Friday, 19 January 2018

My Netflix Picks

Over the past two weeks I have been off work with the flu. This means a lot of TV has been watched - morning, noon and night. There is no denying that since Netflix landed on the scene, its audience has become catastrophic. I have put together my best shows which I have really enjoyed, and there is such an array of different types of programmes.

First up, Pretty Little Liars, this show had me from start to finish. I was a bit late to the bandwagon with this, as I think I only got on track at series 4. I binge watched the first few series, and was instantly hooked. I would wait each week for the episode to be available on Netflix, and my friends being as obsessed as me did not help! It is a simple storyline following a group of girls and their friendship through high school and into adult life. There is a character called A who does lots of different things to this group and many of the other characters, and the purpose of the programme is the girls finding out who A is. Let's not mention the final few episodes of the last series (what the hell were they thinking!), but if you want a seriously girly, cringe-worthy series with lots of eye candy then this is for you.

This is not going to be for everyone, but Cheersquad was definitely up my alley. Since they age of 3 I have taken dance lessons, and did 5 years of cheerleading whilst at school. Now, the girls on this programme are in another league, as they are one of the top cheerleading teams in the world. I love the behind the scenes and seeing the tears and dedication which goes into being in such a high ranking team. This series follows the girls on their journey to the world championships. I totally loved this and I so hope they bring out a second series. 

When 13 Reasons Why was first put on to Netflix, there was a little controversy surrounding its storylines. It is based around a teenage girl called Hannah Baker and each episode is a tape recording of her speaking to a particular character. It is a very thought provoking programme, and it highlights the current issues with mental health and suicide. For me, I thought it really highlighted how you interpret differently what someone says and their actions. Apparently there is a series 2 of this on the way as the first series was watched by millions, and it really did get the internet talking.  

Now Riverdale series 1 was great, the story moved along at a good pace, and the characters were intriguing. Series 2 is currently on at the moment, and I personally feel as though it has let its self down. The story seems to flutter backwards and forwards and it is hard to keep up with what is really going on. I really hope they manage to drag the storylines back together, during the second half of this series. I thoroughly enjoyed watching series 1, and it had some great twists and turns within the story which made you want to come back for more each week.

I discovered Dynasty one day at the start of December, on the picks for you section that Netflix offers. You have to watch it with a light heart, as the storyline is very stereotypical. The story is based around a family who own a big energy company which is worth millions. It follows the dad and his new wife, and his two children from his first marriage. They live the lifestyle which you would expect with a huge mansion with lots of staff, the daughter has every designer bag you could think of, and the son is struggling with his relationships. As always with this type of series, there is lots of twists and turbulence along the way.

I am not quite sure how to describe Stranger Things in a nutshell! It is set in a town called Hawkins in the USA in the 1980s. Within a group of four school boys, one of them (Will) disappears and is abducted by a creature in the upside down (which is essentially like another paranormal universe). The upside down was created by this science lab in Hawkins, which often involve human testing. A girl who has been involved in this testing for years escapes from the lab, and ends up in hiding in one of the boy's bedroom. The story then develops from here, in how Will's family and friends search for him. In the meantime, there is a lot of abnormal activity going on. The second series develops on this storyline, and how this activity is still ongoing.  

You Me Her, is not my classical typical of programme. The storyline is unique and nothing like I have watched before. It follows a married couple who seem to have lost the fire in their relationship. It focuses on how much they still love each other, but the sexual side of their relationship has become almost non-existent. The husband decides to hire an escort at the advice of his brother, it turns out that Izzy (the escort) is not what he expects and this is where the story stems from. His wife finds out about Izzy and it turns out she has had relationships with girls in her youth which her husband has never been aware of until now. It then develops into them starting a three-way relationship, and how none of them know how to handle it. However, none of them want it to stop as they all start to become emotionally invested in it. I have just finished series 2 and I have really enjoyed how the story has developed, and it hasn't become too unrealistic.

If you watch any of these programmes, please let me know. Also, if you have any other Netflix recommendations that you think I would enjoy, I would be super happy if you can share them with me!

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Hello Internet

So I came into 2018 which a fresh mind in regards to the blogging industry. But last night my eyes couldn't believe what they were reading. I am not going into detail about anything, however when someone is publicly targeted and called every name under the sun then that is going to affect someone.

Last August after 3 and a half years of having my blog, I finally had the courage to put up a post about my insecurities and how people perceive me on a daily basis. I have a thick skin, I definitely didn't when I was younger but honestly people can be truly vile. Troll or no troll, someone is writing these comments. I am proud to say never would I even in a heated discussion with someone would I ever first thrown out about their looks. It is so easy for people to throw out the words 'ugly' and 'fat'. It honestly makes me blood boil. I don't think I have ever met someone who hasn't had something offensive regarding their looks said to them.

