Wednesday, 10 February 2016

25 Life Lessons

Hello all! Today I turn 25. Yep, I'm a whole quarter of a whole century. That's a real, adult age, isn't it? I probably shouldn't still be living at home. Some elements of my life aside, I do feel like mentally, I'm finally as close to a grown up as I ever hope to do, especially compared to teenage Sophie. Here's 25 lessons that I've learned so far in life...

1) Be unapologetically curious. Travel as much as your finances and lifestyle will allow. Order that weird dish on the menu that you've always wondered about. Go to that museum you've always wanted to. Go to the cinema alone. Watch independent films. Walk the scenic route. Go everything and try everything you get the opportunity to.

2) Having regrets is not a bad thing, just as long as they don't consume your life. Use your regrets to push yourself forward rather than to feel bitter about your past. I regret going to uni (which I blogged about here) but I try and use it to motivate me to never regret a 4 year per duo of my life again. 

3) A loving and supportive family (blood or otherwise) are not a given. Not everyone is as fortunate, so if you have a loving and supportive family, appreciate them every day. If you have good people around you, you'll probably be okay.

4) Stand up for yourself. If you follow me on social media, you probably know I can be a bit of a gobshite from time to time, but years of relentless bullying in primary school taught me that biting my tongue only leaves me feeling angry, frustrated and invisible. If I feel strongly about something, I want to share it. On the same note though, I've also learned that picking my battles is important too. 

5) Being passionate is priceless. Whether that's passionate about social injustices, feminism, LGBT issues or politics, beauty, fashion, sport, food, literature, art, film, music. Literally anything at all. Passion can't be faked so if you truly feel passionate about something, do everything in your power to keep that flame burning.

6) The mainstream is just as valid as the obscure. If you love One Direction, that's great. If you love some unsigned local band that nobody's heard of, that's great. If you love both, that's great. One is not better than the other. That being said though, keep an open minded to the underdogs and know that success and fame isn't always the direct result of talent and hard work.

7) You are probably under appreciated. Everyone is under appreciated. A lot of people deserve better. Success is not an inevitable result of hard work and you don't always get what you deserve straight away. Or ever.

8) When you're given opportunities, take them. When you're invited somewhere, go. Take absolutely everything you can out of life. As cliche as it sounds, its the things you don't do that you regret.

9) Sometimes it's okay to buy the handbag just because you want to. Just not every single day. Happiness from material possessions is fine in small doses but not when that's your only source of happiness. 

10) Be aware of what's going on around you. Learn about politics, in your own country and in others. Explore current affairs out with the BBC news at 10pm. Read blogs and online articles as well as newspapers. Educate yourself on issues of class, race, gender, sexuality and age. You can never be too informed. 

11) Appreciate people. Take interest in them. Remember their name. Remember what they were talking about last time you met and ask them about it. Thank them. Compliment them on their character and their personality as often as their appearance. People are wonderful.

12) Take a lot of photos of everything. Don't feel bad for being caught I streaming your burger. Don't delete the unflattering photos from drunken nights out. Write things down. Doodle. Keep those sentimental receipts and concert tickets. Document your life. 

13) Helping to make other people feel good about themselves will in turn make you feel good about yourself. Build others up.

14) There's no shame in forward planning or being organised. Make to-do lists, plan ahead, start a savings account, have a pension plan. They might never need them, but there's no harm just in case.

15) Give what you can. Whether that's just a smile or a compliment to a gloomy looking stranger, bringing a friend a chocolaty treat when visiting them, or giving to charity when you can - time or money. Who doesn't want that warm fuzzy feeling inside? Make someone's day.

16) Don't feel bad about loving yourself. Knowing you are talented isn't cockiness. Knowing you are beautiful isn't conceited. Celebrate yourself, your successes and your achievements. Knowing your worth is priceless. Society teaches women that they'll never be good enough. Teach yourself (and others) that you are good enough. You're great, in fact.

17) Even if you could please everyone, which you can't, you probably wouldn't want to. Learning that some people's opinion of you, your life and your decisions just simply do not matter is both important and empowering. 

18) Don't be late. It's really not that hard. Just forget that being late is even an option.

19) Form your own opinions of people. There'll always be people who you love that everyone else hates, or people that everyone else loves and you secretly can't stand. Don't let other people's perception of people put you off. Get to know people for yourself before you decide whether or not you like them. 

