#SBBC Day 30: Reflection

Funnily enough, blogging *almost* every day in September has made September go quite slowly. Initially I thought that September had absolutely flown by, but as I sit down to write the last post for the September Beauty Blog Challenge and think to the first day of September, I realise that that actually feels so long ago now. Overall I'm quite pleased with my attempt at the challenge; although I did have to double up posting on some days and I actually skipped 3 days of the challenge all together, I've now got quite the army of new and different posts on my blog and I'm happy with that. I set out to make fresh, new content for my blog that differs from my usual outfit/review/video/Vixen Thinks pattern and I most definitely achieved that. The days I missed out completely were because my boyfriend was here and the days I had to double up were illness related so I don't feel saddened in the slightest.

I've now decided however that blogging every day certainly isn't for me, and I don't even know if I want to do Monday-Friday blogging anymore if I'm honest. Maybe I'm just a little burnt out at the moment due to illness and lots going on in my offline life or maybe my priorities are shifting away from my blog, who knows. At times I found this challenge really difficult. I thought having a prompt for each day would make the words flow easily but on some days I really, really struggled to sit down and write and I think that some of the posts I've written this month have been below average quality. The first week I was super organised and had posts pre-written and scheduled for when I knew I was working late or had James around and I loved it but the truth is, I'm at a time in my life where super organisation isn't always possible and trying to be the organisation queen I used to be just leads to additional stress I do not need.

That being said, I'm absolutely glad I did choose to participate in this blogging challenge. Although this post seems a little bit down in the dumps, I have really enjoyed it and some of the posts that have come out of it I am really, really pleased with. Although my YouTube channel has ground to a bit of a halt at the moment, I'm really pleased with the videos that I did during September as well. I think my favourite part of the challenge was the lifestyle prompts I chose as my blog is very, very beauty focused overall and it was nice to actually talk about something a little bit different every now and again. I also really loved reading your responses to my posts about life and it has encouraged me to write more now.

I've decided to take a little blogging break now to recuperate after blogging so intensively for a month but I will be back next Monday with my usual content. See you all soon!

#SBBC Day 29: An Era You Would Have Loved to Have Lived In

You know, I'm sitting down to write this post and I really don't know what to write about. Sure, there are eras I love. Flapper fashion in the 1920s absolutely delights me, that straight up, straight down silhouette, the lovely bobbed hair. Not to mention, America in the 20s would have been so exciting - prohibition meant alcohol was illegal and yet alcohol was absolutely rampant with the help of organised crime. That being said though, these times were probably a lot more dangerous than exciting and that's why I don't want to write about the 20s being an era I would have loved to have lived in. Sure, if it had all been parties at Jay Gatsby's house, yeah, let's go but it wasn't was it?

So, the 50s. Again, fashion draws me to this era. Swing dresses, halternecks, red lipstick. Yet, again, history just puts me off. Women were in no way even remotely equal in the 50s and I just know I wouldn't last two minutes in a society where I don't have the freedom I do now. So what about the 70s? Punk is an incredibly wonderful style and I would have loved to go see bands like The Sex Pistols and The Clash but meh - I like it but I don't like it enough to wear it myself on a daily basis. I grew up in the 90s so that's a no no.

Thinking about it, I think the best era for me is the one I'm living in right now. Chances are things could get even better in the future, but looking towards the past, I think I'm definitely better off here. Why do I love the era in which I live so much? Freedom mainly. While as a woman I still face many problems that a man would not, I am so thankful that I am able to vote, have a job and not be the possession of either my father or my husband. I'm glad to live in an age where the company I have just launched a business with are about to explode. I like electricity. I LOVE THE INTERNET. I like my Nintendo DS. I'm glad I was able to get a student loan and attend university. 

Of course, aesthetics have got to come into this. Sounds vain but I love my style and my style wouldn't be possible without access to the shops I have access to now. I buy the vast majority of my clothes from eBay and Missguided it would seem and these are both things that haven't existed in previous eras. Ah the internet comes into it again! I kinda do think that style today tends to be an amalgam of styles from previous eras but with that being said, I couldn't have a mish mash of styles to make my own personal style if there hadn't be lots of different styles before I existed. 

I also love makeup today. I love the huge range of brands out there but I also love how we are slowly becoming more aware about what goes into our makeup. In all honesty, it wasn't until recently that I started bothering to check out the ingredients that are in all the products I use but it got the point where my skin was so terrible and I was feel so ill that I thought it was time to investigate. A few changes later, my skin is on its way to looking fabulous and no longer makes me wince when I see myself makeupless in the mirror. My hair is dramatically improved. While I still feel a bit dodgy health wise, I definitely feel better now I've made a few changes to my beauty regime. Had I lived in a previous age, I could be stuck using products full of lead and other such unsavoury ingredients you wouldn't want to find in your products so I thank god I live in an age where consciousness is rising. 

Are you happy in this era or do you long after another? 

#SBBC Day 28: Where Do You See Yourself in 5/10/15 Years Time?

My future is something I think about often and my thinking about the future becomes more and more frequent as the days go on. My relationship is currently long distance so I think about the time when that will no longer be the case. I am looking for assistant manager jobs with my company. I have just started a business with Arbonne which is slowly but surely turning into a true passion of mine and I am ready to take this to the highest heights I am capable of. Exactly where I see myself in the future is quite personal to me, particularly in concerns of my job and my relationship. While I'm more than happy to shout it loud and proud that I will be an RVP with Arbonne this time next year, where my current "career" path stands and what my relationship plans are is something I'd rather keep offline. However, the future in general is definitely something I'd like to write a little bit more about...

