Friday, 30 January 2015

Picking the right university for you - a beginner's tips

I am not at university, therefore I cannot guarantee that my advice is 100% accurate and should be followed to the letter. However, it is that time of the year for school leavers across the country where we have to decide our fate and basically determine how the rest of our life is going to pan out. I am sure a lot of you are in the same boat, or have been before. Deadline day (aka D-Day) has now passed - it was the 15th of January or something round about that for applications to Scottish universities, and possibly England too but I'm not sure about that - and now everyone has to play the waiting game as the fate of a significant proportion of the population lies in the hands of admissions offices across the country.

I am incredibly lucky for I have already heard back from all five of the universities I applied to, and have known about my offers since before D-Day (I'm in demand, I know). For many people though, it could be weeks, even months, before responses come through. I now just have the hard choice of which university to attend. Easy peasy, right? Not like it could affect the rest of my life or anything. Pffft. 

A girl recently told me that to pick the right university for you, all that needs to be done is listen to your heart. She made it sound so easy with one simple way of knowing - pick the one which you were most excited about when the offer came in. It took me all of 0.35 seconds (roughly...) to come up with the answer. Probably the one that I cried about for about 2 hours straight after finding out I had got in just TWO DAYS after submitting my application. If that is not obvious, I don't know what is.

I think the mistake that a lot of people make is going somewhere that they feel too comfortable with or that they know someone else is going to. It is going to be a very daunting experience but you have to think about it clearly and logically. Don't attend a university just because your friend is going there too. That is a seriously bad reason for choosing it, no matter how tempting it may be. Chances are, they won't be doing the same course as you anyway so you would hardly see them so why go there if it isn't the best option for you? You also need to think about the reputation of the school. A lot of people say that this shouldn't be a factor when choosing which university to go to, but I think it should be. Here's a little scenario for you. You apply for your dream job in your chosen career. you and another applicant have practically identical applications, with the only difference being where you attended university. The other candidate went to a very prestigious school with really high entry requirements. You went to a good school, but not quite as high up in the list. Who gets the interview/the job? Probably the other person. If it was harder to get into that university and they managed it and also came out the other end with a degree, that makes them look like a better candidate for the position (this is a hypothetical situation obviously, I am not implying you couldn't do it...). Obviously, you don't want to pick a university just because of how it is going to sound on job applications (e.g. University of Glasgow). There is no mistaking that it will look better but that can't be the only reason you are going. It might be fantastic uni but if it doesn't offer the perfect course for you then you need to think of your other options. Your decision should be made on the course first, and then the university's reputation.

If you are not applying till next year, it's never too early to start looking at courses and prospectuses to prepare for the year ahead. If you have an idea of what it is you would like to do, you will be able to attend open days at the university and visit the specific department you are interested in. I did this and the university which I am planning on going to (I think) had a great department with brilliant lecturers so it really did help me with my decision. If you aren't sure yet, think about what you enjoy. Do you love reading? What about English Literature? Animals - animal biology or zoology? Design - fashion or architecture? The list goes on. If you can, ask to speak to your school's career advisor.

So this post ended up being a lot longer than I thought! I had no plan for it, just sat down with my laptop and started typing. Not sure if that is a good or bad thing... Anyway, no matter where I - or you, if you are in the same position right now - choose to go, life will be dramatically different and there is no doubt about that. Any tips on how to ease yourself gently into that process, or how you chose which university to go to? Help a gal out, will ya.

Holly

Thursday, 29 January 2015

Snow Day






I think this may be the first every snow day I have had from school. Like, ever. I live on the coast so it is practically unheard of to get any snow at all, and now we have had it twice in one week (see Sunday Reflections #3)! This may not look like a lot of snow to you but it is loads for us! Well, this is a mixture of hailstones and snow (the biggest hailstones I have ever seen). It did actually snow for quite a while this morning, but by the time I ventured outside it had stopped. The weather isn't even that bad at the moment, no worse than what we usually get in January, but there was a lot of thunder and lightning through the night and around 8am this morning and do you know what that meant? A power cut in the school!

