Wednesday, 31 December 2014

New Year Resolutions

2014 was a pretty hectic year, so I don't want to go overboard on the resolutions for 2015 - but, of course, there are a few things I'd like to do differently / start so let's get to it:

1. Scrapbooking. Of course, now I've finished my MSc, I have so much time on my hands I simply don't know what to do with it all... Okay - so I'm still pretty busy, but I haven't been too good at keeping mementos of the kids' early lives - and I'm keen to try Project Life. I'm not going crazy - apparently some people do it every day (?!) - but a monthly 'journal' should be straightforward. I guess we'll see at the end of the year.

2. Eat more healthily. Not diet, you understand - although I'll probably continue with the 5:2. But actually just try not to put so much processed crap into my body. Let's face it; I'm not getting any younger - it's time to start taking care of myself properly. 

3. Pass my motorbike test. Not the theory - that's already done - but the practical bit. I'm not adding buying a motorbike to the list - that can be my task for 2016 - but I am going to get my license next year for sure. 

4. Get back into knitting. I used to do this a lot, but my MSc took over and I haven't made anything for quite a while. I miss it - and if I start now, the kids and I might all have some decent knitwear for next winter!

5. Be more social. Working full time and four kids gives us far too much reason not to get out as much as we should. 2015 will be the year that I actually plan to see my friends - and then do it.

What do you have planned for next year?

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Top 10 beauty products under £10

As 2014 draws to a close, I wanted to highlight some of the best budget buys I've been using during the year. Some are new, some are old and trusted favourites - but all are fantastic value for money. I've by no means captured them all - but these have been my top ten products this year that cost less than £10. Enjoy.

You can't argue with a decent foundation for under a tenner - and that's exactly what Bourjois Healthy Mix is. Yes, it's been around a while - but there's a reason it's still a best seller. Given that Bourjois and Chanel are owned by the same company, perhaps it shouldn't be a surprise that it's such good quality - and good value. It's £9.99 - but it compares well with much more expensive foundations. The coverage is good, the range of colours is pretty good and it's staying power is more than good. 

Highly pigmented, and staying power of around 4-6 hours, the Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvet lipstick deserves a mention. Initially launched in six colours, there are now eight to choose from. Initially, it feels quite wet when you first apply it, but it dries to a matte finish. It does still transfer to mugs or glasses - so be careful with that - but overall, a good addition to any make-up bag. £8.99 each. 

Revlon ColorBurst Matte Balm comes in a massive range of colours and there are also gloss versions if that's more your style. They feel like a lip balm - they feature a triple butter complex of shea, mango and coconut butters - and are quite pigmented. The staying power isn't comparable to more expensive versions (at least on my lips) but for £7.99 you can't really moan. 

If you're looking for a decent eye shadow with good pigmentation and staying power, then look no further than Max Factor's Excess Shimmer pots. Don't be put off by the name - yes, they are shimmery, but I wouldn't say it's excessive. The staying power is very good - you'll need a decent eye make-up remover to get this off - and my colour of choice is bronze. It does sell out pretty quickly so can be difficult to get hold of - but when you can find it, it's £7.99. 

To be honest, there are lots of 'drug store' mascaras out there that do a very good job - I definitely wouldn't opt for a high end version, - I'd spend the cash on skincare or foundation first. The new SEVENTEEN Falsifeye HD mascara is well worth a look - it's £6.99 and really does give length and volume. What more could you want?

The Body Shop Body Butters aren't technically under £10 - the normal retail price is £13 - but there's usually an offer that makes them around £6. My personal favourite is the Brazil Nut one, but I've used a few at different times and they're all good. I use them after a bath before going to bed - they are quite heavy and need some time to sink in - but it really hydrates my skin and they smell amazing. 

The whole Neutrogena Visibly Clear range in pink grapefruit is great value for money (and as a sneaky 11th product, I'd also check out the facial wash - £4.49) but the moisturiser smells fantastic and is really light and hydrating. It's £4.99 but currently on offer - so definitely worth picking up when you're out and about. (Not pictured)

Rimmel Stay Matte Pressed Powder - a bargain at just £3.99 - does exactly what the name suggests: it stays matte. Most of the pressed powders at this price point are a bit too 'talcum powder' like for me - but this one has been a staple in my make-up bag this year. (Not pictured)

Love multi-tasking products? Then check out Nivea Daily Essentials 2 in 1 Cleanser and Toner. For oily and combination skins, this little beauty cleanses and tones in one easy step. Just pop on your serum and moisturiser and you're good to go. £3.59 definitely isn't going to break the bank. 

COLAB dry shampoo is wonderous. Created by Ruth Crilly - blogger extraordinaire - it claims to be a breakthrough in dry shampoo couture, and it doesn't disappoint. Perhaps the best thing about this is the total lack of white powder that is so often associated with dry shampoo. It comes in a range of fragrances, each named after different world cities - my personal favourite is London, obviously - but to be honest, they're all pretty good. Snap one up in your local Superdrug - the 200ml size is just £2.32. (Not pictured)

Saturday, 27 December 2014

I'm back!

Happy Christmas! I hope you've had a good one so far. I was worried I wouldn't get to enjoy Christmas at all - I came down with pneumonia in the middle of November and I've only just properly recovered. Fortunately, just in time for the big day!

I didn't really have the chance to get properly prepared for Christmas - and for me, the build up is half the fun. However, I did manage to make the cake you see above - and today I'm going to make some gingerbread - so all is not completely lost. If, like me, you love a Christmas cooking programme, then you may well recognise the cake from Nigella - the recipe is here. Admittedly, it's not the most fat-free option, but then - well, it is Christmas...

We've had a great couple of days - although very hectic - so I'm looking forward to a couple of chill out days before going back to work on Monday. Online sale shopping and trying out all my new presents will be the order of the day :)