With 2021 feeling very similar to 2020, making sure that we are looking after ourselves is very important, even if we are slogging around at home for the foreseeable future. I've been awful at keeping my skin clean and clear recently, with low enthusiasm and spending the day in my pjs, but I've set myself a 10 minute skincare challenge every evening to give it a proper go, so below are the skincare products I've brought into 2021 with me. 


Cleansers

Let's start at the basics. A good cleanse is the perfect base for makeup, serums and creams alike. I've definitely been investing in my cleansers over the past couple of years. I think the cheaper ones I'd pick up at 16 and 17, really nudged the spread of my spots, so getting the cleanse that my skin really loves, is so so important now. 

Bare Minerals Poreless Clay Cleanser. At £20, it's such a good price. This was my first Bare Minerals product and with it's oil unclogging powers, I like to use it on a day I feel extra grotty, or after a full face of makeup day.

Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish. A staple that I'll always suggest for those wanting to expand their cleanser search. It's perfect for so many skin types, and Lord knows how many bottles of the thing I've gone through over the past 5 or 6 years. 

BIODERMA Sébium Purifying cleansing foaming gel. A foaming gel, even the words make me giddy. It regulates sebum quality and really is a simple but effective cleanser that I haven't stopped using. I'm really enjoying the Sébium range at the minute, and for fantastic skincare, the price is fabulous too. Buy it here.

BIODERMA Hydrabio H20 Moisturising make-up removing micelle solution. My newest micellar addiction. No matter how clean my face feels I will ALWAYS give it a fine swoosh over with s BIODERMA micellar water. I go through these bottles like nobodies business, and this one is so gentle, even my sister with super sensitive skin loves it. It's perfect for eye makeup, and allows you to get it all without scrubbing and breaking the skin. I cannot recommend this enough. Buy it here.

Cream

BIODERMA Intensive Purifying Care. For the spot prone amongst us, this is perfect. The Sébium Global innovation treats the causes and the consequences of the blemishes, rather than just the latter. I've noticed clearer skin and always use it on days I'm a day oiler, to prevent any pesky spots coming through. Buy it here.

Serum

Balance Me Tri-molecular Hyaluronic Serum. This serum adds the perfect amount of hydration, whilst helping and fine lines and wrinkles, with 98% natural ingredients. It's for all skin types, so the perfect introduction into Hyaluronic products if you've never delved in before.


Affiliate links used. Some products have been gifted for PR purposes. All views are my own.







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Burberry. Imagine it. The trench coats, skirts, scarfs. A distant dream with my pay slip at the minute. Shein however have given me the skirt of dreams in this one. It's pleated, with an elasticated waist band I'm very grateful for right now. The perfect length for winter, paired with black boots for work, or sassy white/brown boots if you're feeling fancy.

I've added a simple roll neck and my favourite beige hat here too for good measure.

Buy the skirt here. Search code:1571164 . Use code katiecouture15 for money off!


 


 

Since summer cottage is done for the year, I need a new style to focus on, and academia feels pretty good for this time of year. I've always loved a roll neck, and there are a bunch of colours in my wardrobe. I grab a pair of tights, sometimes white if I'm feeling sassy, and a tweed plaid skirt. The skirt is from Shein, its brown tweed and pleated. It's the perfect high waist and with it's colour seems, allows for pretty much any coloured top to be added.

For shoes, I choose knee high boots always, colour dependant on the top, and add a subtle headband.

Buy the skirt here. Search code 1846356. Use code katiecouture15 for money off! Affiliate link.

Over the past couple of months I played a little ignorant if I'm honest. If I woke up with a sore throat, I'd panic that I'd have the virus, but by lunch I was all fine again and nothing would come of it. In the summer we stopped wiping down our food shop and stopped waiting two days before opening parcels. Even with the next few lockdowns and tiers, I didn't think it would happen to me. And then it did.

