IMG_1250* simple cleansing micellar water // $7.99 *

When you read/write/follow a lot of beauty blogs and vlogs, it makes sense that you will come across a lot of the same beauty products being talked about, or raved about, by a lot of different people. Sometimes this hype comes about as the result of a massive press mail-out – which means one brand has sent the same product out to dozens of different bloggers/press to test and try out, all at the same time – other times, it’s just because that product happens to be one of the best out there, so great in fact that people can’t help but shout it from the rooftops.

However, there are also times when bloggers have been paid to talk about a specific product, meaning that the same product pops up on sponsored content posts numerous times within the space of a week, helping to generate that same sense of hype.

Now, I know and trust that the majority of bloggers who create sponsored content give their honest opinions in these posts (or videos), and I tend to treat those posts in much the same way that I would any of the other content on their blog or YouTube channel. However, sometimes it can be difficult to tell the honest, no-holds-barred thoughts from the slightly gentler, more positive, sponsored ones.

One product that springs to mind when talking about all this sponsored malarkey is the Simple Cleansing Micellar Water ($7.99). It has been everywhere in recent weeks, popping up in videos, blog posts, Instagram shots – and almost every single one that I’ve seen has been sponsored. So I wanted to go out and give the product a go myself and to share my honest, sponsor-free thoughts about whether the product really is great, or whether it just has a lot of advertising monies behind it (sorry to sound so cynical!).

Now upon first glance, this micellar water seems pretty standard in that it offers the same promises as many of its competitors- it claims it will cleanse your face, remove your make-up, and nourish your skin, all while ensuring it doesn’t irritate the skin. So far so good.

Make up removal-wise, it really does work well on face make up and base products – it clears out all of my foundation, blusher etc pretty darn easily. However, when it comes to eye make up, I found that it struggled slightly, particularly on waterproof mascara – and I found myself scrubbing pretty darn vigorously in order to get everything off, which left my eyes feeling less than fresh.

I do really like that the formula is pretty much (if not entirely?) fragrance-free, and it does really feel lovely on the skin – it doesn’t irritate my skin, nor does it break me out, which is always a bonus!

So, I’d give it one and a half thumbs up, I think – the eye make up aspect is pretty annoying, because if I’m going to use something to take off my make up, I want it to take it all off, y’know? But for days when I’ve perhaps just worn a limited amount of make up, and I don’t have any heavy eye products on, this works well – and I do think it’s a great option for anyone out there suffering with sensitive skin.

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* poolside *

I am currently busy ticking off a pretty major point from my bucket list – spending the weekend at Coachella.

It’s also, incidentally, my first ever time visiting LA, and I’ve loved seeing all of the touristy hot spots, like the Walk of Fame and the Chinese Theatre. Now to hit the desert…

Five favourites

Place: LA, obvs.

Food: My peanut butter and chocolate obsession has reared its ugly head again – I’ve devoured several bags of peanut butter M&Ms in the past few days. Gobble.

Experience: My first ever LA trip.

Read/watch: I’ve nearly finished the book that I mentioned last week so would love some more suggestions, if you have them?

Beauty bit: This is a tricky one, but I’m going to have to say the La Roche-Posay Effaclar SerumIt leaves my skin feeling so soft and smooth whenever I use it, and also helps to tackle any big blemishes – and blemish scars. It’s an all-around dream.

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

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* a totally necessary number of handbag lipsticks *

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* springtime nails *

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* lushness *

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* winners *

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA* physicians formula city glow bronzer // $14.95 *

 No, I didn’t need a new bronzer. No I didn’t need to get yet another beauty product. And no, I didn’t actually go into Duane Reade last week with the intention of picking up more make up.

However, when you come across a bronzer as pretty – and as suitable! – as this new offering from Physicians Formula, there’s no way you can pass it up, right? Right?! Well I certainly couldn’t at any rate.

Thankfully, the bronzer inside the packaging is actually pretty darn good, so I feel a lot better about the fact that I really bought it solely based on its appearance. Sadly however, the golden city skyline – which is just. so. pretty – does rub away pretty much entirely on the first use, meaning you don’t get any of that ‘glowiness’ that I initially expected when I first looked at it.

But I do find the two-tone bronzer shade really nice and natural – not too orange at all – and it really does help to add a good amount of warmth to my face, something I am desperately seeking after so many months of wintery weather. I think I’m actually about as pale as I have ever been and I’m really eager to try and at least look as if I’ve seen sunlight within the last year…

So yes, perhaps it wasn’t the most necessary purchase in the world, but it is rather useful in the bronzer department – and boy does it look pretty when on display.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA IMG_1176* revlon photoready prime + anti shine // $10.99 * 

Another day, another primer, and so my obsession continues.

I won’t lie, I’m starting to panic slightly about what I’m told is going to be a particularly toasty summer – just the thought of enduring a sweaty, heated subway journey makes my face start to feel as though it’s melting off, so I dread to think what is going to happen to my make up when this aforementioned warm spell does actually arrive.

