Saturday, January 23, 2016

TRAVELING SOLO


There is saying that traveling is the only thing you can buy that makes you richer. So it's no surprise that more and more people are covering the globe seeing the wonders, experiencing new differing cultures and taking new adventures. One of the best ways to do this, is traveling solo. You are on your own time, within your own budget and can make your own agenda.

So for you first time solo travelers, or if you are considering traveling alone, here's a quick guide to traveling solo and some of the best operators to help you plan your trip.

Plan ahead.

Planning ahead is always best practice when traveling alone. Planing your transport, accommodation and itinerary will keep you safe and on track to cover the places you want to visit!

You could include any activities, sightseeing and dinners in this so you can pre-book tickets and help with your budgeting too. Then you can plan and purchase daily or weekly metro cards are great for getting around and get great deals on tickets in advance too. Wanderlust magazine has a great selection of ideas and activities for solo travelers in different places across the world, so is a great place to start planning where you want to go and what you want to see. The government websites of countries and cities are great to see what there is to do, like this one for New York and always remember to check your governments state travel website. Here's the US and here's the UKs.

The logistics.

Fred Olsen Cruises and Norwegian Cruise Line offer some trips with no single supplement charges, so you can take in more of the world, keep a base on the cruise liner and spend the days on glorious beaches or visiting new cities. You'll find on a cruise too, that you are surrounded by other solo or group travelers so at dinners you can mingle and socialise if you want to.

Solo Holidays, Contiki, Friendship Travel, Voyages of Discovery, and Trip Advisor are usually my go-to sites when I'm looking to travel.

The thing about solo travel is that you can really make it your own. If you want to go to an all inclusive beach break with organised day trips and transfers included you can. Or if you want to be a little more relaxed having days wandering around cities at your leisure you can too!

Traveling solo doesn't have to be pricey. There are many companies that will offer discounted single supplements, or not charge for them at all. Sometimes in fact, when flying solo, a free upgrade is just the treat, if there's a lonesome solo seat in first class that's spare! It's happened to me on two occasions when I was bumped up classes!

Safety.

Traveling solo is not a danger hazard. Many people do it and it's a great way to see the world on your terms but like anything if you're anywhere in the world make sure you stay safe.

Keep your wits about you in large cities, don't wander around alone at night, watch your drinks, be aware of any scams, don't be led off by anyone and keep an eye on your valuables. In all honesty, apply the same rules for internet dating when solo traveling. Keep someone aware of where you are and your itinerary at all times, just in case.

Finally, don't tell anyone you're traveling alone. If anyone asks, you could say your travel companion, friend/other half/relative had too much sun/isn't feeling great/resting up.

And remember, if you think solo travel is just for twenty-somethings, then you couldn't be more wrong. There are travel companies dedicated to the more mature solo traveler, like One Traveler, so there really is nothing stopping you if you want to go.

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Monday, January 18, 2016

The best foundations of 2015




The MAC Studio fix foundation comes in over 35 shades and it's got SPF 15 too. It is a long-lasting foundation that can be used lightly and very build-able to achieve full coverage too. Some of the shades can oxidise, so be sure to get your perfect shade and you'll find this is your go-to foundation of choice for everyday and special occasions too! It's not a bad price at £22 for a luxury foundation too.

This high street foundation is one of the best on the market in my opinion (well Lisa Eldridge uses it too if you need more convincing!) It leaves the most subtle-dewy finish on the skin and has excellent coverage too. The serum version of this foundation is a little lighter if you are looking for less coverage, but for me, this is perfect and the light vanilla shade is just the right one for me too. It's a steal at £9.99, or even better when it's on offer in a drugstore!

This is towards the pricier end of my favourite foundations at £22.50. It doesn't feel clogging on the skin and has staying power for all day too. It's got an easy dispenser for brushes and sponge applicators and comes in a plastic bottle so it's perfect for travelling and throwing in your handbag!

The most expensive of my favourite foundations, it really is as light as air. When wearing this foundation it feels like you haven't got a base layer on at all. It covers well, but needs a little building for completely full coverage and breathes a little oxygen back into the skin.

These foundations are some how the best shade matches ever. Yet there are only a handful of shades?! At £7.99, the Fit Me foundation is the least expensive of my favourite foundations, and it's going to keep its place as my go-to foundation for a long while yet!

