Friday 29 March 2013

Current Haircare Routine

When it comes to haircare my main concern is trying to stop my hair from looking dry and straw like. I've been bleaching my hair this colour since 2006 with a one year break in 2009 so I've tried a fair few treatments in my time. I've noticed the last few times I've washed & styled my hair its been looking better & healthier than ever, even more so than when I sported my natural hair colour. I think I've finally got my haircare routine locked down to these few products so this might be helpful to anyone with dry or damaged hair.

L'Oréal Professionnel Serie Expert Silver Shampoo / Tigi Bed Head Urban Antidotes Resurrection Shampoo & Conditioner / Neal & Wolf Harmony Intensive Care Treatment*

I've used an absolute ton of different purple shampoos but the L'Oreal silver shampoo is the best one if you just want to eliminate all signs of brassyness. I found that many others would leave my hair tinted rather than just white blonde. Clairol Shimmer Lights often left my hair with blue tones & Lee Stafford's offering made my hair really pinky. Purple shampoos are normally quite drying too but the L'Oreal one keeps my hair feeling soft. I picked up the Tigi Urban Antidotes duo in TK Maxx but you can find them just as cheaply online. I really like all the Tigi duos because the bottles are so big they last for months. I used to use the Dumb Blonde ones but switched to Urban Antidotes as these are specialised towards extremely damaged hair. Over time this duo has definitely helped to strengthen my hair and reduce breakage. They also have the most amazing bubblegum scent. A product I recently introduced into my haircare routine is the Neal & Wolf Harmony Intensive Care Treatment. I received this at a blogger meetup and when I tried it I couldn't believe the difference it made! It has worked so much better than every other conditioning treatment I've tried including those expensive Kerastase ones. This is a must buy product if you have dry or damaged hair. It just makes my hair look so healthy & glossy. Neal & Wolf are a brand I definitely need to investigate more because if the rest of their products are as good as this I am converted!

Philip Kingsley Elasticizer

I am rather lazy when it comes to my hair so I don't use this product very often but when I do, the difference is just incredible. Elasticizer is a pre-shampoo treatment so it is a bit of a faff to use. You have to wet your hair, apply it, put on a shower cap and then leave it in for ages before shampooing it off. You can leave it in for just 20 minutes or overnight if you prefer. I like to apply it to the ends of my hair and leave it overnight before washing it out in the morning. It restores your hair to almost virgin condition making it feel silky & sleek. This product can also help with hair growth if you use it often enough as one of the main ingredients is castor oil. It is very expensive for a hair treatment but worth every penny.

Kérastase Ciment Thermique / Moroccanoil / Bumble & Bumble Brilliantine / Alterna Caviar Rapid Repair Spray

I'm still using my Ciment Thermique & Moroccanoil combo as my blow dry base products. Together they give me the perfect amount of heat protection & moisture. A couple of months ago I added Bumble & Bumble Brilliantine to the mix and this stuff is basically a good hair day in a tube. You can use it on wet or dry hair to add definition and lots of shine. I've started to use this through the lengths and ends of my hair before blow drying and it just completely renews my hair. It makes my ends look super healthy, like I've just had a trim even though my last hair appointment was a few months ago. So much love for this product! After I've finished drying my hair I like to use a bit of the Alterna Caviar Rapid Repair Spray to add even more shine & get rid of any fluffyness. I've never come across a finishing spray as lovely as this one & it smells divine to boot!

Babyliss Pro Speed 2100W Hair Dryer / Babyliss Big Hair Rotating Styler

I always have to blow dry my hair as I cannot stand having wet hair. Air drying would just make my hair stringy and lifeless anyway. I don't really like to use a curler or straightener so blow drying allows me to get the shape I desire. I know its not the best thing to do to your hair but I only wash my hair once a week and use heat protection products every time so I guess its not too bad. First of all I blast my hair with my hair dryer and run through it with my fingers. I use a Babyliss Pro Speed hair dryer which is really brilliant. I'm pretty loyal to Babyliss when it comes to hair dryers, they always last me years. Theres a newer model of this now but this one is still going strong. When my hair is almost dry but still a bit damp I switch over to my Babyliss Big Hair styler to add volume and shape. I couldn't live without this styler. It just gives you a perfect blow dry without all the effort of sectioning your hair and drying it against a round bristle brush which can be quite tricky to do by yourself. I never used to be able to do it as well as my hairdresser but Big Hair really does help to give you that professional blow dry at home look.

