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Suitcase essentials for your next holiday

I recently got asked by Age UK on behalf of the Joe Blogs Network, what would my suitcase essentials be if I were to go on holiday.

As I am off to Australia for Christmas, this question could not have come at a better time, and it got me thinking (and far more excited) about what I will need to be taking.

Obviously, it is dependent on the holiday, are you going on a weekend city break? A week or two away somewhere sunny? Or are you venturing away for longer?

You have to think about the climate, what season is it going to be? Are you going to be sweltering or freezing?

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So, what do I need to take on holiday with me?

These are my (rather thorough and expansive) suitcase essentials this summer:

♥ All documentation – Passport (ensure that it is valid for the duration of your trip!), travel and insurance documentation, personal identification, visas, health insurance documentation/European Health Insurance Card (if travelling in Europe), driving license, student card (can come in handy for tourism attractions) and all relevant emergency numbers  (bank, travel insurance provider, contacts at home, etc.).

♥ Travel money – Currency of country, money for when you return home, debit and/or credit card (secure wallet to keep it all in).

♥ Clothing and accessories – Clothing (remember a jacket for the chilly evenings), underwear, tights, sleepwear, swimwear and accessories, specialist sporting clothing (if your off skiing for example) shoes (limit them, they are unnecessarily heavy), bags, belts, jewellery and watch.

♥ Sun protection – Sunscreen, after sun, sunglasses and insect repellent.

♥ Beauty essentials  – Makeup, makeup/wet wipes, nail varnish and nail file.

♥ Hair care essentials – Hairbrushes, shampoo, conditioner, hairbands, straighteners, curling tongs, tweezers, shaving gel and razors.

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♥ Personal care essentials – Toiletries (shower gel, body lotion, toothbrush, toothpaste, mouthwash) at 100ml if carried in hand luggage, antiperspirant, perfume, towels (often provided), female hygiene and sanitary products and any relevant prescription medication (painkillers are a must).

♥ Camera – For all your memories, remember to bring your chargers if needed and the relevant plug converters/travel adapters, batteries can come in handy too.

♥ Mobile phone – Bring your charger and relevant adapters and ensure it has credit or the relevant data and internet plans beforehand. Ensure to remember your headphones!

♥ Laptop – To keep a record of your adventures online, to update your blog and contact family members back home if you are going on longer ventures.

♥ Actual diary – Pack all relevant stationary too.

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Double check to ensure you are within your luggage allowance, baggage restrictions are very specific. Do keep some space for all the goodies you plan to bring home with you!

Keep your valuables in your hand luggage. Although it rarely happens, suitcases can go missing or get damaged in transit.

What do you always pack? Are you off anywhere nice this summer?

Stephanie xox

Me Benefit Gimme Brow-vertEveryone has something they must do as daily as part of their beauty routine, or they simply do not feel right.

For me, it is my eyebrows. Some may find that strange, but I just feel shoddy without them coloured in.

This is why I have been very excited to try out the Benefit Cosmetics, Gimme Brow* brow-volumising fibre gel.

I have been a ‘Benefit girl’ for many years now, so I had a lot of faith that this would be another one of their wonder products, especially in light of its 2013 Allure best of beauty award.

Being a (somewhat ginger, I blame the Irish in me) brunette I opted for the medium/deep shade, there is also a light/medium alternative.

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Benefit claims an, “innovative brush-on fiber gel that adheres to skin & hairs, creating brows where before there were none. It builds easily for thick, lush arches, thanks to a tapered brush for blending & precision tip for shaping.”

I have to say, I was very impressed with Gimme Brow. I usually swear by my Beautiful Brows Kit and I was concerned about it running out, but Gimme Brow is totally on the same level.

If anything, it is nicer to have it in a gel format as opposed to powder when it comes to application.

Gimme Brow is super easy to use, you can layer the shade on subtly, or add pressure to your strokes to take full advantage of the shade (as I do, dark and intimidating eyebrows seem to be a thing with me).

I applied as recommended, in short pressing motions, combing across the length of my brow and using the tip of the brush to define shape.

 

 

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For a more natural look, it is advised you “start at the inner edge of your brow and move outward. Repeat to add more volume.”

What I like about Gimme Brow, is that it lasts throughout the day and as promised, was water resistant, natural-looking and buildable. The latter quality being the most appealing, as it is suitable for all intended looks.