What are your favourite foundations of 2015?
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Sunday, January 17, 2016

WORK IT OUT: Acing that interview


Managed to bag that dream job interview - make sure you don't forget these important rules to make sure you ace it!

1. Do your research.
Research the industry, company, clients, structure. Ensuring you can use company scenarios & their client background shows you will go the extra mile & are genuinely interested in the role. This will always put you head & shoulder above others.

2. Look the part.
There is a saying 'don't dress for the job you have; dress for the job you want to have', this couldn't be more true in an interview scenario. You need your interviewer to see you as client facing & a proud member of the team. First impressions count - so this is your once chance to dress-to-impress!

3. Plan one or two questions.
This gives you the chance to bring up past experience or converse further with the interviewer to show them how fabulous you are. It also shows you have thought about the role!

4. Arrive with time to spare.
Arrive between 5-10 minutes early for your interview. I cannot tell you how many times I have had interviewees that are late! Unless it is an emergency, when you should try to call ahead - always be early, compose yourself & get used to your surroundings.

5. Follow up with an email.
The day after your interview follow up with an email. Not something that's pushy, just a 'lovely to meet you', with a PDF of work examples just to make yourself remember-able.

What are your top tips for acing the interview!?


image: Elin King for Woman Magazine

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Saturday, January 16, 2016

INDEED LABORATORIES, HYDRALURON: Moisture Boosting Mask

I have one of those combination skins, in the winter, traveling on the tube and brisk winds through the city mean that my skin is stripped of its moisture and I tend to get quite dry skin. As much as I try to moisturise to keep my skin hydrated, I find that my makeup applications aren't as smooth- so something like the Indeed Laboratories, Hydraluron Masks are really appealing to my skin type. Especially to revive my skin after Winter.

 


The masks are very hydrating to the skin, inside the packet, a cloth mask is enclosed, to place on the face and leave for approximately 15 minutes. After this time remove the mask and massage the remaining liquid on the face into the skin. Skin feels instantly hydrated and this feeling lasts overnight until the morning. Makeup applications the next morning are great and skin does feel plump and revived. This is not however a long term solution to dry-skin, I find that the hydrating effects do not last longer than 24 hours, the product does not claim it to do so. So I have been continuing my hydrating routine by using the Clinique, Moisture Surge moisturiser, this for prolonged use leaves lasting hydrated skin.

The price point is quite expensive and one packet encompasses 4 masks, so use them sparingly as this could end up being quite costly for weekly use! The Hydraluron masks are available in selected Boots Store or online

Have you used the masks before, what do you think? Or have you found something even better to combat dry Winter skin? 
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Friday, January 15, 2016

Breaking into the Fashion & Beauty industry at 23



There will be those of you that grew up nurtured on fashion & all things beauty from day one. Vogue subscriptions, mini Louis at 16, interning since 18 at LCF and others who have completed a degree, working in a job completely unrelated and want to break in.
It's a competitive industry, those who devote their post-16 education to being a Fashion Assistant at ELLE might not necessarily have their dream job, but work hard in the knowledge that one day, The Devil Wears Prada scenario might just be for them. (Although at this point I hasten to add, if you want to work in Fashion & Beauty because of that film- think again. It's far more fabulous on the big screen than living it!)

Anyway, back to the blog point in hand, if you want to break into the Fashion & Beauty industry at 23, there's nothing stopping you, my mid-twenties crisis blog, might have spurred you on to wanting a change- who knows! But one Fashion Assistant I know broke into the industry at 29. You have to be prepared to work for free, I know a stylist that changed career mid-twenties who racked up amounts of debt getting their book & portfolio together but are now very successful in their industry. Please note, I am not suggesting at all that you go a get into heaps of debt and say I told you too - but you catch my drift!

Work hard, don't assume or presume that you are entitled due to age & life experience, it might move you up the ladder quicker but, it won't skip steps. Be nice to people, the industry is a small world, messing people around, changing work days, cancelling last minute won't earn you friends and will alienate you. You don't know if that person you cancelled on in 10 years will be the interviewer for that dream job!

