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I have a thing for black boots, so when I snapped up these Kurt Geiger Vera's a few months back I couldn't be happier.

They're my guilty pleasure.

I'm in love with the things; but I can't walk in them. Despite standing at a measly 5' 2" I've never found myself needing to master the art of walking in a heel, so I've never been able to. Shameful, I know. At New Years I even managed to pull my ankle over in a pair of courts before even making it to the car at the bottom of my garden path. There are some things in life that we're simply destined to never get the hang of and heels, unfortunately, seem to be my thing.



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Following on from my recent post on my morning skincare routine (find that here), I thought it was about time I shared the products that I've been reaching for most evenings. Unlike my morning skincare, my evening routine chops and changes a fair amount, although recently I've made a conscious effort to strip it back and focus on using fewer products that I know genuinely work for me. I'm partial to a good face mask in the evenings too, but for today I'm just focusing on the products that make up the core section of my routine...

My cleansing routine depends heavily on what makeup I've been wearing that day (if any) and the formulation of the products; for instance whether I've opted for a waterproof or non-waterproof mascara. Most days, the Clinique Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm is my first port of call for removing the majority of product, although if my eye makeup is particularly heavy I might begin by using Bioderma's Sebium H2O beforehand (AWFUL for removing waterproof formulas though). Like many, I'm a complete cleansing balm convert and have sung the praises of Clinique's offering more than enough times now, but I'm in love with the gentle, hydrating formula and absolutely consider it one of my 'can't live without' products. For my second, 'proper' cleanse, it's usually on to Dr Hauschka's Cleansing Cream. As a cleanser this is nothing like I've ever used before; it has a strange scent, can't be massaged into the skin and has a texture unlike anything else I own. I'll be doing a proper round up of this soon so I wont say too much, but when used the right way it can be a brilliant option for blemish-prone skin.

On a very rare occasion I'll apply something like the Clarins Gentle Exfoliating Toner right about now, although I've not been seeing any noticeable effects with these kind of treatments lately and have a feeling they may be just a little too harsh on my skin. Instead, I'm usually straight on to the La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo+; another holy grail product that I use at least once a day without fail. The LRP Effaclar range has drastically changed the appearance and texture of my blemish prone skin since I begun using it a couple of years ago and I don't think a day has passed when I haven't reached for this. The new formula is just as good as the first and is well worth checking out; although admittedly I still haven't seen a noticeable difference in the appearance of scarring since using it. I then pat a serum into my skin, usually opting for either Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair or Perricone MD's Chia Serum*. Both are lightweight enough to be worn comfortably overnight and provide a much needed extra layer of hydration; when using these I can be (almost) certain that I'll be waking up with plump, healthy looking skin. Moisturiser is my final step, although I haven't yet come across a night time option that really works for me. For the moment I'm using Balance Me's Moisture Rich Face Cream, which does the job well enough but just doesn't wow me. The best I've tried so far is Benefit's Total Moisture, so I think a repurchase of that may be on the cards soon; although if you have any other night cream recommendations, please feel free to let me know!


Budget Blogging

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Blogging on a budget can be hard. An increasing demand for fresh content and a string of hyped up, new releases can make it seem almost impossible to write about beauty without a bottomless bank account. I'm a student, and while I don't fit into the stereotype of eating pot noodles for dinner every evening, I definitely don't have the kind of disposable income that allows me to make extravagant beauty purchases week in, week out. Sticking to a budget is something that I've undoubtedly got better at as my blog has progressed, so I thought I'd share a few key pieces of advice that have allowed me to carry on blogging without tugging too hard on my purse strings...

Don't believe the hype. I'm guilty of falling into the trap of buying every well documented product that gets talked to death on the beauty blogging circuit, but it's so important to take a step back sometimes and actually evaluate exactly what it is you'll be buying. Ie, will this work for my particular skin type, will the shade of this suit my colouring and is it something that I can genuinely say I need? If the answer is no, step away from the debit card. Doing your research and finding products that work for you is far more important; even if they're not as well known. It's always nice to discover a brilliant product that you haven't read about before.

