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I can’t say February is my favourite month but there’s no denying it’s an improvement on the horrid January. The more regular pay-days and slightly increased pot of disposable income is a definite plus, especially when it comes to trying out new beauty products. After a lot of experimenting, here are my favourite February makeup purchases;

1. MAC lipsticks are a cult ‘must have’ and with very good reason; whether you prefer the matt look or a moisturised, colour rich option, the brand have you covered. If you were to poll a group of MAC lipstick addicts, I’d bet £100 that at least half would list ‘Ruby Woo’ among their favourites. Up until a few weeks ago, I had not tried it – shocking, I know! Whilst I’m slightly ashamed of myself for this, I’m happy to say that I’m now a fully fledged member of the Ruby Woo fan club – I totally see what all the fuss is about. Typically I’m in the non-matt lippy camp so this rich red colour is an escape from the normal red, berry and burgundy tones I opt for. This is a great colour to pop on to take your make up from day to night effortlessly, or to simply vamp up your minimal, liquid liner look. My top tip would be to make sure you moisturise your lips first for best results – carmex works a treat! It’s easy to justify the £15.50 price tag for this classic item.

2. If one thing is true of any beauty or makeup addict, it’s the shared, common knowledge that a good lipstick deserves an even better liner. I firmly believe in not matching your liner to your lippy, and strongly advocate taking a bold step of going a shade or two darker with the colour of your liner – the depth of colour you’ll get as a result is well worth it! I opted for MAC’s Brick liner to wear with my Ruby Woo and so it seems only natural that this makes my favourites list as I now think of them as a complete pair. MAC lip pencils are £12.50 each.

3. This month’s beauty favourites is a MAC trifecta. I’ve been on the look out for a new concealer for as long as I can remember – it’s my troublesome product that I can never seem to get 100% right. Now whilst I can’t comment on how long my love affair with this will last, so far things are remarkably positive. The MAC Pro Longwear concealer is my third must-have product of February. As a lightweight, liquid concealer this is perfect for use under eyes thanks to the natural looking, matte finish. As another top tip, make the most of the 15 hour staying power by opting for a lighter colour than your foundation/skin tone to get the full brightening effect of an under eye concealer. For MAC customers, opt for NW tones not NCs for concealing dark circles. This is a bargain at £17.50 too – a little goes a really long way!

4. Most of you will know how much I LOVE Benefit’s BrowZings palette so this is my controversial February pick… I’ve been getting my brows tamed at Blink Brow Bar for the past few months and always have great things to say about them. During my last visit, I had an overdue look at their product collection and took a leap of faith with their Cinnamon Spice Brow Definer. I’ve always adored the combination of powder and wax on my brows, so I was a tad sceptical initially but this product gave me the precision I wanted with a gentler finish. Now I’m not saying that’s the end of my love affair with BrowZings – far from it – but I can see this becoming a permanent feature on my ‘low key’ days with a natural, minimal look. Unlike many traditional pencils this is easy to use and no annoying sharpening required thanks to the retractable nib – yay. I’ve got my eye on their felt pen brow definer too – I’ll report back on that soon. This product is also a steal at £15.00, compared to BrowZing’s heftier price tag.

Let me know your February beauty favourites in the comments below or any products I need to add on to my March wishlist.

Sincerely, Sarah x

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In the modern world, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed, overtired and at times far too stressed. It’s not healthy and every once in a while, the best thing you can do is be kind to yourself. The joys of ‘me time’ can take a variety of shapes from luxury spa trips to weekends away.

If money were no object you’d be spoilt for choice when it comes to your possible ‘me time’ activities but unfortunately that’s not yet the reality for many of us. Until then however, here are my go-to, activities for treating yourself on a budget.

