IN 2015, WE SHOULD...

Happy New Year to all of you lovely lot reading this! I have sat and thought for quite a while about what I wanted to do for my first post of 2015 (or the last of 2014, depending on when this goes up) - which is testament to the fact that I'm not currently producing TV and have far too much time on my hands - and it has left me a little trumped.

You see, I could sit here and write New Years Resolutions like I did last year, and the year before that, but let's be honest here - I'm completely bored of professing that this is the year that I start doing some form of exercise other than walking to the fridge and up and down Oxford street. Or the year that I start to eat healthily, take more time off of work to make sure I'm not always so stressed etc. I've been there, I've said I'm going to change, and I...well, I haven't done those things. So instead of churning out sentimental, motivational shit crap, I thought I'd take you for a stroll around London, and tell you some things I think not just me, but you should do - or at least think about - this year. That sound like a plan to you? Sounds like a plan to me...
Stop making resolutions. As controversial as that may be, I think we - and I believe bloggers especially - put far too much pressure on ourselves to reach targets or goals. Of course it's important to have things to work towards, but I think it also brings on an unnecessary form of competition. Of 'Blogger bashing' - the whole Zoella scandal a case in point - of bringing others down rather than celebrating their achievements.

Stop thinking about when you're going to reach your next Bloglovin milestone (having just reached one myself, I know how hard this is to do), write what you want to write and let it happen organically. There's more to life than numbers, if you're in blogging for the right reasons - because you love to write, you love photography, you love to express yourself (as opposed to doing it for the followers and freebies etc.) whatever the reason may be - then let the fact that you've put the effort in and hit the publish button be enough.
*Warning* this is one of those 'motivational/positive/soppy/cheesy' ones that you'll probably agree with along side puking at the same time ;) And that is to chase your dreams, and don't be scared to failYep, the cringe-factor will be continuing in 2015 ladies, you lucky, lucky things! Have a dream job in mind that you'll go for eventually? Seen a job ad that would be perfect for you but you're not sure if you have enough experience, you don't think you'll even be considered? Go for it. Just do it! I can not express enough just how short life is and if there's any time to push for what you want to do, it's now. I myself have just left a pretty successful, well thought of job as a TV Producer because my passion is in writing. And in particular, this blog. So for the foreseeable future, I will be doing exactly that... alongside producing the odd shoot and filming parts of films here and there to go towards my Indian takeaway and Clothes shopping funds. Is it secure? Definitely not. Will I be earning a comfortable, steady wage? Probably not. But I'm waking up and enjoying every single day... and that in itself, is completely priceless. (Hi, I'm Ellie, and I am the cheesiest person to have ever walked this planet!)
I will not compare myself to others. Apologies for writing that as if I'm doing some kind of punishment lines, or reading the 10 commandments. But I think this is such an important thing that I'll never be able to do to focus on in 2015. I am constantly comparing myself to others and if I'm being honest? in the process of doing so, feeling completely inadequate. As a blogger, this is incredibly easy to do and yet so detrimental to your way of thinking. "They have more followers than me, they get more comments than I do, their photography's better than mine". But do you know what? I realised what the solution to this is. To get the f**k over myself! Who cares if someone has more followers than you? Who cares if someone has a designer bag that you'd love, but would have to sell your Nan in order to be able to afford it? Nobody. Nobody does apart from you. Without getting all Oprah Winfrey on your arse's - life is so ridiculously short to compare yourself to other people. Focus on what you are doing, because nobody is perfect (I am not sponsored by Jessie J), nobody leads a perfect life no matter what it looks like from the outside. Do what makes you happy, and remember that happiness is found when you stop comparing yourself to other people!
Travel. This is one of the biggest resolutions aims for 2015 for me. Last year I managed to holiday briefly in Dubai and Cyprus, but I want - and need - to see so much more of the world. Comment down below to let me know of any places you'd recommend visiting/love to go to yourself, I'm always up for adding more places to my bucket list :)
Just say yes! You've probably seen/heard that sentence many times over the blogosphere*, so apologies for sounding like an annoying twat a broken record. But when looking back over 2014, I realised that there were so many opportunities that I could've taken advantage of... and I just didn't, and I'm not even totally sure why. Lack of confidence probably being one of the biggest culprits. Being shy when I first meet people and feeling like nobody would notice if I were there or not would probably play a part too. Whether it's a blogging event, a job opportunity or just going "out, out" (which is easy to turn down when Homeland, an electric blanket and hot chocolate is an alternative), I will be saying yes to everything (easy tiger!) so much more. I've actually already RSVP'd Yes to 3 blogging events in January alone, go me. Well, it was about time I actually practised what I preach wasn't it...

