Liz Earle Young Skin Try Me Kit [Product Review]

I'm an absolute sucker for tiny little kits full of sample sized products. I never like to own just one thing from one brand, I like having lots of different things from lots of different brands. I'd say it's for comparison purposes but in all honesty, it's probably just greed! So, when I read the 5739396th review saying that I needed Liz Earle's Cleanse and Polish in my life, Liz Earle being a brand I had never tried before, I was delighted to see the little section called "Travel and Try Me Kits" on the website. Obviously, I chose the Young Skin Try Me Kit over anything else. Although aimed at teenagers and I'm now well into my 21st year, my skin still looks and feels very much like it did throughout my teenage years. It's oily and highly blemish prone, so I think products aimed at teenage skin are quite effective for me. In this lovely little kit which was just over £20, I received the cult favourite Cleanse and Polish with a muslin cloth, the Instant Boost Skin Tonic Spritzer, a Skin Repair Light Moisturiser and a Deep Cleansing mask with sponges for removal. All this came in a lovely little bag and I even received an extra free sample size Cleanse and Polish.

I found this to be a great little introduction to the Liz Earle brand and I'm so happy I purchased this. It came beautifully packaged which is something I always appreciate. It also comes with a handy guide on how to use the products inside which is good, because I'm still not 100% what toner is actually supposed to do so it's handy having a guide telling me at which stage to use it. The first step of the Liz Earle routine is to remove makeup and cleanse your face with the Cleanse and Polish. I know I'm not the first person to say this and I know I won't be the last, but oh my gosh, how amazing is this product? First off all, I am absolutely head over heels for the smell of it. It makes me feel so calm and safe, I really like it. I can't put my finger on what it is exactly, but it's something I want to smell time and time again. Secondly, it's super gentle yet still manages to remove every trace of makeup. The clothes give just the right amount of gentle exfoliation and it makes makeup removal an easy and actually enjoyable task.

The second step of the Liz Earle routine is to tone using the Instant Boost Skin Tonic, which comes in a handy little spray bottle in this particular kit. As mentioned, I'm not sure what this product is actually supposed to do, but nevertheless, I enjoy using it. This too smells divine, and it's lovely and refreshing to spray on your face, with a pleasant cooling sensation.

Finally, you apply the Skin Repair moisturiser. I'm not really a big moisturiser girl at all, but this one is pretty nice. It's light and doesn't leave my skin feeling terribly oily as I find most moisturisers do so it gets thumbs up from me. It also doesn't break me out and yet again, it smells very good.

One a week, I like to use a face mask as part of my weekly pamper night, and I absolutely adore the Liz Earle Deep Cleansing Mask. It's a clay mask and you guessed it, it smells good. The condition it leaves me skin in is great. Straight away it looks brighter and my skin just feels so normal when I take it off, I really love it. The next day I've always got significantly clearer skin and it's always a breeze to apply makeup. After the Cleanse and Polish, this was my favourite product in the kit.

Overall, this is definitely something I would recommend to people with a similar skin type to mine and a desire to shake up their skin care routine. While I'm still undecided about whether I will buy full size tonic, moisturiser and face masks yet, I know that a full size Cleanse and Polish will definitely work its way into my life at some point.

What do you think of Liz Earle?

Emerald Rose

Outfit Details:
Jacket: Missguided
Top: Topshop
Disco Pants: eBay
Boots: eBay
Ring: Temporary Secretary

Makeup Details:

One thing I will say now is: get used to seeing my disco pants. I'm being really incredibly lazy with my style at the moment and it means my disco pants are getting a serious amount of wear. In fact, I tore them the other day and need to stitch them back together I've been wearing them so much! Definitely going to be buying a backup pair and another pair in a different colour at some point. Anyway, back to this specific outfit. This is what I wore for my Benefit makeover and as I mentioned in that post, I had to be up really early that morning. My aim was to go for an outfit I could literally just throw on with ease but I also wanted to look reasonably put together as I always feel silly with a full face of makeup on and then scruffy clothes! This green Topshop pussy bow number is excellent for that. It's really easy to style and looks great with a skirt or shorts, but it also looks great with disco pants or leggings meaning it's a favourite choice of mine for when I want to look chic with minimum effort. Sadly, I accidentally tumbled dried this top so it isn't in the best condition it has been, but it's still wearable thankfully. It just means the pussy bow isn't as fabulous as it used to be. 

