Wednesday, 3 February 2016

January Favourites

Hi guys, I hope you're well - it's favourites time again! It felt as though this January dragged so much and seemed to last an age, it is always such a negative month so I always feel a strange sense of relief when February arrives, especially because I have more to look forward to as the middle of the month approaches. But before I wish it away, it's time to focus in just one last time to share with you my January favourites...

Yoga Bomb & Lover Lamp - Lush Cosmetics
This winter I've been obsessed with baths over showers. I've got a full bag of Lush products in my room which I like to keep stocked up, and these are my current obsessions. Yoga Bomb has hands-down become my favourite bath bomb: it smells amazing, the fragrance really relaxes me and fills the room, and the bath is filled with beautiful colours and gold lustre. After getting out the bath your skin feels so soft and the fragrance lasts amazingly well so I keep re-purchasing this! Lover Lamp is a limited bath bomb from the Valentines range which smells like orange and vanilla and is filled with little cocoa butter hearts, it therefore feels incredibly moisturising on the skin. I need to grab some more of these before they leave the stores for good!

Clinique Blended Face Powder and Brush
In all honesty, my favourite setting powder is definitely the loose Primed and Powerless powder from Too Faced, however it's frankly a pain in the arse to get hold of and I had run out, and was looking for something else. Shopping around, you pay approximately £24 for 4.5g of the Primed and Poreless, yet with this Clinique powder I got 35 GRAMS of the stuff for less than £22 (RRP £23.50). It's really tough to find a decent loose setting powder, particularly one light enough for my skin tone, so I opted to try this product as I thought "invisible blend" sounded promising given my ghostly pallor! The product itself looks deceptively ashy but does not appear to darken my foundation upon application. It's not the same feather-weight wonder that is my beloved Too Faced powder but it doesn't feel too heavy either - you really only need a tiny amount of product, too. It's a shame the sifter isn't a little finer as you tend to get SO MUCH powder come through the sifter when you carry it in your handbag even once, but with the amount of product it comes with as long as I don't spill it everywhere this is going to last me absolutely ages.

Urban Decay All Nighter Makeup Setting Spray
I've seen people rave about this so finally caved at the start of the month and bought it, and I've really liked the results I've seen with it. Admittedly I always use primers and finishing powders when I apply makeup so generally speaking I get quite long-lasting results as it is, but this brings wear time onto a new level when required and so I'm really pleased I picked it up.

Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencils
I'm a bona fide liquid liner girl and have been for over a decade, so for me to suddenly experiment with pencils on the upper lash line is a crazy departure but that's what I've been playing around with recently. These pencils were from a set which (I believe) was a limited edition for Christmas, which I grabbed in the sale in early January. Urban Decay's 24/7 liners are firm favourites of mine anyway as they are long wearing, set well, and don't transfer easily, but despite knowing this I've only ever used them on my waterline and lower lash line or as a shadow base. Yet they're beautiful as a top line, it's a  look I only really like when used with shadows as for me a pencil is never going to be quite as precise as a liquid liner and so to me they're better for a smudgy look, yet it's liberating to create eye makeup I love without a feline flick for once. As for the lighter shades - Cosmic is eye-opening on the inner waterline, whilst Trick makes a beautiful eyeshadow base.

Photo Frames - Paperchase
With January comes an inevitable urge to spring clean - it's meant I've had lots of clear outs and feel the urge to make my room feel fresh and pretty. New home decor additions are a good way to achieve this fresh feeling and I loved these Mystery Rose frames from Paperchase as soon as I saw them. I've filled one frame with one of the illustrations from my copy of "Cute & Colourful Confessions" zine which I bought from Lize Medding's Etsy store. I definitely need to take more photos this year as I'd like a new one for the second frame.

Necklaces - Shop Dixi
I grabbed these beauties in Shop Dixi's sample sale recently for £3 apiece which I thought was amazing considering they are silver plated! Both are so cool and have received plenty of compliments (the "beautiful chaos" necklace is also double sided, stating "let's go dancing in the light" on the opposite side!)

And there concludes my January favourites! What were your January favourites, please link me to your posts!

