Seventeen makeup products you need

Have you heard the sad news?

I hate to have to be the one to break it to you but, Seventeen cosmetics, the makeup brand sold in Boots is being discontinued to be replaced by new cosmetics brand CYO (which admittedly does look pretty good… every cloud has a silver lining!)

However, I am genuinely devastated about this… I have talked a lot on here about how much I love their products here and here and felt like I had to write this what will sadly be, final post about just how great and affordable their products are.

To put a positive spin on this, all of their products are now reduced on the Boots website and in stores, so I thought I’d tell you about my favourite products from the brand, that I have tried, tested, used and loved, those that I really think you should stock up on before it’s too late. I know I will be!

Starting with my favourite Seventeen product, I encourage you all to try the Skin Wow 3 Way Highlighter/Glow/Primer. I have been buying these for years now, and always reach for this over similar high end products in my collection. As the name suggests, it’s a bit of a multi use product, which I use mainly as a highlight. I also really rate it as a glowy primer for underneath or mixing in with foundation. If you’re looking for something with a really impressive, almost holographic glow, then this is all you need. You can pat it on top of your foundation, along your cheekbones and brow bone for a really Instagram worthy pop of highlight. If you prefer something more subtle, wear it under your foundation for it to naturally shine through. I especially love this during the colder months when my skin can look particularly dull, it provides instant brightness.

The Seventeen product I have been using for the longest is their Instant Glow Cream Bronzer, which is in fact the only cream bronzer I own, and the only one I need. It’s really blendable, and easy to apply, and it gives the most beautiful glow of colour to the skin. I always feel like I look much fresher faced when I wear this and that’s the main reason it’s been my go-to for the past few Summers. It’s quite orange toned, so can look very fake, but when applied lightly, buffed out and applied to the areas of the face where you would naturally catch the sun, it can look really beautiful.
I much prefer using this to any powder bronzers, as there’s no shimmer, just a radiant finish to the cream formula, which sits beautifully on my skin even when I’m suffering from that dreaded dryness.

A product I use daily, and I’m not quite sure how I’m going to manage without, is the Define & Conquer Contour Kit. This comes in two shades, and for me, the light is just perfect for a natural, every day contour. Admittedly, I mainly use this for the bronzer, which is a beautiful matte shade that gives a natural, yet sculpted shadow to my face, which is just enough for daytime wear. The lighter shade is something I like to reach for to set my concealer rather than for a highlight, as it’s a really fine and lightweight powder that applies almost seamlessly onto the skin and will hold my makeup in place for hours.

If you’re in the market for an amazing dupe of the YSL Touche Eclat, then look no further than the Skin Wow Concealer. Not only does it look almost identical to the much pricier YSL option, but the product performs really well too… I wouldn’t say it’s 100% as good as YSL, but I’d say it’s around 90% there, and for the huge difference in price, I’d much rather use this. It provides instant brightness for the under eye area, it lifts the complexion and can be used to brighten and lightly conceal any dull, red or blemished areas around the face. Personally, I don’t reach for this to do the job of a concealer, but as a brightening or correcting tool, it’s just brilliant.

Finally, I’m kind of cheating with the fifth product, but I can’t pick just one… It’s the Mega Matte Lipsticks, yes the whole range! There are some beautiful shades in this collection, all of which have long lasting, highly pigmented colour pay off, are moisturising on the lips despite having a matte finish and once again, are a total steal! My personal favourites from the range are ‘Looking Buff’ (which is always in my handbag) and ‘Rioja Your World’ which are a lovely brown/nude shade and a bright red. Seriously, if you want to bulk out your matte lip collection, grab yourself the whole collection while they’re still available, and are so cheap – I’m sure you’ll love them as much as I do!

Is fashion blogging era over?

There’s been a rumour spreading around the blogging world recently, I’ve seen it mentioned in blog posts that I’ve read, I’ve seen it being discussed on all forms of social media and I’ve heard it in person, bluntly from someone’s mouth. If you look up the definition of rumour, I’m sure you are all aware, it’s something often related to a lie or a report of uncertain or doubtful truth. However, there’s something about this certain rumour that has made me experience a vast amount of emotion. Part of me feels sadness, I’ve experienced a little anger, some worry and even a little regret. Mostly though, I feel relief, relief that this is only a rumour, something that isn’t true and definitely something that we as bloggers, and readers of blogs, should all be ignoring.

