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My top 10 beauty and skincare products of 2014

Pleasley, Derbyshire, UK

As we wave goodbye to 2014, I thought I'd share ten of my favourite beauty and skincare products of the year. Enjoy!

1. Balance Me BB Natural Perfection SP15 - £26.00* 
Let’s kick things off with my favourite makeup product of the year, the Balance Me BB cream. For me it is the perfect base, offering a light coverage and a gorgeous luminous finish. I love the fact it’s made from 99% natural ingredients and that it doesn’t clog up my skin like some of the foundations I’ve used in the past. I’m still on the same tube Balance Me kindly sent in July (a little goes a long way) but I will definitely be purchasing my next one in 2015. Read my full review here.

2. Real Techniques Makeup Brushes – Prices vary. 
I’m cheating a little bit by including all of the Real Techniques brushes as one 2014 favourite. These makeup brushes are great quality, excellent value for money and most importantly cruelty free! I’ll definitely be expanding my collection in 2015 and already have my eye on some of the brushes from the Bold Metals collection, which are now available from the Boots website.

3. Boujois Cream Blush - £7.99
This year my most-used ‘cheek products’ are the cream blushes by Bourjois. I really like the cream-to-powder formula and find them so easy to apply. I used the peachy shade Nude Velvet throughout the spring and summer and then switched to Sweet Cherry - the perfect autumn / winter shade. Read the full review here.

4. Clarins Natural Lip Perfector - £18.00
This is my go-to lip product for ‘barely there’ makeup days. It adds a lovely non-sticky layer of gloss to the lips and also has the sweetest scent. I love it!

5. Essie Eternal Optimist - £7.99
If you're a regular reader of Seek My Scribbles, you'll know how much I love Eternal Optimist by Essie, as I've featured in multiple times. For me, it's the perfect everyday nail polish and I think it's going to be the first bottle of polish I actually finish! Click here for my full review & swatches.

6. Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat - £9.00
The Seche Vite Top Coat is a product I reach for every time I paint my nails. I love how it makes my nails look so glossy (as if I've had a professional manicure) and also find that it helps to prevent chipping.

7. Mitchum 48hr Powder Fresh Anti-Perspirant & Deodorant - £2.89
Although Mitchum deodorant isn't strictly a beauty or skincare product, it's such an awesome product that I simply had to include it! Mitchum is the best deodorant brand I've ever used and I can't see myself ever switching from it. Unlike other 'roll ons' I've used in the past, this one is really fast-drying and gentle on my sensitive skin. I also love the lovely powder scent!

8. La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo+ - £15.50*
The Effclar Duo+ cream has really helped to clear-up my chin, which has always been the 'problem area' of my face in terms of blemishes and scarring. It really works for me and I know that it will continue to play an important role in my skincare routine in 2015. I have also recently been testing the Effaclar 3-step anti blemish kit - you can read my thoughts on it here.

9. Garnier Micellar Water - £4.99 (Currently £3.33 at Boots)
I don't know about you but there are some nights when I'm just too tired to do a full 'night time skincare routine' and for those nights the Garnier Micellar Water is my best friend. It removes makeup so easily and is much kinder to my skin than the face wipes I used in my teens. Although I'd say it's already priced reasonably at £4.99 for 400ml, it's regularly on offer at Boots making it even better value for money!

10. MERUMAYA Iconic Youth Serum - £34.50* 
Last but not least we have a newcomer (for me), the Iconic Youth Serum by MERUMAYA. I was lucky enough to win a number of MERUMAYA products at the #BloggersSecretSanta14 meetup but for me, this has been the star product and is most definitely worthy of it's place in my top 10 products for 2014. Although I'm only 24 and wouldn't say I need anti-ageing products yet, I love this serum because it makes my skin look radiant and glowing. It also gives my skin a gorgeous satin finish, which provides a lovely base for my makeup. I'll be reviewing some of the MERUMAYA skincare products in the next couple of weeks, so keep an eye out for the posts!

So there we have my top 10 beauty and skincare products for 2014! What's on your list?

