6 December 2016

There's no denying that I have a rather outrageous collection of eyeshadow palettes, but there is nothing better than unwrapping a new one (that I definitely do not need) on Christmas morning. I have no shame in admitting that I may have a problem. And I'm pretty sure that because you're here reading this post too, then you have no shame either. But alas, collecting makeup palettes can be fairly expensive hobby to have, so what better way to save some dollar than asking for the next one on your lustlist from Santa this Christmas?

Well, there's nothing better!

So I have you covered this year, with three staple eyeshadow palettes that absolutely must have a place in your collection!


Like I said, my eyeshadow palette obsession is a slight problem. I've even banned myself from buying more after I got back from NYC last year. Purchasing a new palette is absolutely not allowed. For the sake of my bank balance and finding somewhere to squeeze it in my makeup drawer would be fairly impossible.



And for the past year, I've stuck by that ban and not bought one single palette. That's an awfully long time to go and it I admit, it hasn't been without it's difficulties. Actually, I've just realised, that's a lie. I bought one in Sephora in Singapore. Well, that ruin's my point.

Moving swiftly on...

Here's three must have palettes that should be on your Christmas wishlist.

Urban Decay // Naked 2


Starting with the creme de la creme of eyeshadow palettes. If you haven't already got this palette in you collection, then are you really a makeup enthusiast? I'll give you the benefit of the doubt this time...

The Naked 2 palette from Urban Decay is an absolute cracker for starting your collection. It's not too expensive, albeit a little pricey but you're not paying for it, so that's ok! There's a great selection of colours for all skin tones and every possibly event you could ever need to jazz up for. The ratio of matte's to shimmers is about 1:3 so if you're not so keen on a pretty shimmer, this palette probably isn't for you. However, the pigmentation of the shades that are included are amazing.

A lot of palettes struggle with great texture to pigmentation ratio. The shadows in this palette are are super pigmented but not so much that someone lesser experienced (like my noob self) isn't going to end up looking like a panda. Occaisionally, great pigmentation can mean chalky tectures and fallout, both of which are not evident in this palette. The shadows are super creamy, making them really easy to apply and blend, perfect for someone learning how to use shadows.

But don't get me wrong, even if you're a profession MUA, this palette is a must have. It's essentially a right of passage!

Stila // Eyes are the Window to the Soul 


Between this and the palette I mention next, I have my all time favourites, right here! The 'Eyes are the Window' range from Stila is incredible however this palette in particular has it all for the avid nude eye lover.

Unlike the Naked palette, there's a great 50/50 ration of matte to shimmer shades. So if you're someone who likes the best of both worlds, a palette which is perfect for daytime and nightime, then this maube for you.

What's more, is it is much more compact than most palettes, making it really easy chuck in your makeup bag. Or if like me, you like to travel regularly it's a great all-rounder palette at an amazing size and comes with a giant mirror built in too!




Zoeva // Nude Spectrum


If you're not going anywhere and love a broader variety of shade, then definitely pop this on your Christmas wishlist! It's a little larger than your average eyeshadow palette, so it's not ideal for chucking in your makeup bag before heading out the door. Unless you have a rather generous day bag for you're makeup. But, for days where you want to push your boundaries slightly and be a little more experimental, this is the palette.

There's a great range of shades; from your basic nudes all the way to beautiful burgundy and copper pigments! Fallout can occaisionally be an issue but only on the palette itself, I never get any on my face. My only real gripe is the packaging gets so grubby! Otherwise, it's a reall fab palette to own. The one that broke my "no palette buying" rule and one I absolutely adore!

No matter how many shades of nude I have in my makeup drawers, I always need more. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with a little too much makeup. Right?

Are you asking for any makeup palettes this Christmas? If so, which one? Don't forget to check out the palette that I've cheekily popped on my Christmas list this year too.

Love always,
Melissa


THE VAULT OF CHRISTMAS PRESENT

THE VAULT OF CHRISTMAS' PAST

5 December 2016

One of my favourite things about Twitter as the seasons change is seeing how everybody channels their inner festive. Punny Twitter names and bio's full if Christmas Tree's and Stars are just the best. So I was thinking about how things you could do to your blog to make it feel more festive this Christmas...


