Wednesday, 31 December 2014

50 Random Facts About Me

If you can't have a collage of your face on your birthday when can you and as it's my birthday I thought I would do the 50 Facts about me tag as the lovely Lauren from tagged me do it in November. 50 facts seems pretty difficult to come up with but I'll give it a good go. I hope you enjoy the post and Happy New Year!

1. Today is my 25th birthday.
2. I was born on the very last day of 1989 so I was an eighties baby.. Just.
3. I'm from Southampton on the South Coast.
4. I lived in Spain for five years from when I was 15.
5. I live with my boyfriend Arran. 
6. We've been together two and half years.
7. I really want a kitten although a hamster will do.
8. I'm incredibly close to my family and a real home bird.
9. I'm very lucky to still have my Nan, Grandmother and my Great-Grandmother. 
10. I have a little sister that I'm slowly trying to get interested in make up more.
11. I have met the five best girls through blogging, Amy, Ami, Karis, Mandy & Tanya.
12. My blog name is simply my middle name and that I write about beauty.
13. I'm yet to invest in the Malm dresser but that is being changed early this year.
14. I never went to University nor do I regret that. You don't need uni to get somewhere in life.
15. Spending a week watching a box set is my favourite thing to do. 
16. I drink too much rum when I have catch ups with my wife (best friend).
17. I love penguins.
18. I spend a lot of time in my pyjamas. All penguin pyjamas by the way too.
19. I love cheese.
20. Trying to come up with 50 facts about yourself is much harder than you'd think. 
21. I have too many lipsticks but continue to buy more.
22. I want to travel the South Pacific, New Zealand & Australia. 
23. I know far too many quotes from Friends. 
24. I'm seriously addicted to Marc Jacobs perfumes and own them all.
25. But Dior Pure Poison is my favourite perfume. 
26. I don't like tattoos and would never get one.
27. I have 9 piercings.
28. I always smudge my nails when freshly painted.
29. I felt really empty after finishing Gossip Girl. Chuck & Blair. That is all.
30. I'm not a big ice cream fan but I don't mind a tub of Ben & Jerry's.
31. I want to visit New York at Christmas.
32. I also want to visit Iceland and see the Northern Lights.
33. I always mean to fill the pretty photo frames I buy but never do.
34. I'm 100% addicted to Instagram.
35. The Valencia filter is my most used filter on Instagram.
36. I love Sour Cream & Chive Pringles.
37. I get really bad shoppers guilt and Arran always has to reassure me it's okay. 
38. I bought Yves Saint Laurent shoes from Harrods a few years ago and I've never worn them.
39. I collected TY Beanie Babies when I was younger and still have them all at my parents.
40. I also collected keyrings and had lots of the cutesy ones from Claire's Accessories. 
41. I'm a real neat freak and everything has a place.
42. I want all the furniture to be white in my home.
43. I always mean to upcycle furniture but just end up looking at the pictures on Pinterest.
44. I have a big soft spot for Jimmy Carr.
45. The Tudor House in Southampton is my favourite place & also were I want to get married.
46. I drink too much Chai Tea Latte.
47. I always spill things on the cream sofa. Coffee, wine and red nail varnish to name a few.
48. I can't just sit and do nothing, I get fidgety and bored.
49. I think about Duck Gyoza from Wagamamas a lot.
50. I need a holiday.


Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Minvita Baobab Body Oil

My skin has been taking a battering recently thanks to the weather so keeping it well nourished and moisturised has been high on my agenda. Minvita Baobab Body Oil* has made this so much easier as I find oils get to work much quicker on my skin than your standard body butter or moisturiser. Baobab comes from the Adansonia tree. The what? I hear you ask. Nope, I didn't have a clue either but thanks to a quick Google search I quickly learnt some more. You know those funny looking upside down trees in films like The Lion King and Madagascar? Well those are the trees I'm on about.

