Sunday, 18 February 2018

My Beauty Empties

So, I've seen this concept floating around on other people's blogs and I thought it was an excellent idea! In this post I'm going to write about all of the products that I continue to purchase again and again, and why I love them as much as I do. This list has a few skincare bits, some haircare and also makeup products! 
The Body Shop Aloe Vera Foaming Face Wash

Find this product here. £8 for 150ml.
This was the first proper face wash I ever purchased. I was 13 and struggling with hormonal breakouts and this was recommended to me by the lady at body shop. It's such a gentle cleanser that foams right up into a lovely lather. I've used this face wash continuously for the past 8 years and I will always re-purchase it. I use this alongside my Lush Cleanser (mentioned in my previous skincare post here)
and it really does wonders for my skin.

Estée Lauder Double Wear Foundation

Find product here. Prices vary depending on supplier.
This is my all time favourite foundation, which I've re-purchased for the past 3 years. It was the first liquid foundation I ever tried, after I transitioned from my powder foundations that I used when I was younger. It is such high coverage that it's excellent for those bad skin days, when you just want to cover every imperfection. I wouldn't recommend it for every day use as it is very heavy, but it's great for covering blemishes. It really helped with my confidence when I had acne, and I recommend it to anyone looking for a high coverage foundation. I tend to mix it with my L'oreal True Match Foundation, to give it a more dewy finish, as the Estée Lauder Foundation is very matte and can be drying. Mine is looking worse for wear, but it's only because it's so loved! This foundation starts at £29 from different makeup retailers, but it is definitely worth the price.

Herbal Essences Shampoo and Conditioner 
These products are more of a recent discovery, but I have already repurchased them several times. These products give my dry and dull hair a new lease of life and makes it SO SOFT! They also smell amazing, which is a bonus. There's not too much you can say about shampoo and conditioner, but I definitely recommend this product. You can get this product from any retailer that sells hair products.
Find product here. Prices start at £3 from different retailers.
L'oréal Elvive Extraordinary Oil 
Find this product here. Prices start at £6 from different retailers.
I've only just recently got into using hair oils after watching Lydia Millens Youtube channel, but this is a new personal fave. I just pop a few pumps of this oil onto the ends of my hair before drying and styling, and it makes my hair look so shiny and smooth. My hair has a tendency to get really dry at the ends and look quite dull, and this product just helps me to look a bit more alive!

MAC Mineralize Skin Finish Powder
I don't have a picture of this sadly, as I have just ran out of my third one, but this product is excellent. I've used this finishing powder for years, and it lasts ages. It is great at setting your makeup in place and even for baking under your eyes. I sometimes even use this on my 'no makeup, makeup days' and pop it on top of some concealer, to cover any imperfections. It has a really natural finish, which I love, as I never want to look cakey. I will continue to love and re-purchase this product.

Oral B 3D White Accelerator 

Find product here.  £5 for 75ml.
I never knew I could love a toothpaste as much as this one! Technically it's not a toothpaste, as it doesn't contain fluoride that toothpastes normally contain. You actually brush your teeth with this after using your normal toothpaste and it's meant to increase the whitening ability of your regular toothpaste. I have tried numerous teeth whitening products over the years, but this is the only one that I have noticed a genuine difference with. After a few weeks of using this, I saw a noticeable difference in my teeth colour, which is great! If you're looking at whitening your teeth, I would definitely recommend trying this first, as it's a much more natural way to whiten your teeth, without stripping your teeth of enamel.

The Body Shop Aloe Vera Day Cream

Find product here. £13 for 50ml. 
This is a product that I have also been using alongside the Aloe Face Wash mentioned above, for 8 years. I dip in and out of this product and alternate between different moisturisers, but I always come back to this one. It's so light and fresh and leaves my skin feeling so supple and smooth. It doesn't have an offensive smell and sits brilliantly underneath makeup. It's also great for anyone that suffers from breakouts, as the ingredients are natural, and Aloe helps to get rid of redness and blemishes.