*Again, for the millionth time on this blog, feel free to punch me in the face for using 'blogosphere' in this post.

So, because I am well aware that if you're still with me at this point, you go glen coco you have the patience of a saint, I will begin to wrap this up. I just want to take this moment to thank you all so much for reading - whether this is the first post of mine that you've read, or the one hundred and first (I'm not totally sure I've even posted 101 posts but you get the gist) - I am so grateful to each and every one of you for taking the time to read my little corner of the internet. I really hope you'll stick with me and carry on reading throughout the rest of 2015 :)

If I don't already follow you, please link your blogs below for me to peruse throughout 2015 too.

 (Because there's only so much Homeland a girl can watch before she needs another form of procrastination, right?) 

[Insert wink emoji here]

xx

2014 FAVOURITES

Yearly favourites posts and videos are by far some of my favourite things to read/watch. There's just something about seeing which products crop up in your favourite blogger/vloggers top picks, as well as reflecting over the year and working out which are your top picks too that I completely love.

I feel like they equally enable me to go and try out a ridiculous amount of new products that simply must be incredible because "Anna from VDM loved it, so it must be great". But also to "shop my stash" and remind myself of some of the products that I do actually love but have just gotten lost under a plethora of new ones.

So here they are, all bunched into one because let's face it - I am far too enamoured with demolishing the leftover quality street and trialling out my Christmas presents to actually take the time to sit down and write a separate Beauty, Fashion, Skincare etc. 2014 post.

Yes, I am a shallow excuse of a blogger.

But hey, I've got some products for you, and, I'm attempting to only describe them in a few words so it won't be 2016 by the time you finish this post. Does that make up for it? Oh good, I'm glad you think so ;)

Makeup
Tom Ford Spanish Pink lipstick - Amazing quality; moisturising but long lasting, a beautiful peachy pink that perks up the face. Totally worth the £37 price point. [insert "can't look" emoji here]

Mac Faux - The perfect plum-y nude. Amazing finish, lasts for hours, moisturising... just beautiful.

Tanya Burr Lip gloss in First Date and Chic - Chic is a very new buy of mine but still rockets into my favourites list (I reviewed it here) and First date is a beautiful pale pink. Very glossy, moisturising and long lasting.

Hourglass Ambient blush in Dim light - The perfect peachy blush for light to medium/olive skin tones. It just makes the face look brighter, healthier and alive. Love!

Mac Woodwinked - This has been a firm favourite since I bought it at least 4 years ago. Ahh woodwinked. Its a gorgeous bronzy, gold shade that by the way, has the best formula for an eyeshadow that I have ever tried. When buffed all over the lid and up into the crease, it also manages to look multi-toned, like darker in the crease (if that makes any sense? Nope, no sense at all)

Urban Decay 3 - I've used this regularly through the entire year. It has a mix of warm and cool toned shadows and is just so versatile. That is pretty much all.

Bourjois Happy Light concealer - this is a good little concealer that probably doesn't get enough credit on the blogosphere*. It has a higher coverage than the average drugstore concealer, doesn't crease, lasts well. But it's not perfect. Recommendations for amazing under-eye concealers would be amazing!!

*If you ever meet me in real life, feel free to punch me in the face for using the phrase 'blogosphere'.

Bourjois CC cream
- I will most likely do a full review on this but in short - The CC is so amazingly long-lasting considering it's also so moisturising. It has quite a unique satin-like finish that makes skin look luminous but also quite matte (In a polished way as opposed to looking flat). I highly recommend this.

Nars Virtual Domination - I have a full review here, so no need to waffle on about this. You can thank me at the end ;)

Soap and Glory, One heck of a blot - This is a very new purchase for me but believe me, it was very easy for me to put it in my favourites. It is incredible. Full review coming soon.

Brushes
Luckily, they're both from Real Techniques so you've all seen/heard of them before and therefore I have no need to go into detail, right? Good times. #ShitBloggerSays

Odds and sods (Nails and Perfume)
Essie Fiji - It's an oldie, but a classic. It's a really opaque nude that has just the right amount of white in it without bordering on trashy.

Sienna X Illusionary - Ahh. Sienna X - Illusionary, you really are very pretty. I slightly reviewed/Haul'd it here but it's basically a slightly blue toned, metallic silver and I love it.

Maybelline Divine Wine - I bought this literally a week ago and it has managed to sneak in there. It's a gorgeous purple, Bordeaux wine kinda' colour. Impossible to describe, impossible to take off of my nails!

