Sunday, 29 April 2018

Book Review: The Hygge Holiday by Rosie Blake

Does anyone actually pronounce hygge correctly?! I say huggye like you're giving someone a hug, it sounds more cosy than hoo-gah. Anyway the concept of hygge is to feel warm and fuzzy, usually with a good book (ahh see what I did there?!) a few candles and something tasty to drink and eat.

I originally bought The Hygge Holiday by Rosie Blake for my mum at Christmas and she passed it on to me, saying it's something I'd enjoy! It's set in a small sleepy village called Yulethorpe in Suffolk where a Danish traveller called Clara is visiting and stays to find herself a house sitter for an eccentric lady and working at the local toy shop.

What Clara doesn't realise is that the house sitter's son, Joe comes back to find out what's going on with the family toy shop and is anything but hygge. Clara's determined to turn the future of the toy shop and village around and teach Joe the art of hygge, whilst eventually finding herself calling Yulethorpe home.

As expected by the book title, it's a hug in a book and a proper chic-lit story. I really enjoyed reading it and loved turning each page to discover something new! I managed to read through it so quickly and definitely recommend it for anyone who's looking for a lighthearted and joyful book to read.

Have you read this book before? What are you currently reading?

Thanks for reading!

Rhiannon x

Find me on: Twitter/Instagram/Bloglovin'/Pinterest

Thursday, 26 April 2018

Using The Red Carpet Gel Polish Starter Kit

I always thought at-home gel nails were tricky and so expensive to do, however since using the Red Carpet Manicure Gel Polish Starter Kit my opinion has definitely changed! My biggest bug bear about using regular nail polish is that it always chipped after a few days and I could never achieve a high gloss finish. I picked up this kit directly from their website after seeing a few reviews online and thought why not give it a go?

Each kit includes a Prep, Structure, Colour, Brilliance and Revitalize polish along with the small LED Lamp. You start by making sure your cuticles are neat, the edges of your nails are shaped and then use a ultra fine nail file to gently remove the shine on your natural nail. Next up apply the Prep nail polish and leave to air dry, followed by the Structure polish and leave under the lamp for 1 minute. You won't be able to fit all five fingers under the lamp, so I do four then my two thumbs and finally the other four fingers!

Now it's time for the colour! Currently in my kit I have their red and nude nail polishes, both of which I love and the after two coats of colour the shade is really opaque. After the colour polish you then apply the Brilliance polish which adds a gorgeous shine and helps to seal the colour! The kit also includes the Revitalize Nail and Cuticle Oil which is lovely to apply and my nails look so much healthier afterwards.

The reason I love this little kit is because it takes me less than half an hour to apply and I can do so in the comfort of my own bed! I've experienced no chips or marks since using this kit - and trust me, I really did put my gel nails to the test. I'd say it definitely lasts for up to 21 days and the only times I've had to remove them is when my nails have grown out and it's time to take them off. It can be an ordeal to remove the gels from your nails and I generally leave a week between gels to let my nails recover and breath again. 

Next I'll be picking up more colours and acetone as I've almost run out! I like the dark maroons and would love to try out a hot pink or coral for the summer.

Have you tried gel nails before? What's your favourite colour?

Thanks for reading!
Rhiannon x

Find me on: Twitter/Instagram/Bloglovin'/Pinterest

Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Things That Have Made Me Happy Recently

I enjoy reading posts about things that have made others happy, as well as writing my own. Sometimes all you read in the news and on social media is the negatives and highlighting the positives makes all the difference. Many of the things that have made me happy recently are only small things, but nonetheless important.

- Finding my blogging and social media mojo again
I'm sure many bloggers will agree with me that there's going to be times when you're really feeling uninspired with your blog. And you're going to want nothing to do with it for a time! Recently I've really enjoyed blogging again, whether it's brainstorming new posts, scheduling in my social media or commenting on new blog posts from other bloggers. I think not putting pressure on myself to create constant content has made me a lot happier with blogging!

- Discovering new podcasts, documentaries and books
I'm always looking out for new entertainment to take with me on my commute to work and the week before last I highlighted my favourite podcasts and documentaries if you'd like some new ideas. Podcasts are a new thing for me and I'm still trialing and testing new ones that I like, it has a lot to do with liking the person's voice for me! I love watching investigative documentaries and any book that can transform me to another world and time gets a spot on my bookshelf.