My advice is say yes to every opportunity, I have a friend in the Beauty industry who has done just that and has the most wonderful job at a top PR agency- even if the opportunity was a little daunting, she grabbed it! If you want to do it you have to throw yourself into it 100%, and if you don't that's okay- trust me the industry isn't cut out for everyone.

If you want to get in touch about your experiences or have any specific industry related questions for me please do comment below!

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Wednesday, January 13, 2016

The Mid-Twenties Crisis


There have been a few articles whizzing around online about the Mid-Twenties Crisis lately, so I thought I'd give my two-pennies worth as well.

For us mid-twenty somethings, by the time graduation is over and done with, you've either traveled across twenty countries or settled in a job, moved back home or renting in a obscure town at an extremity of the central line. Before you know it, you're in your mid-twenties wondering how the time went so fast! Then come the thoughts, maybe I'll try...shall I just...the former are followed by re-train for 7 years to become a Doctor...just pack everything in and beach hop in Australia...or stroll along.

There crisis sets in, its the now-or-never attitude, us twenty-somethings are weighing it up, c'est la vie 'this is growing up, and taxes, working-weekends and unpaid electric bills are life', with the attitude 'you're only young once, if 50's the new 40, I've got 10 years still!'

Finance is now a part of life, some are scouting the best investment ISA's and for others issues start to arise, once bills, astronomical rent, travel and necessary post-work refreshments are dealt with, pennies barely chime in the bank and you remember that beach hopping in Australia using Google Maps or your friend the Investment Banker's Snapchats are a close as your going to get.

Those who have settled down with the other half of eight years, rooming, baby planning, engaged, are selecting new bathroom interior schemes and for all of those mid-twenty singletons out there, ending a great date with a night cap, prior to the hour and a half commute home doesn't scream the Sex & The City lifestyle that Carrie captivated us with!

Now don't get me wrong, I'm all about the optimism. However, the mid-twenties are just one of those crossroads where some people hit the red lights down the freeway and others are just green all the way down.

Contented, loving or loathing your mid-twenties? 
Spill all about it below!


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Thursday, January 7, 2016

The best highlighters of 2015



Now strictly speaking this is a 'face brightening primer', but I think the glow it leaves on the skin and fresh look on the cheekbones, t-zone and cupid's bow means I'll keep it in this category thank you very much. It has the most wonderful consistency, if not a little messy with the packaging and application. To access the product you twist the base so the liquid rises up above the wholes in the top. I apply with fingers and then use a foundation or just concealer over the top. It's a little pricey at nearer £20, but it's in line with the other Benefit highlighters and more affordable than a Becca or Hourglass highlighter!

This is the only non-liquid foundation in my favourites! With some of the powders and sticks, I find they look a little cakey on the skin and don't blend in to give a natural finish and that's where this stick is amazing! It's a soft formula so it blends seamlessly and the sponge blender on the other end of the highlighter is handy to help with this too. This stick has a champagne and gold undertone so it's great accompanying bronzer or a darker contour stick in the hollows of the cheeks. This is nearer £24, so it's one of the more expensive Benefit highlighters, but it's right up there with the Nars Multiple stick.

This is a really pretty-pink highlighter. It's got a brush application for the gel-like liquid product and leaves the skin really illuminated. You don't need too much of the product, but it won't last as long as the 'Watt's Up' or 'That Gal' in my experience. It's a versatile product too, you can wear it on it's own for a fresh glow, under foundation to add skin luminosity or on the top of foundation on the cheek bones, cupid's bow and bridge of the nose to strobe.

Don't make the mistake and think this is nail varnish! It's a wonderful gel-like highlighter that leaves a soft glow on the skin. It's deeper than the Benefit High Beam and gives a warmer glow. The quantity isn't huge for nearly £9, but you don't need too must and the product goes a long way. It works best over a liquid foundation and blended into the skin with fingers or a beauty blender. It also looks great on the bridge of the nose and at the top of the cupid's bow - almost like a really subtle strobe effect! 

What were your favourite highlighters in 2015?
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Wednesday, January 6, 2016

The best of the reds in 2015




Nothing says 'I mean business' like a good-strong red lipstick. I really like a red lip, and managed to try and test many throughout 2015, but these are my four favourites in sightly differing red shades.

