The Beauty Edit: Best Of 2016

I haven’t done a beauty post in a little while, but my love for makeup hasn’t subsided any in that time! Today I want to do a little round-up of some of my favourite products from 2016.

These products may be ones I have tried for the first time this year and have loved or ones that I may have used before but for one reason or another stood out majorly in 2016. This might help you find some new products to try in 2017 (God, how scary is that?) if you haven’t before, because I’d highly recommend them all.

I am a natural blonde but this year I lightened my hair a little and this shampoo has been an absolute wonder for me. Even when I was all my natural colour, this shampoo would turn the lightest points in my hair a lovely grey/silver colour which is very in right now. This is the only product of it’s kind that I’ve tried that doesn’t just tone your hair but gives it the silver shade everyone seems to be after.It’s such a dark purple shampoo that works instantly!

Even though I have oily skin, I much prefer this foundation to the matte version. It’s a completely different product with a better colour range (I am speaking for my pale people here though. I’m not 100% about the darker shades, unfortunately) and a much better coverage. This foundation makes your skin look flawless without being too cakey and looks amazing in photos. It is a bit more pricey that what I’d normally like to pay for a makeup product, but it’s amazing and lasts for ages that I won’t hesitate to pick it up again.

I love Makeup Revolution and I’ve mentioned them in all my past beauty posts, I’m sure. This year I’ve been obsessed with their eyeshadow palettes and they’re really the only things I use now. I have Flawless, Flawless Matte and Fortune Favours The Brave. Priced between £8-£10 for 32 shadows, they’re are such good value for money. They’re great quality and with a variety of shades they’re brilliant for people like me who like to experiment with makeup but don’t have a lot of money to do so. They also make brilliant gifts!

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I told you I love this brand! I mentioned this product in a post I did back in the summer (read here) and I’m still using it now. When it comes to contouring and all that, I’m not technical with it and just tend to wing it. This little product makes the process so simple. All the colours blend so well together and look so natural on the skin. The highlight is actually amazing and will give you that perfect glow. And at only £3.50 this little kit is a steal and perfect for any kind of look.

For years I’ve relied on wipes to remove my makeup. Then in 2016 I discovered Micellar water and my skin has been never been so happy. You can get this Garnier version everywhere now and I really like it. It manages to remove even waterproof mascara and leaves my skin feeling so fresh and clean. Even though it’s quite tough on makeup, it’s a really gentle formula for your skin and doesn’t leave you all red and rashy like some products.

So those were my top picks from 2016. Have you tried any of them? What are some of your favourite products from this year? I’d love to know.

If you have anything you’d like to share you can tweet me. You can also follow my blog on bloglovin if you fancy.

Speak soon,

Rachael.

Important Things To Remember This Festive Season

This season is meant to be the happiest of them all. I mean the month of Christmas and all the other festivities; a time when we’re supposed to be surrounded by friends, family and wonderful food, what’s not to love? But for many people it’s just another month in the year. Or for some, even with all the festive cheer, this month still has it’s struggles and it;s difficulties.

But because we’re all meant to be so merry and bright (sorry) this month, it tends to make our dark days darker as we feel like there must be something wrong with us. To be sad, anxious or just generally not having the best time during Christmas? How can that be possible? Don’t worry, I get you.

If you are really struggling, at this time or any, please speak to someone. But for the most part, here are some important things to remember when things get a bit much this season:

  • Don’t Compare Yourself With Others

This is something I have mentioned a few times in various posts and something I try to remind myself on a daily basis. But I think it’s especially relevant during the Christmas period. It seems that everywhere people are having a perfect festive season; their families are so close and get on so well; they have enough money to buy amazing presents for everyone in their life and even the fact that people have time off is something we can get envious of. But it’s important to appreciate what you have going on and basically ignore everything else. Whenever we look at what other people have in comparison with our own, nine times out of ten we come out on the bottom. We get so busy obsessing about how we aren’t as good as the other person that we lose sight of everything we have and all the wonderful things going on with us. This one doesn’t have a quick fix and I’m still struggling on it, but please spend more time on what you have and less on other people. It’s such an unhealthy exercise to out yourself through.