This just made me remember something which I have thankfully not thought about in years. I remember at high school someone said something nasty to my best friend on Facebook, and I replied telling them to stop. The next minute some unknown person joined in and started calling me every name possible, and my entire school year saw it. I was honestly devastated. I remember going to bed that night and literally sobbing my heart out. Thankfully, like I say I have grown a slighter thicker skin. I know for sure I have grown up, and I am done with people's bullshit and opinions. I think I come across as quite a confident person; I am in some ways but not in a lot of others. I think this is because I really value my friendships, and if someone is being truly out of order I will say.

I do think some people go out of their way to cause drama, but I am not about that life. I am 23 years old and I see women still acting like petulant children, and being catty about something so minor. On the internet, this is made a million times worse as you get thousands of unknown people commenting on anything and everything, which 99% of the time has nothing at all to do with them. Honestly if one more person writes that bloggers blog for freebies, I think my eyes are going to roll out of my head. I am not holding back in this post, and one thing I have noticed when it comes to trolling is that a large proportion of these people (both male and female) are in their 30's and 40's with children. Now, I am not saying that just because you have children you cannot have an opinion on any social media. What I am saying is this age category should know better. No one, no matter what age, understands the repercussions of what their nasty comment will have. They have done it to simply create a reaction.

When I was at school, Facebook was the biggest social media platform alongside MSN messenger that we used. I would come home from school and hop straight onto the computer and onto the MSN messenger, and speak to all of my friends who I have spent the entire day with at school. As we had phone top ups I could not roam the internet freely for hours upon hours, and I kind of wish it was like that now. From this, I just want to highlight how when you type something, whether it being a direct comment, jumping on the bandwagon which seems to be the most popular one, or the worst of all writing or sharing a nasty post about someone please just stop for 5 seconds. All I want you to do is think what if that was me. I am not going to lie I have typed out some unkind messages when people have been on personal rants to me or my friends, and my initial reaction because my blood is boiling is to lower yourself to their level and write something equally as nasty back. There has been several occasions where as I am about to press post, I have had to take a deep breath and just delete it. It goes back to those simple morals of - if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all. I believe in only saying something to someone, which you would want someone to say back to you. Is it really isn't that hard to be nice. I often refresh my Twitter feed so I am only following people who are uplifting and positive, as people on a daily basis who moan and groan can be draining for you to read.

I am not going to really include too much regards into blogging, pitching and the rest of it. All I can say is in ten years when the blogging industry is actually recognised for being more than just collecting a few freebies, I will have a big smile of my face. I just don't get it I go to ballet lessons and have done since I was 3, and everyone still thinks that it is nice that I go. If you mention your blog online, people's first reaction is "do you get sent loads of samples?". No, it is just another hobby like anything else that people enjoy doing in their spare time.

What made me laugh in all this, is those parents, or anyone in that older age bracket who are trolling, is how many of them have bought some Youtuber merchandise for their children, niece/nephew or younger cousin? I am pretty sure Zalfie wouldn't be living in their glorious mansion, if people hadn't bought their merchandise. Just saying. Their biggest audience is definitely the 10-15 age bracket and these kids aren't buying it all themselves. I am a fan of Zoella, some bloggers love her and some dislike her. This is fine, as people are entitled to their own opinions, and can come to their own judgments on this. We are never going to like everyone. There are many YouTubers I don't like, but I simply do not subscribe to them. It is easy. These trolls come from nowhere and spend hours hopelessly creating arguments with anyone who has a slight difference of opinion, and it is simply just getting down right boring. I see it that is fine for the big Youtubers who have millions of followers as their merch keeps their kids happy, but it is not fine for anyone with a smaller audience as our opinions seem to become completely invalid.

I have come to realise that maybe I am allowing too much of myself to be on my social network pages, and it is something I am going to think about. As you can probably tell I am still livid, but I am most of all just massively disappointed in where we are at the moment. I think I am going to take a break from social media over the next few weeks, to clear my mind and not get caught up with all this nonsense. Tomorrow I am back in work for the first time in nearly two weeks after being off with the flu, and I have literally spent an embarrassing amount of hours in bed scrolling through social media. It is pretty rubbish to think that we have to 'take breaks' in order to clear our minds of all the crap that is out there on social media. I do think it is sometimes needed for our own sanity and I think I am at that point.

I think I need a holiday. Is anyone offering a free plane ticket?


Sunday, 14 January 2018

Urban Decay Haul

On boxing day whilst shopping in the aisles of the Selfridge's sale, I was surprised to see a mass of girls over at the Urban Decay makeup counter. In previous years, high end makeup brands never really get involved in the big sales and only offer minor discounts such as 10% off. However, Urban Decay had some really big reductions on some of their products. It was a little bit frantic trying to reach in for the products which I wanted to have a look at. I did manage to pick up some absolute bargains; they had 30% off some fabulous makeup pieces.