One of the species of Adansonia trees is the Baobab which is the national tree of Madagascar and the oil is made from the seeds of the Baobab superfruit. The body oil is high in Vitamins A, D, E and F and cold pressed to preserve all the nutrients to make this so nourishing for the skin. This is the ultimate lazy product and the spray action nozzle makes it so much easier to get to those hard to reach areas for a full body moisturise. 

I was a little skeptical on how oily this would make my skin as it is so natural but it soaks in almost immediately and leaves no oily or tacky residue. I've been using this religiously for weeks now and I've already noticed how soft and moisturised my skin is. The oil is so natural so if you're expecting something perfumed you may not like this. At £35 it is pretty pricey but a little goes a long way, it leaves your skin feeling fab and you're paying for purest of oils. Definitely my Winter skin saviour.

*PR Sample sent for review.

Monday, 29 December 2014

What I got For Christmas


Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Christmas in Winchester

Winchester is somewhere that you just have to go to at Christmas, it's the one place that puts me in the festive mood straight away so on Sunday I took the short train journey from Southampton for a day of festive fun with my fave blogging girls. Mandy and I arrived early afternoon to meet Karis and Tanya and took a walk down to Winchester Cathedral and it's world famous Christmas market. Ami met us later on and while we were wondering around we also bumped into Becky.

Shopping with bloggers is always risky business especially when you throw in pretty candles and chocolate wine. We had lots of fun walking around, checking out all the retailers and eating candy floss and toasted marshmallows. There's a whole section on different foods and drink plus crafts, Christmas decorations and little knick knacks. In the main gardens was a nativity scene where we got a selfie at the birth of Jesus and also a petting section with a very unhappy Mary & Joseph and a smelly sheep, goat and two donkeys. 

Christmas in Winchester is definitely something you need to experience as it's so much fun and so festive. We finished off our afternoon with lunch in one of the local pubs having a big catch up. It was just the perfect way to spend a Sunday afternoon just before Christmas.


Monday, 22 December 2014

Red n Black // Models Own

I haven't done an On The Nails post since October but as Winter is well and truly upon us and Christmas is right around the corner I've been painting my nails more again. I like dark shades like browns, greys and crimson reds at Christmas so the Models Own Red n Black nail polish really caught my eye. 

I applied this yesterday in time for a day of Christmas fun with the girls and by the time I'd met everyone I'd already chipped two nails, I need to invest in a good top coat. I really love the colour of this polish, its a deep burgundy brown and leaves a lovely shiny finish. I've read some good things about Model's Own so I'm hoping the chips stay at bay for the next few days before I change them again Christmas eve! I need top coat recommendations so please comment yours below! 


Friday, 19 December 2014

The Feeling Spendy Wish List

Feeling Spendy Wish List

This time of year calls for wish lists, empty purses and lots of Christmas wrapping paper so in the spirit of things I thought I would throw together a slightly spendy wish list because if you can't at Christmas when can you? I won't go into too much detail because I don't have any of it (yet) but I'll leave it all linked below so if you need to forward it to your own loved ones for ideas you can. 

  • Ojon Damage Reverse Restorative Hair Treatment
  • Urban Decay Vice 3
  • Thierry Mugler Alien Eau de Parfum
  • Double Exposure by Smashbox
  • Delicate Bow Ring by Pandora
  • Whistles Small Stingray Clutch
  • Freak Scarab Eau de Parfum Illamasqua
  • Chanel Joues Contraste powder blush in Innocence
  • Bumble and Bumble Pret-a-Powder


Thursday, 18 December 2014

Christmas Penguin // Lush Cosmetics

Anyone that knows me will know of my slight obsession with Penguins, I love the little guys so it was inevitable that The Christmas Penguin would be coming home with me at some point. This cute bubble bar has been sat in my basket of lushness for quite some time because I couldn't bring myself to break its head off. Soon the need of a hot bubble bath over ruled that of keeping the penguin intact so off his head came. 

