Nails1

Nails2

Nails3* revlon colorstay gel envy c/o £6.99 *

I’m a terrible floozy when it comes to nail polish; I love trying out new formulas, new shades, new finishes  and tend to switch up my polish at least once a week. I use a lot of nail polish remover. 

But despite my floozy polish habits, I am actually pretty picky when it comes to my favourite polishes – particularly where the formula and brush are concerned. So when the latest nail polish release from Revlon landed on my doorstep, I couldn’t wait to whack it on my nails and test out the results. And I have to admit I’ve been pretty darn impressed.

The colour range is ruddy huge and they have some superb shades included – such as High Stakesthe beautiful forest green seen above, which was the first colour that I tried from the collection. Formula-wise, the polishes are incredibly opaque and offer an almost-perfect finish in just one quick coat (I opted for two but one would have worked); in terms of staying power, the polish lasted for about three days completely chip-free – and that’s without a top coat too so imagine what it could do with a layer of Seche Vite whacked on top. The only thing that I think could use a bit of improvement is the brush – fairly wide but not quite the cuticle clinger that I tend to like.

All in all though, I’m pretty darn impressed with the results and I think this collection is going to prove seriously popular – particularly as the shade range is so ruddy  brilliant. I’ve already got my eye on a few more colours…

 

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August1

August2

I’m pretty sure I say this every month but I cannot believe that August is over already. Is it just me or did the past month really fly by?! But while I’m terrified by the speed at which weeks seem to be speeding along at the moment, I’m actually really really excited about the arrival of autumn. It’s been a pretty super summer – we’ve had actual sunshine here in the UK which makes a real change from our usual grey-skyed drizzle! – and I’ve relished spending so much time outside in the sun, but I’m totally ready for colder days, warm knitwear, hot water bottles and Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Lattes.

But before I move on to all of that, I wanted to celebrate some of the stuff that made August great and share with y’all the beauty bits which really stuck out for me during the month.

I’ll kick off with the only haircare bit in my favourites, the Philip Kingsley Elasticizer (£12)I’ve been a fan of this product for years now but for some reason it hadn’t been getting as much use as usual in recent months and I’m so ruddy glad to have rediscovered it. Created for actress Audrey Hepburn, the smoothing formula works wonders on hair that is feeling a bit frizzy and frazzled, leaving it soft and smooth and genuinely pretty love.

Moving on to make up, I have been obsessed with the Tarte Amazonian Clay Full Coverage Foundation (£32.50)The formula offers amazing coverage without feeling at all heavy or greasy on your skin and it lasts for hours on end. I just can’t get enough. SImilarly the Sleek Make Up Blush in Rose Gold (£4.49) has been in pretty regular rotation during the past few weeks. I just love the rosy glow that it gives my skin and haven’t ever found a blusher that offers the same healthy radiance.

Another old favourire that I’ve rediscovered properly this month is MAC Plumful (£15.50). Without a doubt my favourite MAC lipstick ever – which is an achievement enough in itself! - it just seems to suit every skintone, make up look and complexion and always works so well regardless of any other factors. I can’t ever imagine my make up stash without Plumful… Last but not least on the make up front is another rediscovered product, the By Terry Crayon Khol Terrybly in Festive Gold (£23)I’ll admit that one of the major reasons I love this product so much is the name – getting ready for Christmas already! - but the super smooth formula, long-lasting staying power and incredible colour definitely play a  big part in its brilliance too!

My final favourite of the month is a sweet sweet scent, Elizabeth and James Nirvana White ($75), which you can’t yet get in the UK – sob. But I had to include it (I’m sorry!) because it’s been pretty much the only perfume I’ve worn all month. The scent is totally unlike anything else I have in my fragrance stash and lasts on my skin all day long; well worth the slightly hefty price tag if you ask me.

And now onto September – and some serious Autumn lovin’…!

Holiday1

Holiday2

As some of you may know, I’m currently on my way to the airport for my holiday – HURRAH! I’m heading off for a week of sun, fun and lacrosse (yes, really) in Turkey and I couldn’t be more excited. I know I’ve mentioned a couple of times that it’s been a pretty stressful few weeks and I’m really looking forward to the prospect of escaping my day-to-day life and focusing on nothing other than having fun. Woop woop.

When it comes to switching myself off however, I admit I’m not the best at letting go of my everyday responsibilities. iPhones, laptops, iPads and everything else in between have made it pretty darn difficult to totally switch off but I think I’ve finally reached a stage where I’m happy to take a step back. Ish.

I’ve set out of office alerts for all email address – work, blog, personal – and I’ve scheduled a fair few blog posts and tweets to keep on going up while I’m away. I do have my laptop which I know some of you might be horrified to hear; for me it’s like a safety blanket though. I wouldn’t really be able to relax if I didn’t have it with me. Sad but true, I admit it.

