Everyone knows I'm partial to a good ol' matte lipstick (seriously, can you ever have too many shades of matte nude?!) so I couldn't wait to try the very original matte liquid lipstick from Lime Crime, a brand I've heard so much about but never actually tried for myself. The Matte Velventines are the queens of the liquid lipstick and were actually the first matte lipstick I ever heard of. Cult Beauty very kindly sent me over a selection to try and oh boy am I glad they introduced me!
In case you don't already know, Cult Beauty lives up to it's name exactly and sells only the best of the best, the cult products that us bloggers especially know and love. It's easy to see why the Lime Crime matte lipsticks are part of Cult Beauty and I've barely left the house without one in my bag over the past few weeks. Not only do they dry on your lips without actually drying them out but they last all day. I drink a lot of tea during the day and only towards the end of the day was the my lipstick starting to get a little bit patchy. The lasting power of the lipstick is incredible and if you're someone who doesn't have a lot of time to top up during the day, these lipsticks are for you!
So the second new lot of make-up I've been trying is the brand new, hot off the press make-up range from blogger favs Nip + Fab. The new range is absolutely huge with a massive range of shades, products and prices to get everyone in the beauty world excited and I've been testing out a few of the staples from the collection. Following on from the Lime Crime matte lips, I've also been trying out some of Nip + Fab's nude matte lipsticks and I'm impressed. The Tart Matte Liquid Lipstick is what you'll have seen me wearing in a few of my Instagram selfies recently and I love it. It's a very soft nude colour with warm undertones and again, the formula of the lipsticks don't dry your lips out. These lipsticks actually feel slightly different to the other matte lipsticks I've used in the past as although they are highly pigmented, the consistency isn't as thick and heavy as a lot of other brands are so they don't completely suck all the moisture out of the lips.
Probably one of my favourite things I've been using from the collection is the Highlight Palette. Oh boy, anyone who loves a good ol' highlight like me will need this in their collection. I didn't think I needed anymore highlighters or highlight palettes but that was until this bad boy came into my life. It's been my go-to palette for when I want some glam for night out and being honest, I didn't think some of the darker shades would suit my pale skin but they've actually ended up being the shades I've used most. They've given my skin a real natural glow, catching the light and creating a beautiful, soft glimmer on my cheekbones.
Another really cool product in the range is the Foundation Dark Mixer and the Foundation Light Mixer. When I opened the package, I'll admit I thought "what the bloody hell am I meant to do with that?!" but actually, these are something that your make-up bag will appreciate greatly, especially in the coming summer months. We all know how annoying it is when your favourite foundation is now the wrong shade because you caught the sun on England's one sunny day or because you got a tan on holiday or you accidentally bought a shade too dark or light for your skin. These little wonders help customise the foundation shade to your skin tone and help you get an exact match. I've been using the dark one with one of my foundations that I already had that was waay too light for me and it's been an incredible tool to get the most out of my make-up collection.
The range offers so much more than what I've just mentioned as you can see in the photos and if you're a fan of Nip + Fab already or if you wanted something new to give a go, I'd highly recommend this range. Plus, the packaging is just so sleek and Instagrammable too which really appeals to my shallow self - it's just so pretty!
Have you been trying anything new recently?
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It sounds like such a cliche but one of the best ways to unwind is a trip to the spa. I know what you're thinking; "duhhh Amy that's what spas are for" and I know that but I think sometimes people don't realise just how much good they can do. Seaham Hall is one of my favourite places to go in the North East and you'll probably remember my post a few weeks ago about their Duchess of Bedford Afternoon Tea (if you love a bit of tea and cake you must try it!) and this time, my friend and I headed over to their Serenity Spa to try out one of their new April packages.
I spoke in my last post about how stressed I've been recently so when they invited me along to try their De-Stress Package, I knew I absolutely needed it. For £99, you get full access to the spa and it's absolutely incredible facilities (I've visited many spas over the past year and Seaham Hall is always the one I go back to!), a 60 minute relaxation massage and access to fitness classes such as Thai Chi and Yoga. Take my word for it, less than £100 for all of this is an absolute steal for such a relaxing day in one of the North East's most popular spas and although I did take my phone to take some snaps, the Spa recommends you leave your phone at home for a digital detox too, something which you should never underestimate the importance of!
