Friday, 25 December 2015

Merry Christmas!




Merry Christmas to all my wonderful readers. I hope you all have a fabulous day!

Eat, drink and be merry! 

I'll be back 1st January to celebrate Annie Writes Beauty's 2nd Birthday! 





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Thursday, 24 December 2015

Top 5 Christmas Films for Christmas Eve





Oh what a wonderful time of year, it's Christmas Eve! I feel like this year has completely flown by but I cannot wait to finish work today, get into my Christmas pyjamas, tuck into a takeaway and spend the evening watching some of my favourite Christmas films. I LOVE Christmas films and as soon as December hits I try and watch as many as I can. I thought I'd share some of my Christmas favourites which I'll be watching this evening.

Love Actually - 
The ultimate feel good Christmas film we all love. I have watched this so many times, some of my favourite actors are in it and I absolutely love the scene where Hugh Grant dances to Jump. It has very much become the must watch film of December.

The Polar Express - 
I wasn't too keen on this at first but it finally stole my heart a few years ago and I do love a film with Tom Hanks. The Polar Express is heart warming and encourages the idea of just believing in Christmas. The computer animations are pretty incredible in this too.

The Holiday - 
The Holiday tells the story of four unlucky in love hopefuls who accidently fall in love over Christmas and New Year. I don't always class this as a Christmas film but always tend to watch it this time of year nonetheless. Plus an hour or so of Jude Law makes for good viewing.

Miracle on 34th Street -
This has to be my favourite Christmas film ever. I've watched it countless times and still after all these years have a bit of a crush on Bryan Bedford. Telling the story of Father Christmas and how a little girl starts believing. So heart warming. 

The Santa Claus - 
I watch The Santa Claus every Christmas eve as I always remember watching it when I was younger, I love the first film, tolerate the second but hate the third one so I only tend to watch the first one. It's funny, magical and so Christmassy. It's one of my 'classics' 

What are your favourite films to watch at Christmas?

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Wednesday, 23 December 2015

London Rocks by Buckley London



It's not very often that I wear lots of jewellery and when I do, I keep it simple and minimalistic so the new London Rocks collection from Buckley London was practically made for me.
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Tuesday, 22 December 2015

A Cosy Wynsors Christmas






Cold December evenings are all about warm pyjamas, hot chocolates and snuggling down under a blanket to watch a film. To make that a reality my TLC box arrived from Wynsors to make sure I had a real, cosy Christmassy evening. The weather has been quite mild for December but that doesn't mean the temperature hasn't been dropping in the evening, I feel the cold the most in my feet so a pair of slippers is a must for me, thankfully my Beige Poca slippers* from Wynsor Shoes keeps them nice and toasty. 

Inside my box of treats among my slippers, I found a salted caramel hot chocolate spoon, a Christmas jumper mug, some festive smelling candles and a winter fleeced blanket. Quite possibly the best box I could've had arrive! Paired with some warm bagels and The Polar Express I had the cosiest of cosy evenings in my new slippers. There are lots of different types of slippers to choose from on the Wynsors website so you can also keep your tootsies toasty this Christmas!  

*PR Sample.
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Monday, 21 December 2015

Party Makeup, Your Rules // House of Fraser




Over the festive period House of Fraser* have been promoting their new campaign, Your Rules, which is all about throwing the rulebook out this festive period and celebrating your way, with your rules. I've concentrated on New Year's eve and what make up I'll be painting my face with to celebrate the new year and my Birthday as I turn 26 on New Year's Eve! 

The majority of the time I play it safe with my make up, usually just changing it up with a bold lip but the House of Fraser video below has inspired me to be a bit more daring! How gorgeous does the glitter red lip look? I HATE glitter with a passion but even I've gone off skipping to Hobby Craft to buy some glitter although I'm half wondering whether I should've bought edible glitter instead as I lick my lips so much without realising. 

I keep my base simple with Too Faced's Born This Way foundation, Benefit Cosmetics Watt's Up highlighter, some NARS Dolce Vita blush and The Balm Bahama Mama bronzer all set with Urban Decay All Nighter setting spray. I always do a smokey nude look on my eyes as the bronze and gold shades bring out my eyes more, I then just coat my lashes with lots of mascara. The bold lip I'll be wearing this year will be MAC Cosmetics Ruby Woo with their lip liner in Brick. Lastly House of Fraser's gorgeous glitter lips will be on show, I'll be following the video below to get that perfect pout ready for a kiss at midnight. 

What are your rules for New Year? Do you have a go to make up look or will you be being more adventurous like me?