Just imagine my joy at finding out that school had been cancelled for the day. I was still in my pyjamas, greasy hair piled on top of my head because I was too lazy to wash it and half my makeup done (foundation and eyebrows are not a good look when that is all you have on). Being so tech-savvy, my school tweeted (yep, tweeted) that it was cancelled because of a power cut. Hallelujah. Best day of my life. It's a shame it's not tomorrow that this all happened actually because I have my first prelim then (i.e. mock exam) so I would quite like to miss that! Today has therefore become a study day/picture taking day for the blog/procrastinating day - my favourite kind.

How has your day been so far?

Holly

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Sunday Reflections #3

I Wore: Basically every knitted thing that I own. I think I might have had enough of this cold weather now, hurry up summer.

I Ate: Unhealthy food, AGAIN. Right, healthy eating starts Monday. I PROMISE.

I Watched: Chasing Life and The Flash after the finally returned after a break for Christmas! I love both these shows and have missed them so much over the past few weeks. I practically ran home from school so that I could get on the internet to watch them.

I Read: Textbooks, ugh. I have mock exams starting next Friday and only just started studying on Thursday. Oops.

I Loved: Olly Murs' most recent album 'Never Been Better'. I've been listening to it while studying at school to block out the noise because there is literally nowhere quiet to sit there. Even the library is noisy because it is open plan and has a classroom joined onto it with the loudest teacher in the world.

I Blogged: I posted a review on the Collection Cream Puff in Fairy Cake which is a really pretty coral matte lip cream, announced my project for February with Advertise with holly la beau and Change, a post about my life in the near future.

Highlight of the week: The snow! I live on the coast so we hardly ever get snow so it was very exciting to wake up on Wednesday morning to a white garden. It was hardly loads of snow (see picture above), but a lot more than usual! This is the first time this winter that it has snowed in my town so you can imagine my excitement. I can't even remember if it snowed last winter. The little villages around my town all get snow because they are in the hills but we are very flat. As much as I loved looking at the snow, it was a right pain trying to walk to school when I discovered that the snow had frozen solid on the pavements...

Holly

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Change

Change. You either love it or you hate it. It can bring fresh, exciting new opportunities just waiting to be experienced, or it can bring sadness, darkness and pain. Whether we like it or not, change is inevitable and we can't always see it coming. It might just spring on us one day, totally unexpected, and the world shifts. Or, it can be gradual. Little things changing each day and then, bam! Life is different in every way possible.

I'm not change's biggest fan. I like things to stay exactly where they are, no surprises. Unfortunately, I have reached that point in my life where I can't do anything about the major shift that looms ahead. In just a few short months, I leave school for good and get launched out into the big bad world, kicking and screaming. Then, in September, it's time to move away from home and start fresh at university. I feel like I am simultaneously ready and totally unprepared. I don't want to live in a totally different city to the people who I have spent over 6 hours a day with, Monday to Friday, since I was five years old and had my very first day of school. It's weird to think about. Although, I suppose it provides me with a clean slate. I can reinvent myself into whoever I want to be. The new cool, sophisticated and outgoing me. 

I don't know if I am quite ready to say goodbye to High School Holly and hello to City Holly. City Holly just isn't who I am. At least not yet.

Side note: My handwriting looks so very swish, don't you think? Bravo, Holly.


- Holly
Twitter | Instagram | Bloglovin

You can now buy cheap advertising space in my sidebar for your blog or small shop. See here for more info and to buy a slot for February! Prices start from £1.50.

Monday, 19 January 2015

Advertise With Holly La Beau


I've decided to open up some advertising space for any types of bloggers or small independent sellers (such as Etsy shops). Now I know I don't have the most popular blog out there with a huge amount of followers, but what I do have is a great range of loyal readers who always read and comment on my blog, and also a good amount of unique visitors just passing through. Because of this, I will be charging a veeeerrrry small amount for an advertising space. I will be able to put it towards giveaways and products to review, along with other things to improve my blog, and you will hopefully get something out of it too! All of this information will be in my tabs bar under my header for if you would like to come back and read it. This may or may not be a permanent thing or there may be slight changes, it depends on what the feedback is and how well it goes down.