1. MAC matte lipstick in Diva
This is a really matte lipstick, so before you even go there, you need to moisturise, moisturise, moisturise your lips or it will look very drying and flakey! After that, the lasting power is second to none, in fact you need a lot of makeup remover to get this off. The colour is a very deep wine shade, and one of the best vampy colours on the market at the moment. Being MAC this lipstick retails for around £15, but last for a long time, I'm no where near finishing this lipstick yet and I've had it for around a year!
 
2. Collection long lasting colour lipstick in Mango Crush 
This red is a far more coral, orange red shade. It's a really shocking red, but looks great with sun kissed skin. The staying power isn't anything compared to the MAC lipstick, but for £2.99, who's going to complain. There are a number of great shades in the Collection lipsticks range, but this coral-red in Mango Crush is one of the most versatile reds around.
 
3. Rimmel Kate lipstick in Shade 1 
There was a lot of hype over the Kate Rimmel lipsticks when they launched quite some time ago now. The product is moisturising on the lips, leaves a nice finish, not too shiny, not too matte and lasts for a few glasses of wine before re-application is needed. It was around £5 when I purchased this, and from the shades in the original Kate collection, this is one of the best. The colour is a blue tone red, not as deep or vampy as the MAC lipstick, but a little sexier than the Collection Mango Crush.

4. Clinique Pop Lip in Cherry Pop
Possibly my favourite collection of lipsticks ever. The Clinique Pop Lip collection was so fun and Cherry Pop is one of my favourites. It's a completely classic red, slightly blue toned. It's ultra moisturising and very versatile if you want a subtle lip stain or a full on colour pop. At £16 it's the most expensive of my favourite reds and although I wouldn't pay this for all of the shades in the Pop Lip range, the Cherry Pop is definitely a winner!

What were your favourite red lipsticks from 2015?
 
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Monday, January 4, 2016

Best of 2015: Nude Lipsticks


As 2016 begins, I wanted to do a few of round ups of my favourite products from 2015. Can anything top then this year?!

Firstly, it's my favourite nude lipsticks of the year.

1. Clinique's Long Last Soft Matte Lipstick in Matte Suede. It's a long lasting lipstick in a soft taupe shade, the perfect nude for 

2. L'Oreal Colour Riche Collection Eva's Nude. This is a slightly more pink-nude shade with a natural sheen compared to the matte finish of the Clinique lipstick. For £6.99, it has a long lasting wear and is the most affordable of my favourite nude lipsticks over the past year.

3. Deborah Lippmann Lipstick in I'm Every Woman.  This lipstick is nicely pigmented and leaves a nice balmy-sheen on the lips. The sleep matte black packaging is very luxe too!

What are your favourite lipsticks of 2015?

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B. Lipsticks & Liners


After following makeup artist Cassie Lomas on instagram, I saw she was an ambassador for the B makeup range in Superdrug, one that I hadn't really tried out before, but after seeing their new highlighter sticks I decided to take a look. 


 After pursuing the collection, I decided to pick up some of the vibrant lip & cheek colour in Prom & Orient. I do love the highlighters, but I'm more of a lipstick lover, and am getting far more wear out of these than I would the highlighters. I also decided to pick up the bold liquid liner, it's been a while since I've found an eye liner pen that is as good as the Eyeko, so am always on the look out for a high street (cheaper!) version.

Oh - and before I forget you can get all of the B makeup range at Superdrug now for buy one, get one half price....the lip colours are good and very moisturising, they leave a good colour on the checks too once blended in well. The only thing is the poor staying power. The colour lasts on the checks, but slips off of the lips after a drink or two. The pen application of the lip colours means that reapplying is easy on the go or quickly in bathrooms while you are out - it's one of the best pen-style applicators around for ease and speed. The eye liner is also just as easy to apply, but it's got far more staying power than the lipsticks! It's far better than any of the L'Oreal, Rimmel or Maybelline pen liners that I have tried. It doesn't smudge and leaves a clean long-lasting line for most of the day. If you don't want to spend on the Eyeko, I'd recommend this liner for any cat eye looks!

All in all, I'd be going back to B. They do some excellent palettes for lips and eyes with great colour ranges, so I'll be sure to be adding these to my own makeup kit in the near future.
Have you tried the B range - what do you think and let me know what your favourite pen eye liner is too?!

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