Remember too that it's okay to admit you were wrong about someone, positively or negatively. You have complete and utter control over which people stay in your life. If someone is dragging you down and you'd be better off without them, get rid of them. Life is too short to spend it trying to tip-toe around people who you know you'd be happy without. You deserve better.

20) If you're waiting around for something to happen, you'll be waiting forever. Wear your favourite sparkly top on a Tuesday just because you feel like it. Order a double vodka rather than a single, who cares? Apply for that job that you're probably under qualified for. What's stopping you? Take a chance.

22) Friends come in all shapes and sizes. You'll meet the best of friends in the most unlikely places. I'm a firm believer that everyone comes into your life for a reason so appreciate their presence.

21) Most people don't have life all figured out by their twenties. Most people don't even have life all figured out by their sixties. It just gets easier to not care.

22) A birthday text or Facebook comment is not the same as a hand written birthday card sent in the post. Send birthday cards. Send thank you cards. Send sympathy cards. Everyone loves receiving a card and they're a good excuse to visit Paperchase. Presents are good too, even just little silly things.  

23) Know that it's worth spending a little more on some things. Personally, I don't mind spending a little more on good shoes, decent skincare, quality sleepwear and concert tickets. I'm yet to regret spending a few extra quid on any of them. 

24) Going out is fun. Staying out all night partying is fun. Sleep is fun too. Being in bed with a hot water bottle by 10:30pm on a Saturday night is fun. Don't feel guilty for enjoying either.

25) Don't be a dick. Just be nice. It's literally that easy.

Cheers to the next 25...!

Monday, 1 February 2016

January Favourites

Is it really February? Like, c'mon now. It was just New Year like, a week ago? January has been rubbish month if I'm being completely honest, I had a big confidence knock when I didn't get a promotion I was in line for and that combined with just the general bleakness of a 6 week month after the festivities, January has been pretty terrible. 

However, there've been a lot of products I've been loving so thought I should focus on that instead - enjoy!


The Make-Up Revolution 'Flawless' Ultra Professional Eyeshadow palette (£8)
As I mentioned in my '' post recently, I'm all about a red toned eye look at the moment and this palette provided endless options. Most of the shades are shimmers, but there's a few matte neutrals too. There's also a lot of gorgeous versatile golds and bronzes as well as a a few khakis, purples and berry tones. The colours are so pigmented for the price although I would advise holding a tissue under eye when you apply as the fall out isn't the best. 

MUA Bronzed Shimmer & Highlight Shimmer Sticks (£3 each)
At this time of year when my skin is at its driest, I prefer to stick with cream products where possible rather than powders and this contour and highlighting duo have been my go-to's. Although they're described as shimmer sticks, the bronzer is particular isn't very shimmer (although not completely matte either) and it's quite cool toned which suits my colouring. They're such an easy option for sculpting on a budget.

Freedom Make-Up Eyebrow Pomade in 'Ash Brown' (£5)
Ie already talked about this in my '' post too, so I'll keep this short. This stuff is brow perfection in a little glass jar. Buy it. Buy it now.

Laura Gellar Iconic Baked Scultping Lipstick in 'East Side Rouge' (£16)
Although nudes are my most worn shades, I do like a roses tone as a wearable every day alternative and '' is my go to shade at the moment. The colour is easy to wear and the rich, creamy formula insures it's comfortable to wear all day long.

Natural Collection Blushed Cheeks Blusher in 'Peach Melba' (£1.99)
Finally, a cult favourite. I think with such an emphasis on contouring and highlighting in makeup these days, blushers are often overlooked. I recently repurchased the Natural Collection blusher in 'Peach Melba' - a drugstore cult favourite. The formula is pigmented without being overpowering and the colour is so natural and really works wonders to contact the red undertones in my complexion.


Black circle necklace - £12.99, H&M
Blue & green enamel necklace - £14.99, H&M
These two necklaces have been my to-go accessories this month. For both being from the same shop and made up of 5 circles (I have a type, okay?!) they couldn't be more different. I love the chic, minimalism of the black one, simple but statement, while the enamel one is dressier and a great way to add a little colour to an outfit if you're a serial black wearer like yours truly.


This month, I finally read 'Girl, Interrupted' by Susanna Keysen. The film starring Winona Ryder and Angelina Jolie is one of my all time favourite films, and after years of wanting to, I finally got round to reading the book. It's more different to the film that I expected, but it's emotional but heartfelt reading. Due to the nature of mental health, there are parts of it that's quite triggering so read with caution, but it was really enjoyable too.

