Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Life: A 2014 blog round up, what I learnt and future goals

It's the 31st of December which can only mean one thing, it's time for a summary of the year that seems to have vanished without warning. Currently, I'm having a "how the hell is is 2015 tomorrow?!" moment and trying to recap on the best moments 2014 has brought me. On a year filled with ice bucket challenges, the Oscar selfie, Alex from Target, Kim K's rear end and selfie sticks; for me it's been another average year, filled with good and bad things, except this time I think the positive outweighs the negative. 

This year I've managed to tick off a few of last years goals (I prefer to call them goals because I never ever manage to stick to resolutions and I like to think I'm working towards something rather than ordering myself to do it). I've made the most of my favourite musicians being on tour and bought tickets for many more concerts, I've spent time away with my loved ones and concentrated on the priceless encounters that keep the heart pumping, I got to fulfill my dream of visiting London and seeing a musical for my 21st, I enjoyed a 17 day break in sunny Spain and most of all I achieved much more than I could imagine out of this little piece of the internet I can be proud of.

Without trying to sound all inspirational, if there's one thing I've learnt as each year goes by, it's that life throws challenges at you for a reason. Obstacles are there for you to find the best way out, do what's right and turn a situation into a lesson gained. This year I think I've finally stepped out of seeing every hurdle as a downer and tried to turn that around with a head held smile. The same goes for my blog, there's been many up and down moments. I've lost motivation, I've put so much effort into a post and had nothing back, by god I've felt  like giving it up completely but there's nothing more satisfying than seeing where you are now and knowing you followed the right path. Developing is a learning process, in the real world and the blogging world. Taking each step at a time, compromising with the speed of the opportunities, pushing yourself to go with your thoughts, and working towards/building smaller objectives is the way forward.

Compared to last year, I've seen a massive difference. Yes, I'm no where near where I'd like to be; no, that doesn't put me off. I only use that thought as inspiration for me to carry on advancing. With that in mind, I got to work on a list of my favourite blog achievements from this year. As little or big they are, each one provides me with a reason to strive towards succeeding. 

1) Evolving my style. I am now at the point I know what I want, both clothes wise and mind wise. Blogging has helped discover the real me which was hiding behind someone dying to get out. I can go out and be comfortable in my own skin, I'm thinking more about being fashion forward when buying and I'm actually forming a style pattern (high neck jumpers, basic black garments and lots of shoes, I'm pointing at you). As cliche as it may be, I am thinking of doing a comparison type fashion post to highlight my key bits and to allow myself (and everyone else) to view the change so if you're the slightest bit interested in seeing that then do let me know!

2) Feeling the enjoyment. This year has proven how much pleasure I get out of blogging. I don't do it because of the perks or because I feel like I have to, I do it because I love it. I love reading blogs, I love discovering blogs, I love the excitement I get when I think of a new idea and I love sharing the hobbies in my life with you all. Only now, I need to be more consistent.

3) Being approached. 2014 has been the year of recognition when it comes down to my blog. I have had so many more PR emails and invites in my inbox, hey I've even managed to be shared by Primark on their Facebook page a couple of times and despite the stigma of narrow minded individuals accusing bloggers only doing it for the freebies and the easy money, it's nice to see people thinking you are capable of the activities being questioned. No way did I ever think I'd be at this stage but I take it as a huge compliment when I get asked.

4) Growth of stats. Last year I was thanking everyone for my 81 followers, and reached my 10,000 page views. Fast forward a year and all together I have 582 followers, over 35,000 views and have attracted an increase in comments. I have more than doubled in views and eighthed (I just made that word up) in readers. I'm certainly no Olivia from What Olivia Did or Kate from ghostparties (which take top seats in my favourite bloggers of 2014 amongst many others who I never got the chance to display in a separate blog post may I add) and it's not a magnificent amount but for me, it's pretty incredible and pleased is an understatement. 