Monday, 25 January 2016

If I have to fall down, let me fall to you...

This will hardly come as a surprise considering I've not published an outfit post for months, but I feel I've kind of lost my fashion mojo lately. Maybe that's not the right way to phrase it as I'm perfectly comfortable in what I've been wearing and have quite a few outfit "go-tos" or formulas down pat which make me feel happy and comfortable in my own skin, but it does call into question where my blog stands considering I originally started it primarily to chat about personal style. Lady Julianne wrote an interesting post recently about the evolution of her own blog and it did make me ponder where I felt mine is going. I've certainly lost any interest in the competitive nature of it all: follower numbers don't concern me, and I don't feel pangs of envy when others receive amazing gifts from PRs (well, to a degree, I am still human) but I do occasionally question the identity of my blog. I suppose the best way to summarise it is as a catalogue of my interests, a space to chat about my current obsessions, even if there's been a shift over the years in what predominantly catches my interest. But I do sometimes think of the different types of interaction, and friends I made, through chatting about outfits and clothes more than other things I've posted much about recently.

Having considered this, I realised there's about three variations of outfit that I've been wearing lately, repeating until fade.  This is probably the biggest taboo for a [former?] personal style blogger, to fall into a "safe" mindset or, God forbid, to be an outfit repeater (which is why I suspect it feels kind of good.) Another contributing factor, I suspect, is the weather. An incredibly British observation but after both a mild summer and mild winter I feel my wardrobe has barely required much of a shift between seasons which has probably sapped inspiration and the desire for change. I've been wearing the following constantly for the past few months - but I feel comfortable and "myself" in all of them and so I thought I'd share them with you today...

I've really fallen for body con or A-line skirts recently, and since picking up this Topshop skirt (for only £20) I've barely stopped wearing it. It's the easiest thing to chuck on with a tee or slouchy knit, ankle boots and either an oversized or leather jacket. I've also been wearing a faux-leather biker skirt the same way, as both pieces make enough of a statement to overlook how lazy the styling actually is.

(I wasn't lying when I said my styling was lazy, it gets progressively worse throughout this post!) Lately I'm living in Joni jeans, DMs and a slouchy knit, with plenty of silver jewellery. I own several black jumpers which are constantly in and out of the wash as I wear them so much. Graphic or band tees also feature regularly within this combination.

Finally, when I'm working from home, it's about the ultimate level of physical comfort. This combination also doubles up as sportswear as I've been trying hard to up my fitness game this year. I'm by no means Karlie Kloss just yet (um, or ever) but every workout or healthy meal makes me feel one step closer to feeling stronger and more confident, which is potentially why I'm feeling more comfortable in my clothes too. Perhaps this change in confidence will warrant a new wardrobe at some point as this lack of inspiration with clothing is bound not to last forever, but until then at least I'm happy with what I've got for now! (Also, if you like any of the items featured here, I've kept things simple in today's collages - all clothes are from Topshop, all jewellery is from Shop Dixi!)

Are you lacking in outfit inspiration or are you feeling inspired for SS16? What are your go-to outfits?

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

If fear is in the mind then my mind lives in fear...

Hi guys, I hope you're well. 2016 has already been a strange start to the year, budding with change. I've been poorly for the past week or so with tonsillitis, but I'm mostly recovered now and feeling motivated again. Today I wanted to share some recent illustrations. I saw this post on Instagram which really moved me, and I wish I could credit it but I've no idea where it's from (please let me know if you know!)

This is such a moving image for me as both sides hugely hit home for me - the initial column spelling out all my own fear and dread, then when I looked more closely, and read the text in a different way, I was hugely motivated and inspired. I think a lot of creatives will relate to this image, as when working on anything creative it is so easy to flip between pride and despair, but the fulfilment and satisfaction when you create something you're pleased with makes all the negative feelings so absolutely worth it in the end.  In the spirit of this, I wanted to share some of my work here with you.

This was a portrait commission for Sian and Dan for their two-year anniversary. I am currently available to create more portraits - if you're interested, email me at hannah@ciha.com.