*Sponsored post by The 7th Chamber.
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Sunday, 20 December 2015

Dove Christmas Gift sets






Dove is one of the most trusted beauty products around and has been for more years than I've probably been alive. Their Christmas sets are some of the best on the market and are always a good choice for family members to wrap up and place under the tree. I recently reviewed the new Dove Derma Spa range and one of the gift sets this year includes the Goodness3 Skin Ritual set* which comes with the body lotion, body cream and hand cream. Each of the products are luxurious and leave the skin feeling so smooth. I swear by the hand cream for keeping your hands soft and well looked after in this cold weather. 

The Dove Real Woman set* contains three of Dove's failsafe products, the rich nourishment cream, hand cream and moisturising body wash. It's the perfect set for Christmas for the all time Dove lover or for someone new to the brand. My bathroom is now overflowing with some of Dove's finest which makes my skin very happy. 

Have you bought any Dove sets for friends or family this year? What ones have you bought?

*PR Samples.
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Saturday, 19 December 2015

Christmas with Birchbox





It wouldn't be a new month without my monthly box of beauty goodies from Birchbox and December's is full of Christmas cheer. December's theme is 'All that Glimmers*' and comes in a super luxe clutch bag. The bag is a really good size for a night out and with three panels in pleather, green velvet and gold glitter, it's the perfect festive accessory. 

This month's 'box' comes with five exclusive samples, six if you count the perfume sample. You all know my thoughts on perfume samples in subscription boxes, they're a waste of space. Thankfully products from Rituals, Benefit Cosmetics, Ciate, Model Co and Embryolisse make up for it. The Rituals foaming shower gel in White Lotus & Yi Yi Ren smells amazing, I couldn't stop sniffing it. Used in the morning before work it really gets you ready for the day ahead with a bounce in your step. The Ciaté polish in Fit for a Queen is the perfect, silver Christmas nail polish, I love the brand and have a few bottles so I already know the formula will be fab. 

Benefit Cosmetics feature again this month with the ultimate party companion, They're Real liner; Use it alongside the Model Co lipstick in Smitten and you're party ready. You then have Puff Off and the Embryolisse moisturiser which will help sort your skin out the morning after the night before. Birchbox have made sure everything you need this party season is to hand. 

What do you think of the December Birch'Clutch'? 

*PR Sample.
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Friday, 18 December 2015

Christmas Decoration Haul






Christmas is big in my house and with that comes a burning desire to buy every Christmas decoration in sight, I blame my Mother. I've been pretty good this year and haven't gone too mad mainly because the life size reindeer I want from Marks and Spencer is display only but I have managed to pull together a little haul for you guys. Including some personalised pieces, the all important spicy candles and some bunting. Aren't I good?

I had a Personalised Classin Christmas sign* made by ijustloveit.co.uk recently to hang on the living room door, it has a rustic feel to it as it's made from upcycled wood with a wire hanger. Having something personalised just makes it that extra bit special, especially at this time of year. I picked up the gold Christmas tree decorations, Santa LED lights and Merry Christmas boot bunting from Homesense for a bargain £20 which I bought with a voucher they had kindly sent through for me as part of their Hang a Bauble campaign which is raising money for Action for Children. I didn't realise the Santa's had LED lights in them until I brought them home but thankfully they're clear lights inside, I'm not a fan of coloured lights at Christmas.

Candles, candles, candles, it wouldn't be Christmas without the scent of cinnamon and spice in the air. I bought a Festive Spice tealight set from Next for £3.50 and some small jars from Primark for £1 each. I think Yankee Candle are ridiculously overpriced for what they are so I won't be burning Christmas Eve or Spiced Apple this year. Lastly, I bought two new decorations for the Christmas tree, one being a Penguin (obviously) from M&S for £2 and then this beautiful message in a bottle type decoration from John Lewis for £3. For weeks I'd been walking past, picking it up, moving the glitter around before putting it back down before I bought it the beginning of December. If you can't get something out of your head then you should almost, always go back and buy it. 

What do you think of my little haul of decorations and where should I be looking to buy more?

*PR Samples
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Thursday, 17 December 2015

Soap & Glory In The Bag





It wouldn't be Christmas without copious amounts of Soap & Glory gift sets and In The Bag* has to be my favourite one available as it has all of my favourite products tucked away nicely inside including one of their  fabulous shower puffs. On the packaging it says that this is the perfect gift for the girl that loves to be in her bathroom and they're not wrong. You have Soap & Glory's best selling products inside this handy toiletry bag from Clean on Me, The Righteous Butter and Glad Hair Day to Hand Food and Scrub of your Life.