The first thing was the Urban Decay meltdown makeup remover which is a dissolving spray. I have never heard of this before, and I was instantly intrigued. This powerful spray mists onto the skin and when it comes into contact with makeup it starts to instantly dissolve. It says to simply spray onto a cotton ball and swipe away makeup. It sounds easy and like a great innovative addition to the skincare world if it works as simply as it sounds. This was just £6.70 for a 30ml size bottle. I cannot wait to try this out and report back.

The next item which caught my eye was the lockdown travel duo set. In this set you get the optical illusion complexion primer and the all nighter makeup setting spray. The primer is intended to blur out flaws and smooth out your skin. On first impressions, this is a soft primer which has a slight rosy pink hint to it, but sets down to a translucent matte finish. The consistency of the cream is thicker than expected, which will hopefully create a perfect base for my makeup. This set also comes with an all nighter setting spray. I have previously tried their de-slick setting spray when I had more oiler skin and enjoyed using it. I hope this does exactly what it intends and locks my makeup in place. This was on sale from £18 to £12.06.

The last thing I picked up from the sale shelves is the ultimate pair. This came in different colours and I picked up the backtalk and rush duo. These are both mid-tone mauve pinky nudes, which are both stunning shades. Urban Decay is not a brand which I have bought a lot of products from over the years. However, I have numerous eyeshadow palettes from them, and I have always been impressed. I have read some great reviews about their lip products, so I am very excited to put these to the test. Just from swatching the lip liners they are a soft crayon, which are easy to apply did not pull at all and was super smooth. The lipstick is part of their comfort matte range, which feels super comfortable and has a lovely creamy consistency. This duo was a bargain as both of these are full size, and was originally £22 and I paid £14.74.

What are your favourite Urban Decay products?


Wednesday, 10 January 2018

The Best Beauty Products of 2017

So there is no denying that in 2017 I once again purchased a lot of makeup. Today I am here with the products which deserve a medal, and beat everything else in their category. I love finding new products which are amazing, and I am confident that everything mentioned in the post belongs in your makeup bag.

The Urban Decay heat palette jumped out to me as soon as I saw it. The colours are warm toned, with an array of golden, burnt coppers and orange shades, and contains a mixture of mattes and shimmers. I chose this as my favourite palette, as it is hands down my most used palette of 2017. I really struggled with this category last year, but it was a no brainer this year.

At the start of autumn on the whim I discovered the Morphe pressed pigments, which on the whole deserve a lot more recognition than they get. Once I started to use these pigments I was instantly hooked. They are smooth to apply, and the pigmentation is outstanding. This is proof that you do not need to spend a lot in order to get a fantastic product. I am excited to try out some more Morphe products in the upcoming year.

I am 99.9% sure this won the award last year, but Kat Von D's tattoo eyeliner is once again worthy of the prize. It is the best liquid eyeliner I have ever tried. In 2017, I tested quite a few new liquid eyeliners to try and find a cheaper yet equally as good alternative. However, the mission was a complete failure, and I always went back to my ever-so-trusty tattoo liner. I use the black shade and it is a pure pigmented black, which delivers the goods and does not budge.

I saw a lot of bloggers recommending the L'Oreal paradise mascara when it was first released. However, it was well worth the hype. The brush to this is the winner, it is a like a number 8 as it is thinner in the middle section of the brush. I find that the bristles really grip on to my lashes well, and add volume from the root to the tip. I usually struggle to add both length and volume as my lashes are not particularly short but they are sparse, but this does both as each layer applied.

I wrote this last year but it is still true I am still on the search for my perfect glowy full coverage foundation. The two which have impressed me the most are, L'Oreal's true match which is a great everyday medium coverage foundation, and Nars' sheer glow foundation which is my absolute favourite but at £31 a bottle it makes me cry every time I apply it. Will 2018 be the year that I finally find the perfect foundation that is 1. glowy, 2. full coverage, and 3. is actually long lasting?

Now, this year I have tested out a serious number of lip products in all different forms. I have bought a lot of liquid lipsticks, and I think Kat Von D still wins the prize for the best formula. The everlasting liquid lipsticks are super pigmented, long lasting and comfortable on the lips. The colour range she now has is sensational. I have also really fallen in love with Charlotte Tilbury's matte revolution lipsticks. I am not usually the biggest fan of matte lipsticks, but this formula is hydrating and makes my lips look fabulous and plump.