Living in the present is important. Being aware of what is happening around you now, what is good about your life now, where you are now is essential. If you are constantly focusing on your past, you will never move forward and you will miss everything that is happening to you now. Similarly, always focusing on the future means you miss what's happening in the present and it can also lead to a lot of stress if you're worrying about the future. That being said, you mustn't dismiss the future entirely. Just as it is important to live in the present, it is also important to consider your future while you do so. A lot of my future at the moment depends on careful planning and I know that without me taking action now my future will not look like what I want it to look like. Thankfully, I have a very clear picture of where I want to go and what I want from life which means I can sit back and plan how I am going to get there. I know not everyone does have the luxury of knowing what they want, never mind a plan, but even so, it's important you have some idea of what you future holds so you can act accordingly.

I hate to be the kind of person that tells people they need to have a life plan because I know how difficult it is when you're young to work out what you want. Hell, it's only this year, and well, these past few months to be honest, where I really feel like I've got things figured out. The truth is though, when I didn't know what I wanted, I was very bloody miserable. I felt like I had no direction. When you know what you want from life, things immediately start to fall into place. The people you see in life who are hugely successful are people that worked out what they wanted, how they were going to get it and then went and acted on this. It is so important to get this figured out.

The important thing is you don't get so caught up in your planning for the future that you miss the present. While I spend most of my days at work or working towards my future, I make sure I set aside time each day to get lost in a book or play a game, just to chill basically. My plans keep me very busy and I genuinely don't know what boredom is anymore but I also try not to beat myself up when I don't manage to get something done because I know that my "right now" is very important too. Because of this, I feel confident in myself that I can achieve the future I want for myself but I also don't feel like I'm constantly waiting for this future to happen, I can see the things I like about my life right now too.

What about you? Do you have things mapped out like I do? Do you live in the past? Do you live in the present? What do you think about how I feel?

#SBBC Day 27: My Most Expensive Piece of Makeup

Urban Decay NYC Palette
Urban Decay NYC Palette
Urban Decay NYC Palette

Thankfully, my most expensive piece of makeup wasn't actually bought by myself, it was bought for me as a Christmas present by my lovely stepmum! The Urban Decay NYC palette is nothing short of amazing. I know that the Urban Decay Naked Palettes are all the rage in blog world, and I wouldn't say no to owning them, but I think Urban Decay truly excel when it comes to their more colourful and creative palettes. First of all, the design of this palette! It's so amazing. I can't imagine how much work must have gone into creating the lovely new York Scenes that surround the mirror that I've yet to remove the plastic protection from because this palette is just too special for me. It's so bright and colour, I think it really captures what Urban Decay are all about.

Now, onto the palette itself. Besides a lovely 16 eyeshadow shades to choose from, this palette came with a black and a purple eyeliner pencil and a pot of their well known eyeshadow Primer Potion. The Urban Decay primer is by far my favourite eyeshadow primer that I have used so far, especially since the reformulated it into a squeezy tube rather than the slightly annoying doe foot applicator. As for the eyeliner pencils, they are soft, they are pigmented and glide on with ease yet last well into the night. While black eyeliner is a staple for me, I do love using purple eyeliner on occasions where I wish to be a little more dramatic so the two colours in this kit were a great choice.

The shadows themselves though are of course the highlight of this palette. Admittedly not all of them are shades I get a lot of use out of, but I have used all the shades in this palette at least once. As you can see, some have definitely had a lot more love than others. My two favourites in the palette and my most used are Midnight Cowboy Rides again and Snatch. These two are closely followed by Smog, Maui Wowie and Suspect. These past few days however, I've been using Bordello and Rockstar on a daily basis and I am loving neutral purples with my darker hair now, they look fab. All these shadows are the most pigmented shadows I have ever used and the most long lasting whether I use primer or not. I cannot fault the Urban Decay eye products I have used. For this reason, this palette is absolutely something I would buy for myself and despite being the single most expensive item I own, it really is one of the best items I own, very much worth the money.

What's your most expensive piece of makeup?

#SBBC Day 26: A Happy Memory

would probably be my favourite photo if I hadn't shut my eyes!
the BEST beef bourgignon!
I didn't need a second to think about what I would write about for my happy memory. My trip to Paris in 2011 was one of the best times of my life to date and to this day it is still something I will return to in my mind and muse upon if I'm ever feel down. Back in 2011, my boyfriend and I hardly knew each other but he still decided to take me to Paris for my 20th birthday. I remember opening my birthday card and reading about it and it just not clicking straight away that he was genuinely taking me on holiday. All week I'd jokingly been saying to him "oh, it'd be great if I got to go to Paris for my birthday" so to realise that he'd taken that on board, and at such an early stage in our relationship too, had me in complete shock. Of course, by the time we returned to England, I was head over heels for him and I have been ever since. That in itself is what makes Paris such a special memory for me. 

I love Paris, and being there with someone who is now one of the most important people in my life made it even more special. We spent our short time there seeing all the typically tourists sites: the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, Notre Dame and even the Aquarium which I really loved. The food of course was a huge highlight. Pictured above is one of my favourite meals, beef bourgignon (yeah, no idea how to spell that, sorry.) and this was the first time I'd ever had an authentic French one. I was not disappointed. Besides this though we also had other cuisines - we found a Thai restaurant which did amazing coconut soup and we went to a Chinese by our hotel twice because it was so cheap and had this amazing black mushroom dish I couldn't get enough of. Of course I also went shopping and amazingly didn't bankrupt myself. I did however find the dress that featured in another #SBBC post, all about my favourite item of clothing

I know holidays tend to be a happy memory for everyone, but this holiday in particular was a very special one for me and I truly think only myself and my boyfriend can understand just how important it was. I hope everyone gets to experience a holiday like this at some point in their lives and I'm greedy and hope that one day, James and I will return to Paris, and who knows what will happen next time we visit ;)

Tell me one of your happy memories! 

