Product Rave – L’Oreal Elnett Heat Styling Spray

Hey Ladies,

Now it’s a well known fact than when it comes to hair I’m pretty much completely useless. I envy the girls who manage to tease their hair into all sorts of different styles and who can change up their look daily. Me and hair go together about as well as a cat and water.
So for me to have a product rave about a hair product is pretty much miraculous. But hey, miracles do happen and I do have a rave! My new favourite shiny toy is the Elnett Heat Protection and Styling Spray. I just picked this up on a whim because I was in Boots and it was on offer for 4.99 (usually 5.99) on a day when I was thinking I really ought to start using heat protectant in my hair if I want it to grow.I got the one with the volume option (you can also pick it up in straight and curly) that is meant to give you volume that is locked in for 3 days. I am so glad I did, I love this stuff.
When my hair is wet I mist this all over my hair (I’m pretty liberal with it because it doesn’t leave your hair sticky or greasy if you use a lot) and blowdry it. It gives me a lot of added volume without looking like my hair has been blown about by a harsh wind. My roots are left really bouncy and shiny and there is a lot of volume through the length without it being too 80’s retro.

On top of this it helps make my hair stay soft and adds super shine, which admittedly caused me to stare at my hair for so long in the library mirror I cause a bit of a queue for it…whoops. I can just give my hair a bit of a bouff with my hands during the day if I think it’s falling slightly and the volume comes right back.

It’s like dust it powder but without the tacky feeling in your hair. Admittedly it doesn’t last so well for the full three days but does definitely still have an effect throughout. I’m really into wearing my hair quite messy these days so this product is perfect.

I highly recommend this product if you want to add a little height to your hair. Plus, at less than ten quid it won’t break the bank! Which with the kick in drugstore prices is not something that can often be said these days.

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My Real Techniques Brush Collection

Hi girls,

Today holds a brush post because all too often our tools get overlooked in favour of our products, and they’re just as important! Not sure I could do a smokey eye with my fingers…I have quite a collection of brushes but I thought I’d focus on my Real Technique ones today because they are good value for money and brilliant for people starting up a brush collection. They are designed by the lovely Sam Chapman from Pixiwoo, who if you don’t watch (even though you probably do!) I would highly recommend you go subscribe to their youtube channel and blog. They are absolutely fantastic makeup artists and hilarious to boot.

The brush range is really reasonably priced compared to brands like MAC and Bobbi Brown, and whilst I am a bit meh about some of the brushes, there are some that are stand out fantastic.

The Base Shadow Brush is part of the Core Collection and is a great general all rounder for shadow. It’s slightly tapered at the top and is very soft so it’s perfect for blending out harsh lines or doing quite precise crease work. I mostly use it when I’m just using one shadow, it works like a dream for building up washes of colour until you get the intensity you want. It blends as it goes so does all the work for you. Wha-la, 1 minute eye sorted.

The Expert Face Brush can be bought by itself and is a multitask face brush. You can use it to buff in foundation, but I would only recommend this if you have a fair bit of time to work it in – it’s very easy to look cakey otherwise. Because it has a long, compact shape you can also use it to buff in highlighter and blush. I quite like using it for blush because you can be very precise in your placement.

The Blush Brush can be bought by itself and is easily the favourite brush I own. The shape of it, quite big and fluffy but tapered make it absolutely perfect for blush and contour. I put my contour powder on the tip of the brush, then work it into my cheekbones, and because I’ve been so precise the contour powder is effortlessly buffed in by the fatter part of the brush. Amazing. If you are going to buy one brush I’d recommend this one.

The Stippling Brush is also a stand alone. It’s great if you want a light covering of foundation and don’t mind buffing for a while. As it’s quite small it’s also great for cream products and I tend to use it for cream blush, contour and highlight. Solid all rounder.

The Deluxe Crease Brush is part of the Core Collection and I use it for concealer. It’s extremely dense and has a domed head so it useful for working face products into the skin. My only gripe with this is that it sucks up a ton of product and needs to be cleaned all the time to keep working well.

All single brushes are about 10 and the Core Collection (5 brushes) is around 20. Great quality for money, easily cleaned synthetic brush hairs, bright colours and a fun design that lets them stand up by themselves. These brushes are mostly multi purpose which only adds to their value in my opinion. I’d highly recommend this range if you’re looking to start, or add to, your collection.

What brushes do I need in my life? Any more RT recommendations?

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My New Love – YSL Glossy Stain

Hey Girlies!

I hope you are all doing well this drizzley Monday! I;ve spent a grand total of 7 hours in the library today. Fair to say my life for the next couple of weeks is going to suck because of exams.

So what’s a girl to do when boredom and stress looms on the horizon for the next three week? Buy something pretty of course!

Let me introduce you to my new love: the YSL Glossy Stains

I LOVE this product. Literally, I cannot remember the last time I love a beauty product so much I wanted all the colours in it.

YSL market this a lipstick/gloss/stain hybrid. I market it as a hell of a good lip product.

I bought shade number 7, Coral Antique, which is a beautiful summery coral colour. I’ve just ordered number 15 , Rose Vinyl and can’t wait to try it out!

Texture:

The texture of this product is quite unlike anything I’ve ever owned before. When it goes on it feels like water, very thin and cooling. Within a minute it goes quite tacky as it sinks into your lips and it’s then you can add more layers. Once my third layer is on I love it, it’s very slightly tacky, but nowhere near annoying, I quite like it. It is in no way drying and doesn’t aggravate my already dry lips  – always a godsend! You wouldn’t know you were wearing anything.

Wear:

 This stuff lasts and lasts on me. I put it on at 10 in the morning and the stain was still going at 4/5 at night. It stays glossy all day which is part of its appeal for. The gloss lasts better than any other product I have tried through eating and drinking, although touch ups are needed if you’re having a big meal. The stain easily lasts all day so you aren’t left with horrible patches of colour, which can sometimes happen with lipsticks, and drives me mad!