Needless to say, I’m all about taking precautions and testing out potential antidotes to the whole face melting issues ASAP.

So when I came across this new (ish?) release from Revlon, I quite literally pounced upon it in the drugstore; a product that promises to reduce pores, prolong your make up and get rid of shine? Consider me sold.

And while I had previously considered myself something of a primer expert – I’ve tried, tested, and offered up my opinion on one helluva lot of products – this one is unlike anything else I’ve ever encountered. Rather than a liquid or a cream, this primer is more of a balm texture, which can either be applied to the whole face, or – my preferred method – applied to specific areas where you suffer from the majority of your shiny or pore-y bits.

Now, I actually find this primer formula a bit much to use all over the face, but when it comes to the on-the-spot application, I think it works really well; I tend to get some really shiny patches on my chin, forehead and the tops of my cheeks, and this mattifying balm really does work to dull those down and keep ’em dulled throughout the day.

Incidentally when it comes to application, I’m not a big fan of the sponge that they provide along with the balm and tend to opt for fingers instead; I find that the heat from my fingers helps the balm to blend in that much better and makes the whole application process a lot easier.

All I have to do now is find some summer wardrobe options, and I’m pretty much ready for the warm weather. ISH. 

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Not too long ago – maybe a year or two – I hated baths. Hated them. I couldn’t see the point, I thought they were a bit gross, I found them in no way relaxing, and I honestly just thought they were a complete and total faff. Well how times change.

These days, I can’t get enough of them, something which is due in large part, I think, to my discovery of Lush’s range of bath bombs and bubble bars. Needless to say I went from nothing to everything very quickly and formed something of an actual addiction to baths, treating myself to a good bath bomb soak once, twice, sometimes even thrice a week. How indulgent! 

And while I really did think I would only ever be one of those people who would crave a warm bath during the chilly winter months – or, you know, anytime of year in the UK when it’s pretty chilly all of the time – that’s actually turning out not to be the case. As the weather here in New York has slowly started to become a little bit more balmy, I haven’t stopped craving many a good warm bath.

However, in an attempt to ‘spring’ things up a little bit in the bath department, I paid a visit to Lush and stocked up on a few brighter, lighter, more floral, fruity fragrances, which help to turn my bath from the perfect winter warmer into a sun-filled spring oasis. There are still candles, there are still bubbles and there are still bath bombs – in essence, they’re still the same baths, just with a bit of a fresh spring boost.

Plus, I still get to experience that aaaaaaah relaxation moment which helps to make all that stress and woe melt away in an instant, even if that blissful calm only lasts as long as the bath does…

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I am getting the opportunity to do something pretty darn great next week – I’m heading to Coachella for the weekend (woop woop!). And while I’m overwhelmingly excited about the whole shebang – incredibly so in fact – I have to admit I’m ever so slightly worried about a few wee things, most of which involve what exactly I’m going to wear/pack/have with me throughout the weekend.

It’s going to be seriously hot, well, in comparison with New York anyway, which means the summer wardrobe needs to come out a lot earlier than originally anticipated, and I feel like I don’t really own enough fringe and/or flash tattoos.

I’ve never been particularly fashionable, so I guess it’s no surprise that I’m having some anxious thoughts about my Coachella-themed sartorial choices. Thankfully however, when it comes to the beauty department, I feel like I’ve got it down – particularly when it comes to beating the heat.

Base-wise, we’ve got the ever-reliable, always dependable L’Oreal Infallible Pro-Matte 24 Hour Foundationthe Kat Von D Lock-It Tattoo Concealer, and the Maybelline Fit Me Matte and Poreless PowderAll three are very effective when it comes to mattifying the face, and all three are incredibly long-lasting, even in the face of bright sunshine and shiny-face making dance moves.

For the eyes, it’s all about the L’Oreal Magic De-Crease Primer which, when mixed with the By Terry Ombre Blackstars means eye make up which will last all the live-long day without a single crease. The ultimate dream. Add to that the Kat Von D Tattoo Liner and you have yourself the perfect Coachella-approved cat flick.

Finally, the lips – and for this we have something super bright and super long-lasting, the Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvet Lipstick in Pink Ponga bright and bold shade that I’m hoping will look really rather lovely throughout the whole day. Here’s hoping.

And, in a last-ditch effort to keep it all in place, there’s the L’Oreal Infallible Pro Spray and Set Make Up Extender Setting Spray. This stuff is just awesome when it comes to prolonging my make up, and ensuring that my face remains shine-free throughout the whole day. I only wish they did smaller bottles of this stuff so I could carry it round with me in my handbag always. Any chance lovely L’Oreal people?

If there are any of you out there that have been to Coachella before and have some tips, tricks, or advice, please do let me know in the comments below!  

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* what a cute pooch *

The sun is out! The sun is out! At last it feels like spring might actually be here.