I feel like I haven't given my new(ish) Missguided jacket enough air time yet. It's amazing. Missguided posted a picture of it on their Instagram before it was released onto the site and from that moment I knew I had to have it. When it eventually arrived on the site, it was slightly more expensive than I could justify so I crossed my fingers and hoped it would still be there when I was feeling more frivolous. As you can see, it was. The one thing I will say about this jacket is: size up if you buy one. I'm pretty tiny in all honesty, and Missguided clothes are usually slightly on the large side for me but this jacket doesn't fasten very easily! Other than this though, it's perfect. I love the floral tapestry print and the leather sleeves set it off really nicely. I was worried I wouldn't be able to get a lot of wear out of it, but I'm proving myself wrong as usual and to be honest, I like it that much that I'd rather own it and only wear it rarely than never own it at all. 

Do you like statement jackets?

My Benefit Makeover

Products Used (all Benefit, of course): 
Boing Concealer
Ooh La Lift
Hello Flawless Foundation
Hervana Blush
They're Real Mascara

So, for Christmas, my amazing stepmum not only treated me to some Benefit goodies, but she also sent me for a makeover too! I was so excited when I realised this and a few weeks ago, it was finally time for it to happen. Now, before Christmas, I'd never had my own Benefit products before and while I knew how much I liked the ones I received for Christmas, I wasn't prepared for just how much of a Benefit fan girl this makeover was going to leave me. In case you were wondering, the items I received for Christmas were the Sugarlicious Cheek and Lip Kit and the Porefect Radiance Kit, reviews of which will be coming soon.

On arrival to the Benefit counter in Debenhams, I was greeted straight away and asked to take a seat. My makeup artist asked me what products I already owned and whether there was anything specific I was wanting to try out that day. I mentioned I had been eyeing up the Hervana blush for a while now and she said she could use it on me but she didn't have any in stock to sell me, which made me a bit sad, as I'd had my heart set on it, but hey, I will own it one day!

After asking what my skin type was (oily), my makeover began. She started with an application of The Porefessional over my T Zone and chin where my oiliness is at its worst. I have yet to use my own Porefessional so I was really excited to finally see this product in use. It is nothing like the other face primers I've used and was pleasantly surprised to see it certainly does minimise pores hugely and it created a great canvas for the rest of my makeup. After the Porefessional, it was time to apply the Hello Flawless foundation. Now, over Spring and Summer I decided that I hated liquid foundations with a passion and started using mineral foundations religiously. This meant I wasn't really expecting anything much from this foundation, but I ended up being pleasantly surprised. It gave full coverage yet still left me with a lovely dewy finish, and shock horror, it was still there when I went to remove my makeup at the end of the day.

After primer and foundation, she applied two products: the Boi-ing concealer and a product called Ooh La Lift, something intended to brighten my eye area. Obviously the concealer was applied to my blemishes and under my eyes, but she also added the Ooh La Lift to my eyes. I loved these products. I had to get up for an appointment very early that morning and I'd headed straight to my makeover afterwards and these too completely disguised the fact that I'd had a rough night and early morning. The last few steps were as follows: she set my base with Hello Flawless Powder on my T Zone. She then added a wash of Hervana to my cheeks, which, I was delighted with, it's still on my wishlist! Finally, she added a lick of They're Real Mascara to my eyelashes.

I ended up buying the Boi-ing Concealer and the Ooh La Lift eye brightener she used on me because I literally couldn't believe the difference they made and I can't stop thinking about the other products now. I've always been someone who believes that mascara is all the same stuff in different bottles but after seeing They're Real in use, I can tell you: believe the hype. I am definitely going to pick this up when I pick up Hervana, and probably a few more things too! To top my trip off, I got a free cute Porefessional makeup bag with my purchases, it's pictured above. 

So, that's how I became a total Benefit convert. What do you think of Benefit?

The Vixen Thinks: Be Brave!

The Vixen Thinks is an almost weekly feature on this blog. Posts vary in topic, I'll talk about anything I have an opinion on! From blogging to relationships and anything beyond. If there's anything you'd like me to write about, feel free to get in touch: theglittervixen(at)gmail(dot)com! Thank you! 

I'm currently at a very interesting time in my life. I graduated six months ago and in that time I have been unemployed for three months, working part time for three months, I've been denied my dream job, realised that wasn't my dream job even remotely, finally got myself within reach of a graduate job, turned down said graduate job and am now facing an absolute crisis because I've realised that the path I've been going down hasn't been my path, it has been the path everyone else has been telling me to take.

In my third year of university, I started telling everyone I wanted to be a journalist just to get everyone off my back. In fact, I spun the journalist line so many times that I started believing it. When I wasn't even interviewed for the BBC Journalism Trainee Scheme after spending literally months preparing my application, I cried for two days. Eventually though, I realised how horrific I would actually find working in journalism, at least when it came to broadcasting the news anyway! I still have a little soft spot for the idea of magazine journalism. When people started realising I wasn't even remotely trying to be a journalist anymore, they started asking again: "what do you want to be when you grow up?" I didn't know, so I found a list online of typical career choices for English graduates and started spewing random job titles out. PR and Marketing was my favourite but I'm still not sure that's exactly what I want to do.

