Beauty

January Favourites

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I’m sure I’m not the only one to be celebrating the fact that January is finally over! In my opinion, January is the worst month of the year. It’s awash with depressing diet adverts that make us all feel that little bit more inadequate. Secondly, everyone seems to be giving something up and therefore everyone is miserable. The fact that it’s still Winter and we have no pretty Christmas lights to brighten up the bleak darkness at 4pm is just another kick in the teeth. Now that February is finally here, it does mean it’s time for another favourites post. So here are some of the products I was loving during January…

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Firstly I’ll start with a mascara that was sent to me by Influenster. It’s the Velvet Noir mascara by Marc Jacobs and (spoiler alert) it’s amazing! I think most people would agree mascara is a beauty holy grail. If I’m short on time & can only apply one makeup product I always go for mascara. However, finding a good one in a market saturated with different wands & formulas all promising great results can be tricky. I was absolutely thrilled to be sent this mascara & overjoyed to discover that it’s actually a great all rounder. It has a jet black formula, doesn’t go clumpy, doesn’t feel heavy and makes such a noticeable difference to my lashes. One coat is usually enough but two coats are perfect for a night out. Aside from the actual product, I also really like the sleek packing. The simple black looks classic yet the shape of the tube is quite unusual. That phrase probably sums up the whole Marc Jacobs brand: classic yet unusual. The volume and curl of the mascara are long lasting too. I can wear it all day without the need for touch ups in the loos! The formula is very water resistant too. During a typical British downpour my mascara didn’t budge. It’s a big thumbs up from me.

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I hadn’t heard of IT cosmetics before 2017 but this brand is one of my favourite discoveries. The brand works with plastic surgeons to develop their products and the results are hard to argue with. My favourite product from IT has to be their CC cream. The tagline reads “Your skin but better” and that’s exactly what this cream does. CC stands for colour correcting so this cream will even out redness, dark circles, sallowness and any other skin concerns. The product is also anti ageing & won’t sit in fine lines or wrinkles. Depending on my skins condition, sometimes I wear this cream alone or I add a light layer of foundation over the top if my skin needs it. If you’re running short on time you can use this cream as your moisturiser, anti ageing serum, concealer, foundation and sunscreen all in one! Did I mention that it also contains SPF 50? It’s fair to say this product is pretty impressive. In fact, it’s so impressive it makes other makeup feel a bit inferior.

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Recently my hands have been really sore and very dry. They got so bad that they were actually quite painful. My brother had the same problem and he told me his E45 cream was really helping. I obviously had to try this cream for myself and I’m pretty pleased with the results. Unfortunately, the cream hasn’t completely cleared up my problem but it has really helped. I will continue to use to for the next few months & let you know how I get on. The cream claims to help with: dry/flaky skin, eczema, itchy skin, dermatitis, dry psoriasis and sunburn. The product has a medium consistency but doesn’t feel greasy on my hands. The cream does take a little while until it’s fully absorbed but I usually use it before bed so this doesn’t really bother me.

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If you follow me on Instagram then I’m sure you know how much I’ve been loving the Tarte Tartelette In Bloom eyeshadow palette lately. The colours are so pigmented & long lasting. The palette contains 12 complimentary shades that are perfect for every season. The shades are buttery soft & aren’t chalky at all. I recently used this palette to create a look for a wedding & my eyeshadow lasted all day (12 hours). The palette has really pretty packaging & comes with a good sized mirror. The shade, charmer in the top left corner is a perfect base shade and helps to counteract any discolouration on the eyelid. I know I’ll be getting lots of use out of this palette.

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For most people dry January means giving up alcohol, but for me it refers to how parched my hair is. My skin & hair always suffer in Winter but are particularly bad in January. I knew my hair needed a deep treatment so I decided to use my Lee Stafford Arganoil pre-shampoo treatment. You apply the mask to dry mid lengths and ends of hair and leave on for 10-15 mins. Once the time is up you simply wash your hair as usual. Even after just one use my hair feels so much softer and more manageable. Split ends are a lot less prominent and frizz is reduced. What more could you ask for from a hair mask?

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Personally, I don’t buy into having a signature scent. I’m a perfume addict and love having a fragrance wardrobe. I love being able to pick a perfume depending on my mood & what I’m wearing. I’ve never owned a Jo Malone perfume before but one has always been on my wish list. I was delighted when my boyfriend bought me the English Oak & Redcurrant cologne for Christmas. I tried this scent in John Lewis and fell in love with it. The top notes are quite fruity but the base notes are very woody. It’s quite a rich scent and it’s definitely perfect for Autumn and Winter. It’s a great perfume to wear with a cashmere jumper to a Sunday carvery or for an evening out with friends. The scent itself is long lasting, so there’s no need to reapply throughout the day.

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Finally, I want to share with you my latest skincare discovery. It’s the Garnier micellar oil-infused cleansing water. I use this cleanser to remove waterproof makeup and love the fact that I don’t have to rinse it off afterwards. This product is suitable for delicate skin & eyes. It even has an award from the British Skin Foundation. To use this product you simply shake the bottle to mix the oil then apply with a cotton pad. The best news is it doesn’t sting my eyes! When I bought this product it had a third off & cost me about £3 for 400ml, so it’s a bargain too!

