Sunday, 30 November 2014

My Favourite Lipsticks

Until recently, I was never really a big lipstick wearer. I was a big lipstick buyer, but when it came to wearing them I could never get past my first snack of the day without wiping it off. But now I wear lipstick at least once a week. I always struggle with keeping it on (I've tried everything - liner, blotting, sealing with power, Lipcote, using a brush instead of straight from the bullet...) but I can just about accept that I'll need a few touchups throughout the day to account for my bi-hourly snacking. I thought to honour my newest obsession, I would show you some of my favourite lipsticks in my collection (this is nowhere near all of them!). I've intentionally not edited these photos so you can see the colour properly for each one. I apologise in advance for a) weird photos of my face and b) the fact that I kind of suck at doing lipstick. These were all applied with a lipbrush and I've mentioned for each one which liner I've used (I always use liner).
MAC- Pure Zen
If you see me wearing any kind of nude lipstick, it will be this. It took me a long time to find the perfect nude for me, but I love this so much that I actually have three of it so keep in various handbags. I wear this almost every day.
MAC- Impassioned
This was the first MAC lipstick I ever bought, after a girl served me in a shop wearing it and I had to know what it was. It's stupidly bright and amazing, and probably the longest-wearing of my lipsticks. I've worn this a few times on a night out and found myself still wearing it the next day! I usually wear a very neutral pink lipstick with this, purely because I don't have one that matches! Mine is Rimmel in Eastend Snob.
Rimmel- Glam Plum Fulham
I bought this as I heard it was a dupe for MAC's Rebel. It isn't on me at all (see below- Rebel looks very pink on me), but it's a gorgeous wintery shade that I love. It's probably the darkest of all my lipsticks. It has a really creamy finish that I really like. I wear it with Maybelline's colour sensation lipliner in Midnight Plum.
Rimmel- Kate Moss 20
This is my go-to bright pink lipstick. I've had it for ages and was recently researching Girl About Town dupes and this was mentioned as a dupe. I was so excited when I remembered I already had it. It's a very bright, Barbie pink and it's gorgeous. I wear this with the same liner as Impassioned.
Rimmel- Kate Moss 07
I'd forgotten about this lipstick until a few weeks ago but it's a gorgeous wintery red. I tend to wear very blue-reds but I prefer this for winter. I wear it with MAC lipliner in Brick.
MAC- Russian Red
This was my first MAC red (I have three now) and it's my favourite red for an evening. I prefer Ruby Woo for during the day but Russian Red is my favourite for a classy night-out red. I wear it with Brick liner.
MAC- Rebel
My current favourite lipstick. Ah I just love it. I got it thanks to Back to MAC a few weeks ago and I wear it at least once a week. It's very pink on me but it's one of those colours that seems to look different on everyone. I wear it with NYX liner in Bloom (great dupe for MAC Magenta).
MAC- Ruby Woo
My go-to red lipstick. Some people don't like how matte it is but that's what I love about it. It's a perfect retro red lip. It is a little tricky to apply but it's probably my all-time favourite lipstick. Just a perfect red. I wear it with Max Factor lipliner in Red Rush - I find Brick a little too dark.
I've mentioned all my lipliners in this post, but here they all are. I wear lipliner with all my lipsticks except Pure Zen. It's something I picked up from my Mum and I'm rubbish at applying lipstick so using liner makes it feel more like I'm just colouring in. I need to invest in a clear lipliner because I end up needing to buy new lipliners whenever I get a new lipstick, but I feel like I have a good collection now! From top to bottom - Max Factor Red Rush, MAC Brick, Rimmel Exaggerate in Eastend Snob, Maybelline Colour Sensation in Midnight Plum and NYX pencil in Bloom.
And finally, my tools. I've had this retractable lip brush for years and it is the bomb. I got it in Sephora while I was on my year abroad and nothing has ever compared. I also use MAC Prep and Prime as it was a Christmas present last year. I don't think it makes a huge difference so I probably wouldn't repurchase but it makes my lips feel nice, and finally Lipcote, which I use if I want my lipstick to last longer than usual. It makes applying over the top difficult but it does increase longevity.

Next on my list? MAC Girl about Town and NARS Dragon Girl.

What's your favourite lipstick?