Unfortunately for me, the only festive Twitter names I could come up with wern't as cool as the one's everybody else have conjured up. I'm a super festive person and starting Christmas mid October is super ok with me, so not being about to jump on the festive Twitter name trend, really truly sucks (I'll totally give a prize to someone who comes up with something good for me though!) Which got me to thinking, how else can I channel my inner Christmas spirit for everyone on the Internet to see.

Well, here's some pretty amazing ways to do it on your blog.


Let It Snow


Literally. You can't get more wintery on your blog than actual snowflakes falling from your blog header. And it's totally not difficult to do either. It took just a quick Google search, and bunch of tutorials on how to do it come up on how you can get snow to fall just like the sparkles from my header above. But to save you the time:

Head over to byChloeThemes and have a bowse through her extensive source of floating/falling things. There are live demo's so you can see exactly what each one looks like when applied. Then just copy and the HTML snippet she provided just above the <body> tag in your main code.

The body tag resides somewhere near the top of all blogger coding, however if you can't find it, tap your curser anywhere into the code box. Hit Cmd+F (Ctrl+F on Windows), this will bring up the find bar, then pop '<body>' in and hit enter. This should find it for you!

Christmassy Outtro


Most blogs I read, including my own own, have recognisable ways of signing off after each post that are unique to the blogger. For instance, I end all my posts "love always, Melissa". I pop that at the end of every post, so that you know it's me who wrote it and that I love you, always ;)

If you have an outtro similar to this, maybe think about switching it up this season. Something as simple as "Merry Christmas" or a little bit more punny and exciting would work too. Maybe even consider adding an illustration after your name too!

Switch Up Your Header


Most blog headers cab been seen almost all the time when scrolling through your blog and on every page too. So if you're looking for a stronger way to give off the Christmas vibe, then maube changing up your header is the way to go!

If your blog header is simple but chic with just the name, maybe wrap it with a cute Christmas Wreath Illustration or pinch of holly in the corner. If you want to keep the theme running, maybe consider dotting the illustrations around the place too. Next to your profile picture in the sidebar or underneath a blog title. It's a super subtle, classy idea but really Christmassy too.



Fancy a season theme change?


If you're really feeling the Christmas spirit, maybe change your theme up altogether. There are bunch of Christmas themes available for free, which fit the blog aesthetic but are beautifully Christmassy too. These two, here and here are my favourites!

Stylise your photo's


If you're not too keen on altering code or HTML, then switching up the photography is a super easy way to show your empowering Christmas spirit.

Pick up some fairy lights, copper jingle bells and Christmas decorations to scatter in your flatlays. Take your photo's in front of your Christmas tree or just scatter a little glitter and fake snow to turn jazz things up a little. It honestly, couldn't be easier!

No matter your 'skill' level, or how little or much festive design you want to add to your blog this year, there are so many ways to do it. Let me know in the comments below if you've made any changes to your blog this season to fit with the festivities, I'd love to take a look.

Love always,
Melissa


THE VAULT OF CHRISTMAS PRESENT

THE VAULT OF CHRISTMAS' PAST

4 December 2016

I am a strong advocate for New Years resolutions and discovering new ways to better myself. The last few months of 2016 were very demotivating and slow but Blogmas has lit a new light and got me thinking about the future and how much I love blogging. In doing so, it's got me raring to be my best me, and how best to do it than setting myself goals to help me get there and achieve before 2017...


In January, I set myself 6 resolutions for the new year, some of which I succeeded at above and beyond all my expectations. Others, well they didn't turn out so great. But from those that I failed at, I learnt a much more valuable lesson. As uncool and cliche as it sounds, I discovered what is actually important my success as a person, and as a blogger.

So, I wanted to spend the rest of this year, (well, all three weeks of it) really making a change, turning a rather negative ending into something amazing.

I'm one for writing lists and setting myself goals, doing so motivates me to work hard, so I've set myself three goals of things I'd like to achieve before 2017. They're not your average resolution type goals, there's no "eat healthier" or "save money." It's all things that really stand out to me, looking back on the past three months.


I guess I should just stop the cliche blabbing and just get stuck in...

Have a more positive outlook


In November, Twitter went through this phase where people were posting "like this tweet and I'll post an opinion about you". It was such a warming and loving community to be involved in, everybody was saying such nice things about each other. And I did my fair shair of 'liking' said tweets too. Everyone likes to hear something nice about them and that was my little guilty pleasure for the week it was popular!