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Thank you for reading! Let me know what products you’re loving at the moment in the comments x

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Fashion

Occasion Wear Shopping

I absolutely adore going shopping and if you’re anything like me then you do too. I enjoy browsing & love picking up new pieces if I find something I love. However I always find shopping can be stressful when you’re looking for something specific like jeans or a dress for a wedding. Occasion wear shopping can be extremely tricky for us ladies as most of us have body hang ups and it can be very hard to find an outfit that highlights the good bits but also conceals the bits we aren’t so comfortable with.

My boyfriend’s cousin is getting married in June and as my bust & hips have grown the dress I planned on wearing is no longer an option. We needed to go shopping for a dress for me & a shirt and shoes for him. I’d been browsing online  Going shopping on this particular day wasn’t really the best for me as I was feeling a bit down about my body. I’m tall and fairly busty with big hips and a big bum so clothes aren’t really designed for my shape at all. I find dresses are generally too short plus too small on the bust & hip area. I always end up having to buy a bigger size because of my bust and hips but then it’s too big in other places. I’m sure I’m not the only person to have this problem, surely? Clothing in the large majority of high street shops seems to be designed for short & very skinny people which really frustrates me as we come in all shapes and sizes. I know there are some online fashion retailers that cater to curvier shapes but I’d love to be able to get a good fit in all my favourite high street shops too. Sorry for having a little rant!

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We went to an outlet shopping centre called Clarks Village in my home county Somerset. Clarks Village has a good range of shops including: Hobbs, Coast, Phase Eight, Joules, Sugarhill Boutique, Molton Brown, Marks & Spencer, Next, Crew, The Body Shop, Osprey, Radley, Thorntons, Jeff Banks, Yumi and of course Clarks among others. We browsed around a few shops and Jon found a perfect shirt & shoes very quickly. I found lots of dresses I liked but nothing had the wow factor when it was on me. I was feeling frustrated at the lack of suitable dresses found and very self concious because those huge mirrors in changing rooms with their harsh lighting just seem to magnify every little flaw. We decided to try Phase Eight as I know they specialise in occasion wear. I was thrilled to find a beautiful midi length dress in there that fitted well & looked nice on. I feel a bit like a Disney Princess in this dress so that’s a very good sign! I’ve learnt that the key to feeling good in any outfit is to wear clothes that flatter your shape & work with your curves rather than battling against them. Don’t be afraid to buy a bigger size if it looks better on you and I’ll be honest I have been guilty of worrying too much about what size the label says but nobody else sees the label or what size it is. I’m not going to post a photo of this dress until I actually wear it to the wedding in June but these pictures in this post are of the outfit I wore to the last wedding I attended (excuse my pale legs, they don’t get out much!) My dress in the pictures is from Coast, my cardi & black wedges are both from Primark and the mint green clutch bag is from Accessorize.

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As well as sorting out an outfit there’s also hair, makeup, bodycare and accessories that we need to consider. As you can see in the pictures I had my hair up for the last wedding and I left it curly as this is my natural style. My hair will be curly again for the wedding in June because my hair takes hours to straighten plus I don’t even own any hair straighteners anymore. I’ll decide on the day if I have it up or down as it depends on if my hair decides to behave. I always tend to keep my makeup very natural apart from the odd occasion when I really go to town on the eye shadow & I’ll keep my makeup fairly low key again for the next wedding. I’ll most probably be wearing a light/medium coverage foundation with contoured cheeks & highlighted cheek bones plus lashings of black mascara with a nude daytime smoky eye. I will need to get my eyebrows in order too as they’re quite thick and a bit unruly. A few days before the wedding I will exfoliate my body with a scrub and body brush. I’ll need to pay special attention to my legs and arms as these will be on show. I will probably also use a bit of tan on those milky white legs and arms of mine. I’ll use fake tan a few days before the wedding so that if it goes wrong or looks streaky then I’ve got time to redo it.

I’m a bit nervous about going to this wedding as I will most likely be the only disabled person there & some people can be unkind/judgemental. I also worry about having to stand for a long time as my back and legs are very weak & painful. I always get worried about most social situations & I won’t know most of the people there. I’m trying not to think about it too much as I’ll only make myself worry more. I worry about far too much already & I have much bigger problems to worry about. I’m sure I’ll be fine on the day & have a good time just as I did last time.

Are you off to a wedding or special occasion this year? Let me know in the comments 🙂 Thanks for reading!

Kate x

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Travel/Lifestyle

The Frankfurt Birmingham Christmas Market 2015

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Glee and excitement fills the air (this is only partly down to the over consumption of mulled wine) and the Christmasy atmosphere embraces you instantly as you enter the Frankfurt Birmingham Christmas market. As neither of us had been to a Christmas market before we decided to go for the biggest. With over 180 stalls it’s claimed that Birmingham is home to the biggest outdoor Christmas market in Britain. Christmas markets have long been a highlight for many people during the festive period and has this particular one has been running for over a decade we thought it was high time that we popped our Christmas market cherries!