Walking in a winter wonderland

Don't you just love unspoiled countryside snow? I feel so lucky to live close to this country park, which looks like the perfect winter wonderland, sprinkled with snow. Jazz and Oby had so much fun chasing snow balls and I didn't even mind that it was so, so cold because it's not very often you see sights this beautiful. Plus I had my new Palladium Boots* keeping my feet cosy and warm!

This is quite a picture-heavy post but I just wanted to share a few of my snowy snaps! I'm going to get back into blogging every other day in the New Year but until then, look out for my 'products of the year' post which will be going live on Wednesday!

Have you been enjoying the snow where you are? 
*PR Product


Just a little post from me today to say MERRY CHRISTMAS! I hope you all have a wonderful day with your loved ones. 

 Lots of love, 
 Megan Jane xo

The Body Shop & RSPCA: Testing on Bloggers

There’s many things I love about the beauty industry, namely the beautiful and innovative products that come out of it, which I get to discuss here on this blog, however there’s one thing that I just can’t stand and that’s animal testing.

Is there really a need to test cosmetics on animals? The simple answer is no. However the sad truth is that around twenty seven thousand animals are still used for cosmetics testing by brands across the world. Yes that’s twenty seven thousand+ animals that suffer in the name of beauty. Rather sickening isn’t it?

Thankfully there are a number of companies that are well and truly against testing cosmetics on animals. One such company is The Body Shop who have recently teamed up with the RSPCA to create a campaign called ‘Testing on Bloggers, which I'm so excited to be a part of!

But before I go onto show you the lovely products I was sent to test, I urge you to join the RSPCA in calling for the top ten global cosmetic companies to ‘Makeover the World.’ It is their aim to get these companies to commit to not using animals to develop new products or ingredients, not market further products in countries where animal testing is required and to contribute towards the development of humane alternative methods. I've signed the petition & it would be fantastic if you did too!

Face & Body Brush - 16.00* // Shimmer Waves Bronze - £16.00*
Out of all of The Body Shop makeup products I got to test, the Face & Body Brush and the Shimmer Waves bronzer / blush are my favourites. The cruelty-free brush is literally the softest makeup brush I've ever had the pleasure of using and the Shimmer Waves bronzer is something I've had my eye on for a while. I've been using the brush to gently sweep the Shimmer Waves bronzer / blush over my cheeks to add a lovely healthy glow to my complexion. I also really love how versatile Shimmer Waves is. You can use the shades individually (even as eyeshadows) or sweep them together for a unique blend.

Head in the Sky Eyeshadow - £7.00* // Eyeshadow Blender Brush - £10.00* // Define & Lengthen Mascara - £10.00* // Oh Honey Eyeshadow - £7.00* // Liquid Eyeliner - £9.00*
The Body Shop also kindly sent me a number of eye makeup products to use. First up we have Head in the Sky which is a lovely lilac-blue matte eyeshadow from their Colour Crush range. This isn't normally a colour I'd pick up but I think it's so pretty, especially with my new red hair! My favourite out of the two eyeshadows though is Oh Honey. This is a lovely pearlescent gold colour which is so easy to work with. I've been applying both of these eyeshadows with my new blending brush, which like the face brush is cruelty-free and beautifully soft!

I've also really enjoyed using the liquid eyeliner and mascara. I'd say the liquid eyeliner is quite wet, so you will need to make sure you leave it a second to dry but aside from that it's really easy to create a good old flick! The Define and Lengthen mascara really lives up to it's name, in that it does exactly that. Whilst I do like the volume my other mascara gives, I think this is great for coating those hard-to-reach lashes in the corner of the eye, as well as the bottom lashes.
Colour Crush Shine Lipstick shade 18 Sunset Romance - £10.00*
Last but certainly not least is the beautiful Colour Crush Shine Lipstick in the shade Sunset Romance. This is a gorgeous corally-pink shade, which I think will be perfect for the summer time. This lipstick is so easy to wear because it just adds a light wash of colour to the lips. It's really easy to apply and I love that it gives my lips a 'juicy' finish. It's not the longest lasting lipstick in the world (you need a matte lipstick for that) but it's so easy to apply that it doesn't really matter one bit.
A quick makeup look using the products features in this post!
And that's everything! Thanks for sticking with me. I know it was a pretty long post but I really wanted to talk about how I feel about animal testing rather than just concentrating on the products. I hope you enjoyed the read! Please let me know if you sign the campaign and which products you like the sound of! 
*All of these products were given to me to review as part of the Testing on Bloggers campaign.