This is a sketch of a wolf I did recently - when I was really poorly with the tonsillitis and I was knackered afterwards! I want to come back to this.

This kitty portrait was a portrait commission which was given as a Christmas gift. I love drawing animals, and I believe this was well received which made me happy!

This was an experiment from this week - I want to create some zodiac inspired illustrations. Let me know what you think of this.

Generally speaking I prefer more limited colour levels than full colour as is demonstrated in the finished piece. Which do you prefer? You can also follow my progress on Snapchat, my username is "doodleheartx"

I'd love some feedback on which illustrations are your favourites! How has your January been so far?

Monday, 11 January 2016

December Favourites

Hi dolls, I hope you're well and having a good start to the week. Today I'm writing about my December favourites - these tend to be notoriously hard to choose, as December brought me plenty of goodies under the Christmas tree (some of which you can see here), so today I'm writing about a mix of the items I've kept reaching for throughout and towards the end of December...

Gwen Stefani Eyeshadow Palette by Urban Decay
I received this palette as a Christmas gift, and I can't quite explain how happy I am with it! I'd been unsure about whether I'd get any wear out of these shadows, being someone that hoards neutral shadow palettes, but if anything it's left lots of my others in the cold. The tones in this are just incredibly beautiful and I've been wearing it pretty much every day since I was given it. I like that the palette has lots of pinky nudes and the burgundy-brown of Punk, as I find these shades really flatter my colouring but I've even been brave (surprising myself to be honest) and tried out the brighter colours in the bottom row. I guess to make this palette totally perfect I'd rather have seen a copper and a deeper matte brown or rust in there than the bit-random pink and blue but I'm a huge fan of every other shade in the palette and I'm getting so much use out of it.

They're Real! Tinted Lash Primer by Benefit
This is another product which, since it was given to me, I haven't stopped wearing. This product is designed to give you the look of They're Real mascara when layered under your favourite mascara, which is a godsend for me because I find They're Real is way too hard-wearing for my lashes. This leaves a much more flexible, conditioned result than the original mascara which I find sets too solidly for my liking and is prone to clumping. This can be worn alone or underneath mascara - it's lovely alone as it's a mink brown, dark enough to define the lashes but without being as harsh as black when not wearing any other makeup, and it gives a really feathered look. The brush, which is more flexible with shorter spikes than the traditional They're Real mascara brush, allows you to get right to the root of the lashes to stop the dreaded gap between lashes and mascara. I've been wearing this every day since I got it as I adore it, and other qualities include that it is water-resistant and conditioning on the lashes. Benefit definitely have impressed me with this product!

Snow Fairy Perfume by Lush
I mentioned this in my last wishlist post, sadly if you didn't catch it then this product is no longer available! I've been obsessed with Lush lately and am getting through their bath products like there's no tomorrow, and this perfume is one that I associate strongly with December as this fragrance only comes out at Christmas time. It's so sweet, like candy floss, but it lasts really well and I always get tons of comments on it. I always think it's worth keeping an eye out on the Lush Kitchen (I follow them on Instagram as they usually post what they'll be making that week) anyway because I'm sure they will make this again!

Sweetest Sacrifice Wishbone Ring from ShopDixi
This ring was another gift I received for Christmas, and I've hardly taken it off since. ShopDixi can do no wrong! I love the organic, vine-like design of this (I've not seen anything similar) and have the biggest Dixi wishlist of items to complement this beauty.

Naked Illuminated Powder in Luminous by Urban Decay
Admittedly this was a bit of an impulse buy when it got close to Christmas and all of a sudden I was desperate for all-glitter errthang! I've been wearing this as an extra layer over my usual cheekbone highlighter, but at Christmas went a bit crazier with it - dusting it onto my collarbone, arms, even my hair. It gives such a beautiful finish of fine sparkle and it comes with a mirror and brush so it's really fun for on-the-go.

Your Beauty Mark by Dita Von Teese
Dita Von Teese is someone who I've always admired aesthetically - she's both flawless and classy, always - so there was no way I could resist pre-ordering her beauty book when I heard about it. This thing is huge, it is the size of the bible with mantras to match, and has made for such enjoyable bedtime reading. The images within are all so gorgeous and I'm really enjoying working my way through this book and learning some of Dita's secrets.

