I'm sorry but what happened to September please? That month came and went quicker than my last paycheck! But in all seriousness I cannot believe how fast this year is going, time flies when you're having fun, right? So what fun things am I doing this month to keep me happy? Last month I wrote down my three keys to happiness and now here are my October keys...


Something to look forward to

I had so much to look forward to this month, but I do feel like most of it has already happened now. I've done so SO much fun bloggy stuff in the last few weeks and I don't want it to end! From fancy cocktails at my fave Dirty Martini, to picking out goodies at the new Beauty Outlet, and having a little get together at the Prezzybox Jingle Mingle, I've done it all. 

I've also just booked quite a bit of holiday off work so I am excited to start filling that! I do also have a very exciting trip half planned at the moment that I'm hoping to book in the next week or so! I will reveal all soon!

Something to be proud of

Whilst I was planning this post earlier today I did have to think long and hard about this one. What am I proud of this month? I haven't really done anything major but the more I think about it, the more I am just proud of me right now. I'm getting on with things, I'm smiling more, and I'm crying less. Of course I have down days but they are just so few and far between now. I have moments of just pure overwhelming happiness and its amazing. I'm doing okay.

I've also started exercising more. I know I know, pick your jaw up off the floor, but its true. I've even started jogging(!!!) I'm not going to become a gym bunny anytime soon but I am starting to look after myself a lot more and having the motivation and willpower to do that is something I never really thought I'd have.

Something to do

Well where do I even start with this one? I am just so bloody busy right now. Sometimes it's good busy and sometimes it's just flat out boring, but I have no time for anything either way.

College is eating up a lot of hours with studying, and I'm spending as much free time as I can meeting up with friends, so relaxing isn't exactly something I'm specialising in right now but thats okay.

For the first time in a long time I feel like my life is full and that I am getting somewhere. I've had a bit of a shake up lately but I'm feeling good. I know I am going to live an amazing, beautiful life and I cannot wait to see how it all turns out.

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MY KEYS TO HAPPINESS - OCTOBER

If you haven't guessed I'm a beauty fan by now you obviously haven't been paying attention. I love makeup, and skincare, and haircare etc. But I especially love it when all those good things don't cost a bomb! Let's be honest, good products can sometimes be a bit pricey, but do they have to be?


I buy beauty products from budget, mid range, and high end brands. I like to mix it up a bit and if I'm truthful, I can't always see a massive quality difference between cheaper things and the much more expensive. There are some products I have to spend a bit of money on; eyeliner, lipstick, and usually eyeshadow, but the rest I'm pretty flexible with. 

So when I was given the heads up about a brand spanking new Beauty Outlet in Resorts World Birmingham I had to get myself down there. The store only opened a few weeks back but I've already seen so many of my fellow bloggers and beauty addicts spend a small fortune in there.


The shop stocks everything from well known brands such as; Real Techniques, Rimmel, and Barry M, to lesser known brands that I had not come across before. It also sells a mix of high, mid range, and budget beauty. Although cheap and cheerful is what it does best, you can find a decent range of more expensive Stila and Clarins goodies which start at about the £5 mark.

I was also quite surprised to find a good selection of vegan products for sale. Now call me ignorant (and I probably am) but I didn't even know makeup could be non vegan, I mean what is in regular makeup that vegans can't have? Who knows, but it's good to see companies trying to cater for everyone's needs for once!


Now I'm not massively into nails (as I'm sure you can tell by the photos) so the huge polish section didn't impress me as much as it probably should have. Don't get me wrong, I do like to have pretty nails but once they start to look a bit sorry for themselves I'm usually too lazy to clear it up. Someone who is big on nails however is my sister. Every week or so she's wearing a gorgeous new colour, so imagine her surprise when she found her favourite gel varnishes in store for just £5! That girl dropped about £30 on the spot!


I think I swatched pretty much every lipstick, sniffed every perfume, and stuck my fingers in every eyeshadow before finally deciding on some treats. I was in there well over an hour playing with various products - it really is just so easy to lose track of time (and money) in these kind of places. Think of it as a casino for beauty addicts! 

It's a great place for beauty fans looking for a bargain and also anyone just starting to get into beauty as you can pick up your whole makeup bag for less than £20 in there. I was lucky enough to be treated to some goodies to take away with me so keep a look out for a haul and various product reviews coming soon!

What is your all time favourite budget beauty product? 