Sunday Scribbles #6

I haven't done a Sunday Scribbles for a while, so I thought it was about time I sat down and did a  'catch-up' style post! Like the majority of people, I've been pretty busy with Christmas coming up, which is why I've not been posting as often. I'm hoping to get back into posting every other day in the New Year as I did try posting every day but it's just too hard!

I'm really looking forward to Christmas - I've just got two days of work left and then I can look forward to spending some quality time with my family! James and I are heading out on Christmas Eve to do some last-minute shopping. It's going to be awfully busy, but it's kind of a tradition of ours! Speaking of Christmas traditions, I've got a little post going up on the China Blue Shoes blog tomorrow about how I spend Christmas Day and what I love about it, so be sure to look out for that.

In other news, I've dyed my hair! My mum and I decided to have a go at using the Rouge Henna from Lush and it's amazing. We're both so happy with how it turned out and the process of doing it was actually really straightforward. I'm not sure how well you can tell in the photograph but my hair now has lovely red / copper tones running through it. I'm really happy with it and also love how my mum's hair has turned out. She has much lighter hair than I do and her's has gone a fiery copper colour, it's gorgeous! If you'd like me to do a little review / tutorial post, let me know as it's definitely something I can do for you.

The Dragon Legacy and The Revenge Masquerade by Jane Hunt (my mum!)

And the last piece of news to share is that my mum's new book, The Revenge Masquerade, was released this week. I'm immensely proud of her! If you are looking for a new book to read, you can buy it for your Kindle from Amazon UK or Amazon US. You can also buy book one, The Dragon Legacy here.

I'll definitely be posting again before Christmas, so for now, Happy Sunday!

The Ultimate Fix Review

The Ultimate Fix Nail Fixing Spray - £9.50*
I’d say when it comes to dealing with people I’m a very patient person but waiting for my nails to dry – well that’s a whole other story! Usually I end up painting my nails to perfection only to have a sip of my coffee, pull my tights up or do something else that's going to wreck them, just two second later. So when I was introduced to The Ultimate Fix spray by Beauty Narcotix at the #BloggersSecretSanta14 meet up in Nottingham, I was intrigued to find out whether it was the answer to my nail drying problems!
The Ultimate Fix is a non-oily drying spray that is designed for using between the layers of nail polish you apply. One of the problems with fast-drying top coats is that they try and dry the nail from the top layer downwards, which never really works, making the nails more prone to chipping, whereas this spray actually dries every single layer of polish.

After you have applied a layer of polish on your nails, you simply hold and spray The Ultimate Fix evenly across them from about 30cm away. It’s fine if it goes on your skin, as it disappears quickly and won’t do any harm. I find that just a quick spritz is enough to make each layer of nail polish dry to the touch within seconds!

You continue doing the same thing for all of your layers and can even apply The Ultimate Fix over a topcoat like Seche Vite. I still really like to use Seche Vite, even when I’m using this drying spray, as I haven’t found anything that compares to it when it comes to giving nails a high-shine, professional-style finish.
I’ve used this drying spray a good few times now and each time I have found that my nails have managed to last a couple of days longer than they usually would without chipping too much. For me, this sprays fast-drying properties are what I’m interested in most as it definitely makes painting my nails (which I don’t enjoy doing anyway) a quicker and more hassle-free process!

The spray is scented and smells a little like men’s body spray but this doesn’t really bother me at all. I'd just make sure you paint your nails and apply the spray in a well-ventilated area (which you should be doing anyway) so you don’t end up with a headache.

The Ultimate Fix* is available from Selfridges and costs £9.50 for 50ml. A can of this size is said to treat up to 12 manicures with normal use.

Have you tried The Ultimate Fix spray – what do you think of it? 
 If you haven’t tried it, is it something you are interested in? 
*Item gifted at blogging event.