This article however, isn't about me. I talk about my experiences because they've helped me realise something so important, something that I think a lot of other people would benefit from hearing. I have been trying to force myself into this decision because it's what other people expect of me. My mum wants to know when I'm moving out again. People who want to make small talk have no idea what to ask a graduate other than "what next?". So I've stressed myself out, trying to come up with a career plan, spouting off random job titles and even applying for jobs with these titles just to please other people. In all the time I've spent wasting applying for jobs I didn't want and was never going to be happy in anyway I could have just spent that time figuring myself out and what I really want.

People expect you to go to university because you want a good job. Success tends to be defined by graduating with a good grade and then settling down into a cushy graduate scheme. People tend to view me as unsuccessful because I'm currently working part time in a shop that has absolutely nothing to do with my degree. In fact, the other week and old teacher from high school and sixth form came into work and made a snide remark about the fact that I was working there. The thing is though, working where I work now is perfect for me right now and I'm slowly realising that the opinions of others do not matter. Just because everyone expects you to go to university and then settle down in a "good" job, it doesn't mean that is this is actually successful. I believe you define your own meaning of success but I think a lot of people will agree with me when I say success is doing what makes you happy, regardless of what others think about it.

It is hugely damaging to the self to do things only to satisfy other people or to do things simply because they are the "done" thing. A few months ago, I found myself going through all my old posts on Tumblr and Twitter and wildly deleting huge amounts of them. Anything that suggested I was irresponsible with money, anything suggested that I had any other moods besides happy and upbeat, anything that a prospective employer might find in the slightest bit dubious, I have deleted or made private. I did this, because I was scared of the effect my internet presence might have on job applications. I've since realised this is absolutely ridiculous. I don't think anything I share on the internet is seriously bad. I've made the odd poor judgement and Tweeted or made a Facebook status when I probably should have stayed quiet, but I always recognise when I've crossed a line and delete that. However, the stuff I was deleting a few months ago was anything that suggested I was an actual human being and I think it's quite pathetic that I felt like I had to do that. I don't want to work for anyone that wouldn't want me to work for them if they found out that sometimes, I am having a really hard time and I don't always deal with that in the best way. I don't want to work for anyone that would dismiss my application because oh god, I really bloody like shopping and spend perhaps more than I "should".

This isn't me refusing to "grow up" as I know a lot of people think, and have actually said to me, is the case. While I understand you should exercise judgement about what you post on the internet, I think the fact that I know people who use their maiden names on FB so their employers can't find them or people that aren't allowed to be pictured with a drink in hand is just one step too far and it doesn't sit well with me at all. In fact, I'm well aware that by posting this today, I'm probably completely injuring thousands of chances I had to end up in some corporate job but hey, my posting this is me saying "I really don't care", it's me forcing myself into a position where I have to be brave enough to create my own path in life. To me, growing up isn't about "sacrifices" at all, it isn't about working all day every day in a job you hate just to buy things you don't need. Growing up to me is realising you don't have to do what ANYONE tells you to do, you do not have to do what anyone expects you to do, growing up is working out what will make you happy and going out and doing that.

Apologies for stating this article isn't about me, and then proceeding to waffle on about nothing but me, well done for making it this far!

E.L.F Personal Blend Mineral Foundation [Product Review]

The E.L.F Personal Blend Foundation is a slightly more expensive foundation from the E.L.F Mineral range. It features four different shades of their signature mineral foundations in one little pot with handy little compartments so that no shades get mixed together. The idea is to build your own perfect custom shade each day that it is perfect for your skin tone. I have the shade light, which features the shades porcelain, fair, light and beige. It's £8 and it's an absolute bargain.

This is hands down my favourite foundation I have tried so far. I absolutely adore it. It gives surprisingly good coverage to say it's only a powder; without sitting on your face or feeling like a second skin as I find many liquid foundations do, this sinks into skin beautifully, evening out your skin tone and covering many flaws. Because you can customise the shade you get, it's always perfect for my skin tone providing I'm careful with the darker tones in the pot and you get a fair amount of product to use too. The lasting power of this foundation is fairly good too, I can get around 4-6 hours out of it before it needs touching up.

Like everything, this product isn't perfect. Due to the nature of lose powder, it's very messy! I like that the compartments mean that the shades don't get mixed up but it's also quite fiddly to actually get to the product and as I said, it creates mess! This is a minor issue for me and it doesn't detract from the quality of the product itself. I don't think there's any way to avoid the fact that loose powders are never going to be the tidiest of products. At £8, you can't expect miracles and to say that for a while, I was convinced I was going to have to spend a significantly larger portion of money than £8 to find the perfect foundation, I not only love this product for me, but would recommend it to others too.