It's not too late to pick one of these up for the Soap & Glory fan in your life or if there is someone you know that isn't familiar with their awesome products then this would 100% be the perfect starter kit to introduce someone to the brand. I have all my minis lined up in the bathroom ready to use and I can't wait to get some use out of the gorgeous toiletry bag when I go away in January. 

What Soap & Glory gifts have you picked up so far? We all end up buying a few for ourselves don't we?

*PR Sample
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Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Festive Reds with Nails Inc





If there is one nail shade I can always count on at Christmas it is St. James by Nails Inc. I will rarely wear a red on fingernails because I'm lazy and can't be bothered with the upkeep and maintenance that comes with having red nails plus it's a right pain to take off. 

Anyway...... this time of year I bite my lip and get on with it. Starting with a nice file, basecoat, St. James and then a top coat. All this guarantees my nails are in tip top condition. St. James is hands down my favourite red for nails, it's the ultimate pillar box red and instantly adds some glam to any outfit. I add Marvala Mavadry over the top to fix the polish in place, this stuff also makes it last so much longer. There you go, my festive nails for Christmas. What do you wear on your nails at Christmas?


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Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Hang a Bauble // Homesense



Tis the season to be jolly and with that comes my urge to buy every Christmas decoration in sight whether I have the space for it or not. Thankfully I don't need to feel bad about going over the top this year thanks to Homesense' Hang a Bauble campaign in partnership with Action for Children.  This is the sixth year Homesense have run this campaign. Customers can buy a Christmas bauble for £1, they can then write a festive message or Christmas memory before hanging it on the Homesense Christmas tree in your local store. All the donation proceeds go to Action for Children and it's local services. 

During last years campaign Homesense raised more than £150,000 for Action for Children enabling them to help vulnerable children. It's such a heartwarming campaign, especially at this time of year. If you're near a Homesense, make sure you pop in and get involved. I went along to the store in Hedge End, Southampton last week to pick up some baubles for myself. You can also read more about what work Action for Children do via this link

*Sponsored post
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Monday, 14 December 2015

Blogging Besties #GeorgeTakeTen



Myself and Rachel from illustratedteacup.com were recently challenged by George at Asda to choose the same dress but style it our own way. I left the choice up to Rachel, as long as it was black I would be happy and she picked a good'un, the Suedette shift dress* which is a bargain £16. I went with some classic black accessories (shock) and a faux fur gilet. I wanted the outfit to work for both day and night. 
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Sunday, 13 December 2015

Bedside Table Essentials






We all have a bedside table full of tricks right? Products we need within reaching distance when we're too cosy in bed to get out and walk across the room? Well I have a little basket full of bits and pieces I may just need after I've snuggled down for the night. My bedside table is pretty standard, lamp, books, tablet, a dish of random trinkets and a basket to hold all the bits you can see above in. Lip balm and hand cream is something I always keep near my bed in the vain hope it will encourage me to use both products more before I drift off. Soap & Glory and Bee Good are my favourite hand creams as they both smell soothing which make them the perfect products to use before you go to sleep. 

I was given the Deep Heat muscle rescue in a goody bag in the summer and it is by far my most used product from an event. I injured my shoulder quite badly earlier on in the year and it gets really achy some nights so on this goes and all is right in the world again. I also keep some Bach Rescue Remedy by my bed to use if I've had a shit day or I'm just feeling a bit meh. It's a lifesaver at times. My personalised eye mask from Benefit Cosmetics is always by my bed just incase the light floods in too quickly and I'm not ready to pull myself from my duvet yet. It's so cute and one of my favourite things I've been sent. 

What essentials do you keep by your bed?


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Saturday, 12 December 2015

Festive Styling with West Quay



West Quay shopping centre is my go to destination for all things fashion, make up and food so when an email dropped into my inbox about an evening of Wagamamas, winter styling and festive make up tips with West Quay's fabulous PR team I couldn't say no. Take a peek at how the evening went...
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Friday, 11 December 2015

My Top 5 Eye Palettes






I'm an eye palette hoarder and I have no excuse for the amount of palettes I own other than I have an addiction so as this is my final installment of my top five series I had to dedicate it to eye palettes. Urban Decay are hands down my favourite brand for palettes as you can see from the photo and who can blame me? Their eye shadow formulas are pretty incredible. Each palette is a little on the pricey side but I have chucked in a high street bargain for good measure too! 