I've said it before and I'll say it again. I love Celebrity Big Brother. I don't watch the normal Big Brother but every series, I become completely obsessed with the celebrity one. I actually have a discussion post about it planned for later on this week, so watch this space. (Oh, and Stephanie to win!)

Adele's Carpool Karaoke. I love James Corden's carpool karaoke series, but my girl Adele took it to another level. I must have watched it at least 50 times. 

(Pardon the terrible photo - our seats were several hundred miles away from the stage...!)

This month, I went to see on my favourite comedians, Limmy, live. It was his first ever live show (catchily named 'Limmy Live') and it was so much better than I ever expected. Having followed his career since he made YouTube comedy sketches, it's amazing to see a local comedian sell out a huge venue like the Armadillo in Glasgow. I got my mum and sister tickets for Christmas so it was such a fun night.

Blogger Stuff & Interesting Reads

This month saw the launch of the Queer Bloggers. So often, blogging is seen as a hobbie for straight, white, middle class, CIS women, but that's just not at all true. Jenna, Jessica and The Dublin Feminist has set up a twitter account (@queerbloggers) to celebrate diversity and share LGBTQA+ content. You can sign up for the newsletter here and they're planning to start weekly chats too. Whether you identify as any element of LGBTQA+ or not, it's such an important genre (for lack of a better word!) which is so often overlooked in blogging. You should all check out.

The Complexity of Mourning a Celebrity Accused of Sexual Abuse
10 Ways the Beauty Industry Tells You Being Beautiful Means Being White

Phew! What a mixed bag! What have YOU been liking using, wearing, watching, reading, listening to, eating, drinking or just enjoying throughout the first month of 2016?

Monday, 25 January 2016

Why I Prefer Blogs to Magazines

It's no secret that women's magazines are toxic, spreading falsehoods and unrealistic expectations of how women should look, should act, should be. It's exhausting being a women when people still believe the utter tripe that these magazines promote and the warped ideas it leads to are extremely problematic. 

Recently, one of the worst offenders, Cosmopolitan, wrote this article entitled '15 things you should know before dating a girl who blogs'. I'm not going to link it. Google it if you're that curious. Published under their Love & Sex category, it was basically a list of damaging stereotypes about how lazy, shallow, cheap and mean bloggers are. Rude, incorrect and insulting at the best of times, but from a organisation who actually holds an annual blog awards in celebration of bloggers work? It's downright ridiculous. 

I have no problem in saying this article both angers and offends me. I have a full time job and blogging isn't currently, nor do I ever want it to be, my career, but that doesn't mean I don't work hard at my hobbie or deserve recognition for the hours of work I put in. Blogging is just as valid a career, hobbie or simply form of self expression as writing for a magazine (which I also do by the way, it's a tough life being this lazy!) so here's 5 reasons why I prefer blogs over magazines...

Bloggers don't sugar coat
If a product is rubbish, I'm gonna tell you it's rubbish. If a product is rubbish, a magazine is probably going to tell you it's great as they have a partnership with whatever brand. Bloggers show before and after shots, with and without the flash photographs, show the products on rather than just lying there. Magazines don't. Same with lifestyle, blogs feature realistic travel locations, homewares and meal ideas. Once again, magazines don't. 

Bloggers support the under dog
There's loads of amazing things I've discovered since I started blogging - products, brands, websites, music, films. Magazines present the 'big' thing of the moment which usually just so happens to be from a huge well established brand. Bloggers support the small businesses, the underdogs and the new brands in the block. 

Ever heard of the amazing makeup brand, Make Up Revolution? Course you have, their products are amazing, their range is hugely extensive and their products are so affordable that it almost makes it acceptable to buy five almost identical eyeshadow palettes in one trip to Superdrug. Chances are though, you've heard of them via blogging. Almost every beauty blog I read loves them, but I've never seen their products featured in any magazines as its valuable space that only long established, international brands can afford. If that doesn't go to show the influence of blogger opinion and purchasing habits, I don't know what does!

Blogging is more than just consumerism
Yeah, we like shoes and lipstick and skincare. We also like culture and travel and art and music and film and food. We have opinions on politics and social issues and feminism and health and parenting and pop culture and LGBTQA+ issues. We're more than just material possessions. I wonder how many women's magazines can say the same. Remember when Emma wrote about food bank donation? Or Rhian's important post on how to help someone who's choking? How about Lucie's post about rape culture? Or Katy's about self harm? Or Jessica's post about why LGBT pride is important? or Alice's post about being in an interracial relationship? Or Katie's post about living with a stoma? Or Laura's post about life as an expat? Or Holly's post on sleep paralysis? Or Sam's post on genders role in fashion? Or Kat's post about World Mental Health Day? How about Shona's post about returning to blogging after an operation or Kayleigh's post about living with OCD? I could literally go on all damn day. But nah Cosmo, you're right, we're all just dumb and shallow and materialistic with no real opinions and nothing worthwhile to share.

