I caved, and it felt so good. The NARS Wanted palette was in my clutches, one very confused delivery driver and Fabled order later.

On paper, this palette is typical NARS fare - a healthy mix of shimmers and mattes, gorgeous, covetable packaging, and a good selection of colours to lust after. If there's one thing this brand know how to do, it's an eye palette. Upon seeing this on The Anna Edit, I was intrigued, but not RUNNING out to buy this. It wasn't until I swatched it in Space NK that I made the 'awww crap' familiar sound in my head and started calculating how many meals I had left in my freezer to see me through until next payday.

These shades are buttery. They're tightly packed, which means minimum fallout, but nonetheless super pigmented and very easy to apply. Build-able in thin, opaque layers, the colours really come to life as a wash of colour on the eye paired with liner and mascara. I still haven't found a way to work them into an eye look altogether, but perhaps that's because these aren't exactly your mama's eyeshadow colours. Things get real dramatic real fast with this palette, so have a play in the privacy of your own home first and CHECK THE TONES on your eye colour and skin colour. Some of these shades can wash me out a little or make me look a bit jaundice (!!) if I go too heavy with them, and I'm not even a tremendously light skin-tone.

The shades I've gotten the most use out of are the brown/caramel/tan matte shades on the left hand side of the palette (unsurprising) - these are super rich, intense shades and are soft as anything - a dream to work with. My day-to-day work eye is more or less exclusively Seven Heaven now, which is my 'my lids but better' shade. I've also really been loving Satisfaction when I need to open my eyes up, and Shadow Hill if I want something a bit more sultry. I even wore the stunning rich copper/russet La La for a particularly meeting-heavy day and got loads of compliments on it! I've been delighted with using the palette so far.

This isn't to say there aren't plenty of other palettes that can give you a similar effect (in fact, Anna's post above does a pretty good job of rounding those up), nor can I say I've used every shade in the box yet. But give me time...

So, is it worth the hype? Absolutely. Do you need it? No, probably not - but do you care? No, probably not. 

One of my ultimate 'power through an 8 hour workday' hacks? Podcasts.

I've been thinking a lot about work, largely prompted by this article, and how we full-time office types spend our energy in a 40 hour work week. It's such a large amount of your life, isn't it? And however much you might love what you do, that amount of time can be draining. So I try and do whatever I can to keep myself inspired and interested, not just in what I do but also in the work of others that I admire. One of the best ways I can passively take in little bursts of wisdom is through listening to talks whilst I'm firing off emails and doing the less 'think heavy' parts of my job - hence the humble podcast app taking up almost half the storage on my phone. I just love it.

Seeing how quickly the podcast world can change (RIP Filler podcast) and how many new ones are being created all the time, I thought I'd update you as to my current fave listens and why I love 'em so much. Prepare to get SRSLY inspired.

Creative Pep Talk - The best way I can describe the infectious Andy J. Miller is Leonard from the Big Bang Theory but as a seriously wise, really passionate cheerleader for creativity. I love listening to this podcast when I've got somewhere to be, because it literally puts a spring in my step, but then I find myself frustrated that I don't have a notepad and pen because this dude lays down some seriously practical expertise and productive tips. Andy doesn't talk in big concepts or metaphorical language - he gives so much value away for free and listening to his podcast always gets me so excited to just go away and MAKE STUFF and make shit happen. A HUGE must for creatives, people with their own businesses, people hoping to sell their work and make money from it - just go listen. You will definitely get something from this.

Keeping It Candid - Honestly, hanging out with Sophie Milner and Millie Cotton takes me back to my uni days, when all of my best gals were really close by and we could all just hang out and chat whatever we wanted all the time. Some of their topics are more general, but the ones I've found most interesting and helpful have been focused around blogging and Instagram, and the business of working in both. As the name suggests, both girls are 100% honest and upfront about what they discuss, and there's no cutting corners when it comes to things like pitching to brands and getting paid for creative work. A lovely, warm hug of a listen.

The Fringe of It - Talking of lovely warm hugs, if you want one physicalised into audio waves, this next podcast is for you. Hosted by Liv of What Olivia Did and Charlotte Jacklin of Betty Magazine, The Fringe of It deals with everything from defining success to comparison to people pleasing, hosted by two women who don't feel the need to shove the term 'girlboss' down your throat. Their style is down-to-earth, funny, endearing and cosy, making this a favourite for Monday mornings for me, when I'd rather be anywhere else than at my desk. A spoonful of sugar to help the medicine go down, for sure.

What She Said - Another new one to me, this is hosted by Lucy of Wanderluce, who I've followed on Insta for some time. Lucy has a lovely, easy style and is great at picking topics really relevant to bloggers, with a diverse range of guests to interview, meaning that every week has something new to offer. I'd really recommend it if you've been blogging for a little bit and are looking for some fresh perspectives and new insight.

Everything changed in February.