Charlotte x

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Christmas Dress

My Christmas Day outfit is kind of a big deal. I know a lot of people who don't get out of their pyjamas on Christmas day but in my family getting dressed up on Christmas day is tradition. For the last two years I've worn my red Audrey dress and I'd ordered a sequin jacket to go with it, but when it arrived it just wasn't right. I went on the hunt for the perfect Christmas Day dress and stumbled over this one. It was just right. Pale blue is such a nice change from the usual reds and blacks of Christmas, but it has enough sparkle to feel festive. I'm planning to wear it for the first time next week for Phil's work's Christmas do but I'm sure it will be worn lots over the festive period. These shoes are also new. I picked them precisely to go with this dress. I would have gone for gold or nude but I was advised to go for a darker colour and I really like them. They're Clarks and have a really cosy insole inside them which makes them extra comfy - which is perfect as at Phil's Christmas party last year my shoes were so uncomfortable that my feet were bleeding when I got home! There will also always be curly hair and red lipstick. Always.
heels- c/o Shoetique
fur jacket- Quiz

I cannot believe it's December next week! I am one of those people who goes nuts about Christmas, but I can't let myself get excited until 1st December! From next week onwards I'll be rotating my three Christmas jumpers until Boxing Day, listening solely to Christmas songs and eating mince pies every day. I've bought almost all my presents now, with the exception of my Dad's and Phil's parents, but I know exactly what I'm getting everybody. It's so exciting. I can't wait to put up the tree, watch Love Actually and wrap presents. I'm finally going to the Manchester Christmas markets at the weekend which is another festive tradition, and on Friday my Mum is meeting me after work for a spot of Chistmas shopping and dinner.
Everything is quiet at the moment but in a good way. I have lots on for December but I'm looking forward to it. On Saturday I'm having my first Rebel Bingo experience - has anyone been? I have no idea what to expect! Apparently you need to expect to be drawn on?! I'll let you know what it was like next week.
Have a lovely week!

Charlotte x

Sunday, 23 November 2014

How not running has made me a better runner

Back in June, I fell out of love with running.
Almost a year to the day since I started Couch to 5K with the goal of being able to run a 10K.
Instead, I ran three 10Ks and a half marathon.
But running had become a chore.
I was running the same runs methodically. I wasn't getting any faster, I was getting better. I was bored.
In June I decided to take a two-month break from running in order to finally complete the Insanity programme which I had received for Christmas but hadn't had time to commit to with a half marathon looming.
I absolutely loved it and didn't miss running for a second.
However, in the last week of the programme I sprained my foot.
It was tough.
I was excited to finally finish the programme after eight weeks. And I was finally ready to start running again.
For weeks, I could hardly walk.
After about a month, I slowly started exercising again.
Pilates, then weights, then slowly into cardio with T25.
I wanted to start running again in October, but with a holiday coming up that was bound to be heavy on walking I decided to wait.
I stuck to T25 and weights with Chalean Extreme, exercising 5-6 times a week. I persevered and counted down the days to being able to run again.
Four weeks ago I went on my first run in 6 months.
I decided not to put pressure on myself and just do two miles, as slow as I needed.
It was a breeze. It was 20 seconds faster than my average pace. But importantly, it reminded me why I loved to run.
I decided weeks ago that with the dark nights I was only going to run at the weekends. I don't like running in the dark, and I also really enjoy my early morning workouts when I don't need to leave the house. So I decided to do two days of Chalean Extreme a week, and two days of T25 per week. Which meant, unfortunately, weekends were my only time for run. 
Two weeks after my first run I decided to try three miles. The first mile was okay, but half way through the second mile I was tired. But then something clicked. I started to reduce my stride into shorter, faster steps. Suddenly I was running faster, but it didn't feel more effort. By the time I finished my third mile I had run it a minute faster than my second. It was a revelation.
Yesterday I went to park run for the first time in 6 months. I was nervous but also excited given my recent experiences.
The first mile felt great. Usually my plan is to keep up with "the red flag man" (who paces the race just under a 10-minute-mile for people who want to run the race in 30 minutes) as much as possible. After half a mile I hadn't seen him. But then as I ran past the announcer I heard him say "oh and here is the red flag man." Confused, I looked around me. Where is he? Then it clicked, he was behind me. I kept ahead of him for nearly the entire first mile (he overtook me just before the mile point) and clocked my first mile at 10:43. My third fastest mile ever. I was tired after this exertion and slowed down for my second mile. But then my watch flashed up, 11:07. I hadn't slowed down at all. I pushed through for my third mile. My PB is 32:28 and that was over a year ago. I had only gotten below 35 minutes a few times in over a year of park run (I average about a 12-minute-mile and have been stuck at that pace for a long time). I was going to have one of my best ever times! I was tired but I kept pushing. I moved my feet faster, not longer. I was tired but I felt fitter. I could push through. I crossed the finish line in 33:28. My third fastest park run.