#SBBC Day 25: Shopping Habits

If you've read this blog before, then you no doubt know that I am a recovering shopaholic! In June and July I went on a two month spending ban which curbed my habits somewhat, but I am still constantly window shopping and every now and again will buy myself some things that I really don't need. I've dramatically improved, yes, but I still spend much more money than in necessary on things that are pretty much unnecessary. At the minute I think the best word to describe my shopping habits is erratic. I will go weeks where I don't buy anything but then I will allow myself one treat which will turn into 39528632 treats instead. My Missguided haul the other weekend for instance, or my "look" in Primark on Monday. I also go through phases where I'm fixated on buying a certain thing. For a very long time, it was makeup. Now I've managed to swing back to clothes again.

I most definitely do the bulk of my shopping online. I am absolutely addicted to eBay and Amazon and quite often will assume if I can't find something on there, I will never find it at all. I am also a huge fan of Missguided. Actually, no, that's a lie. I hate Missguided and think their customer service and website leaves a lot to be desired - however they constantly release pieces I fall in love with and I continue to shop with them despite my annoyance with them. Although I don't use it very often, I love Etsy for pretty little items like phone cases and jewellery. Funnily enough though, I especially find this strange as I am a fashion blogger, I don't actually use ASOS. I've ordered from there once and while the dress I ordered that time is my most flattering dress ever (seriously, gives me CURVES) for some reason, I can just never get onboard with the ASOS hype.

Although I do most shopping online, that's just laziness and lack of time as I actually adore going to physical shops. I love playing with makeup testers and smelling perfumes and seeing clothes up close rather than trying to figure them out from a photograph. As a typical girl, I genuinely do enjoy shopping trips. I hate the H+M website so H+M is one I always love to visit in person but my favourite place to go is Primark. Wakefield is mainly high street chain shops so there's nothing too special there that I like to visit but when I was in Aberystwyth, I loved going to Cafe Society and Red Apparel.

The thing I am worst for spending my money on though is food. This week I've decided to keep a diary of every penny I spend and it's alarming how much I spend on snacks each week. I'll buy something before work, then after work, then I'll order a takeaway when I get home from work because I'm "too exhausted" to cook. I honestly LEAK money and I think now I'm aware of just how much money pours out of my purse each day, I'm going to make a conscious effort to make sure I eat enough at home so I stop buying so much food all the time. I'd love to say I'll put this money away safely, but we all know it's just gonna be more fuel for my shopping sprees...

What are your shopping habits like?

#SBBC Day 24: Resolutions

I resolve to always give myself the care I need - be that eating healthily or eating a whole camembert cheese to myself. Be that taking action and making my life or that staying in bed watching films all day.

I resolve to try my hardest at everything I do and if I don't want to try my hardest, I resolve to reevaluate whether I need to do that thing at all.

I resolve never to speak badly of anyone, including myself.

I resolve to be wiser with my finances but never to feel guilty if I feel the need to treat myself.

I resolve to accept my mistakes as a learning curve, even if I have to make a mistake more than once to learn my lesson.

I resolve to work hard on my Arbonne business and share the positive effects it is having on me and my life with everyone I meet.

I resolve to stop biting my nails no matter how many attempts it takes.

I resolve to stand up for myself. To ask for what I want. To say when I don't want. To live my life on my terms.

I resolve to stop falling asleep in my makeup!

I resolve to respond to everything with love.

I resolve to remember that I am a human and therefore imperfect.

#SBBC Day 23: "I'm not into natural beauty. It's lazy..." [HOT TOPIC]

 photo doedeere_zps1b1345a9.jpg
Image via Doe Deere's Instagram (text added by me)

As it has been a while since my last Vixen Thinks post, I've been looking forward to today's prompt as hot topic is just the perfect excuse for me to fit a Vixen Thinks style post into the September Beauty Blog Challenge. The "hot topic" I've chosen was inspired by the Instagram post I've edited above. Doe Deere is the founder of makeup brand Lime Crime and while I'm aware she's been swathed in controversy since the start, I've never really minded her being drawn to the lovely bright colours Lime Crime has available. However, when she posted this image of herself on her personal IG account with the following caption the other day, I lost a lot of respect for her - and I was also pleased as it gave me something to write about today ;)
I'm not into natural beauty. It's lazy; it requires no thought, no effort, no calculation. Created beauty, on the other hand - like that of Marilyn Monroe or Dita Von Teese - is something I deeply admire. I like my face just fine in the morning; but I LOVE how it transforms under makeup! It brings me joy to coat my lashes in dark mascara, line my eyes into a cat-like shape, paint my lips the color of a rose... I do this every day, for myself and nobody else. emoji#mymakeupmanifesto
Look, I love makeup as much as the next girl, and I absolutely adore less conventional makeup looks that can in no way be described as natural. It's rare that I will ever go out without a full face of makeup on. Even today, on a "no makeup day" I've actually got primer, foundation, concealer, foundation, blush and mascara on. I do this for myself and myself only and I abhor the idea that women who do not wear makeup are lazy and in turn, the idea that natural beauty is supposedly lazy. Women are in no way obligated to wear makeup, not for themselves and definitely not for anyone else. Women who do choose to wear makeup should be allowed to do so in whatever they choose without criticism. Today I've gone for a natural look but I'm still wearing a lot of makeup because I like to hide my acne scarring. I do this because I don't like my scarring - I do not do this for the benefit of anyone else and you know, on the occasions I do decide I can't be bothered with makeup, I feel no guilt, hell, I don't even feel all that unattractive because of it anymore. Therefore, to see a woman declare those of us who embrace our natural beauty or do natural style makeup put no effort in, no thought angers me. For a start, why do women even need to put "effort" into their appearance? Oh wait, they DON'T!

