I FINALLY JUMPED ON THE BEAUTY BLENDER BANDWAGON…

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£18 for a sponge is ridiculous by anyone’s books, am I right? It is literally just a sponge, I can’t even imagine how much money they’re making on them. However… IT’S THE BEST THING SINCE THEY INVENTED FOUNDATION. No, really.

I fully expected not to think much of the much-raved-about Beauty Blender, I bought it on a whim when I was feeling particularly spendy – so much so that I didn’t even take photos before I used it when it was brand new, sorry about that.

The magic of this sponge is that it makes your skin look FLAWless. Completely smooth, poreless, and baby-soft. I can’t believe I haven’t owned one sooner.

I’ve used all manner of ‘dupes’ for the Beauty Blender and I totally understand why none of these products even come close to the real thing. How do they even manage it? Surely a sponge is a sponge? Apparently not.

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There’s not much to say about the sponge itself – how do you go about describing a sponge?! All I can say is that for some reason, it is different to all other sponges. It doesn’t seem to drink up as much foundation as the dupes, it seems to be perfectly shaped to get a full coverage really quickly without having to use a brush or another sponge to blend it out.

All in all, I really wanted to hate it (although I’m glad I don’t considering it’s the most expensive sponge I’ve ever bought/ever will buy) but I simply don’t.

Is a Beauty Blender an essential? No, I wouldn’t say you need it over, say, dinner. But it has definitely become my most-used tool in my collection, and I would for sure repurchase it.

I’m totally converted. Damn.

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5 PRODUCTIVE THINGS TO DO ON A LONG DAILY COMMUTE

Boots // Carvela at Kurt Geiger | Jeans // Zara | Coat // New Look (no longer available, but similar here)

I am now in my third year of uni and for the last year I have commuted each day… 3 hours there, 3 hours back. You maths genius’ would’ve worked out that I travel 6 hours a day when I’m scheduled to go into uni. That’s around 3 times a week. So I guess I would consider myself a bit of a pro when it comes to travelling – my journey includes a car journey to the station, a train, a tube and another train to the campus – and during this time, especially now that I’m reaching the most crucial part of my course, I have found a few ways of staying productive on the commute.

If you travel 6 hours a day like me or just 15 minutes, let that time be productive!

  1. Read a book
    This one is something that I’ve always done without even thinking about it, I read for fun – I always have a book to read, I have to finish any book that I start, even if I’m hating it. Weird OCD habit. The train is a great place to read because you can really zone out from all the chaos of rush hour and escape into your own little world.
  2. Meditation
    Staying on the theme of escaping into your “own little world”, I have mastered the art of meditation on public transport. No weird “ohm-ness” going on with my legs crossed or anything like that, but for the past few months I’ve really become a fan of the Calm app. It’s a guided meditation app that’s really easy to follow and just allows your mind to switch off from everything around you. Earphones in, world out.
  3. Brain training
    Something which might not seem entirely productive is brain training. There have been times when I’ve been so tired on my commute that I’ve become a victim of the fall-asleep-head-roll-mouth-open gaze that seems to affect the best of us (only the very best, apparently) and so I’ve found that doing a sudoku or crossword puzzle helps to keep my brain alive and awake, as well as keeping my eyes open. And besides, something that is training your brain and making you think hard that early in the morning can only ever be a good thing, right?
  4. GET WORK DONE!
    I’m not one to sit on the train on my laptop, mainly because I can’t be bothered to lug around my MacBook with me all day, but I do find that if I’ve made notes on something I aim to do when I get home, or if I’ve read a few chapters of a book I’m studying for my dissertation, then I always feel much better and productive once I’m off the train. It’s amazing how much you can get done when you’re on a train with no distractions. Of course, if you really want to work on your laptop on the train then that’s great and totally admirable, I only wish my laptop wasn’t so heavy so I could do the same!
  5. Make a to-do list
    My last point is probably my favourite and most-used. Making a to-do list is so productive for me because it allows me to really plan my time well. Travelling to and from uni every day can take it’s toll on my productivity levels because travelling is so tiring. When I get home I tend to just want to sit around and catch up on Mad Men, but having a list of things that I need to get done helps me to focus. Ticking things off the list is so satisfying that I find that this alone is enough to make me want to reluctantly click away from Netflix and do some work!

Of course there are days when all I want to do on my commute is listen to music, zone out and pretend I’m in a totes-emosh music video whilst gazing out of the window (probably listening to Adele, just to be a total cliché), but I’m trying my best to keep those days to a minimum and try something productive instead.

What do you do on a long commute, I’d love to try some of your ideas – I have another 6 months of commuting ahead of me!

REVIEW: THE BODY SHOP OILS OF LIFE INTENSELY REVITALISING GEL CREAM

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Nice and snappy title there, not. However I do have to say that this moisturiser is the BOMB. I never, ever would’ve thought that I would like an oily product for my skin, having such naturally oily skin anyway. First of all, I’ll say that this smells DIVINE. I won’t go into describing the scent, because I don’t think that really ever works, however if you do one thing this week, go into The Body Shop and smell this line of products!

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I’d been wanting to try the moisturiser from this range for a little while now, and in the end I decided on the ‘gel cream’ version, as the consistency was slightly lighter and more fitting to my oily skin. One of the worries I had was that this would make my skin totally oily and repulsive to apply makeup onto, but the opposite is actually true.

