Tuesday, 8 March 2016

February Favourites

House Of Lashes Dark Eyelash Adhesive
I've always used Duo Lash Adhesive to apply my falsies & in general I was pretty happy with it. However I didn't really like the squeezy tube or how long it would take to become tacky & I would often jump the gun trying to apply false lashes before the glue was ready. There's nothing more annoying than spending ages perfecting your eye makeup just to mess it up with lash adhesive. I adore the eyelash styles from House Of Lashes (Iconic lashes are my fave!) & had heard so many good things about their lash glue. I got the dark version because it's easier to blend in with my eyeliner & I absolutely love it! It gets tacky right away & keeps my lashes in place all day. The glue is latex-free & completely waterproof but that can make it difficult to remove. It comes with a brush-on applicator which is less messy & very precise. The only thing I'm not so keen on is the scent. It's got a slight floral fragrance which is certainly better than the fishy odour of Duo but still a bit weird. It soon goes away after the glue dries though. Overall I really like this lash glue & it makes applying false lashes a breeze.

Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution Lipstick in Between The Sheets
My obsession with Charlotte Tilbury's makeup range knows no bounds & whenever she brings out something new, I have to buy it immediately. I'm a huge fan of the Matte Revolution lipsticks & couldn't resist snapping up her new rose petal pink shade called Between The Sheets. The last thing I needed to buy was yet another pink lipstick but I fell in love with her first date makeup look & the model's lips looked so pretty in this tutorial. I really love the Matte Revolution formula as the lipsticks are creamy & don't dry out your lips. They don't look flat either as they contain 3D glowing pigments which give the appearance of wider & fuller lips that almost look lit-from-within. The square tip is also fantastic for precision application. The longevity isn't great for a matte lipstick but the romantic pink colour of Between The Sheets is too dreamy to miss out on.

Maria Nila Luminous Colour Shampoo
My hair is currently a gorgeous shade of grey all thanks to my new hairdressers. To keep it that way between hair appointments I use various silver shampoos but I felt that the rest of my haircare routine was slightly lacking. I was using some Alterna & Tresemme products to wash my hair but they weren't that great for maintaining the colour or the condition. Instagram is full of people with fabulous locks & I noticed some of my favourite pink haired ladies posting about these Maria Nila products. So I went to Sally's & bought a few items from the Luminous Colour range. These products are specially designed for coloured hair as they boost softness & shine whilst rebuilding the hair structure. They feature pomegranate extract and a colour guard complex which protect hair & reduce the loss of colour associated with washing, heat styling, UV rays & free radicals. They are also sulphate & paraben-free. Not only do they smell incredible but my hair has never looked better! I still have a few broken pieces from excess bleaching but this stuff smooths them down beautifully so my hair looks much fuller & healthier. My hair feels super soft & light after washing but it's completely frizz-free. The condition of my hair has improved so much since I started using this range & I've had hardly any breakage as a result. Maria Nila's Luminous Colour Shampoo & Conditioner are hands down the best products I have ever washed my hair with. You need to try them!

Superfacialist Probiotic Skin Recovery Day Cream
In my opinion Superfacialist By Una Brennan is one of the very best drugstore skincare brands. Their products combine potent natural extracts with high performance active ingredients which is something I tend to look for when buying new skincare items. You get the best of both worlds that way & in my experience, the best results. A few months ago they brought out a product range harnessing the healing power of probiotics. This range claims to gently yet effectively hydrate, balance & rejuvenate sensitised, stress damaged or overly treated skin. A couple of the products I tried were complete duds but the Skin Recovery Day Cream has fast become my go-to moisturiser. It has such a lovely texture that feels light yet nourishing & immediately calms down any irritation or redness. It deeply hydrates the skin & features a small amount of lactic acid for a softer, smoother complexion. I think it's a brilliant moisturiser & a great base for longer lasting makeup.

