Hand Luggage Beauty Essentials

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

More often than not, I'm travelling hand-luggage only. It tends to decrease the price a little, and if I'm only going away for a few days, then I really don't need to pack all that much. Over the past few years I've gotten really good at reducing the amount of clothes I take, and really good at recycling outfits when on vacation, but the one thing I always struggle with is downsizing my beauty bag. I can't be the only one out there who struggles with this, so today I thought I'd share with you my hand-luggage beauty essentials, and pretty much the only things I travel with on short trips. 

Obviously there are those items that you can't live without such as your toothbrush, so I won't touch on them today (and I definitely don't recommend leaving your toothbrush at home!). However, makeup is a whole different story. Time and time again I've packed enough makeup to paint an army of faces, and still only stuck to one or two products, so now when I'm packing for trips, I'm much harder on myself when it comes to choosing which makeup items to bring, and I find making a list really helps me with this. I've managed to downsize my once bursting-at-the-seams makeup bag to a small pouch only containing my tinted moisturiser, eyebrow pencil, powder, blush, lipstick and mascara. If I'm travelling to a hot country, I really don't need more than this...I find that the sun does most of the work and anything else will just melt away in the heat! 

Makeup aside, it's also really important that you're safe when travelling, and yes, beauty has a big part to play in this. Often exciting places can be rough on our skin, especially if you're planning on spending a lot of time outdoors. Whilst I love the sun (and I'm guessing you probably do as well!), the sun doesn't love us...make sure you pack your sun protection, and not just your suncream. Sunblock, moisturizer, and lip balm are your allies in harsh weather conditions - as well as your sunblock, be sure to pack a lip balm with a high SPF...It won't take up much room in your hand luggage but it'll save you from a world of pain! These items won't take up much room in your hand luggage either if you're smart about buying travel-sized items, so there really is no excuse for leaving them behind!

If you do struggle to pack light like I once did, be sure to make a list of the essentials for your trip before you pack. Before I started using my travel essentials list, I'd throw in unnecessary items (which often lead to me being over the weight limit!) or forget the little things like lip balm and paracetamol, so the list has really helped me to stay organised. I like to keep my list pretty small with only the bare necessities so that I have more room in my bag for any last minute souvenirs! 

Saying Goodbye & Moving On

Saturday, 13 August 2016

Saying goodbye is always difficult, especially when the thing you're saying goodbye to has played an important role in your life for the past four years - shaping your future, acting as a welcome distraction, and providing opportunities for you that you'd previously only dreamed of. If you hadn't guessed already, today will be my last post on Lipgloss & Lashes, and instead of just disappearing, I wanted to take the time to explain why I'm going, and where I'll be going - you all mean too much to me to simply disappear. I also want to quickly take the time to thank each and every one of you - you'll never know how much you helped me, or how much you mean to me, and knowing you over the past four years has been an absolute pleasure. 

Lipgloss & Lashes was born out of one of the darkest times of my life, and it quickly developed into the support network that I needed - it was somewhere I could channel my creative energy, it allowed me to meet some of the most supportive girls on the net, and it pulled me out of my dark cloud and onto greater things. Without this blog, I'd definitely not be where I am today - both in my personal life and my work life, which is why it's so upsetting to leave it behind. 

However recently, I've been feeling a little bit out of the loop, disconnected from the blogging world and generally down about my blog - I'd put this down to the pressures of full time work, living in a busy city, long commutes, the negativity which often breeds in the blogosphere - you name it, I blamed it. It wasn't until the other day, when I was on a walk with a colleague talking about how I was feeling, that it struck me - it had nothing to do with the blogging world, or any external forces, it was more a lack of passion from my side. Whenever anyone asked me 'when will you stop?', my answer was always clear - when I fell out of love. I'd never want to let any of you down by producing rushed, and empty content, and I feel as though that's been happening more often than not recently, which makes me so disappointed in myself. 

It took me around 5 months to realise and accept that I'd fallen out of love with beauty blogging. I've put my heart and soul into this blog for years now, often staying up all night to make sure each post was perfect, almost breaking bones to get the perfect angle for a photo, missing family events to ensure I had enough time to blog, so I guess I just didn't want to admit to myself that all of that would be 'all for nothing'. But it wasn't all for nothing, I've grown tremendously as a person though this little blog and I wouldn't be who I am without it - that to me, isn't all for nothing. 