Well, not everything; but I moved, I started learning how to drive, the days and nights started getting lighter, we took a window out of an apartment building to make our furniture fit (!!), I auditioned for a lead role in a musical, I lost out on a lead role in a musical, I went to see Bon Iver for a second time and realised in a moment that all pleasure is too fleeting to enjoy without sadness, my best friend turned 30, my boyfriend got a desk - a lot has been happening in my tiny world.

And in the bigger world, everything changed in February. Through horrific circumstances which could have, should have, been avoided; Emma Gonzalez's voice became the heroic battlecry of a generation. Stormzy threw all fucks to the wind and called out Theresa May and the Daily Mail onstage and on live TV. The Beast from the East came to knock down our doors. Evil bred in the most unsuspected of places. For such a short month, February packed a hell of a punch.

I arrive at March inspired. I feel restless with wanting to make things - do something with my hands, write something, fold away another corner of our new home until it fits us like our old one did. I'm trying to slot our life into this new phase like a jigsaw, working out where the rough edges aren't sitting together right. But then I find when I dig a little deeper into resistance, there's nothing to be that worried about. Things are flowing at the moment - sometimes faster than I can cope with and sometimes differently than I imagined, but flow is present. Sometimes the most productive thing you can do is slow down to notice the ride you're on.

If you find yourself ready for spring, here's all the happy things we can do this month to welcome it home;

SEE: I watched (and loved) The Book of Life this month and would 100% recommend. It looks suspiciously similar to Coco which came out after it, but no tea no shade - this is just a beautiful film which will give you all the feelings. Talking of the T, henny - I hope you're all watching RPDR All Stars Season 3 - who are you betting to win this season? SHE DONE ALREADY DONE HAAAAD HERSES.

LISTEN: Frank Ocean blessed us with Moon River on Valentine's Day this year, then Janelle Monae blessed us with Django Jane and Make Me Feel (!!), but I'd be lying if I didn't say that Bon Iver has been on my mind non-stop since seeing them this Sunday. One of my favourite songs is 715 CREEKS and this version was the one we saw. You can hear how silent and focused the crowd is - the atmosphere was so electric in the room. If you're one of the lucky people with tickets for the remaining Hammersmith Apollo gigs - I am SO jealous of you, with it all to come.

GO: I think the chap and I might be planning a lil' cheeky Easter trip to Dorset and who could say no to that beauts coastline? We still haven't done a big walk to the Durdle Door and that's pretty high up on my list - I just love this part of the country, and there's nothing like a bit of sea air to soothe the soul, is there?

EAT: Strictly speaking, I guess this is a read(?), but I've been loving cooking (and eating!) every dish out of The Roasting Tin, which is a rare thing - a recipe book which is both strikingly beautiful and uncompromisingly simple-to-follow/uncomplicated. We tried the Chicken, Chickpea and Chorizo stew last night and wow. 

DRINK: I can tell you what not to drink, and that is white wine - I've had one too many acidic-induced headaches this month, and I'm thinking white wine is not the one for me anymore. Plus side, I have been absolutely loving Morning Kick from Bluebird (who else?!) to help me get over any alcohol-induced/sleep-deprived fug.

WEAR: It's an odd thing to say, but I have an insatiable craving for hoop and statement earrings this month. Top of my list? This pair from Missoma. More likely to make it into my collection? This pair from & Other Stories.

READ: This long read from The Guardian about 'The World' project in Dubai made me both immensely nostalgic for the Dubai I knew growing up, and also hugely sad for what it has become. Please don't misunderstand that statement - I have neverending love for Dubai - I consider it home. But reading this really typified how it does itself such a huge disservice in its own greed or, as those invested in realising their own agendas might call it, its 'ambition'.

THINK: Channel. Trying to pick up on these creative, inspired, free-flowing vibes, spread that good feeling on to others and manifest it into something tangible. I'll report back!

I thought I'd kick us off this week with two mini reviews of a couple new (to me) products I've been trialling.

Aside from both being branded and marketed to perfection in pretty shades of millennial pink, these were both products that came highly recommended, and I just so happened to be in the market for a new mascara and dry shampoo, so really, I couldn't not get them, could I?

IGK Jet Lag Dry Shampoo, £23: Let's start here - £23 is a ludicrous amount to pay for a dry shampoo. I don't care how cult your brand is or how many beautiful young bloggers you whisk of to Miami, it's too much for a dry shampoo. I had a £5 Ncentive at Space NK which brought this down to a marginally more palatable £18, but still. I can pick up a CoLab dry shampoo for less than a tenner, and those babies work just fine. So I needed to be wow'd by this.

Giving IGK their dues, the bottle is massive. Seriously big. It comes in at 260g which means I don't think I'll be needing another new dry shampoo for many, many months. The scent of this is also a huge plus - more sophisticated than the common overly saccharine scents of high street brands, this is light and almost effervescent - it reminds me of the smell and taste of Refreshers. But would the formulation live up to the pretty branding and hype?