Viridian 100% Organic Raw Coconut Oil*
After 10 years of having stretched ear lobes I finally said goodbye to my tunnels last month. I still loved them & was very sad to get rid of them. I would've gladly worn them forever. Unfortunately for some reason my ears had gotten really irritated & no amount of salt soaks or oil massages would calm them down so long as I continued to wear earrings. I hadn't stretched them recently or done anything differently so I don't really know what happened there. I finally admitted defeat & took them out which left me with some rather fetching holes in my ears. Stretched lobes look kinda gross if you're not wearing earrings in them so I needed to shrink them down as fast as possible whilst soothing the inflamed skin. In order to do just that I decided to try massaging them with this coconut oil from Viridian Nutrition. Any coconut oil would do but this adorable little pot is the perfect size to keep on my bedside table as you only need a small amount of oil for your ear lobes. I started massaging them about three times a day which reduced the redness, removed the dead skin & most importantly healed up my holes. It's been about three weeks since I took the earrings out & they already look pretty much back to normal. I don't think I would stretch my ears up again even though I do really miss my sparkly white tunnels!

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Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Superfacialist By Una Brennan Probiotic Skincare

Drugstore skincare brands have come on leaps & bounds over the years. As lovely as it is to use luxury skincare products, you really don't need to spend a fortune to get good skin. One affordable brand that I always recommend is Superfacialist By Una Brennan. Whilst picking up a fresh bottle of my fave cleansing oil I noticed that there were some new Superfacialist products on the shelves, namely the Probiotic skincare range. Whenever I spot something new in Boots I always Google the hell out of it in store to see if there are any reviews or swatches but I could hardly find any information about these new products. So I took it upon myself to try all three items & find out if they were as brilliant as the rest of the Superfacialist products.

Probiotics are kind of a big deal in skincare right now. Aurelia are highly regarded for their probiotic skincare range & I've personally found that taking probiotic supplements has helped to calm down my skin. Aurelia's products are pretty pricey though so it's good to know that there's a high street alternative. We are often told that one of the main causes of acne is bacteria on the skin but apparently there is a difference between bad & good bacteria, just like in the gut. Each product in the Probiotic range contains a unique blend of healthy bacteria, anti-ageing actives & skin soothing naturals which claim to protect, balance & rejuvenate for a renewed, healthier complexion. The collection comprises of a micellar water, day cream & night cream. This range is ideal for all skin types but it is especially suited to those with sensitised, stressed or damaged skin.

The first item I picked up was the Superfacialist Probiotic Micellar Cleansing Water (£6.99). I've been using Bioderma for years now & am rarely tempted to try other micellar waters. In fact I really wish I hadn't bothered. This is one of the worst makeup removers I have ever tried. In theory it sounds like a really nice cleansing water with the soothing probiotic complex, refreshing echinacea & cucumber extracts as well as hyaluronic acid for an extra hit of hydration. However in reality this liquid struggles to remove a light layer of foundation let alone eye makeup. It feels soapy & froths up slightly as you sweep it over the skin. It made my eyes sting & my face feel raw. I dread to think what this could do to someone with hypersensitive skin. Please don't waste your money on this, it's awful.

Despite my terrible experience with the micellar water I decided to persevere with the other two products in the Probiotic range - the Superfacialist Probiotic Skin Recovery Day Cream (£14.99) & the Superfacialist Probiotic Overnight Skin Recovery Cream (£15.99). These moisturisers claim to intensely hydrate & soothe the skin whilst promoting cell renewal. The main difference between the two is that the day cream contains arnica & aloe vera whereas the night cream has bisabolol. Both feature shea butter, glycerin & sunflower seed oil for hydration as well as probiotics, allantoin, peptides & lactic acid. Together these ingredients boost collagen production, reduce inflammation & reinforce the skin barrier, protecting it from external aggressors.

I've been using both of these moisturisers for a couple of months now & they've definitely had a positive effect on my skin. I absolutely love the Skin Recovery Day Cream. It has such a lovely gel creme texture & makes my skin feel super soft. It calms down any redness & irritation whilst preventing the formation of blemishes. The high glycerin content means that this moisturiser also works well as a primer & my makeup stays on all day long without the need for further products. The only problem is that I can't really tell the difference between the day cream & the night cream. To be honest I kinda feel like I wasted my money buying both. At night I normally like to use a richer cream to really amp up the moisture levels in my skin but the Overnight Skin Recovery Cream doesn't feel any more hydrating than the day cream. I have to mix it with a facial oil otherwise it doesn't really nourish my skin as much as I would like it to. I could just as easily mix an oil into the day cream & use that twice a day instead.