I've fallen a little out of love with the E.L.F Personal Blend Foundation recently, simply because I've been favouring my much thicker BB cream during this horrible wintery weather! However, I can feel my love rekindling itself now I've written about it so no doubt this product will be gracing my face every day again soon.

What do you think of mineral products?

Fox Army

Outfit Details:
Scarf: Topshop
Jacket: Missguided
Jumper: Missguided
Shirt (underneath jumper): Missguided
Skirt: Lipsy
Leggings: H+M
Doc Martens: amazing, lucky Oxfam find!
Jewelry: all H+M, with the orange fox ring from the children's section

Makeup Details:
Face: E.L.F Personal Blend Foundation in Light, E.L.F Mineral Blush in Joy, E.L.F Mineral Booster in Shimmer
Eyes: E.L.F Studio Eyeliner and Shadow Stick in Green/Moss, Rimmel ScandalEyes Eyeliner in Nude, Rimmel ScandalEyes Mascara

This is hands down one of my favourite outfits of the moment. These photos are from the first day I ever wore it and I've worn it 3 or 4 times since then, with very little modifications except once I swapped the skirt for my disco pants. Why do I love this outfit so much? It's not the prettiest outfit I own or even the most flattering, but I love the way it turned out and it's just so goddamn comfy. For the first time in my life, I've finally found an outfit that has the balance between comfort and practicality while still feeling like I look good.

The military trend has been very prominent this past season and I'm glad I jumped on the bandwagon. I think khaki is quite a flattering colour on me, and I love adding military elements to outfits like my Doc Martens and the leather panels on my skirt. Although I had been planning to buy the jumper and shirt for a long time, I didn't think of actually pairing them together until they arrived and I think it was a good decision. The jumper was the unexpected gem in this particular Missguided haul. Although I wanted one similar to this for ages, it wasn't until I saw the size of it and just how good the quality is before I was completely sold on it. It's so soft and the photos have failed to pick up just how great the colour of it is, there's lots of different shades of khaki running through it and I'm seriously so pleased with it. As for my tapestry jacket and my incredible fox scarf, I think they really complete the outfit for me.

I was definitely proclaiming my love for E.L.F with this particular days makeup! I received the eyeliner and shadow stick in a goodie bag months ago and I haven't used it all that much but it just so happens to go absolutely perfectly with my new jumper and shirt so it's a little more popular with me now. As you can see, I kept the rest of my makeup pretty basic.

I wore this outfit for a trip to the Royal Armouries which is a museum in Leeds housing weapons from throughout history. It's actually super interesting, for example, the final picture is a real vampire hunting kit! People actually seriously believed in them and "vampire hunters" would carry these kits for protection. I personally found it fascinating. There's a special exhibit in there at the moment that's all about swords used in the Lord of the Rings films. I absolutely loved seeing those as I'm a huge Hobbit and LOTR fan. One of my favourite childhood memories is my dad forcing The Hobbit on me (and like most books he recommends, I love it) and then reading LOTR to me as my bedtime story. If you're ever in Leeds and stuck for something to do, check out the Royal Armouries because it's free and I found my military themed outfit oddly appropriate for the day.

What do you think of the military trend?

The Vixen Thinks: Bragging, or Just Being Grateful for What You've Got?

The Vixen Thinks is an almost weekly feature on this blog. Posts vary in topic, I'll talk about anything I have an opinion on! From blogging to relationships and anything beyond. If there's anything you'd like me to write about, feel free to get in touch: theglittervixen(at)gmail(dot)com! Thank you! 

Blogging has certainly created an interesting culture, a culture that many would describe as a culture of bragging. I see bloggers accused of bragging because in the interests of full disclosure, they state that the items in their latest outfit post were given to them for free. I've seen it called bragging when people are able to buy more than one lipstick to review on their blog. I've seen bloggers who are too scared to talk about what they got for Christmas out of a fear of seeming like they are bragging. The thing is, I really think this is ridiculous. You'll never see me accusing anyone of bragging, especially not a blogger who simply wishes to be honest and provide enough content for their readers! In fact, when I see other bloggers complaining about other bloggers or people commenting on the blogs of others saying things like "God, how do you afford all this? I wish us normal people could afford all this". I just think to myself "shut up." To me, accusing people of boasting and bragging just smacks of jealousy. 