I hope you've enjoyed reading this post about my favourite beauty products! Let me know if you like posts like these and I will continue to do them!

Lou Katherine x

Friday, 16 February 2018

My Fitness Journey

My fitness journey is a never ending one, with plenty of twists and turns. I have had a constant battle with my weight over the past 4 years, ranging from underweight, to overweight, to 'normal'.

When I was 17, I was going to the gym twice a day (yes, TWICE) and was 9 stone, despite being 5ft 8. I was borderline obsessive over what I ate, counting calories and only happy if I was the slimmest I could be. Despite being classified as underweight for my age range, I was never happy with my weight, always pointing out my flaws and feeling 'fat'. Only looking back at images now can I see how much of a struggle I had with my body image. Being diagnosed with coeliac disease also shed light on why I was losing so much weight. My body was malnourished from being unable to absorb nutrients due to the damage in my gut, meaning I was rapidly losing weight.
17 years old, 9 stone.
When my gluten free diet started, I did start to see a significant change in my health. I was less bloated, healthier and felt better about myself. However, when I looked in the mirror I still focused on those parts of me that I felt were too chubby, or untoned.

When I started going out with my boyfriend, I became comfortable and less obsessive over my weight. As well as this, I had moved away from home to University and was cooking for myself. I wasn't eating healthy, wasn't exercising and started to put weight on. By the time I was 20 I had put three stone on and felt AWFUL. I was now well over the average healthy weight for someone of my age and height. I was in denial as I felt I ate healthily the majority of the time and doing occasional exercise. I blamed my weight gain on 'maturing' and continued with my unhealthy lifestyle.

It wasn't until January 2017, when I stood on the scales and realised I had put on 3 and a half stone, that I realised I needed to do something about my weight. I didn't want to engage in any fad diets or over exercising as I knew I would slip back into obsessing over my body image, so I decided to tackle my weight and fitness in moderation.
Jan 2017. 3 and a half stone heavier. Look at that tubby face!

I started off by slowly introducing myself back to the gym, it helped as my boyfriend got a job in the gym I attended, so I had more motivation to go. My boyfriend also started his fitness journey, which made it easier as we were eating healthy and working out together. By July 2017 I had lost half a stone and was feeling much better about myself!

Face to face - 2017 (left) to now (right).
However, although the numbers on the scale were going down, I didn't look like I had lost a lot of weight, so I decided to up my healthy routines to lose the pounds faster. Although I was still treating myself to the odd takeaway and chocolate bar, I stopped eating in-between meals and ate smaller portions. I also made small swaps, such as getting skimmed milk instead of semi skimmed and opting for low fat products instead of full fat. By making these small changes I managed to shed another stone by September 2017.
Me now, at a healthy weight
I had previously been really into lifting weights at the gym, but for someone of my body type, this was just making me more muscular and 'big looking', rather than making me look lean and toned. I stopped doing all weight exercises and focused solely on cardio and started going to spinning three times a week. Spinning alongside the cross trainer and HIIT sprints helped me to shed 8% of my body fat by Christmas, and a further 1 stone. By January 2018 I had lost almost 3 stone and was back down to a healthy weight.

I still have a long way to go with my fitness journey, but my weight loss is something I have been extremely proud of. I don't look anything like the girl I was when I was 18, but I am healthier and stronger. Although my altered body image comes back to haunt me every now and again, I am proud of how far I have come with my fitness and health and my confidence is growing every day.

The important thing when it comes to fitness is to do it YOUR way. It's good to get hints and tips from other people or websites, but ultimately you have to find a routine that suits you. The way that I went about my weight loss might not be suitable for your particular body type, so do some research before you start making changes.