- Making plans
Nothing makes me happier than making plans for my free time, then there's always something to look forward to! I like making plans with my friends and family, booking in holidays and filling my diary with new plans. Especially now the weather is looking better and our evenings are finally lighter (hallelujah!) I feel like I have more free time to make plans for.

- Thinking positively 
It's actually mad how much thinking positively can make a difference to whatever you are doing. This has made me happy recently because I've not been focusing on the negatives by making an effort in finding the positives. As mentioned in my last blog post, I love reading quotes and a great one about thinking positively is this: "Your positive action combined with positive thinking results in success."

What things have made you happy recently?

Thanks for reading!
Rhiannon x

Find me on: Twitter/Instagram/Bloglovin'/Pinterest

Thursday, 19 April 2018

My Favourite Quotes

If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter, you'll know that I'm fond of a motivational quote. Especially on a Monday morning! I love reading quotes and find them so powerful in changing my mood or thoughts.

I have a few of my favourite quotes saved in a folder on my phone and whenever I'm in need of a boost, I'll have a read through them. Most I find through Pinterest (which has an amazing selection!) and I'll say them to my board or phone to read through later.

1. Roald Dahl
A classic among many positive quotes, is Roald Dahl. This reminds me to look on the bright side of difficult situations and keep happy! I like that it focuses on the good and bringing that positivity out of you.

2. Galileo
Not only is this quote one of my favourites, it's the design that is so eye catching and beautiful not to share on this blog! It reminds me to be brave and not feel fear, because there is always beauty to be found.

3. Heath Ledger
Okay so perhaps the fact that Heath Ledger is one of my favourite actors of all time may have swayed this quote in his favour. It reminds me to strive and work hard for what you want and not let anyone get in your way.

4. Worrying
I am a big worrier, even over the smallest of details can send me into a spiral of worry and bring myself back out of that takes a lot of reassurance! So this quote likes to remind me that worrying won't change what will come and that whatever does come, I will be prepared for it.

What are your favourite quotes? 

Thanks for reading!
Rhiannon x

Find me on: Twitter/Instagram/Bloglovin'/Pinterest

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Learning To Love Instagram Again

As many of us have realised, Instagram is no longer as simple or easy as it used to be. Years ago we used to upload for the fun of it, add the Valencia filter, throw in a few hashtags and watch as the likes come in. Nowadays the app is so much more, it can be portfolio of your work, a way to express yourself or a new hobby or an extension of your blog.

The changes in algorithm and how the app works has been difficult for many influencers and bloggers, but I think it's more about how to learn to love Instagram again that will keep us moving forward with the app.

I've been clearing out a few redundant accounts I follow and following Instagram's suggestions of other accounts that I may like, making way for new imagery and people to follow. It's made a massive change to how I interact with the app, now stopping to find out more about the person and comment on their images. Instagram favours those who use the app well and has been proven to reward those who are active on the app with greater visibility.

A few areas I love about all of these Instagram changes are the Highlights and Story features, aren't they just so cool?! Rather than changing the way Instagram is displayed, they've built upon our need to share with our followers and created two different ways of doing this. Highlights are the newest and one I'm still figuring out for myself, does anyone really go onto an account and view their Highlights? Even if they're not being viewed, I think having those keywords like Outfits, Travel 2018 or Friends as Highlights instantly show who that person is and what their Instagram will be about. I'm going to start adding Highlights to my Instagram page and hopefully being creative with them will make me learn to love Instagram again.

I actually view more Stories than I do scrolling through accounts, I guess that's the lazy person in me letting the Stories play out one after another! But there's so much you can do with Stories to create your brand personality and give your followers an insight into your every day life. It's rare for me not to upload a story each day and they actually get more views and interaction than my normal Instagram post does. I love the emojis, typography and GIFs you can now add to your story, as well as the swipe up feature - if only they rolled it out to all accounts and not just the big ones!

A lot of what Instagram is about is creating and curating your own identity and even when Instagram announces a new algorithm change or new feature, instead of groaning and moaning think about how you can add this to your identity and what you can do. Once you start enjoying Instagram again and being creative, will you once again learn to love it.

What do you think about Instagram? Do you love or hate it?