The best Christmas jumpers of 2014

Polar Bear Jumper - Next // Gingerbread Jumper - Next // Fairisle Snowflake Jumper - Boohoo.com // Bell Motif Jumper - Topshop // Neon Fairisle Jumper - F&F // Pink Reindeer Christmas Jumper - New Look
Christmas jumpers are something you either love or hate and here in the Hunt family household, we have a lot of love for them! This year I bought myself a cute Christmas pudding jumper from a Next clearance store (see it here) but since that's not available online I thought I'd put together some of my other favourites. If you've still not treated yourself to a festive jumper for Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, maybe one of these will take your fancy!

I think the Gingerbread and Bell motif jumpers are adorable but I also really like fairisle prints. The red one is more of a traditional fairisle jumper whereas the grey and pink neon one is a little more quirky and modern. I think the pale pink jumper with the reindeer face will look lovely with a blouse underneath and a peter pan colour peeping over the top. My mum has bought herself the Polar Bear jumper and the most amazing thing about it is that it has pom poms...who doesn't love pom poms?!

Will you be sporting a Christmas jumper over the festive period?

La Roche-Posay 3-Step Anti-Blemish System Review

A few weeks ago you may have seen my first look post for the 3-Step Anti-Blemish System by La Roche-Posay. Well I’ve been using it for a little while now so I thought it was about time I shared a full review with you – especially since some of you may be thinking of getting it as one of your Christmas presents! 

The La Roche-Posay Effaclar 3-Step Anti-Blemish System* features three different products: a gel cleanser, clarifying toner and corrective cream, which together ‘work in synergy to dramatically improve the look and feel of the skin.’ The skincare brand has specifically designed this set to tackle key signs of oily, blemish-prone skin including:

  • Blemishes
  • Enlarged pores
  • Excess sebum
  • Uneven & rough skin texture
  • Red & brown marks

Now I wouldn’t say I have oily skin, but my chin is prone to blemishes and scarring. So did this set help to tackle my problem area? Let’s find out…

Effaclar Purifying Gel Cleanser

The Effaclar Purifying Gel Cleanser is designed to target excess sebum and impurities. You simply squeeze a little onto your fingers, add a splash of water to work it into a lather and massage it onto your face and neck using gentle circular motions. The product is really easy to use and a little definitely goes a long way! I like that after rinsing it off, my skin always feels really clean and fresh. I wouldn't say it's the most exciting cleanser in the world but it certainly does everything you would expect a cleanser to do.

Effaclar Clarifying Toner

The next step is to use the Effaclar Clarifying Toner which is designed to target large pores and oily skin. This product isn't actually available to purchase on it's own in the UK, which is a bit of a pain but with any luck they'll introduce it soon!

One of the things I like most about this toner is the fact that it contains salicylic acid and lactic acid, both of which are great for gently exfoliating the skin. I have also found that it really helps to reduce the pores around my nose, even more so than the pore-reducing primer I was usually previously.

As I mentioned before, I don't have the oiliest of skin but I do find that this toner really helps to reduce shine, especially on my T zone area.

Effaclar Duo+ Anti Blemish Cream

The final step is to apply the Effaclar Duo+ Anti Blemish Cream, which is designed to target blemishes, pores and marks. I have been using this anti blemish cream for quite a while now and even after trying the other products in the set, it's still my favourite!

La Roche-Posay recommend that you apply a thin layer of the cream all over your face morning and evening, however I tend to just apply it to the areas that I think need it, namely my chin and it does everything I need it to. For me it is definitely the star product of the set! It's great for soothing the skin, calming irritation and clearing up nasty spots and blemishes. I also find that it really helps to prevent scarring. It's one of those products that I really believe in and is therefore a key part of my skincare routine.

All in all I think the La Roche-Posay 3-Step Anti-Blemish System is a great set for those looking for a simple skincare routine that will help to tackle oiliness and blemishes. After using it morning and night for almost a month I have found that it has already helped to improve the appearance of my skin and I don't think it's a coincidence that my 'problem area' has remained blemish-free (apart from the odd pesky hormone spot).