5) Attending events and becoming more involved in the blogger community. This has to be my favourite of the five. This is something I've always desired and something I can now tick off the wish list. This year I was invited to seven events and managed to attend four; the Merumaya chat in Sheffield, Paul Mitchell Gift of Style in the swanky Quebecs Hotel, M&CO Christmas themed Fashion Party and my one true love, the Lush VIP Opening Night in the White Rose Centre. With this came many friendly faces, lovely girls and conversations that felt like you'd known them forever. There's not a better feeling than finding someone  to your loves in life and understanding your beliefs, both online and in person and with that, comes great happiness.

As per, the list of achievements is nothing opposed to my new goals I have set myself. One of my targets is stop being so tough on myself but I always find something (or more like a million things) to improve on. As each year passes I find myself reaching heights I wouldn't have dreamt of grabbing the year before. Kind of like a never ending ladder, there's always something at the top I'm urging to get. I find aiming and focusing in stages works better than doing it all at once and although they link together in more ways than reckoned, I think keeping personal and blogging goals separate is also an easier way to record and achieve.

1) Take myself out of my comfort zone. That, and trying harder. I'm one of those people who easily gets out of situations by making excuses or sitting back and ignoring the voices in my head telling me to go for it. Although I've enhanced a great deal recently in going with my heart and noticed how beneficial it is to my well being and how it really wasn't that bad, I need to shake off the awkwardness, learn to say yes and don't let anything stop me. 

2) Create a photo diary. This is something I've been meaning to do for a while now but never got round to doing so. I already have a memory box which I constantly keep adding to and which brings back all sort of emotions when visited but photographing a number of moments throughout the year to then recollect into one big recap in December would be equally as pleasing.

3) Show my character. Expressing my personality is something I find difficult, especially around strangers or people I feel I need to impress. I find being myself easier in writing but when coming face to face there's a whole lot more concealed because I think that's what's best. I want people to recognise me by a distinctive attribute. I don't think I have a stand out trait or anything that defines me and I think symbolizing my true self will help that in the real and blogging world. 

4) Speak up more. I often stay quiet to avoid trouble, despite being strong minded and whilst I deal with the build up of blood boiling ready to pounce. Sometimes I just can't be bothered with the hassle an opinion brings in today's society but I find expressing how I feel tends to clear my head and I'm glad for sticking up for what I believe in. This also interwines with my blog, I feel like it's time for me to bring more of my personal thoughts away from fashion and beauty. Whether my readers will like that or not I don't know, it's all about taking a risk.

5) Stop worrying about what other people think (and despite it being hard with an anxiety disorder, just stop worrying full stop and quit analysing every little thing). Another issue that eats me up, especially when the opportunity of meeting new people arises. I am always in constant fear of being judged, I avoid deep conversation, hold up on responding and  daren't acknowledge my qualities and oddities. Next year, it's time for change. It's time to be honest and true to who I am, and if people don't like that, then I guess they weren't worth it in the first place.  

6) Concentrate on me. I mean this in all ways; giving myself praise, allowing some precious me time, doing what makes me happy, stop comparing myself to other people and stop wishing I was like that person who has more. It's time for me to be content with what I already have and with that will bring a boost of energy my way and then I can place that into perspective, including my blog.

7) Make a difference. I have a wish to help and inspire others with the actions I take. This still hasn't happened and I NEED to get cracking on it. I'm not really sure how, but I do know there's plenty of people who crave help and advice in the world and if telling my story helps in any way, then that I shall do.

8) Live for the moment. Not for the social networking. It's so easy to get caught up in the the latest tweet rather than what's right in front of you these days. I hate how much technology has taken over children and everyday social skills, yet I'm guilty of having my head in my phone and my laptop from morning to night. Taking a picture is an exception, it's always nice to treasure the moment by capturing it but I must remember having your head stuck in your phone at a gathering means you're so much more likely to miss out. 

9) Be healthy. Just like everybody else's resolutions, I know, but I'm necessitating a detox as soon as January hits. I had a health kick in the summer but that soon deflated in winter. It's amazing how much better and confident I felt when I exercised, introduced a balanced diet, drank plenty of water and regained a normal sleeping pattern. I had a glow in my cheeks and now I just feel sluggish 24/7. I don't just want to change the way my body just flumps into one flabby shape, I want to rid of my bad habits, improve fitness levels and work towards an all round better lifestyle.