I hate to say it because I know it's a lot of money, but so far? I am so impressed by this. This does for my hair not only what a really great dry shampoo would, but also what my beloved Oribe Dry Texturising Spray did for it. This instantly put the price in perspective for me - the travel size of the Oribe is £20 - a price tag that prevents me from repurchasing it. But the IGK spray performed just as well - not only did it absorb excess oil in my hair and leave no white residue at all (halleluuuuu for us dark-haired ladies!), it also lifted my hair and gave it volume where I applied it at the roots, and a nice amount of grit and texture which freshened up my third day hair and made it look tousled and effortless. Further testing required for this one, but the signs are good. IGK, you have my attention.

Maybelline Total Temptation mascara, £8.99: In general when one of your best friends says you NEED a mascara in your life, you listen. When it's Jaye, you pop it into your basket and checkout without a second's thought. And I have to say, my girl hasn't let me down. Total Temptation is so-called, seemingly, because of the thick, voluminous bedroom eyes it gives you upon application. This is a heavy formula and make no mistake about it, so short-lashed girls and fans of separation and length will not get along with this one, I fear. The wand is quite prone to clumping, you will have to take a lot off of it before you apply, but you'll get the hang of how to go in with this after first use - I think this is down to the formula which is enriched with coconut oil for conditioned and nourished lashes. It is a very creamy, thick formula which gives you gorgeous sultry lashes and a very blacker-than-black, intense eye look. This really opens up and wakes up my eyes on its own for everyday, but when I get to use it with a shimmery or smoky eye for evening is when it really comes into its own. 

The cold snap that has stuck around since late January isn't showing any signs of letting up, much to the detriment of my face.

Winter skincare is always a difficult balance to strike - slather your face in too many oils and balms and you'll end up on the greasy side of glowing, but dehydrated and red raw, chapped skin and lips are a far cry from healthy rosy cheeks. I always make sure to step up my game when we reach these colder months, but couple colder weather with even the tiniest hint of stressed skin, tired skin, or dehydration, and you have a recipe for all kinds of face-related woes.

Flashback to last week, in the middle of my move, when I looked in the mirror and saw pallid, parched, dry and flakey red patches, coupled with puffy eyes (dust allergy) and chapped lips. Doing it for ya? I was a mess. So I went in with the big guns.

After a good cleanse, I used Glossier's Solution as a one-off spot treatment to address the lacklustre dullness of my skin, avoiding the dry and flakey patches (seriously, this stuff is strong - stay away if your skin is generally dry). This is a tricky product, because I simultaneously want to give it a good and bad review. Solution is a very very strong double acid that I have found works for me as a one off when I want tight, plump, glowing skin, and my complexion is looking a bit tired and worse for wear. I very lightly swipe this all over my T zone and follow immediately with a hydrating treatment to give my skin a good drink, and it seems to like it! I'm met with very juicy looking, bright, refreshed, soft skin. I would imagine this would be great for anyone suffering with acne but other than that, I would avoid it if you don't have any serious skin concerns. The one time I did catch a dry patch with this it burned like a mother.

I've really been enjoying Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream as a regular winter moisturiser. It's rich, it feels nourishing and like an actual meal for your skin, but then sinks in beautifully and leaves an actual glow - it's almost pearlescent in its finish. It doesn't look fake or like make up, just extremely healthy. Dry skin babes this is one for you - a real treat for thirsty or flaky skin.

When I'm done slathering my skin with moisturiser, I've been reaching for my Coconut Balm dot Com from Glossier, a total staple to me now. This is in texture much like the Lucas Paw Paw balm, only a little less tacky and sticky, and not quite as thick. It does, however, linger on the lips for a long time after use and treats the lips very kindly - even at their most chapped and sore, my lips have been saved by this balm again and again. I'm almost halfway done with my tube and I'm already freaking out about restocking!

In much the same way, nourishing dry and chapped hands this winter has been a real concern for me - particularly moving a lot of cardboard boxes from place to place and reassembling and dismantling flat pack furniture - your hands take a toll! The Grown Alchemist intensive hand cream in Persian Rose and Argan Extract has been with me for some two years now (thanks, Tenneil!) and I still absolutely love it. It's rich, feels amazing on the skin, but isn't sticky and sinks in nice and quickly, so you don't have to sit like a mannequin for ages while it dries down! This again is so healing on my hands and no matter the severity, after one or two treatments I notice my skin recovering.

A little secret weapon has been this Egg Cream Mask from Too Cool For School, a Korean skincare brand recommended to me by my friend Nicole. I stocked up at Sephora in Dubai and I'm so glad I did - this coconut water and egg yolk-based mask promises to brighten and nourish after one use - and it delivers! I don't know what kind of mythical science they have going on within Korean skincare but thank goodness for that alchemy - this is a skin saviour and helped to return my skin to plump, juicy-looking goodness after a sleep-deprived and stressful moving weekend. Win!

What are your must-haves for stressed out skin?
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