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I’ve been writing on this little slice of the web for over a year now, and have had my ups and downs. There are days when I have no idea what to say, can’t bear the thought of applying or talking about makeup and there are days where I could easily deliver a four figure word count about one eyeliner. That’s just how it is.

Today’s post was supposed to be a Christmas decor inspiration post, but I’ve come over all reflective so we’ll save that for another day and instead I’ll share with you the five life lessons I’ve learned through blogging.

  1. We’re all small fish in a very big pond. As cliche as this is, we’re all working towards a very similar goal, we all have the same passions and we all specialise in a similar field. It’s important to make yourself a fish with a shiny fin, or a whale…
  2. You don’t have to have the latest high end release to have something to write about. I’m a student and a poor one at that, most months i’m scraping up pennies to pay my electricity bill (internet addict probs) and absolutely cannot go out and spend £50 on a bronzer, but that’s OK. A lot of people can’t do that either and appreciate more when you find the best budget dupe or a drugstore alternative.
  3. It’s not about the numbers. When I first started this blog and had zero followers, I felt useless and like it was pointless me writing. It’s important to remember the reason why you’re blogging which for me is because I wanted a creative outlet to express my passion for the beauty industry and somewhere to keep bits of my writing.
  4. Blogging everyday and juggling a full time uni course is verging on impossible, unless you want to abandon your social life/relationships. We’re eight days into Blogmas and i’m already part of the night before rush. If only I was more organised.
  5. Waiting to take pictures of a product for a post before using it is one of life’s real struggles, and trying to disguise the fact that you just couldn’t wait won’t work. #FirstWorldProbs

candles

Come winter, everyone loves candles. Even those who haven’t bat an eyelid at the thought of a flame during summer go candle crazy and it nice to have lovely warming scents fill the home.

My favourite of them all is the annual offering from Space NK in the form of their Shimmering Spice Candle. It smells like cinnamon with those oranges with the spices stuck in and my nostrils really enjoy it. It’s not ridiculous money either with the smaller size not being tiny and priced at £15.

Next in the scents my nostrils love awards comes Winter by The White Company. I would love a candle from there and everytime I wishfully enter the store I give this one a whiff. Slightly more expensive per gram but with a few more size offerings, this one would be a great gift or one to get as a gift for yourself to burn on the approach to Christmas Day.

Next up is a ridiculous offering from fragrance maestro’s Dipytique. They have some special edition scents but this set comes with five of the most seasonal from their usual range. Its eye-wateringly expensive for something you literally melt away, but you could divide the five up and give one each to five mates. Or just keep them.

Everybody loves a Yankee Candle and my two favourites come out every year and are the Christmas Cookie; a sweet bakery scent and Christmas Eve; a true warm festive scent to get you in the mood for the big day. Ahh I do love Christmas…

autumn nail shadesI LOVE Autumn, it’s hands down my favourite season for style, food, drink, beauty and general life. As soon as August is ticked off the calendar I take joy in bringing out the knitwear, scarves, jackets and ankle boots and being surgically attached to a Pumpkin Spice Latte. A moment for Starbucks autumnal cups please. As with every season. the suitable shades transfer into every aspect of our lives; our wardrobes, our lipsticks and today’s topic; our nail polish picks.

The New Nude: This comes in the form of my favourite autumn shade, Camel. There’s something about camel colours which oozes class, sophistication and high end style and I adore it. My pick is MAC Nail Lacquer in Very Important Poodle from their recent Haute Dogs Collection. Try to get your hands on it, thank me later. The formula of MAC polishes impressed me beyond belief, giving Essie a run for its money. Why had I only heard bad things?

The Classic: Hear Autumn, Think Burgundy. Everybody needs a perfect burgundy/berry shade and pictured here is Bordeaux from H&M’s new beauty line. It goes on nicely, but doesn’t last more than a day on me so recommendations are more than welcome.

The Chic: If you’re one to wear a subtle nail shade, Nails Inc X Victoria Beckham polish in Bamboo White delivers on unrivaled formula and colour. A white with a pinky undertone, no tip-exx nails here…

The Edge: For an autumn nail which doesn’t scream the season, or an alternative to the aboves American Apparel Nail Polish in serves up a quintessential navy shade; a colour I cant help going back to.

