Sunday 24 December 2023

Promises, Piercings, And Pesto - Merry Christmas

Well, here we are, there's only more sleep to Christmas - the presents are wrapped, the house is *mostly* tidy, I'm showered and the new PJ's are on, and we have just consumed our traditional Christmas Eve meal of Pesto, Tomato, and Mozzarella Ciabattas, with a little glass of mulled wine on the side - I'm currently watching the Alistair Sim version of Scrooge, with the Muppet Christmas Carol up next and I thought I'd quickly write my now traditional Christmas Eve post.

I honestly don't know where the last few weeks have gone, it's been a funny few weeks here in LouLouLand, lots of cleaning, yet more bad news, and a bit of pain and exhaustion thrown in for good measure. I promised a few posts before Christmas but surprise, surprise nothing panned out the way I wanted, I prepped a lot of posts but I never managed to actually post anything so I apologise, and I promise I will have some more content up next week and lots more going on into 2024

This year me and my mas decided to go for a joint present, and get something we both wanted, so we treat ourselves to a new smart TV, and an upgraded Sky box, so I'm not really expecting a lot tomorrow especially since my mam also paid for my daith piercing changeout  (I went for a nice silver hoop), and a new conch piercing in my right ear - Again I went to the lovely Kelly, at Doc Black Ink, Metro Centre, last Monday and I honestly can't recommend her and the shop enough. It was way less painful than I anticipated but it has been a bit tender since especially behind my ear but I love it, and the slightly hidden aspect - I've definitely got the piercing bug again!

Although I love presents it really isn't about that this year, it's been another awful year, losing my uncle, and with numerous family illness and accidents, for me it's all about spending time with the people I love, I want it to be nice, and I want to have some nice memories from Christmas 2023.

You know the drill though by now, Christmas isn't always the happy time, that so many people especially on social media would have you believe, your everyday problems don't go away, and being around family, and friends, or on your own can often exacerbate and create new issues, so please, please remember you are not alone - Here is a list of useful numbers below, and I would personally also like to add Cruse Bereavement Support - 0808 808 1677

So if you're celebrating tomorrow I hope you have a very Merry Christmas, and if you're not, I hope you have a peaceful, and cheerful Monday, and I'll see you soon with a new post x 

Thursday 7 December 2023

HUDA Beauty Winner And A Life Update*

Hey Everyone x I know it's been a little while since I last posted so I thought I'd post a quick update for you x I've had a few rough weeks health wise culminating in an unexpected morning in A&E on Halloween of all days and a barrage of tests since. Thankfully there doesn't appear to be anything too sinister going on just a few new fibromyalgia symptoms, and the exacerbation of a few others - ho hum. Through in another family illness and things have been a bit rough so it goes without saying that my mind has been elsewhere. 

This year really seems to have flown by I can hardly believe we're in December already - I'm so all over the place at the moment I didn't even manage to get my hands on a chocolate advent calendar this year, but thanks to Mummy Lou I did get manage to get my hands on this years Glossybox offering, which if you're interested I'm unboxing everyday on my Instagram Stories, so don't forget to follow me on there.  Everything just seems to be upside down at the moment I've done some Christmas shopping online, and most of the decorations are up but my room needs serious deep clean, and I haven't even thought about wrapping or cards - argh!

Anyways deep breaths, no need to panic, things will work out they always do (fingers crossed anyways) and whilst I won't be posting any huge gift guides or anything like that but providing the creeks don't rise, etc. etc, I do have a few little gift ideas to share with you, as well as a few empties posts to share with you before Santa comes so don't forget to keep following my blog, or checking out my other social media channels for a heads up when new posts go live!

Now though is the moment you've all been waiting for - it's time to announce the winner of my HUDA Beauty giveaway!

I didn't have too many entries so everyone that did enter had a great chance to win, alas there can only be one winner and that winner picked randomly via Rafflecopter is...

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Congratulations my love and thanks for following my on Tik Tok - I will be sending you an email asap x Thanks to everyone that entered and a big thank you to all of my new followers both on the blog and elsewhere x Thanks you all for following and reading and I will see you soon with another post x 

*This Post Contains An Added Affiliate Link

Friday 27 October 2023

Collaborative / Partnered Post - 5 Ways To Give The Man In Your Life’s Appearance And His Confidence A Boost*

You know what? We really do love the men in our lives but as I said in one of my previous posts some men can be a bit blase about the whole fashion and beauty thing, and whilst we 100% love them just the way they are, there is nothing wrong with wanting someone you love to make the best of themselves. So if the guys in your life, be that your partner, your dad or your brother seem to be stuck in a bit of a rut, then here are a few fashion and beauty tips to give him a bit of an ego boost.