It wasn't until some opinion was:

"You doubt yourself too much and I wish you didn't cause you are amazing!! & beautiful."

That hit me. In a really hard but equally amazing way.

I've never noticed or considered myself to be a negative person and it's not until someone on the outside vocalises it that you start to notice it yourself. Whilst it sucked to hear that, it has done me a world of good already. I've been working on this goal for a couple of weeks now but it's something that I want to continue on. Turning "I can't" into "I totally can" and believing more in what I can do!



Be more visually creative


This year, after the relaunch of my blog in August, I got stuck in a routine when creating for my blog. By the end of November, all my posts looked the same. Aesthetically there was nothing separating each post, there was nothing special or magical about them. They all looked the same. Even though the content was new, fresh and unique, the post as a whole looked like everything else I've done before it.

I don't want to be creating if it's never going to be unique and pushing boundaries. I love blogs which aesthetically don't conform to the norm, which are different and interesting. Martha Jane Edwards and InTheFrow are huge inspirations of mine and are on a level I aim to be some day. I want to be able to channel my own creativity more with the aesthetics of individual blog posts.

I love the way my blog looks as a whole, that's something I'm really proud of but the content I post needs to reflect that now too. And with the rest of Blogmas to work on that, I think that's something I can certainly achieve before 2017!

1000 Followers on Twitter


Maybe, just maybe I'm being a little bit ambitious on this one (but I'm being positive so at least I'm working on one of my goals even if I fail at this one, ha!) And, what's more motivating than a goal that is just, ever so slightly out of reach?!

Currently my Twitter count is 882, so I've got exactly 3 weeks to find 120 new followers to get me to that 1000 mark. Totally feasible, right? I think so, but I could always use your help on this one... @melharding, follow me if you're not already! Teehee.

I don't know whether it's the Christmas spirit or just the fact I'm realising my true potential after what has felt like a few awful, sad months. But I'm really excited for the new year and where the next three weeks are going to take me.

Now is a better time than any to start reaching for that goal you've been dreaming of. So, I challenge you to think of just one thing that you'd like to achieve before 2017! Leave it in the comments below and if you I can, I'll try and help you get there. I've got your back, 'cause I know you've got mine. Cheesey but so necessary because I bloody love this community, with the love and support it encompasses!

Love always,
Melissa


THE VAULT OF CHRISTMAS PRESENT

THE VAULT OF CHRISTMAS' PAST

3 December 2016

If there's one thing I suck at, it's switching up my skincare routine throughout the seasons. But in a final desperate stretch to succeed at one of my 2016 New Years Resolutions, I've found the 3 best skincare tips to keep skin hydrated in the winter time.


One of my very first posts of 2016 talked about my new years resolution; which was to find a beauty regime and stick to it! And I didn't do too bad at it either. For a while I had a solid 6 step routine that made me feel really amazing in my own skin. However laziness got the better of me 5 months down the line and whilst I was still looking after my skin, I wasn't doing all I could to better it. 

In a desparate attempt to rectify my mistakes I made over the summer, I've spend the last couple of months researching skincare and the importance of switching it up per season. Particularly looking after your skin and keeping it hydrated in Winter. 

My skin is a little dry but in the Winter the cold, dry air just does awful things to it, so the importance of keeping it hydrated is cruicial. There's the obvious things, like hydrate from the inside out, prime your skin and wrap up warm but there are ways to slightly alter your skincare routine to help too...


Moisturise More


In the winter our skin produces less natural oils which keep the skin moisturised, which for you oily skinned girls I guess is actually something of a blessing. However for those of you with drier skin, like myself, the winter can be a particularly tricky time. Moisturising more and using products that are much richer, creamier and full of hydrating properties will do wonders for your skin at this time of year! You should even consider picking up a moisturiser specifically for overnight regeneration to make the most of the time when your skin 'breathes' the most.

I recommend: Keihls - Ultra Facial Cream

Use a more gentle cleanser


In the winter, when skin is getting battered by the cold and wind, you don't want to come inside and use harsh, chemical based cleasers which will strip away the skin's natural oils. Try to find a cleanser that is more neutrally based to clean your skin on a more gentle level. If you can't find a neutral cleanser, try getting your skin clean in one go. Double cleansing is great but will dry out your skin faster at this time of year!