10) Explore. I am such a travel admirer, I'd kill to travel the world, in particular Dublin, Paris, Prague, Italy, Berlin, Greece, The Bahamas, the whole of America, and Dubai. Unfortunately for that, you need lots and lots of money which up until now, I'm extremely short of but that doesn't mean I can't explore my own country. I want to shake things up in the new year, go places I've never been before and pick out the best parts of England that are much more approachable. Who knows, I could discover a masterpiece. 

1) Improve photography. The best decision I ever made was to get a DSLR and a versatile lens but it's the technical usage of the camera that's the tricky part. Since blogging, photography has become a passion. I've most certainly polished up my photography when looking back on what I produced last year but I'm determined to learn more about hitting the right angle and the ins and outs of taking the perfect picture as 2015 hits. 

2) Be more innovative. As blogging is becoming more and more popular as we speak, it's tough to fabricate content that's original and one of a kind. One thing I aim to do is to jot down and compose of any ideas I have for my blog posts, whether it's simple or bizarre. A lot of projects have been done before but I believe it's the way you make them your own that counts. Copying isn't cool, creating integrity and a unique twist in a topic, one that relates to and fits you to a tee is a better option.

3) Get planning and organising. I need to start scheduling my blog posts in an organiser or a spreadsheet (just to go all executive on you), writing down the days and having a rhythmitic routine for my shambles of a daily ploy. I've been meaning to do this for so long yet I still leave everything to the last minute. I don't want to be sat up till 1am writing a blog post because I feel like I've let my readers down. Having something ready just in case and doing blog stuff in chunks (like photographing lots of things for different posts all at once for example) is my aim for next year, as well as leaving some spare time to de-stress and relax, knowing things are done and dusted. Balancing the two will most likely enable me to do so.

4) Include personal and controversial topics. As I said before, my own personal views manifested into my blog is something I hope to grasp. Often these sort of issues are pushed aside but I enjoy having a rant now and again and it would be interesting to see what other people think. Obviously there's no right or wrong answer and I'd keep it clean and simple as causing offense is not what I'm wanting. I just think it's a great way to get people talking and I won't feel so down on myself if people do agree with something I feel passionate about.

5) Post more regularly. Like the planning and organising, I need to keep repeating that over and over so it registers in my ever so forgetful brain. I'm gradually getting there; there's days where I can write up half a dozen posts and then days where I stare blankly at a screen. I think with the preparation of posts will come more drafts and I'll find myself getting into a proper routine. Let's hope anyway.

6) Have a dedicated day post. I really love reading these sort of posts. Like Amy's Sunday Posts and Charlotte's Motivational Mondays. It's not only invigorating, it's something different from the rest, it gives you something fresh to congregate and you are guaranteed at least one post sorted every week.

7) A new blog design. A professional one this time. This is the first thing I'll be on board with in 2015. I'll gather up all the best recommendations, do some research and take it from there. I never really thought spending money on a layout is necessary but I do believe an ordered template which is easy to follow and eye catching at the same time makes a hell of a difference to who reads your blog and who scrolls straight past it.

8) Having a domain. This is another big step for me. I think a new year is the perfect time to give your blog a revamp and in my case, it's the perfect time to revolutionise to a .com or a For one, it will make me feel all professional (but trust me, I'm definitely not), secondly I will have my own individual url and thirdly, it's much easier to type. It's a win win situation here, guys. 

9) Interpret more style based posts. Not just outfits (although I am planning on basing a whole lot more of my content around how I choose to style my wardrobe), but a summary of everything that links in with style. Ever since I was little, I've been a fashion crazy sorta lady and I'm always following up the latest trends and advice so why not include that in some posts?! Also, I'm hoping to mix my outfit locations up a little. This probably won't work as I don't have anyone available for travelling the city looking for scenic backgrounds but still, there's no harm in trying and wishing to achieve.