I am not a well known blogger. At most I get 100 page views a day. I do not get contacted by PR people and the only free stuff I ever get is when I make the most of a special offer. I buy all my clothes with my own money and bar some makeup I get on birthdays or Christmas, I buy all my own makeup too. Yet I don't sit here hating on other bloggers because some of them do get stuff for free. It's a fact of life that some people out there will seem to have it better than you do, and I am quite aware of this fact and I accept it. It annoys me that if bloggers did not have disclaimers, if they did not disclose when they didn't pay for an item, everyone would get all up in arms about it! I find it laughable that if said bloggers didn't "spend so much money buying so much stuff" you'd complain they never posted! It's really quite hypocritical.

At the end of the day, if you can afford an internet connection, you're a lot better off than the majority of people on this planet. In the Western world, it's largely about what you choose to afford. (Actually, you choose everything that happens in your life anyway but I'll save that for a separate post!) I, as a blogger, choose to manage my money in a way that means I can afford ridiculous hauls now and then because that's how I like to do things. I imagine other bloggers do things in much the same way! I see other bloggers get asked how they afford things on places like Tumblr, and they always respond with things in pretty much the same way: "I go to work". Yeah guys, it really is that simple. There's no need to act so scathing when they Instagram a picture of their latest buys. It makes you look bitter and jealous, which is silly really, because I'm sure if you gave up having that Starbucks every day or cut down on your electricity bills, you could probably afford a new NARS blusher too.

Now I know that some of the things I've said in that last paragraph will piss a lot of people off, the truth hurts baby ;) But seriously, that aside, if you really can't afford high end makeup or to regularly restock your wardrobe, there's absolutely no need to hate on other people who can. I was unemployed for over three months last Summer and it sucked, it really did, but I never left hateful comments on the blogs of other people who could afford things. What would be the point? Spreading negativity like that doesn't make you any richer and it doesn't make you feel any better either. Now: my situation has changed and I regularly treat myself to little bits and pieces, and yes, I talk about the bits and pieces on here and even Instagram pictures of my new treats. Am I bragging? You might think so, and you can call it what you want, but the way I see it, is I'm just reminding myself of how lucky I am. I am telling the world how grateful I am for the things I have and the opportunities I get. When I see other people doing the same, I see it as them expressing gratitude rather than bragging and because I feel that way, other people don't annoy me. It's great to express your gratitude!

My final point is: I carefully construct the image I present on the internet. I edit certain parts of my life out so that the internet never actually sees things that are in reality, a huge part of my life. In general: I hide it when bad things are going on in my life. I've put that in bold because it's really important. Because I deliberately construct a certain image of myself to broadcast online, you can be very sure that other people do too! Us bloggers seem to have charmed lives because that's what we want you to think. Yeah, I might post pictures of all the things I buy and all the great food I eat, but what you don't see are the days where I don't eat great food. You don't see the days where I spend all day in bed. You don't see the days where I am actually very, very unhappy with my life and myself. This applies to other bloggers; it might seem like all they do is eat at Nando's and buy new cosmetics, because that's all they choose to share on the internet! It doesn't mean that they don't have financial worries or that they're really happy all the time, not at all. Those of you who criticise them would do good to remember this. I know that like being a celebrity, choosing to blog means opening yourself up the judgments of other people, but this doesn't make it right to expect everyone to live up to your personal criteria of how a blogger should present themselves.

Do you have any opinions on this subject?

Collection Lasting Perfection Concealer [Product Review]

Ah, the Collection Lasting Perfection Concealer. One of these most hyped products I have ever seen on beauty blogs! Previously to purchasing this, I was always loyal to the Rimmel Hide the Blemish Concealer. As far as I was concerned, it did the trick beautifully, and every time I dared stray away to something cheaper (I'm looking at you, Natural Collection concealer...), I ended up regretting it because the quality was always much poorer than the Rimmel one and I'd end up buying a new Rimmel one anyway. However, like every product I read about enough times, when I got through yet another bullet of Rimmel concealer, I decided it was time to try the Collection one. I am so glad I did.

The short story is that this concealer is nothing short of amazing. First of all, it's costs just over £4 which is excellent. A tube of it will last you months. It's great for covering both bags under yours eyes and blemishes. The coverage is amazing, without being too heavy for your delicate under eye area, it effectively conceals your dark shadows and it doesn't cling to spots in a way that actually makes them more noticeable as some concealers have a tendency to do. It really is lasting perfection because not only does it do all this, but it does all this all day. It fades a little by the end of a shift at work for me, but not in a way that makes me feel horrific when I catch sight in the mirror. The coverage of this product is so great that I need less foundation/BB Cream and powder which is another great benefit.

My one worry about this concealer is the doe foot applicator. I do worry about how hygienic it is and I do have a slight suspicion that some spots I've had recently would have cleared a lot faster if I wasn't dabbing this concealer on them day after day. However, with the price point in mind and just how good this concealer actually is, I feel this is only a minor point. The packaging is also rather cheap - as you can see from my photos, all the writing rubs off the tube! In all honesty though, I'm here to discuss how well the actual product works, not the writing on the packaging.