Help Him Opt For Quality 

I talked a lot about men's fashion a couple of posts ago, and whilst cheaper fashion is great for trying out a new items or a new style, it's actually better and makes more sense to have a smaller selection of good quality items and outfits that look great and work for you rather than having a wardrobe full of one offs, mistakes and things that don't really work for you. This is definitely a piece of advice that I need to follow as well! Although it is technically a capsule wardrobe it doesn't have to be scary, and no you don't have to starting clearing out your partners entire wardrobe just yet! Christmas is on it's way so consider picking up some good quality t-shirts, tops and hoodies from somewhere like about:blank clothing, whole sell a wide range of casual, and smart casual basics and fashion pieces that will really help lift your partners personal style.

I know things are hard financially for a lot of people at the moment and the temptation to buy cheaper clothing is strong, but as I know personally it can be a false economy. Instead of buying things you need, you end up buying things you don't really want thus filling up your wardrobe, and making that whole what do I wear today thing much harder. Something I should really do more of is try and work out the cost per wear, buying a better quality item may cost a bit more initially but if it's a basic, and something you'll get a lot of wear out of it then in the long term you may actually end up saving money. It isn't true in all cases but spending more money on a better quality product should mean that it lasts longer than a fast fashion equivalent. 

Teach Him About Body Shape

As well as choosing quality products, it's important to thing about sizing and fit. This isn't about losing weight or toning up it's all about Dressing for his body shape, and buying clothes that actually fit. I'm all for freedom of expression and breaking fashion rules but wearing clothes that don't fit properly is a bit no no - yes we can all throw on an oversized hoodie but it can look sloppy, and as though you just can't bothered (probably true in my case;), and the same applies about wearing something that is too small, not only does it not look great but it can also be really uncomfortable.

He might hate it but take him shopping, look at styles, and if you can stretch to it, get him professionally measured, or even take him to a personal shopper, a lot of larger stores and shopping centres have them and it's a great way of helping someone out of a style rut and helping boost their confidence. It doesn't matter whether it's something smart or casual, if something is the wrong size or just unflattering then you don't look or feel good.

Consider Grooming Tips 

I know it's a bit of a stereotypical viewpoint but historically when it comes to beauty and grooming a lot of men are sadly lacking. Thankfully that is changing and it's become a lot more acceptable for men to care about their hair, skin and their overall appearance, and whilst making the right fashion choices will instantly upgrade his look, spending a little more time in the bathroom, will be both an immediate and a longterm confidence booster. You can start off simple with a hand wash, a new fragrance, or a new shower gel before gradually introducing him to a proper skincare regime. So many skincare brands now do regimes specifically for men so if he's a real mans man nothing will looks too girly, or feminine, so he really has no excuse not to give it ago. 

It's kind of expected that everybody gets toiletries for Christmas so it's the perfect opportunity to buy the men in your life a beauty product or two, and if you really fancy giving him the pampering and love that he deserves then how about booking him an appointment at your nearest salon. So many salons now offer male packages that include facials, brown grooming and a manicure - all guaranteed to boost his look and his self confidence and gain you a few brownie points.

When we're it grooming though, it's important not to ignore our teeth. There really is no worse turn off than bad breath and yellow teeth. So make sure your guy, be it a partner or your dad keeps up with his dental hygiene and stock up that bathroom with toothpaste, floss, and mouthwash, and make sure he has regular dental appointment to maintain his stunning smile.

Find Him The Right Hairstyle

Most women appreciate the impact of a winning hairstyle and how it can influence their overall appearance. However, many men fall into the trap of keeping the same cut for virtually all of their adult life, unlike the majority of women that I know ;) If someone you love is stuck in a bit of an appearance rut then finding a modern style that suits his face shape, and personality can work wonders. Do a little bit of research online, or pop into a salon or barbers for advice, and don't forget to buy him a few hair products to maintain his new look.

Make Sure He Smells Great

I don't about you but I use perfume every single day, I love to smell nice, and I think that fragrance is a real confidence booster, and thankfully most of the men that I know feel the same way. Hopefully long gone are the days when the man in your life drowned himself in body spray, and so much cologne that you could smell him a mile away (why do teenage boys do this???). If your man doesn't wear fragrance, or he's on the look out for something, then The Versace Eros eau de toilette is often labelled a great scent for date nights. Find something you both love, and you'll be driven wild, and his confidence will be sky high!

I know some of these are a bit stereotypical but there is nothing wrong with wanting someone you love to make the best of themselves, and even if the man in your life is perfect as he is, I hope this post has given you a few little gift ideas to help him boost his self confidence.

*Collaborative / Partnered Post

Tuesday 24 October 2023

Pretty Green Eyes With The HUDA Beauty Emerald Obsessions Eyeshadow Palette And Giveaway! - CLOSED*

I hope you'll forgive the cheesy song title that I've used here but as a NUFC fan I am a bit of a fan of Ultrabeat's Pretty Green Eyes, all be it with slightly different lyrics (He's From Blyth, You'll Never Ever Beat Dan Burn etc. ;)! 

