Favourite Beauty Products

It has been some time since I've shared with you my favourite beauty products, seen as we are so close to Christmas and the New Year is looming it was time to look at my most used make up items. 

Typical blogger over here became a sheep and when we bought our house I also bought those Ikea draws that everyone man and his dog owns to store my beauty products in. Come to think of it, they were my first purchase for the house - oops.

I'll admit that I only use about 10% of those products but for the life of me I cannot get rid of any of the items I've not used in a while as I am such a hoarder, anyone else? 

Back in April, we took a trip to London which meant I finally got around to visiting The Ordinary store in Covent Garden (F.Y.I. There's more than one, who knew). I've longed to own some of their skincare products but never really took that leap of faith to make an order so getting those products in my hands was what I needed, particularly when it came to their foundation as god knows what shade I needed. 

I picked up their coverage foundation in shade 1.0N Very Fair Neutral and I am obsessed. I'll admit that I was not a fan of the foundation at first, for what is meant to be a high coverage product it seemed far too light weight and just didn't cover those pesky spots and imperfections which is a huge issue for me. But after persevering as I'm not one to throw products away unless they are completely the wrong shade, I switched up my tool from a stippling brush to a beauty blender and BAM everything changed! 

Following the advice of wetting the beauty blender first I added a small pump of the foundation to each cheek and forehead before dabbing it in. The product blended thoroughly and the coverage was consistent and thick covering those imperfections, where as the stippling brush seemed to drag the foundation down my face and most of the product remained on the brush. 

Similarly, the same has to be said with my favourite higher end foundation from Nars Natural Radiant Longer Foundation, I had the same issue. Safe to say I was even more disappointed with how expensive this product is BUT again applying it with my beauty blender gave it a more consistent and thicker coverage. I would certainly recommend this product if you are looking for something a little more expensive but not a ridiculous amount. 

My go to eye shadow product towards the back end of the year has to be this Sample Beauty palette, now this was actually a gift from a family member. Now as you can see I have only used a couple of the shades particularly the top right one, this is amazing to add a bit of depth and shadow to the shadow area of my eyelid and then I add a little bit just under my lower lash line. 

On a day to day basis, I don't wear a lot of make up when it comes to work mainly because I prefer to have that extra time in bed than get up early. Anyone else with me on that? But when I do like to make an effort I love to do a bit of baking .. yeah you heard that correct. 

I just like to brighten up my under eye as I suffer horrendously with dark circles no matter how much sleep I get. After applying my foundation and concealer I like to get a different beauty blender (are you bored yet?) and dust quite a large amount of the Revolution Bake Finish Powder under my eyes and leave them there until I have done the rest of my make up, I then get my powder brush to get rid of the loose powder. 

I'll be honest here, I have never really understood the use of setting spray, for me it just hasn't worked. Then I discovered Elf Setting Spray, I'm not going to lie it came in the 3for2 offer so had to take advantage of it and I loved it, I actually need to repurchase as I've run out and it isn't until I ran out that I realised how much this product actually worked! 

Onto lipsticks and the one I have been reaching out for the most is from Urban Decay, it is the most beautiful and natural shade who h is perfect for everyday wear and if I want to add a bit of depth I'll add a bit of lipliner to make my lips looks a bit more plump. 

Finally but no means least, I have recently discovered the Benefit Hoola Contour Stick thanks to the mini in a magazine. I love a good freebie! I've again been reluctant at purchasing such a product, contouring scares me a little, more so because I'm not the best at creating those cheekbones. But the product is so creamy and super easy to blend - I'm not even going to mention what with... I know that when I can afford it, I will be purchasing the full size product. 

These are all the products I have been loving this year and will hopefully be my go to products for 2019. 

Alice xxx

Top Tips on Becoming a Home Owner

I am not entirely sure if being a home owner, I notice things in the news a lot more regarding house prices and the struggles of getting yourself onto the house ladder or if it is just a coincidence. Not going to lie, I’m constantly on Zoopla to see if my house has gone up in valuation, always sad when it has gone down in price – not that I am moving on anytime soon, it is just addictive.

It has been two years since we picked up the keys and took that first step through the front door of our own house. I still have to pinch myself that I am a home owner, I am aware that it isn’t that easy and not everyone is as fortunate which is so sad!

I am extremely fortunate that I was able to buy my first home at the age of 23, me and my other half worked our backsides off and missed out on a lot of socialising with loved ones to save. It was a huge learning curve but I believe this is where I got my first grey hair from as the process was far from easy, if things could go wrong then they did.