This rumour I am talking about, maybe you know, maybe you’ve worked it out, but to clarify, I’ve heard a rumour that blogging is dying, that people don’t read blogs anymore, that Instagram is taking over and that soon blogs won’t exist.

I’d love to know your views on this and to have a discussion in the comments on this post, because I feel as though I have a lot to say on the matter, a lot more that I’ll be able to say in this post, so please feel free to share your views below. For now though, let me tell you what I think…

I don’t think blogs are dying. There, I said it. I don’t see how they can. I for one, love to read blogs, I also love to write my blog and I know I’m not alone in saying that. There are probably a million others who feel the same, so why would blogs be dying? Is it because of Instagram and the growth of the Insta-Influencers? Because, I too love Instagram, its fast, it’s instant, but it doesn’t mean that blogs have to disappear as Instagram grows, because really, they’re two completely different platforms. Who’s to say another platform won’t appear in the next six months, that we all sign up to and put effort into creating content for and building a following on, that doesn’t mean Instagram will die too!

In some ways I feel as though this rumour has spread by a way of scare tactics, because everyone knows that blogging is more common now than ever before. When I started I was a fish in a small pond of others, and now we’re all drowning in this overcrowded ocean of bloggers, all fighting to be noticed, all fighting to survive. Years ago bloggers helped each other, but I notice more and more how the community is predominantly a battle to become the most successful. Simply because people start blogging for completely different reasons to why we chose to start blogging a decade ago. It was so innocent back then, we did it for fun, as a pass time and I’d go as far as saying almost every blog that’s started these days, is started with the intentions of some kind of financial gain, which to those of us who’ve been in the game for many years, is completely transparent.

My only other answer to this could be that it’s the people who don’t put effort into their own blogs starting these rumours, and just because you’re not getting the traffic, doesn’t mean that others aren’t. Please don’t take this as me saying that if your stats are falling, that you’re not putting effort in, because that isn’t what I’m saying at all, however I do believe that you get out of things what you put into them.

Personally, I find blogs a go-to source of information on a daily basis, whether I’m looking for a product review, somewhere to eat or inspiration for interiors, you can always find the answer on a blog. I do think that blog commenting has suffered recently, I know my blog doesn’t get half as many comments as it used to, however, I get people chatting to me about my posts on Twitter & Instagram DM’s, and as this is a much faster, more instant way of contacting me, I do get it – Although I can’t help but miss the comments!

I’d love to hear what YOU, my blog readers think, preferably in the comments!

Do you follow me on Instagram too, or are you purely a blog reader?

As a reader of blogs, the majority of people I follow on Insta, I also read their blog… Sometimes I want a good sit down, a good binge read and that’s where I look to blogs over any other social media. I find it more of a luxury to read a blog, more relaxing and overall a more enjoyable experience. With Instagram, it’s a fast flash of info, if I only want to know where someone bought that top, that’s when I go to Instagram over their blog.

It genuinely makes me sad to be seeing more and more magazines closing down, with Look being the latest victim to the demise of print media, probably down to bloggers more than anything else if I’m honest. Which is even more sad because Look used to promote bloggers so much, and personally they helped me massively, it’s awful that it’s gone full circle and ended up finishing them off (amongst other factors I am sure). And I do guess that this could add fuel to the fire and the rumors that blogs will be next. When it comes to me though, I’m putting it out there, my blog isn’t going anywhere! It’s a huge part of my life, and hopefully will continue to be for a very long time.

To sum up, I don’t think anyone has to stop blogging, just because their stats aren’t the highest they’ve ever been, that really shouldn’t be what it’s all about anyway. Do it because you love it, that’s why we all started doing it in the first place, right?!

Home Sweet Home…Manchester

A few weeks ago, we went to Manchester for the day and from the moment we had decided to go I was straight on Instagram looking for places to visit for food… Tell me I’m not the only one who does this! Instagram is such a good tool for this kind of thing though an it didn’t take long before I discovered Home Sweet Home. I was instantly drawn in by their burgers, shakes and cakes, I showed the pictures to Robbie & Elodie and it soon became a bit of a no brainer that this would be where we’d be eating.