The Christmas Penguin smells so refreshing and could bring an uplifting mood out of even the grumpiest person. With orange flower, Sicilian mandarin and lemon oils it really does smell amazing. The smallest chunk makes the biggest, softest bubbles and turns the bath a pale blue colour. It also leaves my skin feeling moisturised and soft. I've managed to get four very bubbly bubble baths out of this penguin which I thought was pretty good for £3.25. 
Have you tried The Christmas Penguin? What did you think?


Wednesday, 17 December 2014

My Little Box by Fleur de Force

When the first few reviews filtered through on My Little Box I couldn't help but fall in love. I held back for a few months though as it seemed too good to be true. Surely the second and third boxes wouldn't be as fabulous? They were and when I saw the first reviews on My Little Cosy Box, I subscribed that night. I received My Little Box by Fleur de Force last weekend and was surprised at how big it was. I was expecting Birchbox sizes so I'm glad I get them delivered to my work place as it wouldn't fit through my letterbox. 

When I opened the box I did a silent squeal, it was so pretty! Pastel pink, spotty and with a beautiful illustration by Kanako. Inside was the My Little World magazine, a quote card and info cards on the beauty products all wrapped in a bow. The best thing about this box is that it's not just beauty, there is something for everyone. 

This months saw cute DIY pieces which had Fleur all over it. Patterned masking tape, kitsch gift tags and yarn to tie it all together. My Secret Santa present had never looked so good. The designs aren't overly Christmassy so I'll be getting more use out of them for birthdays too. Inside the cotton drawstring bag, that is also perfect for travelling were three beauty finds, an invigorating body lotion from Cow Shed,  L'Occitane's creme precieuse immortelle and the prettiest lipstick from My Little Beauty. Lastly was a present from Make my Lemonade, a pinky head band with specks of gold to keep my ears warm. The design reminded me of the 1920's and I really loved how it looked. 

My Little Box was everything I expected and more. I can't see myself cancelling this subscription any time soon and I can't wait for the next one to arrive.


Tuesday, 16 December 2014

A Sparkly Christmas with INM

I'm not a glitter fan but when Christmas and New Year roll around I fully embrace it. I had these two  bottles of glitter arrive recently, Silver* and Gold* holographic top coats called Northern Lights that are mixed with INM's well know Out The Door fasting drying formula and holographic foil. Glitter puts me off usually because it's a pain to remove and drying time isn't quick enough for me, I like to be able to carry on with what I'm doing pretty quickly so I was looking forward to seeing if this lived up to its claims. 

As you can see in the top photo the foil particles settle on the bottom unlike most glitter polishes and it really does take some effort to 'Shake it Up' as directed. My arm started to ache after a while. The glitter effect is quite subtle which is how I like it, you get an even coating which in the right light looks beautiful. With it being a top coat it's also easily layered so you can have a more intense sparkle if desired. The brush is a really good size, easily coating the full nail and it really does dry in record time meaning I can get on with my day pretty quickly. Wear time was 4-5 days before chipping and taking it off was a doodle too!

If you're a glitterphobe like myself then these were made for you!

*PR Samples

Monday, 15 December 2014

Maxfactor Facefinity All Day Flawless Foundation

Maxfactor are the high street brand I go to again and again and their Facefinity All Day Flawless Foundation is one of my most repurchased foundations. I bought this again a couple of months ago as I was using too much of my Double Wear for work and needed a budget foundation that was just as good. 

This is a 3 in 1 foundation that works as a primer, concealer and a high coverage foundation. I use the shade 40, Light Ivory which I think is the lightest shade available, it's also quite cool toned which is perfect for me. I apply Facefinity with my Real Techniques buffing brush, it's a little runny but easily dispensed as it comes with a pump. It works into the skin effortlessly leaving a beautifully, flawless finish as promised. It doesn't feel heavy and after applying at 7am it still looks just as good at 4pm. 

The Facefinity All Day Flawless foundation retails at £11.99 which is so reasonable considering it does the job of foundations double its price, If you're yet to try it then you're missing out. Maxfactor have the high street covered.