Please keep in mind that I am not a skincare expert and I can only speak from my own experiences, so if you want to find out more about this skincare set, I highly recommend giving the La Roche-Posay team a tweet! You can also head on over to their website to learn more about the 3-Step Anti-Blemish system and what specific ingredients are designed to target.

The La Roche-Posay Effaclar 3-Step Anti-Blemish system is available from Boots for £32.50. It's also currently part of their 3-for-2 offer.

Is the Three Step Anti-Blemish System from La Roche-Posay something you'd like to try? 
Are you a fan of the Effaclar Duo+ cream? 
Let me know in the comments below!

*This item was sent to me in exchange for an honest review.

Quizmas Party Blogger Challenge

My winter woodland decorations.

My Ideal Christmas Party: 

The Christmas theme I would have would be…

I was going to say Winter Wonderland but that’s quite an obvious theme so how about Winter Woodland instead? I’d decorate the room with rustic-style Christmas decorations (plenty of pine cones) and have a log cabin bar serving Christmas cocktails. It’d also serve hot chocolate later on (I’m such a granny at heart). Everyone would arrive in cute woolly capes and have their Christmas party dresses underneath (the more glitter the better!) 

One thing every Christmas party needs is…

The Christmas song I’d put on repeat would be…
 Fairytale of New York.

The celebrity I would invite would be…
Taylor Swift. I don’t think my best friend group would mind her joining us for a night. Or Daniel Sharman – who can resist that face?!

I would kiss…. under the mistletoe
The Mr. of course! Unless Daniel Sharman turned up in which case...(just kidding)

The dress I would wear at the Quizmas party would be…
The Black Glitter Textured Bardot Dress. You can’t go wrong with an LBD at Christmas parties, especially with a little glitter. I love how this one is off the shoulder – it’s such a flattering cut!

Glitter Textured Bardot Dress // Silver and Black Jewelled Earrings // Faux Fur Trim Cape // Silver Glitter Pointed Courts
What would your ideal Christmas Party be like? If you want to get involved in the Quizmas Party Blogger Challenge, head on over to this page to read up on the rules. And feel free to come back and share your posts in the comments below as I would love to read them! xo

Festive iPhone case review

iPhone 4 Reindeer Christmas Jumper case* // Mobile Madhouse // £9.99
 The decorations are up, the Christmas tunes are on and this year I've even spruced up my good old iPhone 4 with a lovely festive phone case from Mobile Madhouse! I adore traditional fair isle patterns so the Reindeer Christmas Jumper case really suits me to a T. It fits my iPhone perfectly and doesn't make it at all bulky. I'd even go as far as saying it's my favourite phone case yet and knowing me I'll end up using it way after Christmas has been and gone.

Mobile Madhouse have a wide range of iPhone 4 cases for you to choose from featuring designs to suit all tastes. All of the iPhone 4 cases are priced under £10.00 making them extremely budget-friendly and ideal for secret santa and stocking filler gifts this Christmas!

What do you think of my new festive iPhone case?
*This item was sent to me in exchange for an honest review.

The 1989 Tag | Taylor Swift

I love Taylor Swift & 1989 is sooooo good! I spotted this tag on Sian & Charli's blogs and I couldn't resist doing it myself.

If you could live in any city, which would it be and why? 
That’s quite a difficult one, as I’ve not visited many cities! I think Paris would be quite lovely and I’d love to visit New York, but in all honesty, for me it’s not about where you live but the people you live with that matters.

What is something that everyone thinks is true about you but is actually false? 
That I’m quiet and shy. I actually have quite a lot to say – I’m just not willing to share it until I feel comfortable!

What is one item in your closet that makes you feel unstoppable? 
 My pink faux fur coat, it’s so glamorous and gorgeous.

What is one thing you're afraid of?

Who is someone you wish was still in your life?
There are a few people I wish I’d stayed in touch with but you know what, I’m just fine with the people in my life right now. They’re everything.

What is something you have had to shake off?
Worries – I’m a real worrier. I worry about everything. But I’m trying to worry less these days – it doesn’t change the outcome after all!

What is something you'd like to happen right now?
I’d like to win the lottery so I could buy a big house in the countryside for my family, with lots of land for my dogs to run around in.

Has anyone ever stabbed you in the back?
Yes but not for a long time. I don’t have time for people like that.