I don't know whether you'd class them as being pretty or not, but my eyes are certainly green, I always wanted blue eyes as a child but I'm pretty happy now with my olive green peepers. I don't know about you but when I was first getting into make up they seemed to be loads of rules, about what colours you should and shouldn't wear depending on your hair and eye colours, and one of the so called rules that always used to annoy me, was the one that you shouldn't wear green eyeshadow if you have green eyes! I stuck to that rule for goodness knows how long, missing out on the delight that is green eyeshadow, before I decided that, that rule and so many others were rubbish.

There are so many different shades, and textures of green eyeshadow out there that can enhance green eyes, it's all about finding a colour that you love. If bright emerald and grass greens, aren't your bag, then there are loads of olives and golden greens to chose from, including some of my own personal favourites MAC's Humid, Urban Decays Psych, and the KIKO Water Eyeshadow in Olive Green. Looking through my own vast make up collection I have a whole load of different green eye colours, but I'm sad to say rhat that a lot of them have now been discontinued in MAC's fabulous Golden Olive Pigment, MAC shadow in Springtime Skipper, and this amazing eye palette from HUDA Beauty.

Other than receiving the odd thing in various subscription boxes this was probably one of my earliest purchases from HUDA Beauty. From the brands popular but largely now discontinued Obsessions line, comes the HUDA Beauty Emerald Obsessions Eyeshadow Palette. 

Although I'll openly admit that I'm not a fan of cardboard packaging, I do like the packaging of the palette. In a beautiful metallic emerald green, it features a strong magnet closure and a good sized mirror.

The palette contains 6 good sized eyeshadows, 3 mattes and 6 shimmers / glitters, in different shades of green including a matte mint shade, a matte emerald green (this is a much more vibrant green in the flesh), and matte dark olive green / brown. The 6 shimmers and glitters are in various shades including a vibrant peacock green with a slight blue flash, a golden olive shade, and an almost golden shade. The palette contains the perfect combination of both cool and warm toned greens.

As you would expect from a brand with the profile of HUDA Beauty, the quality is exceptional. The matte shadows are buttery soft with excellent colour payoff, and the shimmers / glitters are buttery, metallic, and very pigmented. The shades were fairly easy to blend but there was a bit of fall out with some of the darker shades, and the shimmers, and glitters.

I've done a couple of quick eye looks just to show you the varied looks you can create with this palette. As per usual I'm keeping it as real as possible, my brown need doing desperately, I'm not a make up artist, and I haven't got amazing skills, I'm just someone who loves make up, trying to show you just how easy products are to use. The first look is one of my all time favourites, I'm a huge fan of more olive green shadows, and this trio of shades creates the perfect golden olive look.

This golden olive look can be as dramatic or as a subtle as you like but this next look isn't for the fain hearted. If you love colour or if you want a much brighter, stand out look then you can do that with this palette as well. Here I used a couple of the matte shades, with just a hint of sparkle, to create a fun vibrant look.

I'm so impressed with this palette, and I can assure you that mine now looks a little bit battered and well used ! As I say texture wise, and pigmentation wise, these shadows are really impressive but what I'm also really impressed with is the wear time. Bar a tiny bit of fallout here and minimal creasing these shadows stayed put! In fact I would probably advise that you use an eye base particular if you're using some of the brighter shades, as this look seemed to want to stay put especially on my lash line!

These palettes have been widely copied by some budget brands, but no matter how good they are I can't see anyone beating this particular collection either quality wise or performance wise - this palette for me really was the perfect introduction to HUDA Beauty and it's no surprise that I now own a few more palettes from the brand.

Alas as I say, this palette does appear to have been discontinued now, but you can still find here and there. It originally retailed at around £25 and there are a few currently on eBay for just a little bit more than that. If you're interested I would also recommend doing an online search and checking out your local TK Maxx store because I recently picked up another one of my local stores, not to keep you understand but to give away.

Yes, I know I've been promising this for ages but to thank all of you guys for sticking with me, and your loyalty especially over the last few years, I'm giving a brand new, and in perfect condition HUDA Beauty Emerald Obsessions Eyeshadow Palette, and some other bits including some Tarte, and NEXT.

All you need to do is make sure you're following me on as many social media platforms as possible and fill in the Rafflecopter here or below, oh and just so you know my comments are moderated so they may not appear straight away x

Terms, Rules And Conditions

This giveaway is open worldwide.
If you are under 18 please get your parent or guardians permission before you enter as I will need your contact details if you're the lucky winner.
Entries will be picked at random using Rafflecopter
I reserve the right delete any entry that hasn't fulfilled the entry criteria or redraw the winner
The giveaway will close 24th November 2023
The winner will have 7 days to respond to my email, if no response is received in this time I will draw another winner
This prize was purchased with my own money I have not been compensated from holding it and this giveaway has not been endorsed in any way by HUDA Beauty or any company or brand mentioned.