Smell:

I know a lot of people have an issue with the smell, but I actually like it! It smells quite fruity to me!

Price:

There is no getting round this. This product is expensive at 23. You pay as much for the glossy YSL packaging as much as anything else. However, in my opinion this formula is something I have yet to see duped in drugstore products, which makes it unusually original in the beauty world. Well worth a splurge or for a present.

Overall:

Major major love!

Have you tried the stains? What do you think?

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Estee Lauder Double Wear Maximum Cover Foundation Review

 Phew that’s a hell of a long title! Sorry for the stock picture guys but I left my camera at my uni flat and can’t take any picture! However, a few people have asked me multiple times for this review so I though I’d add my two cents in since this product seems to have become very popular in the last little while!

I bought this at the start of December  so have had a good while to test drive it. The general verdict: I love it. However, I think this product will only suit certain people’s skin and there are probably some people who can skip it all together.

A little background on my skin – if you’ve read my blog before you’ll know I suffer quite severe acne. Well over the years this has meant I’ve acquired some quite impressive, very visible and hard to conceal scars on my face, mainly on my chin and round my mouth area. At any given time I usually have a breakout in one of my problem areas so I always have spots and redness to deal with, though I must admit my clarisonic is doing a good job on these. In a nutshell, I have awful skin and I think this is why this product works so well for me as a foundation. I think if you have fairly good skin, using this as a foundation would be far too much for you, and you’d be better off using it as a concealer – which it would be excellent for.

On to the main body of the review:

Texture:

When you first pump this out the tube it feels quite thick on your skin. However, when you begin to blend (I use the sigma F80) you can feel the texture change almost immediately to something that feels light and non-cakey on the skin. It is easy to blend in because of this, but it does set fast so I’d advise doing one area of your face at a time and blend blend blend! I find because it changes to a lighter texture upon application it doesn’t feel like you’re wearing makeup on your skin, which I was half expecting to feel like I must admit!

Coverage:

This isn’t camouflage makeup for nothing! As I said, I have awful skin, and this product has been nothing less than a godsend. It covers everything! When I’ve finished I have a perfectly even skin tone with no redness and little scarring visible. It even covers the really deep scars I have on my upper lip, which usually I have to apply a fair whack of concealer on even after foundation. It is definitely full coverage.

Finish:

I find on me this is quite matter, which suits me because I hate glowy foundations! However, I will say this is not one of those foundations to use if you want to rock the barely there or no-makeup makeup looks. Yes it will look like you are wearing something, not in a bad way, just because it evens out your skintone to such an extent and is such a full coverage foundation. You’ll look like you have a really really good foundation. You can look a bit doll like if you aren’t careful. I don’t have a problem with this but I know some people might so it is worth thinking about before you buy.

Lasting Power:

This lasts all day/night on me without budging. I rarely need to powder and it never ever goes patchy. 10/10 for this.

Packing:

I personally think this packing is beautiful. I love the royal blue colour and the sleekness of it. Usually I prefer my foundations with a pump but to be honest it’s super easy to squeeze out the amount you want! Although it looks like you get less than other foundation, you actually get the usual 30ml.

I thought I’d throw in some photos for anyone who cares wants a look at the product in action. Bear in mind I’m having major breakouts in both these photos. Sorry for the posey-ness! I haven’t gotten the rest of the ones from New Year yet!

It retails for around 26.50 and can be found here.

Let me know what you guys think and if you have any more foundation recommendations for me!

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The Importance Of Time Off – Scheduling Me Time Like A Boss

Hi loves,

Does anyone else feel like its almost a competition as to who can be the busiest and most stressed out these days? We live in a culture that, to a large extent, glorifies being busy and being pushed to the edge of our abilities and time. Whilst Im not necessarily saying that being productive and busy is a bad thing indeed hustle is my main motivational word right now I also think that people need to take time to slow down and relax. The phrase is work, rest and play for a reason.

 

Working full time with a long commute, doing freelance work in my spare time and trying to successfully keep up my exercise, social and general life admin routines sticks me right in there as a stereotypical Millenial who is time poor and often stressed out. I used to feel incredibly guilty about taking time out because there is always, quite literally, something productive that I could be doing, whether thats for my career or my blog. However, in line with my resolution over the last while to try and live a calmer life, Ive really revised my attitude towards rest time and the importance of doing nothing.

 

Thankfully, this is an issue that seems to be becoming more prevalent in mainstream media as well, with the popularity of the likes of Arianna Huffingtons Thrive and Gabrielle Bernsteins Spirit Junkie. We finally seem as a nation to be recognising that we really do need to invest time in looking after ourselves physically and mentally if we want to be firing on all cylinders.

My one resolution?

Schedule in me-time like a boss.

You might have heard this quote applied to exercise; its just as easily applied to rest time. Every single day, no matter how busy I am, how much freelance work has piled up, whether Ive fitted in rehab time or not, I take an hour to rest and do something I find deeply relaxing. For me this is generally turning off all media and reading a book and doing some meditation or breathing exercises.  For you this might be watching an episode of your favourite programme on Netflix, catching up on all of the latest releases in the shops or loosing yourself in a game on the Xbox.

 

Mostly importantly, I refuse to feel guilty about it. Would you feel guilty about going to a meeting youd scheduled with your boss or going to an important work function or event? Nope, I didnt think so.

In my opinion rest and rejuvenation time is absolutely essential to me being able to give 100% in all other aspects of my life. So every day when I get home usually between 8pm and 9pm- I have my decompression time after dinner and exercise. I curl up with my latest book and practice my favourite spiritual teachings and I enjoy it.

 

Try treating your relaxing time as if it were as important as a crucial work meeting in your diary. Try it for a week and see how making that time yourself makes a difference to your mental and physical well being. I promise you that it will only do you good.

What do you think of me-time? How important is it to you in your diary?

