High Street v High End: A Recap

I thought for my last high street v high end post of the year I'd do a little recap to see whether high street or high end products won overall for me. I'm hoping it's high street for the sake of my bank balance!

January | Primer | Maybelline Baby Skin vs Benefit the POREfessional | Winner = High End (full comparison here)

February | Mascara | Collection Lengthening Mascara v Smashbox Full Exposure Mascara | Winner = High Street (full comparison here)

March | Eyeliner | L'Oreal Super Liner Perfect Slim v Eyeko Skinny Liquid Eyeliner | Winner = High End (full comparison here).

April | Lip Crayons | Bourjois Colour Boost in Proudly Naked v Clinique Chubby Stick in Super Strawberry | Winner = High End (full comparison here)

May | Foundation | Rimmel Lasting Finish v Estee Lauder Double Wear | Winner = High End (full comparison here)

June | Highlighter | No7 Instant Radiance Bronzing Highlighter v Benefit Watt's Up! | Winner = High End (full comparison here)

July | Nail Varnish | Barry M Gelly Hi-Shine in Coconut v Illlamasqua in Load | Winner = High Street (full comparison here)

August | Blusher | Bourjois Little Round Pot Blusher in Rose D'or v Benefit Sugarbomb | Winner = High End (full comparison here)

September | Eyeshadow | Bourjois Smoky Stories in Upside Down Brown v Benefit Big Beautiful Eyes | Winner = High Street (full comparison here)

October | Bronzer | Bourjois Delice De Poudre Bronzing Powder v Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess | Winner = High Street (full comparison here)

November | Lipstick | Natural Collection Moisture Shine Lipstick in Cherry Red v Clinique Lip Pop in Cherry Pop | Winner = High Street (full comparison here)

Overall winner = High End 

High end products win by one point, which is funny because most of my make up collection is high street and I definitely thought I would prefer those products - proof that sometimes you do get what you pay for I suppose! However I'll always love my high street products and they only lost out by one point so that's also proof that you can also get really good products on the high street! 

Do you prefer high street or high end products? 

Amy x 

10 Things That Are Only OK at Christmas

1 - Eating your own weight in food, probably three days in a row.

2 - Hugging someone in the pub that you only vaguely know and telling them how well they're doing at life. 

3 - Sprouts. Like when else would we ever eat these because really they're pretty gross, but you can't have them missing from your Christmas dinner.

4 - Saying hello to absolutely everyone you see if you're out for a walk on Christmas day, whereas usually you would walk past head down in true British style.

5 - Falling asleep in front of your entire extended family. After Christmas dinner naps are basically mandatory.

6 - Being as tacky as is humanly possible. Would you wear egg earrings to the pub at Easter? Of course not. Would you wear snowman earrings to the pub at Christmas? ERRR YES NO BRAINER. 

7 - Interacting with your neighbours. OH HI person I don't speak to all year round, here's a Christmas card that says 'Dear No.7, happy Christmas from No.15' because we haven't even bothered to find out each other's names.

8 - Acting like a complete excited child when 'The Snowman' comes on TV. Then crying like a baby at the end and feeling like your Christmas day might now be ruined. 

9 - Writing out name tags for the dinner table even though everyone sits in the exact same seat every year. They're just so pretty! 

10 - Not doing any house work at all. The wrapping paper will stay on the floor and the pots will go unwashed until tomorrow thank you. 

Hope you all have an excellent Christmas :)

Amy x

My At Home Manicure Routine

I say my 'at home' manicure routine as if I have a manicure routine that isn't at home, whereas the truth is I've never actually had my nails done professionally, partly because I love doing them myself and partly because, well, expensive. I love doing my nails so much and tend to redo them about once every three or four days so I'm surprised I've never actually written about this before! It's nothing particularly long or fancy but here is my at home manicure routine:

The first thing I do is pick the colour I want to paint my nails. At the moment Mocha by Barry M is one of my favourites, but I have plenty to choose from! (I need to go on a nail varnish spending ban). Then to prep my nails I file any jagged edges away and use Burt's Bees Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream on my cuticles and usually all over my nails as well. I don't push my cuticles back or anything like that - I've always been told that's something best left to the experts and so I just try to keep them healthy by using cuticle butter. Next I use the Helping Hands hand cream from Lush. This is the best hand cream for people with really dry hands - I don't usually suffer from dry hands, but since renovating a house the wallpaper stripping has got a bit too much for them and they are complaining! I told you it wasn't a particularly fancy routine. I usually just do two coats of colour and on a normal day I don't bother with a top coat because I don't like my nails to look too shiny. Most of my nail varnish collection is Barry M which I find lasts a few days without a top coat anyway.