However, I'm not saying goodbye to the blogging world completely. Through my job I get to work with some amazing bloggers (although from the other side), and instead of continuing on with Lipgloss & Lashes, I've set up a new venture - Sail Away. Through working at a large, international airport and through my own travels, I've become much more interested in sharing my experiences both near and far. While my passion for beauty has dwindled, my passion for travel and life experiences has grown in leaps and bounds, so I wanted to focus on this. I could have just rebranded Lipgloss & Lashes, kept my followers and carried on, however I wanted a completely fresh start. With this comes the struggles of setting up a new blog and developing an audience (which I definitely don't miss from the first time around!), but I'd never want to force my beauty followers to listen to my travel rambles and as I said, a new start was very much needed. I hope you'll continue to follow my rants and rambles over on Sail Away, but I completely understand if you're also willing to say goodbye to me too - after all, I assume you followed this blog for beauty reviews!

So this is goodbye, and I wanted to finish with one of my favourite quotes about saying goodbye - "how lucky am I? To have something that makes saying goodbye so hard". 

For the last time, 

Becky xo

Why it's okay to be a 'Sell Out'

Monday, 18 July 2016

When I started blogging all those years ago (I say that like I've been at it for decades, when in reality its been just over three years), I never thought this was a post I'd have to write. Partially because I was pretty clueless when it came to blogs and bloggers and didn't fully understand the opportunities that blogging brings to both bloggers and PRs and because I genuinely think that the blogging community was a nicer, much calmer place to be. Last night I joined the #bbloggers chat on Twitter for the first time in ages, and I'm honestly appalled at some of the things I was seeing. Admittedly, I've been keeping my distance from the blogging world for quite some time now, choosing to slow down and explore other interests, but I just cannot believe that the blogging community loves so much to tear each other down, to tear it's own down. 

A lot of the comments being banded around last night were to do with the age old topic of bloggers receiving 'freebies', and only being interested in getting their grubby mitts of free stuff. Freebies is a word I hate so much, as a lot of the things we supposedly receive for 'free' aren't actually as free as they may seem. Think of it this way, if a brand were to approach a magazine for coverage of their latest launch, they'd be charged through the roof, similarly with other online content platforms. However, when a blogger is doing the exact same thing as said magazine, the product is a 'freebie'? That just doesn't wash with me, especially as 9 times out of 10, the price of the product (sometimes worth as little as £5) is completely disproportionate to the amount of work a blogger puts into the post, and the size of the audience that post is then promoted to. 

I guess my point is that bloggers should not be shamed and made to feel bad about something they've worked for, a lot of the time alongside a full time job. It's not showing off if they talk about the products they've been sent for 'free', it's them doing their job - and to those of you who spend time tearing other bloggers down for receiving these so called 'free' items, just think of how you could have spent that time working on your own blog, instead of ripping someone else's to pieces. 

The conversation then moved on to how bloggers caring about their follower number. I'll be the first to admit that it's not all about having a million followers, and engagement is extremely important in today's saturated blog market, but that's not to say I don't care about my follower number, of course I do. The number of followers a blog has is used as one measure of success by other bloggers and those working in blogger outreach, whether you like it or not. So with that said, it's completely understandable for bloggers to want to increase their follower number and grow their audience size...after all, if you've poured your heart and soul into a blog post, you want people to read it, right? I admit, I care about my follower number and I want to work with brands. Working with brands has opened my eyes to a whole host of new and exciting brands, allowed me to discover some of my favourite products, and it's been a hell of a lot of fun along the way - all of which was because I have a platform on the internet which people follow and read regularly, so yes, your follower number does matter if like me, you want to work with brands. I'm not saying all bloggers want to work with brands and that's okay, but what isn't okay is when you're calling someone a 'sell out' for wanting to work with brands. Working with brands doesn't mean you lose your integrity overnight (I often post negative reviews of products I've been sent) and it definitely doesn't make you a sell out. 

By no means is follower number the only measure of success and if you've not got the biggest audience it doesn't mean I think you're a bad blogger, on the contrary, some of my favourite bloggers have under 1,000 followers - but please, think before you criticise those bloggers with large followings, as usually they've got that many followers for a reason - they've worked for them. 