10) Remember to give myself a break. Things get on top of me so easily, I'm wound up instantly and I panic stress at the thought of a super busy day ahead of me, constantly telling myself I won't be able to manage. Although I do see my self-criticising improving, I'm such a pessimistic mare and I'm the first one to shrug off anything optimistic said about me. I'm repeatedly paranoid and think i've never done enough of a good job. This has to stop, I need to learn to give myself a pat on the back and stay cheery for more than 5 minutes. 

I feel like I have rambled way too much for one post, which sounds about right for me. Maybe this is another goal for me to take into consideration; know how to stop once you start! Anyhow, I must dash as today is a busy day. It's always double the fun when it's your mum's birthday on New Year's Eve. Not like we're doing anything fancy, the poor birthday girl has to work till 7,  and everyone has deserted her, so it's just me, my brother, grandma, cousin and partner heading off to Frankie and Benny's (I may as well add to the appalling diet I've encountered over the Christmas festivity period. One more slap up meal before the detox won't hurt, right?!) and then a quiet one at home afterwards, celebrating the new year with a toast to good will and a happy, healthy start because after all, snuggling in a warm, cosy house with ideal company and going to sleep as soon as it turns midnight is more appealing. Granny life all the way.

I hope whatever you have planned for tonight, you have the loveliest time. Whether that be a glitzy, sparkly event, a trip down your local boozer, with your whole family, or just with the main people in life who you can always rely on, like I am. Celebrating your way is important because there's no one like you and that's what makes the world go round (another failed inspirational motto for you to soak in there).

With that in mind, I want to thank you for coping with my whining ways, your interest in my blog is what stimulates me to carry on and I hope you make my day by continuing to read in 2015. Happy New Year, and I'll speak to you next year! (I always get a kick out of saying that!)

Bridie x

P.S. if you have any blog/general life aims for next year, feel free to tell me them as I love a good insight into other people's lives!

Monday, 29 December 2014

Beauty: Glitter Lips by Beauty Boulevard

Whilst in the hairdressers for half a day you have to find some way of occupying yourself. With me, that usually means daydreaming and taking a look around the salon with a blank expression and this time my musing came in handy. I spotted one of the staff with gorgeous sparkling red lips with that perfect inbetween ruby shade that I've been searching for. On further inspection I was told this was a product named 'Glitter Lips', sold by the beauty assistant within the salon and once I saw how lovely it looked on, I didn't hesitate on purchasing one of my own for the upcoming Christmas party season.

Glitter Lips, created by Rachel and Paula of Beauty Boulevard is a brand new, innovative product which revolutionizes lip colour. It comes in seven stunning shades but I decided to pick up Ruby Slippers, a vibrant best seller. The application works by placing a lightweight lip gloss with a gluey consistency across the entire lip area, keeping each lip parted as you do so. Once the gloss has turned from white to clear, you can get to work at smoothering the pot of glitter all over your lips. I was a bit apprehensive at first, I thought it was just all in one sort of lipstick - I didn't know it was a separate process and I wasn't sure how it was going to work. Let's just say, I was completely wrong at thinking negative.

Starting off with the colour, it is that glowing, bright, bold red colour that stands out from a distance (and which is hard to photograph come night time, I promise I'll take a better photo soon). I love how complimenting this highly pigmented tone is on a pale complexion.  I'm not a huge glitter lover, but this changed my conception. As soon as you start to apply the glitter with the small double sided brush that comes with it, you get a feel of how it's going to appear. I'm not saying it isn't a messy procedure and that it doesn't feel strange at first when on the lips (it's like having the aftermath of a sugar doughnut without the licking) it is, but having some patience really does pay off in the end. For the proper effect of Glitter Lips, it does need some careful time put into it. On my first try, it didn't go to plan, didn't seem to cover, left patches and vanished from my lips much quicker than it should have done which is why you need to make sure your lips are clean and dry, that you apply enough gloss and use any other techniques/methods/lip brushes you find helps (I find smearing on in small amounts and using your fingers to fill in the missing parts is a huge benefit). On my second application, which was on Christmas Day,  it took me around 10 minutes to complete thoroughly. This is when the compliments came rolling in. The shine and durability it provides is amazing and it really does direct all attention to that source of communication you can make into a work of art. 