Please email me at hollyjmckie@hotmail.co.uk if you are interested in advertising, or if you would like any more information. Advertising will run from the first till the last day of each month, beginning on the 1st of February if there are any takers.

The Packages:


LARGE: £2.50
Two available each month. First to book a spot gets top of the list. 

What you get:
- A linked 240x180 blog button in my sidebar
- A section in my advertisers post at the end of each month (screenshot of your blog or photo of you, a paragraph, social media links)
- A #ff every Friday throughout the advertising period
- A mention at the bottom of every post
- Shoutout on Instagram
- A blogger interview on my blog


SMALL: £1.50
Four available each month.

What you get:
- A linked 240x180 blog button in my sidebar
- A section in my advertisers post at the end of each month (screenshot of your blog or photo of you, a paragraph, social media links)
- Mention at the bottom of one post per week


A Blog Sale Buy: Collection Cream Puff 'Fairy Cake'



Collection Cream Puff - Fairy Cake

Don't judge. It was really pretty and only £1 on The Lovecats Inc beauty blog sale so I couldn't not get it (sorry, spending ban). These little matte lip creams have been on the go for a while, but they are just something which I never bothered trying. I'm not a huge fan of matte lips anyway, so that was probably the reason, but I really wish I had tried them sooner. I have missed out on months of lip cream perfection.

I never expected these to leave my lips feeling and looking so smooth! My lips are often in quite bad condition, especially during this awful wintry weather we have been having (which is not helping with my bad case of January blues), but this doesn't settle in to any cracks or emphasise dry, flaky patches like I thought it would. Fairy Cake is a very pretty coral pink colour which seems to really suit my skin tone (or at least I think it does). I would say that it is slightly more coral than the swatch above, it was really difficult to get the right lighting to properly show the true colour. Because it is matte, the colour lasts for ages on your lips - just as well, because it is just a dinky little tube so it wouldn't last long if you have to do lots of touch-ups. t's also very pigmented, so you don't need to apply a lot to get the full effect. And the smell...mmmm.

This comes in three more colours, Cotton Candy (pink), Powder Puff (nude) and Angel Delight (beige). Nude lips don't really suit me too much and I am thinking that a matte nude might look a little foundationy, but Cotton Candy sounds like it would be right up my street.

Have you tried the Collection Cream Puff's before?

- Holly

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Sunday Reflections #2




This whole sunday post thing is going well so far - I have managed to write it two weeks in a row. Let's see how long this lasts, shall we? My prediction is maybe two more and then I will give up... Anyway, looking back on this past week has been a nice way to end today after a monster shift at work. My brain is just mush so apologies for any grammatical errors in this post. I literally can barely function any more. And I am expected to spend the next 5 days at school? Kill me now.

So, this week...

I Wore: My pyjamas. It was definitely PJ weather this week, with all the rain and the wind and the hailstones. Not the kind of weather you choose to go out in. Unfortunately, school is classed as a necessity.

I Ate: A load of very unhealthy food. Healthy eating starts Monday (yeah, right).

I Watched: The Maze Runner movie. I read the book last week and wanted to see how the film version compared. I actually really liked it and I am impressed at the ability of my imagination as turned out exactly as it did in my head when I had been reading the book. There were some slight differences between the book and the movie, but nothing too major.

I Read: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time. I just finished reading it last night and it was incredible. The story is told from the eyes of a fifteen-year-old boy with Asperger's so it is very different to my normal kind of book, but very interesting and enjoyable nonetheless. I gave it five stars on Goodreads - add me as a friend here!

I Loved: My new header! I was getting a little bit bored of the old one (you know, the three circles each with one word of my blog name) so I thought it was time to have a little change. I really need to find a blog design I like and stick to it, I am forever switching stuff about. What do you think of my new header?