 

Practice Of The Week – Tree Pose

Discipline: Yoga

Yoga: Tree Pose (Vrikshasana)

If I ever become famous I can guarantee one of my most quoted phrases will be: do you know how hard it is to worry when youre trying to balance in tree pose? No joke I must have quoted it dozens of time when recommending yoga to friends as a stress relieving practice.

Tree Pose, known as Vrikshasana, is one of my favourite yoga poses of all time for feeling balanced. No matter how strong I feel in my practice, or what level I can manage, tree pose always makes me aware of my connection to the earth, of how solid my body is in supporting me, and how to still the mind in order to concentrate on my balance.

I would highly recommend it for anyone who needs to reconnect to their body and feel balanced and supported.

Labels: Fitness Friday, Lifestyle

My Current Favourite Mindfulness And Spiritual Reads

Hi loves,

One of my main goals at the start of this year was to get back into reading in a big way. As a child I was a voracious reader, you literally just had to hand me a book and I’d have it devoured by the end of the day; my happy place was the library. The love of reading was one of the greatest gifts that my parents gave me and it is one that I dearly hope to pass on to my own children on day. Books have forever been a source of inspiration and solace to me and one of my little pleasures to this day remains to go into Waterstones and spend an hour just touching all of the beautiful new books with their new book smells.

Who needs running with the cool kids when you have a cup of tea, a comfy chair and a new book, right?

I’ve always been interested in Eastern philosophies on the mind, and have written a variety of posts on how such philosophies of mindfulness and meditation have helped me go from strength to strength in terms of mental health.

Over the last year I’ve seen mindfulness and meditation as valuable life tools explode in the Western consciousness, and it makes me extremely happy to know that other people are benefiting in the same way I have from the concepts. Instagram is becoming a veritable trove of book recommendations these days…

So I thought I would share my current top picks for books in this genre:

Ajahn Brahm – A Truckload of Dung

If you have a real interest in mindfulness, meditation or Buddhism read everything by this man and watch his videos on Youtube. Seriously, he is one of the best writers/speakers I have ever encountered; and he has a brilliant sense of humour and simple way of putting across complex concepts. A Truckload of Dung is split into sections, each containing short (as in two pages) stories which act much as a parable does. You can dip in and out of this book at will and you will always find something deeper in one of the stories. Absolutely brilliant.

Robin Sharma – The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari

Yes this book might be trite and overhyped, and I don’t personally agree with all of the spin off books that have come from it, but the original book is a an easily accessible story that winds together much of the common sense life advice we all already know in a fabulous story. If you like narrative as a form of learning concepts then this would be perfect for you. It’s great for light reading and has a number of profound little one liners that I really enjoyed when I cam across them. Above all, it is excellent at putting across the message that you are in control of your life and can change it at any time.

Gabrielle Bernstein – Spirit Junkie

Bernstein’s actual writing style grates on me a little with it’s ‘hip’ and ‘rad’ teenage overtones, but some of the messages in the book are actually quite useful and easily applicable to day to day life. Overall her work is a little too steeped in Christian undertones (being based on the Christian mystical text A Course in Miracles) for me personally, but it is popular for a reason: modern people are finding it a great access point into mindfulness and slowing down. It’s a short read so I would recommend it to a complete beginner to spiritual works.

Jack Kornfield – The Wise Heart

From one end of the spectrum to another, this book is one for those who really want to see how Eastern (specifically Buddhist) psychology can be applied and mixed with Western concepts of the mind. I love it because although it is a deep, detailed look at quite complex Buddhist concepts, Kornfield lays it out in such a simple way that concepts I was finding hard to grasp in other works seemed straightforward in this work. This is a fabulous handbook with literally hundreds of ways to improve your life through meditation and mindfulness. Better still, I’ve found it has made an impact on my day to day understanding of my thoughts and feelings – I’d highly recommend this if you struggle with any form of anxiety.

Brian Weiss – Miracles Happen: The transformational healing power of past life memories

This is my favourite spiritual book of all time. I’ve read it dozens of times and will read it dozens more. I have nothing but total respect for Brian Weiss, a revered psychologist who has proved over the last three decades how past life memories can have a profound impact on how we life our lives today. Even if you don’t believe in reincarnation or the notion of past lives, read this just for the vignettes of human behavior and how profoundly it can change when people really start to understand themselves and their minds. It’s brilliant.

I would love your suggestions for books! Have you been caught up in the new mindfulness and meditation trend?

Labels: Lifestyle

Scandinavian Inspired Home Decor

You cant tell Im currently feeling very inspired by anything that comes under the Scandinavian heading of interior décor can you?

Yes, the whole Pinterest ideal of neutral colours, spacious rooms, white and grey accoutrements, renovated fireplaces and artful bookshelves has drawn me in hook, line and sinker. I move into my new flat this week, and as its just been redecorated in a neutral white and light purple colour tone its pretty much a blank slate.

Cue my interior décor imagination running wild. Ive no idea where it came from as Ive had absolutely zero interest in interior design before. Damn you Pinterest and Bloglovin.

Ive actually got a fair bit of room in the flat as well as an old fireplace and some built in bookshelves. This led me to Pinterest DIY which has become a full blown obsession with everything that looks Scandinavian in design. So, in the interest of blogging and sharing ideas, I thought I would try and share my decorating journey on the site.

My current wishlist includes:

A white clothes rail to act as a feature in the large bedroom. This would also be practically useful for me to hang my work outfits on every week.

Fairylights to pop round the fireplace as well as some candles and pictures to decorate it. Cliché but I love it.

A huge collection of books for my living room bookshelf. I know a lot of people use their bookshelves for decoration only, but I genuinely love to read so Id like to fill it with books from top to bottom. This may take a while

A throw basket full of fleecy comforters. I love cosying up in a warm blanket after a long day and in my head I have a vision of friends coming round and me being able to wrap everyone in blankets in a style reminiscent of a 90s slumber party.