The Blogging Community
Despite what Cosmo thinks, there's way more to blogging than 'free' stuff, making your life look Instagram perfect and knocking out the competitions on the way to the top. Handy hint : it's not every bloggers life goal to be Zoe Sugg. We're a community. We share, we laugh, we encourage, we support and most importantly, we're friends before we're rivals. From Jemma's Girl Gang community, Katherine & Tara's Zusterchap community to Vix's Blogger Beauty Box to Florence's 'Love From...' magazine, featuring work from a whole host of amazing bloggers, to the Blogger Blog Awards. Giveaways, meet-ups, blogger chats, product swaps. The list of supportive projects and encouraging goings-on in the blogging community is endless. 

Bloggers builds people up, magazines tear people down
Although the body confidence movement is in full swing, the age old problem of women never being good enough is still rife in magazines. Although I rarely buy magazines myself, I do flick through them in the staff room at work and almost every page of Reveal, Heat, Cosmo and Glamour features comparisons between every aspect of women's lifes from their bodies, diets and fashion choices to their careers and relationships. Blogging however, as cheesy as it sounds, celebrates people's talents, beauty, creativity and talents. Have you read up on Olivia Cheryl's Project Self Love, Dee's Project Blog Smile, or Olivia Jade's post on bloggers who inspire her? Charlotte shares her favourite content each week. Becky does too. Aisling recently wrote about self confidence boosters and Amie has written about body confidence. Erin looked forward at which blogs she'll be reading in 2016 while Sade reminisced about her favourite blogs of 2015. Claire wrote about the importance of kindness in the blogging community (spoiler : it's very important!) and Nicole featured a list of underrated bloggers. Are you getting my point yet? 

I'm not saying there's no place for traditional media like magazines. They make great props for photos and seen as Cosmo thinks we all love our coffee so much, why not you it as a coaster? 

Friday, 22 January 2016

5 Beauty Treats For Under £10

Ahhh good old January! Definitely not the worst month of all! Everyone’s still feeling blotted after the festivities, most of us have broken our New Years’ Resolutions already and worst of all, we’ve all really, really skint. I know a 6 week month is good when you’re paid early for Christmas but by mid-January, it sucks so sad.

I don't know about you lot, but after months of navy, black, burgundy and dark purple nails, I'm so ready for a bit of much needed colour and Model's Own 'Purple Bandana' (£5) from their festival collection provides just that. It's so bright that it's almost neon but not quite and it's really opaque, quick drying and hard wearing too.

Next up, my first try of a brow pomade (whatever that word means, I'm still not entirely sure!) from Freedom Make Up (£5) I adore that it's somewhere between a wax and a liquid meaning that I can go for a natural look or a more intense 'power brow' depending on how light handed I am and the shade 'Ash Brown' which I've been using is the perfect cool-toned colour which is so hard to find in brow products. Although not under £10, I use the MAC 208 brush to apply it and once I have, let me tell you, my brows are on the long haul! 

A new addition to my life is NYX. I ordered a few products last week, including their matt bronzer in 'dark' as I've wanted to try their products for ages and thought as they're now availible via Boots online, why the heck not, eh? Although I'm pale, I ordered 'Dark' based on swatches on Google which is great for a super intense contour, but I also have 'Light' on it's way for a more everyday look. For £7.50, it's a great dupe for the Two Faced Chocolate Bronzer which is £25!

90’s make-up is everywhere at the moment, and I can’t get enough of warm toned eyeshadows, namely H&M’s High Impact Eye Colour in the shades ‘Cocoa Mauve' and ‘Wild Sable'. I’ve received a few H&M shadows before here if you fancy a full review, I just love how buttery soft and pigmented they are and these two shades together (‘Cocoa Mauve' across the lid and ‘Wild Cable' in the crease) is my absolutely favourite look of the moment. Brown lips complete the 90’s look and while normally Urban Decay’s ‘1993’ is my go-to brown, the Rimmel Kate Moss Nudes lipstick in the shade '48' is a great alternative, it's very rich in colour and so moisturising on too, plus it’s only £5.49 compared to £15.50 for Urban Decay!