I could go on for days about this subject, and I know I'm going to get some negative comments for speaking so honestly about something that seems to be a taboo topic - but I will finish with just one thing, it's absolutely okay to care about your follower number and want to work with brands, and that doesn't make you a sell out at all, it means you're working towards a goal. It doesn't make you any nicer of a person or some kind of saint if you spend your day tweeting how much you don't care about your follower number - you do you, and let the others worry about themselves. It's about time we all learned to tolerate each other in the blogging community and work alongside each other, as after all, we all have something in common. You don't have to like everyone in this life and blogging is no different, but as my Mother always said - if you've not got anything nice or constructive to say, then keep your mouth shut. 

Lots of Love,

Becky xo

Tom Ford - Nude Dip Eyeshadow Palette Review

Sunday, 17 July 2016

Owning a piece of Tom Ford makeup has always been my ultimate beauty junkie dream...whilst I love high end makeup and consider myself to be a bit of a makeup snob (there's really no point hiding it), it's always been a little too far out of reach. So when I landed my first 'proper' job I made it my mission to treat myself to something from Tom Ford, no matter how small - fast forward one year and I still hadn't gotten round to it as something had always got in the way, so as an early birthday treat to myself this year, I popped into World Duty Free and picked up the ultimate eyeshadow palette - the Tom Ford Nude Dip. After browsing the Tom Ford counter for what was probably way too long, I decided on Nude Dip. Spending in excess of £50 on an eyeshadow quad isn't a decision I take lightly, so I wanted to ensure that the quad I chose would be something that would work for me everyday but also on a night out, so that I was getting the most for my money. 

If I could describe this palette in one word, it would definitely be stunning. The collection of shimmery pearlized neutrals work so well together, and allow you to create so many looks from just four shades, it's genius. Each of the shades has a similar finish - they're shimmery and almost metallic, without being overbearing and without having any noticeable glittery chunks, which I think gives the shadow a more modern and up-market feel. The colours chosen for this quad are also stunning and I'd even go as far as to say they're timeless. Each of them are the types of nude which I know I'll reach for over and over again...whenever I don't know what to wear, whenever I want to feel special, or whenever I just feel like adding a little oomph to my makeup. The quad contains a soft champagne, a medium peach, a sort taupe grey and a satiny brown, each as unique as the next. The shades in this palette also layer over each other beautifully and work in harmony to create some absolutely stunning makeup looks, I've honestly had so much fun playing around with this quad. As you'd expect with Tom Ford, the shadows are extremely smooth, with a unique texture which helps give each colour dimension. 

On my eyes this palette comes across as neutral-warm, however I've heard that on deeper skin tones it comes across as neutral-cool due to the different pearls within each shadow. However the warm and cool tones aren't strong, meaning that you can get away with this palette either way really and the pearl pigments in each shade mean that in different lights you'll see more of the cool tones shining through, and vice-versa. 

As you'd expect, the packaging is just as luxurious as the shadows themselves, and so it should be for the price. The quad comes packaged in a velvet Tom Ford pouch, which matches the quad itself. The quad itself is fairly simple aesthetically - Tom Ford brown with a golden embossed strip running along the palette. It comes with two double ended brushes, most of which are those silly foam applicators which I'll never use but I did like to see that it included a small blending brush - something that I may find myself using when I'm applying my makeup on the go. 

The whole palette just screams luxury from the packaging to the formula, and I can see this being the beginning of a very expensive love affair as I've already got my eyes on some of the purple toned palettes! One thing about Nude Dip worth bearing in mind though is that it can be pretty difficult to get hold of. Nude Dip is their classic eyeshadow palette, meaning that it's always in high demand and when I'm spending this much on an eyeshadow quad I like to go into store and really test it out and speak to the makeup artists before, which can be a pain when the stores are constantly out of stock. This palette is currently in stock online at House of Fraser and Selfridges, however I decided to pick mine up from World Duty Free, not only because I knew they had it in stock and I could pop in for a free Tom Ford makeover while I was deciding, but because it was only £52 instead of £64 (plus delivery) from the high street. I'd honestly recommend waiting until you're in the airport this summer if you're considering any Tom Ford beauty purchases, it's so worth saving the extra pounds when you're buying something so expensive. 

Have you tried any Tom Ford beauty?

