Beauty Discoveries & Loves of 2016

I feel as thought 2016 was a good year for beauty, or maybe just for me finding products I cannot live without. I still don't have an established routine, however, I have a fair few products which I am committed to more than anything else in my life. Many are new discoveries for me and many are old loves which have been reignited this year.

For reference, I have dry/dehydrated skin which is a little combination & I do break out occasionally. I mostly use products which are suited for dry skin as I like to keep my skin hydrated af for that dewy look, but which are also suitable for sensitive skin.

DAVINES HAIRCAREMuch like the rest of the beauty industry, I am completely obsessed with Davines haircare. So much so, I haven't used many other brands except Davines this year. I am all for the Oi range as the shampoo & conditioner is perfect for my hair (let's not mention that I also use the body wash in this scent - it's that good). The scent is very particular and you either love it or hate it. If you're looking to try their products, I would recommend Your Hair Assistant Hair Definition Mist, OI Oil, OI Shampoo & ConditionerYou can read my full review here!

OLAPLEXHow many times have I raved about Olaplex over the past year? Many times! I have been using the Olaplex treatment for over a year now, as well as using Step 3 at home. Olaplex is a treatment which strengthens the hair and is best used when mixing in with hair colour/bleach. Since having my hair bleached quite often last year over at Blue Tit (highly recommend), I've noticed the difference in my hair before and after having it bleached without and without the Olaplex. 

AVEDA DAMAGE REMEDY DAILY HAIR REPAIRI've been using the Damage Remedy Daily Hair Repair since the beginning of the year every time I wash my hair. I apply it onto damp hair before blow-drying my hair to add extra conditioner and to protect my hair from any further damage. I haven't stuck to using the same hair product on damp hair for this long ever before and I will certainly purchase a new bottle of this when I run out of it. 

TATA HARPERTata Harper was a new brand to me in 2016 and now it's firmly in my skincare routine. I have raved about the brand here in the blog post but I can report back now to say that I have continued to use all of their products. The Refreshing Cleanser is a cream skin cleanser which removes makeup and feels so soothing on the skin. The Resurfacing Mask is still one of the best masks I have ever used, it leaves an instantly brighter face whilst making the surface super smooth. The downside is the price tag, it's fairly hefty for how small the pot is so I'm waiting till I'm back in the US to pick it up & save a little. 

SARAH CHAPMAN ULTIMATE CLEANSE Believe the hype, it's worth it with this cleanser. If I need one cleanser to take away with you to do everything, I suggest this one. Over Christmas break, I was back up north for ten days and only took this one cleanser with me. It melts all makeup so quickly and leaves the skin feeling super soft. There's one negative though and that's that it seriously hurts my eyes. I try to remove my eye makeup before using this as if I use it to remove mascara, it makes my eyes sting for a while after. 

AVENE REDNESS RELIEF CLEANSING MILKI read about this cleanser on Into The Gloss as a recommendation for redness and believe me when I say, if you suffer from redness on the skin, you need this. It's super cheap, a huge bottle and all I've used in the morning for around 6 months now. I apply directly onto dry skin, massaging in before towelling off with a damp flannel. 

WELEDA SKIN FOOD Weleda is also a new brand to me this year. I had originally tried Skin Food years ago & hated it, I now love it, though. For those cold winter days, I love using this in the evening to add a thick layer of moisturise to my face. It's super thick & greasy, which means many people hate using it on their face, but if you have dry flakey skin, be sure to track it down. You can read my full review here

VICHY AQUALIA THERMAL SERUM I've never really bothered with Vichy products before, nothing has ever stood out for me, until this. I had read a few reviews about it but it wasn't until I was in a meeting that it was sold to me. Until now, I hadn't found a serum which worked well enough for me to use it every day. If you're looking for a deeply hydrating serum which works, this is it. 

LA ROCHE POSAY SEROZINCAgain, another product I didn't believe the hype about until mid last year, but it happened to save my hormonal skin at a crucial moment. Last year when changing my pill, my skin decided to freak out due to the change in hormones and broke out more than I've ever had before. Skip to me trying all products I could try and I managed to pinpoint it down to this product. I don't use it all the time, but when I do, I spray it onto the lower half of my face when I break out every night until the blemishes disappear. 

