I was inspired to make this post from a tag video I’ve been watching on Youtube and it inspired me to make my own list of favourite things. This is meant to be lighthearted and fun rather than heavy and serious, because obviously what I’m most happy and grateful for during this pandemic are my health, family, job etc. However this list is going to be a compilation of more tangible/lifestyle things to share what I’m currently enjoying in my everyday life.
- CHARLOTTE TILBURRY – PILLOW TALK
I’ve had the Cheek to Chic blusher and Superstar Lips on my wishlist for ages as you hear nothing but good things about Charlotte Tilbury’s Pillow Talk range which started out from her lipstick shade and has since expanded to include blusher, eyeshadow etc.
I got gifted both for my birthday in October and I’ve fallen in love with them. The Superstar Lips is perfect for me because I often find most lipsticks very drying and uncomfortable and it tends to accentuate the lines on my lips with its matte finish. I prefer more of a silky hydrating finish (without being super glossy) but with the colour payoff of a regular lipstick and this does just that. Pillow Talk gives a perfect nude wash of colour that is my lips but better and I can see this really working well with all different skin tones. Another pro for this is that the lipstick bullet is much thinner than the regular range and for people with smaller lips like myself, this makes it so much easier to apply! It also feels hydrating and smooth too which makes it perfect for the colder weather.
As for the Cheek to Chic blusher, it’s really pigmented which is always my biggest concern for blushes. I like a good colour payoff and this can be built up very easily or sheered out if you’re a little heavy handed. It is such a beautiful wearable pink blush for everyday and has ‘light flex technology’ which gives you a really luminous glow without emphasising skin texture (despite having gold flecks in it, it isn’t visible on your cheek as its so finely milled).
This is a high end makeup brand so the products are very expensive but I managed to purchase a couple more products during the Black Friday sale on Cultbeauty for 25% off.
2. SCENTED CANDLES
I never really used to see the point in scented candles but I really enjoy them now I own a house, as they create a calming ambience and fill the air with a beautiful fragrance. They are also really cosy to have in Winter and more long lasting than I thought. If you buy good quality ones, you only need to light for an hour or so at a time to allow the scent to permeate a large room. I’m still experimenting with different brands but my favourite so far have to be from The White Company. Yankee Candles are also very popular, with a large variety of scent choices and more affordable than the former. I’ve also heard good things about Woodwick crackling candles so I want to try them next.
3. SAMSUNG GALAXY BUDS+
I absolutely love these wireless buds which were another gift for my birthday. I used to have the white galaxy buds (1st gen) but accidentally dropped one in soup earlier this year and was gutted since I used them religiously. I was super happy to get the upgraded Buds+ version (2nd gen) in the cloud blue colour (absolutely love pastel blue) to replace it as these have a longer battery life and improved sound quality (although I had no complaints about the 1st gen sound which was crystal clear and sharp). I use them with all our devices which include laptop, ipad and surface pro 4, so they aren’t just compatible with Samsung only. As long as the device has Bluetooth, you can pair it. Once you go wireless you cant go back because they are just so convenient, fuss free without the pain of detangling wires and easy to use. They are very comfortable for in ear buds and I don’t get ear fatigue or pain despite wearing them for long hours.
4. LUXURY BAGS
Although I’ve ventured out a lot less with the pandemic, there were 3 bags I added to my collection in the latter half of 2020 that I’ve been able to get decent use out of and have enjoyed the most recently.
(Slightly cheating here by lumping into one category but I really couldn’t decide on just one).
Polene Numero Un in Navy Croc – this one is very special to me as my fiancé (who does not usually entertain my handbag addiction), offered to get me one for my 30th. This navy mock croc version has been on my wishlist for about 2 years or so and as Paris has a special meaning for both of us, I definitely wanted the first and probably only bag he was gifting me to be a Parisian brand. I got a solid month’s use out of this as a work bag until we went back into lockdown in November.
Louis Vuitton Alma BB in Epi Noir – my LV birthday gift tradition to myself. I’ve always liked the Alma from afar but never wanted to own one until this year when I fell in love with the Alma BB in epi leather and the beautiful seasonal colours they have. It was a debate between the new galet colour vs the noir but went with the latter in the end as galet was always out of stock whenever I checked. Its so chic and understated and I love that it can be dressed up or down and doesn’t scream LV as it only has a tiny logo in the bottom corner.