The staying power is incredible. The entire product is waterproof and smudge proof and it is said to last 8 hours. This part is certainly not a lie. Even after eating, drinking and chatting all night, my shimmering sparkle stayed put and refused to budge. It is only with great force that it detaches (it is recommended to use an oily based make up remover for best removal). Glitter Lips is ideal for any occasion or event where you want to raise the roof. In particular, the upcoming New Years Eve night out. It's bound to make you feel and look glamourous and give you that added WOW without the tackiness. Retailing at £12.50, it's an inexpensive genius invention that does exactly as it says on the tin. 

Have you tried Glitter Lips?

Bridie x

Sunday, 28 December 2014

Life: my Christmas Day

So, another Christmas is over with. After all that planning and preparing it goes by in a flash and all that madness and enjoyment seems to all come to a sudden halt. I do think the build up to Christmas always seems better than the day itself but having that one day of celebrating with the ones you love the most and realising what really matters , makes it all worthwhile. There's nothing I love more than seeing my family happy; the long awaited get togethers, the noise, the mess, the drunkards, and the duped gifts just add to the appreciation of the finer things in life.

I've had another amazing Christmas this year. Waking up on Christmas morning and still feeling sleepy is a sign you're getting old but that nostalgic excitement still niggled as I eventually realigned to earth and registered that it was the 25th. As always, once we'd all risen from our pits, me, my Mum and Brother opened our presents from each other and cherished some mother-children time before the day grew busier. I spent half of the day with my main ones (Mum, Brother, Grandma), devouring a beautiful Christmas dinner (with the decorating the table duty completed by yours truly may I add) at my house with just the four of us and finishing off by (again) opening our gifts from each other. This year, I spent a lot more money on my Mum and Grandma because of how much they do for me all year round and I was so pleased they loved all their presents. In my eyes, knowing someone is so grateful is often more rewarding than the receiving of gifts. In the middle of opening presents we were pestered around 3 times via the phone by my little (when I say little I mean she's 10 going on 40) cousin, wandering how much longer we'll be before we go round to her house because she couldn't wait to see us and give us our presents. Finishing off as quickly as we could, we spruced ourselves up, carted the 10 bags of gifts into the boot of the car and headed off to my Auntie's for the continued fun.

Before the small ones arrived and the chaos began, we once again exchanged gifts (there's a lot of different present opening moments in my family) and then we waited for the rest of the family to arrive. Once the children dived through the door in excitement, that's when I really did feel the Christmas magic. My second cousins, now 3 and 4 are at that adorable age where they can sit down and open presents, take notice of what they have been bought and say thank you themselves. Hearing what Santa brought them, sitting and playing with them and seeing them giggle and smile from ear to ear is seriously heart melting. Christmas is so precious when you're a child and it sucks that you have to grow up.

As the night went on and the love and laughter from all generations kept growing, we decided to sit and watch some camcorder tapes which we have just recently had put on to DVD's. Christmas is always a hard time when you have lost loved ones but reminiscing on the special memories and looking back on the brilliant Christmases we've had the privilege of celebrating with them makes it easier and it was lovely to do that as family. They never really do go away and the emotion bouncing off each other makes up for their absence. 

You may have noticed 70% of these pictures feature some kind of nibble. I open handedly admit I have consumed way too much food this Christmas and New Year period and it doesn't stop there. Along with the boxes of chocolates I've had bought, the Celebrations and Heroes, the ice cream, the cakes, the boxes of biscuits, nuts, and the huge Christmas dinner, there's the snacks I've been grabbing for two days non stop now. On Christmas evening and Boxing Day, we had the luxury of the best kind of food possible (buffet food) and took advantage of the many sausage rolls, cocktail sausages, cheese and pickled onions, crisps, pastries, garlic bread, chicken skewers and of course the left over turkey (I really don't think there's a limit to how many meals you can make from one turkey). Today I'm heading off to my Grandma's for another roast dinner and on Wednesday I'm going out for ANOTHER meal to celebrate New Years Eve and my Mum's birthday. I just can't seem to stop eating. I feel so disgusting and bloated, I know I shouldn't be doing it, and my skin isn't responding well but I just can't stop. Someone please send help.