A cuddle chair so that I can take the aforementioned flows and get super comfy with a cup of tea to read in after work. Somehow curling up on a couch just doesnt have the same appeal as a snuggly circular chair.

Art hung everywhere to give the white walls some dimension and some personality. In my head Im envisioning all of our artwork framed in white or black frames. We both have quite eclectic collections so Im looking forward to the challenge of theming each room. Im commissioning a print from one of my friends and am also going to pick up a hustle print for near my dressing table, but I think Ill need to wait to see the rest of the space for deciding on where to put all of our other art!

Do you think I ought to stop before I spent all of my money in one go? Probably, but Pinterest is just so addictive!

Do you have any ideas you could share based on my theme? How did you all find decorating your first flat?

Labels: Lifestyle

One Heck Of A Nothing // Soap & Glory One Heck Of A Blot Review

 

Soap & Glory One Heck

Hi loves,

Does anyone else feel like power is more of a burden than a blessing? Apart from my Ambient Lighting Powder (which I use for glow rather than mattifiying) I tend to dislike powders as whole, but even with my dry skin I still need to set my makeup to stop me getting shiny by halfway through the day.

What I need is somewhat of an oxymoron a powder that mattifies my skin but still leaves me with a glow

I picked up the Soap & Glory One Heck Of A Blot on a whim a couple of months ago having heard good reviews on Twitter. Come to think of it twitter is responsible for a lot of things that seem to lurk in the back of my brain until Im standing in the aisles of Boots

Anyway, One Heck Of A Blot is marketed as a light, translucent mattifying powder that helps to control shine and leave skin looking flawless all day. Its a very powdery (pardon the pun) yellow toned powder, so I find it hard to see where the translucent part of that description applies as it certainly pulls yellow on my cool toned skin.  I know a lot of people like this but I find it to be quite average:  yes it sets your skin, yes it controls skin for a reasonable (6+ hours) amount of time, but I find it just to be a bit meh. Its very easy to overapply and make your skin look dull, even when using a large fluffy blush, and I really abhor the dusty nature of the product which means I tend to wind up with my dark trousers covered in powder. I actually prefer the cheap and cheerful Rimmel Stay Matte powder.

So yes, it does what it says on the tin to a certain extent, but it just leaves me feeling underwhelmed for the price point. Save your money and pick up the Rimmel one if youre looking for a cheap powder.

What your favourite powder? Does a glowy but mattifying powder exist? Or is that just in my dreams?

Labels: Beauty, Review

Fashion // The Anti Winter Outfit

Top: Tesco

Skirt: ASOS

Shoes: ASOS

This is what happens when you decide that you dont want it to be winter anymore and would quite like it to be warm now. Please, thank you. I picked up this skirt in the ASOS sale for something ridiculous like 6 and decided to pull it out and style it up for my mums birthday last weekend. I thought it turned out pretty well! Maybe Im getting into the midi skirt trend after all, or maybe I just bloody love scuba material so will wear it in whatever form that comes to me

This might seem like pink overload but it sure cheered me up after a hectic week a work and trying to get used to my ridiculous new schedule. Plus, I was only outside for a maximum of 60 seconds in the entire time that I was wearing this. So I can be anti-winter if I want, right?

Are you rebelling against the cold with your clothes right now?

Labels: Fashion

Lifestyle // Breaking And Making Habits Over Lent

Hi loves,

I quite enjoy the whole notion of Lent. Not necessarily in a lets force myself to give up everything that I really enjoy kind of way, but because I think that its a good reminder to look at my life and think of a few little changes that might benefit it.

I think that people always groan at the thought of Lent because they automatically think they have to give something up. But, have you ever thought about taking up something or trying to add something to your life instead?

I usually try and do both to be honest, with varying degrees of success! This year I decided to:

Break a habit: my tendency to be harsh and critical on myself when I dont manage things the way I want to. Im not talking about constructive criticism (which is always useful) but the beating up that serves no purpose. For example, Im struggling with a sprained ankle at the moment, and instead of being angry at my body for not healing faster, Im trying to be grateful that its healing at all and that it carries me safely though each day. So basically Im going to accept that I do my best and let things go.

Make a habit: I love meditation and my spiritual practice, but often Ill find days going past where I havent sat down to practice. So I want to make an effort to fill in my gratitude journal every day for the whole of Lent and to find 10 minutes for either sitting or walking meditation, or even just practicing being mindful of my breathing.

See its not all giving up chocolate and promising to be at the gym 7 days a week! Ive also found that if you make small changes that become a over Lent they tend to stick with you long afterwards.

What are you giving up/taking up for Lent?

Labels: Lifestyle

Lifestyle // The Best Scones In The World

Hi loves,

If youre ever up in the Fife area of Scotland then you definitely need to hit up the Balgrove Larder just outside St Andrews. Its by far one of the best farm shops and cafes that Ive ever been to in Scotland, as well as being the home of my favourite butcher and baker.

Its fairly bustling and full of local Scottish brands and produce to fulfil all of your food and drink desires. In summer they serve steak in an outdoor barn and their café is open all year round serving breakfast, lunch and a variety of cakes. The scones are literally to die for: the size of your head with accompaniments of jam and clotted cream. You might be waddling out afterwards but youll be waddling out happily.

The butchers is, as the Scots say, cracking. Full of amazing tasting meats and unusual cuts that you wont find in the supermarket. If you ever want to stock up on fabulous quality ingredients, this is the place.

I love it, and if I didnt love my waistline more I might be up there every weekend

Where do you like to buy local produce? Who does the best scones in your opinion?

 

Beauty // Morning Skincare Routine

Hello loves,

Following on from my rather long introductory post to my nightime skincare regime I thought that I would also show my morning routine. Dont worry, this one is a lot quicker because I get up at 6am to go to work and dont really have time to be faffing about in the morning!

My aim in the morning is to add a boost of moisture into my skin and prep it for makeup application. This is all in the hopes that my makeup wont start to look like a tired mess until at least on the way home!