The vice 3 was Urban Decay's limited edition from last years holiday collection and I'm currently trying to talk myself out of buying the Vice 4. It has the best mix of colourful blues, pinks and purples housed next to some gorgeous neutral shades. I reach for this palette daily and have just hit pan on two of the shadows. The mirror is also huge so I tend to use it to do my make up in bed if I'm not quite awake enough to stand at a mirror. 

I have all three of the Naked palettes, (I don't count Naked Smoky because I'm not overly a fan) and the original Naked palette is 100% my favourite with Naked 3 being a close second. I use each and every shade, the powders are buttery and easy to blend, with each shade lasting for hours without creasing. Golden hues are my go to and Naked covers each base. I just wish they would bring the palette out in the tin packaging because it would be so much cleaner and I'd be first in queue to buy it. 

I bought the Naked Basics from a friend who didn't get on very well with matte shadows, I luckily love them so alongside the Vice 3, I use this most days. The small, slim palette houses six must have neutral shades perfect for day to day wear with the darker shades meaning you can achieve a smoky neutral eye pretty quickly for night time. I wouldn't be without this as the shades are soft, silky and a dream to apply.

I should really write an ode to Mac eye shadows because they're incredible! I bought my pro palette in January of this year and have slowly started to build it up. I have four more spaces left, five technically because I have two pans of Naked Lunch in there as it's my favourite shade ever. I love the pro palettes because you can customise them to exactly what you want. I find with some palettes that you don't use all the shades so this is the perfect resolution to that problem. I need some more shade recommendations so please let me know what your favourites are. 

Lastly is my bargain of the bunch, Birthday Suit by Seventeen. It's cheap and the packaging is not that pretty to look at but the shades are beautiful! There's a mixture of mattes, shimmers and cream eye shadows including a primer to stop the shadows from creasing. The shadows are really fab quality and last a full day at work, pushing well into the evening which makes going from work for cocktails a breeze. There is also a darker, smoky version which is also really beautiful. 

What are your go to eyeshadow palettes?

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Thursday, 10 December 2015

My Top 5 Blushers





Blushers are one of my favourite make up items and I have more than enough to see me through the next five years but that doesn't stop me buying more. Mac Cosmetics and Nars are two of my favourite brands for blushers because the quality and formulas are so high. They're 100% worth every penny. I don't own any high street singular blushes, so each of the blushers in this post are around the £20 mark but we all need a treat every now and then right?!

Something Special is the only creme blush I own, I'd avoided them for years as I didn't know how to use them correctly. Turns out all you need is a pretty good stippling brush and it applies beautifully. This shade is a light coral that compliments my pale skin tone really well. The cremeblend formula also sits on my skin well and lasts for hours. I keep meaning to pick another one up as I love the formula but something else always catches my eye.

I picked up Lover in this year's sales for £6, absolute bargain. I didn't research the shade or the product at the time because the price was too good not to buy it and I'm so glad I did. Lover is a soft apricot colour in a matte finish. I'm not a huge fan of sparkly blushes and this sits perfectly on the apples of your cheeks to give you a healthy looking glow. I tend to use this when my skin is looking a bit dull because it works wonders. 

Nars do the best blushes hands down. Dolce Vita is another matte blush, this time in a dusty rose shade. This is my Autumn/Winter blush as I find it a little too dark on my skin during the Summer months. Nars blushes are known for their high intensity shades which deliver long lasting results. Each of the blushes are soft and blendable which make them a dream to use. I also love their bronzer Laguna for the same reasons.

Dandelion is the only Box 'o' Blush I own... so far. It doubles up as a blush and brightening face powder as it has a helping of subtle shimmer. Described as a sheer ballerina pink, it's quite possibly the prettiest of all the box 'o' blushes. I dust Dandelion on my cheeks, forehead and down the bridge of my nose for an instant radiant face lift. It's especially handy after a heavy night. 

Rose Petale is the most beautiful blush I own, baked into the palette with pink and gold threaded through the powder, it is something quite special. The powder itself is soft, silky and leaves a radiant flush to the cheeks. It comes in Chanel's signature black packaging, inside a velvet pouch and it's all kinds of luxury. The powder also smells of roses, it's just incredible. £31 for a blush is pretty pricey but you're paying for the product and the brand so I 100% think it's worth it. 

What do you think of my Top 5 blushers? What are your go to blush products?

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Wednesday, 9 December 2015

My Top 5 Red Lipsticks





Tis the season to be festive and with that comes sparkly dresses, beautiful heels and of course a red lip. I'm a huge fan of a red lipstick. I wear it all year round, day and night as it's such a classic shade but there is something special about wearing a red lip around Christmas time. Today's post brings you my top five red lips from deep blues to cherry reds. 