From then until now, all I've been doing is trying to recover from the sudden laziness and lack of motivation I've developed. The only motivation I have had was dedicated to catching up on the ever so dramatic soaps and taking a look through my many amazing presents. I'm not one of those to desire designer gear, I'm definitely not a cliche Michael Kors/Pandora/£700 handbag kinda gal and my family don't go overboard but I'm always appreciative for what I get. This year my gifts mainly included skincare and beauty sets, some personalised bits, and vouchers and money but I will be doing a full round up post of my Christmas gifts and buys once I round them all together.

Speaking of Christmas buys, the bargain filled Boxing Day/January sales are becoming dangerous and I'm still in the midst of browsing websites and hesitating whether to click on the add to basket button. So far I've purchased this Mango dress, this New Look dress, the Alpha H Liquid GoldOrigins Energy Boosting Bests, Soap & Glory Think Pamper Gift Set and the Dove Be You Gift Set and No7 Protect & Perfect Gift Set for my Mum. Have you picked up anything nice in the sales and how was your Christmas? I can't believe there's only 3 more days left of 2014, let's make those count!

Bridie x

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Christmas Party Season: Get Ready With Me

Merry Christmas Eve Eve everyone! Bit of a different post from me today but one I'm excited to show you. Being inspired by the iconic YouTube 'Get Ready With Me' videos, I thought I'd create my own but blog post wise and via photos because speaking in front of a camera, having to listen to my god awful voice in hope of gaining in audience is certainly not something that appeals to me as of yet. Maybe sometime when I shake off my awkwardness, but for now I enjoy documenting my daily life, findings and adventures through my own personal space which just keeps on developing.

The festive season soon comes around, much faster than it used to it seems. When Christmas hits there's so much to think about, you can easily stress yourself out with all the remembering, present buying, food shopping and squabbling which is why the party season follows on to give you the well needed break. I don't know about anyone else, but the Christmas party season is my favourite kind of partying. It always seems to be more family orientated and it's filled with such class and glamour. Every single year, I find myself searching for that perfect dress that fits the theme and this year was no different. This gorgeous velvet burgundy red dress from Missguided (which was only £9.99 may I add, such a bargain for how lovely the quality and fit is) was instant love at first sight. The bardot style which sits swiftly over my shoulders allows my chest area to be blazoned and open for detail and the colour has Christmas written all over it. I always associate every tone of red with Christmas and this deep berry colour makes me the ideal candidate for Mrs Clause. Another reason for me picking red is the simpleness of how to style. Black is the winner, any black shoes and clutch bag that you can dig out of your wardrobe seems to work. Just like it did for me, when I rediscovered my favourite strappy heels and vintage clutch and found they paired perfectly. 

When it comes to getting ready, I like to maintain a steady routine and make sure I leave myself plenty of time to dress myself up to the max. Once I've had a pampering bath and splashed myself in perfume and body lotion I always start off by doing my makeup first, followed by hair and then finally getting dressed (that's if the item of clothing I've chosen has a wide enough neck area to fit over my head without messing my freshly done hair up, if not the dress goes on first!). I tend to paint my nails the night before just so I'm not rushing around trying to complete a million tasks with wet, tacky nails. 

It goes without saying that I'm the sort of person who likes to stick to a makeup look I am comfortable with. This usually includes neutral shades and a not too heavy base. For the Christmas and the New Year period however, I prefer to raise the basics and create a more enhanced appearance. Once I've moisturized my face and applied my Rimmel Stay Matte Primer, it's time for my base. For this look I used my current favourite foundation, Estee Lauder Double Wear. It provides such amazing coverage but with a smooth, matte finish that makes your skin look effortlessly flawless. To cover up my dark circles and unwanted blemishes, I used the Rimmel Wake Me Up Concealer and the Seventeen Phwoarr Paint. My dark circles are still visible but these two mixed together help disguise the harshness. 