Currently Benefit are hosting their Bold is Beautiful campaign, raising money via their brow waxes for women’s charities Look Good Feel Better and Refuge.

100 per cent of the money raised will go to charity and you’ll also receive a full-sized Gimme Brow of your own! If that isn’t an incentive, I don’t know what is!

The campaign only has a day remaining so be sure to get your eyebrows waxed to perfection and donate to an amazing cause!

What do you think of the new Benefit Gimme Brow? What item of makeup can you not leave the house without?

Stephanie xox


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Last year, Benefit Cosmetics Brow Arch March campaign raised over £146,957 for charity and returns with a brand new “global philanthropy project”, the Bold Is Beautiful campaign.

Get a brow wax at a Benefit counter this May and 100 per cent of proceeds will go to charity! To find your nearest store search here.

Promising to be “bigger and better” than ever, Benefit are working alongside charities Look Good Feel Better and Refuge in order to raise as much money as possible this year.

Look Good Feel Better “helps women and teenagers combat the visible side-effects of cancer treatment, through their free confidence-boosting skincare and make-up workshops, masterclasses and self-help materials.”

Refuge “empowers women and children who experience domestic violence to rebuild their lives free from violence and fear. Via a network of services they provide life changing support to over 3,000 women and children every day.”

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So far, the Benefit team have managed to raise an astonishing £189,000 with over 31,739 eyebrows already waxed, shaped and filled to perfection this month.

With only three days left of Bold is Beautiful, be sure to get down to your nearest Benefit cosmetics booth to support and donate to this great cause.

100 per cent of proceeds will go to both Look Good Feel Better and Refuge and you’ll also receive a full-sized Gimme Brow of your own!

After all, doing the greater good and your eyebrows should always be your first priority.

Will you be partaking in the Bold is Beautiful campaign? What is your favourite Benefit product?

Stephanie xox

 

Incorporating Vintage Into Your Daily Style

A dedication to vintage clothing takes a considerable amount of time and effort but it’s certainly worth it.

You must prepare yourself mentally to trawl endlessly through vintage, thrift and charity shops for your prized pieces. People who snub charity shops for vintage clothing are the worst and these are often where hidden gems are to be found!

Firstly, it’s always good to have an idea of what you’re looking for before venturing out.  If new to these types of shops they can tend to be a bit overwhelming, leading to frustration and alternative purchases. Oops.

However, when you do begin rampantly purchasing be sure to not overdo it when it comes to getting dressed! It is better to incorporate these unique pieces than swamp yourself in them. Avoid copying styles, be inspired and make them ’you’. You want to compliment your own style, not try and force it upon yourself!

Always keep an eye out for classic pieces and designer brands, charity shops tend to be thwart with them so be keen and persist. If in doubt, ask the shop assistant or quickly Google the brand.

When browsing double check your items. As vintage clothing is ‘pre-loved’ there are often pieces that are slightly damaged and even those beyond your tender and loving repair, if that is the case then be strong and leave them on the hanger.

Don’t just think of clothing but also the use of accessories. If it is classic, go wild with statement pieces and if it is not, then leave your retro outfit to simply do the talking.

The best thing about vintage clothing and shopping? No one else has it and it is fun! You’ll soon collect a variety of one-of-a-kind pieces, often for a fraction of the cost of the high street!

Do you enjoy shopping for vintage items? What is your favourite piece?

Stephanie xox

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Department store Debenhams and beauty company Benefit Cosmetics have teamed together against the fight for cancer!

The support of the collaborative duo is in aid of the Brow Arch March initiative, a nationwide fundraising event for charitable organisation Look Good Feel Better.

This will be the first annual Brow Arch March and the charity have hopes to raise over £150,000 across the United Kingdom.

The event, dubbed as “the gal’s answer to Movember”, will last throughout March and is available at fifty Benefit Cosmetics Brow Bars within Debenhams stores.

For a £5 donation, beauticians will wax and shape your eyebrows, for a fraction of the normal price of £11.50.

Funds will be used to support and raise awareness to the visible side effects people face during their cancer treatment.

Actress Kara Tointon is also leading a walk on Sunday the 9th of March in London as spokesperson for the event.

“Sadly, cancer affects the lives of so many and the charity plays an important part in helping to regain a sense of control and normality”, she says.

To participate visit or ring your desired Debenhams store to book an appointment, one hundred per cent of  proceeds from the initiative will go to Look Good Feel Better.