It feels like forever since I've done a general favourites-style round-up, and seeing as we've reached the half year point of 2017 (I know, how?!), now felt like a good time to chat through what's been floating my boat lately in terms of skincare and beauty. There have been quite a few standouts of 2017 but these 6 are the creme de la creme - the ones that have made the biggest change to my routine. So let's get into what makes them so fab!

Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser: I'm starting with this one because I've reviewed it most recently and I'm going to say the least about it - everything I need to say is in this post in detail. However, it deserves a nod because it has literally changed my morning and evening skincare routine. Je regrette rien. The only thing I'm worried about is the day this runs out if Glossier hasn't reached UK shores!

MAC Liptensity in Smoked Almond: MAC just bringing it again with the everyday nude staple! This colour is a more intense, matte version of Patisserie - when I'm looking to do a bit more of a face for work, this is my most-often reached for colour. The formula is intense, comfortable and dries down to a matte but goes on fairly smoothly - it's one of the more comfortable matte formulas I've tried for a good amount of colour payoff and staying power. For me it comes off in a comfortable place between a 90s style brown nude and a 'my lips but better' colour - the swatches at Temptalia do it justice. A fantastic staple, I really want to try more from this formula.

Ultrasun Face SPF 30: It has reached that tiny passage of time in England that we call 'summer' and there's been something of a heatwave going on in recent days (I know, try not to scare it off), so SPF has become necessary again. Having used up all my tried-and-trues during my recent holiday to Dubai, I tried this sample over the weekend and I have to say, for a fuss-free facial SPF that does the job, this is great. Simple, no white cast, and protective - everything you need!

It! Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC Cream SPF 50+: I'll be doing a more in-depth review of this baby soon but suffice it to say that since I purchased this, it has replaced my other bases as my everyday wear choice. I wear this to work and it looks natural, glowy, and matte but not uncomfortable on the skin. It doesn't settle into creases or leave any dry patches, but I would suggest wearing a hydrating primer underneath if your skin verges on the parched side. I love the way this makes my skin look and I've even had compliments on how radiant I've looked when I've worn it. Winner.

Bite Beauty Multistick in Almond: Oh Bite Beauty, how do I love thee. These multisticks are genius and this brown nude is absolutely stunning - I'll wear it as a statement lip if I want to go for a 'look', but where I've been getting a ton of use out of this is as an everyday blush shade. If I'm stuck for where to go, this colour always just brings a lot of life to my cheeks and helps pull everything together. I've not tried this as an eye shade yet but I'd be wary as the formula is quite drying and I tend to get eczema on my eyelids. However I've only read good things, so maybe this is something I just need to bite the bullet and try!

Garnier Micellar Water for Sensitive Skin: I didn't think anything could replace Bioderma as my favourite micellar but wouldn't you know it, Garnier have gone and done it. This is simple, weightless, powerful for removing eye make up that even Bioderma struggled with sometimes, and I love the way it doesn't dry out my skin. It has totally kicked out all other make up removers for me, and the price point is so great, I cannot fault it. Stocking up, big time! 

I've been slacking a little on checking in with myself since around the start of spring - after kick-starting my year focused on goals, making time for yoga and meditation, and being mindful, by April life had taken over again. With a new job, a holiday and plenty of plans for the weekends, everything else seemed to fall by the wayside. But just like with all the things we do to keep ourselves healthy - when you don't keep on top of your shit, you notice. So I'm making a promise to myself to make time for this stuff, and have a very mindful summer. Here's how I make time, even when it seems like I haven't got any.

1) Calmversation - Sometimes, muting WhatsApp can be necessary. I've talked before about putting your phone on flight mode, even deleting your Facebook and Twitter apps to quieten the 'noise' of your smart phone. But if you can't quite cut off completely, try to keep as many of your interactions with friends and family face to face or to voice/Skype calls. There's something I find really anxiety inducing from time to time about doing lots of back and forth texting or getting into long group WhatsApps - it almost feels like a pace-setting exercise. Keeping conversations where you can see and hear the intention behind what someone is saying, as well as taking the time to focus solely on them, just helps to press pause on the excess noise.