Today I was still high on my park run success and didn't want to wait a week to run again. My plan for the winter is Saturday park run and a long, slow run on a Sunday of 4-6 miles, so I decided to give four miles a go. I was in a grumpy mood and it was a real push to get myself out. But I decided this was a "bonus run" so if it sucked it didn't count. What mattered was that I was giving it a go.
I did four miles. In 44 minutes. My last mile was in 10:30 and I averaged as pace of 10:57. That's a minute faster than my usual average. 
I've turned a corner, by not running.
By doing Insanity for 2 months. By swapping my mid-week runs for two days of HIIT and two days of strength training.
My fitness is better. My cardio is better. My turnover is better.
I'm a better runner.
A much better runner than I was when I was half marathon training. A much better runner than when I was running three or four times a week.
I am so excited to reach my speed goals and beyond. By running twice a week, but focusing on cross training the rest of the time.
Running isn't just about running.

Monday, 17 November 2014

Yellow Rebel

I like the idea of winter. I like the idea of cosy jumpers and warm coats and hats and scarves and hot drinks in gloved hands. I like the idea of the early darkness and the sparkling lights on my way home from work. The Christmas markets and mulled wine.
But in reality, winter sucks.
And this is coming from a girl who spent a winter in Minnesota where minus 30 Celsius was a regular occurrence. Believe me, I can handle the cold. I just don't like it.
Some of my best outfits on my blog have been during the winter. In fact I'd probably say almost all of them. Through the sweaty summer and rainy spring I've been waiting with baited breath to wear new creative winter combinations. Dresses over shirts under jumpers. Mustard and maroon and red and navy.
Instead, I've basically just worn jeans and a rotation of a couple of jumpers.
This year my one piece of winter clothing advice is: buy some jumpers you really like. Wear them every day. Rotate them enough so that nobody notices.
I know I should be excited. But when you wake up at 5am, drag yourself out of bed for a workout, drag yourself into the shower and slowly get yourself dressed in the cold, comfort seems to reign supreme. As does convenience. And the most convenient thing to grab is whatever I wore the day before.
I am the worst fashion blogger ever.
But the idea of just wearing jumpers and jeans did justify this jumper. That and the fact that I think there was a sign that I should buy it. 
I was on the train home from work last week and I saw a girl wearing the brightest jumper I had ever seen. It had a gorgeous jewelled neckline and she was wearing it with a tartan scarf. I swooned over it for a while and then forgot about it. Until the next day when I was in Primark buying boring things like tights, bobbles and hair grips. I was on my way out and THERE IT WAS. The yellow jumper of my dreams. It was clearly meant to be. 
It's also blindingly yellow in real life and it's perfect. (And I wish I'd remembered to photograph it with my tartan scarf).
Two other things are new. First, my lipstick. I only found out about Back to MAC a few months ago and mourned the loss of at least half a dozen bottles of foundation that I threw away not knowing I could exchange their empty shells for a new lipstick. But over the past few weeks I've been collecting all my MAC empties to exchange them. I finally had six last week and I'd had my eye on Rebel lipstick for months. My boss, Karen, has it, and I was starting to ask her every day what lipstick she had on. It's one of those colours that looks completely different on everyone. I've seen it look very dark or very purple, but on me it's like a slightly magenta pink. I can't stop wearing it.
The other thing is my amazing Scrabble earrings! I love nerdy kitschy pieces like this, especially if it's Scrabble related (I already have a Scrabble tile necklace and a Scrabble mug). They're part of a collection of three things Punky Pins sent over to me last week. I remember asking for a plastic "Carrie" imitation necklace from Punky Pins when I was 19 and I absolutely loved it. I actually got some compliments from my optician on these earrings on Saturday, who said "they're so unique. I've never seen anything like them" (he's a guy too). I have a few other items to show you soon (see above) - I'm wearing the lightning bolt necklace today.
jumper- Primark
jeans- Topshop
boots- New Look
earrings- c/o Punky Pins
I'm gonna have a look through my autumn/winter Pinterest board for some cold-weather inspiration, but I can't promise this will be my last jeans-and-jumper outfit. At least I have garish taste in jumpers!

Have a great evening.

Charlotte x

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

All I Want for Christmas is You

I've accidentally posted the three cheesiest posts I've ever written on my blog all in one go. I bet my colleague Natalie is hating this. Sorry not sorry. Except maybe for this post title. I might have gone too far.
Anyway, this is Phil's first proper experience of being on my blog. Matalan got in touch a few weeks ago and wanted to send me not one, but two Christmas jumpers - one for me and one for a friend or partner! Now Phil, like me, loves a good Christmas jumper - these aren't our first Christmas-jumper-themed photos - so I knew he was the guy for the job. I also trusted him to pick the cheesiest jumper of them all. Which he did. 
I am completely and utterly in love with these photos. Holiday cards aren't really a thing in the UK but I think we're missing a trick by not sending one out with these photos. I did ask Phil and then pretended I was joking when he looked at me with disgust.
christmas jumpers- c/o Matalan
I've already told you about the wonderful day we had for our anniversary on Saturday, but we also had a really lovely day on Sunday. We dressed up in our Christmas jumpers to take these photos, watched Peaky Blinders (we're two episodes away from finishing season 2!) and then went to the IMAX to see Interstellar (which is really good, by the way!). After a year of convincing, I finally joined Phil in the Cineworld Unlimited card club so I'm trying to see as many films as possible at the moment. We also saw Nightcrawler last week which I highly recommend and we're off to see Mr Turner this weekend. 
Sorry for all the cheese. Kind of.