Weight loss and fitness is a long, grueling journey but it's worth it in the end. The best project to work on is yourself!
I will be following this up in a few weeks with a post about my exact fitness routine and some of the healthy diet changes that I have made.
If you have any more questions about my weight loss and fitness journey please feel free to comment below.

Lou Katherine x

Monday, 5 February 2018

21 And Living With My Boyfriend

Having my own house was something I always used to dream about as a child. Thinking about how I would decorate it, what furniture I'd have and what the colour scheme would be. Having a home is something I didn't picture having until I was much, much older, but in fact I already live in my own home, with my boyfriend, at the age of 21.
I moved in with Aidan when I was only 18. We'd been going out for 6 months and it happened very much by accident. He was staying in his own place and over the course of the first few months of our relationship, my stuff started to slowly move from my flat, to his house. When we had been living together for a year, we were given an opportunity through a family member to move into our first home together, so we did. Having your own home, and living with someone is such a challenge when you're as young as we are, and I can't say it's been smooth sailing for the four years that we have now been together. 
I am a perfectionist and a control freak, whereas my boyfriend is the most laid back person you could possibly meet. Although this did make things hard at first, we have learnt to live together and be happy with the routine that we share.  
A home comes with a ton of responsibilities, which at my age seems daunting, but it didn't take long for me to adjust to the ton of commitments that comes with owning a home. Living with someone at such a young age comes with it's own barrel of responsibilities, and it does sometimes take a while to get used to sharing your space. It didn't help that we decided to get a very energetic border collie to add to the mix of our mountain of responsibilities! 

If you are a young homeowner or living with your partner, I have come up with a few tips to make your life a little easier. These tips certainly helped me!

Sort out who does what

It's very tricky when you live with someone to sort out who does what. When we first moved in together, my boyfriend was working full time whereas I was only working a few days a week. So, naturally it was me that did the majority of the household chores. However, when I started university, we had to share the jobs. Figuring out who does what is sometimes a tricky task, so my boyfriend and I bought our 'chore chart' where we write down what chores need to be done and who does them on a weekly basis. This meant that we could share the chores equally between each other and be less stressed. We got our chore chart from amazon, and you can find similar ones here.

Dedicate time to spend together 

When you live with someone you can sometimes get into a routine of sitting in front of the tv on opposite ends of the couch, or sitting in separate rooms. Although it's nice to feel comfortable enough to be separated, sometimes it does leave you feeling more like roommates than partners. I think it's important to dedicate one day a week to each other, where you spend the full day with your other half, doing a fun activity and enjoying each others company. I think it's also important to eat dinner together every night and chat about your day to one another. It gives you a chance to reconnect and not fall into the routine of seeing each other for a few hours a day. My boyfriend and I work out one day a week that we dedicate to each other, whether that's a trip to the cinema, or making pancakes for breakfast, it gives us a chance to reconnect and appreciate each others company. We have just recently got back from a weekend away, which we booked so that we could spend some quality time together after the hectic first month back at work and uni. 

Stop texting 

I think it is super important when you live with your partner to not text so much throughout the day. The odd 'hope your day is going well' or a 'how you doing' text is fine, but texting every second isn't doing your relationship any favours. My boyfriend and I will send a few texts throughout the day and a phone call on his lunch break and then we don't speak until we are both home together. By texting every single aspect of your day to each other, you have nothing to speak about when you get home, meaning the conversation is stilted and you end up sitting in silence. Hold off on that text until you get home and talk about your day when you are both together. 

Have your own space

As much as you may love your partner, everyone needs their own space every once in a while. If Aidan and I spend too much time together, we end up getting grumpy and annoyed and little 'heated discussions', as I like to call them, seem to happen more frequently. Make sure you both have your own little room in the house to call your own, that you can retreat to if you're feeling like you don't want to socialise. I enjoy my own company very much and sometimes I get moody if I spend too much time around people. It's beneficial for both of us to have our own spaces to go to, if we feel like we need some time apart. I have my office and Aidan has his gaming room where he plays xbox and chats with friends. It's important to have time apart, but still be comfortable in the same home.