Seche Vite top coat - The best top coat ever to have existed. I'm on around my 15th bottle now, no exaggeration. Does it contain all sorts of shitty bad chemicals? Word on the Internet is yes. Do I consider this before repurchasing it twenty times? Not for a second. Whoops!

Perfume
Tom Ford Black Orchid - It's a classic that anybody who likes their perfume will probably have sniffed at least once in their time. Its a very strong musky, sexy, deep scent. Much more suitable for night time as it can be quite overpowering if you spray too much (although I do tend to wear it in the daytime too, because, well... YOLO and all that ;) )

Jo Malone Wood sage and Sea salt - I reviewed this here, it was love at first sniff (Love at first sniff? What a loser..) Go check out that post to hear more about why I love it.

Skincare and Bath(y sort of stuff)
Origins Drink Up Intensive Overnight mask - I have mentioned this numerous times on my blog but I go into detail here. In short - it's an intense moisturising mask that you leave on overnight and wake up to moisturised, hydrated, plump, bright, clear [insert your own 'Moisturise' synonym of choice here] skin. It is without a doubt, my number 1 favourite skincare product. Ever!

The Body Shop Camomile Silky cleanser - I wrote a full post, fan-girling the life out of it here but this is easily my favourite skincare discovery of 2014. It's an oil cleanser that removes every scrap of makeup without leaving an oily film on your skin. Perfect for all skin types... I could basically be The Body Shop's PR girl here couldn't I? But it's seriously amazing and I highly recommend.

Clarins Camomile toning lotion - Yeah, this bottle is a bit "go hard or go home" isn't it? At 400ml it's a big one to purchase considering I'd never tried it, but I'd heard good things, it was in the sale and I took the plunge. And thank the bloody lord I did. This.Stuff.Is.Incredible! It's always hard to tell if a toner is actually doing anything, but with this my skin tone just looks more even, more clear and my pores just look much less noticeable. This one I will definitely be repurchasing.

Neals Yard White Tea mask - Another sentimental product. My Mum loves the smell of this mask and it was always something I treated her to (because she is a major tom boy and would never spend that amount on a skincare item) but she actually bought this for me for my birthday instead, and this is one my ultimate "me time" products. A lovely moisturising but deep cleansing mask, suitable for all skin types but especially sensible/dry skin. I love this stuff.

La Roche Posay Effaclar duo - this is such a blogger hype kind of product isn't it? Everybody spoke about this at one point and I was certainly one of them. I've had this for years, it just clears up any breakouts and prevents them from coming on. And that's pretty much all.

Roger and Gallet Ginseng Body butter - I have a review up on these body sorbets already but they're just a lovely scented, nourishing but not sticky moisturiser that sinks in well. What more could you ask for really? (Erm, Ryan Gosling rubbing it in for you?)

The Body shop Vanilla brûlée - you know the drill by now, full review on it here. This is pamper heaven (and a pretty great Laura Mercier Creme brûlée dupe too). The end!

Lush Bath Bombs - I am new to Lush and my god have I fallen hook, line and sinker for it. The bath bombs in particular are my favourite and I now find a "normal" bath to be gravely disappointing. I need my popping candy, rainbow coloured bubbles god damn it!

Blogger/Vlogger favourites
I'm positive that you will all have no doubt heard of/watched/read all of these ladies blogs/video's before so I won't bore you all to death going into why I love each one. But I do love each one. I look forward to reading their posts and watching their video's. I look forward to doing so and indulging in the ultimate me-time where I can finally switch off from all things work/TV. But most of all, I'm thankful that I discovered such amazing girls that are a constant source of inspiration. Sartorial, Cosmetic, superficial almost inspiration, but inspiration none the less. If you haven't heard of any of these ladies, I highly recommend hot-footing it over to their channel right this second!
Suzie, Hello October - Blog - Youtube
Sammi, The Beauty Crush - Blog - Youtube
Liv, What Olivia Did - Blog - Youtube
Hannah (and her gorgeous little family), Hannah Maggs - Blog - Youtube
Fleur, Fleur De Force - Blog - Youtube
Alix, I Covet Thee - Blog - Youtube
Kenza, Kenza Zouiten - Blog
Anna, Vivianna Does Makeup - Blog - Youtube
Lily Pebbles - Blog - Youtube
Tanya Burr - Blog - Youtube

And that ladies, is a wrap. (Thank the bloody lord, said anyone that ever reads this post) 2014 has been such a roller coaster of a year, but sitting here writing this - on Christmas day, comatose with food - I'm feeling very happy with where I am right now. Of course there are always things that you wish could be different, but 2014 has been the year of perspective and looking around at everyone and everything I have... I'm happy with my lot.