And that is literally it. It's very simple and fuss free which suits me just fine!

What's your at home manicure routine? Do you have a favourite nail varnish at the moment?

Amy x

Empties #8

The lowdown on my most recently used up products:

Rimmel Volume Flash Mascara | This used to be my holy grail mascara, but I hadn't bought it in a while just because I'd been trying out others. I don't know if the formula has changed or if I've just tried better now, but I wasn't as impressed as I usually am. It was OK and does add volume, but seemed to clump my eyelashes together which it definitely didn't used to do. 

Soap & Glory Flake Away | I adore Soap & Glory products and their scrubs really do a good job. This was just a mini, but I've got a full size waiting to be used now. 

Bayliss and Harding Balancing Body Wash | I guess as long as you have nothing to say about a body wash apart from it smells nice and keeps me clean it's a good thing? I wasn't blown away, but it does the job and lasts a long time. 

Soap & Glory Kick Ass Concealer | I absolutely loved this product, although I think now it's getting colder and I'm slowly getting paler even the lightest shade might be a bit dark for me. The coverage is amazing though and I've definitely missed it since I ran out!

Burt's Bees Coconut Foot Cream | I wrote a whole post on how amazing I think this is here. Since using up this little one I've bought the full size and it will be my best friend during winter in early preparation for summer I'm sure!

Have you tried any of these products? What did you think?

Amy x

Birthday Haul

I didn't think I'd ever do a post like this because they're not really 'me' and I've always been worried that people will view it as bragging (it's not FYI). But I was just so excited about all the things I got for my birthday this year that I really wanted to round them up into a little haul. I adored absolutely everything I got so really wanted to show you. Just the usual boring disclaimer though, this is not bragging just excitement. OK!

From left to right: Next duck cushion, Lush Helping Hands hand cream, tripod, Millie Marotta's Animal Kingdom colouring book, fox scarf, Cath Kidston mug, Joy copper jewellery boxes, Anna Sui Sui Dreams perfume, George drawer set, Yankee Candle vanilla reed diffuser, Lush Layer Cake soap, red candle lantern, H&M green jumper. 

I haven't linked anything because I don't want to look everything up and see what people spent on me, but I have listed where most things are from where I know. My favourites are the copper jewellery boxes I adore them! I'm also pretty excited about my tripod as I'm going to buy myself a better camera soon and it'll give me so much more freedom in terms of my blog and also with my YouTube too!

Amy x

Festive Nail Art

Yep, you guessed it, yet another nail art post from me! Last year I did a Christmas nail art post (here), but this year I've gone for 'festive' rather than overtly Christmas. So if you're looking for holly, snowflakes and fairy lights check out last year's post, but if you're into something a little more subtle then keep reading!

Fair Isle (no idea why I thought it would be a good idea to take a picture of festive nails in front of the word 'sunshine' - fail!)

Colours used - Barry M Matte Nail Paint in Mocha and Barry M Nail Art Pen in White.


Colours used - Technic Nail Paint in Mulberry, Technic Nail Paint in Bedazzled and Rio Nail Glitter.

Gift wrapped

Colours used - Technic Nail Paint in 24ct and Barry M Nail Art Pen in Black.

Snow (apologies for the appalling photo - the weather was not playing ball)

Colours used - Natural Collection Nail Colour in Topaz, Barry M Nail Art Pen in White and Technic Nail Paint in Silver Glitter. 

Which design is your favourite? Let me know if you try any!