Have different interests

This point kind of follows on from the previous one, but it is super important to have separate interests outside of the relationship. Sometimes when you move in with your partner, your whole life becomes centred around them and it can cause you to drift away from close friends and even family. I think it's very important to go and spend time with friends and family away from your partner, so that you can take some time away from the relationship. By having this time apart it means that my boyfriend and I not only have more to talk about, but it makes us appreciate the time we do spend together. Make sure you don't neglect friends and family when you move in with your partner. 

Have monthly check-ins

This is something that my boyfriend and I have only just recently started and it really is working. Every now and again we have a chat about how we are both feeling in the relationship and what is working and what isn't. We then hash out what needs to be done to fix the issues that are happening and move on from it. By doing this, it means that there isn't a build up of angry tension that explodes one day and it also means that we can sort things out much more quickly. If we feel like we aren't spending enough time together, or one of us isn't pulling their weight as much as the other, we chat about it and sort it out before it goes too far. It's a bit like a mini relationship counselling session. It doesn't always have to be about doom and gloom, you can chat about what is going well too! I think it's important to keep each other up to date on feelings and emotions, it really does help in the long run.

Living with your partner can be a challenge, but if you work out what is best for the both of you, it really can be the most amazing experience. Don't expect it to be like the movies, there will be arguments and tears but there's also lots of laughter and love.

I hope this post has given some insight into living with your other half! Please feel free to comment with any questions.

Lou Katherine x

Sunday, 28 January 2018

Valentines Day Gift Guide For Her

Valentines Day isn't always about big romantic gestures. Sometimes it's about doing something small for your other half, just to show them how much you appreciate them. To help boyfriends and husbands out there that may be confused as to what to get your partner, I've made a list of a few suggestions that they may like. These gifts range in price so there is something for everyone! Not everything on this list is something that must be bought, some of them are just ideas for you and partner to do together. Also girls, if you don't have a partner at this time of year, go out and buy yourself something from this gift guide! Valentines isn't all doom and gloom for you singletons out there. Celebrate and treat yourself to something you wouldn't normally buy!
Most men just do not understand how much us women appreciate a £5 bunch of flowers from your local corner shop. It really just does have an element of old fashioned romance that is rarely seen these days. I'm not saying you have to go out and spend hundreds of pounds on 100 red roses for your loved one, but a nice bunch of flowers will go a long way!

Diets don't count on Valentines Day whether you are in a relationship or single! Get your partner (or yourself) a nice box of chocs that they wouldn't normally treat themselves to, and snuggle up in front of the TV and watch a film. Simple, but perfect!

Cook A Meal Together 
Valentines Day doesn't have to be about spending loads of money in posh restaurants. If that is up your street then thats great! But if you're anything like me, a night at home is my first choice. Supermarkets like Morrisons, Sainsburys and M&S do 'Dine in for £10' deals around this time of year, and it is excellent value for money. You can get a main meal, pudding and a bottle of wine for two people. It really is excellent if you're looking to save money but want a little bit of luxury at home.

Now, if you are in the market for something a little bit more on pricey side for your other half, jewellery really is something that most girls love. Pandora are an affordable jewellery brand, that offer you a selection of different products from rings, to necklaces to bracelets. My boyfriend has got me a few pieces from Pandora over the years and it really is something that I find very special. They also bring out exclusive Valentines Day edition pieces, something that your partner will surely love.
Find Valentines Pandora Collection Here
All rings pictured are Pandora 

Personalised Gifts 
If you want to channel your inner creative side, why not make your partner a memory box or frame a nice photo of the both of you? Receiving something that has been personalised really is so special and it shows that your partner went to a lot of effort to make you something that you would love. If you struggle with the creative side of things, websites such as Not On The High Street offer personalised gifts that you can tailor make for your other half. My boyfriend once bought me these 'why I love you cards' and it is honestly one of the most special presents I have ever received. Very romantic and also affordable.
Find These Personalised Cards Here

I was shopping in Next recently and at the till saw their 'Couples Experience' packages. These packages were all under £50 and included a range of activities such as Spa Days, Afternoon Teas, Adventure Packages and Dining Out Packages. For two people for under £50 these experiences would be an amazing gift for your loved one, as it's something you can both do together!