I also had a good ole YouTube binge before heading off to the airport so will be completely shutting off from that kind of stuff entirely while I’m there – no TV, no movies, no YouTube. If I have some downtime, I’ll read a book or go for a walk or hit the pool – I want to limit my screen time as much as humanly possible.

See you guys on the other side…!

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* the latest chanel drop is so pretty *

I’m off on holiday tomorrow and could not be more excited about it. I’m so ready for a bit of rest and relaxation – and some ace lacrosse action too – all with a bit of sunshine thrown in for good measure.

I’m going to do my utmost to get some scheduled posts up regularly while I’m away but will be a bit slower when it comes to replying to comments and so on so please do bear with!

I hope you all have a delightful weekend and week and I’ll see you when I return…!

Five favourites:

Place: My flat. We have to move out at the end of the month and having traipsed around more than my fair share of available properties elsewhere in London, I’ve realised just how lucky we are to have lived in such a lovely home for so long. I’m going to miss it a whole heap.

Food: I’ve recently rediscovered the joys of peanut butter on toast. It’s so ruddy tasty, I have no idea why I ever stopped eating it. Gobble.

Experience: HOLIDAY PACKING #sorrynotsorry

Read/watch: I’m really enjoying watching moving videos on YouTube at the moment. They’re giving me a bit of inspiration for our upcoming move and I really just love having a bit of a nose. There are some great moving vlogs on Marcus’ channel and on Gabriella’s channel too if you want to check ‘em out.

Beauty bit: Although I haven’t had much of an opportunity to try the products out in full, I’ve fallen completely in love with the Chanel AW 14 collectionSO PRETTY.

Have a good weekend everyone and don’t forget to follow me over on Instagram @CharlieLanks!

 

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* hot chocolate and candles. august has been delightful *

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* casual bank holiday beauty clear out *

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* mid-week mask *

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* sweet snaps with old friends *

Summer1

Summer2

Summery

Goodness gracious where has the sun got to, huh?! After all those weeks of brilliantly brilliant sunshine, it seems as though autumn is well and truly on its way.

And as excited as I am about autumn – warm knitwear, spicy cinnamon-y beverages, hot water bottles, the list goes on – I’m slightly dreading the whole pale face, dark circles look which seems to always accompany the colder months. So, while the wind might be howling and the rain may well be pouring on the outside, inside I’m still clinging on to the last few moments of summer with an amped-up beauty routine that will hopefully help to prolong that summer feelin’.

The first key product on my summery face checklist is SPF. I know a lot of people have a tendency to make a move away from all forms of sun protection as soon as autumn rolls around and I’m here to tell you that’s not always the best thing to do. Stick with a nice lightweight SPF – I love the Soap & Glory Make Yourself Youthful Sunshield Superfluid SPF50+ (£15) - that you can wear under your make up, but do ensure that you stick with something rather than sacking off SPF altogether.

Moving on to make up and one of the most important aspects of any summer look: bronzer. When it comes to creating – or even just boosting – a bit of a bronzed glow on your face, I always think it’s best to opt for two bronzers, one matte for contouring (the Topshop Bronzer in Sandcastle (c/o £9) is a great option) and one with a bit of added shimmer to help create a healthy glow (Physicians Formula Happy Booster Glow and Mood Boosting Powder ($13.95) for you US gals, MAC Mineralize Skinfinish (£23) for everyone else) that can sometimes be lacking in the colder weather.

Add to that a peachy blush – Clinique Cheek Pop in Peach Pop (c/o £16.50) is beautiful – and a subtle bronze-y brown eye – the Tarte Amazonian Clay Sultry Sunset Eyeshadow Palette (c/o £26.50) has some seriously pretty shades – and you’re pretty much ready to roll as far as a healthy bronzed glow goes. All that’s left is to round off the look with a bright pink or peach lip colour; bold or sheer, the choice is up to you.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to dig out my UGGs. Don’t judge…

Sticks1

Sticks2

Sticky

While rootling through my beauty stash t’other day, I noticed that my collection of stick-style beauty products has grown really rather rapidly over the past few months. From lips to cheeks to eyes, it’s seems like there’s a stick for every aspect of your make up routine these days. So why all the stick-y excitement? 

Well the most obvious answer to that question is sheer ease of use. With almost every stick-sized product in my arsenal, the application is as easy as swipe, smudge, go – a process which comes in incredibly handy when you’re short of time. Take for example the Kiko Long Lasting Stick Eyeshadow (£6.90) or the NYX Jumbo Eyeshadow Pencil (c/o £5), both have really brilliant formulas which blend so easily onto the eyelid and can be built up for an intense hit of colour, or blended out for something sheer and subtle. Similarly, when it comes to something a bit more cheeky, the (affectionately nicknamed) Clinique Chubby Cheeks (c/o £19) offer the perfect on-the-go application and can be easily blended – or built up – with just a few quick swipes.

