Thursday, 30 January 2014

Benefit Lollitint Launch Event!

This Monday I really needed a little pick me up to drown out the Monday blues and what better excuse than the Benefit Lollitint launch in Bristol?

I met up with my pal Holly from Summer Holly Day earlier in the day for a mooch around the shops and then we headed over to the launch, where we met up with some lovely other beauty bloggers (Claire from Desperate Blogwife, Emma from Faithfully Emma and Jayne from Miss Jayne Becca),  for an evening of Benefit chat!

The lovely girls from Benefit talked us through the two newest products, the Lollitint lip and cheek tint and the POREfessional: Agent Zero Shine face powder, and then gave us a little demo to show us how both products work. After that they tested the products out on us so we could see the results for ourselves!

Lollitint and Agent Zero Shine

Lollitint is Benefit's newest cheek and lip stain and it's a very different colour to anything they've released before; a bright pink that's perfect for the warmer months we (hopefully) have on the horizon! This is a product with major staying power, when they say it's a stain they mean it's a stain! The swatch from my hand is still lurking around, so this definitely won't fade after you apply it.

I have to admit I was a bit sceptical about the Agent Zero Shine powder, especially taking the price into consideration, but it really did minimise my pores so I was pleasantly surprised. It isn't something I'd personally pay that price for but it did impress me a lot more than I thought it would - maybe one for the birthday wishlist? Lollitint is a great multi-use product and I really liked the way it looks on my lips; I'm not usually a big fan of liquid lip tints so this was another nice surprise.

After testing out the products we gathered around the counter for a natter about Benefit and the products they offer - did you know Benetint was the first product the company sold, and it was developed to help a pole dancer in San Francisco who wanted something to make her nips appear darker? I'm not even lying, I swear.

It was so interesting to hear about the history behind Benefit and find out how long some of the products have been on the market; Dr Feelgood is one of the longest running products, as well as High Beam. I asked the girls what discontinued product they find people requesting a lot and the 10 box o'powder was the unanimous answer!

I had a really great evening getting to find out more about one of my favourite brands and also getting to meet some lovely local bloggers - I want to say a huge thank you to Benefit for putting on the event and being so welcoming and friendly!

The very lovely Benefit ladies!

Monday, 20 January 2014

Take Three: Primers (Seventeen, Benefit, Smashbox)



Hello and a very happy Monday to you all! For today's Take Three I'm looking at primers, which are something I've added into my routine relatively recently.

Up until about six months ago I'd always assumed primers would clog my pores, dry out my skin and generally wreak havoc on my skin. I'd been using the UD Primer Potion under eye shadows for a while but somehow it just didn't click that the same benefits could apply to my face make up, if only I'd take the plunge to try a primer. 

The first one I tried was a Body Shop mattifying primer, which did a pretty good job and since then I've become a true convert and have built up a little collection. They aren't something I use every time I wear make up but if I know it's going to be a long day or I'm likely to get good and sweaty (ie if I have to do any kind of slightly strenuous activity, like moving at all) I always turn to a primer and, luckily, all of the ones I've tried do the job. Some are obviously better than others, though, so I've picked three out of my make up drawers to compare for you today.

Note: The Seventeen and Benefit primers are both full size but the Smashbox pick is the travel size

I'm going to be taking a look at a few different formulas with three primers I'm trying out, as there's so much on offer so I wanted to touch on a few different types of product. My picks for today are the Seventeen Flawless Poreless Primer, Benefit Porefessional and Smashbox Hydrating Primer.

First up, Seventeen Flawless Poreless Primer:


This one has a thick consistency and when I first purchased it I was worried it was going to be too heavy for my skin and would end up drawing attention to my pores rather than hide them. However, once you get the product out of the pan (it can be quite difficult to get the right amount as it is quite a stiff product) you can warm it up in your hands and it takes on a more creamy formula.

It's the usual beiege coloured primer and does give a nice finish but I do find I have to take a little more time to work this one into the skin than I do with some of my other primers. A big plus, though, is that this one keeps my skin looking fresh throughout the day and stops foundation clinging to any dry patches later in the afternoon. I do have some dry skin on my cheeks during the winter so this is a really important one for me.

I've used this one a lot over the last three months and have only hit pan right in the middle, so you definitely get a lot of product for your money and it's a total bargain at £5.99. While I wouldn't necessarily rely on this one for a night out, it's a great option to use during the day.