GLOSSIER MOISTURISING MOON MASKI've been a fan of Glossier since it launched, the whole aesthetic is my vibe and I knew anything which came from the brains of Emily Weiss was going to be good. When I got the chance to try the masks last year, I jumped onto it and I've been obsessed ever since. They've managed to make two masks (one moisturising & the other a clay mask) which are suitable for all skin types. It's the only clay mask I'm able to use when my skin is at it's most sensitive. The Moisturising Moon mask is a dream to apply and gives my skin the hydration it needs in the winter. 

MAC FACE & BODY FOUNDATIONThis is a love hate product, but last year I came back to it and fell in love with it all over again. It's a super lightweight foundation which can be built up to your achieved coverage, without feeling heavy, hence being able to use on your body too. When my skin is behaving well, I like to use a few drops of this with a damp beauty blender all over the face. Note - I would avoid it if you have oily skin as it's super dewy & if you often break out from products as I've heard of many people break out from it. 

RMS UN COVER-UP CONCEALER2016 was the year I discovered my all time favourite concealer by RMS. It's a light coverage concealer with a base of coconut oil, making it super hydrating on the skin. I had never been a huge fan of concealer until I found this product. If you're into medium-heavy coverage, you won't be into it but if you like your skin but better, this is for you.

DIOR LIP GLOWMy second most used lip product by far (the first being MAC Lipstick in Syrup) Dior Lip Glow as it's the only lip product I constantly carry around with me. If you like a moisturising pink tinted lip balm, you will love this. Yes, it's expensive for what it is, but it's lasted me for more than a year and it's only just coming to the end. I also have the peach shade which is divine for the summer. 

FRESH SUGAR TINTED LIP TREATMENTAnother lip product I fell head over heels for in 2016 was all the shades of the Fresh Sugar Tinted Lip Balms. I'm a huge fan of the Fresh Sugar range (the body scrub is divine) but the tinted lip balms are ideal for the everyday look when I don't want to look in the mirror when applying. My favourite shades are Honey, Petal and Rose

TOO FACED CHOCOLATE BAR EYESHADOW PALETTEI could have easily spoken about only Burberry Pale Barley eyeshadow as that is my all-time favourite, however, the Too Faced Chocolate Bar palette is by far my favourite of the year. Containing a mixture of matte & shimmer neutral tones, including the most beautiful wearable-pink, it's what I often travel with and reach for. The chocolate smell is also a perk. 

CHANEL SOLEIL TAN DE CHANELSurprisingly, I reached for Chanel's cream bronzer more throughout the colder months in 2016 as I don't like to go too overboard with the cream products in the summer. I find using it with a Real Techniques Buffing Brush picks up the right amount of product. The shade can lean a little orange on some skin tones, but for me, it's the same shade as I would naturally tan in the sun. 

BY TERRY BAUME DE ROSESay hello to the most expensive lip balm which is worth the hype. It's thick, moisturising, the perfect base for most lipsticks and adds a certain tint to the lips which I love. Some people hate it, but I reach for it at least a few times a day to moisturise my lips. I keep a large pot in my handbag at all times, as well as keeping mini tubs on my bedside & dressing table. 

MAISON MARTIN MARGIELA REPLICA LAZY SUNDAY MORNINGI stepped away from my usual Stella McCartney fragrance, which has been my signature scent for years now and started to wear this daily (not just on Sunday's). It's based on a summer morning in Florence and smells like fresh bed linen - all memories I am terribly fond of. 

What was your favourite beauty discovery of 2016?

The Christmas Gift Edit

The most wonderful time of the year (with the exception of my birthday month - September) is upon us and I am bloody loving it. Maybe not so much the weekly hangovers due to copious amount of festive drinks, but I really love Christmas. So many parties to wear my favourite silver heels to and to lather myself in highlighter, as well as many friends I can buy presents for! 
I know how hard it can be to buy presents at times, my best friend is fairly picky so I get it, so I'm here to lend you a hand. 

Beauty lovers will love these Fresh gift sets!