Have a lovely week!

Charlotte x

Sunday, 9 November 2014


Thank you all for your lovely comments on yesterday's post about mine and Phil's one year anniversary! We had such a lovely day yesterday that I thought I would share it with you!
We had a table booked at Artisan in Manchester at 7pm, so Phil came over before to do presents! My Mum decorated the living room for us with candles, and set up a little table for us with some bubbly, chocolates and rose petals. How lovely is that? I've been planning Phil's anniversary present for absolutely months and I've been so excited slash nervous about giving it to him! I've been keeping what we call "The Date Book" since we first started dating and I've basically been writing down every day we've been on since the start! So a few months ago I decided for our anniversary to get a print made for Phil with some of the special dates we've had together this year for in our bedroom when we get our flat. It's pretty cheesy so I was worried it would be too cheesy but Phil loved it! I also got him some fridge magnets of photos of us that I got from Sticky9.
Phil came to the door with a bunch of flowers (unpictured, but they're lilies and roses and they're gorgeous) and he got me a homemade card (!), a bag from the place where we had our first date and an "anniversary journal" which I'm pretty sure he got from Pinterest! He's written "8th November 2014" and given me lots of cinema tickets, theatre tickets and all other bits that he's saved from this year for me to stick in, and then the idea is that you write about the year you've had every year on your anniversary. It's such a great idea. And of course, my main present, a gorgeous diamond and silver bracelet. I can't stop staring at it.
I was going to buy a new dress for our anniversary, but then I remembered this dress and honestly I never wear it because it's rarely appropriate. But I think for our anniversary it was perfect. Phil scrubbed up pretty well too! This photo of us is my new favourite.
We headed into Manchester for our meal at Artisan. Spinningfield looked absolutely gorgeous with all the excitement and Christmas lights. Artisan is absolutely amazing too and was a really great place for our anniversary. We really splashed out on a lovely meal and while I dithered over whether to get the tuna steak, it was totally worth it. It was one of the best tuna steaks I've ever had! 
Oh and there was a photobooth! Phil and I love stuff like that so we had to get our photos taken. However it didn't warn you when it was going to take so we weren't quite ready in the first photo as you can see...
After dinner we went to the Hilton for cocktails. I've never been to Cloud 23 so I was really excited. The view was incredible and I was really chuffed that we saw some fireworks. Even though we were higher up than them!
It's been the best weekend I could have asked for and the perfect celebration of a year together. 

Saturday, 8 November 2014

One Year

Phil and I started out as a joke.

I went for a meal with my auntie, uncle and cousin, Laura, last September, and Laura joked that she had nearly invited a guy from work to the meal because he had no plans that weekend. What started out as a bit of a joke suddenly turned into her showing me photos of him and asking "would you go on a date with him, then?". I was about 6 months out of a not-so-great relationship at that point and my logic was, well I have nothing to lose, so I said I'd give it a go.
After a few weeks of emails and some organisation, a blind date was arranged for the 4th October. Phil was to meet me in Manchester on a Friday night and we would go out for food and some drinks.
I don't think anybody expected it to work out.
Least of all Phil and I.
We joke about the funny way we met, because there was absolutely no planning on Laura's part. She didn't think about what we had in common or if our personalities would work. It was all just spontaneous.
But it worked. We clicked.
And today we're celebrating our one year anniversary.
Phil makes me happier than I ever thought I could be.
He makes me laugh every single day and every day I find more and more reasons to fall in love with him.
It's been a year and it still feels like our honeymoon period. And I think it will always feel like that.
He makes me proud every day and he makes me want to be a better person.
He teases me when I get sulky and has successfully made it through a fair few Charlotte meltdowns.
I tell him everything and we're never afraid to have difficult conversations.
I get excited when I see him and I miss him when he's gone.

In the last year we've had our first holiday together.
We had our first holiday with his family and our first holiday with mine.
We ran a half marathon.
We've supported each other at races.
We've travelled around the country.
We've had good days and oh man have we had bad days.
We've had redundancies and promotions and family members and friends in hospitals.
We've had car crashes and stolen phones.
We've laughed, we've cried and I cannot wait for the future with him.
We've had the relationship I never thought was possible, I never thought was real.
We've had happiness and we've had each other.
Happy Anniversary, Phil. I love you.