The Sparkle: It may not be Christmas time just yet (nearly nearly nearly wooooohooooooo) but the colder months are coming and I’m welcoming glitter polish whether you like it or not. I’m currently coveting Essie’s Summit Of Style but until and along with then I’ll be piling up Nails Inc Snowflake.

What are your Autumn polish picks?

lately 1
It’s time for me to bundle together the happenings of the last few weeks/ bore you with details about my life. Enjoy!

1. I’ve just (six days ago) got back from a lovely trip to Paris with my boyfriend! We stayed with some friends near Versailles and looked after their very cute little girl for a few days and had the rest of the time to explore. I went to Sephora pretty much everyday and spent a lot of money. It’s not big and it’s not clever, but it does mean I’ve got lots of new bits to talk about on here!

2. I’ve allowed the fact that my blog has moved and had a redesign to be blown under the carpet, but it should hopefully be looking a lot more professional and be significantly easier to navigate. I also have new buttons in the right hand side for you to find me all over the internet! My really great header is by my friend Isobel (@isobelplatt), she whipped it up without any input from myself and I absolutely love it! I’m now also using wordpress.org and am a self-hosted honey so if you used to follow me on wordpress.com, chances are you no longer follow me, you can do so on Bloglovin using the buttons to the right.

3. I’m on the move! I’m currently very stressed looking for somewhere for Will and I to move to next month. We’ve been really busy recently and when we weren’t it was far too soon to be house hunting on the rental market. I’m taking out my frustration on my bank balance buying lots of pretties for an apartment I don’t even have yet, i’m sure when we do get one i’ll be going interiors crazy on here and on Instagram (@abgldwsn).

4. I have become a planning princess. I recently got a new diary after my other one running out, this time I opted for one by Moleskine with the week to view on the left hand page and a notes section on the right. This means there’ll be a lot less scraps floating about and i’ll hopefully remember everything! There are a lot of exciting posts planned on here and i’m trying to give it a bit of an edge to make it different to the millions of other beauty blogs out there. Stay tuned.

5. My five month break from university is very nearly over and in a few weeks time i’ll be heading into my third and final year. I have no idea what to expect from it but if you’d like to know anything about my university experience so far then do let me know. For reference, I study Journalism at Sheffield Hallam University.

That’s all from me, what have you been up to?

  
You only have to see todays instagram post to know that I, just like a lot of people, have more than five makeup brushes. They’re something I like to buy and one of the most exciting new things to get; there’s something about taking a new brush out of it’s packaging and swishing it around on your face purring “ooh it’s sooo soft” that excites me significantly more than a new lippy.

There are a lot of brands offering brushes, with prices ranging from 99 pence to hundreds of pounds. There are some great brushes on the high street including the obviously fantastic Real Techniques collection and one of my favourites Eco Tools, so you don’t have to give an arm and a leg for a professional result, but sometimes it is nice to splurge a little and get something you know is going to stand the test of time.

So while I do have more than five brushes in my collection, I thought that for today’s post I’d pick the five that I use the most and that I’d suggest for a beginner or for someone who doesn’t want a pot full.

First up, the one that’s not actually a brush is the Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge. I’m desperate to get my hands on the Beauty Blender but until I can justify paying that much for a literal sponge I’m settling for the cheaper alternative. I use this bouncy ball of goodness for foundation and concealer blending purposes, and I can’t achieve a look anywhere near as flawless with a brush.

Secondly, the buffing brush. This one is from Sigma and is the F80 Round Top Kabuki. I’ve had this for years (cheers dad) and to this day it still works just as well as when I first used it. I use this to blend in cream products such as highlight, blush or cream bronzer formulas and I did use it for foundation for a long time too.

Third comes the cheek brush, this one is the Eco Tools angled cheek brush and it makes applying powder cheek products a breeze.