The Serenity Spa lives up to its name as soon as you walk through the doors with the tranquil atmosphere and welcoming homemade lemonade. We headed straight for the pool which is my tip top favourite place in the whole spa because it's just so warm. The water is absolutely lush and I could just float around in it all day to be honest. We relaxed around the pool and flitted in and out of the jacuzzi and the sauna and spent a bit of time in the outdoor jacuzzis. Last time I was at the Serenity Spa, it was heavy rain so I didn't get to go in them as much as I'd have liked but this time it was absolute bliss to sit in the hot water with the (very deceivingly cold) sun beating down on us.
I went for my massage halfway through the day before lunch and oh boy was it needed. My therapist welcomed me into the room and asked if I had any problem areas so when I explained I suffered with really bad knots in my upper back, she said she'd work on them especially using the muscle oil. The 60 minutes went over way too quickly (may or may not have half-dozed off at point!) and my therapist was amazing. She really worked on the knots in my shoulders and back, popping out the tensions and afterwards, I felt like a whole new person. I really need to go for regular massages because my back can get so bad and they do really help not only physically, but mentally too. Last time I was at Seaham Hall, I tried their Ytsara Facial (which I loved) so it was great to experience one of their other treatments! After my treatment, I was brought to the Zen Room with heated beds, a beautiful view and some delicious sorbet to finish of the treatment (and it's the best sorbet you will ever taste!)
So we finished off our spa day with food in the Ozone restaurant, something I was looking forward to allll day. We started off with a sharing platter with prawns, fishcakes and some other little bits of Thai goodness and of course, I ordered prawn pad thai. I should really start ordering something else but I just can't help myself whenever I see it on the menu! We finished off with the chilli chocolate brownie which was mouthwateringly good and I had some sorbet (again, very typically of me!). I always love the Ozone restaurant because the atmosphere is just so chilled out with all diners sitting in their robes, a view of the beautiful grounds of the hotel and amazing service from the minute you walk through the door.
April is stress awareness month and this De-Stress With Serenity Spa package is designed to help us beat away the daily stresses in our lives and take a day to unwind. The package costs £99 and you can read more about it the Serenity Spa offers here.
I'll admit, these past few weeks have been tough for me. If you're a regular reader, you may have noticed a distinct lack of posts compared to my usual four or five a week; I've barely even posted on the Gram or tweeted my whinging thoughts and that is just not like me. The truth is, I've been stuck. Stuck in a rut and because of this, I've found myself having a distinct lack of motivation and when coupled with a creative block, this can make for a blogging disaster.
LAZY OAF CAMI DRESS: ASOS / MESH TOP: NEW LOOK (similar) / *ANKLE BOOTS: c/o RAID / ROUND SUNGLASSES: H&M (similar)
I'm not a full time blogger and I'll admit that recently I've been struggling. Along with personal issues and working an insane amount of hours at my incredibly stressful day job as well as trying to maintain a half decent social life, I've simply fallen behind. At first, I'll admit I panicked. I felt this need to post on Instagram and on my blog and in all honesty, I stressed the fuck out about it. I just couldn't find the time and the things I was posting, well, they weren't my usual standard. I had emails coming out of my ears, piles of photos to edit and it was all resting on my already quite fragile shoulders and teamed with no sleep and a lot of stress, it all got on top of me. That's when I realised how much pressure we as bloggers put on ourselves. Working full-time jobs as well as blogging, which is in itself a full-time job, is fucking hard and you know what? It's okay to take a break. The blogging world is so competitive and there's so much pressure on us to be a certain way, to have polished, magazine-esque photos, to post every day, to schedule tweets and to get 1000 likes on each Instagram photo, we feel this indescribable guilt every time we fall behind.
Having a break and admitting you need some time off is not a bad thing and it doesn't make you a bad blogger. I know that all I needed was a few weeks off from emails, from photos, from editing and everything else blog related and I can't describe how much better I feel for it. Instead of getting in from a 9 hour shift to do more work and more work and more work, I've laid on my couch with my fire lit watching endless episodes of Ru Paul's Drag Race and it was totally needed. I'm nearly ready to resume normal Amy hours, snapping my life away and tweeting the hilarious things that happen to me on a daily basis and I can only apologise if you've been wondering where I am! We really need to stop putting so much pressure on ourselves and realise that it's okay to take a break - the blogosphere will still be here when you get back!