  1. Have a long bubble bath
  2. Start a new book
  3. Change your bed sheets and catch up on your sleep
  4. Give yourself a facial at home – you could even make your own face mask
  5. Try out a new baking recipe
  6. Buy some fresh flowers – try a market to avoid paying premium prices
  7. Paint your nails
  8. Binge watch a new TV show
  9. Clean your makeup brushes – you can read my top tips here
  10. Try your hand at adult colouring books
  11. Invite your friends round for a girly evening and gossip
  12. Watch your fave vlogs on YouTube
  13. Rediscover your old playlists on Spotify
  14. Print your recent photos and make a photo album
  15. Organise your wardrobe and makeup collection
  16. Try out some mindfulness practice – apps like Headspace are a great starting point
  17. Exfoliate and moisturise head to toe
  18. Follow some hair and makeup tutorials online
  19. Light some scented candles and cuddle up on the sofa with a blanket and book
  20. Catch up on some celebrity gossip

If you’ve got alternative ‘me time’ suggestions you’d like to share, feel free to share in the comments below or drop me a message on instagram/twitter.

Sincerely, Sarah x

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I always have and always will love the feeling of having neat, well manicured nails.  You can have the freshest makeup, a perfect blow dry and a wonderfully elegant outfit, but if you’re sporting chipped nails, the overall ‘look’ just doesn’t work. Good nails are the final piece of any beauty puzzle and a great way to get creative. Professionally, I am always meeting clients, presenting to groups and shaking hands – having tidy nails is important.

Up until last year I always painted my own nails, usually with NailsInc, OPI or Essie polishes – the ultimate top 3! I know many friends who swear by gel manis, so I finally took the plunge in December and tried OPI gelcolor and it has quickly become my favourite beauty find of the moment.

Official Product Description:
OPI offer award-winning nail care products that no woman should be without. GelColor by OPI redefines salon gel polish services with durable, glossy OPI colour. GelColor is shine-intense, cures in 30 seconds and lasts for weeks!

Things I loved: Getting a manicure is the epitome of “me time” and any hour to yourself in a busy week is one to be treasured. The process of applying GelColour is repetitive; base coat, lamp, colour, lamp, another colour coat, lamp again…  and it’s something you don’t need to pay attention to. So whilst I admit, this isn’t a quality of the final product, I love the trip to the salon, which already makes the Gelcolor experience a positive one.

The quality of finish you end up with is in part due to the OPI products but also has a lot to do with the talent of your manicurist. I have had different technicians each time and can easily see that if the product is not applied with the attention to detail it needs, you probably won’t be thrilled. Luckily, I’ve always ended up with exactly what I’ve asked for in terms of shape and colour density. And the best bit, I’m delighted to have that effect last for 3 weeks +!

I also love the amount of choice you get when it comes to colours. For some reason, I thought I’d be limited to a select few shades but going through the swatches is good fun, even though it makes your decision that little bit tougher.

nq2Things I really loved: It’s hardly surprising that OPI is sold in over 103 countries worldwide and sells over 55,000,000 bottles of lacquer each year, the quality of the final product is exceptional. The colours are vibrant, application is easy and the staying power is truly astonishing.

The duration of your Gelcolor manicure does depend on the speed of your nail growth but I’ve easily worn mine for more that three weeks and could have made them last even longer. My record for traditional polish is four days, so this wins hands down.

A great tip is to opt for a colour you have as a nail polish, so if you can’t get to the salon you can quickly cover up the growth at home.

One of my bug bears with traditional nail polish is chipping – even when using good quality top coats. To this day, I have never had an OPI Gelcolor mani chip and I really do think this is revolutionary. For me the cost of the manicure more than covers itself when you can wear your shiny, perfect manicure for three weeks, chip-free!

Things I didn’t love: The closest I can get to a negative is having Gelcolor taken off. I did try to remove my last gel mani myself and it was an absolute nightmare – I’ll post about that another time. Whilst it’s tempting to avoid the salon and try a DIY removal, don’t do it! Nobody wants to wreck their nails through a botched job and technicians are the ones with the products and experience to do the job properly.

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Purchasing options: Check with your local salon for pricing but as a guide, I pay £25 for removal and new gels, although you can get them much cheaper if you don’t live in London. If you want to buy the products yourself and do them at home, you can. OPI lamps, polishes and base/top coats are available on Amazon. The red glitter nail is the OPI Gelcolor shade ‘I’m Not Really A Waitress’ and the burgundy tone is called Malaga Wine.

Hope you’ve enjoyed this review and if you’re yet to try your first Gelcolor mani, do it and let me know how you get on in the comments.

Sincerely, Sarah x