If you have any questions on either the palette or my giveaway, then please leave me a comment or contact me via any of my other social media channels, all of which you can find linked in the sidebar→
Thanks for reading and good luck!

*This Post Contains Automatic Affiliate, Added Affiliate And Non Affiliate Links

Thursday 19 October 2023

Collaborative / Partnered Post - 5 Ways To Help The Man In Your Life Embrace Sporty Fashion*

I know this isn't the post that I promised but I have something a little bit different for you today. I don't mention men anywhere near enough on this blog but today's post is just for them or dare I say it for their partners, sisters or even mums who often buy their clothes ;) If you feel the man in your life needs a little wardrobe update, and one that he'll actually embrace, of if you're anyone that loves the sportier side of fashion then this post should be right up your street or should I say pitch ;).
With every season that passes, the stores are full of new trends, styles, and pieces, to either update your wardrobe or to give us a completely new look. You know what some men are like though, 'I like what I like', 'I don't like change' - yeah I bet you've heard it all before but no matter what their own personal style I can pretty much guarantee that the man in your life has at least one tracksuit or one pair of trainers in his wardrobe, so if you want him to embrace the new sporty and athleisure trends and wear something more sporty or athletic, then here are a few essential items that he (and you) might just like.
Sporty Shirts & Hoodies
Now if you're a football fan like me then you'll have seen an increase in both pundits, managers, players and owners wearing casual yet smart polo shirts, instead of dress shirts, both in the studio and in the stands. Something like a Moncler polo shirt, or something without an obvious logo looks fantastic, and adds a sporty, casual vibe to even the most structured of outfits. Pick the right shirt and you can team it with chinos, dress trousers or even a pair jeans, and you can add a comfortable, casual, sporty element to even the most polished of outfits.
Now you can't talk about the whole sport and athletic trend without mentioning the hoodie! Probably the most stolen and borrowed item by girlfriends, partners and wives, the hoodie is the ultimate athleisure fashion item - pick one with a graphic design or brand logo, for that high fashion sporty look, or pick a plain one, that goes with anything and can be dressed up or down, oh and if your lose it check your partner or sisters wardrobe ;)
Baseball Caps
If the man in your life is always overdressed, and you're looking for something stylish yet sporty, this might be the ideal entry point. It's, let's face it, the baseball cap is the ultimate sporty accessory that adds a little capsule of coolness to an outfit. A classic look with a neutral cap can be a great way to go, or if your guy is into sports, then you can get them one with the favourite sports team logo or brand on it. You could always wear it slightly tilted to the side rather than backward for that street-style edge; however, you've got to be age-appropriate here! I'm all for you do you but if you're a little bit older remember that you're not Fred Durst from Limp Bizkit and your not 15, riding your bike around a supermarket car park anymore, if you're a fan of the old baseball cap please remember that there probably is way to wear it and a time and a place for it, and christenings and confirmations are not the one! ;)
Ah the tracksuit - an old favourite, no matter whether you're playing sport or just hanging out, this sporty ensemble has made a little bit of a comeback in the last few years, but going for the matching set of tracksuit trousers and tops or jackets, can be a difficult look to pull off. It's got that whole “footballer who's just finished training” vibe but it doesn't work for everyone and dare I say it, it can look a little bit lazy, and 'thrown on'. The best way to pull it off is to make sure you opt for neutral colours for a timeless look, such as grey, black, or navy, and something lacking in too obvious logos. If the man in your life is feeling brave though, or he wants to channel his inner Premier League footballer, then the more high end logos, loud patterns and colours the better!
Now we can't talk about trying out sporty styles without talking about trainers. You don't have to be a sneaker head to have heard about the big boys, Adidas, Nike, and Puma! Long gone are the days when you could only wear trainers with joggers, shorts, and jeans at a push - again cast your eyes at any football pundit or even football club owner and you'll see a pair of crisp white Nike's teamed up with dress trousers or even a full on suit for that true Hoxton vibe. White trainers will always be a classic but colours and in particular, yellow luminous sneakers are becoming a lot more trendy these days, you probably have to be a certain person to get away with them, and you don't want to look as though you're trying to direct the traffic ;), but if you want to make a statement or add a bit of pizzaz to even the most conservative outfit then adding a pair of trainers is any easy way to do it, just make sure that their clean though, nothing looks worse than a pair of dirty trainers!
A Duffle Bag
As a woman who is obsessed with bags, it's fair to say the the majority of men don't share my passion but we should all recognise the importance of functional accessories that can add a little something to any outfit. It goes without saying that if you're embracing the sporty trend then you'll need a bag to match and a sporty duffle bag, or sports bag with either obvious or subtle athletic branding can be both practical or stylish. It doesn't matter whether you're carrying your gym gear or your laptop, a bag will always add that finishing touch to your outfit, be that a tracksuit or a hoodie and a pair of jeans.
Achieving a sporty look is all about embracing athletic-inspired fashion and incorporating it into the everyday style. You don't need to wear sportswear head to toe but just a little hint be it a polo shirt, or even a pair of trainers, will elevate an outfit and add a sporty spin to just about any clothing combination. Whether you like the man in your life in a suit, something casual, or in a pair of grey jogging bottoms, it's important that he's happy and comfortable. There are is nothing worse than wearing something that isn't you, which is why the sportswear trend is such an easy one to embrace, it can be as full on or as subtle as you like, and it's super easy to wear, oh and there are plenty of elements which you can appropriate to your own wardrobe if you feel the need, so it really is a win, win!
*Collaborative / Partnered Post