Lastly, the product which I just cannot stop talking about comes from Benefit. I am not a big Benefit lover, their products just never really jump out to me. But, one thing they are good at is brows. I purchased three of their goof proof eyebrow pencils in 2017, as I just love it. I love the waxy texture of the angled pencil. It applies super easy and allows you can create real looking brow hairs with just a few strokes. I love that this comes with a spoolie, as it pulls the whole eyebrow look together and ensures the entire product is equally disrupted.

What deserves the crown as your best product of 2017?


Sunday, 31 December 2017

Instagram Giveaway

I planned to put this post live two weeks ago, but with the festive period I never got to put it up. As we all know our Instagram followings goes up and down on a daily basis, but a few weeks ago I did actually hit 500 followers. However, it has once again dropped since! Anyway, to celebrate the new year and hitting 500 followers I am doing a little Elf Instagram giveaway at @lucyalanaxo.

A few terms and conditions -
1. Must follow me on Instagram - @lucyalanaxo
2. Must have liked the post
3. Must have left a comment and tagged 2 friends

This is open for 2 weeks and will close on midnight Sunday 14th January. Winner will be contacted on Monday 15th January once winner has been chosen. I will enter all of numbers of entrances into a random draw and the winner will be chosen. If the person who matches the number has not followed all the rules, then another winner will be announced. The winner will be contacted, and I will send out the prize as soon as possible!


Friday, 15 December 2017

Under £15 Gift Guide

So if you are like me and you are just about getting around to starting your Christmas shopping, then do not panic we still have a week or so to get it done. This year, I am struggling with the smaller presents, the ones that can be the most meaningful. At work we have are doing secret Santa which is set at £15, and I wanted it to be a thoughtful gift and not just another bath set. 

If you are like me and you drink umpteen cups of tea a day whilst at work, buying someone a mug is always a great present. Primark have got a fabulous range of mugs in at the moment, and this Harry Potter mug (£6) is so god dam cute. I think buying chocolate lollies is always a lovely extra present, and my mum always buts some in mine and my sisters stockings.

If you are a beauty junkie like me, then these cute makeup Christmas sponges are a must have. For just £2.50 from Primark, they are a great little addition to someone's stocking. The priciest items in this post come from Real Techniques and their fabulous new brush crush collection. I love, love, love these brushes. First up, look at just how beautiful they are, the handles are glittery and the bristles are ombre. They range from £10-£15, and are currently on a 1/3 off offer which is always a great help.

Whilst in London I went into the Sass & Belle store which was so lovely and contains some beautiful home decor. I picked up this bird trinket dish which I have put on my desk, I am keeping my most worn earrings and rings on it. This is such a nice present for pretty much anyone, as everyone has lots of little things that they need to keep safe. I also think a pair of cute Brandy Melville earrings, or any earrings in fact are something which I would like to receive. If are unsure what style to go for, stick to something simple and everyday appropriate.

I think buying someone personalised or personal presents is always a great option. It is a thoughtful gift and it does not have to break the bank. Cheerz offer snapshot photos which you can choose and send as presents. I keep mine on a string of lights which have clips on, and I display them all above my mirror. You can choose how many photos or magnets you want to include in your personalised box, whether it is for you or a gift for someone else.  I worked with the Cheerz team last year and they kindly gave me a code which you can use: LUCMCSO, with this you can get £4 off your first order when you spend £8 or more.

I hope this has given you some last minute ideas for the presents you have still got left to buy. Let me know if you pick anything up from this gift guide.



Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Pillow Talk

There is no doubt Charlotte Tilbury is one of my absolute favourite brands. Her iconic Pillow Talk lip liner has become one of her best selling products, and a holy grail item for a lot of beauty lovers. However, I am really not a lip liner person, so I have never thought about the need to have it in my collection. She has recently answered my prayers, as she has launched to exact same shade in a lipstick version. The Pillow Talk lipstick is £24, and is part of her matte revolution line. I am not a huge fan of lipsticks that are really matte, as I find them very uncomfortable on my lips. This formula is enriched with hydrating properties such as lipstick tree and orchid extract to help soften the lips, making it very comfortable once applied.

The reason why this is such a best selling product, is because it is a beautiful mid toned pink rose shade. I feel as though my mission is finally complete, I have found the perfect my lips but better shade which I have been searching for forever. It gives my lips a natural plump and boost without the need to over line them. I have been wearing this on a daily basis day and night, as it is literally a colour that I can wear everyday no matter the occasion.

The formula has quite a waxy texture feel to it, making it glide over the lips super easily. The pigmentation of this line of lipsticks is beautiful, and they are a one swipe product which is what I always want in a lipstick. The tip of the product is a unique square shape, which is angled helping with precision and equal coverage. I have two other lipsticks from the matte revolution line in the shades Sexy Sienna and Very Victoria. Both of these shades are lipsticks I pull out in a rush when I am on to go as I know they are not high maintenance.

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