YSL Puffer in small – I’ve always had my eye on this since its release a couple years ago, but after watching enough reviews and unboxings, I really wanted to experience the ‘puffy’ lambskin for myself that everyone gushes about. Absolutely no regrets for this purchase as I immediately fell in love with how squishy and smooshy the leather is; it’s the softest most satisfying bag to touch and have really enjoyed using it for the short period I’ve had it. It makes the perfect casual Winter bag in my opinion and along with the Alma BB, have been my top 2 bags in rotation when I do need to venture out these last couple months.
I can’t not mention the biggest life purchase and investment my fiancé and I made in 2020. It was a long extended process from making the offer in March to officially becoming homeowners in October, but absolutely this was one of the most exciting, happiest and daunting things to happen last year. It also makes such a nice change to go from living almost on top of each other in a small 1 bedroom flat, to a spacious 3 bedroom house with a large garden. We still have a long slow process in terms of furnishing and re-decorating the place as we’d like but just knowing that this house represents the achievement of years of hard work and saving diligently (since I was old enough to get pocket money at age 12), makes it so rewarding.
(Special mention: I am just in the process of setting up my new custom pax wardrobe which I’m super excited about. It’s not quite finished but will definitely be doing a separate blog post on it in more depth and you can follow my Instagram in the meantime for updates.)
6. BIKER BOOTS
I’ve been living in my over the knee boots the past few years and I adore them, but this past year I was on the lookout for a good pair of black biker style boots. I found it hard to come by the perfect ones which have a good block heel and aren’t too chunky. Saw a gorgeous pair from Gianvito Rossi (croft boots) but did not want to spend the luxury price tag so I started looking for a cheaper alternative. The closest style I found were a pair from Dune but are now out of stock at most retailers.
They label this as black but in my opinion it’s a dark grey. (When I’ve worn them in more and they start scuffing I may spray paint them actual black). Despite this, I love every other aspect of these boots and haven’t changed out of them for the last couple months when I go out. They are so comfortable for my wide feet, easy to walk in with the block heel being the perfect height and also look feminine enough while still being a biker boot style. The laces are just a style design as you take them on and off via the outer zipper. The inner zippers are also just for design as they aren’t functional. My go to style at the moment is pairing these with black skinny jeans and an oversized jumper and it just gives any outfit that edgy look.
7. CRYSTAL FLATS
Another pair of shoes I’m very happy about are these PVC crystal flats in rose gold from Kaitlyn Pan. They are most known for their dupes of the Stuart Weitzman over the knee boots. (I have a pair and they’re good as a cheaper alternative for the same look, but function-wise I do still prefer the original Stuart Weitzman boots which I also own and are my absolute favourite.)
The brand now has a great dupe for the crystal flats from Christian Louboutin. Louboutin have the the crystal style in either pumps or flats and both mesh and PVC material. The pumps are absolutely gorgeous but they only come in a heel height over 3 inches (which is the max. height I will wear) so I wanted them in flats instead. However due to the nature of flats and the fact I will get a lot more use out of them than heels, they will wear down a lot quicker so I didn’t think it would be worth the luxury price. As with my boots, I hunted around for a cheaper alternative and found these beauties from Kaitlyn Pan.
It’s hard to capture how stunning and sparkly they look when they’re in direct sunlight but they are perfect to jazz up any casual outfit without having to wear heels (which is great for me since I prefer flats in my everyday life) and definitely a showstopper. They’d also be perfect if you’re at an event like a wedding and don’t want to spend the entire day in heels since these looks very dressy and the pvc/crystal look would go with any outfit. I’ve only been able to wear them around the house since I got them but cannot wait for the warmer months when I can venture out in these.
The quality is also really good and looks well constructed. I don’t see any glue residue, the crystals seem to be stuck on securely and neatly and it has a thick comfortable, fairly cushion-y inner sole. The only slight downside is the smooth bottom sole can be quite slippery on certain surfaces but I think I will probably have another sole and heel added on to ensure their longevity anyway.
8. A&F WINTER WEAR
I’ve started to appreciate Abercrombie & Fitch clothing in the last couple years as I really like the direction they’ve gone in and they have a lot of quality pieces which are quite good value if you shop in their regular sales. I tend to do a big annual haul during Black Friday/Boxing Day as that is when they have the biggest discounts and I prefer the style, quality and selection of their Winter collection compared to Summer. I lean towards their clothes which have minimal branding/logos on them and in particular I find their jumpers, fleeces and down feather outerwear to be the best.
