Since so much of last year was spent at home, I found myself investing in tangible creature comforts more than ever before. This looked a lot like upgrading some frequently used homewares, like the coffee machine and our couch, and buying other items here and there that would improve the day-to-day and make it a little more special.
Something I have bought a lot of over the last few months has been lifestyle and beauty essentials. I’ve dedicated some time to making little updates to routines here and there where needed, and to picking up bits that I’ve been wanting for a while, and through that process I’ve found some really incredible products that I wanted to share here on the blog with you guys. Hopefully it helps to inform you on certain products you might have been wondering about, or inspires you to try something new!
Let’s start with beauty products…
If you follow me on Instagram, you absolutely would have seen me raving about the Shiseido Eyelash Curler. I’ve tried about ten different eyelash curling products in my lifetime and nothing — I mean nothing — can compare to the Shiseido one. It doesn’t pinch or snag, the curler itself is solid [no weird, kinda-sketchy springs to be worried about] and it actually works! It curls my lashes so well that it looks like I’ve had a lash-lift done. I don’t even wear mascara day-to-day anymore because the curler works so well. After using it just once, I have this beautiful, low-fuss lash lift that makes me feel so put-together on no-makeup days, while really emphasising my eyes and making me feel more feminine on days when I’ve brushed my brows through with some gel and swiped some concealer on. Pair that with three coats of waterproof mascara and I look like I have lash extensions — without the maintenance of actual lash extensions, you know? Truly a game-changing beauty tool that everyone needs.
Now, let’s talk eye cream. I’ve spoken before about how I never really needed eye cream, but then I turned twenty-eight and, well — things changed. I have quite sensitive eyes that get irritated daily from my hours of computer and screen usage, and I find that if I rub them even just for a second, they get really swollen and irritated. Maybe it’s a combination of dry eyes and allergies or maybe I’m just not blinking enough, but I have found that as a result of the daily strain on my eyes and consequential irritation, I’m getting dry skin around my eye area throughout the day which then further contributes to the general discomfort I feel overall. I recently picked up the Antipodes Manuka Honey Skin-Brightening Eye Cream to try and combat this dryness, and I’ve completely fallen in love. The formula is super thick and buttery, and smells like — you guessed it — manuka honey. It’s a dream to apply after a long day, and I’ve found it sits beautifully under makeup and pairs well with other products I apply to my skin. I use this morning and night and I’ve really noticed how much smoother my eye area looks and feels. This is the kind of product that I didn’t know I needed until I really needed it, and I’m so happy with how it’s working for my skin.
Another product I’ve absolutely spoken about in detail on my Instagram is the NARS Pencil Sharpener. I don’t use many pencils in my makeup routine — usually just a brow pencil for minimal makeup days and a lip pencil if I’m in the mood for some colour — but what I absolutely despise is when I go to sharpen one of these pencils and the sharpener causes the pencil tip to break constantly. It’s so wasteful and irritating, so when the NARS Pencil Sharpener came into my life I was so happy. Sounds a bit silly, really, because it’s only a pencil sharpener, but it’s truly the best one I’ve ever owned. It never breaks the tip of the pencil off. Never. It makes the pencil tip super sharp for precise application. It’s also got a little shavings catcher so you don’t have to constantly be standing over the bin to sharpen your eyebrow pencil. It’s just one of those products that makes your life a little bit easier. Love it.
Spot treatment! We all need it! For so long I was using really harsh products to “treat” blemishes and while I was pretty happy with the results I was getting, I realised that I was hyper-focused on drying out spots as opposed to actually treating them. Drying spots is great — when needed — but over-drying can sometimes lead to dry patches, irritation and further breakouts. Who knew?! I saw on Caroline Hiron’s blog that her go-to spot treatment is the Aesop Control Gel, so of course I went out and bought the Aesop Control Gel. Now, be aware that it’s absolutely not a miracle product. This gel will not make spots disappear overnight. However, what it will do is soothe, hydrate and reduce redness. I’m all for nourishing my skin as I approach my thirties — not drying it out — and I more-or-less just let the spot run it’s course now and make adjustments to my lifestyle [diet, sleep, stress-management] to prevent further breakouts and reduce overall inflammation. The Aesop Control Gel is a great product to apply once or twice before bed and then again in the morning to reduce the overall appearance of blemishes while they run their course, and it allows me to cover any redness with concealer and go about my day as normal — no irritation or dryness in sight.