They have one HSH in the Northern Quarter, which is the one we went to, and another in the Great Northern Warehouse. We visited on a busy Saturday afternoon, on probably the hottest day of the year, greeted at the door by a really friendly waitress and were asked if we wanted to sit inside or out… Obviously I was hoping for lots of interior shots for this post, so we opted for inside.

The main, front area to the restaurant which houses the bar is vibrant, has an instantly electric vibe about it and is really welcoming, there are also a few smaller rooms behind, which is where we were taken as the main room was pretty full. Unfortunately, the most photogenic part of Home Sweet Home is the cool, bright and quirky front area, so sadly I missed out on snapping that for you, but I did take a couple of shots of the area we were in, a small room with no natural lighting (great for photos!) and a till point where staff seemed to enjoy congregating.
As the name of the place suggests, it does have a homely feel to it, it’s quite industrial and miss matched, with different styles of seating, a mixture of tables, brightly coloured wall art and retro lighting, I really liked the overall feel to the place, it feels trendy yet welcoming and family friendly, which is always a bonus in a big city.

We were given our menus, and had our drinks orders taken while we browsed what to have to eat. I was a little annoyed that we were given an adults menu for Elodie… I didn’t even realise there was a separate child’s menu, until a table was seated next to us and I noticed them reading out different options to their children. By this time we had already placed our food order, so it was a bit of a pain.

It took me quite a while to decide what to order from the Lunch menu… There were a lot of options which I loved the sound of, some from the ‘Brunchy’ section of the menu and some from the main. In the end, I was a little greedy, and due fancying something savoury, but really wanting to try the Oreo pancakes, I ended up ordering two courses!

I had been on a bit of a healthy eating kick before coming to HSH so I tried to be careful not to order too much. I chose to go with the Piggy Piggy Fries as a main (not healthy what so ever, but they sounded too delicious to leave!), and then I just had to try the the Oreo Pancakes for after. Robbie put me to shame by ordering the avocado on toast and Elodie just wanted some chips.

The food didn’t take long to arrive at all, and actually came before the drinks, which we had to wait a little longer for. Everything looked really great, and I loved how it was presented. My fries came in a basket, Elodie’s chips were in a cup and Robbie’s avocado was served on a retro style diner plate.

The Piggy Piggy Fries were really tasty, curly fries with wonderdust, bacon, bacon mayo and bacon rain – A strange yet intriguing description if ever I read one! Broken down, they were topped with a slightly spicy mayo and crunchy bacon bits, and despite them being incredibly naughty, I really enjoyed them.

On the menu the avo on toast was described as ripe avocados tumbled with house dressing, leaves, soft poached egg and smoked chilli on sourdough toast. Unfortunately Robbie really didn’t enjoy this, the avocado was very chunky and hard, the poached egg wasn’t runny and he said it was just very underwhelming and didn’t compare to the version we make at home, despite it looking really great on the plate.

When it came to the main event (obviously my pancake), it didn’t look how I expected. I had pictured a stack of pancakes, and it definitely looked more like a pizza! It was huge, but I wasn’t complaining, although I knew there was no chance I would be able to eat it all. It suddenly made sense why it was called the Oreo-M-F-G Pancake! I’m not going to lie, this tasted good, but it somehow managed to disappoint me. It wasn’t overly chocolatey as it was a plain pancake with Oreos crumbled into it, and even then, there didn’t seem to be many Oreos in it. The dreamcheese frosting on top was really tasty, but seemed like the only bit adding much sweetness to it and for £9.50 I was definitely expecting something more.

Elodie loved the little chocolate milkshake that she ordered, which came looking super cute with whipped cream and a cherry on top. I can’t remember exactly what I ordered to drink, it was something cherry from the soft drink menu… It looked equally as good as Elodie’s, but tasted very sickly sweet, it reminded me of the cherry Haribo sweets, so I left most of it.

All in all, we weren’t very impressed with Home Sweet Home. It was very overpriced, service wasn’t good and the food was a bag of mixed reviews that got more of an overall thumbs down then anything else.

Have you been before? I’d love to know your thoughts… And please let me know where we should go for food next time we’re in Manchester!