That being said just because a makeup look doesn't feature purple eyebrows and a perfect eyeliner flick, that doesn't mean it takes a lack of effort. Good makeup takes effort to do. I can only dream of creating some of the more natural and neutral looks I stumble across. Truth is, on a standard day, I rush my makeup which means my blending and application or whatever isn't quite as good as it could be. However, when I stop, and really take the time to do my makeup, it looks good and it does take thought and effort regardless of whether I'm going for a full on vampy look or an every day look. I think a lot of "alternative" people take things too far - they hate people who hate them because they are different yet they decide to hate on anyone who isn't "alternative". It's hypocritical and very counter productive. As for the line about "created beauty" - that smacks of disrespect to me, there's the definite undertone that these women aren't attractive without makeup which is absolute bull. Ok, honestly, there are people in this world who I think do look better without makeup or with makeup but I keep this information to myself because at the end of the day your appearance doesn't actually matter.

I totally understand that Doe Deere likes to apply makeup because I myself love watching myself transform underneath my makeup. But she completely contradicts herself, she says she does this for herself yet at the beginning she attempts to shame women who do their makeup in a certain way. She invalidates anyone who doesn't do their makeup in a way she approves of. The whole idea of deeply admiring certain looks is also a little problematic for me. While I do consider makeup application an art of sorts, both Dita Von Teese and Marilyn Monroe have qualities which I find far more admirable than the way someone looks.

Of course, this is all indicative of a bigger problem. Women's bodies seemed to be policed in every way. If it's not men giving their impossible expectations of us, it's women like Doe Deere. There's a chance that she's done this just to up her sales a bit, but really, as someone in sales myself, there are far better ways to gain sales than posting nonsense like this!

#SBBC Day 19: Storage

In all honesty, showing you my own makeup storage would make for a very boring post. I sling my most used brushes on my desk, keep my most used makeup in a black makeup case and all my nail varnishes are in a pink Juicy Couture box from when I was given Viva La Juicy for Christmas. Oh, and there's all my skin care and hair products scattered around randomly on my desk along with acne medication and varies headbands, nose studs and who knows what else. The rest of my collection is stuffed in drawers. No, it's not very beauty blogger like of me is it? Of course, like seemingly every beauty blogger on the planet, I dream of owning acrylic storage for my makeup and other beauty items I use on a regular basis. I'd love a clean, tidy desk where I sit morning and night either to remove or put on my makeup. As I spend a lot of money on makeup and some of it is so pretty, it makes sense for me to want to have it on display as well.

eBay Acrylic Storage
At some point, I fully intend on buying this acrylic set for me room. Part of me is tempted to just get it now but considering that I am planning on moving out in around 6 months, part of me thinks maybe I should just wait until I'm in my new house. There is so much acrylic storage out there these days, I literally just typed it into eBay just now and have a quick scour round of the site. There's smaller pieces, bigger pieces, pieces dedicated to just one item such as lipstick or nail varnish - just so many options out there. Ideally I want a rather large set, just a singular one, that I can sit on my desk and it will house my primer, foundation, powder, most used eyeshadow palettes, blushers and lipsticks that I am likely to reach for on a daily basis. I like having things in one place and within easy reach. I think the storage I've featured above would be perfect for that!

Image from Gem Fatale
As for makeup brushes, I have a whole other different set of plans for those. As I'm constantly switching up which makeup I use but I don't always have time to wash my brushes in between, I use a lot of different brushes for my eyes and cheeks - I do have a brush holder but it's limited and not so aesthetically pleasing. Years ago I saw this tutorial on Gem Fatale's blog and I've been thinking about it ever since. I went through uni intending to do this to house my pens and pencils but now that part of my life is over I've realised just how perfect it would be for housing makeup brushes instead.

Now, I know this post started off being about makeup storage but as I've been writing it I've been realising that my biggest issue with storage doesn't actually affect my makeup. No, it's not the most visually pleasing way of having my makeup right now but I can see my products, they get used, it's functional. My jewellery storage however, is not at all functional. I simply stuff it all in boxes and as a result my necklaces get all tangled, a lot seems to get damaged and because I can't see what I've got, I often forget what jewellery I own and therefore it goes to waste hidden away in a box on my shelf. I'd love some sort of jewellery stand where I could proudly present all my jewellery in a pretty way and hopefully stop it getting so messed up all the time and remind me I've got it so I actually use it. Also, with the amount of jewellery I've been eyeing up recently, it really wouldn't hurt to get a better way of storing my jewellery, especially if it helps me use the jewellery I already have so can justify buying more ;) Here is a collage of jewellery stands I have found and liked so far:

How do you store your pretty things?

#SBBC Day 18: My 10 Desert Island Makeup Items

Revlon Balm Stain in Honey, B. Shimmer Block in Blush, E.L.F Eyebrow Treat and Tame (well, just the tame part), Arbonne Primer, Arbonne Foundation in Alabaster, Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer, Benefit Sugarlicious Lip and Cheek Kit, PixiGlow Fairy Face Palette, Barry M Wink Eyeliner Pen, Benefit They're Real Mascara
I was seriously looking forward to writing this post. I've seen a few videos and blog posts about what people would do if they lost all their makeup and now I'm glad I got the opportunity to write it! This post was harder than I thought to write - but in completely the opposite way I expected. I thought there was no way I could cram my collection down to just 10 items but it turns out I actually struggled to come up with 10 items I'd repurchase. As much as I love makeup, when forced to think about it, I realised that most of the stuff I own isn't stuff I'd repurchase, even in a situation where I was left with nothing! Some items on this list however are of such high quality I didn't even need to think twice about them...

Arbonne Primer
This item I didn't even need to think twice about. I've found that a primer is essential for my makeup routine as they work well with my skin type and since I was given a sample, and then purchased, the primer by Arbonne, I have been totally converted to this primer and this primer only. It's velvety and lovely, long lasting and hydrating and turns my skin into a flawless canvas.

Arbonne Foundation
Another item that immediately went onto my list. I'm sure foundation would be on most people's desert island makeup lists but this isn't on my list because it's any old foundation, this is genuinely such an amazing foundation I wouldn't want to be without it again. The shade is perfect for my skin tone, it lasts all day, the coverage is buildable and it just applies so well.