What bargainous beauty buys have been getting you through the long cold month of January? Do share!

Friday, 15 January 2016

Mourning The Loss of a Celebrity

This week, the world lost two hugely influential and well loved British national treasures, music icon David Bowie and actor Allan Rickman. I've seen a lot of people who've been so incredibly broken by their deaths - friends, family, colleagues, other bloggers - but sadly I also know a lot of people who have laughed at people mourning the loss of a celebrity and questioning how you can feel true sadness and grief for someone you've never met. 

Personally, I can't say I've ever been a particularly big fan of either of them. I don't dislike either of them at all, but I think it would be fake to call myself a fan. I've only seen Alan Rickman in one film, Love Actually, which I did really like him in, but I didn't know much of this work, haven't seen many of his films and don't knew anything about him or his life. Last night in the news, they featured clips of him on stage in the West End which I didn't even know about, so to call myself 'a fan' would be hypocritical. Similarly with David Bowie. Having had a life long love of fashion and a keen interest in LGBTQA+ issues, I'm more than aware of how powerful his influence is. But personally, I didn't know or like much of his music. In fact, less than a week ago when '#UnpopularMusicOpinions' was trending on Twitter, I posted a few thoughts, one of which was 'David Bowie gets undeserving 'legend' status. He's not that great.' Although some probably think I should regret this tweet now, I don't. I can't and wouldn't want to take away his influence over any of his fans and it's obvious that he's very loved, but personally, to me, he was just another singer.

However, just because I personally wasn't huge fans of either, I totally get why other people are so deeply saddens by the news of their passing. A lot of the issue that people have with mourning the loss of a celebrity is 'You didn't know them, you'd never even met them, you only know the image that they chose to portray' which I don't think matters. Most people who mourn a celebrities passing don't claim to know them as people, but to know them as fans, to love their work and who'll miss their presence. In fact, as soon as I heard about Alan Rickman dying, my mind instantly thought of a friend of mine, a fellow blogger who is a huge Alan Rickman fan. I felt sad by the news for him, his family and his friends, but I also felt sad for my friend. My friend who I've never met. Quite ironic, eh? 

Handwritten tributes to Amy Winehouse on the roof of the ladies toilets of the Hawley Arms pub in Camden, London. 

I've been saddened by a lot of well known peoples' deaths, but two stick in my mind the most. Amy Winehouse was one of the first singer who I could properly identify with. She was weird and loud and rough around the edges and not conventionally attractive. Her music was honest and wasn't auto-tuned and not everything rhymed. I remember exactly when I found out she'd died. I was leaving work. It was closing time in the shop so the lift was full of people leaving too. They were discussing it, saying how young she was and how much their liked her music, but I couldn't worked out who they were talking about. Despite her demons, Amy never for a second entered my mind. It wasn't til I got properly out of the building that I could get wifi to social media that I find out my idol was gone. The ignorant comments about her addictions felt like someone pouring salt in a wound. I was devastated. I defended my love of Amy against all the people who called her a junkie or commented that maybe she should have gone to rehab. My mum was meeting me from work to go to Tesco, and we just walked around this huge empty supermarket in silence, in a daze, in shock. A few years prior to this, a friend and I had tried to get Amy Winehouse tickets, but decided not to when they were £120 each. We were both not working and this was a huge amount of money for concert tickets at the time. To this day, that is one of my biggest regrets in life and I now don't resent spending money on tickets for anything.

The second was Alexander McQueen. Alexander MCQueen was the reason I chose to take my love of clothes one step further and study a degree in fashion. My love for his work couldn't be more different to my love of Amy's. She was real and raw and honest, while McQueens was theatrical and beautiful and awe-inspiring. How somebody like McQueen's imagination could be that limitless is incredible to me. I remember the moment I found out he died too. I was in a lecture. My friend sitting next to me whispered it to me, I think someone had text her. I didn't have a phone at that time so I couldn't Google it to see. I had planned to go to the library after the lecture to do some work anyway but the time while the computer was logging on felt like an eternity. Finding out alone in a dimly lit silent library was horrible. I tried to stay and get work done but I just couldn't concentrate. Alexander McQueen was the unrefined creative mind I've ever known about and I was so deeply saddened by not only his death but the tragic circumstances of it that I just broke down. Crying for someone you've never met is very odd but completely valid experience. Last Summer, I made the 400 mile trip to London to visit the Savage Beauty exhibition of his work and it not only resinated with me how much he and his work mean to me, but also that when someone you don't even know means that much to you, mourning their loss, even years later, it's normal and okay.