Thanks for reading!
Rhiannon x

Sunday, 15 April 2018

How Packaging Affects Our Beauty Purchasing Habits

As much as we may not want to know about how much packaging affects our purchasing habits, it makes such a difference in a sale vs someone walking away from that brand. I'll generally pop into Boots or Superdrug every week, alongside visiting a few fashion stores which stock beauty products and over the past few years I've really noticed how well some brands are packaging their products to make us want to buy them more.

Take for instance brands like Makeup Revolution, known across the blogging industry for their great quality makeup ranges at affordable prices. Their packaging is also a big factor in their popularity and how photogenic they are for social media sharing - and this is something that brands take a lot into consideration. They want you to share their products on your social media channels and the prettier and more attractive they are, the more likely you're going to add it to Instagram. Plus everyone likes something that's shiny and rose gold don't they?!

The wording used on packaging is also carefully considered before anything gets signed off, choosing key words to make the customer feel or understand something when purchasing this product. Take for instance Pixi Glow Tonic, even the word 'glow' is making you think of gorgeously dewy and radiant skin. Reading further you're told it helps to tone, firm and tighten for healthier looking skin, which is another skincare #goal ticked off before you've even turned the bottle over.

Brands are now tapping into our nostalgia feelings (post all about nostalgia here) with throwback products re-launching and collaborations with our favourite childhood memories. A recent example is the new GlamGlow and My Little Pony Glitter Masks, ticking the nostalgia box and Instagrammable box as people take photos with their crazy glitter masks on. Brands are now scaling back their ranges to streamlined products to reflect a simpler time in our childhood. Rather than having four different types of cleansers, there's one to remove makeup and leave your skin feeling baby soft. Glossier is a great example of simple beauty and I obviously love The Ordinary with their easy no-fuss packaging.

Overall it's clear to see just how many packaging is affecting our beauty purchasing habits, without us really realising. I like to think people are becoming savvier when buying new beauty products, whether it's looking closer at the ingredients or doing their research beforehand. Packaging will always be a big factor when purchasing new beauty products and as brands become more innovative with their ideas, I can't wait to see what's to come in the future!

What are your thoughts about how packaging affects our purchasing habits?

Thanks for reading!
Rhiannon x

Thursday, 12 April 2018

My Favourite Podcasts and Documentaries

On my long commute to and from work during the week I like to keep myself entertained on my train with a documentary or podcast. Sometimes my 45 minute journey can whizz by when I'm so engrossed with a new documentary! I mainly use BBC iPlayer because I can download them without having to use wifi to watch them and the BBC have a great selection of programmes to watch.

Full Coverage Podcast
This podcast is by beauty enthusiasts Lindsey Kelk and Harriet Hadfield and is full of amazing beauty reviews and the latest trends. They'll start with what's new in beauty and then talk about the main topic of the podcast, for example packaging, cosmetic procedures and their latest empties. I love listening to it on my way home and it really calms me down after a long day at work, it's like listening in to two friends talking about their favourite beauty products!

How Little We Know Podcast
I'll first admit that I am a fan of The Vamps, their classic teen pop tunes are too catchy! Last year Brad and James from the band started a podcast called How Little We Know to bring in guests to talk about new topics. So far we've had talks about social media, bullying and homelessness and each one has a great overall message and lesson to learn.

Is It Just Me? Podcast
Part of the reason why I love listening to podcasts is because I feel like I'm learning something new each time! This podcast is by Jo Elvin, previous editor at Glamour Magazine UK and James Williams who is also an editor and writer. I enjoy listening in to the variety of guests and topics they cover, usually finding something that I can relate to.

Who remembers growing up and watching Reggie on kids TV?! He's since moved into making documentaries and some of his highlights include travelling to Russia to interview far right activists, spending time as a guard at a prison in America and most recently filming the aftermath of the Grenfell Tower. I definitely recommend you watch his documentaries!

Similar to Reggie Yates, Stacey Dooley tackles hard to hear subjects like the women affected by the conflict with ISIS, Cyber Sex Girls in Asia and Gypsy Kids Taken From Home. A lot of her documentaries are focused around women from all parts of the world and what issues they are facing in society now. I do like her documentaries but sometimes feel that she can act a little naive when questioning people.

I like watching the Panorama programmes because they're often topical subjects that are currently in the news and are usually half an hour programmes so I can quickly watch them on my way home! Most recently they've highlighted the gender pay gap, political tension with Russia and Trump's first year as president. I like that there's a range of topics to choose from too!

