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It’s no secret that I”m a huge fan of Christmas. Every year, without fail, I drive my boyfriend, family and friends mad with my festive enthusiasm; be it chopping down the tree, decorating the tree, buying presents, wrapping presents, or generally just talking about all thing Christmas, I just can’t get enough. Oh, and did I mention CHRISTMAS?!

In fact I think the only person who can put up with all of my crazy Christmas antics is my friend Annabel, who is the only person I’ve ever met with the same bats-about-Crimbo attitude as me.

Given my over-the-top feelings for the festive season, it should come as no surprise that I tend to get a bit Christmas-sick at this time of year; yes, the sunshine is marvelous, and yes, I’m a big fan of not having to bundle up in ski gear just to leave my house, but I really do miss all of the festivity and the decorations, and the holiday season just seems so far away.

Thankfully, working in the industry that I do, I am given a little bit of light relief from my lack-of-Christmas-boo-hoos (yes, that’s a thing) in the form of all the wonderful ‘Christmas in July’ press events that pop up at this time of year in order to allow magazines the time to get their butts in gear and get everything organized in time for December. For me, these events mean a chance to inject some festivity into the summer months – and they have also inspired me to re-embrace some of my favorite wintry beauty items too. A red lip in summer?! I hear you cry. Oh yes, I’m crazy like that. 

Now I obviously haven’t gone the whole hog in terms of whacking on glitter, red lipstick, green and red nail polish, and snowman jumpers etc, but I have really enjoyed putting all of my favorite festive beauty bits back into rotation, as it were, and thought I’d share with you guys some of the products that I’ve loved using again.

Nails-wise, there are some solid favorites in there in the form of the Deborah Lippmann Nail Polish in Single Ladies, the Sinful Colors Polish in Red Eye, the Body Shop Color Crush Nail Polish in Red My Mind, and my all-time favorite glitter, Essie Summit of Style. I’m just head over heels in love with them all, and there’s just something about rocking a bold red nail mid-way through summer, y’know?

From the tips to the lips now, and it’s all about the reds once again. From the MAC x Prabal Gurung High-Shine Lip Gloss in Carmine Rouge and the Bourgois Rouge Edition Velvet in Hot Pepper to the Maybelline Colour Drama Intense Velvet Lip Pencil in Red Essential, I’ve been opting for only the brightest and boldest shades these past few months.

Last but by no means least, we come to the eyes, which are key in any fun festive summer look. And the two products that have been dominating my lids in recent weeks are the Charlotte Tilbury Fallen Angel Palette, a dreamy Christmas treat made all the more festive and fun by the star patterns printed on every shadow, and the Revlon Photo Ready Eye Art Lid, Line and Lash, which gives a glittery, coppery splash of shimmer to any look.

And yes, that is a countdown to Christmas calendar you can see in the above photo. And what? 

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* welcome to the femail team carlizzle *

I’ve had such a good – but really rather busy – weekend. There’s been sun, fun, wine, food, Skype with G, more food, and even some bocce ball. Apparently that’s a thing.

Back to work today ready to take on the week after a thoroughly brilliant few days.

Five favourites

Place: My rooftop. Stupendous view, BBQ stations, deck chairs, sun loungers, it’s ruddy marvelous.

Food: There’s a pizza restaurant attached onto the new Smorgasburg and the pizza they serve there is just awesome. It’s so so good.

Experience: Learning to play bocce ball – and making up one half of the winning team, baby, yeah!

Read/watch: I’ve started reading Caroline Cossey’s memoirs My Story. She was the first openly transgender woman to pose for Playboy; I had to download her book for work reasons, and thought I’d give it a proper read. It’s seriously interesting and I have to admit I haven’t really put it down since.

Beauty bit: Totally, totally obsessed with my Topshop Matte Bronzer at the moment. It gives an ace glow without any tangerine orange-y tinge, and really helps to enhance the ole tan.

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

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* nyc you bae *

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* christmas in july loving *

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* kendall jenner eat your heart (hair) out *

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* gobble *

Finishing off a beauty product – or seven – is always a bittersweet experience. On the one hand, I”m usually at least a little bit sad to have finished it (otherwise I probably wouldn’t have bothered polishing it off, to be honest), and on the other, I’m thrilled to have actually reached the end of something. You know what I mean? 

