HOLIDAY ESSENTIALS WITH M&S

Holiday essentials
Holiday essentials
Holiday essentials
If there was one word to describe my mood/thoughts/motives/life over the past few weeks, it would be Wanderlust. Whether it's because of my recent inability to stop working 18hr days and therefore the total need to take a break, or the constant stream of Holiday envy via Instagram - yeah, stalking following travel bloggers isn't really the best idea for this - I have been thinking/dreaming of a holiday consistently so my fiance and I decided (over an Indian Takeaway and wine binge, no less) that we'd go away somewhere in the next few months.

At the moment, we are umming and ahhing over a city break or a beach holiday but either way, I am beyond excited. So I thought with this mysterious trip looming that I would put together a Holiday Essentials post - as my last holiday/summer type essential post went down so well. Thanks guys [insert embarrassed smile emoji here] - and when Marks and Spencer got in touch and asked if I'd like to collaborate with them on this project, it was of course a no brainer.

I mean, surely this means I'm practically best mates with Rosie Huntington Whitely and David Gandy now, right? Right...

So, here are my holiday essentials in the form of my "must-have"/"does it all" holiday clothing item and some beauty/grooming products and tools.
The Fashion essentials
Marks and Spencer holiday
Marks and Spencer holiday

Marks and Spencer holiday
Marks and Spencer holiday

Marks and Spencer holiday
Marks and Spencer holiday
Dear Lord, please bring the sunshine out because I want to wear this two-piece all summer long. Love, Elle. This two-piece is the most comfortable, stunningly well made linen co-ord* that is just so incredibly versatile. Not only is it the perfect beach cover up that takes you from the sand to a beachside restaurant, but paired with a pair of wedges or summer heels and you could easily dress this up and wear it out for dinner in the evening. If that's not enough, pop on some converse and you have the perfect sight-seeing outfit. Not only is it just versatile though, it's also so ridiculously comfortable - I may have also slept in it on the day of shooting these photos. Sue me... - and chic with the stunning crochet pattern/design. This is easily my must pack item. You go Glen Coco Marks and Spencer!
White Sliders
If you're like me, then you'll no doubt take a ridiculously large amount of shoes with you that you definitely don't need - and probably won't wear - but a girl needs her options right? Right... However, as I'm talking purely about essentials today, I'm just going to choose one footwear option and that is of course a pair of sandals/sliders. These sliders are actually from Primark and I completely wore them to death last summer. They're made of a waterproof foam-esque material so are perfect for on the beach/around the pool... but they also look quite smart and dressy paired with the right outfit. So much love!
The same - totally ridiculous - logic applies for sunglasses. I probably take around 4 pairs per holiday - making decisions is my nemesis - but for my essentials, I opted for these Rayban Aviators because they're classic, they go with everything, and they make me feel like someone from The Hills.

 "I want to forgive you, and I want to forget you" #LaurenConradGoals
A bikini. Pretty self explanatory right? This beauty is from Primark and I can't wait to wear it. I basically just can't wait to be somewhere hot enough to be able to wear it....

Hair Essentials
Tangle Teazer
Let's get the no-brainer out of the way first, the Tangle Teazer. Sea Salty/beachy hair might look amazing, but we all know that when it comes to brushing that shiz out... ain't nobody got time for that. The tangle teazer brushes through tangles so easily and just keeps hair in tip top condition.
philip kingsley swimcap
The next item is one that I was so excited to try and equally really intrigued by. It's the Philip Kingsley Swim cap and is basically a cream that protects against UV rays, chlorine, sea and pool water as well as keeping your hair colour bright and vibrant. In other words, it's perfect, no actually... essential, for a summer holiday/trip. It's so simple to use too, you just put it in your damp hair, comb through and then continue on with your shampoo and conditioner. [*insert meerkat accent* Simples...]
leighton denny
leighton denny i love juicy
Nail care
I am self confessed Nail polish whore - this is where my grandparents spit out their tea because they didn't quite read that sentence right ;) - so I was so happy when I saw 3 mini Leighton Denny polishes * in my lovely M&S package. I'm currently wearing I love Juicy (slightly questionable name there Leighton) which is a gorgeous orange toned red which we all know is just the summer holiday colour. 