What podcasts and documentaries do you watch? Anything you recommend?

Thanks for reading!
Rhiannon x

Find me on: Twitter/Instagram/Bloglovin'/Pinterest

Tuesday, 10 April 2018

My Shower Routine

I am a shower person through and through, there's just never enough time to relax in a bath (and I'd probably fall asleep if I had a long hot bath!) Like most people I have a shower routine, products that I use and love every day.

Starting off with cleansing, I always remove my makeup before taking a shower and my current cleanser is the Garnier Skin Active Micellar Cleansing Gel Wash. It's okay at removing makeup, it's not the best for taking off stubborn eye makeup and can sting a little if you get it in your eyes! I much prefer the original Micellar Water and once this one is finished I'll be moving onto that one. Next up I'll use the Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser, a cult product among many bloggers and Glossier fans! It's a great basic cleanser to wash away any left over makeup and leave my skin feeling clean and refreshed.

Onto body and my favourite bodycare products! I love a good body scrub and find they make such a difference to the texture of the skin on my upper arms. I've long been a fan of the Soap & Glory Pulp Friction and it smells amazingly fruity and fresh. Tube products are much easier to use in the shower rather than pot scrubs, the water always manages to get inside...

I manage to go through bottles and bottles of shower gel, a girl's got to stay clean! My latest favourite is the Sanctuary Spa Body Wash with jojoba beads and essential oils. It gently foams and doesn't leave my skin feeling dry or tight, plus the packaging is so luxurious. Then I'll use my Gillette Venus Classic Razor to shave my legs and under arms with the Sanctuary Spa Body Wash. I've used these razors for years now and I've never had a cut or anything!

What are your favourite shower products?

Thanks for reading!
Rhiannon x

Find me on: Twitter/Instagram/Bloglovin'/Pinterest

Sunday, 8 April 2018

Book Review: Some Kind Of Wonderful by Giovanna Fletcher

Books and reading are my bread and butter, I couldn't live without having a book to read. There's something about them taking my attention away from myself and into another story line, developing page by page and keeping me captivated. 

I've read Giovanna Fletcher's previous books with Sophie May and Billy Buskin (a classic chic-lit collection!) and enjoyed them, so I had high hopes for Some Kind Of Wonderful. It starts with the main character Lizzy dealing with heartbreak after her long term boyfriend split from her. It's a classic 'pick me up' story, rising from the ashes to reveal a brand new woman, but the story line didn't really take off. There were odd and unrealistic references and the plot just plodded along with no hope of ever sparking into life.

Giovanna Fletcher is a fab writer, her previous books have had me hooked and laughing on the outside. I enjoyed the writing style, it's very much like you're talking to your best friend. I felt like this book could've done with developing the characters further, I need to relate or like the character to care what happens to them and adding further twists to the plot will keep readers on their toes! 

Have you read this book before? What are you reading at the moment?

Thanks for reading!
Rhiannon x

Find me on: Twitter/Instagram/Bloglovin'/Pinterest

Thursday, 5 April 2018

Let's Talk About Nostalgia

A few weeks ago Stylist Magazine ran an article about nostalgia and how we've now become so sentimental about the past. It really resonated with me and inspired me to write about my own experiences with nostalgia.

If you asked me at what age from my life would I like to relive again, it would be 16-18 the time when you're slowly growing up from teenager into young adult, can start learning to drive and finally legally drink in a pub. It's also the years that I felt no weight of responsibility on my shoulders and all I cared about was getting good grades and planning where to go out every weekend. But I now realise most of these memories are seen through rose-tinted glasses and that I'm only seeing the good parts, I'm choosing to forget the bad memories.

We may think that back in the old days things used to be so much easier and I used to fully believe this. However I'd be quick to point out that even if things were simpler years ago, technology advances has progressed so much nowadays that our life is made even easier. For examples shopping online for your food delivery if you're unable to leave the house easily or discovering breaking news as it happens, rather than finding out in next day's paper.

Nostalgia is now coming back into our every day lives, through fashion, food, beauty and culture. You can probably say 'I remember wearing those ugly trainers!' or 'we used to eat that when we were kids!' - nostalgia is coming back and now it's trendy. Facebook is reminding us daily of what we were doing this time three years ago, a somewhat scary reminder of what we used to wear in the 2000's!