I also feel I should mention that since I started using this, I think I have accidentally stumbled upon a concealer I like even more than this one (oh yeah, it's possible!) but, this new concealer is a good £14 more expensive than the Collection one and for this reason, the Collection concealer is one I am going to come back to time and time again.

What do you think of Collection Lasting Perfection Concealer?

Disco Leopard

Outfit Details:
Jacket: Miss Selfridge
Top: Miss Selfridge
Disco Pants: eBay
Boots: eBay

Makeup Details:
Face: No7 BB Cream for Normal/Oily Skin in Light, Collection Lasting Perfection Concealer in Fair, Rimmel Stay Matte Powder in Transparent, Benefit Benetint, Benefit Sugarbomb and Benefit High Beam
Eyes: E.L.F Shimmer Palette, Urban Decay in Smog and Suspect, E.L.F Cream Eyeliner in Coffee, Rimmel ScandelEyes Mascara

My disco pants have rarely left my legs since I first bought them, I do love them so! When I first learnt of the existence of disco pants, I wasn't all that fussed. I didn't really see where such a thing would  fit into my wardrobe and at the time, I only knew about the original American Apparel ones and that horrible £70 price tag seriously put me off. However, I saw disco pants cropping up more and more often in the blogosphere, and the more I saw them, the more I realised I could definitely work them into my own personal style. As they gained in popularity, lucky for me, dupes started popping up everywhere. In the end, I went with these eBay ones and they certainly do not disappoint.

Although I love how this top looks paired with my disco pants, I must admit, it's not my favourite top in the world. I have another leopard print sheer blouse that I absolutely adore and find a millions times more flattering than this particular one and I imagine at some point I will do a post on that one so you can compare. However, every time I wear this particular top, I am transported to the sand dunes at Ynyslas near Aberyswyth. I'm a very hungover 19 year old girl on her first date with the boy she met the night before. I'm sat there struggling to eat my picnic, feeling dreadfully sick and absolutely dying for a cigarette. But none of that matters, because I am absolutely fascinated by the boy in front of me...oh yes, this top has sentimental value for me. For that reason, I will hold onto it forever and it even manages to work its way onto my blog even though without the sentimental value, I'd have thrown it out years ago.

It's a simple one for accessories. I always feel that leopard print does not require much in the way of accessories. I wore one of my fox rings, a set of gold studs in each ear lobe piercing and swapped my usual silver nose stud for a gold one instead but I felt that was all the outfit really needed. My makeup too was my go to everyday makeup look at the moments. I love my new Benefit products I received for Christmas and I am so head over heels in love with Urban Decay eyeshadows. I love how soft and blendable they are and I think this makeup look really complements the whole outfit.

I wore this outfit after I had finished work on New Year's Day. I didn't really do anything amazing, but the boyfriend and I went round to my dad's house to see my baby siblings. I love seeing James interact with my baby brother Robert, it's the cutest thing in the world!

The Vixen Thinks: How to Make a Long Distance Relationship Work

The Vixen Thinks is an almost weekly feature on this blog. Posts vary in topic, I'll talk about anything I have an opinion on! From blogging to relationships and anything beyond. If there's anything you'd like me to write about, feel free to get in touch: theglittervixen(at)gmail(dot)com! Thank you! 

If you read this blog, if you follow me on Twitter, if you've seen any of my social networks, you'll realise I am currently in a long distance relationship and that this long distance relationship is a huge part of my life. My friends and family are constantly telling me it must be so hard or asking me how I cope, and quite honestly, the answer is quite often "yes it is hard, and no, I'm not coping very well at all". I miss my boyfriend tremendous amounts and there's a strain on our relationship that was never there when we lived 200 yards away from each other as opposed to 200 miles. Despite this, we are still together and we have been doing the long distance thing since June 2012 now, that's seven months! We have been together at total of 21 months as I write this. Obviously, we're doing something right, and today, I thought I'd share with my readers how we manage and I hope I can help some other people out there who are struggling in the same boat as we are.