I recommend: Liz Earle - Cleanse & Polish

Face Masks for instant hydration


A daily skincare routine is great for making my skin feel great after a certain amount of time, but in the Winter when my skin is at its worst I look for more instant effects. And these tend to come in the form of face masks. Cosy-ing up with a blanket, hot chocolate and a face mask a couple evenings a week is the perfect way for a more instantaneous hydration, where the results are visible straight away. You don't have to spend a lot of money either, DIY face masks made from ingredients you have in your kitchen cupbards work just as effectively.

I recommend: Montagne Jeunesse - Dead Sea Sheet Mask

You don't have to do too much to swicth up your skincare routines in between seasons. My skin is dry all year round so I find myself using hydrating products even in the summer, just switching up how often I use them and the density in which I use them has been working amazingly so far.

Let me know in the comments below if you have any tips or tricks on battling dry skin at this time of year. 

Love always,
Melissa


THE VAULT OF CHRISTMAS PRESENT

THE VAULT OF CHRISTMAS' PAST

2 December 2016

Every Christmas my money seems to disappear before I even have time to realise I have it. I'm left mortified on Christmas Eve with declined cards, presents still to buy and time repidly running out. But this year, I've been pulling out all the stops to get the Christmas shopping done, and still have some money left over to pop in my savings...


I've been saving to go travelling in 2017 for most of the year and I'm so, so close to my goal but a slip up this Christmas would most likely set me back a couple months. Christmas shopping is half the fun of Christmas, I love giving presents more than actually recieving them, so just getting by on the present front was never really an option. In early November I developed a plan that would get me to Christmas with the best presents to give out and still have money left over to put in my travel jar.

So I thought I'd share a few tips with you!

Know your monthly expenses


This is something I make important to monitor every month. I know what money I have coming in, what I have going out (rent, phone bill etc.) and what I'd like to put away each month. Then any extra money that I have left over is for social engagements, blog expenses and most importantly Christmas shopping! Knowing your monthly expenses is a key part in not spending more than you have.

Make a Plan to help you budget


I am someone who benefits from visual representations. As I work out what I'm spending my money on each month, writing it down helps to give it a more physical being. It's so easy to get lost in the world of credit cards and online banking where money isn't tangible. I like to draw charts and calendars (lame, I know but it works) that visually represent where my money is coming from and going to. Doing this makes it so easy to plan for Christmas shopping and produce a reasonable budget to work with.

Budget per person


So you've got your budget for Christmas, but chances, are if you just go gung-ho and shop till you drop, that budget is going straight out the window and all your hard work figuring it out is gone! This year I divided up my money into piles to represent each person that I wanted to buy for. I've got X amount for Mum, X amount for Dad and XX amount for the beau. This even made the shopping easier too!


*

Know what gifts you need


Going shopping with an open mind is great but also particularly dangerous. Especially at Christmas where you're shopping for multiple people at the same time. Before you leave, take half an hour to write down some idea's of what you'd like to get for each person. If you can, try and jott down  the shops where you might find what you're looking for.

You could even have a little browse online first, occaisionally stores will do deals online that aren't available in store. You may even be rewarded for getting your shopping done online, for instance Debenhams often offers £5 gift cards to customers who use their Click and Collect service. And most websites offer 10% discounts for your first online shop.

CHECK OUT ALSO - GUIDE TO ONLINE SHOPPING

Alternatives to main stream shopping


Something I'm doing this year, is making a few of my gifts. If you're short on money or even just fancy your hand at something creative, DIY presents are a great idea. Supplies and materials can be bought super cheap, particularly on Amazon and Ebay. Pinterest and Not on the Highstreet is a great place to gather up idea's some cool idea's.

What says "Merry Christmas, I love you" more than something you made with your own hands!

Know when the sales are!


From working in retail, I can tell you that all the shops want to do at this time of year is sell their stuff. To which they will do almost anything they can to do that, most likely put it on sale. So chances are, that hat and gloves set you're looking at buying for your second cousin might be on sale next week. If stock is particularly low, then go ahead and buy but if there's still quite a bit left, it might do you good to hold out a little!

Do you really need that?