I've always said that my blog and being so immersed in the blogosphere has helped my self-confidence immensely and for the most part, that's true. Before I created Salt and Chic I had barely any confidence and I don't just mean about my appearance. I would struggle to talk to new people, would feel anxious at the mere thought of going places by myself and I never for one second thought I was good enough to achieve much at all. Since then, I've worked with huge brands, modelled for big campaigns, travelled abroad alone and achieved things I could have only dreamed of and in that sense, blogging myself and seeing other bloggers achieve amazing things too has completely helped my self-confidence in immeasurable ways. But what about body confidence? What about the way blogging affects or self-esteem, particularly in relation to our looks?
VENICE CROPPED SWEATSHIRT: ZARA / OVERSIZED WHITE SHIRT: TOPSHOP / RIPPED SKINNY JEANS: ASOS / *WATCH: c/o ELIE BEAUMONT / *BLACK ANKLE BOOTS: c/o RAID FOOTWEAR / *CHAKRA BRACELET: c/o DAISY LONDON / *PINK BACKPACK: c/o NEW LOOK
Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love blogging and being part of the blogging community but there are times that I worry about it. We're bombarded with perfect photos of perfect looking people with perfect looking skin and clothes and homes and bags and everything else, so much so that no matter how hard I try, no matter how nice I look or well I do my make-up, I wonder "am I enough?" The effortlessly beautiful street style photos, the polished Instagram feeds and the designer bags, the photoshopped faces and the beautiful, tall, thin women who are everywhere inspire me beyond belief but there are days where I just totally destroy myself. I look at my photos and no matter how good I looked hat day I'll find a fault. My hair is flicking up there. I look like I have no eyelashes. You can see my wonky tooth. I look really small there. The list of faults I find with myself is endless and I always wonder: would I do this if I didn't blog? If I didn't study hundreds of different photos of myself every day? If I didn't have a reason to compare myself to the other bloggers out there?
It worries me that these days, blogs have become so polished they're basically like flicking through the same polished magazines that line our shelves and give us unrealistic expectations and if that's how your blog is then that's okay. I've always said I have nothing but support for those who love designer things etc etc and that's something for another post but the shift that we have seen in blogging in past year or so has been phenomenal. Gone are the days of taking photos in your bedroom on a tripod and simply adjusting the brightness or writing about monthly empties. We all crave the street style photos that could grace the pages of Vogue and I know I'll never have them. I live in a shitty area and don't have pretty streets and I don't have flawless skin or the most expensive clothes but does that make me any less of a blogger? Sometimes, I feel like it does. Others it doesn't/ But my worry is that as bloggers we scrutinise every cell in our body, comparing it to others and I have no doubt that those who we compare ourselves to, compare themselves to others and feel the same in a vicious circle of low body and self-confidence.
What do you think? Is blogging good or bad for the self-esteem?
Let's face it, a lot of the products we're constantly bombarded with in the blogging world are well and truly over-hyped. You know the ones I'm talking about. The ones you see literally everyone raving about, the ones rush out to buy with excitement, try and then think.....oh. For me, it was Maybelline's Baby Skin and Benefit's One Heck of A Blot that got the "is this it?" thoughts. However, there are some brands that many beauty bloggers constantly mention and some of them are worth the hype. Some of these brands are recent tries for me, others are old favourites but for me, they're all brands with products I use on a daily basis and offer products that have done wonders for my very, very tired skin.
First up, we have blogger favourite Kiehls. No doubt you'll have seen their super pretty packaging all over Instagram and in every flatlay going and it's no surprise. Not only do their products look right at home as part of my bathroom decor but they actually work on my skin too, especially cult product Midnight Recovery Concentrate. I'm a very poor sleeper and some nights I hardly sleep at all and as I have quite problematic skin anyway, it is always in need of a little TLC. I've been using the Midnight Recovery Concentrate for a few weeks now and I honestly love it. It's made to replenish moisture in the skin and you only need a few drops on a couple of points on your face to cover most of your skin. I thought it was quite pricey at £38 but it's worth every penny for me and I still haven't even used a noticeable amount, despite applying it every night. It makes my skin look smoother, more radiant and in al a lot more glowy so that there's a much better base for my make-up to look more flawless too. It's quite an intense treatment so I usually just use it alone after cleansing unless my skin is really, really bad and if it is, I'll apply a thin layer of light moisturiser too just for an extra boost.