Cleanser: I usually favour a light cream cleanser in the morning because I dont want to put too much oil on my skin. That would rather hinder my attempts to get through the day with a scrap of makeup left! Currently I rotate between the Elemis Pro Collagen Cleansing Cream and my trusty Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish though they definitely dont get as much of work in as my night time balms!

Toner: If Im feeling awake Ill occasionally swipe some Elemis Apricot Toner over my skin to soothe it from my morning ministrations. It’s a light toner that’s a good first step hydrator for sensitive skin.

Treatment: Im currently working my way through a few tubes of the Elemis Dark Spot Corrector in a bid to double up my dark spot treatments between morning and night. So far, so good, though I dont know how much of a difference its making in comparison to my acids. Im working on an Every Little Helps basis at the moment.

Eyes: A thin layer of Decleor Prolagene Gel. This stuff is really fabulous as an all over facial treatment.

Moisturiser: The Decleor Hydra Floral Moisuriser in Light is a joy to use. Its light, easily absorbed, hydrating and smells wonderful. If my skin is feeling tight I use the rich version, which is as it sounds, a little bit thicker, but just as easily absorbed by the skin.

SPF: Alpha H Protection Plus Daily in Factor 50. With all the acids I use, I make a habit of protecting my skin! Sunlight being the most ageing thing of all…

I can pretty much do this entire routine in 2 minutes and be off and getting dressed whilst it sinks in. Then the fun part comes with the makeup application

Id highly recommend all of the Decleor products in this routine. Theyve very quickly become staples in my skincare wardrobe and for dry skin they are just fabulous in terms of hydration

 

Beauty // Night Time Skincare Routine

Hi loves,

I completely overhauled my skincare regime at the start of the year after suffering from a bad bout of stress related dermatitis. After years of acne and harsh acne treatments, my skin has been left fairly dry and sensitive, and tends to take badly to popular ingredients such as Hyaluronic acid unfortunately for me. So at the start of this year I decided to go back to some very old favourites that I havent used for years in a bid to make my skin a little bit happier, both in terms of dryness and breakouts.

At the moment Im combining a lot of traditional ingredients, such as essential oils, with a serious exfoliating acid regime to try and combat both of my areas of worry. So far, Ive seen a positive difference in my skin, which for me is always a blessing no matter how long it lasts! If youve had acne for years upon years then you might now what I mean

Im about 8 weeks into this regime and very pleased with the results, so I thought I would share my night-time regime with you today and my morning regime later in the week. If any of you have similar skin to me, or are just looking to try out something new, you might find some inspiration here.

Like everyone else in the world, I have a busy life: work, freelance work, blogging, moving cities etc etc. However, I absolutely love making time to spend 5/10 minutes doing my skin at night. I think me-time is an absolute essential component in the life of every single person on this planet to avoid self-combustion, even if it is just taking your time to treat your skin at night!

Current Nightime Routine:

Cleanser: I actually have a lot of cleansers so I didnt photograph them all! I pretty much always start off with a balm cleanser such as the Clinique Take The Day Off Balm or the Elemis Cleansing Balm. Sometimes I use them to take off my makeup, sometimes I use them as a first cleanse, but I always spend a good few minutes massaging them into my skin. It kind of helps me massage away the stress of the day!

Toner: I like to use an acid toner at night to help combat breakouts and dark spots. My current toner of choice is the Alpha H Instant Facial, which contains my favourite Glycolic Acid. This is gentle enough to be used every night and I feel that it helps prep my skin for all of the oils I tend to put over it.

Treatments: I start off with a couple of drops of Decleors Aromessence Iris oil, which is one of their bestselling oils and which I find to be an excellent first hit of hydration for my tired, hardworking skin. I then layer over this the cult classic from Decleor, Prolagene Gel, which is a multitasking energizing gel that is meant to help with everything from dark spots to skin tone to dehydration.

Night Cream: More oil can you tell I love the stuff? I switch between my Decleor night balms: Iris for mature, Marjolaine for extreme dehydration and Neroli for dry/dehydrated. I bloomin love these products. You take a pea size amount and it melts into the most gorgeous oil trust me when I say massaging it in is a treat not to be missed if you like a relaxing night time routine.

Eyes: I always take my Decleor Prolagene Gel up and over my eye area when doing my face. I then layer on some of the Decleor Prolagene Lift Serum. My eyes really suffered during my dermatitis outbreak and are now a bit creapy and puffy. Only time will tell what the long term damage is, but for now Im just trying to provide them with as much help as possible.

Extra: Twice a week I use my old favourite, Alpha H Liquid Gold to take care of any bumps, lumps and to help fade dark spots that little bit faster. This makes a visible difference to my skintone in the morning and I love the fact it doesnt dry my skin out or irritate my sensitive areas.

I know all that oil might make me sound like Im turning my skin into an oily mess. My facial therapists never believe me about how dehydrated my skin is until they start applying products and watching them sink in in seconds. I can happily layer all of these products and still have touch dry skin in about a minute.

After this routine my skin feels soothed and I always wake up in the morning with plumper, healthier looking skin which is much more able to hold a lot of makeup without look dry and patchy.

What are your favourite night time products?

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Beauty The Blogger Made Me Buy It Tag

Hi beauty lovers!

I’ve seen this tag floating about, created by the lovely Danniella from famousinjapan, and although I wasn’t tagged in particular I thought that it would be quite a fun one to do. After all, the beauty blogging community is basically based around enabling each other right?

 

1) Who are your most influential bloggers? Who are the ones that you really rely on for reviews and swatches?

Hmm, if you look to your left you’ll see a blog roll of people I love. I enjoy all the bigger blogs like most people do, but I also enjoy girls like Beth from Birds Words, Kayleigh from  Couture Girl and Jenny from Jenny Purr because their reviews are always incredibly in depth and useful. Temptalia is a must for swatches – I don’t know anyone who even comes near her for this!

2) Do you buy a product solely as a result from one review from your favourite bloggers, or do you look for more reviews from others?