Thursday 12 October 2023

Autumn Nails With Sensationail Gel Polish In Macchiato And Some Easy Nail Art *

Hey Everyone - Happy Thursday! I hope you're all having another good week. As I said in my last post I seem to lurch from mini crisis to minis crisis, and this week has been no different! Being 'clinically vulnerable' I had both of my booster jabs on Tuesday and as a result I've felt pretty bleugh, and then my Internet went down for two days, which resulted in an Open Reach visit! Great fun I'm sure you'll agree but I'm back now with a little nails of the day post.

I haven't posted many pictures of my nails for what seems like an age now but that doesn't mean that I haven't been wearing polish. My nails haven't been great for a long time, so I didn't really feel like sharing but rightly or wrongly lately I've predominantly been using gel polish.

I got the Sensationail Deluxe Gel Starter Kit a few Christmas's ago now and I've added a few of their polishes, and a few from other brands to my collection, and I have to say I'm a bit of a convert.

Yes, it's a bit of a pain to remove (I would recommend this stuff though) and my nails are in slightly drier and flakier than they were, but they're growing, and gel polish last way longer on my nails then just every other normal polish and top coat that I've tried.

This shade Macchiato was one of the two shades that came in my starter kit. It's a real basic colour, and one that every person should have in their nail polish collection. It's just that perfect neutral, nude beige mannequin hands colour.

Like most of the gel polishes that I've used the coverage was fantastic. After my primer and dehydrator, I just applied one thin coat of base coat, then two thin coats of polish, followed by a thin coat of top coat and voila super shiny nails.

My nails aren't that amazing by hand model standards, my cuticles are a bit dry and flakey, and I do have a habit of of applying a bit too much polish, and flooding my cuticles, but I hope you can see just what a real staple a colour like this is. You can wear it to the office, on a night out or on the school run and your nails will just look perfect and polished. As nice as it is though, dare I say some people might argue that it's just a touch boring! The good thing about shades like this though are that they make great base colours for a bit of nail art.

Although I am practising, I'm not that arty so a lot of my nail art attempts leave a bit to be desired, something that takes very little practise or skill to use though are nail stickers. Just peel them carefully off the sheet, apply them to dry, or 'cured' nails, gently press them down, apply a top coat and you're done.

These Autumnal themed sticker are from Shein, and whilst I think i could have played with the placement and the application, and obviously the base colour, these nails took minutes to do, and I think they've really added an extra dimension to an all be it quite basic, and simple polish.

They may not be perfect but I love playing with nail bits, and that's what it should be all about having fun with nails and make up, and I am pretty pleased with how they turned out. There are definitely a few application flaws out there, and if you look carefully you may spot the odd cat hair or three, because this little one decided that he wanted to get in on the action - cats who would have them?

This particular bottle of Macchiato is the mini size that came in my starter kit bu the full 7.39ml size is available from both eBay and Nail Polish Direct for around £10. If you want to try the Sensationail system for yourself then there are various starter kits on the market, which contain an LED lamp, and all the things that you need to do your own at home gel manicure. The starter kits are available in several configurations at several different price points from various retailers including eBay and Amazon, and as I say my nail stickers are from Shein, where they were around £1 for 2 sheets. You can also get a wide range of similar fall / Autumn themed nail stickers from eBay.

Are you a fan of nail art or gel nail polishes? If you are then I would love your recommendations for gel nails polish brands, particularly if you can recommend a top and base coat, so please leave me a comment and let me know you favourites.

*This Post Contains Automatic Affiliate, Added Affiliate And Non Affiliate Links

Friday 6 October 2023

Trimming My Stash - November And December 2022 Edition - Empties, Mini Reviews And A 2022 Round Up*

Hey everyone, I hope you are all having a good week - it's nearly the weekend! I don't know what it is at the moment but we seem to be lurching from one drama to the next! I've been knocked for six with a virus culminating in an out of hours doctors visit on Saturday afternoon; all 3 cats have been poorly and have ended up at the vets, my mam had a hospital appointment last Friday, and believe you me all of that is only the tip of the iceberg, so fingers crossed you've had a better few weeks than I have!