B. Shimmer Block in Blush
This is not only one of my favourite blushers, it can also double up as an eye palette and therefore would be a good thing to purchase if I had all my makeup taken away from me and could only buy 10 new items. It's a gorgeous flattering colour and very long lasting. Highly recommended.

Benefit Sugarlicious Lip and Cheek Kit
Is this one cheating? Probably as it's four products in one! But that's why I chose it. Sugarbomb is probably my favourite blusher ever but I really love combining it with Benetint and the High Beam Highlighter. These are really good quality, gorgeous products that I seriously enjoy using.

Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer
Everyone needs a good eyeshadow primer as it can give even the worst eyeshadows a much needed boost to turn them into shadows that show up and last much longer. This is the best one I have ever used, so naturally, it's the one I'd repurchase should I ever fall into this far fetched scenario.

PixiGlow Fairy Face Palace
I go on and on enough about this palette for people to know it was gonna show up in this post! Really, my list could consist of my primer, foundation and this and I would be delighted.

Barry M Wink Eyeliner Pen 
Not the best eyeliner I've ever used but not the worst either. I can't cope without a good black eyeliner in my life and as this is the one I use at the moment, I included it in the post.

Benefit They're Real Mascara
The best mascara I've used yet, so naturally, it had to make it onto my ten desert island makeup items list. Nothing transforms my eyes quite like this mascara and it really is the perfect finishing touch for every kind of makeup look I ever do.

E.L.F Eyebrow Treat and Tame
I actually hate the treat part of the E.L.F Eyebrow Treat and Tame so I'd just break this off and throw it away if I bought it again, much like I have done with my current one. The tame side is great though. As the name suggests it really does tame unruly eyebrows into submission as well as adding a little colour and definition to them. Although I prefer powder to do my brows with these days, this is impossible to go wrong with and is just so quick and easy.

Revlon Balm Stain in Honey
This is probably my favourite lip colour. The love the shade of this balm stain and I love the formula of it. I love the delicate minty taste it has. It's a very flattering shade and I really enjoy wearing it. It goes with a lot of my other makeup, including everything I've included in this post. As it's the most versatile colour I use, this had to be the one I picked for today's post.

What 10 products would you repurchase?

#SBBC Day 17: 2 Products I Just Don't Get the Hype About

Today's post isn't exactly I'm a positive one I'm afraid. The above two products: the Clarins Gentle Exfoliating Toner and the Indeed Labs Pepta-Bright are two products that I purchased after reading a few absolute glowing reviews about them. Although not necessarily as hyped up in blog world as much as say, Rimmel Apocolips or Maybelline Baby Lips, I've still seen these products hailed as miracles often enough to feel sucked into buying them thinking they create the same miracle results on my skin, sadly not though I'm afraid.

I won't even bother to review these separately. These two just made no difference to my skin. In fact when I cut them out of my routine again, my skin actually improved a lot. I'm not sure they made it any worse, but my skin definitely wasn't getting any nicer while using these. I would still get blemishes and my acne scarring remained as obvious as ever on my skin, boo! All in all, these were a grand waste of the money I spent on them - nearly £60 in total, ouch!

The one positive I can say is about the Clarins toner - it really is very gentle. Just a shame that for me, it seemed so gentle it didn't do anything! Such a shame.

Have you ever been sucked into buying seriously disappointing products?

#SBBC Day 16: A Wishlist


Oh man, I am so ill at the moment. Every year I get a horrible bout of flu. It's usually around Halloween but it's already got me this year. I'm off work and yesterday I literally couldn't do anything, hence my double blog posting again. However, when I saw that day 16's prompt was a wishlist, I knew there was no way I was skipping this day out as I love doing wishlist posts! And hey, with Christmas slowly creeping up on us, well...who knows what benefits could come from me sharing a wishlist ;)

Missguided Pria Rose Print Bardot Crop Top
Ok, so the season is seriously wrong for this one but I've been wanting this for ages! I adore this rose print and the pink is just so pretty. I think I'm one of the few people out there who is still enjoying the crop top trend but this is actually sold out in my size so maybe not! I did actually do a little Missguided haul last weekend when I got paid but sadly, I received an email just before I received my order saying that although I'd ordered this top, it was a mistake and it was actually out of stock. *sad face* ALTHOUGH, side note here: this happens every single time I order from Missguided. Anyone else have this problem? I do love their clothes, but I've always had issues with Missguided from the first time I placed an order with them. Horrifically dodgy sizing aside, once I got past that problem, the whole "you've ordered something not in stock" started happening - ANNOYING.

Cheaps Frills Small Bride of Frankenstein Necklace
With October approaching and having just been to see Insidious 2 at the cinema, my love for horror is slowly creeping back into my life. For a while, I was obsessed with classic horror. Dracula with Bela Lugosi, The Wolf Man with Lon Chaney, Frankenstein with Boris Karloff and of course - Bride of Frankenstein with Elsa Lancaster. When Cheap Frills started doing horror film jewellery (there's even Wednesday Addams stuff, eek!) I just knew that the time where I make an order was fast approaching. Soon my pretty, soon...

Pixi Eye Glow Cube
Now that the colder months are already upon us and my hair is suddenly and unexpectedly a lot darker, I'm a lot more drawn to the darker side of neutral eyeshadows meaning that this Eye Glow Cube by Pixi is on my radar and a huuuuuge want of mine right now. Although I feel like I have enough blusher and lipstick at the minute, eyeshadow is something I always feel I am lacking. While I wouldn't describe my eyeshadow collection as small, it's often my eye makeup that causes me frustration when I'm trying to decide what makeup to wear each day so I'd adore having something like this in my collection. 