I Blogged: I wrote a review on the new movie based on Stephen Hawking's life, The Theory of Everything and raved about the book, The Maze Runner.

HIGHLIGHT OF THE WEEK: Finding a whole new load of teen blogs to read with the #tbloggers chat on twitter last night. I didn't actually participate in the chat because I totally forgot about it (I WILL remember next week) but I tweeted a link to my blog and asked for other people's. A whole host of people replied with links to their blogs and now my bloglovin feed is a lot fuller - I love it! In particular, I now love Ahem, It's Emme (such a cool blog name) and Mallow Beauty.

- Holly

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Book Review: The Maze Runner


"When the doors of the lift crank open, the only thing Thomas remembers is his first name. But he's not alone - an army of boys welcomes him to the Glade, an encampment at the centre of a terrible maze. The Gladers have no idea why they're there, or what's happened to the world outside, and following the arrival of a girl with a message, they must find a way out - or die."

I've always felt like the first chapter of a book defines how you are going to feel about the rest of the story. That wasn't exactly the case when I read The Maze Runner by James Dashner last week, and I am happy to report that my theory was wrong. It is not often I like to admit that I am wrong, but I can't avoid it here.

As much as I did like the beginning of The Maze Runner, I thought it began a little slow. The Gladers (the boys who lived in the strange maze-surrounded place) used unfamiliar language because they had been living in a world on their own for so long which was a little confusing and, at times, incredibly frustrating. They would call something or someone a name, but you weren't really sure of what the connotations of that name was.

Although it did take me a little while to get into it, a few chapters in and I was hooked. I began reading it for hours on end and finished it within a couple of days - something that only happens when I am really enjoying a book. The characters were unique and very unlike the ones from other novels I have read before, a rare find in YA fiction. They were well thought-out with back stories and a personality of their own. Not only were the characters interesting, but the slightly Hunger Games-esque story line was gripping and exciting. I literally could not put the book down because I couldn't handle not knowing what happened on the next page, and the page after that, and the page after that. I loved the suspense that Dashner managed to create, especially when tension in the maze really started to amp up when the very first girl they had ever had arrived with a message.

I am so glad I bought the whole set. I would not be able to contain myself if I didn't have the next book in the series at hand. Have you read The Maze Runner? If you have read the whole series, is book 2 something for me to look forward to? I am going to be starting it soon, and I really hope it lives up to the level that was set by the first one! I gave this book 5 stars on Goodreads - keep up to date with what I am reading by adding me as a friend here.

On a side note: I have also now watched the movie version which was based on this book and it too was very enjoyable and exciting! I recommend reading the book first though rather than the movie because there are slight changes. but nothing major. Plus, Stiles from Teen Wolf plays Thomas and I love him. There's another incentive for you to watch it, especially if you are a TW fan.

Monday, 12 January 2015

The Theory Of Everything

From Google Images

Sometimes, you watch a movie and think, 'Yeah, that was alright, wasn't it'. Sometimes, you watch a movie and you think, 'Wow, I am going to be emotionally scarred for days. Will I ever get over it's beauty.' The latter is so very true for The Theory of Everything, the recently released movie based on the life of one Professor Stephen Hawking.

From the moment the movie started, I was in awe of the incredible man that he is. From the diagnosis of his condition to the birth of his children had me an emotional wreck. It does tend to focus more on his life story and his marriage and glosses over his scientific work slightly but would many people have understood that part anyway? I'm not sure how factually accurate the whole things is - I am sure there are exaggerated parts and other parts which may not have happened at all - but Hawking has described it as 'broadly true'. 

Never have I seen an actor better portray a real life person in a more incredible and extraordinary manner. Eddie Redmayne - you, my man, deserve an Oscar. His interpretation of the disease was so incredibly believable that you would never guess that he was only acting and that he didn't in fact suffer from Motor Neurone disease. He even looks astonishingly like Stephen Hawking, making the film even more like the real thing.