  • Social Media Is A Highlight Reel

Similar to what I’ve just mentioned, it’s so easy to feel disheartened when you’re bombarded with images of perfect everything 24/7. Now that it’s Christmas we’re seeing images and videos of the ‘perfect’ way to do it, from the best decorations to expensive gifts to even constant happiness. With social media it can often feel like you’re the only one left out, but you need to remember that it’s a highlight reel. Every post on any site has been chosen carefully (in most cases) to highlight something. We all do it. Everything is edited and cut to only show what the creator has chosen to allow us to see. Why wouldn’t you just show the best parts of yourself or your day if you could? Which is all well and good but when it’s a constant thing it’s easy to forget that real life just isn’t like that. Not everyone looks flawless, feels 100% happy or is having the best day all of the time. Just because that’s what you see on social media, doesn’t make it true.

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  • Have Realistic Expectations

We all do it every year, I know. That thing where we big up Christmas and New Year and think we’re going to have the best one ever. We try to do so many things and make everything perfect that on the day nothing is good enough and we’re left disappointed. The key to this is be realistic. You don’t have to be negative, just think about the Christmases you’ve had in the past and the simple things that made them great. Do not try to replicate them or try to plan anything too much. This is really hard for someone like me to do, but it’s really important to try to ‘go with the flow’ a little bit this season. With all the stress and excitement things are bound to go wrong. With people coming and going so much, plans aren’t going to get stuck to. Plan as much as you need (ie. get your presents in before the big day!) but don’t put too much emphasis on everything being the best. Instead focus on having a good time, spending some time with loved ones and taking a break when you can.

  • It’s Only One Day

This is something I think we all forget in the excitement and stress, but Christmas is really only one day of your life. Of course it’s nice to make a big effort and join in with the excitement all month long but you need to remember that it’s only a day. When things feel like they’re getting on top of you and you’re struggling to do everything at once, take a breather because it’s only a day. 24 hours. That’s it, then it’s over. Now I’m not encouraging you to drop everything, become a total Scrooge because ‘fuck it it’s only one day’ but I feel like we all go a bit crazy over the month of December and it is a bit daft. There’s plenty of time to see your family and friends, to chill out and have a laugh. Just because it’s Christmas doesn’t mean you have to do everything at once.

As always I hope this helped any of you that needed it. I wish you a very Merry Christmas and I hope you’re having a good day.

Speak soon,

Rachael.

Five Non-Fiction Books To Gift This Christmas

Buying Christmas presents can be a real struggle. You want something that will be perfect, something you hope they’ll love and treasure for a long time. But also, let’s be real, without spending too much money.

Books are such an under-rated gift I feel and are something that can be easily slept on. Okay they’re not everyone’s cup of tea, but what better time to introduce someone to the joys of reading than at Christmas? Books can be such a personal gift and something that you can really tailor to suit the person you’re shopping for.

Here are five non-fiction books that I think would make wonderful gifts for various people in your life:

I feel like I’ve talked about this book so many times because it’s impacted me so much since I first read it. This book would be a wonderful gift for pretty much anyone as it talks about issues regarding creativity that I feel like we all face. It’s such an inspirational, positive book that’ll change the life of the reader for the better. To get a better feel for it, I’d recommend you check out Elizabeth Gilbert’s TED Talk or her podcast, but trust me it would be a brilliant gift!

I’ve already talked about this book too (check it out here) but that’s only because I love it so. It’s another one that will totally change the life and mindset of the reader for the better, and it’s a particularly good one for the women in your life (obviously). Caitlin is such a funny and honest writer which makes this book so an enjoyable one to read. It’s a modern feminist staple that’s so relatable. It’ll make you laugh out loud and if that’s not a good gift to give, then I don’t know what is.