 

 

This really depends. I have one or two bloggers/youtubers who I know have the same type of skin as me, and whose opinion I trust without question and have never failed me. However, most of the time my interest will be piqued by one review, and then I will go on a mad google search looking for other reviews and swatches. I am quite careful with my money (most of the time), so I like to be super sure before I buy that I am going to like something.

3) What is your most favorite item that you have ever bought as a consequence of blogs?

Oh lord where do I even start with beginning this question? Erm, there are so many! My very favourite has got to be my introduction Urban Decay eyeshadows, which are without a doubt the best that I have ever used. Honourable mentions go to learning about acid toners, the brand Cane & Austin, MAC lipsticks and MAC Satin Taupe Eyeshadow.

4) What is your least favourite item that you have ever bought as a consequence of blogs?

The Maybelline Baby lips! I don’t think that I’ve ever used such a God awful product in my life! Seriously, what were these meant to do?

5) Name 5 products you have bought recently as a result of blogs.

 

Haha, I’m pretty sure that everything I buy is a result of blogs in one way or another. Last five would probably be: Tarte Maracuja Full Coverage Concealer; Josie Maran Cheek Gelee; Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara; Anastasia Brow Wiz; and the Cane & Austin Retexturising Pads.

6) Have you ever given into blogger hype? If so, which hype?

Name me a blogger that hasn’t and I’ll show you a liar! I’m quite savvy, but even I am not immune to a good bit of hype. The Emma Hardie Cleansing Balm, Clarins Toner and Seche Vite being some recent examples. I am sure there are a lot more.

7) Have you ever avoided blogger hype? If so, which hype?

Like I say, I’m pretty savvy, and still being a student I don’t have the  money to go all out in the way that others can. I’ve been holding back on NAKED 2 + 3, everything from the Charlotte Tilbury range and the new NARS Collection. I tend to only go for something when I think that it will really suit me and it will get a lot of use. Saves me having to sell it if I don’t like it!

8) Is everything you buy based on blogger reviews or are there some items you buy without checking out a review?

 
I would say that ever since I started reading blogs 5+ years ago they have been my main source of information and prompting for buying products. Pretty much 80% of the stuff that I buy is in some way influenced by the blogging world. Not that I think that this is a bad thing! I still have my little splurge occasionally when something looks super attractive to me, or I’ve never heard of it, and I pick it up on a whim!

 

 

 

If you’ve done this tag link me up! I’d love to read your answers

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Anxiety Disorder // Positivity // A Personal Post

 Hi my loves.

This blog is a place of positivity and happiness, filled with pretty things, frills and fun, and I love it that way. This blog has been an invaluable place for me in terms of developing my skills and meeting new people, but it is also a lifestyle blog and sometimes life isn’t always easy

This is a hard post for me to write, but I want to do it because lately I’ve seen more and more brave people coming out and speaking about their mental health, whether it be depression, anxiety, social anxiety, OCD etc. I take my hat off to everyone who speaks about this, 1 in 3 people in the UK will suffer from some form of mental disorder in their lifetime, and frankly I think the stigma surrounding it is horrendous. Sometimes what is going on in the mind can cripple a person far worse than a bodily injury.

I wanted to write this post so that if you are reading it and any of what I say resonates with you – You are not alone.


90% of the time I’m just ‘normal Rachel’. I can tell you straight off the bat how my friends would describe me to you: fun, vivacious, fearless, confident, funny, supportive, compassionate, loving and a million other adjectives that would describe a socially confident girl who looks like she breezes through life.

90% of the time I am that person. I don’t suffer social anxiety, love trying new things, love to spend time with people, handle the daily stresses of life with more grace than a lot of people and am generally quite content.

However, 10% of the time I am not like that. Every year for a few months my GAD (Generalized Anxiety Disorder) will raise its ugly head and creep its way into my life. Suddenly, for no reason, I’ll be overcome with feelings of dread at the most random of times, out shopping or even just sitting in my house.

Sometimes I’ll have anxiety attacks that are so bad they will wipe me out for days. There have been occasions where I have literally sat for an entire day staring at the wall, not concentrating on anything, not eating, not speaking because an anxiety attack has disabled me. It is terrifying to be stuck in your own mind with no way out and where no-one can see or understand what is wrong with you.

GAD is characterized as: a disorder in which the sufferer feels in a constant state of high anxiety and is often known as chronic worrying or a free floating anxiety condition. People who suffer with GAD often describe themselves as suffering with free floating anxiety which can be likened to the whack the crocodile game at an arcade they resolve one issue but no sooner has this been done when another worry pops up. Racing thoughts, loss of concentration, and an inability to focus are also characteristic of GAD.

Everyone experiences anxiety differently depending on their disorder and how their body process the worry. I, for example, never get any physical symptoms such as shaking, racing heart, feeling like I’m going to die etc, but I know people who do. My anxiety is characterised by a persistent feeling of dread and anxiety and an inability to concentrate, there have been a few occasions where I actually wondered if I was going mad. In a way I am glad I don’t have to deal with any physical symptoms because they sounds horrendous. Such symptoms can include:

  • dizziness
  • drowsiness and tiredness
  • pins and needles
  • irregular heartbeat (palpitations)
  • muscle aches and tension
  • dry mouth
  • excessive sweating
  • shortness of breath
  • stomach ache
  • nausea
  • diarrhoea
  • headache
  • excessive thirst
  • frequent urinating
  • painful or missed periods
  • difficulty falling or staying asleep (insomnia)
It is, in short, a horrible thing to experience, and it has ruined many experiences for me. I had an anxiety attack on my birthday this year for goodness sake, on a day I was relaxing and meant to be perfectly happy! Yet throw me into a situation other people would find stressful, a driving test or exam for example, and I wouldn’t be anxious at all! Worried yes, but not anxious or having any mental attacks. I do not understand my brain, and that is the problem for a lot of people, they don’t understand why anxiety happens to them.