In recent weeks, I’ve run out of one heck ton of a lot of beauty products – some favorites, others less so, but all which were pretty darn useful while bolstering my beauty supplies.

First up, a long-time favorite, and one that I have already re-purchased – the John Frieda Beach Blonde Smooth Seas Detangling Conditioner ($9.99). Not only does this stuff smell super, it also works wonders in terms of smoothing down frizz, keeping hair feeling soft, and generally doing all those great things that good conditioners are supposed to. Another firm favorite is the Ole Henriksen Fresh Start Eye Creme ($48)another one that I was oh-so sad to see the end of. I’ve used this stuff for years, have never had a single complaint, and have yet to find any alternative that offers the same calming, cooling and hydrating goodness all in one magic formula.

Then we have the Pixi Glow Tonic ($28), which is probably one of the longest-serving staples in my skincare arsenal; it exfoliates, it brightens and it makes my skin feel so much smoother and softer. This stuff is the dream, and unfortunately it’s ruddy impossible to get hold of here in the US – so I’ma be stocking up on ten bottles when I head back to the UK in September.

Last of the favorite empties is the L’Oreal Infallible Pro-Matte 24hr Foundation ($12.99). Ever since buying this foundation a few months ago, every other formula that I own has pretty much been ignored. Seriously. This stuff has everything that I could ever want in a foundation formula – it’s matte, but not cakey, full coverage, but not heavy, and it lasts all day long. Two thumbs way, way up.

Now moving onto the less-than-stellar favorites. First up, we have the Glamglow Youthmud Face Mask ($69)which I’ve spoken about in a lot of detail previously. It’s been raved about by many, but personally I just didn’t find it all that brilliant or effective. It was just kind of meh, if I’m honest, and I don’t think I’m going to be investing in another pot any time soon.

Next up is the Stila Stay All Day Liquid Eyeliner ($22). Now, this used to be firm favorite, in fact it was pretty much the only liquid eyeliner that I was able to use for a wee while. Until I happened across the Kat Von D offering and fell totally head over heels in love with that. In comparison, this one just lacks the same kind of precision and blacker-than-black intensity, to be honest.

Last on the list is the Pacifica Tuscan Blood Orange Hand and Body Lotion Wipes ($7)Now I’ll be honest, I was more curious about these than anything else, and was really eager to give them a go – but I failed to really find a use for them. They came in fairly handy when I was traveling back to the UK – wipes are always a good idea when you’re on a plane – and I carried them in my handbag for a bit so I’d have something there in case I spilled anything (happens a lot!). But when it comes to their actual use, as a lotion-esque alternative for your hands and your body? I just don’t get it at all. They do smell super though…

I’ll be the first to admit that I have a pretty large collection of beauty products – it’s certainly not the most expansive that I’ve seen, but it’s up there… Anywho, will all that excellent make-up action going on in there, occasionally some products do get left at the back of a drawer, and go un-loved for a few weeks or months.

So every now and then I’ll have a hunt around for some of those long-forgotten products, and have a ruddy ace time rediscovering them in all of their beauty brilliance. And my most recent rediscoveries have most certainly proven just how much they deserve to be used on a day to day basis.

During one of my more recent rediscovery sessions, I came across some real stonkers that I want to share with you – kicking off with the best of the best (in my opinion), the Charlotte Tilbury Fallen Angel Palette ($65). I was given this bad boy for Christmas, and fell head over heels in love with it – and ironically that actually made me neglect it a bit. Such was my fear that it might break/shatter/lose its starry starry brilliance that I kind of didn’t use it that much. Until now. Having it grabbed it out of the back of a drawer on a whim, it’s pretty much all I’ve been using for the past few weeks. The shadows are dreamy, both in terms of formula and shades, and they stick around on my lids all. day. long.

Moving on along to the Soap and Glory Glow All Out Highlighter ($18), which has long-been one of my favourite highlighters, but was set aside for a wee while so that I could give some other products a go. But nothing else I’ve found manages to give that same sweet peachy glow, and for that reason I’ve circled back to this bad boy. Same too with the Maybelline Color Sensational Shine Gloss ($6.50), which tragically seems to have been discontinued here in the US (sob). Nevertheless, it’s still one of the best glosses I’ve tried – super smooth, stick-free and with the perfect amount of colour to it. Ace.