If you buy someone one of these gift sets, I can assure you that you are going to be in their good books. If I happened to open one of these on Christmas morning, I'd be both surprised that someone knew me well enough to know I love Fresh and a very happy girl. Their Sugar Lip Showcase contains a range of their tinted lip balms in an adorable minature size. I am all for a tinted balm and these are by far my favourite. In the set there is a shade for everyone from untinted, a rose shade, a deep berry or a perfect nude. A second favourite set of mine is Sugar Rush, including the original Sugar lip balm, Brown Sugar Body Polish (one of the best body scrubs!) and Sugar Face Polish. 

NEOM Does Christmas

NEOM does Christmas well. In fact, I have been burning the Perfect Peace every now and then since July when I received this candle, as I like to make this one last! NEOM is in fact my favourite home fragrance brand. I love the obvious brands, however the NEOM candles are so strongly scented that they will fill your whole flat and there is a huge choice to choose from (Real Luxury is one of my favs). On top of the candles, I love their Room Sprays and have also gifted these to a few people in the past. A perfect gift someone who has recently moved or redecorated! 

One for the Natural Skincare Lovers

I've really discovered Weleda this year and I'm thankful for this, as I cannot live without Skin Food in my skincare routine. This year they have some lovely gift sets, so if you know someone who already uses the brand or natural products only, certainly check those out. If you know someone who already uses Skin Food, you have to check out this set as they can now carry around minis of the products everywhere - I legit have one in every handbag. The Heroes Ribbon Box contains all of their best selling products, including my favourite Almond Hand Cream and Replenishing Body Lotion! 

Bobbi Brown - Wine and Chocolate

There's no surprise that Bobbi Brown is featured in this gift edit as I love their Christmas collection every damn year. Bobbi Brown can do no wrong in my eyes as I've never came across a product I hated, so when I found out that Bobbi created a collection named 'Wine and Chocolate', I was sold. The collection features two beautiful smokey brown eyeshadow palettes (the best part being that they removed the brush & added in two shadow liner shades), Sequin Eyeshadows, two limited edition Brightening Blushes, new shades of the Luxe Lip Colour and a nail polish. I've been carrying around the Chocolate Eye Palette in my makeup bag for a quick day-to-night look as it contains all shades I will need, including the powder liners for a quick smokey eye. The stand out product has to be the limited edition Nail Polish in Wine. If you haven't tried their nail polishes again, especially this shade, run to your nearest stand and pick it up. Not only is it the most beautiful red wine shade, it lasts for a good week and looks as though you stepped out of the nail salon. I told you I was a big fan...

Missoma - perfect for jewellery lovers

I'm more than sure that you will have heard of Missoma from either following them on Instagram or spotting their jewellery on many bloggers. Until earlier this year, I hadn't heard of the company, but like everyone else, I am obsessed with the brand. For me, the brand really was catapulted onto my scene when they launched their collection with Lucy Williams. This then led me to find these Gold Claw Studs, which I am obsessed with and have been wearing so often since receiving them. If you know someone who loves their jewellery but want to find something which isn't too easy to find (currently they're only online), take a look at Missoma. 

Laura Mercier Christmas Gift Picks

On top of Bobbi Brown, Laura Mercier always has the most amazing gift sets. Everything from their body products, eyeshadow sticks, lipsticks to skincare comes in a gift set around Christmas. Their Limited Edition Double Impact Eye Colour Collection shadow palette has the perfect mixture of both matte & shimmer, warm & cool toned eyeshadows to create so many different looks - perfect for thos starting out with eyeshadow. Another favourite set of mine is the Infusion De Rose Nourishing Collection including moisturiser, facial oil and lip balm - perfect for those with dehydrated/dry skin and those who love the scent of roses. 

The start of 2017 means a new diary!

I'm currently obsessed with everything from Ban.do, including these amazing 2017 diary! This is the Gold Marble large planner, which was picked up in Oliver Bonas, and it's slightly bigger than A5 and would be classed as 'desk size'. Throughout the planner, they have the most adorable illustrations and stickers to use throughout. Although Ban.do can be a little expensive, check out Kikki.k which will cover all your Instagramer stationery needs! 