So there are a few of the things I've been obsessed with during December, all of which I'm still loving well into January! Let me know what your December favourites were, and if you'll be trying any of these items!

Friday, 8 January 2016

Irresistible Me Hair Extensions Review

Hi dolls! And a happy new year to you all! I really hope that you had an amazing one, I'm feeling really positive about 2016 and really hoping it will be "my" year to make things happen. I know everyone says that, but seriously - for me last year was such a 'nothing' year and a lot of it felt like I was floundering trying to figure out what to do - not to sound dramatic ahah but I'm sure lots of mid-20 year olds can relate to this - there was lots of change both in circumstance and myself, but now I am feeling goal-orientated and much more in touch with both what I want and need to do. It's scary to give yourself high goals as there's always a fear of failing, but a sense of clarity is such a valuable thing! So anyway, enough of the rambling and onto my first blog post and review of 2016: some gorgeous hair extensions from Irresistible Me.*

I felt like the best way to illustrate the effect of the hair extensions was to post some before and after shots - on the left my natural hair is mostly curled but not styled, and on the right I'm wearing the extensions in the way I'd chosen to style them.

I think to be honest I got super lucky with my colour. Irresistible Me have a really handy video on their YouTube channel which shows each available colour and a side by side comparison throughout the gradients... except, the one comparison that I needed is missing from the video (i.e. Platinum Blonde next to White Blonde) so I took a gamble on Platinum Blonde and it paid off - I think the shade is pretty perfect for my hair. The hair arrives packed really nicely (I'm always a sucker for illustrated packaging) with one section loose that you can take out to check the colour is correct before breaking the seal on the rest of the extensions. I was sent the 200g Silky Touch set in 20", which contained 10 pieces of hair overall.

This is what my hair looks curled but prior to being styled. I was wearing my extensions for New Year's Eve and had curled my hair earlier in the day in the hope the curls would drop a bit by the evening. The Remy hair is quite healthy and shiny, particularly when you first get it, so for my thick, coarse hair I felt heat styling would give it a sleeker and shinier finish so it would blend more effectively with the extensions.

After putting in the extensions I brushed out the curls a bit for a more natural wave and loosely pinned my hair in a half-up style (this is just my favoured style, but if you don't have thick hair this is also a good way to help hide the clips!) Admittedly I'm not wearing all of the extension wefts here, I was wearing about six of the ten pieces in but I really like the effect this gives. Admittedly this is a matter of personal taste, however - I really like the appearance of slightly tapered ends (what the long hair community refer to as "fairy tale ends") and the natural wave lends itself well to this look, but those that prefer a fuller finish could wear all ten pieces and I'd recommend curling them more fully with pieces of natural hair.

There's certainly something about extensions that makes me feel happier in my appearance - I'm still on a mission to grow my hair out to great Game of Thrones lengths but these are an amazing quick fix when I'm feeling impatient, not to mention the extra thickness being a real boost. I think they look even more natural in person than in photos and I got tons of compliments. I'm really loving the 20" length but you can purchase anywhere between 14 and 24" of hair depending on what look you like.

Overall I'm so pleased with these extensions. They are surprisingly comfortable to wear, the clips feel sturdy and the quality of hair is really lovely. The weight and quality of the hair make a real difference compared to others I've tried! Have you ever tried clip in hair extensions?

Tuesday, 29 December 2015

It's the most wonderful time of the year...

Hi dolls, I hope you're well and had a lovely Christmas! I really want to start 2016 on a positive note and have been really trying to enjoy the festive season, immersing myself in real life rather than documenting everything for the blog. However I did want to share a couple of pictures on here too, and wish you all a merry Christmas and a happy new year!


Christmas 2015 has been filled with wonderful people, amazing presents, plenty of over-indulging in festive food and drink, and lots and lots of glitter. It makes me feel very grateful indeed to have such wonderful people and things in my life, and reminds me not to take them for granted. How was your Christmas, and what are your wishes for the new year?