Best Beauty Picks of 2020

Best Beauty Picks of 2020

I know it’s no longer 2020 and the ‘Best of…’ posts should have been posted by now but I’m a procrastinator so what do you expect? I collaborated with the amazing Karalee for this post and one other post about our 2020 favourites.

I’ve always loved make up and skincare but I wouldn’t call myself a connoisseur. However this year I felt inspired to really up my game and watching YouTubers and Instagrammers apply their favourite products and paint their faces to feel pretty despite all the chaos of 2020. Here are a few products I bought and loved this year:

Make up

Revolution Forever Flawless Ice Palette

I really wanted a Blue eyeshadow palette to create some icy looks and this palette looked amazing and affordable. There were a few mint toned shades which I’m looking forward to experimenting with. I’ve seen some gorgeous blue and silver looks and I really want to recreate them.

Fenty Highlighter Killawat in shades Ginger Binge and Moscow Mule

My friend Adi bought me my first Fenty product. this gorgeous highlighter which comes with two shades: a lovely rose pink colour and a dazzling glittery version. It doesn’t disappoint and started my obsession with Fenty.

Mac Liquid Lipstick in shade Frickin’ Brilliant

I picked this lipstick up in a MAC sale after spotting the shimmery red tones and knowing I needed to buy it. It does require a lot of touch ups as it doesn’t have a long lasting coverage.

Karalee’s picks

Juvia’s Place The Berries Eyeshadow Palette

I bought this palette for myself for my birthday, and I love it! The palette has 6 berry shades in matte and shimmer finishes, and I used it for my Dark Alice Halloween Makeup Look. The shades have good pigment, and there is minimal fallout, which makes it a great palette.

Juvia’s Place Warrior 3 Eyeshadow Palette

The Warrior 3 Palette has 9 bright and colourful shades including 7 mattes and 2 shimmers, and I used it for my Summer Sunset Makeup Look. The shades have good pigment, but unlike the previous The Berries palette, this palette has more fallout both in the pan and on the face. However, it is still a good palette for those that love colourful eyeshadow.  

OPV Beauty Rainbow Splash Palette

The Rainbow Splash Palette is another colourful palette with 20 shades including 11 mattes, 8 shimmers, and 1 metallic. I used the palette in my Draw My Makeup Challenge. The shades have good pigment and barely any fallout, which makes it another great eyeshadow palette

Uoma Beauty Black Magic Carnival Lipstick in Trinidad

The lipstick is a bold pink shade with a shimmer finish, and I used it in my Summer Sunset Makeup Look. I love the pink shade, but it is more on the sheer side and needs to be built up to have even coverage.

Uoma Beauty Stay Woke Concealer

I needed a new concealer after my Tarte Shape Tape concealer ran out, and the Uoma Stay Woke Concealer does not disappoint. It is full coverage and comparable to the Shape Tape. The concealer also lasts all day without creasing. However, the only downside is that the concealer is a bit expensive.

The Original MakeUp Eraser

In my Eco-Friendly Beauty Products post, I shared my love for the MakeUp Eraser, which is a reusable polyester cloth that removes all makeup with just warm water.The regular MakeUp Eraser is a large size, and I can use it for several days before washing it with the rest of my laundry. The MakeUp Eraser is a great eco-friendly alternative to using makeup wipes and cotton rounds for removing makeup.

Skincare

The Ordinary’s Caffeine Solution

I was desperate to find an affordable product that would sort out my overwhelmingly dark under eye circles and hyperpigmentation. I’ve been using this but can’t tell if there has been an improvement or not yet!

Glossier’s Milky Jelly Cleanser

This cleanser is perfect for sensitive skin and has a lovely smell too. So far, I’m loving Glossier’s range. I want to try the make up next, especially the Cloud Paint.

Liz Earle

My friend introduced me to Liz Earle last year and I haven’t looked back. I received a set of products for Christmas and I’m looking forward to using it, especially the Skin Tonic and the Eyebright Lotion which leaves my skin hydrated and soft. The price tag isn’t cheap but you gotta treat yourself sometimes!