There are also a whole heap of additional uses for the majority of these products; the Chubby Cheeks can also be used on the lips to add a sheer wash of colour, while the Charlotte Tilbury Colour Chameleon (c/o £19) can be used not only as an eyeshadow, but as a liner to add an extra dimension of colour to your eye.

Last but not least, there’s also the super handy packing factor. While palettes and other such products tend to be a wee bit fiddly to transport, the stick-sized products could not be easier to bung in a bag and go – plus there tends to be a whole lot more room to squeeze in some extra options, if you want to…! 

Now I’m not for a minute suggesting that we all make a switch to stick-only application – that’s just crazy talk – but I have to admit, I’m thoroughly enjoying the whole stick trend which seems to have swept through all of beauty land. So ladies and gents, hit me up with some recommendations for other stick-y products… I have my (jumbo eye) pencil at the ready.

SarahChapman1

SarahChapman2

SarahChapman3* sarah chapman skinesis spot sticker // £19 *

I’ve wanted to try out Sarah Chapman skincare for a long ole while now and have been lusting after the much-hyped Overnight Facial for ruddy yonks, but still haven’t been able to bring myself to hand over £45 in return. It’s an ongoing issue. But when I spied the rather unique Sarah Chapman Skinesis Spot Stickers in Space NK, I wasted no time in dashing to the cashier; a spot treatment that I have yet to try?! Consider me sold.

Now I don’t know about you guys, but the whole concept of a spot sticker was entirely new to me. Creams, gels, topical treatments – I’ve tried and tested ‘em all, but none quite as quirky as this skincare solution. The stickers themselves are formulated with salicylic acid, along with a whole batch of other brilliant blemish-fighting ingredients, including Vitamin C and Grape Seed Oil. They are incredibly thin and can be worn under make up if so desired. Having tried and tested this technique, I can confirm that they are very easily hidden, but I found the concept of wearing a sticker on my face throughout the day a bit bizarre so I’ll probably be sticking to an evening application.

And after my first overnight spot sticker experience, I have to say I was blown away. Not only did it manage to stay attached to my once-hideous blemish throughout the night, it also helped to seriously reduce the size of the blemish, while also tackling some unwanted redness which had flared up around it. Needless to say I was pretty ruddy impressed with the whole process and am actually feeling ever so slightly more relaxed about my next breakout, now that I know I”ll have these on hand to help.

In terms of price, while these product is a whole lot more wallet-friendly than the Overnight Facial, it still doesn’t come too cheap; in addition to the giddy thrill of sticking stuff to your face, £19 gets you just 16 spot stickers – and a very fancy white leather case which is ideal if you want to sling some of the stickers in your bag for any on-the-go blemish-related emergencies.

I have to admit though, this really is one luxury I think it might be worth forking out for, particularly if you’re struggling with any big beasty blemishes. Now the Overnight Facial on the otherhand… Well that’s another story entirely. I think.

Empties1

Empties2

As you may have guessed, I work my way through a pretty hefty number of beauty products, some of which I replace and some of which I don’t. And then there’s that special category of product which make me oh-so sad as soon as I see that they’re even close to coming to an end. Usually I already have a stand-by ready to roll out but on those odd occasions when I’ve failed to prepare…? Well, we’ll just say tears may have been shed. 

Recently I finished up five of my all-time favourite products, all of which tragically came to an end within a few days of one another. Ain’t that always the way!? It was my skincare stash which took the biggest hit, first with the loss of my Emma Hardie Amazing Face Natural Lift and Sculpt Moringa Cleansing Balm (£36)one of the best balm cleansers I’ve ever had the pleasure of using. The texture is unlike any other cleanser I’ve tried and it has such a wonderfully nourishing effect on my face, while leaving it super clean and fresh feeling too. Delightful.

Then there’s the REN Micro Polish Cleanser (£20) which has been my favourite physical exfoliator for a long ole while now. Fruity and fresh with a gentle grainy formula, it leaves my skin feeling silky smooth with an added bit of brightness. Another repurchase already in the bag. Sadly however, the La Roche-Posay Serozinc (£10.50) isn’t quite so easy to replace – a French pharmacy favourite, it’s only really available on a few websites here in the UK annoyingly. It’s such a soothing formula and really helps to calm my skin and reduce any redness or blemishes.