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Monday 25 March 2013

Estee Lauder Pure Colour Crystal Baby Lipstick

Estee Lauder Pure Colour Crystal Baby Lipstick - £19.50

As much as I adore brightly coloured lipsticks, the shades I find myself reaching for most often are those soft baby pinks. They're just so wearable and appropriate for both day and night. Theres a plethora of lipsticks out there that fall under the 'my lips but better' category - a natural colour that adds a little oomph to your pout - but for me Estee Lauder's Crystal Baby is the ultimate. This shade is actually fairly dark and has a lot of brown in it which adds to the natural effect. This is more than your average nude pink, it has depth and dimension which gives the illusion of plumper lips. It's incredibly flattering because it is so close to being a natural lip colour. This is the kind of shade I think that every woman should own.

The Estee Lauder Pure Colour lipsticks have such an amazing formula. They have the most perfect creamy texture and just the right amount of shine. They simply glide onto your lips. I find them really moisturising & they feel so light to wear. It almost feels like a lip balm but with the staying power of a highly pigmented lippie. Crystal Baby normally lasts on me until I eat something but it does fade very evenly. Estee Lauder lipsticks also have a lovely slightly floral scent which makes them a real pleasure to use. Plus the packaging is just too pretty to ignore!

What's your favourite 'my lips but better' lipstick?

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Monday 18 March 2013

Daisy Daisy

Dress - Lashes Of London* / Belt - Urban Outfitters / Shoes - Topshop / Socks - Topshop
Headband - Primark / Necklace - Primark / Bracelet - H&M

Couldn't resist yet another neon outfit! Along with pinafores its definitely my favourite fashion trend so far this year. This dress is from Lashes Of London and is so perfect for Spring. Underneath the girly white embroidered exterior lies a bright neon yellow layer which gives it a nice twist. Its quite loose fitting so wearing a belt with it is essential but I really like the smock shape. Its really comfy too so I'm sure I'll be wearing it all the time when the weather picks up a bit. I paired it with a really old floral headband from Primark & my Topshop Kerb2 T-bar shoes. I've been looking forward to putting these shoes on again for ages, they're my fave Spring/Summer pair. I feel like a bit of a schizophrenic when it comes to fashion. Sometimes I just wear a variation of black jeans, boots & a shirt for weeks on end and other times I can't get enough of super girly dresses. At the minute I'm completely embracing that school girl vibe. I even ordered this pinafore from Topshop last night. Maybe having to dress a toddler is rubbing off on my own fashion sense!

After years of doing outfit photos from my knees up and separate shots of my shoes, I've finally found a setup that lets me get in a full body shot. The lighting is a bit rubbish and makes my face look about ten shades darker than my legs but they are the same colour really! Do you prefer this format? I think it gives a better look at my whole outfit so I think I'm gonna try to do my photos like this from now on.

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Saturday 16 March 2013

Clarins Gentle Exfoliator Brightening Toner

Clarins Gentle Exfoliator Brightening Toner - £25

I know you're all probably bored of me banging on about Alpha-H Liquid Gold by now but it has been my skin saviour for almost a year. Sadly I have to say that it doesn't quite give me the same results anymore. Theres still a visible difference every time I use it but nothing compared to what it did when I first tried it out. Maybe its because I only use it once a week but I guess my skin has just become used to the product. A few of the closed comedones on my cheeks & forehead have begun to make a very unwelcome reappearance and while my skin is otherwise 'good' now (touch wood!), those horrible flesh coloured bumps still get me down. Ideally I wish I could use Liquid Gold every night to sort them out but I'm sure that overdosing on such a high percentage of glycolic acid would just make my skin very red & sensitive. I've even heard of people whose skin has become blistered and raw after their first use of Liquid Gold so I don't want to risk that happening to me. But I think I may have found a safer alternative & its widely available in Boots & department stores across the country - Clarins Gentle Exfoliator Brightening Toner.