Friday, 12 December 2014

The Overdue Rant.

I'm not one for negativity and rant posts on Annie Writes Beauty. I like to keep it a place where I ramble about beauty and generally keep it happy. There's the odd bad review but that's about it. I mentioned in a tweet that I felt like I needed a rant after a couple of emails I had received in the last week. One of which prompted this post. 

I started this blog eleven months ago because I needed a hobby. My boyfriend use to work evenings and most weekends, our flat got lonely sometimes so I finally bit the bullet and started my own blog. I had read blogs on and off for years and always looked to them in regards to a new product rather than a big advertising campaign. When starting Annie Writes Beauty I did it for me, if someone else liked it then that was great but it was my creative outlet. 

You always read about new bloggers starting out for the "free shit", now I didn't realise this "free shit" was even a thing until a month or so into blogging. I didn't realise so many companies and prs would look to bloggers for exposure for their products. Over the last year I have worked with some brands that I love and I'm so grateful for that as I continue to work with them. The prs I talk to regularly are also super lovely and I appreciate that so much. It's like chatting to your friends most of the time about new releases and make up. What I don't appreciate is people who treat you like you're worth nothing. I don't have a massive following nor do I think I should be handed every opportunity but I do think each and every blogger deserves respect, after all our blogs are our babies. I was recently contacted by a well known brand who doesn't exactly need the extra publicity what with Cheryl Fernandez-Versini and Rita Ora loving and wearing their pieces. 

After being told they would send me some images for the post it was pretty obvious they wanted me to do this post having never used the brand let alone seen any of their products in person. I post honest reviews on here, if I don't like a product, I will say so, so there was no way on earth I was going to post about a brand for the sake of it. I was also told the budget had run short so I wasn't to expect payment for it but if I was ever in the area then I could pop in for a quick viewing of the products. I politely declined.

I felt I was worth more than that. Maybe I'm wrong, maybe you reading this would of jumped at the chance... I'm not sure. What I am sure of is that we are all worth something. I think it's unfair for people to take advantage of others which is what this was in my eyes. And as I said to the pr in question, I doubt she was working for free. 


Yves Rocher Party Essentials

This time of year calls for big lashes and bold lips and Yves Rocher have got it covered. With the party season upon us I've been looking for ways to get me from work to party in a few easy steps. My Estee Lauder Double Wear is my fail safe foundation because it sees me through from 7am right until I fall through the door. Mixed with Benefit's High Beam and a dusting of NARS Laguna my base stays put as I don't want to waste time with touch ups.

To get that festive feel I've been wearing the Moisturising Cream Lipstick* in Orange Muscade. It's a warm orange toned red that instantly illuminates my face. It glides on to the lip and stays put for a good four hours through food and drink. To get the perfect work to night lash look I've been using the Lash Plumping Mascara*. I have the waterproof version which means I can coat each of my lashes at 7am with no worries that it would be smudged under my eyes by 11am. The wand perfectly separates each lash giving you a full, fluttered finish. 

I prefer quite heady, strong fragrances when I go out, a scent that you'll remember me by so Flowerparty by Night* accomplishes that perfectly. Floral but not over powering and spicy enough to give it that extra bit of wow for night time. It's pretty bottle also looks very pretty on my dresser. If you're looking for products to compliment your festive night out you need Yves Rocher in your life.

*PR Samples sent for review.

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Eve of St. Agnes Hydrating Body Cream

A little while back I had a special delivery from Beauty Crowd and inside I found this jar of body cream from Eve of St. Agnes. Eve of St. Agnes was set up in 2011 after its creator Emma, who suffered with severe dry skin and eczema discovered pure Shea Butter and went on to create a more practical way of using it. 

I received the Hydrating Body Cream*, 200ml of creamy goodness. It took seven years to develop and has just been awarded the silver skincare award and I can totally see why. Housed in a beautiful Carol Lewis-esque jar, it reminds me so much of Alice in Wonderland. The cream itself is thick but it melts into the skin unlike most body creams and it leaves my skin feeling thoroughly moisturised and soft.