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I frigging love Carrie. I’ve been a subscriber of hers for years (see her channel here) because I think she’s such a lovely and honest person. This is her first book and it’s almost like a guide for young people on how to face the tough things in life. Carrie talks about everything from friendship and romance, to self-esteem and the future and it’s such a heart-warming, comforting read. It may be a one for the younger readers in your life, say preteens onwards, but I know it’s something they’ll treasure and remember for years to come.

This one is the perfect gift for the bookworms in your life. Although the hype around this book may have surpassed a little, it’s such a brilliant read and I feel like it will last way beyond it’s years. It’s a collection of essays from various authors, including Zadie Smith, Janette Winterson and Mark Haddon, on the topic of books. There’s discussions on digital readers, libraries and the age-old issue of not having enough time to read as well as many more. It’s basically a celebration of books and reading it really fuels any passion you might have for these little objects. An essential for any bookworm, I’d say!

I’m aware that this one might only be relevant if you have any Miranda Hart fans in you life, but you can take inspiration and seek out any other comedian/actor/entertainer’s book and gift those instead. As someone who is a fan of Miranda I really enjoyed this book and know many other who have too. In a similar manner that Carrie’s All I Know Now, Miranda attempts to guide readers through life’s difficult moments in her own funny little way. It’s another one that will make you laugh out loud and it’s perfect for making you feel less alone.

I hope this helped you last minute shoppers. What books would you like to receive as a gift?

Speak soon,

Rachael.

*Please note, affiliate links are used.

 

11 Small Things To Do This Festive Season

Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, it’s hard to escape this festive feeling that’s floating around right now.This month, whether you like it or not, is all about being merry and loving- which are wonderful things to be and something we can all strive to have more of in our everyday lives.  But it can sometimes be a difficult time of the year for a lot of people, as there’s often so much pressure to make Christmas perfect and do so much at once. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed and stressed.

But today I want to set a little challenge for me and you. Playing on the idea that this month is meant to be all about positivity and love, here are 11 small things you should make time for this month that are sure to bring these feelings to you and your loved ones:

  • Take an afternoon off to yourself. Be selfish, even for just a few hours. 
  • Have a long, uninterrupted conversation with a friend or partner.Put the world to rights.
  • Visit your grandparents or elderly relative. It’ll mean the world the them.
  • Play board games with the people you live with right nowThere’s nothing more frustrating or hilarious than a board game.
  • Hug your parents. Be kind, they’ve done a lot for you.
  • Crack open to Celebrations and have a movie night. These dark nights are the perfect time for a movie night.
  • Put up some fairy lights. Any excuse to make your room look cute, eh?
  • Watch a nostalgic film. Take your mind off what’s troubling you now and relax.
  • Smile at at least 2 strangers today. “Better to be the one who smiled then the one who didn’t”
  • Say yes. We all get so busy, but try your best to take time out for other people.
  • Bake a cake. Or stick some pre-made cookie dough in the oven for 20 minutes. 
  • Treat yourself. Because you deserve it. You’re doing the best you can and that’s amazing. 

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So this was kind of a silly little post and something completely different. It’s very cheesy but isn’t that what this time of year is about? I thought I should mark it in some way!

If you have any suggestions for Christmas posts or anything you’d like to see, please let me know. You can tweet me or follow this blog on bloglovin.

Speak soon,

Rachael

Staying Motivated This Festive Season: A Pep Talk

Are you guys looking forward to Christmas? It feels like everyone is getting more and more festive every day, yet I’m still struggling to accept that it’s December already! Already I think it’s lovely that people are getting all excited about Christmas and all that jazz, I am more than aware that not everyone can relate.

I’m currently posting lots about this on here so stay tuned for more advicey things coming (and see my previous post here) but today I wanted to give us all a little pep talk. With two weeks to the day ’til Christmas I know a lot of people are struggling and stressing right now. Life doesn’t suddenly stop because it’s Christmas. Most of us still have deadlines, work and other commitments that we need to spend our time on before we can even think about what’s coming at the end of the month.