Anyways apart that I've been doing a lot of work behind the scenes on the blog, including working on some exciting new collaborations, and prepping a long awaited giveaway post. Before all of the excitement of that though, it's empties catch up time, and today we're travelling back nearly a whole year to November and December 2022, to take a look at all of the products that I used up way back then, and just what I though about them.

Jolen Face Wax Strips - 16 Wax Strips
Bath & Body Works White Barn Cactus Blossom Gentle Foaming Hand Soap - 259ml
Smooth Coffee Coffee Body Scrub - 200g
Eclat Acne Cream - 50g
Total - 4 Items 

Ah November, that transitional month from autumn into winter, the month of bonfire night, Christmas light switch ons, and Black Friday, and seemingly sub par trimming my stash performances. Like in October I only managed to finish 4 items, including a few things that you've seen before as well a couple of new bits.

1. Jolen Face Wax Strips - 16 Wax Strips

I guess it's no real surprise that these babies make another appearance in an empties post. Since I was first sent these facial wax strips to review in early 2022 they've become a permanent fixture in my beauty routine and I probably been using about 1/2 to a full packet every month.

You can read a full review of them here (including some lovely hairy themed pictures ;), I really can't recommend them enough. They're good quality, they remove even the shortest hairs, and they're really affordable. My hairs are finer and are less dense, and honest I couldn't be with them now.

I've been buying these for around a £1 in both Savers and B&M, but I recently picked up a few packets in B&M for just 89p each. I'm also lead to believe that they are available in some Poundland stores, even though I've personally seen them there. If you fancy buying them in bulk, or you want them delivered to your door and you don't mind paying a little bit more, you can also find them on Amazon, o them on eBay and on Ocado.

2. Bath & Body Works White Barn Cactus Blossom Gentle Foaming Hand Soap - 259ml

As much as I love a bargain something that I've really loved splurging on over the last year or so, are Bath & Body Works hand washes and hand soaps. They aren't cheap but thankfully I have managed to pick a few up bottles in various NEXT sales and this particular one was one of these bargains.

In my favourite 'gentle foaming' formulation, Cactus Blossom is one of their most popular permanent fragrances. The scent is officially described as 'the scent of a sweet tropical oasis with notes of cactus flower petal, sun-kissed coconut and sparkling lemon'. For me though, as someone who is rubbish at describing scents, it has a real heady tropical floral scent, with just a hint of fruity sweetness and freshness. I'm a huge fan of the Victorias Secret fragrance 'Tease' and this definitely has some similarities.

Couple an amazing scent with Bath & Body Works amazing shea butter, aloe vera, vitamin E, and essential oil formulation, and you have a luxurious, non drying foaming hand wash that's perfect for a powder room or an upstairs bathroom.

These hand soaps retail at around £10 each but a little goes a long way, and you're feeling savvy, then when you get to around half way down the bottle fill it up with water, give it a shake and continue using your now full bottle of hand wash. The product is really concentrated so adding some water honestly doesn't make that much of a difference bar it making the bottle last twice as long ;).

Officially only available from NEXT Beauty online, and in selected NEXT stores with Bath & Body Works concessions, there are loads of other Cactus Flower products to choose from including a fabulous candle which I would throughly recommend. You can also buy a whole range of different Cactus Flower products including some exclusives, rare and discontinued products on eBay.

3. Smooth Coffee Coffee Body Scrub - 200g

From something that can be a bit spendy, to something super affordable, and it's a product I first showed you way back in the  summer of 2021. Costing just £1 from Poundland, the predominantly salt based body scrub also contained arabica coffee seed powder and walnut shell powder, and it did the job perfectly; it was scrubby enough for me and it also won praise from Mummy Lou for not clogging up the shower drain, and not leaving everything gritty and brown! You can see some pics and read a full review here.

Unfortunately I haven't seen this in store for quite some time, and I can't find it anywhere on the new Poundland website! Yes, you heard me, you can now buy all of your favourite Poundland goodies and some very interesting special buys (including PIXI, Elemis and L'Occcitane!) online. Alas no chilled, frozen or PEP & Co products yet but I can imagine it being a real godsend for anyone who can't make it to a store. As I say I can't find this particular item on there but I would recommend their Sooo Cocoa Cocoa Butter Salt Scrub which is only £1.50 for 270g - I will be featuring it in a future empties post but it's pretty similar at least texture wise to this one.

4. Eclat Acne Cream - 50g

I've mentioned it in a few posts now, but if you don't already know last year I was diagnosed with a skin condition called Hidradenitis Suppurativa (HS), which causes nasty almost boil like spots and scarring, in areas such as the under arms and inner thighs. 

I'm quite lucky that so far my case is relatively milk, but it doesn't look very nice, and the lesions can be quite painful. Treatment options are varied, but there doesn't seem to really be one definitive cure or answer. One of the options I was given was just to treat like acne and to use products like spot creams and products containing salicylic acid to try and keep it under control.