The Hydrating Body Cream is full of natural ingredients such as Cocoa Butter, Meadowfoam Seed oil, Orange and Rose Geranium. It is also Vegan friendly, Paraben & SLS free. There are six more products available and you can also pick up a mini skin care gift set to try more of the products. I have my eye on the Hydrating Facial Silk next as my face needs perking up after the blast of cold weather we've been having. If you've been suffering lately with dry skin then the Hydrating Body Cream is exactly what you need.

*PR Sample.

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Cleansing with Bee Good

Bee Good came on my radar back in the Summer when they followed me on Twitter and after a good stalk of their website I really wanted to know more. Bee Good was born in 2008 by husband and wife team, Simon & Caroline. Simon is an experienced bee keeper and after Caroline started making skin care with the excess honey and bees wax, interest grew and so did sales, plus a fair few awards to add to their name. Simon and Caroline also came to the Southampton Blog Meet in November so I was able to find out even more about Bee Good. Their passion for their company shone through and it was really refreshing to hear.

I've been using the Honey & Propolis 2in1 Cream Cleanser* which comes with a pure muslin cloth. This super creamy cleanser wipes away the days dirt and grime in a few easy swipes while the muslin cloth subtly exfoliates the skin. Propolis has been used for centuries for medicinal purposes and with it being antibacterial it's perfect for problem skin. The Honey & Wild Water Mint 3in1 Cleansing Water* is a handy little product, it dissolves make up, cleanses and tones the skin. I'm all for products that do it all and take up less space. The cleansing water tightens the skin without making it dry or sore and it's been a welcome addition to my routine. Have you tried either of these products? 


Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Christmas in Salisbury

As much as I love the festive period it does get a bit hectic so being able to go away for the weekend or even a day just before Christmas is something Arran and I like to do each year. This year we went to Salisbury in Wiltshire, staying in the Mercure White Hart Hotel*. I'd heard good things about their Christmas Market so the plan was to visit that and have a good wonder around the town and Salisbury Cathedral.

Salisbury is a mere half hour away from Southampton on the train so after a leisurely morning at home we headed to central station to get to Salisbury in time for check in at 2pm. The station was a ten minute walk away from the hotel with the help of Google maps. Check in was quick and the receptionist was lovely, greeting us with a big smile. I didn't catch her name but we walked away armed with maps on the town and all the details we needed on the Christmas market and where to go for food. 

Bills Restaurant  was our first stop, where we ate juicy burgers with the best chips I've had in a long time. I really wish there was a Bills in Southampton! After lunch we walked down to the cathedral which is so beautiful. The sun was starting to set as we arrived and it cast a really beautiful light on it. We didn't realise you could go in and climb the spire so we're going to go back and do that in the Spring. 

I didn't think the Christmas Market was all that special and was a little disappointed considering it was voted as one of the UK's top 5 Christmas markets last year. We didn't stay in the market long and just walked around Salisbury instead as they have a lot of quirky independent retailers. After more food at Wagamamas we headed back to the White Hart Hotel and climbed into the comfiest bed ever to let our food babies rest while we watched the X Factor. We sure know how to spend a night away. The bed was huge and I needed to do a little push and jump to get on and off of it. Short girl problems. I did have ten blissful hours sleep and woke up feeling really refreshed which was exactly what I needed.

Sunday started with a continental breakfast and a big pot of tea. The breakfast suite was really busy as there was a wedding booked in but the waiters were quick with their service and nobody was waiting too long. After filling up on pastries we climbed back in bed to enjoy the free WiFi before checking out and catching the train home. We had such a lovely time away and thoroughly enjoyed our stay at the White Hart Hotel.
*We were kindly gifted a nights stay in the White Hart Hotel with Mercure Hotels. All views/opinions are my own as always. 
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