Thanks for reading!

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* I was gifted products in exchange for a blog post. All thoughts and opinions are my own and I would never promote anything I didn't love.


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A BARGAIN BEAUTY PARADISE!

I've always wanted to be one of those women who goes for brunches and lunches with their girls on the weekends. I've seen it in films loads and that is the life I want. So when I was asked to try out the new Dirty Martini Bottomless Brunch in Birmingham I knew this was my time to shine. I was going to take my Mom for nibbles and drinks and we were going to be sophisticated ladies. We were definitely not going to get drunk...


The brunch itself includes a lovely selection of treats including; Cheese & bacon arancini, beef & cheese sliders, buttermilk chicken, vegetable sushi, vegetable spring rolls, halloumi & hummus wrap, wonton & paprika crisps, and sweet potato chips. The miniature treats were presented in a birdcage, similar to how you would expect afternoon tea to be served - but more fancy. It was all very instagramable.


The food was actually pretty delicious, once I eventually stopped taking photos if it that is. Although small, the Beef sliders were incredibly tasty. They were topped with a sweet smoky (BBQ maybe?) sauce that really finished them off beautifully. I even enjoyed the sweet potato fries which I'm not usually a fan of. I wasn't massively impressed with the Sushi, but then again I've never really been into anything like that. 

The Bottomless Brunch will set you back £25 a head which I thought was a little pricey at first, that was until I realised you each get 4 Martinis and unlimited Prosecco!!! Now alcohol does not come cheap in Birmingham City Centre, especially in a swanky little cocktail bar like Dirty Martinis, so I think you get a lot of booze for your buck. And let me tell you, they are not stingy with that Prosecco either, oh no, they whiz round every few minutes making sure everyone's fizz is filled to the brim!


So what pretty little martinis can you expect on the Brunch menu? You'll have the choice of 5; a Passionfruit Martini, a Blood Orange & Vanilla Martini, a Mango & Chilli Martini, an Espresso Martini and a French Martini. Between us, mother and I tried them all. Moms favourite was the Blood Orange & Vanilla Martini (Absolut Mango Vodka, Briottet liqueur de Mangue, and lemon & mango juices) whilst I fell in love with the French Martini (Absolut Vodka, Chambord and pineapple juice). 


So would I go back? Honestly yes. We were treated to a very boozy afternoon surrounded by lots of lovely ladies and gents doing the exact same on a quiet Sunday. Although fairly new, the brunch seemed to be very popular, and those not nibbling on mini burgers and wraps were taking full advantage of happy hour which runs all day on a Sunday. 

We stayed long past our designated time, which didn't bother the staff, and left very merry* indeed. It's definitely something I hope to do again in the future, maybe for a special occasion or as part of a girly weekend, afterall it really is a treat.

Where is your favourite place to brunch?

*absolutely pissed as farts

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The Bottomless Brunch was provided to me free of charge in exchange for an honest review.

BIRMINGHAM'S NEW BOOZY BOTTOMLESS BRUNCH

Everyone has those products you keep going back to time and time again. Even though it's nice to try out new things every now and then, I'm a creature of habit and if a product works for me I'm going to buy it again.

Now as a blogger I do get to try a lot of new goodies out which means I'm a pretty good person to ask if you're on the hunt for something different. That being said I can't possibly try everything out, I have a full time adult job now after all. So with that in mind I've reached out to some other gorgeous bloggers to shout about their absolute must have products!


But first here are three of my holy grail products which all happen to be skincare!

Simple Oil Balancing Exfoliating Wash - As you can probably see from the photos, there's not a whole lot of this bad boy left. I'm almost out but you can bet your bottom dollar that I will be running our to Superdrug the second its gone.

Although it is technically an exfoliating face wash it is incredibly gentle and doesn't scrub at my skin at all which is an issue I've had with other similar products in the past. It also contains witch hazel, an ingredient I always get on well with.

Nivea Hydro Care Lip Balm - A small but very might product this one. I've tried and tested many libalms in the past, a girl has to have those smooth moisturized lips, am I right? But this little chapstick beats anything I've used in the past. I'd even put this ahead of the universally love Carmex! It also contains SPF to protect your lush lips from the harsh sun!

Simple Replenishing Rich Moisturiser - Another Simple product, what can I say, I just works! My sister and I have been using this moisturiser for years now and we still haven't found anything better. This gentle moisturiser keeps my skin feeling fresh and banishes any dry patches I might develop without feeling oily or giving me spots!