I suffer from terrible eye bags too so have been using the Midnight Recovery Eye Cream too along with the recovery concentrate and it's just as good as the concentrate. It really helps to get my eyes looking more, well, less dead, especially on a Monday morning when my alarm goes off! It is a bit pricey for such a small bottle but for me a lot of cheaper eye creams don't really make a noticeable difference like this one does. I've also got the Midnight Recovery Cleansing Oil which emulsifies to a milk with water and removes make-up but I haven't actually gotten around to trying this yet so stay tuned for that as I have high hopes!
Shop more of Kiehls products here.
So Pixi by Petra is a brand known and loved by most in the beauty blogging world and it is so easy to see why. Until recently, I had tried a few products from Pixi that I absolutely loved but I had absolutely no idea about the whole range of products the brand offers. I've been absolutely loving the collaborations that Pixi has released recently with some beauty and lifestyle gurus and some truly amazing products have come from this. The Pixi x aspynovard collab has brought out some absolutely fantastic highlighters and blushes and the Glow-y Powder in London Lustre has been on my cheekbones so much recently. They're so pigmented and really shine rather than glitter in the light like some highlights do and it's perfect for achieving the glowy "no make-up make-up look".
Another of the collabs I've been loving is the It's Judy Time release and it's mainly thanks to the It's Eye Time Palette. The matte shades are simply wonderful, so pigmented and easy to blend that even the least artistic people like me can create stunning make-up looks. The palette also has a few shimmery and glitter shades to so it's perfect for going out too and there's also a lip palette in the collection that I'm thinking of doing a giveaway with if anyone wants to give that a go!
Finally the Strobe and Sculpt Palette from the Maryamanyc collab is now a firm favourite of mine too. You know by now how much I love a good highlight and this palette is everything that I needed to contour my face on a morning. It has different shades for different skin tones and areas you're contouring and when using the brush too, it's super easy to achieve a really chiseled look with your make-up.
I've been trying so many other products from Pixi recently too but I don't want to cram them all into the same post so watch out for them in upcoming posts!
Shop more products from Pixi by Petra here.
Trilogy is a brand that I'd seen mentioned countless times on my Twitter and Instagram pages but was never one that I'd actually tried for myself so I couldn't wait to give some of their hero products a try. The Make-Up Be Gone Cleansing Balm was the first one I introduced to my skin and I was very pleasantly surprised. After moving on from face wipes to micellar water to remove my make-up some time ago now, I didn't think anything would replace it but I was so wrong. I use this in the bath and it not only does it remove every bit of my foundation (I do still use the micellar water to take off the last of my eye make-up) but it makes my skin feel lovely and smooth afterwards and is so gentle too. I massage it into my face and wash it off with a wet face cloth and it literally just melts away the make-up completely. The Mineral Radiance Mask has also very quickly become one of my favourite ways to treat my skin. I've always been a huge fan of face masks, not just for the benefits they have for your skin but also because of how relaxing and soothing they when you're feeling a bit stressed out. The mask is really thick and creamy but not heavy on the skin at all and it's been helping my tired skin unbelievable amounts while I've been moving house!
The Balancing Face Lotion is made up of ingredients such as green tea, rosehip oil and primrose oil and it's the perfect type of moisturiser for my type of skin, which can get oily yet dehydrated. This is one I'd use after the Midnight Concentrate I mentioned before if my needed some extra help and it's a great product to use on a morning before putting on your daily make-up.
You can shop more Trilogy products here.
I'm not sure if it's the vintage style top, the a-line denim shirt or my shaggy shoulder length hair but does this outfit not look like it would fit right in in Stranger Things? I feel like I could be an American high school student in an alternate dimension with this combination on and I'm not complaining at all. It's this kind of look that makes me realise how diverse my style really can be as I can go from looking like the biggest goth to the most feminine princess to an 80s teenager and in my opinion that is the best way for your wardrobe to be.