It works in a similar way to Liquid Gold in that it is also a chemical exfoliant. As the name suggests you use this product as a toner. After cleansing apply a generous amount to a cotton pad and wipe it all over your face & neck. You then have to wait a couple of minutes before continuing with the rest of your skincare routine but afterwards you can apply whatever serum, eye cream, moisturiser etc. that you normally use. The instructions say to only use it once or twice a week, the same amount as Liquid Gold, but this is so mild on the skin that you can actually use it as a daily product. Its so much gentler on the skin than physical exfoliants yet more potent at the same time.

I've been using it almost every night before applying Hydraluron, Alpha-H Absolute Eye Complex & Origins High Potency Night-A-Mins. It has significantly reduced the amount of closed comedones on my face and leaves my skin feeling really soft & smooth. No adverse effects whatsoever, not even the slightest sting or tingle. You won't see an immediate visual difference like with Liquid Gold but over a couple of weeks you'll start to notice what a difference it makes to the texture of your skin. Clarins say that the main ingredients are tamarind extract which eliminates impurities & dead skin cells and white nettle extract which tightens pores but it also contains glycolic, salicylic & tartaric acid. These AHAs and BHAs help to treat existing blemishes as well as prevent new ones from appearing. It has also helped to reduce the scars left from old spots so my skin looks brighter & clearer in general. Just don't forget to wear sun protection during the day as the glycolic acid will make you more sensitive to the sun. If you've tried Liquid Gold and found it to be too harsh or you're too scared to try something so powerful then this is a brilliant & more readily available alternative for people with sensitive skin.

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Friday 15 March 2013

New Nails: Illamasqua Scarce Nail Varnish

Illamasqua Scarce Nail Varnish - £14.50

Illamasqua recently launched their I'mperfection collection, a celebration of everything that makes you unique. While I love the idea of embracing who you are through your makeup it is also a concept that seems quite scary to me. I'm definitely not one for embracing my imperfections and often seek to cover up my freckles, blemishes & scarring with the heaviest foundation I can find. However this collection brought us five new nail polishes inspired by imperfections in nature which is something I can totally get on board with. These speckled polishes resemble colourful birds eggs or everyone's fave Easter treat - Cadbury's Mini Eggs. After much deliberation I decided to purchase Scarce, a speckled baby pink. There are four other polishes available: Freckle is a speckled nude, Fragile is a speckled blue, Mottle is a speckled green and Speckle is a speckled purple. They're all beautiful but as a pink lover I had to go for Scarce.

This polish is simply adorable! I love the combo of the tiny black dots and the slightly larger hexagonal pieces. It really does give you that random birds egg effect. Scarce is almost opaque in one coat but looks its best after two. You'll want to use two anyway to get the maximum amount of speckles on your nails. I normally can't stand the feel of glitter on my nails and have to finish them off with a coat of Seche Vite but the black particles in this don't actually feel too bad. Its also super shiny so you get that nice gelly finish even without a top coat. Although Freckle is touted as the nude polish in this collection I would say that Scarce is actually the nuder shade. Its a really subtle colour that adds a slight hint of pink to your nails with the gorgeous matte black glitter thrown in there to jazz them up a bit. The quality of every Illamasqua nail polish I've tried has been impeccable and they hardly ever chip. I normally find that I can wear them for about seven days with only a couple of chips. I really love this polish & I can't tell you how hard I'm finding it to not order the rest of them! Which colour would you go for?

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Monday 11 March 2013

Mother's Day

Jacket - H&M / Jumper - H&M / Shirt - American Apparel / Skirt - Missguided* / Tights - Missguided*
Boots - Topshop / Bag - Zara / Bolo Tie - Topshop / Bracelet - H&M / Watch - Michael Kors / Chloe's Dress - H&M

I know that probably only a small percentage of my readers are mothers themselves but I hope everyone had a nice Mother's Day yesterday. I sent my mum some pretty cards and photos from me & Chloe. Its a shame I couldn't actually spend the day with her but I saw her earlier in the week anyway. As a newly single mum I wasn't really expecting to get anything considering Chloe isn't even three yet and spends pretty much every waking minute with me. So I was very lucky to be treated to some new clothes by Missguided especially for Mother's Day! A couple of the things I picked out were this neon pink skirt & these heart print tights. I'm only 24 and despite being a mum I don't necessarily feel the need to dress 'mumsy'. I think its more important to dress how you want to dress so you don't lose your identity once you become a parent. I'm loving everything neon at the minute and anything with hearts on is a winner for me. I like that I kinda match with Chloe's neon pink fox & heart dress from H&M haha. Lets just take a minute to appreciate how cute these tights are. Think I might need to order the kitty ones next!