I believe the first and foremost reason my boyfriend and I have managed to keep it going this long is because we built our long distance relationship on top of a very solid short distance relationship foundation. I apologise, because I know this paragraph will not be relevant to everyone so if it isn't, feel free to skip it! As I mentioned, at the time of writing this, my boyfriend and I have been together for nearly 2 years, of which just over half a year has been long distance. We met at university in a very small town so when we met, seeing each other often was absolutely not a problem. In fact, from the day we met, we saw each other on a nearly daily basis. This meant we got to know each other very, very quickly and I grew comfortable in his company much quicker than I ordinarily would have done. I fell fast and hard for James, and knew from quite an early stage I wanted this relationship to go the distance. We also shared similar past experiences with relationships, and I feel this helped us to bond much more than we would have done with someone who didn't share our experiences. Now, from day one, we knew that our relationship would probably have to become a long distance one at some point. Although in term time, we called Aberystwyth home, when university finished, he lived down South while I lived up North. There was also the problem that I was in the year above James, and finished university a year sooner than he is going to. Because we knew this from the very beginning, we were able to prepare for the inevitability of long distance. If you'e in a similar situation to this one, I highly, highly recommend sitting down with your partner and having a good heart to heart about how you feel about all this. I doubt James and I could have stayed together after I finished university if we hadn't already had a very strong relationship to begin with.

The next part of this blog post is going to be laid out as a step by step guide. Admittedly, this is not stuff I did immediately in my own relationship, it is something I realised needed to be done later on! I hope that by writing all this down, you can minimise the chance of you making the same mistakes I did.

  1. Set boundaries and expectations for how your relationship is going to function while it's long distance. I think this is probably the most important thing you can do to make your long distance relationship work. Initially my boyfriend and I didn't do this and after arguing for the 37598276th time and wondering why the hell we'd gone from being a couple who never argues to a couple who had forgotten how to be nice to each other, we finally realised it was because neither of us knew what our expectations for the relationship were anymore. When I talk about boundaries and expectations I am talking about things such as: how often do you expect to see each other? (We aim for every other weekend) Who travels to see who? (We try to take it in turns) How much contact do you expect every day? Do you text? Do you have a phone call? Do you Skype? If you can answer all these questions, I promise you, you will know where you stand with each other and no one's feelings will get hurt because they expected more from someone. Of course, it is also important to note that you should see these as GUIDELINES, not definitive rules. Life often gets in the way of carefully laid plans, so it is important not to get annoyed at each other if you have to miss a weekend or there's a day where there simply isn't time for you to have an hour long Skype conversation.
  2. You Need to Have an End Goal in Sight. I hate to say it, but if you're always, always, always going to be long distance and there are no plans for you to move in together or even for you to at least move closer to each other, I don't think your long distance relationship is going to last very long. For me, I do not see long distance as a permanent thing and never should be. If you have nothing to work towards, if you don't have a time to look forward to where you will be permanently reunited again, it's very likely your relationship isn't going to last forever. 
  3. Try to Make Long Distance as Similar to No Distance as Possible. One of the things which helps me cope with being away from my boyfriend the most is to behave like we're still together properly. This means specifically setting time aside to spend with each other each day. Of course we can't go round to each others house, but we can both get on Skype together and watch our TV shows and films together simultaneously, just as we would as if we were physically in each other's company. The more effort you make to "spend time" with each other, the less impact the distance will have on you because you're still behaving as you would if the distance wasn't there. 
  4. Put in That Little Extra Bit of Effort. When my boyfriend lived round the corner from me, I think we began to take each other for granted. We rarely did anything special anymore such as going for dates and we never really did anything special or thoughtful for each other, there was just no need to. Long distance relationships however, just don't work like that. My boyfriend does things for me now like send me flowers or little unexpected presents in the post. We go out of our way to send each other silly little links on Facebook or cute little messages just to make each other aware we're always in each other's thoughts. The little things like this really help keep our relationship alive.
  5. Make Sure the Time you DO Spend Together is as Special as Possible. This one goes without saying. If you see each other twice a month and you don't do anything special to mark the occasion, the relationship will turn stale and it will turn stale fast. As I mentioned in point number 4, when we practically lived together, we fell into a comfortable routine. You can't do this if you only rarely see each other! My boyfriend and I love to go to the cinema, and I am obsessed with going out for dinner. Since we became long distance, we've done all sorts of lovely things we had never done before like visit museums and places like Tropical World. This means we both really look forward to spending time with each other and gives us precious memories to hold onto while we're apart.
So, there you have it, my short and sweet guide to how I keep my long distance relationship going. I hope that for those of you who this is relevant to found it useful and I hope it wasn't too boring for my lovely single readers or those lucky readers who don't live miles away from their partner!

Have you ever been in a long distance relationship? What do you think of my tips for making them work?

E.L.F Pucker Up Pink Duo [Product Review]

The E.L.F Pucker Up Pink Duo was on sale throughout the month of October 2012 in order to raise awareness of breast cancer. In the fight to cure breast cancer, E.L.F donated money from the sale of each Pucker Up Pink Duo to breast cancer research. Obviously, this review is now a little out of date but you can still buy the products featured in the review separately on the website: the Studio Lip Balm in Pink is available here, and the Studio 2 in 1 Conditioning Gloss in Perfect Pink is here. It is also worth noting that portions of the sales from these products was only donated to breast cancer research in October. 