I had wanted to try the Velvet Matte lip pencils for ages so when I found myself in a Space NK back in the summer I made sure I picked one up. I went for the shade Cruella which is a scarlet red and one of their cult classics. It applies like a dream and lasts for hours through drink and food. It's enriched with vitamin E which makes it creamy and non drying. Just how I like my matte lip products. There is a reason Cruella is a classic and why you need it in your collection. 

I personally feel like everyone should own a classic Chanel red, La Fascinante was my chosen shade. The rouge allure velvet range is soft, smooth and extremely comfortable on the lip. It's matte but with a hint of luminosity which makes this my favourite red ever. I have been asked what I'm wearing when wearing this on so many occasions and that is testament in itself at just how beautiful a shade it is. The entire range is 100% worth a look. They're pricey but oh so worth it. 

Ruby Woo is another classic. You would be hard pushed to find a Mac addict who doesn't have this in their collection. Coming from the retro matte range, it really is as matte as they come and your lips need some serious prep before applying but it's worth the extra work. It's a vivid blue based red and the one I wear the most during the summer. It's rare that I finish a lipstick before needing to throw it out but I'll be having to repurchase this next year for sure. 

I have the mini version of Military Red from when So Post did a sample session to enable you to choose one of three colours. I went with a red obviously, it is Burberry after all and I loved the shade name. The Burberry Kisses lipstick collection boasts 28 rich satin shades of beautifully buildable colour. They're creamy, last a good few hours and give continuous hydration. It's everything you would want in a lipstick, plus the shade is pretty incredible. Again, pricey for a lipstick but I'd happily pay this and more because they're that gorgeous.

The Clinique Pop range came out this year and each shade is a lip colour and primer in one. Cherry Pop leaves a moisturised pop of red on the lips and the lip product aims to keep moisturising your lips for 8 hours. When wearing this my lips do feel well nourished but the colour doesn't stay on as long as I'd like. A slick of Lipcote sorts it out so I continue to wear it because the shade is a gorgeous, rich red and the one I'll be wearing on Christmas day. 

What are your favourite reds?


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Tuesday, 8 December 2015

My Top 5 Pencil Eyeliners





My Top 5 week on Annie Writes Beauty started with mascaras yesterday so I thought I'd continue the eye theme with five of my favourite eyeliners. I only use black or grey eyeliner when I'm going out or feeling more daring than usual for work. My usual everyday liner shade is brown and has been for some years now as it compliments my blue eyes so well plus you can hardly tell it's not black when applied well. I use liners from Collection, Illamasqua, Lord & Berry, Glo & Ray and Smashbox so there's a real mixture of price points for everyone. 

I have used this eyeliner for more years than I want to admit and back then it was called Collection 2000. The Supersoft kohl pencils are one of the best on the high street and I always make sure I have the brown and black shades to hand at all times. They sharpen well, leave intense colour on the lid and last for hours. For £1.99 each, they're a complete bargain and one I recommend to so many people. 

If you're looking for the most intense black eyeliner you will ever use then look no further because Glo & Ray have got you covered. Midnight Black from their Skybreaker eyeliner collection is incredible. It's soft, silky and leaves the darkest of matte lines in a quick stroke of the pencil. I'm currently on my second pencil and it's one I keep in my collection as it does everything an eyeliner should do. Plus it's not bad priced either! 

I haven't used much from Lord & Berry other than a lip liner and I very rarely use any other colour on my eyes other than black or brown. As much as Smoke is quite a dark grey, it's still a little out of my comfort zone but it works. The liner is soft, it doesn't drag on the eyelid and the colour lasts for hours thanks to it being waterproof.

I love Illamasqua and their eye products are some of my favourite. You can't go wrong with an Illamasqua eyeshadow palette and mascara combo so trying their eyeliner was the obvious next step. The eye colouring pencils are creamy and blendable so creating a dramatic or even subtle eye look is really easy. It's long wearing and could also be used across the lid for an all over eye colour. There are eight shades to choose from in total. 

Lastly is my favourite little tool eyeliner, the Always Sharp by Smashbox Cosmetics. The reviews for this isn't great on the website, many have said how the tip falls or the mechanism jams and I will admit the tip did fall off after not even a week or so of using it but the mechanism was fine for me and just twisted straight back up. The liner itself is a bit hard and drags a little upon application but it's a long lasting, waterproof eyeliner that does actually last and that's why it's in my favourites. I also love that you don't have to sharpen it because it does it via a handy little nozzle in the lid. 

What are your favourite eyeliner products? Do we have some of the same favourites?

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