Fourth, for eyes you need a base shadow brush – this one is from Real Techniques. This one packs a punch at popping a colour all over the lid and the slight tapered shape means it does a good job at crease work and outer corner colours too.

Finally, a blending brush like the MAC 217 is your best friend. Blend out your eyeshadow into a professional quality smoke or use it for concealer application. I also sometimes use this to apply a very light wash of eyeshadow all over the lid.

And that’s all you really need, if you can go into the store and pick up only these brushes then you have a lot more self control than I do. Which brushes do you use everyday?

  
It’s no secret that I love lip balm. Not only do I love what they do but for some reason I’ve formed an impressive collection which i’m a little bit too proud of. I suppose you could say i’m somewhat a lip balm connoisseur and if you need to borrow one when out and about, i’m your woman. I have somewhere around 20 in total and they have a dedicated space in my makeup collection (I sound like a crazy lip balm lady, oh no). Today i’m going to share with you the best of my collection, the one’s I repurchase when they run out and the ones which come up top trumps in the imaginary lip balm awards.

Joint top come the Nuxe Reve De Miel lip balm in both the pot and the stick form. These contain honey and ‘precious oils’ and smell like lemon curd. They deliver a matte finish to the lips when applied making them perfect for over or under lipstick and do an unbeatable job at repairing, nourishing and hydrating dry/cracked/chapped lips. Gold stars for the both of them.

Next in line is my go to for serious SOS stress in the lip department. When my lips are sore, cut or need a very very quick fix I always pick out Blistex Medplus. It’s not the most aesthetically pleasing package but what’s inside packs one hell of a menthol punch and sorts out the worst lip conditions imaginable.

Third to the throne is the Palmers Cocoa Butter Formula lip butter in the squeeze tube/gloss form. This one smells amazing (chocolate and peppermint) and does a great job of nourishing not too dry lips while providing a subtle gloss. This is the one I usually find in the bottom of my handbag and it’s applicator makes it super simple to apply on the go.

Finally, the outsider if you will, LUSH Cosmetics Bubblegum Lip Scrub. I like all of the lip scrubs and i’m desperate to try the popcorn one but I never finish one of these pots before the expiry date. This pink pot of goodness exfoliates lips ridding them of unsightly dry/flaky bits providing a smooth base for a balm or a lipstick. The sugar and oil formula gently buffs the lips while still providing nourishment and tasting delicious.

What’s your favourite lip balm?

 Welcome to my all new category, creatively named ‘five things’. Here’s the deal… I pick five things, and I tell you why I looove them. Got it? Ok… So we’ll begin.

Spring has sprung and there’s blossom on the trees, baby lambs bouncing around and daffodils everywhere. Spring is by far my favourite month because British weather means you can still wear your favourite winter outfits – just without the coat. So people actually see your outfit, c’est fantastique.

With a new season comes a new colour palette for eyes, lips, cheeks and nails and today i’m showing you what i’ll be dotting on my digits in the coming weeks.

First and foremost, I will never ever shut up about Maximillian Strasse Her from Essie. I love this shade. Blue? Grey? Green? I still don’t know but I’m struggling to back away from this beauty and can see it in my april favourites already. Quelle surprise!

Next comes another Essie offering in the form of Mint Candy Apple; the bloggers fave, the cult classic. This shade has never ending popularity. And I love it.

Third along in my beauty buffet is Orchid Mauve by Mavala. I don’t read a lot about this brand but the formula is great and the dinky little bottles are so cute as well as being functional because who’s ever finished a nail polish? I picked this one up in Paris but you can get Mavala in John Lewis and some Boots stores. This shade is a creamy lilac with a hint of greige, perfect for something a little smarter or more ladylike.

My final two picks come from Topshop. Topshop do seasonal trends so well not only in fashion but beauty too. Last year I wore ‘Profound’ (Bright Lilac) to it’s death and this year I see ‘Abraison’ (Pale Blue with Shimmer) being a treat for my talons.

So there’s my picks, I’m slightly delirious today because I’ve spent the entire day writing features for my deadline tomorrow. Apologies to those who already had an email for this post. I am so tired.

What are your polish picks for spring?