Now that is out of the way, let's talk about the products themselves! I love this combination of products. Ordinarily I wouldn't really look at this type of product, but it caught my eye during one of my E.L.F hauls and I couldn't resist buying something which satisfied my shopping habit and did something good for someone else. The lip balm is great. On first applying it, I was quite surprised to find it had a minty taste. This however isn't unpleasant, I was just wasn't expecting it and it disappears quite quickly after application anyway. It takes a few swipes to get a good colour payoff, but as it is only a balm product, this is to be expected. After a few swipes however, I love the colour. It's a real "my lips but better shade" and it's fantastic for a subtle everyday colour on your lips.

I love the gloss too. Ordinarily, I don't like lip glosses but I am starting to warm to them now. My problem with lip glosses is that they are normally very sticky and my hair ends up stuck to my lips, never a good look!  However, this gloss doesn't cause this problem for me. The colour payoff of the gloss is also amazing and it really complements the balm. Neither product lasts very long on the lips, an hour or two at most, but again, this is just the nature of balm and gloss products and is to be expected. It doesn't take forever to reapply and at just £3.75 each, I'm certainly not complaining.

I've got a lot of use out of these products and I am definitely going to pick up some other colours from both the lip balm and conditioning gloss range.

What do you think of these E.L.F lip products?

Favourite Elements

Outfit Details:
Jacket: Miss Selfridge
Dress: Missguided
Wet Look Leggings: Matalan
Boots: eBay
Necklace: Bank
Watch: a gift

Makeup Details:
Face: Collection Lasting Perfection Concealer in Fair, E.L.F Personal Blend Foundation in Light, E.L.F Studio Blusher in Gotta Glow and Twinkle Pink
Eyes: Urban Decay Shadows in Perversion and Uzi, E.L.F Shimmer Palette, Rimmel ScandalEyes Mascara and Eylure Girls Aloud Lashes (Cheryl)

Leather. Lace. My favourite elements and I love to combine them. When I first laid eyes on this dress, I knew I had to have it. Sadly, at that time, I had no money and I had to wait. When the day finally came for me to order it because I could finally afford it, woe is me, it had sold out! A few weeks later, I spied it had come back in stock! I quickly jumped to buy it, only to receive an email the next day when I was expecting it to arrive that sadly, it wasn't in stock after all. Just when I had given up all hope of ever owning this dress, Missguided tweeted a picture of a customer in their shiny new dress, this dress as it happens - tentatively, I checked the website once more. Although I couldn't strictly afford it, seeing it back in stock, I ordered it again straight away. I anxiously waited, expecting to yet again receive an email saying it wasn't actually in stock but that day, there was a knock at the door, and finally, this dress was mine! Ecstatic wasn't the word. It's even better in real life and when I put it on, I honestly felt like it had been made for me!

It's such an amazing dress that little accessorising is required. For this particular occasion, I settled on my chunky chain necklace, my trusty watch and some simple grey/silver earrings which are not pictured. Choosing the boots, jacket and leggings was easy - I know I just wanted something simple and black. I love how the simple accessories really pull the look together. However, the outfit works just as well with no necklace and I love wearing this dress with my fur coat over it when it's a slightly too cold for my little Miss Selfridge jacket.

I'm also so pleased with my makeup I wore to complement my outfit. I love my Urban Decay Book of Shadows III palette and can rely on it to give me any kind of look I want for a variety of occasions and this time is no exception. Combined with my E.L.F Shimmer Palette to really highlight my brow bone and make the shadows pop, I think I was successful in creating a lovely little party look that I don't mind wearing in the day time either. You may notice I've got bare nails and bare lips - bare lips because my boyfriend doesn't appreciate me leaving lipstick on his face and bare nails because I'm keeping them clean for the month of January so I can hopefully grow a lovely long yet strong set of nails ready for painting and exciting nail looks when February arrives.

Although I had worn it many times before, and I have worn it a few times since, this is the outfit I wore for my New Year's Eve celebrations. The majority of the day I was actually in my work uniform, but I promptly changed out of that once I finished work. I had a relatively relaxed NYE. My boyfriend was in my house waiting for me when I finished work, we said hello, I got showered and ready, we finally exchanged Christmas presents and we headed out to Frankie and Benny's for the evening. I never used to like this restaurant, but it's safe to say my opinions on the place have firmly been changed! I ate more than my boyfriend did that night and I demolished every course. For starters, I had the mushrooms, for my main: a chicken and bacon wrap and finished it all off with a delicious chocolate fudge cake. I even had a cheeky Cosmopolitan to wash it all down with. Here are some pictures from my evening:

Overall then, I was very pleased with my New Year Celebrations and my outfit. How about you? What did you wear? What did you do?