Karalee’s Picks

Balance Me Congested Skin Serum

After I finished the Balance Me Vitamin C Repair Serum, I decided to try their Congested Skin Serum again because it is suitable for oily, acne-prone skin. I tried the serum years ago and reviewed it in an Empties post, and I love it. The serum helps control the oiliness of my skin without drying it out, and it is a vital part of my skincare routine.

The Body Shop Tea Tree Mattifying Lotion

I have been using this moisturizer in the morning for almost a whole year because it is suitable for oily, acne-prone skin. The lotion does not make my face feel sticky and instead it helps keep my face shine-free, and it does help reduce breakouts. The Mattifying Lotion is a great daily moisturizer for those with oily and acne-prone skin.

The Body Shop Tea Tree Night Lotion

After I used The Body Shop Tea Tree Mattifying Lotion for several months, I decided to try their Night Lotion. The Night Lotion is like the Mattifying Lotion, but it is thicker and helps reduce the appearance of blemishes overnight.

The Body Shop Tea Tree Skin Clearing Mattifying Toner

This toner is another tea tree product from The Body Shop that I have been using for a while because it is suitable for oily skin. I use the toner in the morning and evening and it removes any residue and prepares my skin for the remaining steps of My 10 Step Korean Skin Care Routine.

Ole Henriksen Banana Bright Eye Crème

As part of my skin care routine, I also use the Ole Henriksen Banana Bright Eye Crème. The main problem I have with my under eye area is with dark circles, and the eye cream does reduce dark circles and preps for under eye concealer, which makes it great to use every day and for when I wear makeup.

You can check out Karalee’s blog here.

Hello! My name Karalee Shotola and I am 27 years old. I currently live in Roskilde, Denmark, but I am originally from Texas. I graduated with a Bachelor’s in Psychology, and I am now studying Child Studies at the master’s level.

I created this blog in May 2016 to share my reviews of cosmetics, skin care, and books. As well as reviews, you will also find various lifestyle posts from blogging advice to recipes! 

Christmas 2019 vs Christmas 2020

Christmas 2019 vs Christmas 2020

If I had a pound for everytime someone told me that Christmas won’t be the same this year I’d have enough to book a holiday to the Maldives.

Christmas last year:

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Christmas this year:

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In Christmas 2019, I was with my extended family, eating and drinking merrily and playing Monopoly. Presents were exchanged. I got to see my little cousins all excited about receiving the latest new gadget or a sparkly dress. I got to complain to everyone how disgusting brussel sprouts were (Don’t try and change my mind please!) and peel vegetables like it was a communal activity rather than a chore. A flurry of Christmas crackers, dazzling jumpers and talking over Eastenders, it was truly Litmas.

Flash forward to Christmas 2020, we try and keep the same traditions but without the hustle and bustle of all my cousins running around and the adults talking and drinking, it just isn’t the same. There’s less washing up, less food and less chatter. Christmas is Christmas but with a tinge of sadness. I just want to fast forward until Rona has left the building…

 

How was your Christmas? Let me know!

Best moments from Netflix show ‘The Fabulous Lives of Bollywood Wives’

Netflix released a show titled ‘The Fabulous Lives of Bollywood Wives’ and it sounded fascinating, terrible and my next guilty pleasure. Produced by the titular Karan Johar, a household name in producing Bollywood movies, I knew the reality would be juicy and I wasn’t mistaken. Was it cringy and terrible? Yes. Did I sit through all 8 episodes and laugh my head off? You bet. Indian women are melodramatic, hilarious and you often have to take their words with a pinch of masala as seen by all the Indian serials my mum watches and sponsored the the infamous Pooja meme:

About the show

The show focuses on four Indian socialites: Maheep Kapoor, Bhavna Pandey, Neelam Kothari and Seema Khan. It follows their day-to-day lives as they argue excessively, complain about everything and balk in a lavish penthouse in Doha. What’s not to love? Here are the funniest moments

The Beach clean-up

After Maheep organises a beach clean up, I nearly snorted with laughter when Bhavna chose to hear heels in lieu of some comfy wellington boots. The other women found this particularly amusing although this was drowned out by how much I wanted to tear my hair out watching them attempt to do something that didn’t involve a superficial activity. Maheep protests after finding a condom and it almost turns into a crisis until they realise that it is in fact a glove.