What is something you want to be remembered for?
I hope I’m remembered as being a good person – a lovely human being!

What is your favourite pick up line? 
Pick up lines aren’t really for me. I much prefer a good fact.

What is something you got back, that you never thought you would? 
I don't really know about something I've got back but I'd say over the years I've become a stronger person.

Where is one place you always feel safe?
Easy – home.

What is an important lesson you learnt in life and how did you learn it?
A lesson I’ve learnt is to always create my own path in life and not do something just because others are doing it. I think working for myself is the perfect example!

I tag everyone who loves 1989! 
Let me know what your favourite song off the album is too (mine is Style!)

Getting Party Ready with New Look

Faux fur jacket - H&M // Lace panel dress - New Look // Black heels - New Look
With Christmas just around the corner, it’s likely you’ll be spending all of your money on presents for other people but if you’ve got a Christmas party or event coming up – don’t forget to treat yourself! What I like to do at this time of year is look at the party dresses I already have in my wardrobe and find different ways to accessorise them to create brand new looks. That way you’re only spending money on accessories, rather than a whole new outfit!

To celebrate the arrival of New Look’s Party Ready collection they kindly sent me a goody bag full of accessories to style up one of my Christmas party outfits. My go-to outfit for nights out with my friends is always an LBD and faux fur jacket (or sometimes a faux leather jacket) but paired with the glittery lilac clutch bag and triangle necklace, it now has a far more festive feel -  perfect for Christmas!
Glitter clutch bag - New Look*
Christmas is the one time of year where you can get away with going all-out with glitter, but even so, I personally think less is more! That’s why I actually ended up turning the necklace around (so it was just silver triangles) and letting the glitter clutch bag be the statement piece of the outfit.

New Look also kindly sent me some of their make up to play with (I didn’t even know they did makeup) and I must say it’s lovely! The silvery grey eye shadow is perfect for creating a smokey eye (or in my case attempting to) and looks gorgeous paired with a nude lip. I also used the bronzer to give my skin a slight glow and applied the blusher over the apples of my cheeks to give them a little flush of colour.
Triangle necklace - New Look* // Pure Colour Makeup - New Look*

I think makeup can definitely be used to transform the look of your ‘going out’ outfits just as much as accessories. Wearing simple winged eyeliner with a bold red lip one night and swapping it for a smokey eye and nude lip the next will give you an entirely different look.

If you want some more tips on how to dress to impress during the festive season, check out this Party Ready guide by New Look. They’ve included loads of tips on how to dress for the office party, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve, giving you plenty of outfit inspiration!

 What are you planning on wearing for your Christmas party this year? 
Do you have a go-to outfit that you like to style up with different accessories? 

Getting ready for Christmas: Rustic Red

Christmas Tree Decorations Set - £15.00 - Next

Christmas Bunting - £10.00 - Next

Yesterday I took a day off to decorate the house with my mum. We watched Love Actually (the best Christmas film in my opinion) and spent hours and hours sorting through all of our decorations and putting the tree up. I also decided to decorate my bedroom and thanks to these lovely decorations from Next, it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas in there too!

After spending hours looking around the shops on Sunday, I finally found the perfect Christmas decorations in Next. In the end I decided to go for a rustic red theme and the set of baubles I picked up from Next for £15.00 fit the bill perfectly. I absolutely adore the little heart shaped baubles and love the little red bells too.

I have to admit I did get a little carried away in Next and also end up buying some Christmas bunting, festive Christmas candles and an adorable reindeer, who we've called Morris. With the addition of a set of gold heart and star fairy lights and some glitter covered pine cones (bought from Next a couple of years ago) my room has ended up looking so festive and cosy...I love it!
I'm also planning on doing a little post featuring the living room decorations (where we've gone for an icy blue and silver theme) so be sure to look out for that! And if you still haven't bought your decorations this year, why not enter my giveaway to be with in the chance of winning £50.00 to spend at Christmas Tree World?

How are you decorating your home this Christmas?
PS, I recently helped Modern Rugs put together a Christmas Tree decorating guide. If you're in need of a few more tips, go and have a peek!