Find Couples Packages Here
Perfume is a lovely gift to give your significant other and it doesn't have to be expensive. There are expensive perfumes out there such as Jo Malone that make lovely gifts, but there are affordable fragrances out there that won't break the bank. Amazon do 100ml of fragrances in their daily deals, and sometimes you can get a high end fragrance for under £30. This Vera Wang perfume was less than £25, as well as this Hugo Boss fragrance. Perfume doesn't have to create a black hole in you bank account, have a shop around and see what you can find.

I hope this post has given you an idea for what to do for your other half for Valentines Day, or to treat yourself! Valentines isn't always about spending hundreds of pounds on big romantic gestures. People sometimes forget that it's just about being with your loved one, and showing them that they are appreciated. Go tell someone you love them today!

Lou Katherine x 

Wednesday, 24 January 2018

My Fake Tan Routine With Bondi Sands

Tanning and I have had a love/hate relationship over the last few years, as I LOVE to be tanned, but HATE tanning!! I especially hate when you have worn your tan for a few days, and you have to scrub at your skin until it's red raw to get rid of all the patches. However, over the last year or so I have developed a tanning routine that really works for me, and I don't dread picking up the tanning mitt anymore.
Bondi Sands has to be my tan of choice, it's super dark, affordable and lasts for AGES. Since using it, I've actually looked forward to tanning, rather than it being a thing of dread. So, I've decided to share with you my tanning routine and a few hints and tips i've learnt along the way.

1. Exfoliate

The first thing I do in my tanning routine is exfoliate all old tan and dry skin off my body, so I am smooth and ready for tanning. This just helps the tan to be even over my body and not stick to any patches that may be more dry and helps get rid of old tan. To exfoliate I use my loofa and Ted Baker body wash, which smells gorgeous! The loofa also helps me to make sure I scrub every part of my body, but make sure to change your loofa every few weeks, as it allows bacteria to grow. EW.
Find Ted Baker Pretty Pearl Body Wash Here

2. Moisturise 

Moisturising really is essential for tanning, as it sticks to those dry patches of skin that are dry and cause orange patches. I concentrate mainly on my knees, elbows, hands and feet when I moisturise, as this is where my skin needs the extra moisture. The moisturiser of my choice is the Ted Baker body lotion as it has the most gorgeous scent and isn't too heavy and sticky on the skin.
Find Ted Baker Body Lotion Here

3. Tanning (the fun part!) 

Find Bondi Sands Ultra Dark Here
I use the Bondi Sands Ultra Dark Tan, as it just gives the most amazing glow to my skin without making me look orange. This tan is the perfect shade of dark brown and makes it look like I've just come back from a holiday at the Maldives! Using a tanning mitt, I pop this all over my body in the morning and leave it on during the day to develop. So when I know I am having a day at home, I tan early in the morning and wash off before I go to bed. I often apply two coats of tan as I like my tan to be extra dark, but if you don't like to be as brown as I do, that's fine! Just apply one layer and you'll still be glowy and gorgeous!

4. Removal

This was always the dreaded part for me. It seemed to take me days to get rid of remnants of tan that were lingering, and I used to scrub my skin raw trying to get it all off. Bondi Sands released their Tan Eraser in summer last year and it's honestly a life saver. This is a creamy mouse that you rub all over your body and leave to set in for about 10-15 minutes (depending on how much tan you have on). You then scrub it off in the shower with a loofa or sponge and the tan just drops off! It's honestly amazing and has changed my tanning routine for the better, as I can now remove and put tan back on in the same day!