Second, a favourite among bloggers, the Benefit Porefessional:


I'm a big Benefit fan so I was always keen to try this one out, especially after reading an overwhelming amount of positive reviews on so many different blogs. This one was firmly at the top of my wishlist for 2013 and I finally bought it in October, hooray!

Of course, the packaging as the usual Benefit flair and does add to the enjoyment of using it. Does anyone else get a little burst of happiness from opening a project that looks so damn cute? Maybe it's just me.

Anyway, Porefessional comes in a squeezy tube and is a thick cream (again, the usual tan colour of primer). This is so smooth and when I apply it it makes my skin feel like satin. It creates a smooth, even base which is perfect for your foundation to glide on and create a flawless finish.

This one has real staying power and it's what I spent a long time turning to for any nights out or long days, as I knew my make up wouldn't budge. However! There is one drawback... this isn't 100% if you have dry skin. Even though it creates a lovely, silky finish I do find that it makes me skin a little dehydrated on days when it's already extra dry. I don't think this product particularly dries my skin out, because it's a problem I already have, it just doesn't help to hydrate it - but then again, it's not supposed to. It's the only thing that stops this being the top primer in my stash - and that's only when it's judged against the next offering I'm going to talk about.

Ah - the missing piece in my dry skin saviour routine, the Smashbox Hydrating Primer!

Note: This is only the travel size

I knew I wanted to try one of the Smashbox primers but there were so many to choose from I couldn't decide - until I spotted the hydrating option. My skin definitely feels drier the more make up I put on so if I get all geared up for a night out and have the works on my face I can really feel my skin crying out for a bit of extra hydration. Plus, I really wanted something that would help to remove any dry patches, instead of just hiding them. I'd heard good things about this primer but I wasn't completely convinced until I tried it for myself - at which point I kicked myself for not buying the full size version!

This is the thinnest primer I've used, coming out of the tube as a runny light blue cream. It doesn't have the silky feel that most primers have, it just feels like a thin moisturiser. I apply it all over my face and it sinks straight into my skin, without me needing to blend it or work it in at all. As soon as it's settled in my skin looks radiant, even and ready to face the day!

Make up goes on so nicely over there and it gives an amazing finish. It makes everything look natural and aids with the dewy glow everybody is always after - even heavier foundations appear radiant on top of this. It lasts and lasts all day without my skin drying out at all - and I always notice my skin feeling nice and moisturised after I've used this. It's just an all-round winner!

BONUS:

The Smashbox primer wins this round but I have actually devised my own perfect primer - if I mix a dash of Porefessional into the Smashbox Hydrating primer it creates the ULTIMATE base. 

Benefit Porefessional and Smashbox Hydrating Primer - the Batman and Robin of the primer world.

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Bare Minerals Marvellous Moxie Lipstick in Never Say Never


Bare Minerals is one of those brands that I've always passed by and I can't quite put my finger on why. I guess I've probably always thought of mineral make up as a bit lacklustre and, dare I say it, boring - but then this lipstick popped into my life and completely changed my mind! 


I've said it a gazillion times and I'll say it again - PLEASE Sephora, reopen in the UK! I bought their Give Me More Lip set while I was in America last year and it came with a whole host of different lip products from a range of different brands; like a chocolate variety box but so much more exciting. 
One of the lipsticks in the box was the Bare Minerals Marvellous Moxie Lipstick in Never Say Never. It was one of the full sized products and I was immediately drawn to the packaging, which is shiny and black and has a lovely heavy weight to it. It opens with a fancy silver snap that slides back into place to close the lipstick. It's all very swish and I'm pleased to report the contents inside are just as fancy as the packaging.
Never Say Never is a punchy, vibrant pink with a beautifully creamy finish. It's so moisturising on the lips I can wear this, even on my dry lips, without a lip balm or anything.
The colour is BRIGHT, a bit like a dialled down Candy Yum Yum with a moisturising finish. It stays put for ages and ages and, thankfully, wears evenly to avoid the whole 90s Pamela Anderson lip liner look after a few drinks. Once the colour fades you're left with pink stained lips so this is a surprisingly low-maintenance lipstick. Colours this bright usually make me nervous about the upkeep but this is an absolute dream to wear.
This has completely changed my mind about Bare Minerals and I cannot wait to add more of these lipsticks to my stash - I've got my eye on a couple of more neutral colours next!

Monday, 13 January 2014

Take Three: Mascaras (Benefit They're Real, Lancome Hynpose Drama, Rimmel Scandaleyes Retro Glam)

For today's Take Three installation I'm having a look at three mascaras that I've been using lately - Benefit They're Real, Lancome Hynpose Drama and Rimmel Scandaleyes Retro Glam. 