I did a little search online and I've bought a few products that other people recommended, and I've made a few other changes to me everyday routine, but this particular item was something that I just randomly came across. You know what it's like, it's late at night and you're just randomly scrolling through Amazon, just searching for random stuff, I think I was searching for spot or acne treatments and I came across this.

From 'nature powered' beauty brand Eclat Natural Skincare, this is as the name suggests an acne treatment cream. Designed to prevent and treat breakouts, and reduce oiliness, pores and blackheads, this cream contains salicylic acid, vitamin C, olive oil, safflower seed oil, and allantoin.

It has a dense but lightweight texture, and it absorbs into the skin really quickly. It has a very slight menthol type scent, and whilst it initially feels cool and slightly tingly on the skin, that feeling quickly subsides.

What I like about this product compared to some other acne and spot treatments, it that it doesn't seem to dry out the skin. Obviously underarms are quite a sensitive area and this cream definitely doesn't cause anymore irritation, the skin feels almost moisturised and in my case it does seem to calm down active ares, and prevent the spots from getting any worse.

The pot is pretty tiny but a small amount goes along way, especially if your just treating individual areas, with an RRP of £9.99 it's also pretty affordable , cruelty free and vegan. I bought my initial pot and the one I'm currently using from Amazon but it's actually out of stock on there and on the Eclat website, but I'm lead to believe it should be restocked shortly. In the meantime though you can also find it on eBay.

So they were my empties from November 2022, not an amazing total but they all count and hopefully you'll agree there were a couple of interesting items in the all be it very short list. I did say that this was a double header, so it's time now to move on to the last month of 2022 and to find out whether or I ended the year with a bang or more of a whimper?

NeilMed Neil Cleanse Piercing Aftercare Fine Mist Wound Wash - 177.6g
Bath & Body Works Pumpkin Cupcake Gentle Foaming Hand Soap - 259ml
Jolen Face Wax Strips - 16 Wax Strips
L'Oreal Elvive Dream Lengths 8 Second Wonder Water - 200ml
If The Shoe Fits Little Miss Princess Twinkle Toes' Moisturising Foot Mask Socks - 2 x Foot Mask Socks
Total - 5 Items 

Okay, it wasn't the spectacular ending to the year that I would have liked, but I did go one better than in November and in December I managed to finish 5 items. Again there are a few both old and new staples on the list, and a few newer random things, all in all not a bad mix to end the year on.

1. NeilMed Neil Cleanse Piercing Aftercare Fine Mist Wound Wash - 177.6g

2022 was the year when I caught the piercing bug again. In September of last year, I added a daith piercing to my left ear, and then in December I added two new helix piercings to the same ear.

To be honest I can't really remember getting any real aftercare instructions with any of my previous 8 ear piercings, bar being sold bottles of aftercare solution, but nowadays the best advice for a new piercing is to keep it clean with sterile saline solution. I must admit at the time I got slightly addicted to piercing videos on Tik Tok, and this particular product kept being recommended by both professional piercers and piercing fans alike.

It's just sterile saline solution, and nothing else, no preservatives, alcohol, tea tree or anything. The can is pressurised so the mist is actually really fine, and the slightly longer nozzle means that you can get right into those awkward areas meaning you can just spray and go, so there is no excuse not to keep your piercings clean. 

I love the spray on this one, the size of the can, and just how long it lasts. Alas I had a couple of faulty cans in a row which meant I did try a few, all be it cheaper, products, but I keep coming back to this particular product, and it's one that I will continue to repurchase, especially when I get round to getting my daith hoop switched out, and fingers crossed my right conch pierced before the year is out!

This particular size retails at around £13.99 from Amazon but it's also available both in this size and in a smaller size at several different price points from eBay.

2. Bath & Body Works Pumpkin Cupcake Gentle Foaming Hand Soap - 259ml

I'm sensing a bit of deja vu in these next 2 products at least - that's what happens sometimes though, you finish the same or similar products over and over again, so next up it another gentle foaming hand soap from Bath & Body Works, this time in one of their fall and festive fragrances.

As much as Bath & Body Works have some really nice core fragrances, I really think that their seasonal scents are where it's at, even if it annoys me when my favourites don't reappear year after year.

So from fall 2022 comes Pumpkin Cupcake - again with aloe vera, vitamin E, and shea extract, this scent has notes of 'baked pumpkin, whipped vanilla frosting and golden honey.' If you like foodie based, spicy and sweet scents then this is / was the fragrance for you - it was sweet, warm and cakey - if you're a fan of The Body Shop's Vanilla Pumpkin then you'll love Pumpkin Cupcake. 