Sticking with the lips, we have the Kate Moss x Rimmel Lasting Finish Lipstick in 107 ($5.50)I normally only really wear this one in the winter – and this past year, it went slightly un-loved because I was focused solely on its partner in crime, 07. But, breaking with tradition, I decided to bust this bad boy out for July because I’m crazy like that! It’s a little bit too drying for me to wear all day long, but for an evening out, or a few hours’ of drinks, it’s perfect.

Moving away from make-up for the last two items in the line-up – Balenciaga Rosabotanica ($100) and the Zoeva Petit Crease Brush ($6)One smells super sweet and the other helps my eyes to look super sweet; the fragrance is just perfect for this time of year because it’s floral without being too heavy or sweet, and it just sits beautifully on your skin all day long. The brush, on the other hand, has come in so handy recently because I’ve been trying to get a bit more adventurous with eyeshadow. While not ideal for blending out a total look, this bad boy helps with some precision application and is a dream when it comes to blending out smaller areas of shadow.

So guys, now it’s your turn – take some time and explore your make-up stash! I want to know what you all find…

* i miss this dude *

* i miss this dude *

It’s been a long old time since I put up one of these posts – and d’you know what? I’ve missed them, I really have. It’s been a pretty busy few weeks, and I know that’s meant that I’ve neglected the blog a wee bit. I’m doing my best to get everything balanced to I can keep uploading posts as often as possible, so please just bear with me. I’ll be back on it in no time.

Five favourites

Place: The new Smorgasburg that has just opened opposite my apartment building. Delicious food on my doorstep, aw yeah.

Food: Ramen burgers and frozen iced tea from Smorgasburg – the perfect tasty treat on a seriously sweaty day.

Experience: Spending last Saturday afternoon by the pool in the sunshine. There was a BBQ, there were pool floats, it was delightful.

Read/watch: Having finished all three seasons of Revenge (that’s all that are available on Netflix – sad face), I’m actually on the hunt for a new show to get cracking with. Any suggestions y’all?

Beauty bit: The Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess PerfumeI get so many compliments whenever I wear it, and it always reminds me of warm summer days and sunshine, no matter what the actual weather is doing.

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

* my unicorn shoes *

* my unicorn shoes *

* that sky though *

* that sky though *

* poolside chillin' *

* poolside chillin’ *

* smorgasburg babes *

* smorgasburg babes *

I’m probably about the laziest person ever when it comes to doing things with my hair. On the rare occasions that it’s not bundled up into a top knot, it’s in a half up half down kind of situation. Or, if I’m feeling wild, it’s in a french plait. I know, I know, I’m so ruddy adventurous.

However, I do like to try and keep it in as good condition as possible – and will, particularly during the summer, throw in a few products every now and then to jazz it up, beyond my normal shampoo and conditioner.

When it comes to keeping my hair in tip top condition, I’ve actually been using the Tarte Maracuja Oil in the ends; while I know it’s technically intended for your face, it works some serious magic in terms of smoothing down dry ends and zapping any frizzy bits. Nothing like a multi-tasker!

This will no doubt come as little surprise but my hairbrush of choice – as per usual – is the Wet Brush. I won’t waste time waxing lyrical over it again, but it’s just ace.

Moving on to some styling now and my favourite product of choice in recent months has been the John Frieda Beach Blonde Sea Waves Salt Spray. This stuff is just excellent – it smells excellent, it gives a great amount of texture but without any crunchy residue which I’ve experienced with a few other salt sprays. In other words it’s just super. Same with the Bumble and Bumble City Swept Finish Spray. The finish isn’t quite the same as the salt spray – it gives a lot more volume – but I love it just as much for the unique texture that it gives my hair.

Last but not least is a bit of a luxury item, the Serge Normant Avah Hair Perfume. Yes it’s not the most necessary item in the world by I just love it. It smells super, it makes my hair smell super and – in all honesty – I just feel super fancy when I wear it, which is never a bad feeling!

What products are you guys loving this summer?

Charlie

Ever since returning from my holiday a few weeks ago, I’ve been feeling pretty darn knackered and getting out of bed each morning is an ongoing struggle. However, I’ve also been trying my hardest to make better use of the pretty extensive collection of make-up that I have at my disposal – rather than just chucking a blob of foundation on my face, slapping on a bit of powder and leaving it at that, which, I’ll admit, had become my more regular routine in the weeks leading up to my holiday.