Glasses For All

You may have seen on my Instagram, but my favourite glasses brand by far is Bailey Nelson. I wear their glasses everyday at work (I wear the Wells and Scout glasses) and I recommend the brand to everyone whenever they need new glasses. All of their glasses and sunglasses cost £98, including the prescription - bargain! If you have a friend or a family member who have been complaining that they need new glasses, get them a Bailey Nelson gift card! You're able to choose from either a £49 or £98 gift card, so it covers both budgets. They can then choose to use it online or in store, on either optical glasses or sunglasses! 

Small Gifts from Accessorize

Have you been into Accessorize recently? If not, you're missing out as there are some absolute gems out there. I've always been a fan of Accessorize, due to the fact you're able to pick up fashionable pieces at a low price. Take these earrings, I ran into the store one evening needing earrings for an outfit and found these instantly and they only cost me £6! The Red Ronnie Camera Bag is another amazing piece and I want to buy it in every colour. Not only does it fit huge amounts in, I've been asked if it's Symthson so it does look expensive & good quality. It's the perfect place to pick up the small stocking fillers for all ages. 

November in Photos

I've been consciously telling myself that I need to take more photos of the everyday activities I do, as that has became a little forgotten about recently. My weekends used to be when I used to blog, and although they still are sometimes, I also use them to properly switch off. So finding that balance between wanting to share what I get up to, switching off and blogging is hard. This past month I've shared less on Instagram so that I could store them up and share here. 

The last month has flown by and the next three weeks at work are going to be even shorter before Christmas. But below, this is what I've been getting up to...

A few weekends ago, we went for brunch at Beef & Brew and although the service was shocking, the food was really good and it's worth a visit if you're in Kentish Town. My friends at House of Sunny have opened up their first pop-up store on Hackney Walk, which is amazing. It's open for another week, so definitely check it out if you're in the area. The same weekend, we discovered an adorable cafe called Edith's Teahouse in Crouch End where they had a cute in-house dog and served the most delicious cinnamon cream scone. 

Makeup Lately #1

I've been really into makeup recently, I just have started to properly enjoy makeup for the first time in a while. I think in the last year when I wasn't wearing much makeup everyday, it made me fall out of love with it and now I always tend to wear a full (for me) face of makeup daily. This is great news as it turns out I had so many products waiting to be used.  

By Terry bases are famous and for good reason, the By Terry Sheer Expert Foundation has been my go-to for a while now. It's similar to Bare Minerals Complexion Rescue, with a thicker consistency and a little more coverage which I always look for in the winter. I'm currently using a shade too light (the summer freckles are still clinging on) so I've been mixing a little with the Perricone MD No Bronzer Bronzer, which is a dry oil based bronzer. One of my favourite beauty purchases in New York back in September was the Sephora Radiant Luminizing Drops in Champagne, which I picked up as I couldn't find the shade I wanted in the Cover Fx Custom Enhancing Drops. Think of them as a thinner, not so in your face, version of the Becca Liquid Skin Perfectors. Moving onto eyes and I've been using the Collection Primed & Ready Illuminating Eye Primer as my favourite NARS Eyeshadow Primer ran out. I didn't have high expectations at first, but it has pleasantly surprised that it kept my eyeshadow in place all day without a budge. As for the eyeshadow at the moment, my go-to palette is by M&S Rosie for Autograph Eyeshadow Palette in I Feel Like A Million Dollars. I'm a huge fan of all the Rosie for Autograph lines from the clothing to underwear, and the beauty products didn't disappoint. For £18, there are four highly pigmented shadows which allow you to create many looks. For a wash of colour, I've been reaching for the RMS Eye Polish in Solar, which is a beautiful rich warm metallic gold. For brows and lashes, Tarte Tarteist Mascara and L'Oreal Brow Artist Plumper have ticked all the boxes for me. 

As well as wearing a little more makeup daily, I've also been reaching for more fragrance everyday, especially the Lola James Harper 25 Little By Little With Joy Eau De Toilette. With notes of orange blossom, bergamot, lemon and mandarin, it has all of my favourite citrus notes for a fragrance without feeling too overly citrus. You find more about Lola James Harper's story here, it's a very interesting one!