Find Bondi Sands Self Tan Eraser Here

Hints and Tips:

- To tan my face I mix in a little bit of tan with my moisturiser and pop it on my face with a cotton pad. This means my face doesn't look like I've dipped it in Nutella, and it also means I don't get a patchy face when my tan starts to fade!

- Tan is an excellent way to cover up acne or spot scars, so even if I'm not tanning my body I tend to use a little bit of tan of my face every few days just to cover up some of my scars that I'm self conscious about. This also means I can have more no makeup days!

- Try to always remember to use a tanning mitt so you don't get orange fingers, but if you don't have one, nail polish remover is a great way to get rid of tan on fingers. Just leave your hands to soak in a bowl of acetone nail polish remover and then wash with soap and water and your hands will be looking good as new!

- Tanning in the morning and leaving it all day is always better (in my opinion) than leaving it over night. You don't ruin any bed sheets and if you share a bed with someone they don't complain about the tan smell! My boyfriend used to make me sleep in the spare room when I'd tan because he said he couldn't stand the smell!

- Finally, try and make sure you apply your tan in daylight in front of a mirror. This way you can see if you have missed any spots so you aren't patchy. Also try and find a pal or partner that can do your back, my arms aren't long enough to reach the middle! If you don't have someone to help you, try and get one of these Bondi Sands Back Tanners, it's a lifesaver!

Thanks for reading my post on my tanning routine! If you have any questions please leave me a comment.

Lou Katherine x

Thursday, 18 January 2018

Gluten Free Banana Bread

If you're anything like me you love a good banana bread! I love making this when I have leftover ripe bananas in my fruit bowl and it really is a favourite in our house! Since becoming gluten free almost 6 years ago, it is tricky for me to find yummy bakery products, so I prefer to make them at home.
This is a no fuss, no hassle, one bowl recipe that is so easy to make. Although this is a gluten free recipe, you can substitute the gluten free flour for regular flour if gluten isn't an issue for you! I have also listed vegan and dairy free tips in the ingredients list. This banana bread takes only 10 minutes to prep and around an hour to cook in the oven.
So let's get into the recipe!

Here is everything you need:

  • 3 medium ripe bananas
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 egg (or a flax or chia egg if you're vegan)
  • 3 Tbsp coconut oil melted 
  • 1/4 cup (50g) cane sugar 
  • 1/4 cup (55g) brown sugar 
  • 2-3 Tbsp honey (or maple/agave syrup if you're vegan)
  • 3 1/2 Tsp gluten free baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon 
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup (180ml) milk (can be substituted with dairy free milk)
  • 1 1/4 cup (137g) ground almonds (if you're allergic to nuts, add an extra 1 1/4 cup of flour instead)
  • 1 1/4 cup (200g) gluten free self raising flour blend (or regular flour) 
  • 1 1/4 cup (112g) gluten free oats (or regular oats)
  • 1 bag of chocolate chips (optional) 

So, you want to start by preheating the oven to 175 C and greasing a loaf tin with either butter, oil or parchment paper. You then need to mash up the bananas in a bowl until they have all broken down into a mush. Then, add all the other ingredients up to the milk, and whisk thoroughly until well combined.

Then add in the last three dry ingredients and the chocolate chips and mix thoroughly. It's okay if there are lumps, it adds to the texture!

Transfer the mixture into your loaf tin and pop in the oven for an hour. Check it after an hour, and if it is still not baked inside, put in for five minute intervals until it is cooked through.

Once baked, remove from the oven and leave to cool (if you can wait that long!) I had mine on it's own with a cup of coffee, but you could have it with butter, cream or even ice cream to have as a dessert.

This is such a simple, but yummy recipe that all the family with enjoy. And for those who are gluten free, this really is a winner! So get your oven mitts on, and get baking!