Five favourites

Place: Smorgasburg. The food there (including the amazing donut pictured below) is just epic.

Food: See above. Pretty much anything and everything available at Smorg.

Experience: Can I put Smorgasburg again!?

Read/watch: I’ve been reading a new book called The Magician recently, and I’m really enjoying it.

Beauty bit: I’ve re-ignited my love for the By Terry Ombre BlackstarsMisty Rock and Bronze Moon are just dreamy.

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

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* five years *

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* the mother of all donuts *

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* concrete jungle loving *

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* my new baby *

So last night, after weeks of deliberation, I went and had a fairly heft helping of hair lopped off my locks. We’re talking a good few inches here ladies and gentlemen, which has left me with the shortest hair style I’ve had in years.  And while I’m a lot happier with this new hairstyle than I thought I would be – I was worried at one point that there would be tears – I’m at a slightly loss in terms of what to really do with it, what products to use, and so on.

Because really, when my hair was super long, I was super lazy about it. I would whack it up, whack it in a french plait, or just leave it hanging on down. But now that my hair is shorter, I feel like I need to be more creative – I need to shake things up a bit and actually (dare I say) use some products in my hair.

So, I’m asking those of you who have rocked this mid length style for a wee while now – and those of you who have some experience in the shorter hair length department – to offer up some advice. I need your product recommendations, your style tips, and perhaps even your reassurance that I can indeed pull this look off without too much of an effort. What do you guys reckon? 

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There are odd occasions when you have to slap on your make up without the help of a mirror. Rare occasions, yes, but they do crop up every now and then.

During this past week, for reasons I won’t bother to explain right now, I’ve come up against quite a few of those mirror-less situations and have been forced to try and adapt my normal beauty routine in order to compensate for the fact that I can’t see what my make up looks like while it’s being applied – or when it’s on my face.

Thankfully however, there are a number of super simple beauty products in my arsenal that make mirror-less beauty application so much easier than I ever thought it could be. Base-wise, I’ve opted for very blendable, lightweight concealers that aren’t likely to crease, leave streaky marks or awkward blobs that haven’t blended into my skin. Both the Cover Girl  and Olay The Depuffer Concealer and the Maybelline Face Studio Master Conceal work wonders when it comes to the blendability and pigmentation and have been two of my most-relied upon products during the past few days.

Eye-wise, it’s all about easy-to-blend but long-lasting cream shadows, like the By Terry Ombre Blackstar in Misty Rock and the Charlotte Tilbury Filmstars on the Go in Breakfast at Tiffany’s – which, incidentally, also contains a pretty brilliant cream blusher, which also works brilliantly as far as blendability goes.

Last, but not least, there’s lipstick. In my opinion, there’s nothing easier than a nice simple nude – one of those ‘your lips but better’ type shades that won’t end up obviously smeared in the wrong places without your knowledge. Two of my most recent favorites are the MAC Wonder Woman Lipstick in Marquise d’ – yes, it’s limited edition, but there are a number of other brilliantly beautiful MAC shades that will work just as well – and the Nyx Butter Gloss in Pralinea nice and easy dusty pink that applies smoothly and easily and looks good whether or not you have a mirror.

Now, I can’t say that the mirror-less make up application process is one I’m eager to maintain, but thanks to this bevy of brilliant beauty products, it’s been a whole heap easier than I every thought it could be.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA* the stowaway kit // c/o $75 *

I’m sure y’all know by now that I’m not particularly good at packing light. Be it clothes, make up, shoes, skincare – even underwear – I always take too much with me wherever I go.

So when I came across beauty brand Stowaway’s teeny tiny, perfectly-proportioned collection of travel products, I was thrilled. At last! A selection of beauty bits and pieces that would enable me to pack a whole heap of different products, without taking up too much space.

And while I know a lot of novelty beauty brands or products tend to lack slightly in the quality department – all fur coat and no knickers, some might say. This collection could not be more different however. It’s all fur coat and every pair of knickers, if you like. Novelty and quality wrapped up in some incredibly pretty packaging.

The carefully-edited collection of cosmetics includes pretty much everything you might need for your average everyday beauty look – a base, the Radiant Complexion Beauty Balma Creaseless Concealer, the multi-talented Cheek & Lip Rouge, a Creme Lipstick, the Effortless Eyeliner and the Defined Lash Mascara. In fact, the only other product that I could possibly want is some kind of eyeshadow – and actually, the eyeliner can be blended out pretty well in a pinch.

My favourites of the bunch are the creaseless concealer – creamy, blendable, and yet brilliantly pigmented – and the creme lipstick – seriously pigmented, nourishing and long-lasting – but to be honest, I’m pretty impressed with all of the products that come in the cute little Stowaway pouch.

Never happy with carrying the absolute minimum however, I’m already thinking about ordering every single shade option available on the website – after all, variety is the spice of life! 

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