Tick Tock

Friday 29 July 2016

So watches are my weakness. Big ones, shiny ones, thin ones; I'm always drawn down to the wrist. I feel naked without something weighing down my left wrist, and the Marc Jacobs Rose Gold beauty that I bought in New York a few years back had been serving me well. And then this gorgeous thing caught my eye. 

Olivia Burton is brand which is sold in Topshop, but has all the characteristics of a much more expensive watch. Buttery soft white leather strap, shimmering rose gold face and a durability to rival all the bigger watch brands. I received this for my 21st birthday, and it alternates shifts with my Marc Jacobs on days when I'm wearing white, or need a little rose gold in my life. For the price, I think it is beautiful quality and I can see it lasting a long time into the future, as the strap has very little wear so far. If you're looking for a more affordable wrist accessory, Olivia Burton may be the one to watch.

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Things I Learnt From University

Wednesday 27 July 2016

Two years ago today I wrote my first post on university, Things I Wish I'd Known Before University, chronicling the ups and downs of my fresher life at Durham University. A couple years on and I've graduated with a first class Chemistry BSc and I am finally about to enter the real world, as hideous as that sounds. Here's a few of the things I've learnt since those hazy first few months at uni...

Its the people who will make it
Uni isn't truly just about education, independence or booze fueled nights out. Its about finding the right people, and clinging on to them for dear life. They are your lifeboats in this crazy journey people call university. They will be the people who pick you up off of club floors, sit with you while you're breaking down over exams and push you to the limits of who you once thought you were. If possible, grab a few people from your course and force them into your life; working together never hurt anyone! The social hierarchy which was once in place at school is no longer an issue; make friends with people who make you happy and who bring out the best possible side of you.

There will be downs
There is literally nothing in nature that blooms all year long, so do not expect yourself to do so.
That quote resonates with me a lot more now I'm older. You won't always have a peachy life, not everything will go well, people won't always be nice, you won't always be happy. But here's the thing. Time heals. Everything. So while you might be crying your eyes out about that shitty mark that that shitty supervisor gave you (can you tell I'm bitter ha?) you won't be sad forever. The problem that you're obsessing about won't be an issue in a few weeks. So take a few hours, cry it out and then push through it; know that you won't feel like this forever and things will get better. And worse. And then better again. University moves so fast and everything is such a whirlwind that things can be magnified to almost unmanageable proportions but they really, truly, honestly will be some of the best years of your life if you let them be.

Living out of halls/college is a learning curve
There aren't any porters to look after you when your shower starts leaking out the door, or any people to run to when the neighbours are making too much noise. You're on your own, and the house is usually falling down, and the pipes are leaking through the ceiling, and the washing up is always mounting up. But if you're with the right people, all the things that go wrong are slightly more bearable. I lived with my 4 best friends for 2 years in the most beautiful house and I never had any housing regrets, but be careful in first year who you sign for a house with. While the home comforts of living with the rents is lovely, there's nothing quite like being surrounded by your best friends at all hours of the day.

Somehow drinking won't be your priority anymore
For me at least, something just clicked a couple of months into third year and clubbing was not a thing I wanted to do anymore. The constant cycle of drinking and hangovers started to take its tole and rather than relishing in the 'hilarious' stories of last night, I was often just left feeling empty. Combined with the fact that I simply could not afford to lose anymore days of dissertation writing to hungover eating and moping in bed, I almost completely gave up the clubbing scene. And I feel a hell of a lot better for it. 

I really hated my subject
To be honest, a lot of people do. Especially when surrounded by chemists, I'd say around 30% actually enjoyed our degree, while the other 70% were ploughing through to the light at the end of the tunnel, ie hopefully a good job. This makes your degree a living nightmare, which you never really escape from because of the guilt when you're not working. 

There is a statistic that 70% of Durham graduates meet their spouse at the university. Whether or not this is utter bullshit is irrelevant. I was surrounded by couples through most of my last years at uni, at one point I looked around and realised I was 9th wheeling. Quite an achievement really. While it can be lonely being single at uni sometimes, it really does teach you that your worth is not based on what you look like or who you call your partner. Your degree is for you and no-one else, don't let anything get in the way of you achieving your dreams.

You'll change
For the better. Hopefully. Three years ago I was timid, naive and unsure of who I was or wanted to be. And I probably still am all those things. But any progress is good progress (my ultimate favourite university motto) and being thrown into an unfamiliar environment and forced to make new friends and have new experiences is the ultimate stepping out of your comfort zone kinda progress. Which is always a good thing.