With a very slight ‘pearly’ sheen, the moisturiser is very glowy, without being oily, and definitely makes my makeup-free skin look refreshed. Makeup looks great on top of this, I still have a matte face when I’ve used this, I don’t notice a difference with my face becoming any oilier throughout the day or anything like that.

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The packaging is great, it feels like a luxury item, a heavy glass jar – although impossible to travel with. Priced slightly higher than the other ranges, the Oils of Life range is priced from £15-£45, with this moisturiser priced at £25. Overall I really like this product and I would highly recommend it to anyone with similar skin traits to me. If you are oily/combination, like to have a glow but not shiny/oily, like to feel moisturised but not slick, then this might just be your next favourite moisturiser. Definitely worth the £25 price tag, and i would definitely purchase again!

10 MAKEUP TO-DO’S WHEN YOU HAVE A SPARE MINUTE

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There are so many chores that come along with having a larger than normal makeup collection, some are more pleasurable than others (although still chores…) and some are just a burden. Here is a non-exhaustive list of potential chores to do when you have a spare minute to deal with your (if you’re anything like me) no doubt ever-expanding makeup collection.

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  1. Wash makeup brushes
    This one is a given, but it is possibly the most important and also my most dreaded. Clean brushes are always so nice to use, it’s like getting into nice clean sheets at bedtime.
  2. Sharpen eyeliners & lipliners
    This one doesn’t take long at all and can actually save you so much time in the mornings if you like your sleep like me and then have to do your makeup in 5 minutes flat.
  3. … And empty the sharpener
    Another given, but hey, it has to be done!

  4. De-dust powders, blushes & eyeshadows
    This one is another annoying one that maybe you wouldn’t think of as a standalone job, but “de-dusting” any powder products to get rid of any excess dust that’s sitting on top can really reduce the amount of mess that you make in the mornings when doing your makeup. It also greatly reduces the amount of crap that sits at the bottom of the interior of my makeup drawers.
  5. Clean inside drawers
    That brings me onto cleaning the inside of the drawers. So much crap gathers in these drawers from pencil sharpenings, glitter, blush/powder/bronzer dust, dried mascara, gloopy bits of kohl liner, smears of lipstick… Gross. Making sure to keep these areas clean also keeps your makeup in tip-top shape and it makes getting ready in the morning a pleasure rather than just sighing every time you look at the mess.DSC_0008
  6. Organise & tidy up makeup
    Tidying up your stash really makes the world of difference, it helps you to see exactly what you have, and what you do and don’t use.

  7. Clear out products you won’t use
    On the same note, organising your makeup can help you to see which products you never use and can’t see yourself using. My advice would be to just get rid. If you haven’t used something in the last 6-8 months then the chances are that you won’t use it again. Clearing out these sorts of products gives you so much more breathing space to see the products that you really will use again.

  8. Bring forward any forgotten or less-used products
    Clearing out your stash allows you to see any products that you may have forgotten about or cast aside for “another day”. Bring these items to the forefront of your collection to bring them back into view for the next time you do your makeup. you never know, you might re-discover a product as a new favourite!

  9. Throw away any “stuck” mascaras
    Mascaras are my most-hoarded product. I always just seem to keep them as I always think that they’ll get used. But once I finish one and go to use one of the others, they’ve all dried out. So, I’m trying to make a conscious effort to throw away any stiff or gooey (haha) mascaras and just use ONE AT A TIME.
  10. List any replacement or missing items
    My last tip is the best one… Write a list of all the things that need replacing or that you’ve found to be missing. A few months ago I did this and realised that I was missing a decent brown kohl pencil and it’s now something that I use almost every single day. Go through your lipsticks and note any missing shades or shades that you could possibly stock up on if it’s an everyday nude or something that you wear all the time.

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I hope you liked these 10 tips, let me know if you have any others!

THE HANDBAG THAT EVERYBODY NEEDS IN THEIR LIFE.

After getting a new job (yay!), being totally stressed out at how much uni work I have to do, as well as keeping on top of things on my blog (which has been a bit lax lately – sorry about that) I decided to make one of those “treat myself” purchases, a new handbag. Now it’s nothing spectacularly expensive, but unnecessary enough for me to feel a bit naughty walking out of the store. It is, of course, from Zara.

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I’d seen this bag in Zara for a good few weeks now, tried it on, put it back. Tried it on, looked in the mirror, changed the length of the chain, put it back etc etc. for the past few weeks now and after a long weekend of working, I decided to to pick it up, try it on, look in the mirror and BUY IT.

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Justifiable-for-purchase features include: Durable, classic and damn beautiful ridging and quilting on the fabric (it isn’t leather, however it really feels like it, such great quality), a sturdy clasp, two interior pockets for the 14 MAC lipsticks that I’m likely to ‘need’ in there, and a double-length chain that you can have long as a cross-body bag, or short as a shoulder bag. I actually prefer it as a shoulder bag with the double chain, I think it tends to work better on me like that as the longer chain reaches almost down to my knee. #shortgirlproblems

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Let’s face it, I don’t think that I’ll ever be able to afford a Chanel, so this is my next best thing. It’s not a complete carbon copy, and well within its own rights in design, however it does have that classic shape, size and stature of a high-class (and high price tag) designer handbag. And at only £39.99 I think it’s a bit of a steal.