Being a young home owner, I wanted to do a series of blog posts that gives you an insight into how we managed to own our home but also the difficulties we found and top tips to help you along the way. You could be bored and just not read on but if I help just one person out there then I will be happy.

Here goes...

We knew that we couldn’t afford to purchase a house the “normal” way but after visiting a new build estate in our local area we discovered that there were two other routes we could take when buying a house.

Shared Ownership
This is something we were already familiar with due to family members previously taking this route. There were a set number of houses on the estate we fell in love with that were given to our local council to sell. Now the Shared Ownership scheme is great for first time buyers, you have a choice of different percent of your mortgage to own. We had the choice of owning 50% of the mortgage or 75% of the mortgage and then your deposit will vary and the amount of mortgage you are paying out on. The council will own the rest which can be bought back from the homeowner or you may decided that you will never buy back the rest.

There are downsides to this, if you want to move on then you will need to buy back the rest of the mortgage which is pretty pricey, so keep that in mind. Also if you wanted to do work on the building like taking out a wall, adding a garage or extension, you would need permission from the council.
We didn’t take this route in the end purely because we couldn’t save the right amount of deposit we needed which was a shame.

Help To Buy
This scheme is much more popular and is more well known. With not being able to go through the Shared Ownership’ route we were relieved that there was another way more suited to our financial situation where we could still afford the house we fell in love with, which at that point was a show home and our house was technically rubble at that point.

Help to Buy is fantastic, it is a scheme run by the government to help first time buyers get onto the property ladder, without this we would not be in our house today we would probably still be renting.
All we needed to do was to put down a 5% deposit and the government would put down the rest which is bloody amazing but there is a catch which I will discuss a little later. For us, it wasn’t the monthly mortgage payments we would need to fork out on as we were used to paying rent on our flat, it was in fact finding that huge lump sum to pay out the deposit!

Now, because we put down a small deposit (which did turn out to be quite a bit more than everyone anticipated in the end due to cock ups by the bank society we have our mortgage through) it meant that our monthly payments would in fact be slightly lower. We were in fact only paying out an extra £50 a month more on the mortgage for a three bed terraced house with two car park spots and a lovely garden than what we did the two bed flat. I know we had extra bills on top but it was a no brainer for us.

Here is where I talk about that catch ... after paying off your mortgage for four years, on the fifth year, the monthly payments will increase as you need to pay back a percentage to the government for what they leant you with the deposit.

This is the daunting part and the part you wave all your money goodbye. In reality, it isn’t so scary looking back. For me I always wanted to own a home, someone once said to me ‘always own a home, never own a car’ and that really stuck with me. There’s a lot of value and money in property but with cars, they lose valuation as soon as you take your brand new car off the forecourt of the garage.
Our life changed quite quickly after both securing full time jobs and it was clear that we would be moving out of our parents a lot earlier than expected. More because Martyn lived an hour and 20 minutes away from me, with the way jobs worked out he ended up moving and it was only fair we both had our own space so we started to rent.

Because of this, we had a short space of time to start saving for a deposit. Now we always knew we wanted to buy a house together but we didn’t realise it would happen as soon as it did. This meant buying a house the “normal” way was out of the window, so going down the Help to Buy route was the only way.

We moved back in with my dad which meant we were saving £400 a month on rent and the extra on bills to put straight into our savings. However, this only happened once we knew we had a mortgage in principle (more on that later).

Martyn’s mum had then discovered Martin Lewis the Money Saving Expert and he was discussing the help to buy ISA. From doing our research we took the plunge and each opened up an account with a local building society. You must put in £1200 for the initial payment to set it up and then each month you will need to transfer up to £200 a month, for every £200 you put in the government will give you a bonus of £50. It is quite complex and you will need to research this more yourself as the amounts you put into the account has changed since we did this.

If you cannot afford to do this just by yourself, set the one account up and both put money into it. You must have a sum of £1,600 in the ISA before you can claim the bonus from the government. This is automatically done and the money can only be used for the funds consolidated at the completion of the property transaction.

Do not confuse the ISA with the scheme; they are two completely different things. If you choose to buy a house without taking on any of the above schemes, you can still do the Help to Buy ISA – AMAZING!

I’m going to sign off the first instalment here as I am about to go onto mortgages and this is quite a lengthy process, so I don’t think it would be right to bore you any longer.

Alice xx