Although the Skin Recovery Day Cream has become my go-to moisturiser, I can't help but feel a bit disappointed with these new additions to the Superfacialist range. The micellar water is a load of rubbish & the night cream seems to be pretty much the same as the day cream, just packaged in a different coloured tube. They might have ever so slightly different ingredients but the texture of the creams & the effect they have on the skin are too similar to justify purchasing both. I am still very fond of the day cream so this experience hasn't put me off the brand or the idea of probiotic skincare in general. Just know that there are plenty of other gems to be found in the Superfacialist lineup!

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Monday, 8 February 2016

New Stationery For 2016

There are few things I love buying more than new pieces of stationery. I spend so much of my time working on my computer & looking at my phone but I actually much prefer writing everything down on paper. I find it quite therapeutic & it allows me to make notes freely without the confines of technology. I always used to look forward to buying new pads & pens in September ready for the next school year but nowadays I only really buy stationery at the start of the new calendar year. I've been struggling with self-motivation for the past few months but planning everything out in lists & diaries makes me feel a lot more organised and in control of my life.

One item that I buy every year & will continue to do so until they stop making them is a Frankie diary. I love absolutely everything about the way they're designed as the spreads illustrated by Sara Hingle are both beautiful & highly useful. The 2016 diary is bound in sunshine yellow cloth with grey debossed type. It comes in A5 size which fits perfectly on my desk & in my Sailor Moon backpack. As well as the spacious diary pages it also includes gift tags, tear-out forget-me-nots, sticker sheets, addresses, birthdays & a handy conversions page. You also get a pocket at the back for storing any extra stuff you need. Frankie Magazine is based in Australia so you have to import it & delivery can take a couple of weeks. I've never had any problems with customs though & it's well worth waiting for!

I started Slimming World back in September & have done pretty well so far! However one thing that I really disliked about starting was having to fill in those tiny little food diaries. There was hardly any room on the page for me to log my food properly. The concept is good as it forces you to be more mindful about what you're putting in your mouth but the design was impractical. So to ensure I continue to get some decent losses each week I decided to start a new food diary. I spent ages searching for a format that I liked & eventually I came across Lollipop Designs. I ordered their pastel weekly planner pad & it's utterly perfect as a Slimming World diary. It has six columns into which I enter my breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, water intake & syns. I also got their three good things notebook. I was mainly drawn to it because of the super cute heart design but it actually works as a great little positivity journal. It also inspired me to create a new series of blog posts focusing on three products within a certain theme so look out for that soon!

My wall calendar this year is a Slimming World one. I got this a few months ago as a freebie with their monthly magazine. Each month comes with a scrumptious seasonal recipe & I can't wait to give some of them a go! I've hung it in my kitchen for inspiration when cooking & to remind me to stay on plan when I can.

Self care is incredibly important for both your physical & mental health. If you're feeling stressed you need to make sure that you take the time to do some of the activities that nurture you. Last year I went on several self-help courses & mindfulness was something that we often touched upon. One way of practicing mindfulness is colouring. It's an easy way to calm the mind & occupy the hands. The repetitive action of colouring in focuses the brain on the present, blocking out any intrusive thoughts. These kind of colouring books are everywhere at the minute & I decided to give them a try. I spotted a lightning deal on Amazon for these Art Of Mindfulness colouring books. I only paid £8 for all four books which was such a bargain! The paper stock is fairly good quality so my pens don't bleed through the pages & they feature a lovely range of illustrations. Chloe loves colouring too so we often do it together now!

I also bought some new pens & pencils to go with my new colouring books. I didn't want to use all of my fancy design pens just for colouring in (especially if Chloe's going to use them too!) so I ordered the Staedtler Triplus fineliner pens and the Staedtler Ergosoft triangular colouring pencils. Loads of people used these at uni as they're excellent quality & draw very smoothly. The pen colours are vibrant & smudgeproof. The pencils are richly coloured with soft, break-resistant lead. They're both colouring book & child friendly so I'd definitely recommend these if you're wanting to get into adult colouring books. Plus they come packaged in these really handy stand-up cases!

My obsession with washi tape is still going strong. You can decorate so many different things with them & they also look great when used as photo props. I'm always on the lookout for bold new colours & patterns. Of course I love anything sparkly so I recently ordered some rolls of glitter washi tape from eBay. They do loads of different colours but I went for gold, silver & pink glitter. They all look so pretty! I especially like using them when wrapping presents. Glitter may be the herpes of craft supplies but that's not an issue with these awesome glittery washi tapes!

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