You will miss it when its over
Like crazy. I don't think my head has yet understood that this isn't summer for me now, this is life. Come September, I won't be trundling up North for another year of debauchery combined with chemistry books. Real life is weird, and stressful and terrifying, but I'm excited to see what the future holds.

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My Favourite MAC Lipsticks

Monday 25 July 2016

MAC lipsticks will forever, and always, hold a special place in my heart. Since my very first Hue purchase back in the day, which I wore down to its very stubbs, the scent of MAC lipsticks makes my heart beat faster and my pupils dilate. 

These lot are the three musketeers of the lipstick world, the only lipsticks I really need in my collection at the moment. Syrup is the ultimate 'I want to look natural but also super put together and polished' kinda berry shade, but its sheer finish gives it the wearability of a much more neutral shade. This combined with Charlotte Tilbury's Lip Cheat in Pillowtalk is currently my go to favourite, but when I need a quick vamp it up colour for a night out, I reach for Diva. Bold is the name of the game here, don't plump for Diva unless you have the self confidence to match and the commitment to the game. This needs love, care and attention to prevent lipstick teeth and lip line feathering, but when this is done well, this is the ultimate colour for a night out. Finally we have Patisserie, an age old sheer nude with peachy undertones. I usually pair this with No 7's Nude Lip Liner for an understated and very chic everyday look. My only quarm with Patisserie is its glitter particles in the formula, but this is a small issue which I can overlook for the beautiful colour.

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What's In My Bag?

Friday 22 July 2016

For a bag to gain the status of 'everyday bag' in summer, it must adhere to my very particular checklist. It must be lightweight, not rigid and there has to be a hell of a lot of fringing involved. This beauty from ASOS is leather, has withheld against absolute torture from its brutal owner, and really has stood the test of time since I bought it last year. It has one zipped pocket inside and an adjustable strap for creating your optimal length, and is just big enough for me to be able to hoard a fair amount of crap with me everyday, without it getting lost in the depths of the bag.

I bought a new card purse from John Lewis as a little post exams treat to myself and it has almost completely replaced the bulkier purse I used to lug around every day. This has 3 card pockets and space for change and notes to lurk around at the bottom. It is perfect for everyday when I really don't need to be carrying around a collection of out of date bank cards and dusty, never used store cards. 

An absolute staple as it heats up in the south this week are my Primark sunglasses. Not the most effective, but definitely the only style I have ever found to suit my abnormally long face. I keep them partially scratch free in this cute little Topshop sunglasses case.

Of course keys and phone are everyday essentials to chuck in the bag at the last minute as you run out the door. I keep a holiday snap from a few years ago along with a very decrepit giraffe keyring on my keys, while my Samsung Galaxy J5 is housed in a cute dreamcatcher phone case.

Finally, the miscellaneous items rolling around at the bottom. La Roche-Posay Cicaplast Mains is my ultimate favourite hand cream which keeps scaled fingers at bay, and I will never be without a pot of Nuxe Reve De Miel Lip Balm in my bag. Hairbands are an absolute essential, along with a fold out hairbrush (includes a mirror) and, last but not least, the lip product of the day.

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My Everyday Makeup

Wednesday 20 July 2016

In everyday makeup, speedy is the name of the game. This is what I pack on my face in 10 minutes with my eyes half shut...

Dr Jart Premium Beauty Balm
After their Water Fuse BB Cream was discontinued (why Dr Jart, why?!), I had to grin and continue with this slightly substandard replacement. Its just as hydrating as its counterpart, has spf 40 and a tonne of anti ageing properties, but this just doesn't deliver the same glow that Water Fuse did. RIP.

Bobbi Brown Corrector in Light Bisque
When dark circles are part of your everyday life, this is an everyday essential which I religiously use underneath another concealor to keep the darkness at bay.

NARS Radient Creamy Concealer in Vanilla
I recently purchased the UD equivalent of this, and while a hell of a lot less drying, the colour match doesn't cut it in my books. I want the Vanilla colour in UD formula please.

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Diffused Light
Long gone are the days when matte skin was essential to every day life and nower days I want a glowey finish, and this is perfect. No shimmer but somehow delivers radiance to my lacklustre skin.