Both the instances of me finding out of their deaths were so normal, so mundane, so everyday, they were just moments in my life, that exist completely independent to the people the news was about, but the news of these complete strangers dying crushed me. I was devastated. I cried for both. I've cried at occasions since for both. Both their works provided a level of escapism for me, so in a way, by not knowing them, it was even sadder. You see, the grief you feel when a stranger who inspires you dies is a completely different grief to when a loved one dies. It's the prospect of missing their influence rather than their company that's so hard. 

Death is a horrible, scary, heart-wrenching, gut-dropping thing to happen to anyone you care about. I've felt sadness, guilt, regret, emptiness and appreciation when a number of people have died, people know in real life and people I only wish I did. Regardless of your relationship with someone, in a world where we all need a bit of escapism every now and then, it's completely and utterly okay to mourn the loss of a beloved celebrity. In fact, it's more than okay. I think it shows that the arts can have huge influence and bring such positivity, inspiration and joy to people's everyday mundane lives.

Monday, 11 January 2016

January Sales Haul

Hello all and a very happy 2016!
I hope you all had an amazing New Year's Eve, whether you were out partying or snuggled up on the coach watching a film. Either way, I hope your night was great, and a sign of more greatness to come in the year ahead.

As it's just been Christmas, the blogosphere is full of 'What I Got For Chrismtas' posts which although I love reading, I don't personally like sharing myself. However, post-Christmas sale purchases? I'll happily share them!

Firstly, I bought some Fifi Lapin goodies from Boots. I've adored the Fifi Lapin blog and brand for years now, I find it so adorable and playful and quirky so when I saw on the lovely Claire's blog, Fine & Dandy, that they'd collaborated with Boots for their first Christmas collection (read more here), I knew I needed into on the action.

I bought the canvas tote bag (£12 reduced to reduced to £6) the makeup bag (£14 reduced to £7) and the little tin lunch box (£16 reduced to £8). The makeup brush comes with 4 brushes which are surprisingly soft and the tin lunchbox has some makeup inside - although I'll probably never use that!

In Boots, I also bought the medium Yankee candle in the scent 'Spiced Orange' reduced from £16.99 to £8.49. I love Yankee candles but am often put off by the price so like to snap them up when I can when they're reduced. This scent is from their Christmas range, but it's not too Christmassy, it's just generally a warm and sweet scent which I've already started burning. 

In The Body Shop sale, I bought two products. After buying the limited edition Glazed Apple body butter last Christmas, I fell in love with the scent so was super pleased when they brought it back this year. This time around, I bought the sugar scrub which was £15 reduced to £7.50. I used it in the bath the other night and it's lovely, very fragrant and a lovely thick consistency that leaves your skin so silky smooth. 

I also bought the Virgin Mojito body sorbet, reduced from £8 to £5. Ever since this scent was release back in summer, I've keep meaning to try it and never gotten around to it. My sister very kindly bought me the scrub of the same scent for Christmas, so I thought is buy the accompanying body sorbet. Although I love The Body Shop body butters, I love how lightweight the sorbets are which compliments this scent much better.

In Marks and Spencer, I found this amazing monochrome striped mini satchel. I think it looks really fun and quirky but still quite chic and I especially love the black metal hardware. It was £20 reduced down from £35.

While I was in M&S, I also had a wonder in their beauty department. I feel like compared to other department stores - House of Fraser, John Lewis, Debenhams - Marks and Spencer is often overlooked for beauty buys but they stock a ton of great brands like Burts Bees, Pixi, Emma Hardie, Eyelure, L'Occitane and Nails Inc. 

I picked up this limited edition Stila palette for £24.50 reduced from £49. It contained 4 blushes, a mini version of their HUGE Extreme Lash Mascara and 20 eyeshadows, ranging from neutrals to smokey shades to brights. I've never tried Stila products before but I've heard great things. The contents are worth more than £100 and the range of shades is so versatile, so I thought this might be a good place to start with Stila. I also think this would make a great palette for travelling as it continues a good selection of products for a lot of different looks.

Finally, in BHS, I bought these two vintage-inspired Hershey's tins, reduced to £3 each from £10 each. I think they look so quaint and cute and I love flat wide storage like this, it's perfect for a good rummage around in. They each came with two big bars of Hershey's chocolate in each but needless to say, they're long gone!

I do love post-Christmas sales, they're always such a good opportunities to grab a bargain, especially on limited edition products. Have you treated yourself to anything in the sales recently?