I was waiting for it I think. I work in a school as a TA. I work with students with extra needs and this involves sitting with them all day for extended periods of time. The government didn't make students wear masks, only the adults. This meant that when I sat with a student with a mask and shield on, I wasn't wearing them to protect myself, as the masks still let those pesky virus things in, but to protect the students. We started off well. The year groups never mixed and I stayed within one year group bubble. And by bubble I mean the 300+ households in those bubbles freely allowed to mix at their leisure. This was all fine of course, to mix with these households all day for months, but I wasn't allowed to see my boyfriend or my dad during this time, because mixing bubbles outside of a school was a no. Mixing inside a school? Fill your boots. Covid doesn't get through those school gates. But then, it did. Year groups at a time from not only my school, but others, were off as a whole because many of them were positive. It spreads like wildfire. But apparently the Tories didn't see this, despite the unions throwing the stats at their faces. We were told "we see no issue", because of course, the free babysitting service that schools provide allows for workers to go back to work, and for shops to be open and money to be made. And at the end of the day, that's all this has been about.

When cases rose in March we locked down, and that included schools. That was before it even reached the kids we taught. When cases rose faster in September, October, November and December (funnily enough when schools opened...) it was ignored because as we were told before, we are expendable. Teachers are not to be trusted, the government said when it came to exams last year, so why would they listen to us now?

As I've mentioned, I sat in work all day with a mask and a shield on. Every single day. In science I'd wear goggles too, because who needs to be able to actually see anything through layers and layers of fogged plastic these days anyway? I'd handsan every time I walked into a classroom or our office. I only took my mask off in the office, because that was where I'd eat in my two half hours of breaks a day. I watched as people online attended parties and secret raves. They had family gatherings in lockdown 2 then went to work as if they were abiding by the law the entire time. I really went off when a couple of girls I followed had an adult sleepover type thing for one of their birthday's, complete with about 5 or 6 other friends, all plastered over Instagram, whilst I sat and watched their stories, feeling like a complete mug. Ask my dad, I refused to go to birthdays if 7 people were in the house when the 6 people max limit was on. I followed the rules. I still got covid. 

I recently took someone I used to work with off of Facebook because of their "covid's a conspiracy" rubbish. Every time I'd go on the app he would share posts from random "scientists" claiming the vaccine is a microchip or mask wearers are sheep. Classic. It is these people that have led us to be in this hell for the past year. I still feel sick every time I watch Bojo on the tv telling us some new rule he's made up. I listen to the banging on about fines but who has actually been fined this year? Not my neighbour having parties every weekend in lockdown? They weren't fined? The woman at work who is happy to state she allows her son to bring his gf over whenever he fancies (may I add that she then thinks she has any right to complain about the protests earlier in the year, a right of which she does not have)? Not one fine there either.

The government have proved themselves to be a sham this year. At the latest broadcast Bojo was asked about shielders in tier 4, and replied something along the lines of "I hope shielders are not being asked to work". Shielding advice has changed multiple times this year, with latest guidance that that should be going into work, not actually shielding at home. My mum is critically vulnerable. She is still going through cancer treatment, and will be for the next 8 or so years. She has had the letter twice this year to stay home. I however, someone who lives with her, was told to go to work as normal. I was not asked to stay home. I caught covid at work and I brought it into the home where she was. She now has it. 

I was allowed to work and, despite my best efforts to stay safe whilst doing so, STILL caught the virus. Shielding is completely useless unless ALL parties in the home are shielding. This is something the government will never put in place. This is why my mum is now struggling to breathe. 

I, on a personal level, feel no guilt for catching the virus. I did my best to keep it at bay and have complied with the track and trace the whole way along. I am however, angry. I'm angry at the party goers, the back garden shed pubbers who have invited their pals round to watch the match as the pubs have been closed. I'm angry at the government for a. not knowing their own guidance and b. for being completely incompetent, refusing the acknowledge any rise in cases until it's too late, and c. for putting the economy before the health of the people. 