I laughed. I cried. I don't think I will ever be emotionally stable again after watching this movie, yet I could watch it again and again and never get sick of it. This is not my kind of movie, not in the slightest. I like cheesy rom coms starring attractive young men who spend 70% of the movie topless. But this, this was possibly the best movie I have ever had the pleasure to experience.

Click here to watch the trailer.

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Sunday Reflections #1


Ages and ages and ages ago (note the use of three 'ages' - that signifies a very long time), I used to write a Sunday post. I don't think I ever managed to stick to it and probably did it about twice, but I do have a feeling I wrote it at some point. I really love reading these types of posts, especially Hello October's, so I thought it was about time I got back into it myself. I'm not going to do it in a rambly format and speak about anything like Suzie does because, frankly, I'd never get to the end of the post and I would probably struggle to think of what to write. Instead, I will give you a little run down of my week and what I have been loving.

I Wore: School clothes, ugh.. The return of school after the oh-so-enjoyable Christmas holidays was particularly painful, as was the 7am start. Actually, that's a lie. My alarm went off at 7am every day this week yet my feet did not hit the floor before 7.30 once. Whoops.

I Ate: A whole box of Hero's all to myself. Good job healthy eating wasn't part of my new year's resolutions! I also drank A LOT of cups of coffee to get me going in the mornings. My day would not function the way it does without it.

I Watched: Chicago PD and Chicago Fire because they finally returned after a very painful, long break! I particularly enjoyed Chicago PD because the end of the last episode had been left on a right ol' cliffhanger, as they like to do with that programme.

I Read: The Maze Runner by James Dashner and it was fantastic. I do think it maybe started off a bit slow but it really picked up the pace after a few chapters and I ended up loving it. I even gave it five stars on Goodreads.

I Loved: Using my Urban Decay Naked 2 Palette which I got for Christmas. I have used this every single day since I got it, without fail, and have loved each and every look that I have managed to create. Whether it's a smoky eye or just an all over, more subtle colour for school, I loved them all.

I Blogged: I posted three blog posts this week (which is pretty good for me) so here are the links to them all - The Novel Notebook, The Body Shop Born Lippy Lip Balms and The Post-Christmas Spending Ban.

HIGHLIGHT OF THE WEEK: I have two actually. Number one: going to my Primary 1 placement on Friday afternoon and seeing all my fave little kiddies! I go to my local primary school every Friday as part of an optional extra that my school offers called Community Involvement. I haven't seen the little guys since before Christmas so it was really lovely being with 21 five year olds who are all to happy to tell you what they got from Santa. Cuteness. Overload. Number two: I had my first ever driving lesson on Monday!! It was so nerve-wracking but luckily I am still alive and so is my driving instructor. Can't believe I was actually allowed behind the wheel of a car on a main road with no prior knowledge or practise...

Hope you all had a lovely week! Can't get my head round the fact that we are now already over a week into 2015...

Update: I just searched for my old Sunday Posts and apparently I did three in 2012. Three. Seriously, search 'the sunday post' in my search bar on the right and give yourself a good laugh.

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Friday, 9 January 2015

The Post-Christmas Spending Ban



I seriously suck at saving money. Like, I think it may be a disease. I just find it physically impossible to have any significant amount of cash either in my bank account or my purse. It's like it is actually painful for me to do so and therefore I must get rid of it at once. It's becoming a problem.

I have spent a fairly large amount of money over the past couple of months. Fair enough, it was Christmas and I had presents to buy. Then it was the sales and of course I can't let them pass me buy without nabbing anything. That said, there are lots of other little things I have been doing that have been bringing my bank balance down and down and down... There's the driving lessons which I have just started. There's the 'three books for £10' thing happening on Amazon. There's the free Beautyblender with the January birchbox (see here). There's the really pretty fairy lights that I saw in Dobbies. There's the photo frame with lots of spaces that I have wanted for ages to display my photos from my Nepal expedition. There's the mug with the 'H' on it which I just had to have - it basically had my name on it. There was The Lovecats Inc beauty blog sale. You see my problem?