I wore this on Sunday for a trip to Meadowhall as we wanted to find Chloe some presents for her birthday next month but the only thing we came out with is the Daisy Duck toy you can see her clinging on to. Ah well I've got like six Disney princess outfits in my Amazon shopping basket for her so she'll still get spoiled! I wore the same thing on Saturday for the FABB bloggers event in Leeds. Its always lovely to catch up with the girls I've met in the past as well as meeting a few new faces. Loved chatting with Elizabeth who is an absolute sweetheart & she wears some gorgeous dresses on her blog so go check it out if you haven't already! I really enjoyed the presentations from Best British Bloggers & Ark Clothing. Pretty sure I need to buy everything that Hearts & Bows have in stock, especially this beaut of a skirt! Can't wait for the next event :)

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Tuesday 5 March 2013

February Favourites

Bumble & Bumble Brilliantine
Bleaching my hair for so many years has pretty much damaged it beyond repair so I'm forever trying out new products to stop it from looking quite so dead. My latest discovery is Bumble & Bumble's Brilliantine. This versatile cream can be used on wet or dry hair. When used on wet hair it leaves your hair looking ever so sleek and shiny. But I normally just use it on my dry hair to add a bit of definition and polish to my hair. It smooths down my frizz and weightlessly gives the perfect amount of hold to my style. Its great for adding some soft texture to your hair too. This is also the only product I've found that can sort out the birds nest on top of Chloe's head without making her fine baby hairs look super greasy.

Alpha-H Absolute Eye Complex
I got this full size tube for free when I repurchased my beloved Liquid Gold and I'm really enjoying using it. Its a very light gel yet somehow it seems to hydrate my undereye area so much better than any cream eye product ever did. I guess its due to the presence of hyaluronic acid in it which, as all other Hydraluron fans will know, is brilliant at locking moisture into your skin. I found that cream products were often too rich for me resulting in unsightly milia. Luckily Absolute Eye Complex also helps to reduce those. Its really cooling so feels especially nice to apply first thing in the morning and it helps to tighten up that whole area which is bound to keep any fine lines & wrinkles at bay. My dark circles seem a teeny bit brighter but theres not really been any noticeable difference in that department. Only time will tell if it can live up to it's claims. I would say that my eyes certainly look less baggy & puffy since I started using it so its doing a great job so far.

Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer
This product has always had a lot of hype in the beauty world but it wasn't until Peaches Geldof started singing its praises as her favourite concealer & foundation that I paid any attention to it. Its basically a thick and creamy tiny pot of colour. You can't really use it straight unless cake face is the look you're going for. But I love that you can mix it with so many different products such as BB creams & primers to custom make a foundation that delivers the level of coverage and finish that you desire. You only need a really small dot of this stuff every time you use it so despite its miniature package, it'll last for ages. Expect a full review of this soon but for now lets just say I'm completely loving it!

NUXE Huile Prodigieuse
When I had a mini makeover in Space.NK & purchased the aforementioned Sensual Skin Enhancer, the MUA mixed it with a really lovely By Terry dry oil. Knowing the redonkulous price of By Terry products I asked if there were any other dry oils I could mix it with. She mentioned that the NUXE Huile Prodigieuse was also really good and I happened to have a couple of sample bottles laying around the house. So when I got home I tried it out and they are such a lovely combo. This is currently my favourite thing to mix the Sensual Skin Enhancer with. It sheers out the colour nicely without overloading your face with excess oil and delivers a gorgeously glowing finish. You're left with a flawless base and your skin is getting all the nourishing benefits of this wonder oil.

Origins High Potency Night-A-Mins
This is probably the best night cream I have ever used. I only wish I had purchased it sooner. It really packs a wallop when it comes to hydration! When I apply this my skin immediately feels smoother, softer & plumper. I love how luxurious it feels on my skin and it smells incredible too. Despite being quite a thick cream it manages to sink deeply into your skin so those vitamins can really get to work. The morning after I've applied this product to my skin, my complexion is left looking a whole lot brighter. It helps to even out my skintone and reduce redness as well as leaving my skin feeling perfectly moisturised. Great stuff!

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