So in order to try and make the most out of the big ole beauty collection that I’ve amassed, I decided I would try and come up with a simple summer make-up formula that would be quick and easy, applied with the minimum amount of fuss, but that can serve as a base for whatever other, more wild and crazy products I wanted to add into the mix. Or, for those days when I feel like keeping things a bit more laidback, can be worn by itself.

Well you know what? It’s taken a fair few weeks but I think I’ve cracked it.

Kicking off with three drugstore face base favorites – the L’Oreal Infallible Pro-Matte 24hr Foundation ,the Maybelline Master Conceal Face Studio Camouflaging Concealer and the Maybelline Fit Me Matte + Poreless Powder. All have incredibly long-winded names, but at the same time, all are so easy to use, work really well on my face, and last in the horrible New York humidity. Win.

To add an all-around ‘summer glow’ (cringe), I’m very much enjoying the Phsycian’s Formula Happy Booster Glow & Mood Boosting Powder; it’s really light, and doesn’t add any unwanted ‘orange’ to the skin, just a nice healthy glow, which means I can top it up with contour or blusher if I so choose, or leave it as is for a more natural look.

My super simple go-to eye look at the moment, involves swiping two of the Nudestix Magnetic Eye Color Pencils – in Angel and Immortal – across my lids, with the darker Immortal in the crease and the champagne-toned Angel in the inner corner, smudging ’em out with my finger and then leaving them there. If I’m feeling really adventurous I’ll add a brush into the mix, or perhaps another shade to give more definition to the crease, in which case the two Nudestix pencils serve as a great primer/shade base, but otherwise that’s that. And it works well.

Last but not least I whip out my favourite mascara of the moment – the Ciate Triple Shot Mascara – and that’s pretty much me done. Occasionally I’ll choose to spice things up with a bold lip color – as in the above right photo – or sometimes I’ll really go all out and add a slick of liquid eyeliner. Oh yeah, I’m wild. But whatever else I decide to do with my look, this simple selection provides a pretty perfect base – if I do say so myself!

* barry m speedy quick dry nail polish in road rage // £3.99 *

 Once again I am well behind the times – shock! – and I find myself catching onto a good old thing a wee bit late. BUT, in this case, I have an actual excuse – I believe that this brilliant new (ish) product came out after I moved over here to the US, and I’ve only just been back for the first time since the big move so haven’t had time to check ’em out yet. OK?

So, excuses out of the way, without further ado, I should probably tell you what product it is that I’m babbling on about.

Say hello ladies and gents to the Barry M Speedy Quick Dry Nail Polish in Road Rage (£3.99)the latest addition to what has become a somewhat out-of-control collection of mint green nail polishes. In fact I’m pretty sure the title of this post has been used by yours truly in the past – on more than one occasion! – but in this case I just couldn’t resist adding one more pretty polish to the selection.

So what was it that made the Barry M polishes oh-so exciting? Well, first of all – I’ll be honest – it was a little bit to do without the huge amount of hype surrounding them when they first came out. Being over here in the US, knowing that I couldn’t get my hands on them, made them all the more appealing.

Then there is the colour selection – all complete with fun car-appropriate names, the pastel-toned shades are just beautiful, and I’m not sure there’s a single shade in there that I would ever say no to…!

Now, with the more cosmetic stuff aside, let’s move on to the meaty stuff: the formula. Hailed as one of the quickest nail polishes around, these Barry M delights sure did have a lot of chat to live up to. But thankfully, I admit I was impressed. While not quite the lightening speed I had in mind (we’re talking milliseconds here people) the polish does dry really ruddy quickly, making a speedy manicure so much easier and more enjoyable.

Plus, it dries down to a shiny, gel-like finish, that stays put through pretty much anything, particularly when paired with a good topcoat.

(Oh, and did I mention how cute the little bottle is?)

Not much more you can ask for in a polish really, is there?

I cannot for the life of me understand how it’s July already. HOW? Summer feels like it’s in full swing here in the US of A – and from what I gather from all you guys back in the UK, it’s pretty darn hot over there at the moment too!

And with that in mind, I’m going to crack on with my first favorite which will no doubt come as little surprise to most of you: Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess Eau Fraîche Skinscent ($65). This stuff is literally summer in a bottle, as far as I’m concerned. It has the most amazing coconutty scent that immediately transports me to my last holiday whenever I wear it. I’m hooked and it’s pretty much all I’ve been wearing since June. The above is last year’s bottle but I may have already purchased a bottle from this year’s collection too. You know, just in case.