2) Stop, breathe and think - I'm not going to lie, I am a bit of a sucker for an app to solve my problems. Having said that, I really think this one is a goodie. You check in with how you're feeling that day, both physically and emotionally, and based on your answers the app recommends guided meditations for you to follow. I'm still relatively new to this so I don't know how extensive the library of free meditations are, but thus far - VERY impressed.

3) Have a conversation with your intuition - Yep, we're going woo-woo, but this amazing trick from The Lively Show really changed my life. I wrote a whole blog post about it last year, but long story short, this is a great way to check in with yourself and get insight into what you're really feeling beyond the day to day grumbles.

4) Sketch it out - there's a reason the adult colouring book market was the fastest growing in publishing last year - in our ever quickening world, people got wise to the joy of single-task focusing and getting creative with colour. I'd recommend this beautiful colouring book of Penguin book covers which my girl Jaye got for me for Christmas. 

5) Try active meditation - I totally get how you might not feel like you have time to sit down and meditate, or perhaps you think it isn't for you, but why not give this a shot - the next time you're doing something which requires some time dedicated to it - cooking or cleaning are good ones to start with - try observing your surroundings. What can you hear? What can you smell? What objects surround you? The art of noticing without judging is a great gateway into meditation and can really help bring you into the present moment and ground you. Give it a try!

The inevitable has happened - Glossier has finally found its way to the blog.

I suppose in exchange for New York snatching away a dear friend (and still somehow not permitting me to find my way over there), a little new skincare is an okayish peace offering. I was so excited for the day I'd get to try my first Glossier product, so when the little pink bubble wrapped parcel arrived on my desk, there was a little bit of nervous anticipation. Would it live up to the hype? Would it have been worth the wait? Where would I stick the free emoji stickers?

Let's keep this quick and dirty because I know you're all busy individuals with your own lives to get back to - this cleanser is awesome. Here's why -
  • It does an incredible job of removing make up
  • It's simple and hydrating
  • Rather than being a foaming wash, this is actual jelly - the texture is wobbly. It's unlike anything I've ever come across and makes cleansing an interesting experience! It doesn't strip skin at all but rather nourishes it
  • It leaves skin soft and plump to the touch
This cleanser has relegated my Pixi x Caroline Hirons cleanser to my drawer because it is that good - and to be clear, I love the dual phase cleanser by Pixi. Where this beats it is ease - I have never met a cleanser so easy to get onto and off of my mug. This will please skincare newbs and addicts like myself alike - it's paraben free, soap free, fragrance free, sulphate free and importantly - cruelty-free. My only slight gripe is the scent - as there's a high rosewater content, this does smell strongly of rose. If that's your bag then go for it, but sometimes it does catch me off-guard. Having said that, it's nowhere near enough to stop me from using this as my daily morning and evening cleanser.

An ethical brand at a price point I like with products this good is so worth the hype. Hurry up, Glossier, and get to the UK pronto!

Have you guys tried any Glossier? What would you recommend?

Fragrance isn't usually something I feel I can ramble on about compellingly or articulately at all, but every so often a perfume will come along and convince me it is worth the effort. As I've mentioned before, if I'm wearing scent I like it to evoke the mood of the season I'm in - I have some perfumes that naturally feel warmer and heavier, but when the brighter months of spring and summer come along, I usually like to go for fresh, clean scents - a little floral, but not overwhelmingly so. Last year it was Peony and Blush Suede, but this year and thanks to my lovely mama, an unexpected familiar stranger has been added to my lineup!

On the way out to Dubai earlier in April, I couldn't quite believe stumbling upon the limited edition and (to my knowledge) completely sold out Osmathus Blossom in the middle of duty free. I'd fallen in love with the scent a few years before but it had flown off shelves, leaving me with no time to save up for it - let's not forget, buying a Jo Malone perfume is expensive. At £90 for the full size (a slightly cheaper £75 at duty free), this is an investment and a real treat - I want to be really clear that any Jo Malone perfume I've had in the past has been bought at duty free in travel size, for £30. Much, MUCH more tolerable a price for something you spray on your body.

Having said that, I had totally fallen in love with this perfume and after so long pining after it, I knew I'd use it to the very last drop. My travel sized bottles have all lasted me for months at a time, so I'm sure this one will take me at least a year to get through. Okay - responsible disclaimer over - let me tell you what makes it so wonderful.