I also want to make it clear that I am not depressed. I’ve been depressed before, I know what it feels like, and I know that anxiety and depression are two separate things. You can have anxiety and depression together, but one does not necessarily equal the other.

I do not have depression, I have an anxiety disorder – like I said, I like my life!

That quote there has inspired me me today – only you can help yourself, push yourself, and cure yourself. You can get help, you can speak to your doctor, you can have the support of family and friends, but at the end of the day only you can cure you. 
 
I refuse to be defined by my anxiety, I refuse to let myself factor anxiety as a facet of my personality, I refuse to let some random chemical reaction in my brain win.

In this spirit I thought I would share some of the things that help me and that I am going to try and do to help myself.

  • Exercise – absolutely invaluable for releasing happy hormones into the bloodstream and for working out anxiety and stress. If you don’t exercise regularly add it into your routine and I’ll be surprised if you don’t see a difference. A run can pound out anxiety and sadness, and something slower such as yoga can be calming.
  • Explain to people what’s happening to you – When I had an anxiety attack or felt anxious I used to keep it to myself and try and sort through it. Inevitably this led to people thinking I was being rude or acting weird. After some talks with my boyfriend and parents I realised that alerting them to the situation both helped them understand what was happening to me, and helped me deal with the attack because I could talk myself down by talking to them. For example, I felt anxiety coming on during a shopping trip with my boyfriend this week. Instead of hiding it, I told him what I was feeling and he took me for a cup of tea so we could sit down and I could relax. just babbling to him about anything and everything and sitting with a hot drink allowed the anxiety to pass and prevented a full blown panic attack.
  • Do something – I know this isn’t always possible during an anxiety/panic attack, but if you can, do something, anything. Call your friend, go outside, put on a youtube video. It helps you shift your mind down a few levels.
  • Accept it  – I used to pretend it wasn’t happening, or get stressed at myself for letting it happen. However, the last few weeks I’ve found that accepting the feelings and facing them head on works much better. This can be as simple as saying ‘ok, I feel anxious, I accept I feel anxious and I might not know why, but it will go away.’ If there is something I can do about a situation that will make me feel better I do it, if not I simply say to myself ‘there is nothing you can do right now’. Weirdly, accepting the feelings like this has made it easier to distract myself! The anxiety becomes background noise in my brain because I have recognised it, rather than at the forefront of my brain because I am trying to fight this if this makes sense? Usually I just browse some blogs, Pinterest, tweet etc and it goes away by itself.
  • CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) – I personally have not gone through this, but it has helped a lot of people and is definitely worth checking out. You can be referred through your doctor or there are programs online such as Moodgym.
The number one thing that, without a shadow of a doubt, has helped me is practicing meditation. It’s helped me so much I’m giving it its own paragraph!
There are numerous form of meditation, mindfulness, fantasy, mantra etc. Each can be practised by anyone and a quick google/pinterest/youtube search will bring you up any one you fancy. Meditation can be practiced at anytime, anywhere, by anyone. I try to do it every day, I used to do it on the train to my work experience placements!
I would highly recommend reading up on it – it would take me forever to explain it here! It has been proven that regular meditation changes the way your brain operates, including how it deals with anxiety! It teaches you to just allow yourself to be still, even if it is only for ten minutes. Check out this article for a good explanation.
It has always given me a great sense of peace, and if I do a meditation at night with a candle I always feel peaceful and relaxed for the rest of the evening. I do it in the mornings sometimes to prepare me for the day because it teaches me to relax and to observe my thoughts without letting them upset me.
I do this alongside deep breathing techniques, which in themselves are an amazing way to regain control of your body if you are feeling anxious. It can be as simple as breathing in for 4, holding for 3, and breathing out for 4 for 10 minutes. It relaxes the body, whether you are preparing for mediation or not.
Give it a try, what have you got to lose?

Positive mental attitude!

This is what I am going to try and do over the next few weeks every time I am feeling anxious. I’m going to count my blessings for all the amazing things in my life, my amazing parents, my lovely boyfriend, a roof over my head and money in my bank, a brain that has got me a fantastic degree, an enjoyment of life.
I am so lucky to have all these things and a whole life in front of me to explore, travel, learn, experience and wonder. I refuse to let anxiety ruin these things for me.
I don’t expect never to have an attack again or to be in control all the time, but like the quote says, I hold myself to a standard of grace, not perfection. I don’t expect to be magically cured ever, but I do expect myself to try to help myself. As the old saying goes, god helps those who help themselves!

This has been avery long post – but I hope anyone reading it who is suffering has got the message I want to put out there – you are not alone.

 

I would very much appreciate your comments or thoughts, experiences or questions in the comments. You are always free to email or tweet me about anything like this. Talking is a great therapy and I’m always happy to email back and forth with anyone who just wants a friendly voice. Thanks for reading.

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Product Rave – Bobbi Brown Corrector

Hey girls,

Today’s post is a rave about a product I cannot get enough of lately: Bobbi Brown’s Corrector in Light Bisque. Some of you will have seen it already in the haul I posted a few weeks back. Since then I’ve been giving it a good old road test and can happily report I love it. This little pot of joy comes everywhere with me in my makeup bag these days.

 Bobbi Brown’s Blurb:

A wake-up call for tired eyes. Corrector is pink- or peach-based to neutralise under-eye darkness and is designed to be used before Creamy Concealer. New and improved formula is long-wearing and brightens dark circles with quick, just-right coverage that’s easy to blend and won’t crease. And since great makeup starts with healthy skin, Corrector is infused with skin conditioners to protect the delicate under-eye area



Swatch:

Now I don’t suffer so much from bags (unless it’s been an extremely heavy night, you know?) as from discoloration. Most mornings I wake up with some form of purple shadow under my eyes, attractive, I know. 