Moving away from skincare in favour of fragrance, I was devastated to reach the end of my Tom Ford Black Orchid Eau de Parfum (£52)Full of rich and fruity floral fragrances, it’s one of the most unique scents out there – and I haven’t found anything else similar. I’ve got a few other perfumes to work my way through over the next few months but I don’t doubt that I’ll be coming back to this one at some point soon. Similarly, the Bath and Body Works Three Wick Candle in Lemon Mint Leaf ($22.50) is one of the freshest scents that I’ve ever smelled before. The fragrance fills the whole room and that bright citrus-y scent lasts all the live-long day, even after the candle has been blown out.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to do some shopping – there are a few gaps in my stash that need filling…

Acids1

Acids2

I’ve blogged at great length about my love for acid exfoliators on a number of occasions – they’ve been a vital part of my day-to-day skincare routine for a few years now and I really do feel like they make all the difference to my complexion both in terms of increasing brightness and reducing dark spots and scarring. I’m always on the lookout for new acids that I can add into my current staple mix – Pixi Glow Tonic and Aveda Botanical Kinetics Exfoliant have been my favourites for yonks now – and recently snapped up two new options that I wanted to share.

First up, a rather unlikely drugstore purchase, the Clearasil Ultra Rapid Action Pads (£4.04). Now I don’t know about you guys but I had all but given up on the idea of using any Clearasil products at the ripe old age of about 13 or 14 so I was most shocked to see skincare guru extraordinaire Caroline Hirons recommending the Rapid Action Pads on her YouTube channel. But recommend she did and I duly rushed out and snapped up a pot of pads to test out, not really sure what to expect.

Now for those of you looking for an all-natural acid exfoliation experience (a la Pixi Glow), I’m going to go ahead and say that this is probably not the best product for you. While the pads are full of salicylic acid, there are also a fair few other more chemical ingredients which will no doubt be a bit harsh on the more sensitive of complexions. But if you’re in the market for a no-fuss, no-frills dose of acid that does what it says on the tin, these really are worth a quick peek. As long as you don’t mind the potent chemically scent…

A rather more expensive acid option comes in the form of the Philosophy Brighten My Day All-over Skin Perfecting Brightening Primer (£33) which – in addition to the hefty price tag – comes complete with a number of impressive skincare promises. Not only does it claim to ‘brighten pigmentation’ and ‘smooth and brighten skin’, it also promises to prime and perfect your skin ready for the next steps in your skincare routine. So far so good.

In terms of ingredients, it leans further towards the chemically end of the scale than my Pixi or Aveda offerings, but is by no means as, er, ‘full-on’ as the Clearasil pads and doesn’t have that same overwhelming scent. In terms of the results, I am pretty impressed but I can’t say that it’s offered anything staggeringly overwhelming enough to warrant the £33 price tag and it certainly hasn’t proven any more effective than the other acids in my arsenal. In my opinion you’d be better off sticking with Pixi or Aveda – can you tell I’m a fan of those products?! - both of which come in at under the £20 mark.

What acid-rich products are you guys enjoying at the moment? Hit me up with some recommendations y’all.

Bookworm

I’ll admit to being something of a technology addict – and I’m sure G would agree. I spend a lot of my life attached to either my laptop, work computer, iPad or iPhone either tweeting, blogging, Instagramming or emailing. Even reading books is now an activity which involves the use of technology, thanks to the handy Kindle app on my iPad, and I’ll admit that books are often sidelined in favour of YouTube, Netflix or Candy Crush.

But recently I’ve been trying - and not always succeeding, admittedly – to take a break from tech and pick up an actual book. It’s been a struggle – and I really do feel awful saying that – but I’ve already found a few great reads that have been ace enough to tempt me away from anything and everything i-related.

First up is a pick that’s probably not going to surprise a lot of you – The Fault In Our Stars by John Green. Known by many as ‘the book which makes everyone cry’, I have to admit, I was slightly hesitant to read it for fear that the hype surrounding it and its movie adaptation would be great than the book itself. Holy moly was I ever wrong. The book is brilliant – tragic, heart-wrenching, funny, clever and brutally honest. It deals with a really sensitive subject completely head-on, without any frills or fantasies and it’s just brilliant. And yes, for those of you that want to know, I did cry. A lot.

The second book on my list, The King’s Curse by Philippa Greggory, sits at completely the other end of the spectrum – no teary-eyed emotion here folks – but has completely captured my attention of late. Those of you who were fans of this author’s other books, like The Other Boleyn Girl, The White Queen etc, will probably be equally as entertained by her latest historical novel. While I haven’t reached the end just yet (it’s a seriously hefty book y’all), I’m finding it a really good read – although the cumbersome hardback edition isn’t the most commute-friendly of formats…

What books are you all enjoying at the moment? Any others I should add to my list?

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