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush in Luminous Flush
I adore this. Especially when I am a little tan this colour is perfect and it lasts all day. Winner. 

TheBalm Mary-Lou Manizer
I buy new highlighter after new highlighter and I always go back to this old favourite. There's something so simple and unassuming but so beautiful about it. Its also the perfect colour and consistency for an inner corner highlight.

Anastasia Beverley Hills Brown Wiz in Medium Brown
I will never be without this. I think this may be my 6th or 7th repurchase, and I have never looked back. The perfect colour, consistency and all round perfect brow pencil.

Shu Uemura Eyelash Curlers
Again, I couldn't be without my eyelash curlers. My eyelashes naturally resemble an elephant's and point directly at the floor, but somehow Shu Uemura coax them up to the sky everyday.

Fairy Drops Scandal Queen Waterproof Mascara
For holding a curl, this stuff is insane. Its also surprisingly easy to get off (compared to Max Factor waterproof mascaras), but in the volume department this lets me down. Im completely in the market for a new, volumising, waterproof mascara if you have any recommendations to throw my way!

Charlotte Tilbury Lip Cheat in Pillowtalk
My favourite liner of the moment. The perfect colour in combination with...

MAC Lipstick in Syrup
My baby. Of the copious MAC lipsticks I own, this is the One. The colour is awesome and fading is never an issue.

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The Daintiest Necklace Of Them All

Monday 18 July 2016

Necklace - Etsy

Tiny necklaces that sit comfortably on your collarbone have always been a weakness of mine. I have countless tiny pendants from Primark, which only set me back a couple of quid at a time but turn to rust in a matter of weeks.

I saw this style of necklace on Amelia Liana and Alice Kristiansen, and fell head over heels. After many hours of stalking, I discovered a similar design on Etsy, ordered in 17 inches after a quick measure of my other necklaces, and it came about a week later. 

At first I was worried about the colouring as I'm usually a rose gold kinda girl through and through. But the bright yellow gold grew on me, and now I think I even like this better than my cheaper rose gold necklaces. The tiny droplet coin design is perfect for emphasising your d├ęcolletage, and is subtle while also somehow managing to draw the eye. Its gold filled, and at £19 an absolute bargain.

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The Dress Of My Dreams

Friday 15 July 2016

Dress - Amazon

Words cannot describe to you how much I adore this dress. Blue and white anything floats my float and this has all the characteristics of a fairytale match made in heaven with my wardrobe.

Okay, confession time. I bought this on Amazon. From Hong Kong. With little to no knowledge that it would fit or be of a normal size or be non-see-through. Took a gamble. Paid off.

I saw this dress on The Londoner years ago and it stuck with me. At the time I didn't have the occasion or the justification for a purchase, but rolling up to graduation day with the pressure on to find a dress, this stuck with me. I tried about 10 different formal dresses from ASOS but none made the cut, and eventually I ordered this beauty from Amazon. I waited for weeks hoping and praying that the postman would bring it in time. One fateful day he knocked on the door and I scribbled a rushed signature, dancing into the house holding the messiah of dresses in my hands.

For £14 (£14!!!!!), this dress is surprisingly well made, opaque and the design is so beautiful I couldn't stop smiling at my luck. Not too short and demure enough for a formal occasion. There is one small, tiny downside. The Small size is made for a 10 year old boy. Don't breathe too heavy or the seams will split and all hell will break loose. Don't make my mistake, swallow your feelings and order a size up.

But, seam splits aside. The perfect dress for your next occasion?

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The Ultimate Guide To Tanning

Wednesday 13 July 2016

Fake tan has flummoxed me from a young age. I've tried them all. Drugstore to high end, tinted moisturiser to full on dark lotion, nothing seemed to work for me. Primarily, the smell gets to me. It seems to linger long after the guide colour is washed off. Tans can be too orange, too dark, too pale or wear off hideously. But I think, finally, I've got it down.

Step 1: Exfoliate and shave
You know the drill, slough off those dead skin cells to give your tan the best foundations you can possibly give. Exfoliating will also give you the closest shave possible so go for it. My favourite combination is a exfoliating glove teamed up with Garnier's Ultimate Beauty Oil Nourishing Scrub, which seems to retain the moisture in the skin while giving a deep cleanse. If you are doing this a while before you tan, slather yourself in moisturiser as you step out of the shower to give you the best possible start to your new tanned life.