Amy x

Christmas Party Dress Wishlist

It's Christmas Party season and although I'm not really the biggest party goer (in fact I'm probably the smallest party goer) there's something exciting about Christmas parties because they're so festive and everyone seems so happy. Christmas parties always make me want to buy something sparkly to wear that's totally inappropriate for any other time of the year. Seeing as I can't really justify actually buying a new dress I thought I'd dream about them on here instead! Now I just need to never look at this post ever again otherwise I might just crack! Here are my top picks for Christmas party season:

They're all affordable-ish (some more than others anyway!). Which one is your favourite? I'm really struggling to not order number 1!

Amy x

My Favourite YouTubers

So I've already written about my favourite bloggers (here) and my favourite Instagram accounts (here) so I thought it would only be right to do a post about my favourite YouTubers. I love reading posts like this because you can get some really good recommendations from them so hopefully if you're reading you'll find some new YouTubers to follow! All channel names are clickable links so you can go and check them out.

The Elle Next Door | Ellie is my number one favourite YouTuber at the moment. Her videos are always so beautifully shot and she is just so down to earth and funny that they're always such a pleasure to watch. Hers is probably the only channel where I actually watch every single video all the way through and would probably still watch one of her watching paint dry because I'm sure she'd make it hilarious in some way (although maybe don't do that one unless you're desperate Ellie...)

Lucy Wyndham-Read | Lucy runs a fitness channel, which mainly consists of short (like under 10 minutes short) easy to follow fitness routines. I find this such a useful way of keeping fit as you can always fit something that short into your day and I find it so much easier to put my all into a workout when I know it's going to be over in 10 minutes! Her channel has completely transformed the way I think about fitness. 

Salt and Chic | I've read Amy's blog for a long time so was chuffed when she started a YouTube channel as well! She's so down to earth and I could listen to her speak all day - she has the most relaxing accent and voice ever! She's so relatable and her style is just perfect!

The Michalaks | So I know this probably isn't a new watch for anyone as they have heaps of subscribers but theirs was the first YouTube channel I started watching (back when it was just Hannah on her own) and each weekly vlog is like a short film and I just adore watching them every Sunday, Total YouTube and family goals!

Hope you've managed to find some new watches from this post and if you have any recommendations or a channel of your own please post them below in the comments! Oh and cheeky plug, if you want to follow me on YouTube you can subscribe or watch here.

Amy x

Supermarket Chic

Supermarket clothing ranges always surprise me. For some reason I seem to expect them to be bad, but I've bought some real gems over the years and this latest outfit is no exception! I have to say that out of all the supermarket clothing ranges, Tu at Sainsbury's is the one I own the most from and is where I made my latest purchases. The shirt is actually from the men's section so the sleeves are a bit long, but I much prefer the oversized look and it's so easy to tuck into high waisted things, such as this beautiful printed skirt. I haven't worn a skirt in ages, but I'm pretty sure I'll be wearing this one all the time now - it is possibly the comfiest skirt I have ever owned while still managing to make it look like I've made an effort - my favourite combination!

Shirt - Tu at Sainsbury's (here)
Skirt - Tu at Sainsbury's (here)
Boots - Topshop (here)
Bag - Primark (old)

What do you think of this look? Do you ever find great clothes in the supermarket?

Amy x

25 Things I've Learnt in 25 Years

Oh HEY it's ma birrrrrthday! Exciting yes, but also slightly unnerving that I am now officially classed as 'mid twenties' and I can see 30 lurking in the distance laughing at me. Eek. Anyways, here are 25 valuable life lessons (ha) I've learnt in my 25 years:

1 - Getting to where you want to be will be hard work. Don't waste opportunities and don't wait for something to come to you, work work and work to get it!

2 - You will constantly ask your parents for advice about everything. And then you'll worry that one day you might be someone's parent and you won't know jack.

3 - However much you might have thought you were just one of those lucky people who could drink as much as you want with no consequences, you will discover in your 20's that hangovers do exist and they're not really worth it.

4 - You might be a bit worried when those millions of friends you had at school (yes I am exaggerating) just become acquaintances, but the few that do remain friends are the ones that matter.

5 - It's so important to look at your life with perspective. Stop wishing for something better and accept that what you have is a lot better than what a lot of people have.

6 - Eating well and exercising is actually important for your health, not just a way to try and make yourself look like a Victoria's Secret model.

7 - It's OK to say no sometimes, really.

8 - Overthinking the past is not productive. Forgive, forget and move on and you'll be a lot happier for it.

