helps to make you feel like you've got rid of excess baggage if that makes sense and the things you get rid of and sell on depop or give to family/friends, charity or shelters will also come in useful to someone else instead of throwing them away or sitting in your house not being used.

Start a new hobby 
Starting a new hobby could help to boost your mood too. This year I'm really hoping to get back into reading again. I use to do it as a self-care measure to help me to unwind in the evening and to stop me from going on my phone late at night. If there's a hobby you're planning to take up this year then maybe now is the time to start.

Plan ahead
Something else which I actually only started to do a couple of months ago is to write down things you're looking forward to. It could be a big thing like a holiday or something pretty small like a film you're looking forward to watching at the cinema when it's released. I really feel like this has helped me over the past couple of months. So maybe writing down things you're looking forward to over the next few months could help keep you feeling motivated and excited.

Eat foods which can help with your mood 
Lastly is to opt for foods which can help with your moods such as fish, wholegrain oats, bananas, spinach, broccoli, dark chocolate, brazil nuts and more. After you've spent Christmas fuelling your body with carbs and all the beige foods, your body might be feeling a bit sluggish and opting to eat foods with more nutrients really does help when you're feeling a bit blah.
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-If a product is marked with an * then it PR/Gifted to me. This post contains no paid content-
I'm sure by now you'll know that I love trying out and testing new skincare products and brands I've never tried before. In this post, I'm talking about Herbal Essentials who are a cruelty-free Himalayan inspired skincare brand. Their products are quite straight to the point which I really like and they're on the pretty-affordable side and easily accessible but I'll talk about that later in the post. 

The PR company who look after Herbal Essentials kindly sent over four products for me to try out for myself. First up is the Foaming Face Wash with Ginger & White Lily extracts RRP £18* which I'll admit, I thought I probably wouldn't get along with just because I rarely get on with foam face washes as they tend to either dry out my skin and make it flaky or make my skin feel really tight after using them. But I was pleasantly surprised with the Foaming Face Wash from Herbal Essentials because it didn't upset my skin at all. It's soap-free which I think is what makes a big difference and it's just a really nice face wash to use in the morning. It also has a fresh, gentle scent which I like. I haven't used it as a makeup remover because I feel like if you want to take makeup off really effectively then an oil-based product is the best way to go but they do claim it can effectively remove makeup as well. But I personally like using it as a morning face wash and I would pick it up again for that alone. It's literally the first foaming face wash I've come across in a while which doesn't cause me any issues. 

Next up is the Firming Eye Gel with Sodium Hyaluronate and Aloe Vera RRP £28*. Now I'm almost 26 I'm really trying to crack down and make sure I use eye gels and creams daily. The Firming Eye Gel is suitable for all skin types which is great and it's just a really nice refreshing, lightweight eye gel. I don't think I've seen any dramatic improvements whilst using it but I do think it's a good one to just wake up your under eyes first thing in the morning and I've found it's a good product to pop on when my eyes are feeling tired from staring at my laptop screen for too long when I'm working. If you're trying to move away from using single-use under-eye gel patches then this would be a good alternative and you could even pop it in your fridge to make it nice and cold. I do like the Firming Eye Gel and I would potentially pick it up again but my favourite eye serum from Transformulas is less than £10 more and I do feel like I see and feel more of a difference when I use that over the Herbal Essentials offering.

They also have a Gentle Renewal Scrub RRP £12* which is a physical facial exfoliant containing Walnut Shell Powder, Kaolin, Shea Butter and Honey. I was a little apprehensive when I saw it contains walnut shell powder because it usually means that it's a really gritty exfoliator. However, it definitely lives up to its name and is more of a gentle exfoliator. It's formulated with pure Himalayan Spring Water and is also high in essential minerals, such as Calcium, Magnesium and Potassium which all help to boost skin renewal like the rest of their products. I think it's a great exfoliator to pick up if your skin is sensitive or is just going through a sensitive spell. Even my mum who has really sensitive skin has tried this and liked it and her skin is really awkward to cater for usually. 

Lastly is the Nourishing Cream RRP £20* which is aimed at normal to dry skin types. It contains nourishing Apricot Kernal Oil, Aloe Vera and Sweet Almond Oil. I was expecting this to be a little bit too much for my oilier skin type because products which are described as nourishing tend to be on the heavier side and I also just prefer to use a gel moisturiser these days. However, I've found it works fine with my skin type and I really like how it's in a pump bottle too. The cream isn't heavy like I thought it would be and it doesn't take ages to sink into my skin which is great because I hate my skin feeling tacky whilst products sink in. It is a moisturiser I'll reach for more when my skin is having a more "normal" day and when I'm not breaking out but I do like it and I think it's a good price. 

You can pick up Herbal Essentials products from their website and they offer free UK delivery if you spend over £25.

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I thought I'd do a blog post about blogging and things I've found really helpful since I started my blog almost 4 years ago (I can't believe it's been that long!). These are things that I literally can't live without because I'm that used to using them for my blog/insta and I do get asked about some of these in a roundabout way so I thought it was time I shared "my secrets". 

Light It Up...
I take the majority of my blog photos in my bedroom and the lighting, especially in winter is shockingly bad. So I bought some soft box lights back in 2017 and never looked back. They came with a travel case and everything but I tend to just keep them up all of the time because it's just easier that way. But I know a lot of people wonder how I get my photos looking so bright and that's why (as well as some help from the photo editing app I'm talking about shortly in this post).

Faking The Background...
I love a good flatlay and let's face it, the majority of my photos are flatlays these days however I don't have any lovely crisp white surfaces in my house and there's a lot of wooden surfaces around instead which I personally just don't like using as my background. So I fake the white background by using foam boards instead. I tend to pick them up in a pack of 3 on Amazon for £12 but you can also get them in Hobbycraft and The Range too. They are a bit of a pain to store but I keep them down the side of my wardrobe.

No more blur?
I take my blog and insta photos on my phone (an iPhone 8 for reference) and I have noticed, particularly if my anxiety is acting up that my photos sometimes look slightly blurry which is a pain when you've spent ages taking the photos. So I looked into something which would potentially help with this and came across what I've now named the "Clicky" which is a bluetooth remote which you use to take the photos instead of pressing your phone when you're ready to take the photo if that makes sense? It's compatible with both iPhones and Androids and I just think it's a really nifty thing to use and it's super cheap! I'm also planning on taking more photos using my tripod this year so I think it'll come in handy for that too.

I edit all of my photos using the free version of Lightroom on my phone. I don't actually use any presets that I know a lot of people use because I feel like every photo is different and needs tweaking in different ways. I tend to use all of the adjustment tools in the "Light" editing area and then I'll up the temperature to around 10-12 and then use the sharpening tool too. Sometimes I need to adjust the tint and vibrancy too.

Plan Ahead...
I've also started to use UNUM again which is where you can plan you instagram grid before you upload it to make sure it flows. I definitely have my favourites when it comes to my blogging props and I try and break it up a little on my instagram where I can and UNUM definitely helps me to do that.

Stay Organised...
Lastly is to just try and stay organised and have a box or drawer for blog props and then a box or drawer for things you're planning on taking photos of in the next week or two. I find this really helps me to keep track of things and it makes it easier for me when I take my photos so I'm not running around like a headless chicken looking for the items I need. I also use the "Sticky Notes" app on my laptop and write down all of my upcoming planned content (usually 3-4 weeks in advance) so I can tick it off as I go along and I always make sure I have a space or two for any suitable sudden paid content too.

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