Some work essentials…
Last year I started using a physical diary again and really noticed how much I enjoy putting pen to paper day-to-day. For 2021, I bought myself the A4 Diary in white from An Organised Life because I felt I could really benefit from the extra page space and I wasn’t wrong. I love this diary. It’s perfect for writing down my daily to-dos and checking them off as I go. There’s not really much more I can say other than I really recommend an A4 diary if you’re finding the A5 to be a little bit limiting. I’ll never go back to anything smaller now!
If you work from home, one of the best investments you can make in your productivity is a set of comfortable noise cancelling headphones. I bought myself the Sony WH-CH710N Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones in October and have used them almost every day since. They’re lightweight and comfortable, which means I can wear them for eight hours a day and not feel fatigued from it, and the noise cancelling has truly changed the way I work. I’m no longer distracted by street or household noise and I find it so much easier to zone out from the outside world and focus on the task at hand. These headphones are especially useful when I’m writing, I’ve found, and I definitely notice my writing quality and productivity drops when I’m not wearing them.
Like many of you, I’m sure, I was so excited when the new iPhone was released. For two years I was using the iPhone XR and while I loved it overall, I did find the camera quality and ability to be a little subpar. In December I upgraded to the iPhone 12 Pro and it is honestly the best thing I’ve ever done for my business. The camera quality is insane — and so much more versatile! I’ve been taking more photos than ever before and sharing much more of my life on Instagram, which has led to my community on there growing and becoming more tight-knit. You guys love seeing my cats and my coffee and snippets of my home — I see your messages! — so upgrading my phone and being able to utilise it more everyday for work has been such a positive change. It’s also challenging me to be a bit more creative on the fly [have you played with the long exposure setting?!] which can only ever be a good thing.
Finally, some lifestyle favourites…
I mean, let’s start with the most obvious: the Kindle Paperwhite. I actually first purchased my Kindle at the end of 2019, but the past few months I’ve been getting so much use out of it that I had to mention it here. There’s not much to say that hasn’t already been said about my Kindle Paperwhite, but I really do think that buying an e-reader has improved my reading rate and enjoyment levels tenfold. It’s truly become something I couldn’t live without and I recommend it to everybody.
Phone cases — we all use them! I’m normally the girl to stick with a simple black silicone case for my phone, but since upgrading to the chic af iPhone 12 Pro, I want my phone to look a little more bougie while still being protected by a case. That’s where The Dairy comes in! I treated myself to one of their armoured Marble Black cases and I love it so much. So bougie but so practical and something I literally use everyday. Love it.
For organising my keys and keeping my daily essentials as minimal as possible, I’ve been loving Orbitkey. I mean, that shouldn’t come as a surprise, since I’ve been using and loving their products for almost two years now [!!] but as we come back to investing in tangible creature comforts, there’s really nothing as beautiful and luxe as one of their Key Organisers. I have two; one in Charcoal with silver hardware and one in Stone with black hardware, and I switch between the two regularly, depending on my outfit and overall vibe. Right now, I’m loving the Stone with black hardware. I’ve been mixing a lot of coffee-inspired colours into my daily outfits, so this particular colour way is perfect for bringing a bit of warmth into my all-black looks. The Key Organiser is also an essential for protecting my laptop and phone from key scratches, and keeps my bag/pockets jingle-free, which is major for me because I low key hate the sound of keys jingling lol it’s so obnoxious. Yet again, another simple product, but one I use every day and could not live without.
Finally, my last lifestyle favourite that I’ve been using literally every day for the past few months is my KeepCup. Well — specifically — my KeepCups because I own three. Actually, I own five, but I only use three of them on a daily basis. Don’t shoot me! I love KeepCups! I love their customisation options, and their range of sizes. I have the Original Plastic in Extra Small [perfect for piccolos], the Original Plastic in Medium [love this for on the go], and the Brew in Medium [my go-to desk cup]. I’ve designed them all to be in chic neutrals, from black to soft charcoal to latte [the colour options are incredible], and they make my daily cups of coffee that much more enjoyable. I also love that I can just chuck them in the dishwasher for convenient cleaning! Life-changing.