My shade is Light Bisque and, as you can see from the picture, is a lovely pink based cream. I find this extremely easy to use, I simply use my ring finger (lightest touch) to warm up the cream and then dab it under my eyes until all the discoloration is covered. I prefer using my ring finger to a brush because I find it warms the product better and I feel like I’m dragging on my skin less. This product is so good I can usually get away without using a concealer on top because my under eye area is brightened up so much. This lasts all day on me and barely creases. I think any creasing that happens is just due to my under eye area, which is quite dry and lined; I’ve yet to find any product that doesn’t crease. 

Overall I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how much I love this product. It’s made its way into my 5 minute makeup routine which is the highest accolade I can give a product. If I use it on those morning I rush out the door it can be considered essential! So I’d recommend it with a happy heart to any of my readers.

In other news I treated myself to a manicure today. I can’t even remember the last time I had one so it was lovely to be pampered for once. I went to a new salon that’s just opened up in my uni town and was delighted with the quality of service. I went for a blue shade that’s a dupe of OPI’s Ink. Can you tell I feel like the winter season is approaching?


Any more Bobbi Brown recommendations for me?

 

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Another Product Rave – Chanel Soleil de Tan Chanel (Bronze Universal)

Hey Girls,


A product rave for you today featuring yet another cult product in the beauty world – Chanel Soleil de Tan Chanel aka Bronze Universal. 

 I cannot tell you how much research I did into this product before I decided to buy it; but eventually the rave reviews online convinced me this was a must have. However, as those of you who read my haul post will know, it took me six months and going to another continent to get my hands on it. Chanel are apparently having problems getting stock of this beauty into the UK right now. Needless to say when I had the chance in Chicago I grabbed it.

I am so glad I did. This may have the HG status when it comes to my bronzers.

I know it may be expensive but look at the whacking 30g of product you get for your buck. Trust me, this baby is going to last you forever because you need the tiniest amount to get amazing colour payoff. I’ve barely even made a dent in the surface and I use it every day.
 
The packaging is superb. Luxurious, heavy and undoubtedly the type of product you’d keep sitting on your dressing table to admire. The product within is akin in texture to a hard mousse. Swirl a brush (or your finger) in it for a few seconds though and it warms up to deliver a delightful bronze dollop of colour. I literally just need to dab my brush (usually a Sigma F80) in once per area I’m bronzing (cheek, forehead, chin, nose etc) and I have enough product to blend evenly over my face. 
 
When applied the product blends evenly without feeling heavy on my skin and, most importantly, is not orange! Here’s a swatch to prove it:

 
It is without a doubt one of the best matte bronzers I own for not pulling orange in any way shape or form. It leaves me with a natural looking glow that I can amp up or down by adding more/less. Plus, this is great for contouring, it leaves me with the cheekbones I never had without looking like I’ve just put orange crayon stripes down my cheeks.

I would recommend using synthetic brushes with this product though, as I know from reading other reviews that a lot of brushes shed like a mofo when put in this product.

This is the product I blame for my current love affair with Chanel. I literally cannot get enough of the brand right now, you should see my wishlist, it makes my bank balance tremble in fear.

What do you think of this bronzer? Any Chanel recommendations for me?

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Xen Tan Dark Lotion Review

Hey girls,

Here is my promised review of the Xen Tan Dark Lotion, aka my current favourite tanner!

Xen Tan States:

 

Dark Lotion gives you a rich, natural olive tan that looks great for up to 10 days. Easy to apply, it goes on evenly, smells delicious and instantly creates a gorgeous streak-free finish you’ll love.

 

 

Packed with rich moisturisers and premium ingredients, Dark Lotion glides onto skin and leaves it feeling nourished and silky smooth. Enriched with coconut and walnut oils, it helps you achieve a stunningly natural olive tan that’s exceptionally longwearing. And to make sure you enjoy a beautifully balanced result, it doesn’t gather at the ankles or elbows, and fades evenly.

 

 

With Xen-Tan, you’re in complete control and the depth of colour is up to you. Simply apply a thin coat for a lighter tan, or apply a second layer for a deeper olive finish.

 

 

Easy to use thanks to the handy pump dispenser, each bottle of Xen-Tan Dark Lotion gives an average of 6-7 full face and body tans. 

 

I think:

 

Xen Tan make a lot of bold claims here and to give them their due they manage to live up to most of them.

 

Application: Goes on smoothly and evenly and most importantly for me doesn’t streak! Smells like marzipan when It first goes on (not my favourite but I can live with it) but you always get that traditional biscuit smell after a while as the DHA releases. Still the smell isn’t as bad as half the tans I’ve tried – yes you St Mortiz, yuck! The added ingredients do make this a pleasure to apply and my skin always feels nice and hydrated afterwards.

 

 

 

Wear: The prodcut lives up to the claims that you can build the colour up. Being a tan junkie I tend to put on two coats, this turns me a lovely olive hue, no hint of orange in sight. As for the wear, my personal preference is to be quite dark so I usually apply every 5 days, however if you moisturise regularly this tan can last evenly for a week. An added bonus is the fact it fades evenly, so no tell tale patches. The only reason I have build up round my ankles is because I use it so often and am awful at scrubbing it all off!

 

 

 

Value for money: Xen Tan states you should get 6 – 7 full body applications from this bottle but in my experience you tend to get more. I had a bottle for a month and a half, faithfully applying every 5 days, and I still had a little left in the bottle when I bought a new one. Bearing in mind I use two coats all over my body I could easily get 10 applications for this. Major value for money, especially when you buy from www.feelunique.com, where a bottle only cost 17.99. Bargain.

 

 

 

Overall verdict: I’ll give this a big thumbs up and will be repurchasing for the end of summer without a doubt. Would highly recommend this to anyone looking for a long lasting, olive tan.

 

Naked skin with tan scrubbed off

 

 

 

 

 

One light coat to give a summer glow

 I’m off to get a Fak Bake spray tan tomorrow so will post up pictures then and let you all see. I’ve heard good things about Fake Bake and it’ll be nice to have someone else do my tan for once!

 

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