If I thought I could actually stick to it, I would make it my new year's resolution to not spend money on things I don't need. In reality, I know that would never happen for a whole year. I would be lying to myself and all of you if I tried to say I would. However, I think a little mini spending ban is in order to see me through the next few months. I have a holiday to Malia with my friends in June to pay off, I have to save for going to America with my family in July, and then there is also the big one...

I start university in September.

With very little savings under my belt, I just know I am going to struggle at university. Not only will I have extra costs coming in which I have never had before as a result of living away from home, I also have the added temptation of living in a city full to the brim of pretty clothes and makeup counters. Oh, it is painful just thinking about it.

If anyone has any saving tips and tricks, they would be much appreciated. I sure do need all the help I can get.

If you would like to help me with any future improvements on holly la beau, please click here to complete my quick blog survey.

Thursday, 8 January 2015

The Body Shop Born Lippy Lip Balms



The Body Shop is one of those places that I never really tend to go into unless there is a sale on, despite have a major appreciation for their bath and beauty offerings. My friend bought me this Born Lippy lip balm set for my birthday recently and I couldn't not write about it because there is something truly special here.

I haven't tried many of the makeup products that The Body Shop has to offer (I can tell you their eyeshadows cubes are fab though). I am a huge fan of their iconic body butters however, my favourite being Satsuma - mmmm.... I hadn't tried their lip balms before receiving this, despite how cheap and cheerful they are. 

There are five variations included in this set:-


Each comes in a pretty little pot with a colour coded sticker on the lid to match the shade. And, boy, are the colours pretty. Despite how bright the colours appear in the pot, the pigmentation is just as you would expect from a typical lip balm - just a hint of colour for a subtle look, but pretty nonetheless. Each shade is lovely and glossy, with the Satsuma one having a touch of added shimmer which creates a gorgeous effect when worn. The small size makes it the ultimate travel lip product for any occasion, and the £2 price makes it all the more appealing.

Colour and packaging aside, these are actually really great lip balms. They leave your lips feeling unbelievably smooth, a necessity after the cold weather we have been having which has been known to cause havoc to many people. Even after it has worn off, you still feel like your lips are super soft.

Moving on to my favourite thing about these little beauties - THEY ARE THE MOST INCREDIBLE SMELLING THINGS TO HAVE EVER GRACED MY NOSE. Oh wow, I can't get over how delicious they smell. You could honestly eat them. The passionberry one is my favourite fragrance out of all of them, it is very berryish and I just love it.

Have you ever tried The Body Shop lip balms?

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Tuesday, 6 January 2015

The Novel Notebook



For my 17th birthday at the end of December, one of my friends bought me a notebook that is basically perfect for me. I don't know how she came across it in the first place but I am so glad that she did. Described as the perfect place to keep your thoughts and ideas for writing a novel of your own, this was a very thoughtful gift for someone going on to study journalism and creative writing at university. She knows me so well!

After browsing the internet, I found this notebook and many others by the same brand on Not On The High Street (see the full range here). They are a really great idea for anyone who may be starting university this year and studying something along the same lines as me. I know it is just after Christmas so not exactly the prime time of year to talking about gifts but if you know of a birthday coming up then why not give one of these! There are also travel journals, normal notebooks, etc, so there really is something for everyone and there is the added option of personalising it like mine.

I love how it is in the style of a vintage book. What do you think?

If you would like to help me with any future improvements on holly la beau, please click here to complete my quick blog survey.

Sunday, 4 January 2015

Subscribe to Birchbox and get a free Beauty Blender worth £26!

Just a quick post today to let you all in on a great offer that Birchbox UK are offering this month. Subscribe today and get a free beauty blender with your first box (worth £26)! That means you are only paying £12.95 and getting both the box and the makeup sponge all for that price! Even if you don't want to carry on the subscription after your first box, just cancel your subscription after you receive it - I do that all the time and only subscribe when I know what is in the box and can decide if it is worth the money. I've just subscribed again to take advantage of this offer, I've been wanting one for aaaaages but always thought they were too expensive.