Tan Essentials
james read overnight sleep mask face
james read overnight sleep mask face
OK, so you've got your clothing sorted, your nails are on fleek - oh for f**ks god's sake, when will I learn to not take the piss and use nauseating "down with the kids" phrases in a blog post, subsequently hating myself? - your hair is covered... it's time to get your skin, and more specifically, tan, in check. First thing's first, the face tan. It's so, so hard to get face fake tan right but for me, it's so essential as I use sunblock on my face all year round so I am forever that idiot with a tanned body and casper the ghost face. James Read's Overnight tan sleep mask* is genius! It's clear, blends in seamlessly, you basically cannot feel a single thing on your face. It's a pleasure to use and it's an even bigger pleasure to wake up with a natural tan on my pasty face. :)
fake bake amplify
On to the body and I am so excited to tell you about this next item. It's not just any gradual tan - it's an M&S gradual tan - No, literally... M&S stock Fake Bake which is why I got my mitts on Fake Bake's Amplify* tan. It's a gradual tan that also works by prolonging your tan - fake or natural - as well as giving you colour, and preparing your skin for a holiday tan. 
best face spf
For when you're actually on holiday, you're going to be needing all the SPF and my top pick for facial SPF is Ultrasun's Face SPF* which is so amazing as it's probably the only face SPF that absorbs within seconds, doesn't leave you feeling sticky or oily, makeup applies seamlessly over the top... it's perfect.

Could I possibly say the word SPF any more times if I tried?... SPF

For your body, if I'm being totally honest, I'm not too fussy. As long as it has Factor 50, has complete UV protection and smells good, I'm happy. Simple things please simple minds and all that...

The After sun essentials
Sun smart M&S aftersun
You've spent the day on the beach in the sun, or exploring the city in the sun - basically, you've been exposed to all the sun - so now it's time to look after your frazzled skin. After sun is amazing if you've got burnt at all as it's cooling and soothing, but it's also just brilliant anyway to prevent your skin from peeling and prolonging that tan. M&S's Sun smart aftersun* is my favourite for this as it sinks in well and smells amazing!
origins overnight mask
Moisturise, moisturise, moisturise. *Confession time* when I went on holiday to Dubai, I actually only took Origin's overnight mask and used it morning and night as my daily moisturiser because it's so nourishing and hydrating. The sun completely dries out and dehydrates my skin so it totally just drinks that shit shiz up and I'm sure yours will too.
Ren radiance renewal mask
Exfoliate - We all know the importance of exfoliating our skin, but I recently was lucky enough to be able to try the highly lusted over Ren Radiance renewal mask* which is a face mask and chemical exfoliator. This.Stuff.Is.Incredible! (Apologies for that completely grammatically incorrect sentence right there.) But seriously, it leaves the skin feeling so soft, smooth and glowing and I will 100% be repurchasing this when it's used up.

[insert "cry face emoji" to represent the feels coming from my bank account when that day comes]

So that brings this Holiday's Essentials post to an end. I really enjoyed putting this piece together because not only did I totally get into the holiday spirit, but I also discovered just how incredible Marks and Spencers Holiday wear and beauty/skincare department is. I'd highly recommend checking it out online and in store.

I would love to know what your Holiday essentials are? Have you tried any of the picks that I mentioned in this post? I would love to hear your thoughts :)

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

xx

*Thank you so much Marks and Spencer for collaborating with me on this post. As always, all opinions are my own and 100% my honest, genuine opinion. Because I'm as real/brutal as it gets... ;)

BEAUTY STYLE ICON: THE #HOFBEAUTYAMBASSADOR EDITION

House of fraser beauty ambassador
If anyone has been around these parts for a while - Mum, I'm looking right at you - then you'll know that not only do I love House of Fraser, but I've also been lucky enough to work with them on many occasions before. They're just one of those fabulous does it all/has it all/you name it, they've got it/[insert your own choice of "one stop shop" synonym here] that I can totally rely on whether I need to top up my makeup collection - because, you know, when does a beauty blogger ever not need to top up her makeup collection? Never, you say? Oh I totally agree, so glad we're on the same wavelength... ;) - purchase a wedding present for someone, a birthday present, a house warming gift... you get the gist. House of Fraser has it all.

So, when I first heard about House of Fraser's Beauty ambassador competition - which I was actually told about a little while back now - in which you create a post based around your beauty icon, I whole-heartedly jumped at the chance to get involved. Without getting all "girl power" on your arses butt's, it's so important to build each other up, recognise our achievements and appreciate what makes a woman beautiful inside and out. 