Be creative. A really obvious tip that's admittedly a lot easier said than done, but taking a look at the products you already have and coming up with an inventive way to use them is key. Admittedly I rarely ever read straight forward product reviews when they come up on my bloglovin' feed, especially as so many of them are on products that are already well covered and hyped up anyway. Coming up with a new way of writing about your favourite products can really make a blog stand out and it shows you've put a lot of thought and care into the content, too.

Make the most of what you have. Kind of similar to the point above, but it's always baffled me how somebody can have a collection of 25 mascaras when their average shelf life is no longer than 6 months. Even if you did have the money to make so many purchases, in the long run it's likely to be incredibly wasteful. I talk about the same products numerous times on my blog and it's something that I've never been put off by when reading other blogs, either. If you find a mascara that you love, stick with it. Including it in more than one post only goes to show exactly how brilliant a product you think it is.

Don't sweat. If you can't afford to spend huge amounts of money on endless product releases, chances are a large chunk of your readers wont be able to either. I follow a few blogs that are primarily focused on high end, luxurious products, but in all honesty it gets a little boring after a while; especially if I feel unable to relate to them or go out and try the products for myself. My favourite blogs are those that create genuine, exciting content no matter what budget the blogger is working with. 


Your Highness

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Forget university, relationships and any future career ambitions (or lack of them, in my sorry case); my main goal in life is to have big, fat hair. It's sods law then that my natural mane is far from voluminous. I usually only manage to get enough texture and hold within my hair a day or two after it's washed, but it's tendency to get more than a little oily by day three means that good hair days have become a pretty rare phenomena. I have fine hair but lots and lots of it, so hunting down products that give long-lasting body without leaving my lengths feeling like straw has been a priority of mine for as long as I can remember. Enter the Tigi Catwalk 'Your Highness' range. I've mentioned my shameful aversion to conditioner before, so I opted to give the shampoo a whirl, alongside two styling products. On the whole I've been incredibly impressed with the range, especially as I find they manage to add some extra 'oomph' to my hair whilst still keeping it looking relatively smooth and sleek (frizzy haired girls, rejoice).

I do find the Elevating Shampoo* can be a little drying on my damaged hair, but it's the perfect option to be kept on rotation with a few others (the Philip Kingsley No Scent, No Colour and Bumble & Bumble's Surf Shampoo are personal favourites). It may be a little controversial but I'm not a huge fan of haircare that injects a lot of moisture anyway, as they tend to make everything feel just that little bit too slippery. Unlike many of the other volume-boosting shampoos I've used, this does seem to give my hair noticeable lift even without applying additional products during the styling stage. Not enough to make me put the backcombing brush down just yet, but the results are pretty good all the same. Once my hair has been roughly towel dried, I go to work with the Root Boost Spray*. Subtlety has never been my middle name and the first few times I used this I noticed a huge difference in the amount of volume in my hair, but my roots were left feeling more than a little bit icky. Since then I've toned it down on this mousse-spray hybrid and have found that a few quick spritzes is enough to really elevate my locks without leaving behind a great amount of residue. Teamed with a little Bumble & Bumble Texture (un)Dressing Creme, this gives the perfect amount of grit and hold to my hair even on that first day of washing. Finally, I apply two pumps of the Thickening Gel Creme* to the lengths and ends of my hair. It's a nice treat and leaves my mane smelling beautiful, but it's definitely something I could live without and I don't notice a great deal of difference in thickness in the areas where I use it. I've used a fair few similar products in the past and have never really seen the appeal, although this doesn't feel as sticky as many of the others. That being said, it wont be something that I'll be adding to my daily haircare routine any time soon.

As with any haircare range this one has some hits and misses, but it's definitely one worth considering if you suffer with fine, limp hair like myself. The shampoo makes a noticeable difference to the overall volume and I've definitely been converted to mousses that can be sprayed into the hair; this one from Schwarzkopf is next on my list to try. 
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