Whilst there are a few pumpkin based things from Bath & Body Works on the NEXT website, this particular scent doesn't appear to have returned in 2023, you can however get the Pumpkin Apple hand soap which I would 100% recommend. If you have a concession near you it might be worth having a look in store, if not these are loads of pumpkin themed Bath & Body Works products on eBay including a few Pumpkin Cupcake bit, and some US exclusives.

3. Jolen Face Wax Strips - 16 Wax Strips

I hope you appreciate the fact that I have gone to the trouble of taking and editing another photo of these for you LOL ;) You'll probably be pleased to know that I won't be waffling on and repeating myself again, singing the praises of this product - just scroll up to see what I think ;)

4. L'Oreal Elvive Dream Lengths 8 Second Wonder Water - 200ml

Next up another items that you've already seen quite a lot of on this blog so again I'm not going to go into too much detail about it. I love this stuff, I've used numerous bottles of it now, I don't know how it works, but what I do know is that it makes my hair less frizzy and easier to control. I've tried a few similar products now but I keep coming back to this one. If you want to find out more about what this product does and a bit more on how it works then have a little search on the blog to find out more x 

5. If The Shoe Fits Little Miss Princess Twinkle Toes' Moisturising Foot Mask Socks - 2 x Foot Mask Socks

New Years Eve - a night of celebration and wild partying, or if you're more like me a night of pampering, cosy PJ's, nibbles, fizz and a good film! Since I'm very much a home bird on New Years Eve - I'm definitely on the fun, relaxation and self care train - it therefore makes sense that the very last product that I finished in 2022 was a pampering product and it was this foot mask.

I think I actually bought this set maybe a year earlier as a gift for someone but I completely forgot about it, and when I rediscovered it I decided to keep it for myself! If you're around my age then you'll probably remember a period of time when the Little Miss characters were everywhere! I know I ended up with a whole load of t-shirts, sweatshirts, and nightwear with the Little Miss Naughty character on from the likes of Debenhams, Miss Selfridge, and if you know you know, La Senza, in fact I think I still have a dressing gown somewhere, and it's safe to say I still have a bit of nostalgic love from the characters.

This cute set contained 3 Little Miss themed beauty and pamper products - a lip mask, an eye mask and this foot mask.

The packet contained a pair of alas not Little Miss designed, plain plastic socks. They were definitely shorter and smaller than some similar products that I've tried, and on my size 8 feet they ended up being a bit more like a trainer sock, so I was pretty pleased that they still fit!

The plastic socks had a thin fibre lining and contained a runny liquid containing vitamin E and rose extract, which had a slightly astringent fruity floral scent.

When I first put the socks on the liquid almost seemed to bubble up. The socks obviously felt cool and soggy but they did sting a little bit on the odd cat scratch!

As instructed I removed the socks after 20 minutes and there was quite a bit of froth on my skin. This was a rinse off mask, so I rinsed it off with warm water and dried them off with a towel. After drying then looked a bit wrinkled and a bit red, and whilst they felt more relaxed there was no real difference in the smoothness of my skin, and later that night I did notice that they got a bit itchy, but that could have been down to the bubbly and the cheese overload!!

I think that these were a fun gift or stocking filler but don't expect any skincare miracles. I bought this gift set in the local north east institution that is Boyes Stores, but it is available from anywhere in between £8.99 - £10.99 on eBay who also sell a whole load of other Little Miss themed beauty items.

There you have it then, my empties for the last two months for 2022, and another 9 items were added to my Trimming My Stash 2022 total, which you can see in all its glory below...

January - 3 Items
February - 7 Items
March - 7 Items
April - 8 Items
May - 7 Items
June - 4 Items
July - 6 Items
August - 7 Items
September - 5 Items
October - 4 Items
November - 4 Items
December - 5 Items
2022 Total - 67 Items

Well, if you look at it statistically at least, 2022 was a little bit of a disappointment when it comes to trimming my stash, never mind with anything else. In 2022 I managed to finish just 67 items, which was way down on both 2021's total of 94, and on 2020's total of 75, and I actually managed to equal 2019's total, making 2022 my joint worst performance since I started logging and blogging my beauty empties.

There is no doubt that I could have done better, but overall I'm still pretty pleased with my total. That's 67 less products cluttering up my office, my bathroom and my bedroom, and since I've been both buying less, and I've been starting to clear out some expired and unwanted products, I'm definitely starting to create some spaces here and there.

Obviously trimming my stash is a regular thing both for me personally and for the blog, so I'm doing it again this year. I've been updating the items in my side bar but I'll be updating it properly with the totals and so on over the weekend, and in the next week or so I'll be starting to play catch up with monthly total and mini review posts. Be warned they are probably going to be pretty epic posts covering around 3 months worth of products each, at least until I get back up to date anyways x 

Thanks again for your patience with all of the catch up stuff, I really appreciate it - If you're doing something similar then let me know how you're doing in the comment, and I will see you soon either with an autumnal nails of the day or my long awaited giveaway ;) x

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