This scent is fresh and spring-like, but really unusual - it's both pulp-y and light, owing perhaps to the peach, apricot and orange flower notes which contrasts with the petitgrain and cashmere wood warmth in the base notes of the perfume. When I wear it I can smell it lingering on my skin all day, it isn't overpowering or heavy in any way, it's just effortless and light and easy - everything you'd want in a perfume. I'd suggest it's one for warmer weather, but if you like a fresh fragrance any time of year then this could be the pick for you.

It seems Osmanthus Blossom has now been re-released (hooray) but I'm not sure how long for - the different packaging does suggest that it is still a limited edition fragrance. Let me know what you think if you decide to give it a try!

Summer, I can feel you creeping up on me! I am so excited - well, maybe relieved is the right word - that warmer weather has found its way to us and even through the sticky nights and balmy days, I've been smiling. There's something about sunlight that gives me a perma-grin, even through mornings where it wakes me up at 4am streaming through my window, and through humid afternoons where it feels like I would trade in a meal for a working fan. England in the summer is something to behold - rolling greenery, blooms popping up all over and the sizzle of barbecues being lit in every garden for miles. The freshness in the air after a little summer rain, and being able to wear open toed sandals and midi skirts - it's a heady business, these next few months. I'm so excited to see this time of year return.

Having said all of that, I can't go into June without thinking of the recent sadness at the end of last month. As an ex-resident of Manchester and someone who loves the city dearly, I felt so close and yet way too far to the community of Manchester and how tragic the events of the 22nd were. I cannot begin to express my thoughts here and how deeply I send my love to those affected, directly or indirectly. All I can say is that the heartening outpour of love after the fact has been truly inspiring. Manchester, city we love, heart of the North - I'm sending all my thoughts, love and prayers your way. You will move forward from this, somehow.

I hope June is a better month, and I hope that this post brings a smile to your face, and some light to your day.

SEE: In June, I am hoping to FINALLY get to go and see Bon Iver in Dublin after the gig at the Camden Roundhouse earlier this year was cancelled. To say I've been waiting for the chance to see them for a long time is a bit of an understatement, and even now as I'm writing this I'm worried about getting too excited about it - I've been burned before! But I cannot wait, I'm going with a few of my best pals and I'm so excited to dance and sing and probs get a bit a emosh.

LISTEN: Owing to one of aforementioned best pals, I've had a really hard time getting Sylvan Esso out of my head - particularly their song Coffee, but if you want a good introduction this NPR live performance is A++. Amelia Math's voice is so thick and full, like honey. So much to get excited about!

GO: We're off to Dublin this month, and also to the North of England to visit J's family, but one place I'm *particularly* excited to explore NEXT month is Windermere in the Lake District, where we'll be going for my birthday. We still need to book somewhere to stay, but with so many cute BnBs and cosy pubs to choose from, I'm sure it's going to be a trip to remember.

EAT: During our long, dreamy Bank holiday weekend, we ambled down to Wolvercote to the Trout Inn pub which was, quite frankly, dreamy. The setting is gorgeous - if you get a nice enough Sunday, sit by the river and try their roast dinner. Not to be missed. 

DRINK: I tried out some Innocent bubbles this month and I won't lie - these are freaking beautiful. Refreshing AF, light, fruity, and not heavy at all on the calories, these are perfect for warm summer days and picnics.

WEAR: Quite frankly, the less time I have to wait for & Other Stories to open in Oxford, the better. This dress is too beautiful and is calling my name for a birthday dress. I want to frolic in this swimsuit, and this maxi should be mine. Do you see my problem here?

READ: On my list is The Curated Closet, probably because of afore demonstrated shopping addiction, and also because Into Mind is just a fab blog. I'm also VERY keen to read Men Without Women, as my good friend Nicole has been harassing me about reading a Murakami and I feel like it's about time.

THINK: This month is set to be very full - busy with lots of very exciting plans, heading off on different adventures with many busy weekends, so I think a good place to start will be stillness, because finding those times in between the chaos will be crucial for me. I'm the kind of person that needs alone time after being with a group for a while, I need that processing space, so I'll be carving out gaps for those times as much as getting caught up in whirlwinds of excitement.
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