Karan Johar stirring the pot

I only realised Karan Johar was the producer of this show when he participated in a lunch with the girls and effectively began stirring the pot. After a few guided questions from him, storm Karan led the girls into a catfight on camera. Karan seems to have a penchant for melodrama and misunderstandings as I could tell from his movies so it seemed only natural he’d cause a commotion on his own show!

Arguing about nothing

Most of the time when fights happened on the show. I’d be sitting there like via GIPHY They had an argument about whether being called a ‘MILF’ was a compliment or not for God’s sake.. Most of the conundrums on the show were linked to dilemmas which could probably have been resolved within a few minutes rather than being dragged out. If anything this showed me that Bollywood, like Hollywood, is entrenched in bitchiness and catfights galore. Think the Kardashians but in Mumbai.

The Glamour

I may have moaned a lot about having to see a bunch of socialites get botox but in reality, I live for seeing the glamour of Bollywood, thirst over the outfits and get to see them take on Doha on a ‘Girls Trip’. Snapshots of luxury Mumbai also had me wishing I could just teleport to India and splurge on some designer saris. Have you seen the show? Did you enjoy it? Let me know x

I can’t wait to walk down the Aisle…

I can’t wait to walk down the Aisle…

That is,the airport Aisle. (sorry for the clickbait)

Who needs a chapel when you have the luxury of running to your gate because you woke up late  want to get there nice and early. Getting that smooth boarding pass printed out and then instagramming it (without personal details of course because GDPR) for everyone to see that you’re on a Emirates First Class flight to Dubai…or a Ryanair Super Economy to Prague (a flight is a flight, everyone should be jel).

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I need that pre flight Corona (the beer, to clarify) and a Full English breakfast. I need to stop salivating because damn, could really use them right now. I haven’t been abroad in just over a year and if you check my internet history it’s full of Skyscanner searches and travel blogs. I have no holidays booked at the moment but that doesn’t stop me bookmarking people’s Instagram posts to my folder aptly named ‘Wanderlust’, original I know. It doesn’t help that London is cold and dreary at the moment and waking up in complete darkness doesn’t help at all. I’m envisaging my next holiday to be an all inclusive at the beach kinda holibae where all I do is sip cocktails and complain about the heat while basking in it anyway.

I don’t know when my next trip will be but I am miserable and need a holiday asap. I kinda wanna wait until things get better or we get a vaccine or both. My mental health is a bit of a sorry state at the moment and I really think even a few days in a new city just lapping up that holiday glow is needed.

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via GIPHY

Are you going on holiday or have you already been? Let me know in the comments!

The Best Instagram accounts for Brown girls

The Best Instagram accounts for Brown girls

Here are some Instagram accounts that all brown girls need to be following. These accounts really close the gap between culture and social media and if you feel like you can’t relate, check these gems out!

@BrownGirlMemes – I love a good meme – like that white guy blinking a lot – but sometimes a good desi meme is what I need. I end up sharing them with my mum sometimes and you know its a good meme when both you and your mum can find them relatable. So much of brown culture like Bollywood, strict parent jokes and “Pooja, what is this behaviour” memes are missing from mainstream meme accounts and this account really delivers on those

 

@BrownHistory – This account retells stories and memories from people’s POV. There’s some really heart warming stories about how parents fell in love, powerful moments in history and pictures which tell a thousand stories across the diaspora.

@ Browngirlgang – An empowering and uplifting space with South Asian women worldwide. From hilarious TikToks, make up looks, Bollywood appreciation and the odd post about chai, this account is a must-follow.

@Browngirltherapy – There’s a large gap in the mental health community for brown people and this page is all about promoting therapy and self-love. Mainstream mental health pages don’t always touch on the link between mental illness and bicultural identity and this page really accesses this.