I have used the light moisturiser in the past and whilst its still good, I've always found that the rich version goes the extra mile.
 
- Shop My Skincare Faves -               
Now onto the other blogger favourites!

- Makeup -
  
Bethan from beffshuff.comMy holy grail eyebrow product is the Natural Collection Brow Gel for £2.49! It's the cheapest product I own and I couldn't be without it. It's great for sensitive skin and is cruelty free, too.

I've tried and tested a gazillion brow products and I personally don't think anything else comes close. I use it to give my brows some colour on a no-makeup makeup day, or use it alongside my ABH Dipbrow for a bolder look.

Chloe from www.chloexlizabeth.com - I absolutely love using the Charlotte Tilbury Pillow Talk Lip Liner and Lipstick. As somebody with super thin natural lips, I've always been insecure and I've wanted them to look bigger. The CT lip products are the only products that allow me to overline my lips and keep them looking natural in the process.

The colour is wonderful for my natural skin tone and seems to change depending on whos wearing it; and it's so creamy that it just glides on. I could wear it all day everyday, and even though it's fairly expensive as a high-end product, I'd repurchase them over and over again. The added bonus is that they're both cruelty free!

Amanda from amanda-jayne.me - When it comes to lipsticks, I'm a die-hard fan of the liquid-to-matte kind. I need pigmentation, no fuss, and long-lasting colour which is why traditional lipsticks are often a bit of a miss for me. However, Fenty Beauty's Mattemoiselle liners are a real game-changer and have managed to win round even me - the opposite of a fan of any bullet lipstick.

Creamy and highly pigmented, the Mattemoiselle line really is the definition of 'plush matte'. There's no high shine or satin finish, but nor does the formula pick up all the cracks in your lips, either, and it doesn't flake or shed through the day so you know it's a good one for a long haul. Touch ups and initial application are made easy by the slim and small bullet, which allows you to deliver bold colour straight to your pout without the added nuisance of a lip liner or brush.

Up until recently I only owned the striking, cornflower blue shade 'Ya Dig?!', but I've just picked up another colour (Midnight Wasabi!) and whilst I wanted Saw-C, it wasn't in stock, (boo!), but despite this I can't wait to get stuck in! The beautiful packaging means nothing if it hasn't got an incredible formula, but luckily RiRi hit the nail on the head with this beautiful selection of matte colours that really pack a punch. These have quickly become a staple in my handbag and I'm excited to play with my new shades!

(Amanda also has two holy grail posts live on her blog right now which you can find here and here.)

Dorota from beautydramaqueen.com - Makeup wise, Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Flawless Filter is my universal morning tool. I use it as a primer to add glow and blur imperfections, then on top of foundation: top of cheekbones, temple, over the brow arch, Cupid’s Bow and bridge of the nose. It gives the most beautiful dewy finish. Can’t live without it!


- Shop Blogger Beauty Faves -

- Skincare -

Emily from emily-ware.com - My current skincare hero is the Rodial Dragon’s Blood Hyaluronic Tonic spray. It’s rather pricey and I usually don’t spend that much on one product, especially when it comes to skincare, but this product came as a tester in an Asos beauty box and I will definitely be repurchasing.

The hyaluronic acid in the product has made my skin feel plumper and it looks so much brighter, so much so that I’ve been leaving the house without foundation for the first time in years! It works wonders on my awkwardly sensitive combination skin and I would recommend it to anyone!

Katy from therawrdrobe.com - My absolute holy grail skincare product is the Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish. It’s saved my skin on so many occasions and I can’t fault it at all. Fresh smell? Check. Does the job? Check. Looks pretty in photos? Check.

It’s such an essential in my routine and I can definitely tell when I haven’t been using it because my skin starts to flare up! Also, it’s great for anyone with sensitive skin and fab for the old Boots advantage card points haha!

Dorota from beautydramaqueen.com - Choosing just 1 or 2 holy grail products is so hard. Over the years I’ve fallen in love with so many! Merumaya Treatment Toner was a revelation when I first got it. I’m now on my 4th bottle with 2 back-ups! It’s my go to morning shot of glow without the acids!