Before this blog turns into a Oprah Winfrey/Beyonce style "Independent woman"/"We don't need no man" type post, I'll get into who my beauty icon is because boy do I love to fangirl over my beauty/fashion/life icons. After toying over picking a classic, synonymously beautiful icon - Audrey Hepburn, Maryilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor... you know the ones - I settled on someone who has a mixture of that classic, pure, wholesome beauty, but is also totally relevant to today with a makeup style that not only do I wear daily, but I also think is a go-to look for so many and will be for years to come. And that is [*insert drumroll sound track here*]... Blake Lively. 
the elle next door blog
blake lively tutorial
There are many reasons why I love Blake (yep, we're on first name terms, obvs) but here are the ones that stick out to me. In short. Because we all know by now that I love to ramble. As I have done previously about her here. I'll also stop using stupidly short sentences to emphasize that fact now too ;)
  • Her makeup is iconic because gorgeous glowy/bronzy skin, sheeny golden eyes and peachy pink lips just work no matter what skin tone or type you have. Or whether it's Summer or Winter because let's face it, we all want healthy looking skin all year round.
  • She also runs an incredible lifestyle blog (well, more of a website, I very much doubt that Blake sits typing away on Blogger or Wordpress) - #TeamBloggersForeverThough - called Preserve which I think not only bloggers, but all women (and men) would find informative, useful and just uplifting.
  • Finally, she was in Gossip Girl which needs absolutely no further explanation. xoxo
  • She's married to Ryan Reynolds.
Here's the Blake Lively makeup look that I recreated and the products I used.
blake lively tutorial
blake lively tutorial
blake lively tutorial
blake lively tutorial
Note to self: Don't recreate the makeup look of someone so stunningly beautiful. No matter how amazing the products are, or your makeup skills - which mine aren't by any stretch of the imagination - your self esteem will shrivel to the size of a pea on comparison.

Hammer Product time!
#hofbeautyambassador
#hofbeautyambassador
I could go through everything that's on my face, but I'm aware of not only boring you to death, but also of the fact that you can of course recreate this look with any similar items that you have. So feel free to use whatever products you like but here are the items that I used and highly recommend for getting the authentic The Elle next door does x Blake Lively look. 
mac all that glitters
urban decay naked
All about the eyes: Blake loves a shimmery golden, peachy, champagne toned eye colour and luckily, so do I. I plucked for Mac All that Glitters from my ridiculous neutral shadow collection and I'm so pleased I did because it worked perfectly for the look. That's what I love about House of Fraser too, Mac stores and concessions are pretty rare so it's amazing that selected House of Fraser stores have a Mac concession and you can also purchase their products online at HOF too. The same goes for Urban Decay - which I also used in this look in the form of their Sin eyeshadow for an inner corner highlight - ... see, I wasn't joking when I said that HOF have it all, was I?
tom ford spanish pink
tom ford spanish pink
Those peachy pink lips: As I mentioned in my previous post; pink, peachy pink, peach and more pink lips are my comfort zone - you know, because I love living life on the edge and all that... - and the most perfect colour to fit that bill is Tom Ford's Spanish Pink. I've raved about this on numerous occasions but it's a stunning peachy pink with a fantastic, velvety, moisturising formula that's so long-lasting on the lips.
mac golden refined
mac soft and gentle
The glowy skin: There are many ways of creating bronzy skin; highlighter, bronzers, cream blush or a shimmery blush for example and my favourites for getting Blake's looks is Mac's refined golden bronzer and Mac Soft and Gentle. (#MacAppreciationSociety) Both create that healthy glow that makes you look like you've been chugging all the green juices in the world, even if you've been sticking to your thrice weekly Indian takeaway habit.

[insert guilty face emoji here]

There you have it, those are my main "Girl, if you wanna look like Blake, you need these products" products... but of course you can choose whichever ones you like to recreate it yourself. House of Fraser actually have the most incredible Beauty Department so if you're in the market for some new picks/to treat yourself - because Yolo... - then definitely head over to the link and check it out.

So, that concludes my Beauty icon rambles and "Get the look" tutorial-esque post today. Who knows, the next time you hear me wax lyrical about House of Fraser it could be to tell you that I'm the new beauty ambassador. Or (and most likely) it could well not be. Either way, you'll still be sure to find me browsing the most incredible place on the internet the beauty department and ogling over Blake Lively :)

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

xx 

THE CAMERA READY FACE

Camera ready makeup
In case you couldn't tell from my umpteen amount of tweets about being sick of the sight of my own face, sick of editing, sick of sounding like a knob an idiot on camera... I've started a YouTube channel. Which is great. No really, despite my whining and a lot more stress - which I definitely didn't need but YOLO (yes, I hate myself as much as you do for using the phrase Yolo. Please accept my apologies) - I am absolutely loving being filled with ideas, being pushed with my non-existent editing and filming skills and just producing something a little more personal, a little more reactive than blog posts... but here's one thing that I'm not so keen on.

The Filming face. I mean, I'm not keen on my face in general but one thing I noticed when filming for my channel is that your makeup picks up a lot less on camera than it does in real life meaning that that subtle bronzer, the subtle smokey eye, basically all the "natural" makeup that you've purposefully gone for, that's not doing anything for your face on camera. Don't get me wrong, lots of YouTubers will wear natural makeup and look amazing, but if you're a little more self conscious like I am and want to somewhat emulate what you look like in real life, then a slightly more dramatic/enhanced makeup look is the way forward.