9 - You won't ever want to break with Christmas tradition. Thought I'd want to spend Christmas in my own house with my boyfriend this year did you mum? Well er, no, I'd like croissants for breakfast and a sack of presents under the tree that we can all open in our pyjamas like every year thanks.

10 - Don't be embarrassed, ever. Anything that could possibly embarrass you is also something that you can laugh about.

11 - Sometimes life is not fair and bad things happen to good people. This is just something you have to learn to accept.

12 - It's totally acceptable to have a day where you stay in the house in your pyjamas eating chocolate and watching TV (as long as you don't do it all the time obvs).

13 - Walking is very underrated.

14 - Sometimes there is nothing better than being offered a cup of tea.

15 - It's great to set new goals and have ambition, but take the time to think about what you have already achieved.

16 - Pretending to be confident can actually do wonders for your confidence.

17 - Eventually you'll grow to not care about what's 'cool'. You'll dress how you want, listen to the music you like and watch what you enjoy on TV rather than what you think you should wear/listen to/watch.

18 - Where you used to be jealous of beautiful and successful women, you'll grow to admire and appreciate them.

19 - There's nothing like a bit of red lipstick to make you feel better.

20 - Eventually you will work out what does and what doesn't suit you fashion-wise. Once you've worked it out you're pretty much invincible (even if you do have a cry over not being able to pull off pencil skirts).

21 - You will never understand people who don't like chocolate.

22 - It looks like that Hogwarts letter really is never coming, but it's OK because you can still have monthly Harry Potter marathons.

23 - Sometimes people can be nasty, but the best thing you can do is just let it go (sang in the Frozen way if you so wish).

24 - There is always so much more to do, see and learn. Don't waste time.

25 - Be nice. That is all.

Amy x

High Street v High End: Lipstick

Another month, another high street v high end comparison post! This month (along with every other blogger) I got a free Clinique Lip Pop in Cherry Pop with Glamour magazine so I thought I'd compare it to the cheap red lipstick I usually use - my well loved Natural Collection lipstick in Cherry Red.

High Street: Natural Collection Moisture Shine Lipstick in Cherry Red RRP £1.99

This has been my go to red lipstick for a long time. It's a classic red shade with very good longevity - I only need to top this up after I've had food or drink (and I wouldn't expect any lipstick to last through that!). It can be slightly drying on the lips if worn all day, but it's not too bad and although the word 'shine' is in the name it's more of a subtle and really quite flattering slight sheen. For £1.99 I really can't fault this at all - the only thing that lets it down is the packaging which does look cheap, but when a product is cheap and also good I don't really care that much about the packaging!

High End: Clinique Lip Pop in Cherry Pop - RRP £16.00

This is an extremely similar shade and the first thing I noticed was that it applies like a dream. The formula is so smooth and buttery and it feels so nice when you're wearing it too. It's not drying at all and in fact feels more like you're wearing a lip balm than a lipstick, but the colour is still there. The longevity is good - again I only needed to top up after I'd been eating or drinking. Obviously the packaging is much nicer than the Natural Collection lipstick - this is the type of lipstick that makes me feel like a real grown up lady when I carry it in my handbag (ha).

Winner: Natural Collection Moisture Shine LipstickI do adore the Clinique lipstick, but when there's that much of a price difference and not a massive difference in quality I'll go down the cheaper route every time! Plus I think I like the look of it on my lips slightly better.

Have you tried either of these products? What did you think?

Amy x

Empties #7

A little run through of my recent empties and what I thought of them:

Imperial Leather Foamburst Body Wash | I looooove this stuff and featured it in my Everyday Favourites post. It lasts ages, makes me feel squeaky clean and smells pretty good too! I've already repurchased this because it really is my favourite body wash ever! 

Xen-Tan Luminous Gold Gel Self Tan | I got this in the LIB Glamour Party Edit waaaay back in December, but didn't see much point in fake tanning then so only just used it up. The only good thing about it was the smell - it smelt a bit like honey and definitely not like fake tan, but it was a bit patchy and made my pale old self look a bit orange - not the best look. I would definitely not pay full price for it! 

