Best of Beauty 2017 (+ Beauty Wishlist)

By the start of February, 80% of people have already broken or abandoned their New Year’s resolutions. Shocking, isn’t it? Or factually correct if I’m anything to go by. If you successfully endured Blue Monday without chocolate or wine, I salute you. That really was a tough, gloomy day. I posted a picture on Instagram on Blue Monday calling out my personal approach to the most depressing day of the year (coffee and fresh air) and feelings about the Christmas decks being packed away for another year. Putting the spring back in my step has been all the virtual beauty shopping I’m undertaking from the comfort of my own sofa via YouTube. Now, thank the Lord Pay Day has arrived, it's time to treat ourselves and ensure we're putting the #self into #SelfcareSundays with these new buys. Here is what's in my online shopping basket...

It made me reflect on my most treasured beauty products from 2017 and I’ve short-listed to my top 5 in case they wind their way onto your shopping list!
Marc Jacobs Limited Edition O!mega Bronze Coconut Perfect Tan (Similar: here)
Biggest Sephora splurge moment of 2017, too! Luckily, the investment has paid off as I’ve barely brushed the surface of this one despite daily use over several months now. Any product with ‘coconut’ in the title and it piques my interest but this purchase had been raved about by many including InTheFrow and The Anna Edit. It's the perfect shade for an English rose (read: pale) and has a mahoosive mirror for on-the-go application. I’m one to steer away from any kind of glitter or shimmer and I’m hoping it lasts me throughout the majority of 2018 too.
This is the cheapest item on my list and one I’ve been reliant upon to cover those pesky blemishes! With only three shades in the range, it’s rather limited in that sense but luckily for me, the ‘Fair’ shade works perfectly for under my eyes to hide the late nights, redness around my nose and hormonal breakouts. The consistency is creamy which makes it feel really hydrating in all those vulnerable areas and it has great medium to high coverage. I literally have one in my handbag, gym bag and make-up cabinet.  
Professing ‘a new way to blush’ and, boy, was this a revelation! I had never been within touching distance of a liquid blush before these, despite my sister being a big advocate for cream-blushes, the thought drained the colour from my very cheeks. You might have similar preconceptions of ruining your base or over-applying to look like Rosie Posie! I overcame my scepticism firstly, with thanks to Alix from I Covet Thee who was the perfect model and truly raving about the product which counts for a lot given how many this beauty maverick has tried! Secondly, I visited the Glossier Showroom in Soho, New York, and test-drove the product myself. That’s when it confirmed that what I had seen on Alix’s cheeks wasn’t just fancy lighting, it was this product! The colour pay-off is really impressive so a little goes a long way and if, like me, you’re more on the inexperienced end of the spectrum, it’s so workable that over-zealous application can be easily blended by hand, beauty blender or brush. Seriously, a game-changing product in my make-up routine. Looking super healthy and flush, I’ve tried Puff (bubblegum pink), Dusk (bronzed rose) but my favourite is Beam (coral pink) which, on my pale complexion, brings rosyness and vibrancy to my cheeks. Literally LOVE THEM! 
Without a doubt this is ‘my nude’. I know everyone is on the hunt for their perfect shade and when it comes to it, brands like Tom Ford and Charlotte Tilbury are hot on the lips of many. I, however, have stumbled upon a far more purse-friendly find which is great when I’ve already repurchased twice this year! The formula is nourishing without leaving a sticky or drying feeling and it has just the right kind of sheen to make my lips look fuller. I’m secretly fearing my perfectly toned pink may soon be on the discontinued list as it's part of quite an old collection now, so I’m scouring the shelves of every US and UK store to accumulate a lifetime’s supply. 
I’ve spoken a lot about this CC cream in my Mrs A to B review series and after using this daily for a few months now, I’m still a big fan! It was one of the industry’s wonder products of 2017 and topped many blogger’s ‘Best of…’ reviews of late. Perfect medium-to-heavy coverage which you can build to tailor your look which I adapt between my work-ready face and laid-back weekend look.

I would love to know the beauty products that had your back in 2017? After all, shopping with friends is always more fun!


January Blues



That sums up how I feel about dreary January - how about you? Gone is my motivated glow from January 1st and the intent to start afresh and honour those new goals I've set. The reality is it’s cold, dark and I’m working long hours. All I can focus upon is the upcoming weekend when I can roll up in a duvet and watch Peaky Blinders (totally hooked and already on series two btw).
How can I feel this exhausted only two weeks back into the daily grind? I’m a textbook case of the January-blues and mourning the end of Christmas festivities, that's why. I basically reserve the entire series of Strictly Come Dancing to build up to Christmas which, ultimately, is three months of setting myself up for the biggest come down. Not even Call The Midwife's new season can ease these symptoms. Side effects include deafness to alarm clock, excessive sighing and caffeine-dependency. 

Case in Point.
Snow in December? Utterly romantic and festive. Life is like living in a giant snow globe!
Snow in January? Pain in the arse. Could. Not. Be. More. Annoying.

It was quite funny that I should stumble upon a note I had written exactly this time last year, two weeks back into the working world after the most incredible six months travelling the Americas with my new husband...

[ 2017 ] Two weeks after...