@BritishBindi – A page run by 3 South Asian best friends. Inspiring, comforting and more memes. Follow if you want a laugh and an insight into South Asian lifestyle and culture,

 

Pearl Palace Hotel Review

It was my first experience staying in a heritage hotel and the Pearl Palace in Jaipur, Rajesthan was the perfect choice. But what is a ‘heritage’ hotel, you ask? It can be defined as accomodation which has traditional architecture and has distinctive qualities which mirror the area’s way of life. *Boujie for cheap has entered the chat*

The artwork in this heritage hotel was breathtaking. There were statues and stonework recreating the multicultural aspects of India and it’s faiths. The bedrooms were themed and sported different colours, represented a diverse range of vibrant arts and were the perfect combination of luxury and tradition.

Check out how stunning the hotel is

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Look at that artwork tho, damn. I felt like a princess entering my own palace. The staff were lovely and attentive. But the food. Two words: Aloo Paratha. Add a coffee and I was set up for the day. The sister hotel Pearl Palace is two blocks away and has a rooftop restaurant called The Peacock Rooftop Restaurant. I didn’t get a chance to dine there but some of the dishes featured sounded amazing; Paneer Butter Masala, Paneer Tikka etc. (If there was an award for how much Paneer a person could eat in a day, I would have won it by now).

I just loved the whole interior of the hotel and how it was Travelodge prices; it definitely gives British hotels a run for their money. Check it out: http://pearlpalaceheritage.com/. We paid  £191 for three nights (two rooms) which is a bargain.

 

 

 

How a skincare routine helped me improve my mindfulness skills during lockdown

It’s easy to think about all the negatives during lockdown and the pandemic but I am going to use this blog post to think about something positive that actually arose during my time at home. Skincare! I’m still very much a newbie with all these new brands and products (Wtf is a retinol?), but I’m learning.

I got started with some easy, well known brands such as Liz Earle, Glossier and Superdrug’s own brand.

Liz Earle

Cleanse and Polish (Hot Cloth Cleanser)

Skin tonic

Eyebright soothing eye lotion

Exfoliator

I started my skincare routine with some good old Liz Earle products that my friend had recommended to me. The hot cloth cleanser was gentle and so much more soothing for my skin than make up wipes. I made a promise to myself to reserve make up wipes for Nights Out only and to use the Cleanse and Polish regularly. This coupled with the exfoliator and skin tonic made my skin feel super smooth and ready for the day. The eye lotion was a must because my eyes are quite dry and require a lot of care. Although pricy, I really loved the Liz Earle range.

Glossier

Milky jelly cleanser

Exfoliating skin perfector

I love the cleanser! It really hydrated my face and was really gentle on my skin. I have sensitive skin so something gentle is a must. The exfoliator was good too but I prefer more of a face scrub texture. This was my first time trying the Glossier range so I will be checking more products out.

Vitamasques

Ok these are definitely my favourite products. A range of face masks for every occasion. I bought a selection for £17 which is a bargain. Gold shimmery masks, charcoal, raspberry etc. These definitely add an amazing edge to your pamper night. If anyone wants me to review them properly in another blog post I definitely will!

 

Skincare and mental health

A good skincare routine can transform your mental health, in this essay I will. A 2010 study conducted for the Asian Journal of Beauty and Cosmetology found that among elderly and middle aged women in Korea led to an increase in confidence, self-esteem and happiness.

There’s something really soothing about massaging these products into your face. Its calming and you’re focusing on something for a good amount of time which is a also a form of mindulness. It’s not a miracle cure to anxiety but just focusing on my routine produces a wave of calmness and tranquility. Every action is part of a ritual and by focusing on what to apply next I’m not focusing on anything but the present. I normally have my skincare routine at night but you can do it at any time of day. Just going through the motions is sacramental and really gives you that much needed lull in your day.

 

 

 

My Cornwall Staycation

My Cornwall Staycation

Hey everyone!

I’ve been absent for a while dealing with some life stuff but I am back now and ready to commence on these blog posts gathering dust in my drafts.

I took a staycation in mid August to lovely Cornwall staying in a lovely enormous cottage with my family. It was in a secluded farm area called Launceston and was about a hour away from central Cornwall. We were there for 7 days and then spent 3 days in Lizard Point. Here are some daytrips and activities you can do that are of course, socially distanced adventures.