Arbonne Intelligence Genius
Arbonne is a brand I have fallen head over heels in love with, to the point where I am now one of their independent consultants, meaning if you're interested in the things I've said about them so far, please get in touch! Since I switched my most used products to Arbonne, I've seen great differences in my life. Arbonne hair care has totally transformed my hair and shockingly, my hair has now recovered enough that when I coloured it the other day, the dye took to it seriously well and went much darker than I anticipated. I'm loving it though! As for the skincare, I now refuse to put anything else on my face because the FC5 items I've bought from Arbonne are just so good. My skin is not perfect yet, but since I switched, I have only had two new spots appear on my skin and both these times I'd been drinking alcohol the night before so go figure...As for the makeup. I've found my holy grail foundation and primer - again, I literally have no interest in trying anything else now. They are that good. It's things like this why I need the new Arbonne Intelligence Genius in my life. It's a nightly resurfacing treatment and I think this is the boost I need to get my skin in the condition I want it. I know this won't disappoint me.

MUA Power Pouts
I've pictured all of these because I need want all of these! Although initially put off by the red looking shades, I have had the opportunity to try all these at work and can confirm they're all actually different shades of pink, and all gorgeous shades of pink to boot. While I doubt they have the lasting power of my beloved Revlon Balm Stain in Honey these are a much cheaper alternative and personally I think the shade range is much nicer. Waiting for a three for two offer to come on at work, then combined with my staff discount - bang, I am getting all of these at an absolute bargain price. 

Dolly Bowbow Daydreamer Floral Crown
Since receiving my Prairie Charms goodies, I've been hooked on floral crowns. While I've been eyeing them up for years and lusting after them, once I finally bought one, that was it, I needed more, they're gorgeous! This particular one from Dolly Bowbow looks ace, it's just perfectly coloured for me and while not so seasonally appropriate anymore, I just need this in my life.

Kukee Egyptian Chainmail Statement Necklace 
I actually received some Kukee goodies in my goody bag from Leeds Blogger Meet. The other day, I actually finally decided to check out all the brands who had contributed to our lovely day and I immediately fell in love with Kukee. They are so adorable and the selection of jewellery is insane but incredibly affordable. In particular, I fell for this Egyptian themed necklace. As I mentioned in my Travel Dreams post, Ancient Egypt was my favourite ever topic in primary school and one day I hope I am able to visit the pyramids. This necklace would be great to keep me going in the meantime.

What's on your wishlist at the moment? Are your tastes similar to mine?

#SBBC Day 15: Beauty Things I Suck At

As a beauty blogger, there are a shameful number of things that to be honest, I absolutely suck at. Before my love affair with beauty blogs began, I was actually quite happy with the way I did my makeup but now I'm more aware of the amazing looks other people can create, even the way I do my makeup doesn't please me anymore. While I don't suck at beauty in general, I most certainly know my facts about a lot of things, and I know the theories behind things, but when it comes to actual application of this knowledge, I fall a little flat.

Doing My Hair
I am god awful at doing my hair, I'm not even joking, I can't even straighten it properly. I wish I was joking but I'm not. Every time I straighten it it last for amount 10 minutes before my pathetic excuse for waves manages to boot its way back it. God forbid I want to try anything other than straightening my hair. I hate the way I look with my hair up, and curls are just a no go because I can't do them by myself. Combined with the fact that I need to cut down on the amount of heat I use on my hair (like, seriously) I think my hair is always going to be something that causes me frustration. Oh, and don't even get me started on maintaining my fringe - bur I refuse to get rid of it.

My Eyebrows
I actually only started messing with my eyebrows this year. Previously to this while I did keep them waxed and in shape, that's all I did. The idea of filling in my brows with a pencil or powder horrified me. However, when I started to toy with the idea of darker hair, I also started to play with my eyebrows. On the very odd occasion, I really love the way my left eyebrow looks but mostly I just can't get them to look right, no matter what products I use, and I find myself praising the lord that I have a too long fringe.

Smokey Eyes
This is a weird one. For ages, I was actually pretty damn good at smokey eyes as they were my go to night out look. However, in the past few days I've attempted my old smokey eye look twice and it just doesn't look as good as it used to! I'm unsure if it's actually me though as I've just started using a new MUA palette for my smokey eyes and I have a little feeling that might be contributing to my sudden failure when it comes to doing smokey eyes.

Fake Tan
Not that anyone believes it, but I actually fake tan on a pretty regular basis! Thing is, I am WAY to scared to invest in a "medium" tan and always go for light shades but there lies my problem - you can never tell I've got the tan on! I even use gradual tanners on an almost daily basis and I'm still sister of Caspar. I thought maybe it was just the Dove one that was a bit rubbish, but I've switched to Palmers now and yet, here I am, as white as ever. I don't know what I do wrong! Yeah, I could pick up a darker shade but I just know that will go wrong in completely the opposite way...

This is one I've been trying to get down for a while, but just can't. I can cope with blusher and highlighter juuuuust fine but the second I try and add some bronzer to do some full on contouring, it goes hideously wrong. I've watched so many tutorials and read so much about it, but I just cannot get contouring to work for me. Maybe I need a better bronzer/contour powder? Oh god, please help me!

#SBBC Day 14: Where Do I Get Inspiration?

Blogging is one thing that I seemingly never cease to be inspired by. Even when I take breaks from posting for whatever reason, I'm constantly thinking about going back to blogging and how I'm going to make my blog bigger and better everyday. I just love blogging! If only my job or school or university had inspired and motivated me as much as blogging does. Of course, all this inspiration has got to come from somewhere, and today's post is about exactly that.

Cheesy But - Life Inspires Me!
Look, it's so corny but my life really is the biggest inspiration behind my blog. Look at the content I post: my outfits, beauty reviews, The Vixen Thinks posts: all of these come from offline experiences. I've been obsessed by planning perfect outfits since wayyyyy before I started personal style blogging and when I wear an outfit that makes me feel great or I buy a really cute new piece of clothing, I can't wait to get it on the blog. Makeup is an interest that came later on but the fact that makeup is like, a hobby for me now, means I have a never ending stream of content for this blog. I will never run out of products to review! As for The Vixen Thinks: while I try to make posts impersonal and relatable to people besides myself, it's obvious that when I choose a topic for my Vixen Thinks series, it's an issue which impacts directly on my life. As for lifestyle posts about days out and other such things, well, it's obvious where the inspiration for that comes.