I would absolutely love to know what your favourites were from 2014 - any recommendations, any links to your own 2014 favourites posts? ... please leave them in the comments below so I can binge-read them all with a Baileys Hot Chocolate and the leftover Cheeseboard :)

As always, thank you so much for reading. I hope you enjoyed this post!

xx

WINTER FLORALS

So this will be the last post to go up before Christmas from me now, and that is for a few reasons. Number 1 - because if you're anything like me then you will most likely be in a serious food/baileys/mulled wine-coma, not even up to the task of watching Elf, let alone sit and read a blog post.

And number 2? Because my outfit/makeup choices are anything but seasonal at the best of times - especially the festive season (Elle + a red lip = A clown) - so it would pretty much be my usual everyday kind of posts, and that's just not really going to cut it on Christmas day.

So here's an Outfit that I wore Christmas shopping, a few days before Christmas. And if I put Christmas in bold, that totally means this is a festive post, right? Oh, it doesn't? Awkward...

I promise I'll move on to the pictures asap but a few things to note first -
1) Shooting outfit photo's in Westfield on one of the busiest shopping days of the year is embarrassing. So I do look extremely mortified/"Hurry the fuck hell up and take it quick"-esque.
2) It was extremely windy. So those 'hand in hair' poses, for once, are actually natural.
3) My playsuit is severely creased. We're totally just going to ignore that fact.
A little 'behind the scenes/candid' featuring my best "Hurry up and get the focus right, I'm freezing here!" face.

I am the biggest believer in the fact that florals are not just for summer and should indeed be worn all year round. I absolutely love the darker, duskier tones of this beauty of a playsuit from H&M and think it's the perfect transitional piece taking you from season to season - although let's face it, by the time spring rolls around, I will no doubt have lost this under a plethora of new Primark buys.

It is ridiculously comfortable though with a cut/fit that will easily see me through cheeseboards, mince pies, roast potatoes etc. as well as being tailored enough to look smart. It's basically made for me.

Christmas shop at Westfield, Stratford done - shopping two days before Christmas, I am fool, I know - it's time to wrap this up and let you all get back to your families and quality streets. But if you have made it to this point, I have a little question for you. I have decided I deserve a Christmas present to myself - because, why not? - and also a little giveaway prize for when I reach 500 followers. I fancy something luxurious, and what is more luxe than Charotte Tilbury? So, which products would you recommend me trying? And which products would you love to win for yourself? Your beauty loving guidance is needed here ladies so I would love to hear your thoughts :)

That really is it for me now so all that's left to say is I hope you all have the most wonderful Christmas. Wherever you are, whoever you're with and whatever you're doing, just enjoy every second!

Thank you all so much for taking the time to read my little blog. I hope you enjoyed this post.

Merry Christmas!!!

xx

ICONEMESIS COFFEE CASE AND BLOGGING ESSENTIALS

I've never really been one for chopping and changing phone cases. My completely split in half/battered to a pulp/tramp-esque phone case that I was using up until today will vouch for that. And then, after spotting a few of my favourite bloggers on Instagram with a trendy new iPhone cases, I all of a sudden got a certain urge to get a new one. And then I turned into a woman on a mission.

I'm literally talking - searching every high street - and online - store known to mankind. Using a custom made website and trying all the Pinterest photo's in the world to make it look cool, but I just wasn't satisfied. And then - by the way, can I just express that I know it's technically grammatically incorrect to start a sentence with 'And', but it adds to the drama of my post/helps me write how I talk, so let's just roll with it shall we? ;) - my fairy godmother in the form of Iconememis*, sent me an email asking if I'd like to chose a phone case from their collection to feature on my blog. It's almost like they read my mind...

They have so many lovely cases but when I saw this one*, I knew I was going to 'need' to have it immediately. I love coffee, to the point of visiting Starbucks every single day when I'm working from home, - which has been 99% of the time for the last few months. Yep, give me alll the coffee! - so basically, if I were to be a phone case, this would be me.
Isn't it a little beauty? (No you knob, it's an iPhone case, get over yourself). So, because I always feel like I am slightly cheating you out of a post by just talking about one simple thing, I decided to add in a few other 'Blogger essentials'. Or, at least what I find essential anyway.

Said Blogging Essentials
My MacBook Air - I only treated myself to this a few months ago and I am so happy that I did. It's fair to say that I am a complete MacWanker Mac convert ;) and find this little 11inch version to be perfectly discreet and light to carry for blogging on the go.