Another sun-focused favourite has been my Claire’s Fruit Emoji Sunglasses ($12). These bad boys are pretty much the only shades I’ve been wearing thus far this summer; I know they’re slightly crazy and a bit ‘out there’, I just can’t get enough. Plus they’re ruddy cheap as chips (sorry, fries) which makes them all the more appealing!

Moving on to some make-up goodness, and the Nyx Blush in Dusty Rose ($5). This is my first blusher from the brand and I have to say I’m totally hooked. The colour is subtle, but by no means non-existent, and it just gives that perfect natural flush to the face that adds a delightful glow. It’s quick, easy and effective – everything you want in a beauty product basically.

Sticking with the easy and effective theme, we have the Nudestix Magnetic Eye Color Pencil in Immortal ($24)This bad boy has become one of my favourite go-to products for super simple make-up looks; you just swipe it across your eyelid, smudge with a brush or a finger, and you’re ready to go with a perfect bronze eye. If you really feel like going all-out, use it to line your eyes too and add a bit more of an edge to the look. Simple pimple. 

The last make-up product of the batch is the Lancome Color Design 5 Shadow & Liner Palette in Beige Brulee ($50). Another one product wonder, this eyeshadow palette comes complete with every shade you need to create the perfect eye combination. There’s a pale colour to put all over the lid and tone down any blue colouring, there’s a taupe-y beige shade, there’s a deep brown for the crease, a shimmer shade for the inner corners, and an even darker brown to line the eye. On the days when I’m not using the aforementioned one-swipe Nudestix pencil, this is all I’ve been reaching for.

Last up on the list is something a bit silly – but also ruddy brilliant – the Cake Batter Chapstick ($2.99)This bad boy is an old classic – with a sweet new twist in the form of the delightful flavour. It keeps my lips nice and soft, smells delicious, and also tastes pretty super too! (Not that I eat it. Much.)

Here’s to a happy July y’all.

As some of you may have seen on my Instagram/Twitter/blog, I was lucky enough to head off on holiday to Italy with the fam a couple of weeks ago, a trip which required a speedy 20-hour stop over in London. And naturally, in addition to seeing friends and family, a little chunk of said time had to be spent picking up some of my favourite British beauty bits!

My first stop on my whirlwind tour of Boots was the Barry M counter, where I picked up two of the Barry M Speedy Quick Dry Nail Paintsthe first in a beautiful muted greige colour, Pit Stop, and the other, a pale mint green, Road Rage. Both colours are just stunning and, while I’ve only had the chance to give the polish a really ‘speedy’ (ho ho) trial, I can confirm that the formula is one of the quickest drying I have ever used.

Next up, I sped on to the Soap and Glory counter, where I managed to snag the last Soap and Glory Brow Archery in Blonde. Hailed as a superb drugstore dupe for the Anastasia Brow Wiz, I was so excited to get my hands on this bad boy and I cannot wait to give it a proper trial. The same goes for the Maybelline Master Sculpt Contouring PaletteNow, I’m pretty sure this is available in the US – or that they at least have plans to make it available – but I haven’t been able to find it anywhere, so thought it best to grab one while I had the chance. Once again it was the last light/medium available, and I have to say – after just a couple of uses – I’m pretty impressed.

Another Maybelline favourite, which I’ve loved for months but have yet to find anywhere in the US are the Maybelline Colour Drama Velvet Lip Pencils. I’m such a massive fan of these and couldn’t resist picking up a couple more to boost my supplies; I grabbed my tip top favourite shade, Keep It Classy, because I’ve worn my current one down to a tiny stub, and a new red shade, Red Essential, to see how it compares with the other red in my collection, Light It Up.

And then last, but by no means least, another long-time favourite, the Max Factor All Day FaceFinity Primerprobably my all-time favourite primer, this has been one of the products that I’ve missed the most since moving out to the US, and I was so excited to get my grubby little mitts on another bottle *does happy dance*.

As you may be able to tell from the rather restrained nature of this haul, I really didn’t have that much time to plan what bits and bobs to pick out – imagine supermarket sweep, in a tiny Boots, during a ten-minute window, and you’ll get some idea of what my shopping situation was like!

Needless to say I’m already planning another (longer) trip home…

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