Pinterest is a huge source of inspiration for me, not just my blog, but life in general. However, it's brilliant for my blog. I can discover new clothes, new makeup looks, the DIY beauty tutorials I posted earlier today and the list goes on. There's nothing like browsing Pinterest for 20 minutes when I'm feel unmotivated to help push me forward again. Not to mention, I've realised that Pinterest contains a wealth of information for bloggers. I've learnt so much about photography, SEO, even blog post ideas from Pinterest. I honestly cannot recommend Pinterest enough, it's my favourite social network!

Other Bloggers
This one goes without saying. I don't think there is anything more effective than visiting a blog with beautiful photography or incredibly interesting posts that sets off the urge to blog within me. My blogroll page linked above has some examples of blogs that regularly incite this feeling for me. After all, unless we were the very first blogger which I know none of us reading this is, we had to see another blog to think "hey, I want a blog too."

What inspires you to keep blogging?

#SBBC Day 13: DIY Beauty

First of all, shhh, I know it's day 14 but last night I chose the cinema and a night out over blogging. Not wanting to miss any days out though, here is yesterday's post and yes, you can expect another one this evening for day 14 so I'm all caught up. It'll be the first time ever I've done two blog posts in one day! So yesterday's post was supposed to be all about DIY beauty and being ever the optimist, I'd planned to make my own DIY lip scrub but as usual, like a lot of my crafty/DIY projects I plan, I find myself too busy to go ahead. So, instead, I'm going to share some of the beauty DIY posts that have caught my eye on Pinterest.

DIY Lip Scrub via Create This Look For Less

I love lip scrubs but the price of the Lush lip scrub? Not so much! I know E.L.F and Look Beauty do slightly cheaper alternatives but I have to go into Leeds to get to a Look Beauty stand and E.L.F has to be ordered online - not exactly ideal for a product I consider a beauty essential! Therefore, I definitely need to have a bash at making my own. It does look too difficult, I'm hoping it'll be just as effective and therefore one of my essential products will no longer be such an annoying tasks.

DIY Dry Shampoo via The Merry Thought

Dry shampoo is another essential for me. I hate to wash my hair every day but my hair gets so oily even when I wash it every other day and therefore I need dry shampoo on non-wash days. Like lip scrubs though, the better dry shampoos do not come cheaply. I love Batiste but unless it's on offer I abhor buying it. To be honest, a home made dry shampoo looks like it might actually be way more effective on my fringe. Starting to think I really need to set aside some time to do some DIY.

DIY Salt Spray via Lulus

Salt spray is something I'm currently trying to get the hang of. Instead of heat styling my hair all the time, I'm trying to let it dry naturally and then I'm attempting to use salt spray to make my waves a little more interesting. I haven't really cracked how to use it yet, but I think when I've finally worked out how to make it work with my hair, I'm going to want to give this little tutorial a go.

Do you do any DIY beauty? Have I interested you in it now? Let me know!

#SBBC Day 12: Life Advice You Would Pass On To a Younger Family Member

I'm really not one for giving advice. I'm not a huge fan of receiving advice from others unless I have specifically asked for it and even when I ask for it, it's whole other question whether I'll take that advice. No, most of the time I rely on me. I rely on how I feel. I like to learn from experience. I've made some monumental mistakes over the years, but they've taught me so much and I doubt advice from anyone could have taught me as well as just throwing myself out there regardless of the consequences has done.

However, as a teenage girl particularly, there is one thing in particular I wish I had been told more often, and that is: do what you want to do. If you are in a situation that is making you unhappy but there is an escape clause on the horizon, take the escape clause. Don't listen to anyone who says different - you know what is best for you - and no one else does, nope, just you. Don't do what your friends are doing, don't do something that just feels easier. If you want out of something, you get out. If something doesn't feel right, if you feel like you're only doing something because it is expected of you and no one else has bothered to show you your other options go and find out about your options and do something just for you.

I'm not gonna tell you what to do instead of the path I took. I stayed on for Sixth Form and went to University simply because it was easier. It was expected of me and I never dared dream that there might be another way to live my life. In fact only ONE person said to me that if I didn't want to go to university then I didn't have to go and that one person wasn't even my crazy horrid manipulative boyfriend at the time. Don't get me wrong, I bloody loved my time at university and would love to relive it, but in terms of my future, it wasn't necessary. 

I'd hate for you to get hurt in the way I have been hurt. I hate the idea that you're gonna have to deal with false friends. I hate that you might do what you want today but regret that in the future. But I'm not gonna tell you what to do. I could try to advise you in the ways of love and friendship but you know and I know you're not going to take my advice and I say good. We all need to learn things for ourselves and wrapping everyone up and refusing to let them experience their life their way is never going to help.

I really didn't need to waffle on this much, because all I have to say to my younger family members is: do what you wanna do. 

#SBBC Day 11: How I Got My Blog Name

Quick change of plans! I had originally planned to do a post about Beauty Fails today but I've been feeling rubbish recently and well, quite frankly, the effort it would take to do the post I had planned is not something I can expend at the moment. So, I thought I'd so a short and sweet post about where my blog name comes from, although I pretty much explain it on the about page! I originally wanted some cool fox girl glittery logo to go with my blog, but as you can see from the dire image above, logo design is not one of my strong points ;)

So, The Glitter Vixen. For years, I ran a blog called Hanging in the Blossom Tree. It had been my email address for years and the song I took these lyrics from is still one I listen today. However, towards the end of last year I started feeling like I'd outgrown that name. I wasn't an angsty teenage girl anymore so the song just didn't fit me anymore. One day, I was running on my cross trainer (note to self: start using cross trainer again) and the word "vixen" popped into my head and from that moment on, I couldn't get it out of my head. I realised that I wanted to start over in the blogging world, and "vixen" was going to be in my blog name somewhere! I won't lie, part of it is because my boyfriend's surname is Foxx and he definitely sparked my little fox obsession I've got going on. But Supervixen by Garbage is a very special song to me, and well, let's all cringe together now, a Supervixen is something I aspire to be. When I think of vixens, I think of strong, sexy, powerful women and well, I wouldn't mind being strong, sexy and powerful.