As I write this I can hear my mum coughing her lungs up, on the sofa that she's laid on all day with no energy to get up. My sister, in constant panic attacks that she also cannot breathe properly, and my brother, with OCD, hiding in his bedroom, waiting to be hit with symptoms the rest of us has this past week. My positive test result, sore throat and loss of taste and smell was only the start for my family. We pray that my mum has enough of an immune system to fight this off, and that covid leaves just as quickly as it came around





 


Well wasn't the shacket the trend we never saw coming? Popping up out of no where the mix of shirt and jacket made it the perfect mix for the autumn, and it doesn't look set to leave for the winter either. I'm not usually a trend follower as such. I have my style, one that's not to everyone's taste at all, and usually trends don't fit into this. So when I saw Shein had a tweed version of the piece, I jumped right on it. It's beige of course, what else would you expect? It's very lightweight so perfect for layering, and long enough to cover your bum when wearing leather leggings and a good pair of granny pants under neath. The things we have to think about aye? I've paired it with my Shein combat boots, leather trousers from Zara and a beige H&M jumper underneath. 

Buy the jacket here. Use code katiecouture15 for money off! Search code: 1551993

Gifted and affiliate link.




I always thought that wearing a checked skirt at Christmas meant that I was conforming to the whole red-green only theme for the season, which if you've been on my Instagram lately, you'll know that I'm making it my mission to bring beige and pink into the winter light. I saw this skirt on Shein and loved it. With pearls down the middle as the buttons, and small checks in boucle material, what's not to love? 

I've paired it with an all white ensemble but you could of course add a black roll neck instead, tights and boots for a work vibe!

Buy the skirt here. Use code katiecouture15 for money off! Search code 162093
Gifted and affiliate links.
 





This past year gave me alot to think about, and a lot of time to think about it. I've wanted to be blonde for as long as I can remember, so decided to use the money I'd saved to go the full hog. In July I booked an appointment at Toni and Guy and had a little balayage done. My hair is very dark naturally, and after a couple of weeks, with growth and being able to find the right toning shampoo, I wanted a little more on top. I'd booked for a touch up in August, and asked for a little more blonde towards my roots. I wanted (and still resist the urge) to go fully blonde, knowing that my fast growing hair and uncertainty of 2020 would stop me from going the whole way.

I've always been the "what's next" type of gal, and the second I was happy with the colour, I wanted a shorter cut. I hated the last time I had a bob, but purely for the fact that it was ear height and I'd always had super long hair. However, I'd seen many mannny of the girls I follow online go for the chop, so of course, in true influenced fashion, I went for it. And loved it. The colour worked so much better and I felt far more confident. That was until I realised that with the balayage at the back quite low down, and when I had it all chopped off, there was a tad bit of blonde left at the ends, and it just didn't sit right. I was then contacted by the PR for Moe Harb, who had recently moved into the old Duck and Dry salon at Oxford Street. I popped down one afternoon and honestly the team could not do enough. Mo spent ages talking me though what I wanted and what he could do to get the result I wanted. This included a trim to my outgrown hair, and another colour session for my roots and darker areas. I finally came out with the hair I'd wanted for months. Moe also used Olaplex, a product I'd obviously heard of before, but had never been offered (and hadn't gotten round to buying myself). My hair was super shiny and soft, something I'd always worried about when bleaching it. 

The Salon, Beauty Club London, has a fabulous team who couldn't do enough for me. They have an extensions lab and offer everything from nails to lashes too. The visit was kindly gifted by Jeneration PR but I'd happily recommend them, and Moe, to anyone. 

Click here to book.

I can see myself keeping the short blonde hair for a while now, and have decided to try and nail the messy/curls that I've been loving on the socials. This year may have been a write off, but I've achieved a mini dream I've had for a couple of years, so that's definitely something to smile about. 


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