Once that is done, I start on my eye makeup which when exceeded is more carefully defined and this tends to be what I spend the most time on. The main shade I went with was MAC Amber Lights, I love how the golden copper tone brings out my eye colour and it's a gorgeous vibrant shade which can be worn alone or built up. Using my beloved Naked palette I blended the shade Smog into my crease to add that smidgen of shimmered smokiness to the rust colour. Then, using my Zoeva 221 Soft Crease brush I fluffed across the very top of my eyelid towards the brow bone with a dust of Buck and finished off by highlighting the corner and the end of my eye with Half Baked. With that, comes a flick of winged eyeliner. I've recently moved on to Soap and Glory Supercat Eyeliner which I adore, I'm still not a professional eyeliner artist and it takes me a good few tries to get it right but the shape of this liner makes it much easier to apply. Finally, for the eye I use my long time favourite mascara L'Oreal Telescopic to intensify my already lengthy eyelashes. For the brows I use the famous Anastasia Brow Wiz as well as a Rimmel Professional Eyebrow Pencil to create the best natural shapely brow I can as my non growing eyebrow hairs are very sparse and broken. 

Once the top half of my face is complete, I move on to the tricky parts or on more simpler terms, the contouring/highlighting of my cheeks. It's something I'm still trying to get a hold of but I'm slowly but surely improving. I only recently purchased the Sleek Face Form in Light which is what I started with. Using my Zoeva Sheer Cheek Brush I swept a dash of the darker colour across the bottom of my cheekbone structure and above that I applied the lighter shade to direct the illumination to that area. I also use my Soap and Glory Solar Powder and my Topshop Glow Stick in Play Up just to give my skin that extra glow and to highlight the rest of my face that is going to be captured. On my brow bone, down the length of my nose and around my jawline and chin are the main areas I focus on.

Now the contouring/bronzing is intact, I powder my face with the Soap and Glory One Heck Of A Blot. It's overtaken my previous favourite powders, Rimmel Stay Matte and Seventeen Miracle Matte and has become the first on my list of 'powders to maintain a smooth finish and control oiliness'. Until I discover some higher end brands, this stays a firm choice. Then, to finish off my face I use Nars Douceur to add a flush of rose pink colour to the cheeks which also compliments my contour. 

For the lips, I ventured out to the red lip world. You can never have enough as there's so much variation. Even the slightest brighter, darker or softer tint can make a difference to how it views on the lips. Nars Cruella Velvet Matte Lip Pencil is a new addition to my collection and although it didn't truly match the colour of my dress I thought the contrast worked well. It's a cool toned, highly pigmented red lip and one of those which you could get away with using as a staple with any achieved makeup design. Then, with a quick check back in the mirror, I'm ready to finish off the rest of my chores.

Now, for the hair... you'll have to excuse the terrible roots. I didn't have much choice but to include my badly faded, discoloured, dull and 'in need of some treatment' barnet in my stages of getting ready. I am having it done (will most likely have had it done as this is posted) today and I couldn't leave the photo taking till last minute. I promise it's not always like this and I can't wait to feel like me again! Ignoring that, I always bring out my treasured Enrapture Totem Styler on an occasion. Soft curls which form into waves as they drop is what I almost always strive for. For this, I use the settings 1-2-1, start from the bottom and twirl a medium section of my hair under the clip. This hair tool is an absolute dream, it's so straight forward to use, it gives me the curls I aim for in around 20 minutes and it never ends up looking anything less than neat and in place.

As it's winter, it's too cold/windy/rainy to shoot outside and the opportunity of getting a clear shot in natural lighting is near enough impossible, so the accomplished look makes it difficult to capture yourself in the right light (you'll have to look past the poor quality, oh how I wish summer would hurry up!). That's the only downside to the Christmas season, so you just have to go through a few poses before it becomes acceptable to post on social networking sites and eventually you just have to go by what your mirror and other people say and walk out on your adventures for the night, ready to show off your sparkle and have some obligated fun.