Lou Katherine x

Disclaimer: all photos are owned by me.

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

My Holy Grail Makeup Products of 2017

So I'm a bit late to the party as we are almost already at the end of January, but I thought I would share with you all my holy grail makeup products of 2017! These are all products that I have used to death and have absolutely loved all year!  Some of them are drugstore and some are high end products, as I wanted to make sure that there was something for every price point. I have linked every product that I talk about below, and I have tried to find the best deal, rather than list the makeup brands site (as they can sometimes be even pricier). So grab a cup of tea and a biscuit and get reading!

1. Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation

Find Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Here
OMG. This foundation is literally my favourite thing in the whole world. I waited almost all year to get my hands on this after trying a friends, and I fell in love with it instantly. It has a medium coverage but it's very build-able without leaving you feeling like a victoria sponge cake. It is perfect for those 'good skin' days, and I'm really looking forward to using this in summer as it feels so light on my skin. This foundation also has an excellent range of colours for every skin type, I use shade 3.5 which is relatively light, but there are plenty of colours to choose from. It is £40, which expensive for a foundation, but it is 100% worth every penny, as my skin always looks so flawless when I have it on. If you can, I would recommend you save up for this if you can afford it and treat yourself, you'll be glad that you do!

2. Collection Lasting Perfection Concealer

Find Collection Lasting Perfection Concealer Here
This concealer is an absolute bargain at only £3.99, you really cant complain! It has excellent coverage without being drying or cakey and just has such a lovely finish. I use this on any blemishes that I want to cover, but I also use it to brighten under my eyes and the bridge of my nose. The only downside is that this concealer only comes in three colours, for people with light skin such as myself this isn't a problem, as the shades are all quite light. But for anyone with darker skin, this concealer won't be useful for you as the shades are too light for darker skin tones.

3. YSL Touche Eclat Blur Primer

Find Yves Saint Laurent Touche Eclat Blur Primer Here
I got a sample of this primer when I bought my YSL Touche Eclat Foundation, and I went back and purchased the full bottle after the second day of using the sample! This primer does exactly what it says on the tin, and blurs out all of my imperfections as well as minimising my pores. As you can see in the photograph i've almost ran out and this breaks my heart! This primer also includes little gold flakes of shimmer dust, which makes my skin look so smooth and radiant! Although it's pricey for a primer at £26, this is an excellent high end product, definitely something to use for those special occasions!

4. Anastasia Beverly Hills Dipbrow Pomade in shade Taupe

Find Anastasia Beverly Hills Dipbrow Pomade Here
Story time! Up until last September I was so self conscious of my brows as they are quite short and stubby, and I could never get that long bushy brow effect that everyone seemed to have! My two friends introduced me to this product and my brows have gone from a solid 4 to an easy 9! After endless youtube tutorials I finally worked out how to use this product, and my eyebrows have never looked this good. This product comes in a little pot and contains a tinted wax that you apply to your brows using an angled brush. The wax is so easy to use and isn't sticky at all on the brows. It sets your eyebrows perfectly in place and they are guaranteed to not move all day. It's £19, but the pot lasts ages, i've been using mine every day since the beginning of September and i'm not even 1/4 of the way through it yet. Absolutely love this product (shout out to Nat and Mill for introducing me to this! Love you gals!)

5. Hoola Benefit Bronzing Powder

Find Hoola Bronzer Powder Here
Find Hoola Contour Stick Here

A holy grail makeup list isn't complete with Hoola! This is everyones favourite contour for 101 reasons. Hoola is the perfect shade of warm brown and gives the illusion that my little round face has actual cheekbones! I've used Hoola for years and I will never use anything else to contour my face. I also use this as an all over bronzer when I'm wearing fake tan, and also sometimes brush it over my eyelids if I can't be bothered to do eyeshadow. It's just over £20, which is amazing for the amount of product you get, as one of these lasts me almost a year. I tried the new Hoola Stick, which I did like, but it doesn't give the same effect that the powder does. As well as this, the stick actually broke in half the second time I used it, and I found that once I blended it out it was unnoticeable. Great if you want something more natural, but the Hoola powder is my one true love!