Packaging:

The Benefit and Lancome mascaras are both sample sizes I got in a Sephora mascara collection but they're both more or less the same as the standard packaging, aside from the bottle shape. For packaging I think the Lancome offering is the sleekest and the black and gold always looks nice. While the packaging of all three doesn't extend far beyond a generic mascara tube, I think I'd pick the Lancome Hynose if I was going on packaging alone.

So, aesthetics done, shall we take a look at each one in more detail? I've tested each one on lightly curled lashes, with one coat only:

Benefit They're Real


As you can see this one definitely elongates my lashes and enhances the eyes and with a couple more coats this really does have a huge effect. However, my slight gripe with this one is that it makes my lashes quite long and straight rather than curly - I think curlier lashes look more natural so I don't think this is one to go for if you want a natural look; this is one for a big night out, big lashes look.

While this elongates my lashes more than any of the other choices, this one feels the most like I'm wearing mascara. It does weigh my lashes down and if I touch them they feel a bit crispy and rigid, which does worry me a little!

This is one of the best mascaras I've used for staying put and not flaking or leaving lack smudges under my lower lashes, which is something I often suffer with. This is a pretty awesome mascara and, while I don't think it deserves *quite* as much hype as it gets, it is one I think I'll always have in my make up drawers.

Lancome Hynpose Drama


Oh wow, I love the effect this one gives my lashes! This is a very recent addition to my make up routine and within a couple of uses I knew I'd be buying the full size as soon as my sample size runs out.

This formula holds a curl so, so well and my lashes look the same twelve hours after application, not a single bit of flaking or smudging. With two coats of this my lashes look huge and curled - I love it.

What I love most about this mascara is how natural it looks, while other mascaras might make my eyelashes look longer than this, I prefer a more natural look and Lancome Hynpose Drama makes lashes look full and curled, rather than fake. For me, this one's an absolute winner - I might love it as much as my trusty Seventeen Doll'd Up mascara, though this one does carry a heftier price tag.

Rimmel Scandaleyes Retro Glam


This is the first mascara I've tried from Rimmel and I was pleasantly surprised - the £6.99 price tag did make me wonder if this would stand up against Benefit and Lancome but this is definitely a great product for the price.

It does lengthen my lashes quite significantly and I really like how it looks on my bottom lashes in particular. I'm not bowled over by what it does to my upper lashes but it's certainly enough for a day time look; I don't often wear mascara to work or during the day but if I'm popping out for lunch or something this is perfect to apply in a jiffy.

This doesn't last as long as the other two mascaras but it will certainly get me through six hours or so before it starts to smudge a bit. It's easily removed as well, which always makes me happy, as scrubbing my eyes at the end of the day is never a good thing!

Comparison Shot


So there we go, which one is your favourite? 

The Lancome Hypnose Drama is my pick of the bunch because I love the formula and the gorgeous, natural curl is gives my lashes. Benefit They're Real packs the biggest punch for a night out and, just because it's not high end, that doesn't mean the Rimmel offering isn't without merit - this is a great choice for an every day mascara that does the job you need without the big price tag.

Friday, 10 January 2014

Creamy Chicken Pie Recipe


As I've mentioned before, I love a good pie! This is one of my favourite recipes and I've spent the past couple of months perfecting it - and I think this is the best version. My boyfriend asked me to try and recreate a chicken pie he had during his childhood and, finally, I've nailed it.


For two large pies:

  • Diced chicken breast (500g)
  • Sweetcorn (100g)
  • Double cream (150ml)
  • Chicken stock
  • Shortcrust pastry (buy ready made or make your own, whichever! Personally, I’m hideously lazy so am using pre-made for this recipe)
  • 1 egg (to glaze the pastry)
  • Butter (to grease the pie dishes)
  • Cornflour (to thicken the sauce, if required

Cooking Steps:

1. Cut the chicken pieces to desired size - I like to leave mine quite chunky

2. Melt butter in a pan and add your favourite herbs - rosemary and thyme are my picks


3. Once the butter is melted add the chicken and cook slowly on a low heat for more tender meat




4. While the chicken is cooking thoroughly grease the pie dishes and lines the dishes with pastry


5. Add your chicken stock and sweetcorn to the pan and stir thoroughly. I’ve tried a few different stocks and I’d recommend going for something lower in salt as some I’ve tried are way too salty and be a bit overpowering. Fresh stocks are my favourite (Tesco Finest is the best I’ve tried) but can be a bit pricey




6. After the chicken has been simmering in stock for a few minutes add the double cream. I tend to just chuck the whole lot in to make the pie super creamy but it’s totally up to you, depending on how creamy you like it




7. If your sauce isn’t quite as thick as you’d like you can add some cornflour at this stage but add a little at a time as it does suddenly thicken up


8. Once the chicken is cooked through you’re ready to make your pie! Pour the mixture into the pie dish and top with a pastry lid - seal it carefully and make a small slit in the lid. If it’s your bag then go nuts and do some fancy crimping around the side!