The fleece had a ton of great reviews on their website which convinced me to purchase and I now see why. It’s so cosy and warm, I’ve worn it constantly around the house and at Christmas. The quilted effect on the chest and side panels of the sleeves are a really nice touch and contrast, from what would otherwise be a more ordinary fleece and is what drew me to it. I also like the option to button up the collar fully if you’re really cold but otherwise can leave it open for a more stylish look. You can get it in a lot of other two tone colour options (and I am tempted to get a couple more if they go back on sale) but I love my mint green one the most.
Feather down puffer coats are always great options in Winter as they provide the warmest insulation but are not the most stylish or flattering as they tend to make you look boxy and shapeless. I have a long one in grey from Uniqlo which keeps me very cosy, but wanted to get a shorter version. The lightweight down puffer from A&F is absolutely perfect because it has a contoured quilting design which gives definition to the waist. I have worn it lots since I got it and love that I can stay warm but still feel and look stylish due to the tailored fit. It also has zippered pockets and is wind and water resistant. Such a great Winter find.
9. DYSON SUPERSONIC
I gushed about this Christmas present last month on my Instagram for being a game changer and it still holds true.
I have dry, frizzy, curly thick hair which I have to regularly straighten. I’ve never invested in a hairdryer for over 10 years because I remember the experience not being that pleasant. It would burn my scalp with the uneven heat distribution, give me crazy static hair, make the frizz and flyways even worse to manage, take too long to blow dry and was uncomfortable and heavy to hold to attempt to style. In addition to that I haven’t been keen to add more unnecessary heat damage to my hair.
However that has all changed with this Supersonic hairdryer and its been so fantastic to use. It is much quieter but more powerful than others. The weight distribution has been cleverly designed to be focused in the handle rather than the head, making it comfortable to hold and be able to style with a hairbrush in the other hand. There is such a big difference in drying time compared to other hairdryers I’ve used and it causes no static in my hair and much less frizz. It also has heat shield technology which is reassuring to know it reduces heat damage on your hair and doesn’t overheat and burn your scalp.
Best of all I love that I can get out of showers in the colder seasons and not be resigned to waiting 4+ hours for my hair to air dry before I could style it or go to bed. Not to mention sitting around with damp hair would just make me colder. Now I can blow dry immediately, be warm, and have soft, silky dry hair in less than 10 minutes and its wonderful.
10. ENGAGEMENT RING
Finally to top it off and the biggest thing that made me happy in 2020 continuing onto this year, was getting engaged. I can’t believe its almost a year in February since it happened and it was such a surreal and unforgettable moment. I absolutely adore my engagement ring which is a round brilliant cut in a platinum band pavé setting. He did an amazing job at selecting and designing it on his own and completely took me by surprise as it’s exactly the style I would’ve picked. When I look at my ring it always brings a smile to my face, knowing how much research and effort he took in learning about the diamond’s 4C’s (cut, clarity, colour and carat), especially since I think he’s always the more spontaneous type of shopper whereas I’m the opposite and analyse every little detail and research endlessly before I commit to a big purchase.
I do think it is crucial though if you are shopping for diamond rings to do your research first rather than walking into a high street store and picking the first thing that catches your eye. I would also recommend never buying a diamond ring from a retail chain on the high street because you will never be getting value for money; those stores have high markups for subpar diamond quality and their staff are not trained to advise on much more than what the carat size is. (Alternatively, don’t buy from a designer brand either as you are mostly paying for the brand name – if you compare the same diamond specs from a luxury brand vs a direct diamond supplier there can be a mark up price of a couple thousand at least.)
In addition, most people think its about the size/carat of a diamond but you actually need to consider all 4 aspects (with cut and clarity being the most important generally) otherwise you may end up with a large diamond with a dull shine, yellow tinge and which contains a lot of blemishes in the clarity.
For me, I know I’ve always wanted the ‘excellent’/ ‘ideal cut’ grading as my priority factor. This means the diamond reflects and allows the maximum light to pass through which has the biggest impact on its brilliance and how brightly it sparkles.
I could talk about this topic for ages and it would need a dedicated blog post of its own, but if you want more knowledge on diamonds in general and the 4C grading system, check out this very useful website ‘Everything Wedding Rings’ which has a wealth of information.
Those are my top 10 most favourite things that make me happy currently. What are the things that make you happy?