I know what it's like, when you're grabbing your last few presents and you see something you like, you think "oh why not, Christmas present for me!" or "oh look, it's on sale, it's fate!" I am guilty of that, every year I buy myself a couple of Christmas presents before I've even finised my own shopping and I'd guarantee that you've done that too!

But do you really need that? Have you not already got something similar? What if you buy that now and then Santa pops one in your stocking on Christmas morning?

I know it's all to easy to whip out your debit card for yourself when you're so in the swing of doing it for other people, but you don't really need that. Honest! And if you think you really do, pop it down and see if you're still thinking about it a couple hours, right before you head home. If you are then sure why not, one treat, but I'd put money on you forgetting all about it!

So far, these little tips are working wonders and my Christmas shopping is going fairly smoothly. I'm buzzing like a little creative butterfly with all my DIY idea's and the potential blog posts that could come of it. And I've not run out of money or had to access my savings.

If you're looking to spend a little less this year, let me know your tips and tricks in the comments below! I'm interested to see if you have anything that I never even thought of! 

Love always,
Melissa


THE VAULT OF CHRISTMAS PRESENT

THE VAULT OF CHRISTMAS' PAST

1 December 2016

What is more appropriate on the first day of Blogmas than sending my letter to Santa. And what a more appropriate way to do it in the 21st century than to post it on the internet rather than handing it over to snail mail. Chances are it'd be late and/or get lost to do it the old fashioned way. At least this way Santa will know as soon as I hit publish that THIS is all I want for Christmas...

Dear Santa,

Writing my list this year has been pretty, damn hard. My Mum has been harrowing me since mid-October and oh the struggle it was to write a list this year. Seeing as I'm going travelling in March, I don't want to ask for anything I can't take with me, ya'know. But then, I don't want to pop thermals and SD Cards on my list because where's the fun in opening that on Christmas morning. So, I've compiled a rather generous list of things that I'd love to open on Christmas morning, but reckon might be useful when I fly the nest next year too...

TARTE // Tartelette In Bloom Palette


A girls got to have a new makeup palette every Christmas, it's in the rule book. And this one will make me beautiful all year round but will be great for travelling too! It's got, what looks like a really great selection of neutral shades, mattes for the day time and all the shimmer for nightime fun! It also has a ginormous mirror which will be perfect days when I'm doing my makeup in a Taxi in Toronto or in a hostel in Vancouver!

Sephora // 'The Weekender' Travel Makeup Bag


    I'd be a fool to tell you I won't be taking half my makeup collection with me when I travel. To be fair, I've given half of it away already so when I say I'll be taking half of it, I guess that just means only a quarter. But either way, I need somewhere to store it. And something with space for my brushes would be good too! I love the look of this one from Sephora.


    TOPSHOP // Joni Jeans (Black)

      Because you always need another pair of skinny black jeans and mine are paint splattered from work. Oops. In fact, maybe pop two pairs of these in my Stocking!

      DR. Martens // Leonore Chelsea Boots

        When I travel, I'm going to be in Iceland in the middle of winter, so a new pair of winter boots perfect for cold, icy condition is very, very necessary. I've been shopping around a lot looking for some that feel really comfortable, have great grip but also look good. These are a little pricey but, I haven't found a pair that even compared to these.



        NYX // Matte Lip Cream


        Christmas morning wouldn't be Christmas morning without some toys and a selection of Matte Lip Creams from NYX would be amazing. I mean there is a NYX Matte Lip Cream Vault that you could treat me too with all of the shades from the range included, but I'm settle for just a few of my most wanted ones. Monte Carlo and Cophenhagen would be a delight! 

        Charlotte Tillbury // Matte Revolution Lipstick


        A girl can never have too many lip products and whilst I can't take all of them travelling with me, they'll be here to greet me when I get home! I have lusted over this lipstick for so, so long but the price puts me off everytime I think to buy it for myself! Glastonberry, Red Carpet Red or Love Liberty are on my lustlist, so the choice is yours. And if you're feeling extra generous, CT's 'Luxury Palette' in Dolce Vita would also be right up my street! 

        I guess I should stop there, I honestly could go on and on and on. For those of you reader this who aren't the main man himself, let me know what you're asking for for Christmas this year! And if you're doing Blogmas, leave me your links in the comments so I can check out your posts too! 

        Love always,
        Melissa


        THE VAULT OF CHRISTMAS' PAST