Step 2: Prep
Make sure your fingers and toes are painted with a clear polish to prevent yellowing, maybe even go under the tips of long nails to prevent tan from discolouring them from beneath. Add a little moisturiser to the dryer parts of your body; we are talking knees, elbows, ankles, toes, hands and the underarm area. This prevents the tan from catching too much and looking patchy. My favourite moisturiser for the job is old trusty E45 Moisturising Lotion, in a pump bottle which is far easier to dispence when you have tan all over your hands than a squeezy bottle.

Step 3: Tan
Try your hardest to tan at night after you've brushed your teeth so you can avoid water at all costs. My ultimate top tip in this guide is to get a double sided tanning mitt. Primark do a great inexpensive one for £3, and it is so very worth it. I currently use He-Shi Express Liquid Tan all over my body. Once you get past the name, it builds to a beautiful olive colour, fades nicely and the smell doesn't linger. It amazes me how little this tan actually smells. I apply this all over my body, doing one layer, allowing it to dry and then applying another. When I want to be extra dark for a special occasion I will reapply the next night as well to bump up the colour. On difficult areas such as feet I don't go straight in, but put a dot of colour onto the tops of my feet with the dirty side of the mitt, then swap it round to the clean side of the mitt to blend the colour. This gives the most natural blended out effect and is perfect for people who can be slightly heavy handed, like me. The technique is also useful for hands, making sure to blend throughly into knuckles and the edges, and for any areas of your body you feel needs more blending but don't want to increase the colour of the tan. Use the cleaner side of the mitt like a rubber, to blend out edges. If you have dry skin like me, after you finish applying your tan, put some E45 onto the cleaner side of the mitt and rub a little over your feet, hands and areas which always go too dark to lighten them up. 

Step 4: Development
I usually apply this at about 10pm, go to sleep and wake up to colour! I wash it quickly down the drain in the shower, and go all over with, you guessed it, E45! From then on I try to moisturise after every shower I have and exfoliate at around the 3 day mark. The tan will generally last on me for around 4-5 days before a top up is needed, where I repeat the process all over again.

Step 5: The Face
Always the trickiest and most risky area when tanning, you can go two ways. I often go in with what's left over on the dirty side of the tanning mitt, dot it on my cheeks, forehead and nose, and blend with the cleaner side. For those with sensitive skin, I would recommend using a designated facial tanner, my favourite being Clarins Liquid Bronze Self Tanning for Face. I apply this with my fingers before I do the rest of my body, so I can wash it off my hands before I start. I use this to top up my facial tan everyday after my moisturiser, as it adds only a subtle colour, but my face tan fades much faster than my body as I use exfoliating muslin clothes on it so often.

Happy tanning!

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Oh, Balls

Monday 11 July 2016

Left Dress - AX Paris   Left Shoes - New Look   Right Dress - Rare   Right Shoes - Primark

University is over. Done. Dusted. Finito. Finato. 

To top of the whole experience I attended a couple of balls to put the very last hurrah into third year. 
First up was a whole evening dedicated to champagne. It was as lavish as it sounds. Corks a-popping and the laughter of fairground rides filled the air as the evening exploded with bubbles. The champagne did not stop coming and of course this beautiful dusty rose maxi dress from AX Paris came home stinking of the very best cava. I guess its better than the usual crawl home dressed in the stench of jeager. But that's another story. The dress was perfection in every aspect; bodice delicately embroidered and skirt flowing in the wind. My shoes are New Look's finest, and while they beautifully coordinate with the rose dress, they were a form of torture in themselves and I ended up ditching them half way through the night. Not the wisest decision with broken champagne bottles strewn across the floor.

The second dress was my first purchase of the two and oh boy is this a beauty. You can tell I have a ball dress type can't you... (just check out last year's extremely similar ensemble.) If its tight and interesting on the top and flows over all of your midriff on the bottom, I am sold. This little number from Rare has a stretchy waistband to clinch you in but also allowed some room for eating, always a plus. The material is almost lycra-like, but the neckline is so pretty I will forgive any misdeeds. After the shoe disaster of champagne ball, I stuck with some old trusted Primark platforms, subtle enough that they didn't clash too much with the dress. 

p.s. For the eagle-eyed of you, my blog name has changed! Formally Beautylishious, a name I came up with in a teenage brainstorming session gone wrong. If you're still here now we've morphed into Hannah Biggz... its good to be back.

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