So, that's how Vixen came about but what about the Glitter? For ages, I thought I had to have an alliterative blog name. Violet Vixen, Velvet Vixen - I tried these but they're associated with burlesque. What other words beginning with V did I know? Violent...er, nope. Vigorous...maybe not. Voluptuous Vixen? Absolutely not! Finally, I decided to ditch the obsession with alliteration and try other words. One thing I loved about my old blog which I've carried onto this blog is my glitter background. Since I learnt how to do it in Photoshop, I've been obsessed! Glitter is fantastic. It's sparkly, it's pretty and is definitely an appropriate word to have in the title of a Beauty Blog! So, The Glitter Vixen was born and I haven't look back since.

How did you blog name come about? (If you don't have a blog, what would you name it if you did have one?)

#SBBC Day 10: My Favourite Item of Clothing

sequins, beret, h+m, topshop, miss selfridge, patent brogues

I had to rack my brains long and hard for today's post. I have a lot of clothes and simply choose just one item of clothing as my ultimate favourite was a hard task. Did I go for my pink and black polka dot dress which is my most figure flattering dress ever? Did I go for one of my night time dresses? How about something basic like my disco pants - they may not be the most interesting item of clothing out there but wow, have I got my money's worth from them! I even asked my boyfriend who came up with my leather jacket or my cat shirt - something I never would have thought of as my favourites myself when suddenly, I knew. It just had to be the black and white lace dress featured above!

Let's talk about the history of this dress. For my 20th birthday, my boyfriend took me to Paris. As it was my birthday treat, he let me dedicate a whole day to shopping. Surprisingly, I didn't find all that much I liked. I remember a great shop which I believe was called Jennyfer where I tried a fair few things on but sadly only one item fitted me but it was a sexy black playsuit which I still love to this day so fair enough. Just as we were going to start walking to the Metro to head back to our hotel for the evening, I saw a shop out of the corner of my eye that looked hopeful, so in we went. Straight away this piece caught my eye and as I'd seen a similar one in Lipsy but way more expensive than this one, I bought it pretty much immediately while trying to explain in French that I never try clothes on...Back at the hotel, I tried it on and spun around in it, absolutely in love with it straight away although both me and James decided I definitely need a belt to pull it in and make it a little more flattering. I hadn't packed a waist belt so it wasn't until I arrived home that I realised the full potential of this dress. Paris was one of the best times of my life and having a pretty piece of clothing to remember it by is so lovely. A major part of why I chose this dress is because of the sentimental value.

Of course, it has practical value too. Surprisingly, this dress is very versatile. As you can see in the photographs above, in winter it looks brilliant with some leggings underneath it and my brilliant Topshop fur coat on top. In the summer though, it still works, I simply swap the leggings for some tiny cycle shorts to preserve my modesty and it's so light and breezy, it's fantastic when it's warm. Being a lovely monochrome black and white means you can really play around with accessories too, although I tend to just stick to silver jewellery when I wear this.

What's your favourite item of clothing?

#SBBC Day 8: A Letter To Someone From My Past

Oh Emily,

Looking back on these photos tonight has seriously made me smile! Why did you have to be so sad? When you get to 22 Emily, trust me, you'll look back on these days and miss how goddamn awesome you were. No, you don't end up believing that bullsh*t that school is the best time of your life, oh no, you know life only gets better and better. But you do miss the freedom of a completely disposable income. You miss going to loads of gigs. You miss hanging round with Anne. You miss the stupid "photo shoots" in the park and in the garden and at Urbis or wherever. You even miss that eyeliner and god, I tell you, I'm nearly in tears at how gorgeous our hair is in that last picture, seriously!

I can't lie to you Em, things are going to get a lot harder. You think you're sad now? You honestly don't know anything. You've got some really, really low moments coming up in the next few years and you're going to do some things you're going to beat yourself up about for years. But I'm here to tell you today, that's ok. You're so brave and you're learning so much along the way. I know you're scared about what the future holds for you but seriously, you've got it under control - even when it feels like you really, really haven't. Honestly, from the day you decided to go out and get a job and earn your own money, you were taking baby steps towards the young woman you become. Yeah, you look back at your time at Louie's and Domino's with absolute horror and literally have nightmares about going back but you know without these times you'd never be where you are now! Yeah Emzzzzz, 22 years old and you manage a shop and you've just started your own business on the side which you can feel is the big turning point moment in your life. Sorry you're not an author or a journalist or an actress or an official Wednesday 13 groupie, but trust me, you will like your job. Oh, and your love for Wednesday? It never, ever dies. In fact, I'm going to see him in just over two months and you nearly wet yourself every time you think about it. It'll be the fourth time you've met him and THIS TIME GIRL, you're not gonna turn into a tongue tied mess.

I set out with intention to tell you everything I know now, how everything changed for me, what I've learnt, why things happen but I know you too well. I know you're scoffing at the idea that you can cook and manage a store on a Saturday by yourself. I also know you think it can't get much worse and I also know how you feel about the way your life ends. It's not gonna be like that Emily. Nearly. But not quite. You won't believe me when I tell you how amazing you are so all I can tell you in cling to the moments in those photographs. Love Cornwall with all your heart. Savour every second of every gig. Take note of how good being able to see the sea makes you feel. Please don't lose sight of the good parts about your life now!

But, most importantly. Keep doing that eyeliner. It's just the beginning of what's going to be a lifelong obsession with makeup ;)