Lots of Love,

Becky xo

Lancôme Grandiôse Eyeliner Review

Thursday, 14 July 2016

When it comes to eyeliner, I wouldn't consider myself your go-to-gal, as I rarely every wear it. So you may think it strange that I've popped on here to rave about a new eyeliner release, right? Well, the reason I so rarely wear eyeliner is because I find it so difficult to apply. If I even step near the eyeliner, I can almost guarantee that I'll have panda eyes,  a wonky line or smudges everywhere, so really it's never been worth the hassle for me...until now. 

Apart from a shaky hand, one of my main problems is my apparent need for double-jointedness when applying liner. I've never been a fan of pencil eyeliners as they're so inflexible, but in all honestly, liquid liner was only a smidge better - and that's why Lancôme have released their new Grandiôse Eyeliner with a fully flexible brush. As you can see from the pictures above, you can use the eyeliner in the traditional way, however you can also bend and snap the brush into an angled position, making it so much easier to apply and create symmetrical cat-flicks. 

Apart from the obvious positives associated with this product, the actual liner is pretty good too. It's wet, but not too wet, giving you the fluidity you need to create the perfect line, and the thin brush tip is perfect for creating a slim line or an exaggerated wing. Also, long gone are the days of your eyeliner melting down your face - once this stuff has dried (you do need to leave it a few seconds to dry, or it will smudge) it's not going anywhere unless you want it to, and even then you do need a good makeup remover. 

Overall, I think the Graniôse Eyeliner from Lancôme is a great product for eyeliner lovers and novices alike, and I'll definitely be reaching for eyeliner a little more (practice makes perfect after all!) when adding the finishing touches to my eyes. It's so funny how such a simple change can make all the difference! The Lancôme Grandiôse Eyeliner is now available in all major beauty retailers, and online here in three different shades. 

Lots of Love,

Becky xo

*post contains PR samples

Escaping the City

Sunday, 10 July 2016

London will always have a special place in my heart and it's where I've chosen to call 'home', but I find it's so easy to get swept up in the blur of excitement that is London, so much so that sometimes I just forget to stop and breathe. So this weekend I decided to take a much needed break from the big city and hopped on the train to Brighton to visit one of my best friends. As I was only able to stay for the day, I headed to St Pancras super early to catch my train - with Brighton only being just over an hour away from London, and it only costing me £10 return with Thameslink, it's a wonder I've never been before - and I was in Brighton by 11am ready to explore. 

As soon as I arrived we walked on down to The Lanes, which was a must -see on my list. The Lanes are a collection of small little alley ways and lanes, packed full of quirky little shops, perfect for finding something unique or stopping off for some tea and cake - which is exactly what we did. After a little wander around the North Lane, which is the quirkier of the two main lanes (and a stop in Sass & Belle - obviously), we stopped off at Catwalk Cakes for some Rainbow Cake. I'd never had rainbow cake before despite lusting after it for months, and if you're going to indulge, it should definitely be in Catwalk Cakes a.k.a the cutest tearoom ever. After our little pit-stop, we carried on exploring the lanes, ducking into the cute antique shops and taking a peek at all of the vintage sweet shops, before walking down to the beach and the famous Brighton Pier. 

I lived in Bournemouth for four years whilst I was studying and despite being one of the countries most famous beaches, the pier leaves a lot to the imagination - so Brighton Pier was a must see for me. Brighton Pier is pretty much everything you'd expect from a traditional seaside resort...fairground rides, fish and chips, novelty stores and of course, pier donuts! Having just filled up on rainbow cake, I couldn't quite manage any of the yummy delights the pier had to offer...but I'll definitely be going back to sample the seaside delights. 

After a trip down the pier and a little wander down Brighton's glorious pebble beach, we were feeling a little peckish so we headed down the lanes to Donnotello's Italian Restaurant - a surprisingly large family run restaurant, popular with locals and celebrities alike. The food was delicious and definitely easy on the purse strings - a refreshing change to the extortionate London prices I've become accustom to. 

During the afternoon we headed back down to the lanes to take a look at some of the other stores (Choccywoccydoodah was a personal favourite of mine!), try on a few outfits and have a little catch up as it'd been a few months since we'd seen each other face to face, before catching my train back to London. 

I have to say, I absolutely loved Brighton and it's definitely been one of my favourite places to visit in the UK - everything was quirky and cute, and there's just so much to see and do. If it wasn't for work, I'd definitely consider moving down to Brighton for a slightly quieter life, but alas, for now Brighton will just be my escape from busy city life. 

Lots of Love,

Becky xo
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