 

  1. Glastonbury

W stopped off at Glastonbury to grab some lunch on the drive to Cornwall. Glastonbury has such a lovely assortment of colourful alternative shops and I was happy to have look around and grab some pretty items. If you need some sage, saris and sandlewood incense, look no further. I did some shopping and was happy to report that it really helped to keep me zen.

2. Tresmoor 

The cottage we had rented was located in Tresmoor, a village near Launceston, North Cornwall. The cottage really aligned with my vision of being a literary darling in a cottage writing her memoirs blog. Oak beds, ensuite bathrooms and a games room complete with a dartboard and a pool table. There’s not much to do near but Launceston is only 6 miles from here. I took a walk around the village and drank in the countryside views.

3. The Eden Project

A trip to Cornwall wouldn’t be complete without visiting The Eden Project. Two biodomes containing exotic plants from all over the world cannot be missed. Some areas of the project are closed off and mask wearing is encouraged to ensure health and safety. Give your senses a hit of this tropical wonderland.

 

4. Padstow

I visited Padstow on a wet and windy day so it wasn’t as fun as it could have been been but it’s still worth a visit if you’re in town. Take a walk along the coast and around Padstow town. I was only here for a few hours before we had to take cover before the rain hit but check this website out for a few more ideas if you’re here for a full day. https://www.cornwalls.co.uk/top_ten/padstow.htm

 

5. St Ives

Boujie meets beach babe. St Ives has the most beautiful, picteresque beach location with actual sand (not that sharp pebbly rubbish the UK seem to prefer). Deep blue and green seas and some great views, It’s the perfect place to take a nice walk, indulge in some selfies, grab some tea and scones and sit by the sand and daydream. We ate at Mermaid Alley, this really cute restaurant in Penzance.  If you stop by there, don’t forget the specialty glittery cocktail they have. The Notting Hill of Cornwall, St Ives is not to be missed.

 

6. Widemouth Bay

Up at the crack of dawn (7 AM) for physical activity? When its surfing, I make exceptions. I really recommend trying out surfing or if you’re a watersports virgin (I said what I said) even if you’re a seasoned surfer and want to catch some waves in the UK. What’s surfing like?  It’s a mission getting into your wetsuit and not as glamorous as it seems in American 2000’s media. I stayed on my board for a maximum of 3 seconds. But it’s fun and really rewarding. Turns out pretending you’re surfing in California doesn’t make it stop raining in the UK but at least the waves were rough enough

7. St Michael’s Mount

St Michael’s Mount is an island with a medieval church and castle. I didn’t pay entry to see it but I’m definitely bookmarking it as something I have to do next time. Tickets are available to purchase here: https://www.stmichaelsmount.co.uk/plan-your-visit/opening-days-times

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So UK travel wouldn’t have been my first option but with Coronairus, I didn’t really have a choice. It’s made me appreciate the UK more and make the most of staycations. Travelling is definitely more of  state of mind than a place. It’s no Ibiza but Cornwall really is such a exquisite location.

 

The Fujishan Mishima Tokyu Hotel Opening Review

The Fujishan Mishima Tokyu Hotel Opening Review Visiting Japan has been a lifelong dream (that still needs to be fulfilled) and I was excited to be invited to the virtual opening party of a new hotel, the Fujisan Mishima Tokyu Hotel in the Shizuoka prefecture. The hotel group was founded in 2001 and has since expanded to 46 urban sites over 12,400 guestrooms. In 2015, five Tokyu brands split into 3: Tokyu Hotel, Excel Hotel Tokyu and Tokyu Rei Hotel to offer three types of hospitality. The opening party started with a myth busting video about Japan. Many people view Japan as too crowded, difficult, not for me etc.. Japan has over 230 registered traditional crafts and contains one of the oldest ceramic traditions. It also has the most hot springs, natural sources, ski resorts and Michelin star restaurants in the world. Japan exceeds expectations and there is something for everyone, whether you’re a foodie, nature lover or so much more. The Fujisan Mishima is located just 45 minutes away from Tokyo. Shizuoka is famous for having the most green tea production in Japan, plenty of bikes for tourists and containing many shrines and temples for those that are looking to immerse themselves in culture on their holiday. The Mishima Shrine is a must-see. The gendered open air baths are the hotel’s top attraction boasting magnificent views of Shizuoka and an amazing place to unwind in. Fujishan Mishima men's bath I was given a first look at the hotel via Zoom which is a first for a hotel opening party. The luxurious lobby offers guests a warm welcome (complete with antibacterial hand gel!). The 14th floor had stunning designs and contained a spectacular open- air bath. This was accompanied with fabulous views of Mount Fuji. I also got a look at the restaurant on the 13th floor which was clean and polished. The restaurant offers traditional Japanese food and the speciality dish was BBQ cooked in front of the guest and excellent paired with Sake/whisky/beer. Western style meals are also served here so there is something for everyone
Restaurant