- Shop Blogger Skincare Faves - 
         
I always love asking others about their favourite beauty products, you can find some absolute gems by chatting to beauty bloggers about what they like. I've actually not heard of many of these products myself so I hope you guys also find this post useful! I know I've now got a list as long as my arm of new beauty goodies to try out.

So do you have a holy grail product? Something you can't live without or repurchase religiously? Let me know in the comments!


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BLOGGER HOLY GRAIL PRODUCTS

I recently read that there are three keys to happiness; something to look forward to, something to be proud of, and something to do. Now happiness has not been my strong point lately but I am really really trying. I'm trying to work on myself, my career, and just generally create the Grace I want to be. 

Since hearing about these three keys I've become obsessed, they just make so much sense. So in my quest to be the best, I thought I could round up my own three keys every month and remind myself that I do actually have a lot to be happy about.


So here they are...

Something to look forward to 

I've actually got a lot to look forward to in September. From meeting up with old friends to making new ones, I've been very very social. I used to be a social butterfly in my late teens but I got comfortable with having a few close friends and stopped seeing people regularly. I've made more of an effort these last few months to see my girls and make time for my family, I also have lots of little catchups planned over the coming weeks.

I also have a solo day trip planned which was pretty spontaneous. Anyone who reads my blog will know that travelling is my first love and soulmate, and I won't give up on it now that I'm single. I did plan on going on a short city break by myself this month but I fannied out last minute. I did however book a solo day trip to Leeds which I am very excited/ nervous about.

Something to be proud of 

I started a new job last month and although it was very scary I can honestly say that I'm enjoying it and I'm starting to be pretty good at it too. I was stuck in a rut at my old place as I had no confidence and my anxiety took over my life once again. I wasn't in a great place and I needed to get out.

I started my new adult job a few weeks ago now and I am proud. I am proud of myself for going to an interview, proud for actually getting the job, and proud for taking myself every day on the bus. If you told me this time last year that I would be working a 9-5 office job, getting myself there, and actually enjoying it too, I wouldn't have believed you. 

Something to do

Now between spending most of my time at work/ with my friends and family I don't really have a lot of space to do things. Blogging has taken a massive backseat lately and I've really missed it to be honest. I won't be able to get back into my usual routine anytime soon but I do want to start setting aside more time for my favourite hobby.

I also was to travel more. I want to travel more and on my own. It's a scary thought but what choice do I have? There's places I want to see so I just have to go for it. I'm hoping to go on my first solo city break before Christmas if possible!

My last thing to do is actually probably the most important. I've applied for a marketing course which is due to start on Monday(!!!). I've wanted to get into marketing for a while now and I finally plucked up the courage to apply for a course last month. I am ready to be successful and for me that will start here.


Now that I've actually written it all down I can see just how far I have come in the last few months. It sounds strange but I've always been kind of scared to progress. I was always terrified of failure which meant I didn't actually try anything new. Well now I have nothing to lose anymore. I've been at the bottom and I am slowly but surely getting to the top.

What are your three keys for September? Let me know in the comments!


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MY KEYS TO HAPPINESS - SEPTEMBER

Moms. We don’t give them half the credit they deserve do we? I know I don’t but I’d really like to change that. My mom is such a gem, she has helped me get through so much over the years and I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to thank her really. Of course we have our fall outs but as I’m getting older I’m realising just how important she is to me and my sister.


I’ve not had the best time lately. The last couple of months have been quite hard but my mom has always been there to help me pick up the pieces and stay up with me whilst I cry myself to sleep. There have been a lot of nights like that recently but she doesn’t get bored or tell me to just get on with things, she sticks around and tells me what I need to hear.

One night a few weeks back I was having a terrible time. Everything was getting in top of me and I just didn’t know if I could be bothered anymore. she stayed up with me well into the early hours to help me look for a new job and apply for some new courses. I needed something to live for again and she knew this. We were honestly looking for hours but she didn’t get annoyed with me at all. I hope I will always remember that night, especially whenever I feel my patience wearing thin with her. 


As a teenager I did go to my mom for some things but for the most part I didn’t think I needed parents. I guess most teens are like that, we think we know better, we tell them we hate them and can’t wait to move out. But for most of us our parents, moms especially, will always be waiting with open arms to make things right again. 

My mom has been an angel my whole life but I’m finding more and more that adult Grace needs her a whole lot more than baby Grace ever did. She has always got my best interests at heart and even when we argue I know that no one could ever come close to replacing her. 

Thank you mom, for everything.



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