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Friday 4th December 2015 was my first ever proper experience of a Christmas market & I have to say I absolutely loved it! I enjoyed it so much I would definitely go again next year (to be honest I’d go again this year!) In this post I’ll talk you through some of the different aspects of our experience and hopefully it’ll leave you feeling all festive and give you more information about this great event.

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As we entered the first part of the market we saw the ice rink & this beautiful ferris wheel. This was a pretty festive sight & just wetted our already eager appetites! The ice rink never seemed to be too packed or crowded which is great for those who aren’t too confident on the ice plus you can have your photo taken whilst skating if you wish. I can’t remember the exact prices but I think they were average for that kind of thing. We (my boyfriend Jon and I) have been ice skating before but unfortunately we weren’t able to skate on this occasion due to my bad health. Jon wheeled me around the market in my wheelchair (more on that later). The ferris wheel was priced at £5 per person but we didn’t go on it as we just really enjoyed watching it go around to be honest (yeah I know that sounds a tad sad) & it looked so beautiful at night when it was all lit up. This year the market is split into two parts due to council work that is taking place in the city. The first part is very small & mainly art & craft stalls but worth a good look around nevertheless plus there’s a chocolate fountain stall that I can say from experience is absolutely delicious and a must try for all my fellow chocoholics! There was a fair few options available: strawberries, marshmallows, fudge etc and you have the option of white or milk chocolate. I had a cup with a mix of strawberries and marshmallows with one piece of fudge topped with mainly milk chocolate and just a smidgen of white chocolate (I’m salivating just thinking about it!). I would have taken a photo but I enjoyed it so much that it disappeared too quickly. The lady that served us on that chocolate fountain stall was very friendly & accommodating too. Another stall worth visiting is the St Basil’s charity stall near the ferris wheel. They sell a range of things including: DVDs, CDs, handmade Christmas gift tags & handmade Christmas decorations among other things. All profits go to helping young homeless people, so you can pick up a bargain and feel good about helping a good cause.

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I loved the fact that all of the stalls are decorated wooden huts. It looks so much nicer & so much more Christmasy than just a table. In the main market (near the Bullring) we were pleased to find a bar that had special disabled tables so that those of us in wheelchairs could actually put our drinks down too. We thought this was a great idea and used this area several times. I’m pleased to report that there was pretty good access for wheelchair users all around the Christmas market. In the main market you’re spoilt for choice, especially when it comes to food & drink! With so much to tempt your tastebuds you’ll find a delicious treat for even the fussiest of eaters. We both particularly enjoyed a Bratwurst hotdog for our tea and mini German crepes for dessert. I had cinnamon on mine & Jon had nutella on his. Both were utterly delicious and I can’t recommend them enough. Yummy!

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The carousel sits in the centre and as with the ferris wheel it’s great to watch & looks so pretty lit up at night. This would be a great treat for kids and adults alike.

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Crafty people and lovers of anything girly or Christmasy will be spoilt for choice at the vast array of decorations, candles, handmade soaps/bath bombs, leather goods, crystals, toys and more on offer. I picked up a Christmas rocking horse decoration, several handmade soaps and two items from the charity stall that I mentioned earlier but I could have bought a LOT more! The handmade soaps I bought were made by a company called Watkins Soap and I’ve got to say I really adored all of their products & I wish I could buy more online. I went a bit mad and purchased four Christmas soaps and one non-seasonal soap because I thought they smelt divine & the Christmas soaps looked great with their festive emblems. They’d make a great stocking filler or a little treat for yourself and at £3 each they’re pretty well priced too! (The sunshine soap was £2.50)

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When I saw this little rocking horse I just had to have it! I always wanted a rocking horse as a child and now I think they’re really adorable. This little guy is now taking pride of place in my bedroom.

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The atmosphere of the Christmas market was so festive and very fun. It really does offer something for everyone. The stall holders that we spoke to were really friendly too. It would be a great place to do some Christmas gift shopping, buy new decorations for your home or simply to enjoy the food & drink.

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I may end up adding to this post a bit later on when I realise that I’ve forgotten something but to be honest there’s so much to see and do there that I could continue writing this post for a very long time! My advice would be to go and experience the wonder and festive cheer of the Christmas market for yourself! Entry is free and the market runs until the 22nd December 10am-9pm. Further details are available at www.birmingham.gov.uk/frankfurtmarket

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For those of you that will need to or want to stay overnight then I recommend The Plough & Harrow hotel. It’s just over a mile away from the market and had very friendly staff too. The staff were also very helpful in regards to me being in a wheelchair and tried to make things as easy for us as possible. The breakfast was also rather enjoyable too offering both cooked & continental. Another added bonus is that this hotel does offer free parking (this means you don’t have to worry about finding parking near the market if you can walk or be wheeled there. It’s also one less thing to pay for!) For more information visit  www.ploughandharrowhotel.co.uk

Thanks for reading Coveters. Please feel free to leave comments. I hope you all have a very merry Christmas and a happy new year! Love Kate x

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