Alternatively, if you don't want the beauty blender (not that I can fathom why that would be) you can also get £5 off your first box, making it only £7.95. Again, you can always cancel the subscription later.

THE CODES
Free beauty blender with your first box - JANBB
£5 off the January box - JAN5

Enter the codes at the checkout to receive the offer. Let me know if you order one!!


Saturday, 3 January 2015

Favourite Blogs of 2014

I had read a lot of blogs over the past year, both old and new, and I couldn't be happier with the ones I found. Throughout 2014, blogging has become a bigger part of my life and I barely go a day without scrolling through my feed to see what my favourite bloggers have been posting. I cart a notebook around in my handbag at all times in case I think of an idea for a blog post or a particular line that I really like and want to put in somewhere. If for some reason I forget to bring it, the notes section on my phone really comes in handy.

Although there have been many, many blogs that I have laid eyes on this year, there are some which I read religiously and rarely miss a post and those are the ones I would like to share with you today. I am all for sharin' the love, after all.


FASHION

The Little Magpie: I absolutely adore her style and she just makes everything look so effortless and cool. She is very photogenic when it comes to taking outfit photos (which are always incredible.

The Lovecats Inc: Helen has an amazing fashion sense, I love that she wears sunglasses all year round! She also does some pretty fab beauty posts too, making her an all round great blogger with some versatility in her writing.

What Olivia Did: These are just the prettiest photos I have ever seen on a blog! She has a real gift when it comes to photography (as does whoever it is that takes her outfit photos). As well as being absolutely stunning, she is always so well dressed and her girly style really appeals to me.


BEAUTY

Hello October: Suzie seems like a genuinely lovely person and I love her youtube channel equally as much as I do her blog. Her photography skills are something that I can only aspire to achieve one day and her writing style is so laid back and enjoyable to read. She has that talent that only a few bloggers have that when she mentions a product that she loves, I instantly want to go out and buy it.

Ghostparties: What is with all these blogs and their amazing photographs? Kate is no different and if she wasn't one of my favourite bloggers because of her beauty and skincare reviews, she would be on that list because of her amazing knack for interior design. Wowza, does she have a beautiful home.

Lipgloss & Lashes: This has been a firm favourite of mine for many a month. I love how in-depth her reviews are so you know exactly what she thinks of a product, rather than just a light glossing over and a short post like a lot of bloggers tend to do. I like to know a lot of info about a product before I buy it so I often hop over to Becky's blog to see if she has reviewed it. Her blog helped me to decide which would be my very first MAC lipstick!


BOOKS

Water Painted Dreams: Hayley and I both like similar genres so I always look to her when I am in the mood for buying a new book. I love her reviews and how much details she gives, her posts always make me want to read even more books than I already do! I highly recommend checking her blog out if you love to read.

Alphabeth: This is another good all-rounder but I love her book posts in particular, although she doesn't do them very often. I am very grateful to Beth because it was her giveaway that I won that granted me with the opportunity to own a beautiful copy of Bram Stoker's 'Dracula'!


THE THOUGHT-PROVOKING ONE

The Persephone Complex: Written by a girl who is also named Holly, this blog is one that never fails to amaze me every time I read it. Holly always manages to really capture my interest and make me think about things in ways which I never have before. Yes, she does the odd beauty post but it is her other posts which really sets her apart from the others and she is fast becoming one of my ultimate favourite bloggers. She deserves a lot of credit for her work. Recently, I have been loving her posts on Christmas: Expectation Vs Reality and Being Watched Online: What Happens When You Write For Others. If you are going to start by reading any of her posts, I recommend those too.

What blogs have you been loving this past year?

Disclaimer: All photos taken from the corresponding blog.