9. Top the pie with an egg glaze and then pop in the oven for about 25 minutes on 180, or until your pie is thoroughly cooked - times will need to be adjusted depending on the size of the pie




10. NOM THE PIE - but any leftovers are great the next day for lunch!






Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturising Gel




Today I wanted to talk to you guys about a lovely, light moisturiser I've been using for the past couple of months. It's one I grabbed in a last minute dash to Sephora while I was on holiday and I'm so glad I decided to go with this one, as my skin absolutely loves it.

It's the Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturising Gel, which also comes in a thicker lotion formula. I was looking for something nice and light to use as a day moisturiser under my make up, so decided on the gel formula. I've never used a gel moisturiser before but it's the perfect consistency to soak quickly into my skin and give it that little boost that I so often need in the mornings.

My skin is dry, particularly in the winter months, so I was a little worried this wouldn't be hard-hitting enough but I was pleasantly surprised. A light application before I put my make up on in the morning keeps me hydrated throughout the day and any dry patches that have appeared overnight are diminished.

A little of this goes a long way and I've been using it almost daily for two months and still have about two thirds left in the tube - I bought the smaller size as well so I'm really impressed!

The price of this is moderately high (£17 for this size tube) but for the usual Clinique high quality and how long it lasts I wouldn't hesitate to repurchase this. It's a perfect day moisturiser and, while it isn't dense enough to rescue my skin as a night moisturiser, I'll definitely continue to enjoy using this.

Monday, 6 January 2014

Take Three: Red Lipsticks (MAC, Too Faced, Make Up For Ever)



Hello everybody! It's the first Monday back to work after Christmas...major sad face. I hope all of you manage to have a good day, despite work.

Today I wanted to share with you a comparison post about three red lipsticks I currently own: MAC's Ruby Woo, Too Faced's Red Stiletto and Make Up Forever's N45.

Sometimes I feel like I really love a new product I'm using...until I compare it to an old favourite and often it doesn't quite stand up to the oldies but goodies, so instead of reviewing each of these separately I thought I'd pick them apart side by side and see which one rules supreme.

I'm fairly new to sporting such bright reds on my lips and I know it's pretty much the most daunting lip colour (except Candy Yum Yum, perhaps?) so I've picked a range of finishes and colour intensities so hopefully there'll be something for everyone.

So, up on the hit list today we have Make Up Forever Rouge Artist Natural in N45, MAC Lipstick in Ruby Woo and Too Faced La Creme in Stiletto Red:


Packaging:

Although you shouldn't judge a book by its cover, a pretty aesthetic to go with the product inside is never a bad thing. So let's have a gander.

The MUFE is a mini but it's a replica of the full size version and I'm not blown away by the packaging. It's not a total fail but there's nothing inspiring about it. It also doesn't feel particularly luxurious and doesn't look any fancier in my lipstick rack than MUA's offerings.

Ruby Woo comes in the classic MAC bullet and I think I'm always going to love this packaging. Sleek, neat and stylish, they just look great.

However, for me the winner in the packaging stakes has to be my Too Faced pick. I've fallen head over heels for this entire range of lip sticks and have a growing collection (Stiletto Red is the newest addition, incidentally). It feels deliciously heavy when you pick it up and it's nice and slim, making it easy to pop into even the teeniest of clutches. The lid closes nice and softly and these come in such a lovely box (click here to have a look - it really is a gorgeous design), it's almost a shame to unbox them.

Now, let's take a closer took at the formulas and wearability.

First up, Make Up Forever:


Formula:

The formula of this is billed as hydrating and initially is does feel moisturising on the lips. However, I did find it start to dry out quite quickly once I'd applied it. The colour is much more sheer than it appears in the bullet - it came out quite pink on me and definitely wasn't the vibrant, intense red I was hoping for.