Vaseline Aloe Vera | I'm not sure why I included Vaseline in my empties because there's not much to say about it apart from, well, it's Vaseline... I loved this cute vintage tin though and Vaseline is always a staple for me so I'm already on my next tin. 

Boots Botanics Radiant Youth Replenishing Night Cream | I loved this night cream and it smelt so dreamy, like berries! It was really nice on my skin and I barely broke out at all while using this. I would definitely repurchase this in the future, but I'm quite fickle with skin care and like trying new things too much!

Burt's Bees Soap Bark and Chamomile Deep Cleansing Cream | I wasn't impressed with this at all and I was really disappointed because I usually love Burt's Bees! It smelt a bit funny, I wasn't a massive fan of the consistency and it didn't seem to do much for my skin at all. I won't be repurchasing this! 

Have you tried any of these products? What did you think?

Amy x

Stylelux Blackhead Killer Face Mask

I am very lucky in that my skin has actually really cleared up recently - I'm usually very prone to breakouts, but I haven't (fingers crossed and double crossed and triple crossed) had one for ages. One thing I do suffer from though is pesky blackheads. They don't actually bother me as much because I don't think they're too obvious, but I'd much rather they weren't there!

Recently I was sent these Blackhead Killer Peel Off Masks* by Stylelux. The masks come in sachets, which are quite handy, although I'd love it if they did a tube of the stuff so you could just use a small amount on targeted areas. When using the product myself I did just apply to the areas of my face that are affected by blackheads, although seeing as it doesn't just remove blackheads but also removes dead skin and excess oil it would also be a great all over mask. 

The first thing to note about this product is that it's black and it's sticky! It is quite messy and I would definitely not recommend wearing a cream jumper like I did! It kind of felt like applying treacle to your face, but once it's on it stays put and you feel it start to harden and tighten. After about 10-15 minutes it's ready to peel off and I was surprised at how easily it came off - there was no mess! I was also surprised at just how much the mask removed from my pores - I didn't take a picture because it really was a bit grim! Afterwards my skin felt so soft and I kind of wanted to do it all again - it's kind of addictive removing gunk from your pores!

Overall I was really impressed with how well these worked. I think they're slightly pricey (£14.95 for 5 sachets) but I've never tried anything as effective so I really would recommend if you want to get rid of blackheads!

Have you ever tried this product or something similar?

Amy x

#WrenFamilyFavourites Event

Because of just moving house and all, a new kitchen is pretty high on my wish list (even if it's not a realistic wish until we've saved up some more pennies) so I was pretty chuffed when I was invited along to Wren's live cooking event with none other than their designer Linda Barker (the Changing Rooms lover inside me fan girled quite a bit).

The event was based around their #WrenFamilyFavourites campaign, where people have been sharing pictures of their favourite family meals on Instagram to try to win an AEG Food Mixer - there's still time to enter if you're quick (details here). We got to watch Linda cook three family favourites and then taste them for ourselves (obviously the important part!). My favourite was the banana and peanut butter loaf - seriously good! Linda also made marble cake and mince pies - it's officially Christmas for me now that the first mince pie has been eaten! We also got a recipe scrapbook each which we were able to start on the night and it was so lovely to finally meet some other local bloggers and have a bit of a natter while we were eating and scrap booking.

While the baking was in the oven Linda gave us a tour of her collection which is seriously dreamy - like is it OK to have five different kitchens in my house please? We also got to see Linda's own kitchen, which had been recreated in the showroom (she has an extractor fan to rival a James Bond gadget by the way). Basically all of the kitchens were like something off Pinterest and there was a enough marble to keep a rabble of bloggers happy. My personal favourites were the more rustic and traditional style kitchens - one had a blackboard over the cooker which I adored!

I went home stuffed full of sweet treats and feeling very inspired to get in the kitchen and do some baking of my own as well as feeling inspired to get on with saving up for a new kitchen!

Thank you so much to Wren Kitchens for an amazing event - it was such a lovely night and we even got the cutest goody bag with a personalised apron, scrapbook and the sweetest wooden spoon (which although it's called Amy's Magic Mixing Spoon will most definitely be Amy's Hanging on the Kitchen Wall Looking Pretty Spoon).

Do you like baking? What's your favourite thing to bake?

Amy x