It can be really hard to keep focused though, when there’s so much excitement going on around you. I’m guessing my fellow students can’t wait until the end of the semester when they can return home and get some well deserved TLC. But right now are surrounded by deadlines and revision that just won’t budge.

You’ve got this. No matter who you are, or what you’re working on right now, you’ve got this. Let’s use the fact that this month is a bit mental and soon we’ll be surrounded by love ones and eating all the chocolate to push ourselves through this waiting period. As I said, life doesn’t take a break when Christmas arrives. But if we work hard now and push, push, push we can spend the rest of this festive season relaxing.

The new year is a fresh start and wouldn’t it be amazing if we could go into it stress-free? No outstanding deadlines, no work piled up. We could go into 2017 positive, well-rested and just generally hopeful. Because, God knows we need it after the year we’ve had!

This is probably a silly, cheesy post that won’t help anyone but I know that it’s nice to hear things like this every now and again. You’re not the only one and if we all do it together, it’ll be easier. Let’s try not to get too overwhelmed with the festivities and instead use them to push us forwards.

Stick on that Christmas playlist, arm yourself with Quality Streets and get that shit done.

Speak soon,

Rachael.

10 Steps To Refresh and Reboot Your Body

Do you know those days where you just feel a bit ‘meh’? For some reason you just don’t feel 100% and it’s getting in the way of everything you’re trying to do.

Well, here are 10 little steps you can take to feeling refreshed, rebooted and ready to tackle that to-do list once again:

  1. Take a shower
  2. Wash, condition and brush your hair
  3. Lather yourself in a fresh smelling soap, my personal favourite scents are citrus ones. They make me feel so clean and ready to take on anything.
  4. Exfoliate and/or shave what needs doing
  5. Moisturise your body, head to toe. This is especially important in the winter!
  6. Wear your favourite PJs or comfies
  7. Put on a face mask
  8. Give yourself a manicure and pedicure. I find it hard to do anything when I feel a mess.
  9. Make sure the space you are in is warm and clean
  10. Get yourself your favourite hot drink

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Then you’re ready to take on anything, my friends. At least this is what normally works for me. What helps you feel refreshed and rebooted?

Speak soon,

Rachael

Five Christmas Films You Should Watch This Season

While trying to get into the Christmas spirit, I know many of us turn to our favourite festive movies. With happy stories about family, love and Santa there’s no better way to get yourself ready for Christmas!

Here are my top five Christmas films that I’ll be watching this season and I think you should too:

Love Actually is one of my favourite films of all time, let alone favourite Christmas film! It’s such a heartwarming, lovely celebration of all kinds of love from romantic to family to friendship. It’ll make you laugh, cry and overall just appriciate the people you have in your life right now.

I remember going to see this film in Reception, as part of a school trip, and I’ve loved it ever since. I know we’ve all seen it a million times but it’s a classic that I love to come back to every year. It’s another heartwarming, funny film (my favourite kind) and the Grinch, although he’s a bit creepy, only seems to become more and more relatable as I get older!

This is my all-time favourite Christmas film and one I try to watch every year. It’s such a lovely film about the magic of Christmas and as a kid (who am I kidding? As an adult too!) getting to see this version of the North Pole, Santa and the elves makes me feel so festive and excited.

Are you getting the fact that I really enjoy funny films? This one is a favourite in my household and it never fails to make me belly-laugh. It’s such a cute film about a father trying to make his son’s Christmas by getting him the most sought-after toy. This is one I feel like all parents can relate to! It’s a silly film that is guaranteed to make you giggle.

I was obsessed with this film series when I was younger (probably too young to be watching it, to be fair). The final in the series, this film is based around the dogs in the family instead of the babies. As a fan of cheesy comedy, dogs and John Travolta (Grease is the word) this film fills me with nostalgia and still makes me laugh today.

What’s your favourite Christmas film? Also, how did you like those throwback trailers?!

Speak soon,

Rachael