Wearability:

Unfortunately this one isn't particularly long-wearing, which I think is a major must for red lipstick. When I've worn it in the past with lip primer and lip liner it's stayed for maybe 3-4 hours but without that it's gone within a couple, which is a shame.


Formula:

One of the most loved shades in MAC's repertoire, Ruby Woo is a staple in so many cosmetic bags and it's so easy to see why. Bold and bright, it will always make a statement and the matte formula gives it that little something different.

As it's a matte formula it can be a little drying but I haven't found it a problem on my usually dry lips, as long as I use a good balm. It can be a little tricky to apply perfectly as I find it's quite dry in the tube but once it gets going it has a lovely velvety texture.

Wearability:

This one lasts and lasts, which is great. I've worn this for a whole day of work before and barely had to touch it up, which is an absolutely godsend. For me it'll last through the odd drink from a bottle of water and a quite breakfast without smudging - though on a night out I don't think it would fare quite so well. Unfortunately, once this smudges, it really smudges and good luck trying to remove the tell tale red smears from around the corner of your mouth!


Formula:

The formula of all of the Too Faced La Creme lipsticks is creamy and hydrating, a bit like a high quality version of the Revlon Lip Butters. I'm absolutely head over heels for these and this red shade is just gorgeous. The formula is just great - moisturising enough to avoid the dreaded 'red lipstick settling into the lip flakes' and with a lovely glossy shine to finish.

Wearability:

The best thing about this lipstick is the wearability. It's a perfect red for anybody who doesn't have time for constant touch ups and is a dream for those who wants to swipe on their lipstick at the beginning of the day and not look at it again until lunch time, or even later. This will last on me for hours and hours and wears into the lips naturally, so once it fades it still looks pretty. It does stain a little bit as well, leaving your lips looking flushed right until the end of the day.

And for a true comparison, here's a side by side shot
My favourite of the bunch is undoubtedly the Too Faced Stiletto Red; it's low-maintenance, lasts for hours and is a great red for my pale skin and blue eyes. It works perfectly with a natural eye but I'm very tempted to pair it with some smokey eye action on a night out - who says you can't do bold lips and eyes at the same time? Pah!

Ruby Woo is definitely the one to make people stop and stare but it also requires a higher level of upkeep than the others because of the matte finish. It's absolutely worth checking it if you haven't before, though, as I find myself reaching for it time and time again.

Unfortunately I was pretty disappointed with the Make Up For Ever choice. It's not the worst red lipstick I've tried but it's a bit wishy washy colour-wise and the formula isn't the best. As I said, with lip primer, lip liner and the works it lasts nicely but against Stiletto Red and Ruby Woo, it's at the bottom of the class.

So, which of these is your favourite? Have you tried any of them before? Tell me, what reds do you think I'm missing from my make up bag?


Friday, 3 January 2014

Lush The Hair Doctor


If anybody asks me my favourite physical feature I think I'll always say my hair. I like having long swishy hair that I'm trying ever so hard to grow until it's mermaid length. I've been growing it for a couple of years now but it's only in the last few months I've been actively growing it - before that it was just that I was too lazy to trim it. We've reached boob length; we're going to full on Disney Princess waist length.

The obvious drawback to having long hair is that it's hard work to keep it in good condition. I'm lucky that it's naturally straight so I rarely use heated styling tools which helps to keep it in pretty good condition, it's only through blow drying that it's subjected to heat damage.

But I have a confession. I brush my hair when it's wet.

CUE SHOCK AND HORROR.

I know, I know. It's a terrible thing. But these locks are long and getting knots out is a complete bitch if I wait until it's dry. And so I've spent the past, well, ever gleefully stretching and snapping it every time I wash it. By the end of the year I was starting to wince every time I brushed it wet, as I could physically feel the strands stretching and then breaking. My ends were wispy and my whole head of hair was heavy and lifeless. It was getting greasy so much faster than normal and nothing I could do could make it nice and shiny. Adding new products into my routine made it worse and I was at a bit of a loss at how to improve the condition of my hair again.

Enter my wonderful mum, who bought me some Lush goodies for Christmas, including the Hair Doctor fresh hair mask.


Duh duh duh - I put it to the test on my woeful hair and, do you know what? IT WORKED.

I slapped some across my whole head, focusing mostly on the roots and ends and left it to work its magic while I relaxed in the bath. Twenty minutes later I washed and conditioned as usual and I knew straight away it had worked. Even when wet my hair felt clean, soft and tangle free. When I dried it, however, I almost did a little jig. Jigging over my hair looking nice? Yup, flying the flag for shallowness over here, my friends!