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Friday, 2 January 2015

New Year Makeup Ft. the Naked 2 Palette







To celebrate the beginning of a new year (and a fun-filled, event-packed one at that), my friends and I had a small gathering at one of their houses and I have honestly not laughed that much in a long time. It is times like that that are really quite invaluable and precious, I need to appreciate them more.

Obviously I wanted to dress up a bit for the night and I really liked how my makeup looked so I thought you might like to see it. I used my new Naked 2 palette that I got for Christmas (see here) but only used 'Chopper' all over my lid for a little more subtle look but because it is quite shimmery, it still looked pretty and party-appropriate. Because I went a little more natural on the eyes, I went all out with a brighter lip to match my top. You don't hear many people talk about the Revlon Lip Butters any more but they are still one of my favourite lipstick lines that I have ever tried. They are so smooth and pigmented and just gorgeous. 

Did you all have a good hogmanay/new year?

Makeup used:
Estee Lauder Double Wear All-Day Glow BB Cream
Rimmel Stay Matte Pressed Powder
Maybelline FIT Me Concealer
Bare Minerals SPF20 Concealer
Soap & Glory Solar Powder
Soap & Glory Love At First Blush
Urban Decay Naked 2 'Chopper'
Soap & Glory Thick & Fast Mascara
Benefit Brow Zings
Revlon Colorburst Lip Butter 'Candy Apple'


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Thursday, 1 January 2015

Happy New Year!


Well, it's official - 2014 is well and truly over. I am both sad and happy to see it go. Many amazing things happened throughout the year, including my trip of a lifetime to Nepal, but like any other year, it was filled with things I would much rather forget and some sad losses. But that is just life. There are things in life you just have to accept and deal with, no matter how difficult that may seem at the time.

I am fully prepared for this new year and I am ready for the changes that it will bring. My sister's second child is due in April and I will be visiting them in America in July, I am going on holiday with my friends to Malia in June, I have my last ever day at high school in May (I think it's May anyway, whenever study leave starts), I move away from home in Septemeber and begin at university (eek) and finally, at the very end of 2015, I will turn 18. What a year! I hope it is every bit as exciting as I am expecting it to be.

For it to be a good year, I need to put a few plans into place. In other words, some new year's resolutions.

RESOLUTIONS FOR MY BLOG

Not stress so much about numbers - Yes, there are blogs which have been on the go for less time than mine but I need to stop comparing mine with them because they are different in many ways. Does it really matter how many followers or pageviews I have when I do have loyal readers who read and comment saying lovely things? No.

Get better at taking photographs - Despite just saying how I shouldn't be comparing my blog to others, my photos are very amateur and I feel like they let my blog down. I really need to get better at setting them up and making them really nice quality. I also need to remember to take a load of them on good lighting days because we all know how tricky it is to blog in periods of dull weather.

Have a schedule that I mostly stick to - I am really bad at blogging consistently and I really need to have a schedule with when I am going to put up a post and what it is going to be. I have been getting slightly better recently at jotting down blog post ideas and notes about what I want to say rather than just ramble on and on (like this post). 

RESOLUTIONS FOR LIFE IN GENERAL

Be more motivated when it comes to schoolwork - I can put up my hand and call myself guilty of leaving everything to the last minute because I think I have loads of time and then not really putting much effort in. Even though I already have my offers for university and I don't really need my exam results this year, I still want to do well in them just for personal achievement. If I can't learn how to be motivated at school just now, how will I cope at university? 

Be more sociable - Is this a weird resolution to have? I like my own company far too much and I need to make more of an effort at going out and enjoying myself. That is what being young is all about.

Get over my shyness, at least a little bit - With some major life changes ahead of me this year like going to university, I am going to be thrown straight in where I am most uncomfortable. I am going to be going off to a new city where I barely know anyone and doing a course where I know absolutely zero people. Similar to the last resolution, I need to not be so shy and try my best with all these new people because life would be pretty dire in a new place with no friends.

So, happy new year everyone and I hope it is filled with fun times for you all! Is there any major life changes or big events happening for you this coming year? 


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