Notebook - I bought this notebook from Paperchase. Now, I am a complete and utter stationary nerd meaning that Paperchase to me, is pretty much the fame-whore store for Kim Kardashian so I am in my element in that store. Paperchase have a ridiculous amount of choice but I settled on this maroon leather notebook with gold gilded sides which is, in true Cheryl FV style "right up my street".

Blue tack - The bloggers holy grail when it comes to keeping mascara, eyeliner and any product without a flat side in one place for photographs. (#BloggerProblems)

Camera - I am very lucky that my boyfriend also works in TV - and makes films, keeps himself busy doesn't he? - so has a very nifty Canon 7D that I borrow on a regular basis, i.e all the bloody time. But you definitely don't need such a huge (and expensive) camera, there are so many great little digital cameras out there, or even smaller DSLR's like the Canon 1100d which I also have, is great for a point and shoot type photo's and is much less expensive. Plus, the iPhone 6 camera is more than satisfactory for a part-time blogger or just anyone that doesn't want, need, or have the funds to invest in one.

Coffee - a girl's gotta have her energy to keep up with those posts, right? That is all.

Pinterest - The Holy Grail of procrastination for bloggers. Because it's illegal to write a blog post without going off on a tangent and ending up on Pinterest for an hour in between isn't it? Yes it is, that's right. So glad you agree ;)

Last but not least, an amazing iPhone case. Well, that comes courtesy of Iconemesis of course ;) My case is linked here - and all over this page, I do love a link - but make sure you check out the rest of their range as they're all beautiful and there really is something for everyone!


So I would say that that's about it for my basic blogger essentials. I would love to know what you find essential for blogging? Any new essentials that I missed, agree with mine listed above? I absolutely love reading your comments so let me know what you think :)

As always, thank you so much for reading. I hope you enjoyed this post!

xx

*This item is a PR sample and was sent to me for review purposes. As with all of my posts on this blog, my thoughts are 100% my genuine opinion.

JO MALONE WOOD SAGE AND SEA SALT

One thing I never thought I'd do on this blog, is write a perfume review. There's absolutely nothing wrong with doing that, nothing at all; it's just that for me, because you can't see, smell or get any impression of what the product actually does without trying it in person and smelling for yourself, it feels ever so slightly that I'm cheating you out of a post. This whole entire blog post - my long ramble words and pretty (at least, they're pretty in my eyes) pictures - can basically be summed up in one sentence. This fragrance is incredible and you need to go and smell it for yourself. 

And yet here I am, eating those long, rambly words of mine and writing a blog post based around a perfume.


I am a poor excuse of a human being.


However this isn't just any old perfume - it's an M&S perfume - it really is, as completely ridiculous and superficial as this sounds, completely unique and... special.


I've spoken a lot and I haven't even told you what it is yet so how about I make it up to you and insert some nice imagery here? That sounds like a plan you say? Great news... ;)


Jo Malone Wood Sage and Sea Salt. I first heard about this perfume when an influx of bloggers had received this when the perfume first launched (lucky, lucky ladies) so I smelt it, loved it, and then reminded myself that I'm a struggling freelance TV Producer that might end up with beans on toast for the rest of the month if I buy it (Which would be bloody unfortunate for a coeliac that can't eat bread anyway.)

Silly jokes aside, my beautiful Mum surprised me with this while we were on holiday as she'd seen me go into Jo Malone numerous times and have a cheeky spray of it (...much to the annoyance of the shop assistants) So here's what Jo says about the perfume - you know, because obviously Jo and I are on first name terms - and then I'll bring out my notorious descriptive skills for your amusement and let you know what I think :)


"Escape the everyday along the windswept shore. Waves breaking white, the air fresh with sea salt and spray. Alive with the mineral scent of the rugged cliffs. Mingling with the woody earthiness of sage. Lively, spirited and totally joyful"


And here's what I have to say - It's bloody lovely. The End!


No I'm totally kidding. For me, this is the perfect, perfect Autumn/Winter scent. It's such a great mix of woody, herby but also very subtly sweet. I think the thing that made it stand out for me is that it's so unique to anything that I've tried before. It's sophisticated but also manages to be sexy. Classy but also fresh and flirty. It's one of those fragrances that could never be "too much". It's not in your face, it's completely non-offensive and so far I haven't found a single friend or family member that hasn't loved it. An all round winner in my eyes.



As I've exhausted all possible synonyms for the phrases fresh and woody I think it's probably time to wrap this up now. I would really love to know if you've tried - or own - this perfume? Is it one that you've had your eyes but haven't committed to buying?

Also, what are your current favourite perfumes? Any in particular that you gravitate towards in Winter? I would love to hear your thoughts :)

As always, thank so much for reading. I hope you enjoyed this post!

xx
© the Elle next door

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