Simply put, Hair Doctor transformed my lacklustre, heavy hair into something bouncy and shiny. And, most of all, CLEAN. Like all of the crap had been stripped out and washed down the plughole. Goodbye ratty mess, hello swishy hair! It smells gorgeous too - pepperminty and fresh.


I love this product with a passion. I've got a hell of a lot of hair and I think the small pot I have will equate to about four masks. I'm going to do one a week so it works out a really reasonable price per month to keep my hair in lovely condition.

Another mammoth win for Lush!

Oh, and in case anyone was wondering - I got a Tangle Teezer for Christmas so my hair is now spared the horror of me dragging a brush through it when wet!

You can buy The Hair Doctor for £6.95 online here or in Lush stores.


Wednesday, 1 January 2014

New Year, New Look!

So, as you may have noticed, I've had a little redesign!

My lovely boyfriend has been working on a website for me for a couple of months now and I'm so excited to show it to you all. January 1st was always the day I wanted it to go live; new year, new look and all that, so I'm really pleased it's all up and running.

As my online presence has been a little scattered lately I thought one central hub to host all of my projects would be a great idea and I'm so happy with the results. For a little preview take a look at the picture below but give it a click if you want to see the whole thing - it has links to my blogs, as well as a section for my novels and writing services. It's pretty swish!


I want to take this opportunity to say a huge, massive thank you to my boyfriend, who has worked so hard on this and created something absolutely perfect. It's exactly what I pictured in my head and I can't wait to start using it!

2014 Blogging Resolutions

So the ball has well and truly dropped and 2014 is upon us! There's something so lovely about a brand new year, isn't there? It's a clean slate, a fresh start and the opportunity to turn over a new leaf and make some really positive changes. Although, every day is a good day to make a change, there's nothing like a new year to kickstart plans.

1. Interact More with the Blogging Community:

This year I've really loved making friends with so many wonderful bloggers and this is something I want to continue in 2014. You're a lovely lot but sometimes I don't feel like I chat to people as much as I could - instead of taking part in the #bbloggers chats when I have time I want to prioritise them instead.

2. Say 'No' More:

As always! I have quite a lot of commitments in my life and in 2013 I well and truly burned out and couldn't cope with the pressure I'd put on myself. I often find myself getting guilted into committing to things I don't really want to do so this year I need to get serious about this one and, if this is the right word, I need to be a bit more selfish and really think about what's best for me, rather than trying to keep everybody else happy to my own detriment. Sometimes it's okay to be a bit selfish!

3. Stick to a Skincare Routine:

I firmly got into a skincare routine in 2013 and I want to continue with this in 2014. Not a day goes by where I don't take my make up off and moisturise (et al!) but I'd like to experiment with other skincare products out there - I have a huge wishlist so I gradually want to try out some more high end products.

4. Experiment More with Make Up:

I feel like this one is on everybody's list but it's definitely a good one. I got into a bit of a 'smokey brown' eye look in 2013 and while I like it, I want to try more colours and different styles. I experimented a lot more with lip colours last year so I want to carry on with this, as it's great that I now have the confidence to head out for the day sporting a spot of Ruby Woo!

5. Keep Photo Albums:

I was very lucky to be given a gorgeous camera for my birthday in December so 2014 is going to be the year of photography for me! Instead of leaving my favourite shots languishing in a folder on my laptop I want to make the effort to print out my photos and arrange them in some albums or in collages on my walls.

6. Do More Quality Things:

Now, I'm a terrible sucker for spending an afternoon surfing the Internet instead of actually going out and doing something useful, so I want to spend more time in 2014 going out to new places with my boyfriend, taking my dog on different walking routes and watching the movies and reading the books I've had on my list for years now.

7. Be Healthier:

Yup, this old chestnut. Boring as it is, it's on my list. I know I'm not particularly healthy and this is something I always want to change. I feel like now's the time I'm really ready to make some great changes and I can't wait. My boyfriend is a big gym fan so he's going to help whip me into a fitter version of myself! While I do want to lose weight I want to do it healthily and in a way that's enjoyable. I love cooking and I don't want to give up lovely home-cooked dinners so this year it's all about balance. I want to tone up, improve my fitness, get enough sleep, eat wholesome, yummy food and enjoy having the energy to bound out of bed in the mornings!

So there we have it! My resolutions for 2014 - hopefully I can stick to them. So tell me, what's on your list?

New Year's Eve 2013 face!