Rooms

The suites are substantial and have plenty of space. They also come equipped with flat screen TV’s and monumental bathrooms. The rooms are designed to exhibit beautiful views of Mount Fuji.
Twin Superior
The Family rooms have pink and green hues, representing the cherry blossoms of Japan along with the greenery of Shizuoka. There are traditional Japanese rooms and also Western rooms complete with Katame flooring.
Complete with an Old Japanese style table setting, the rooms combine luxury with an infusion of traditional Japanese culture. After experiencing the virtual opening party for the Fujisan Mishima, I’m extremely excited about potentially coming to view it in the flesh after I finally do embark on my long awaited mission to explore Japan. Check it out here.

Things I Can’t Wait to Experience After Lockdown

Things I Can’t Wait to Experience After Lockdown

Life During Lockdown

A few months ago everything seemed to change for almost everyone. Our regular lifestyle, schedules and lives in general were changed as we went into lockdown. Although the changes have been made for safety reasons there are still things that we really miss that we wish we could still experience. Pooja, a fellow blogger and I were talking about this and decided to write a post about what we miss most and what we are excited to experience after this lockdown/pandemic is over. The first four are mine and the last four are hers. We hope you enjoy reading the post as much as we did writing it!

Pub Dates

Underrated but I miss cheap and cheerful pub dates where you meet up with friends and get a pint (overpriced if you’re in London, of course) and talk and anything and everything. Bonus point if there’s a pub garden because who doesn’t love a bit of Sun and Sangria. Pub culture is just easy, laid back and chilled which is needed after a long stint of lockdown

Beauty Treatments

There’s a strong chance my eyebrow lady will not recognise me the next time I see her. Or she’ll be speechless when she realises that lockdown pressure culminated in me trying to do my own eyebrows which resulted in a slight disaster. Suffice to say, give me the works (after it is safe, of course). A Mani, Pedi and a facial. Stat.

Food, Glorious, Food

My eyes are definitely going to be bigger than my stomach when all the restaurants open up again. Lockdown has reminded me that I need to be expanding my culinary bucket list and there is are variety of feasts that any foodie can appreciate.

Staycations

International travel is going to be difficult in the foreseeable future as borders will likely stay closed until it is safe to travel. I definitely want to explore more of the UK and see gems like Cornwall and even partake in a road trip to Scotland.

Hugs

I am not someone who is super into hugging or really showing a lot of affection in general but as they say- you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone. I can’t wait to hug my friends and family and just be around them without worrying about wearing a mask, washing my hands or anything like that.

Travelling

I am really looking forward to travelling a lot more as soon as all this is over and it is safe to travel to other countries again. I even have an entire list of all the places I want to see ready!

Just Chilling

I cannot wait to be able to go out to just relax. Whether it’s to a restaurant, movie, coffee shop or just walking around downtown. I know that I can do that right now but I can’t wait till I can do that without having to put on a mask and avoid other people and keep a distance. Just being able to relax is something I am definitely looking forward to.

Taking the bus

I know a lot of people have a problem with taking the bus or don’t particularly enjoy the experience of taking the bus. I always did though- I thought it was peaceful and I particularly enjoyed longer bus rides because they gave me time to think and reflect. I haven’t taken the bus since the pandemic and honestly I kind of miss it.

What are you looking forward to once normal life resumes?

I collaborated with Pooja G on this post. She is an awesome, helpful blogger and it was lovely to collaborate with her! Check out her blog and her Instagram and Twitter