The Christmas decks are down, the empty Champagne bottles in the recycling, the tan is disappearing quicker than the pine needles are dropping and the Oyster card has been dusted off for my first week back at work. Wow, that’s a shock to the system! What's terrifying is how quickly I’m remembering what life used to be like before our trip and I can feel myself slipping back into old habits. Working late, grabbing a sandwich on the run, excuses for not going to the gym; just a few of the minor lifestyle adjustments I had vowed to correct. Life on the big open road gives you the luxury of time and wishful thinking fuelled by some new-found perspective. So, whilst I'm secretly craving to jet off again (don't worry, Boss, I won't), it's time to refill the coffers and reinstate some routine into our lives (also a luxury). I just have to remember the calming influence of knowing that I've spread my wings and now it's time to return to the nest. 

Bad habits creeping back in and that rose-tinted perspective ebbing away - sound familiar? The irony of talking about life calming down is that I was technically homeless at the time of writing this last year and days away from a job offer that would move us to New York! No wonder I've added "settling down" to my 2018 Life Goals!

A saying comes to mind, ‘What a difference a day makes...’ (or maybe it’s a song lyric...?). Either way, whilst I’m sipping on my Starbucks Blonde Vanilla Latte (a new substitute for the Chestnut Praline Latte I had come to adore), I’m thinking what a difference a year makes too. It’s comforting, in a way, that I felt this way last year and then went on to have an incredible year, one I'll never forget. 

The moral of the story? 

If you’re feeling downbeat today, it doesn’t dictate that your tomorrow will be the same. Maybe 'Blue Monday' is more of a 'Blue Week' for some of us. While we might all have down days, my 2017 turned out pretty incredible. Totally unexpected and different in every way possible but full, exciting and happy. Who’s to say 2018 won’t be just as fabulous? Roll on February I say!  

My favourite blogger's posts on the theme of the New Year...

In The Frow - How I Keep The New Year Blues At Bay
Lily Pebbles - New Year, Same Me
What Olivia Did - Looking Ahead in 2018


2018: Life Goals

For the last few years, my friend Lizzie and I have always met up around December or January to sit on our sofa (nothing unusual there), eat crisps (again, nothing unusual) and look over the lists we had written the year before of our personal goals. We 'cheers' everything we have achieved and drink... you can probably guess how this kind of gathering concludes? Yep, a nap.

What started as a short list of under ten things we wanted to achieve in 2014, evolved into a categorised list over the following years, including:
  • Career
  • Hobbies
  • Exercise
  • Financial
  • Personal/Other
It's thanks to this little activity I first gave blood, joined ClassPass, ran a 10k and learnt to contour (not well, I might add). Now, living 3500 miles apart, WhatsApp has been our forum for discussion and the bubbles remain on ice for our mid-year check-in. Unlike the other years when the lists have got uncontrollably long, we're taking a new approach. Whilst I love a to-do list which I can satisfyingly tick off, it's also kind of unhealthy to set that much expectation upon yourself. To avoid setting ourselves up to fail and remembering that the premise of this exercise is to grow, experience and enjoy new things, this list is limited to just five.

So, here are my goals for 2018...

  • Settling Down. There is something really negative attached to this phrase and no, I'm not talking about starting a family. Life has been a little hectic of late and we've gone from the intensity of wedding planning to living out of a backpack and then, without much chance to catch our breath, we moved across the Atlantic to New York. You could say we don't do things by half and we are incredibly lucky for all the adventures and opportunities we have had, but now we are looking at 2018 for a little bit of stability.
  • Bullet Journal. I have loved building momentum with my blog in the latter half of the year and establishing some semi-regularity to posting and more importantly, ENJOYING IT! To help keep focused, I'm drawing up my first ever Bullet Journal to help with prepping and planning my content. This will also help keep track of my progress and hopefully see those stats growing.
  • A Year of Beautiful Eating. For the last few years I've always had something on my list about learning to cook or eating healthier. Whilst I only achieved 'making guacamole from scratch' as my 2017 food-related goal, I'll take that because I've wanted to do it for years (and now I can!). For 2018, I want to bake a Christmas Cake, roast a rack of lamb, and try my hand at Nigella's 'mer-cookies' (sticky meringue and chocolate chips, hence the 'mer-cookies') culminating in hosting a dinner party. I've also bought Madeleine Shaw's 'A Year of Beautiful Eating' and I really want to get well acquainted with her recipes to balance out all the above naughty treats with healthy soups, salads (that aren't bought from Pret or Sweet Greens) and balanced dinners.
  • Self-Care Sundays. (This is more of an umbrella term and not restricted just to Sundays but I'm a sucker for alliteration.) I've loved embracing this hashtag on and offline - an excuse for regular face masks, trying my hand at meditation and making time to sit in a quiet room and read. As I approach the final year of my twenties, it's time to really make sure I'm looking after my body and it's so easy to let stress take over. I've seen it etched in my face this year leading to disrupted sleep and a poor 'on-the-run' diet. One saving grace has been Physique 57 and I'm currently sat in my gym gear having obliterated my abs at 11am on a Sunday - it's that good I got out of my warm bed and braved -17 degrees to get there! For 2018, this means exercising regularly (I'm aiming for 3-4 hours a week), getting a good night's sleep, reading one book per month and enjoying some down-time on the sofa with Game of Thrones or Peaky Blinders (can you believe I haven't watched either of these?)
  • Detox Mind & Body. One of my most popular blog posts of all time is my Digital Detox post from Costa Rica. I think everyone craves a break from social media but isn't disciplined enough to do it. That's why I'm pledging to you I will do a city-life version of a Digital Detox and also throw in my long-term goal to try a Juice Detox. Again, lack of discipline and fear of the headaches has put me off this one but I think the benefits will definitely out-weigh. It's about making the time and short-term sacrifice for long-term gain.
That's all - keeping it really simple this year. What's on your list for 2018?
© Mrs A to B

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