6. MAC Mineralize Skin Finish Highlighter

Find Mac Mineralize Skin Finish Highlighter Here
I have used this highlighter to death this year! I have officially hit pan with this as you can see in the pic, and I have 0 criticisms for this product. This highlighter just gives the most natural glow to your face and I use it all over my cheekbones, temples, nose and top lip. I also use this for my inner corner of my eye when I want my eyes to pop! It just has the most gorgeous formulation and is so soft, it makes my skin look glowy and flawless. This highlighter isn't just for your face, if i'm feeling extra I use it to highlight my collar bones and shoulders, so I look like a shiny angel! It's affordable at £24 and I will definitely be repurchasing this product.

Extra af with the collarbone and shoulder highlight!

7. NYX Butter Gloss in Fortune Cookie

Thanks to Hannah Renee, I found this gorgeous lipgloss! Up until recently I wasn't a gloss girl, and only wore matte lipsticks that used to dry my lips out a lot. I was watching Hannah's videos and saw that she used NYX Butter Gloss and I knew I had to try it. This lipgloss is amazing, it's not sticky at all and lasts for ages. My hair doesn't get stuck in it when it's windy, and it's just the most gorgeous colour of pink. I can put it over any lipstick colour and it adds a really glossy finish that looks so luscious. It's so affordable as well at only £5.50 , and comes in a variety of different colours for any lipstick shade.
Find NYX Buttergloss Here

8. Mac Matte Lipstick in Shade Myth

This is everyone's favourite nude, it's a timeless classic that I buy again and again. The formula of Mac lipsticks are always excellent and even the matte shades never dry my lips out, and leave them looking patchy. I top this lipstick with my NYX Butter Gloss, it really is just an excellent combo. It's £16.50, which is expensive for a lipstick, but I treat MAC as collectibles and I enjoy purchasing their lipsticks to add to my high end collection.

Mac Matte Lipstick - Myth

9. ZOEVA Cocoa Blend Palette

I couldn't pick one eyeshadow palette for this post so I've had to pick two! The first is my ZOEVA Cocoa Blend Palette, which I have used and loved all year. It has the perfect selection of warm tones, including both mattes and shimmers. It's the perfect palette for any occasion as you can keep it casual with the more neutral nude tones, but then you can also create a smokey eye for a night time look. It's the perfect palette if you travel as it has a colour for every occasion, including a black (yay!). There is no fallout with these eyeshadows and they are so easy to blend together. They go on so smoothly and the shadows don't settle into any fine lines. This palette is also SO affordable at only £18, so it is 100% worth the money! 10/10 couldn't recommend more.
Zoeva Cocoa Blend Palette

10. Morphe 35OS Palette

The Morphe palette's were a real trend in 2017 and I think everyone and their Mums purchased one! My boyfriend got me this palette for my birthday and I was so excited when I opened it! The one I got is an all shimmer palette, so I do have to use matte shades from other palettes with the morphe shadows, but it's a small price to pay. For the money, these shadows are absolutely excellent, with very limited fallout and very easy to blend. You get 35 different shadows for only £23, an absolute bargain if you ask me! The palette I received has every shade from bright white, to warm reds, to dark browns. It really is a great palette and definitely lived up to all my expectations.
Find Morphe Palette Here

So that is all my 2017 holy grail makeup products! Although there are some products that I will never stop using (Hoola, I love you), I am excited to see what 2018 brings into my makeup drawers! I hope you have enjoyed reading about my holy grail makeup products, and that you all found something that you might like to treat yourself to!

Lou Katherine x

Disclaimer: This review is not sponsored, all opinions are my own. All photographs are owned by me. Prices for linked products are subject to change.