As this will be my last post before the Christmas activities kick off, I'd like to wish you all a brilliant Christmas and a healthy, prosperous new year. I more than likely will be posting again before 2015 arrives but for the time being I want to forget about the constant thought of what I need to do to complete a blog post, take a short break and enjoy Christmas with my friends and family. It's not that I'm shoving everything away, it's just I enjoy being a lazy mare from time to time and what better way to take advantage than at Christmas time?! If any fellow bloggers have some parties to attend, I hope the process of glamming up goes smoothly because I know just how flustering it can get, and do let me know your going out routines too as I'd love to know those little unique traits that everyone seems to have to make life around the Xmas period that bit more bearable.

Bridie x

Saturday, 20 December 2014

Life: Leeds Christkindl German Market

What do you do on a cold, winters day when the rain is battering down and the wind is almost blowing you in the opposite direction? Most normal people stay in a place they can be warm and dry but not me, I head to the German market to have a wander round and get myself into the Christmas spirit before it shuts (which is today in fact). There's nothing like a traditional German market to brighten up a dull day; the ever so famous Christkindelmarkt has been resting at the Millenium Square in Leeds for a long time now and returns every year. It was a little difficult trying to get some photographs in the dusk air, with the funny looks and my lens constantly getting splashed but never the less, I went ahead anyway.

As you walk in either entrance you are greeted with a warm (or maybe more cold at the end of December) welcome of pretty attractions with each one being different. The market has over 40 wooden chalet stalls decorated with festive greenery and twinkling colourful lights, all creating a unique continental Christmas atmosphere. The market also includes themed indoor venues where you can take shelter and some funfair rides, including the beautiful carousel and the kiddies swings. I think most people had already explored the market as it was pretty dead when I visited but that just gave me more of a chance to soak in the festive vibe. There's nothing I love more than an authentic market filled with a variety of goodies, lovely scenic spaces, excited individuals and jolly music being played.

Obviously, the one thing that stands out for me is the food. There's nothing better than the sweet smell of pretzels, smoked German sausages, mulled wine and brewed coffee. For me, that just smells spells out Christmas. The huge beer tent seems to be the most popular place but I'd much prefer admiring the display of novelty biscuits and souvenirs, luxury chocolates, delicious crepes, drizzling donuts and a ton load of sweets so that's what I did. The German community really do know how to tempt me into a food coma.

(spot the evils from the obviously unimpressed woman)

The array of seasonal gifts, gorgeous decorations, handcrafted toys, cards and jewellery on show were certainly an eye catcher. There were so many cute, dazzling items that I could have easily taken home with me. I even walked round twice just to make sure I didn't miss anything as each masterpiece has such delicate detailing to it. My favourites were the glistening, all silver chic baubles and the dainty Christmas houses. I'm such a sucker for a piece like that.  

I ended the day with a Starbucks Honey and Almond Hot Chocolate (which was extremely calorific but absolutely heavenly may I add) and a visit to the huge Christmas tree (or just a regular tree with lights round it) in the heart of the centre. Plus, a drenched hat which had to be placed right over my eyes so it didn't blow off, an eyeliner emergency and a number of ripped carrier bags but none of that even mattered. I had such a lovely, relaxed family stroll which won over the weather by a mile. Any kind of Christmas market is such a great way to celebrate the festive period. I cleverly balanced the light and darkness and attended in the late afternoon so I could experience both sides and see it all lit up and I'm very glad I did!

In other news, I can't believe it's only 5 days till Christmas. Although the market did set off the Christmas spirit, I still don't think it feels like Christmas is only a short time away. My gifts are all bought and wrapped now so I'm all prepared, now I'm just waiting for a movie marathon on Christmas Eve (and in the middle of editing a Christmas themed post I've never done before but am excited to publish). Maybe then, the day before, it will feel like the 25th December is near. It's crazy how fast this year has gone but I'm looking forward to another new year to see what adventures that brings. Let the festivities begin!

Have you been to a Christmas market this year?

Bridie x
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