Enhanced, dramatic, defined/[insert your own choice of enhanced synonym here] makeup doesn't mean big bold lips and huge fake lashes either, it just means taking what you've got, and amping it up a little more. Here's how I do just that...
Dusty girls moogoo bronzer
Dusty girls moogoo bronzer
The Face Shaping
I love nothing more than slathering Nars Laguna bronzer all over my face day to day to give me a nice summery/non corpse-like glow, but on camera? That doesn't pick up so much for me. I still want to have that glow but I also want my balloon shaped face to be more defined so for "camera ready" glow and definition, I opt for Dusty girl's bronzer* It's a slightly darker bronzer with a little more golden shimmer than the Nars counterpart. What I love about this however is that it doesn't contain big chunky glitter, you're not going to end up looking like a disco ball, it's super super blendable so never looks cakes or streaky and lasts a long time on the skin too. The perfect filming bronzer that will also be amazing for when I'm more tanned.

Which basically means never [insert cry face emoji here]
rimmel exaggerate east end snob
rimmel exaggerate east end snob
rimmel exaggerate east end snob
My lips need no help in the growth/looking larger area, in fact, if they grow any bigger I will swiftly be rivalling Jay Z. However, bearing in mind that my lipstick comfort zone is nude pink, nude pink, nudes, pink and more nude pink... they can still just blend into my face under harsh lighting (which is seriously saying something.) Lip liner for me is key to defining my lips and therefore helping to frame my face. Rimmel's Eastend Snob is my absolute favourite right now and I am so in love with it. It lasts for ages on the lips, it's a gorgeous neutral, mauvey pink... it's just stunning.

And it gives that Kylie Jenner-esque toned lip from around a year ago #SorryNotSorry
Collection 24 hour felt tip liner
All about the base eyes
On a daily basis, I'd rather spend time prioritising my winged liner - which let's face it, no matter how long I spend on them they are never on fleek* - than a bold lip, or totally filled in brow for example so I do take a little extra time when filming to make sure that my liner's a little more "done". A little more even. Basically, less "A five year old has drawn on my wings"-esque. Collection's 24hr Felt tip liner is my current weapon of choice and considering I repurchased this for the 6th time yesterday - yes I count because I am that cool - I'd say it was a winner.

*Please, please feel free to punch me in the face for using the term "fleek" aka the most nauseating phrase in existence, in a blog post.
Shu umera s curler
soap and glory archery brow
max factor false lash and bourjois 1 second volume
Whilst my lashes aren't quite as straight as an elephant's, they can always do with a little lift, volume and curl. Shu Umera's S lash curler - which I've reviewed before - is fantastic at curling the lash and making my eyes look more open and awake and less like I've had only 2 hours sleep. A mixture of Bourjois' 1 second Volume mascara and Max Factor's false lash effect fusion does the best job at bringing all the volume and length without leaving my eyes a spidery mess, whilst Soap and Glory's archery brow pencil keeps my brows in check and as even, full but as natural as possible.
Mac Well dressed
Mac Well dressed
The lit from within glow
Now, I'm not hugely into big, bright, clown like bush that looks like it's been slapped on by a dog, however lighting, camera's and just generally the quality of video once uploaded to Youtube can totally wash you out on screen so I do find myself amping up my blush level a little. My top choice for this is Mac's Well dressed because not only does it awaken and brighten up your complexion, but it also has a subtle shimmer in it producing that "lit from within" glow. It's also the first blush I bought from Mac years ago so it has a sentimental little place in my heart too #LoserOfTheYear
bourjois healthy mix serum
collection lasting perfection concealer
Back to Base-ics
Can we take a moment to appreciate just how incredibly awful that title was? [insert cry with laughter emoji here] Despite god damn awful puns, your base is something important to consider when filming. You see, depending on what camera/lighting you use, your base can look totally different on camera than it does in real life, or at least... it can emphasise what might not be so obvious in real life. If you're using studio lighting for example, your face can look extremely shiny - ain't nobody got time for chip fat face... - so using a foundation that works well for you skin type and making sure to powder is really important. At the same time, with the HD options these days you want your skin to be look as flawless, but as natural as possible so I opt for one of my all time favourite foundations, Bourjois Healthy mix serum as it leaves my skin looking flawless (well, a lot less ropey than it usually does anyway) but also keeps my combination skin in check too. As well as potentially the most infamous drug store concealer around, Collection's lasting perfection concealer because boy does that shit stuff cover every impefetion!

So that brings my "camera ready face" post to an end. To see the "finished look" in action, you can head over to my channel (I actually have a brand new video up today in the form of a Primark Haul). In fact, do let me know if you do head over as it completely makes my day. Any support/subscriptions are so, so appreciated :)

What are your flawless face/"I need to look good on camera so give me all the makeup in the world please?" go-to's? Any Holy grail items that you think I should try? I would love to hear your thoughts!

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

xx

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