What do you think of nostalgia? Do you love it?

Thanks for reading!
Rhiannon x

Find me on: Twitter/Instagram/Bloglovin'/Pinterest

Tuesday, 3 April 2018

A Spring Makeup Haul

Does it really count as a haul if I've only bought a handful of things? I don't know why but it seems to take me ages to get through my makeup and I hardly hit the pan on anything! However foundation, eyeliner and concealer are my most used products and it was about time I threw out the old and brought in the new.

First up is the much hyped Makeup Revolution Conceal & Define Concealer, a favourite amongst many bloggers and I've seen so many disappointed tweets when their shade is sold out in store. I picked up shade C3, because C1 looked way too pale and they didn't have C2 in stock but it's a pretty good match for me. I love the massive doe foot applicator and the consistency is really lovely, not too cakey or thick but it gives you a full coverage finish. The only downside is that mine seems to be half empty? Not sure what went wrong there but for £4 you're getting a great high street bargain.

When choosing a foundation I much prefer a lightweight and dewy base, especially for the spring and summer months. I've heard great reviews about the Rimmel Wake Me Up Foundation and I loved the concealer version, so I thought I would give it a go! I have 010 Light Porcelain, which I think is the lightest shade they have and even though I am fair skin, those with lighter skin tones will be disappointed. So far this has been a big hit with me, it's light coverage and super dewy almost with little glitter particles for added shimmer. I apply this with the beauty blender and it melts into my skin seamlessly.

I do like to explore with different eyeliner colours and one of my favourites is green, it looks fab with brown eyes and auburn hair! I knew Maxfactor create great eyeliners and found myself drawn to their High Precision Liquid Eyeliner in 25 Forest. The nib is slightly flat and looks kinda like a spade shape, which actually gives me a smooth and straight line for my eyes. The colour can be compared to emerald green and is so gorgeous! I've also tested that it's completely smudge proof and doesn't budge all day.

My usual go-to black liquid eyeliner was running out and looking a little dry, so I was on the look out for a new replacement. I had spotted the Soap & Glory Supercat Eyeliner on many blogs and Instagram posts when it launched years ago and after a swatch in Boots, I was sold. It's an ultra thin nib and rich black colour which gives me the eyeliner flicks I love.

What makeup have you picked up recently?

Thanks for reading!
Rhiannon x 

Find me on: Twitter/Instagram/Bloglovin'/Pinterest

Sunday, 1 April 2018

How To Be More Beauty Eco-Friendly

Ever since writing my Trends In The Beauty Industry 2018 blog post, I've been thinking more about how I can be more eco-friendly with my beauty products. It's an issue that's slowly being taken more seriously by brands and customers are waking up to it. 

So I thought I'd write about a few ways you could be more eco-friendly with your beauty products:

- Recyclable packaging
Nowadays brands are more savvy to using packaging that is easy to recycle, however there are still certain plastics that are too tricky to breakdown. Usually the circle with two arrows shows that the packaging is recyclable. Make sure you wash out the packaging thoroughly before putting out.

- Non-plastic cotton buds
It was announced earlier this year that Scotland is banning plastic cotton buds from being used because beaches and sewage are coming up with hundreds of these plastic-stemmed cotton buds. It's easy to switch to paper cotton buds, even Aldi are producing them now.

- Shampoo bars
Completely avoid plastic for your haircare routine and opt for shampoo bars. Lush obviously have a great selection, Molton Brown and The Body Shop are also leading the way to make your bathroom plastic-free.

- Opt for sustainable products
Makeup brushes created from bamboo and synthetic bristles are a fab option for making your beauty more eco-friendly. Eco-Tools and Illamasqua have bamboo and synthetic options that I really recommend!

- Refillable sachets and returning empties
I love the idea of buying top ups for my shower gel and shampoo products, rather than buying another plastic bottle. L'Occitane and Faith In Nature have sachets and large quantity sizes so you know you'll never be without your favourite products. Lush has a well-known recycling scheme where you bring back their black pots to be re-used again, plus you get a free black pot of any face mask you like. 

What tips do you have to be more eco-friendly with your beauty products?

Thanks for reading!
Rhiannon x

Find me on: Twitter/Instagram/Bloglovin'/Pinterest
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