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!

twitter / tumblr / youtube / instagram / bloglovin'

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!

twitter / tumblr / youtube / instagram / bloglovin'

Thursday 4 February 2016

January Favourites

BECCA Backlight Priming Filter
Strobing is probably the biggest makeup trend at the minute & I couldn't be any happier about it. I am obsessed with glowing skin & practically bathe in highlighter. It makes my face come alive & balances out a matte base. BECCA have truly mastered the highlighter with liquid, cream & powder versions of their incredible Shimmering Skin Perfectors but I've recently been loving their new Backlight Priming Filter. It's a radiance-boosting primer that really gives you that look of being 'lit from within'. It is fairly similar to their original liquid SSP in Moonstone but slightly thicker in texture which makes it a better base for makeup. The sheen this gives the skin is beautifully pearlescent, never glittery & neutral in tone. Used alone it actually balances it out my complexion & gives me that perfect healthy looking glow that only catwalk models seem to have. Often radiance primers can disappear once you apply foundation but this stuff is still clearly visible under light, medium & full coverage base products. It instantly perks up dull skin & provides the ultimate dewy canvas for the rest of your makeup.

Oskia Renaissance Cleansing Gel
My skin has been awfully dry lately thanks to a combination of cold weather & central heating. It was clear that I needed to make some minor adjustments to my skincare routine so I bought a couple of things to better nourish my skin. I normally use a cleansing oil followed by a gel cleanser twice a day but that's not really necessary in the morning. I decided to go back to using a balm cleanser & after avoiding the hype that follows this Oskia cleanser for so long I finally cracked. The Renaissance Cleansing Gel is enriched with pumpkin enzymes, vitamins A, C & E, starflower oil & MSM. This wonderful blend of ingredients gently exfoliates, restores & soothes providing all of the things that my skin was crying out for. The texture of this cleanser is unlike any other. It is dispensed as a pink gel, feels like balm, melts into the skin like an oil & then goes full circle, washing off with the ease of a gel cleanser. My skin is left feeling smooth, soft & hydrated without any residue. It also has a gorgeous rose scent that reminds me of Turkish Delight! I only wish I'd given in to the hype sooner.

Liz Earle Superskin Concentrate
The other item I bought to sort out my dry/dehydrated skin was the Liz Earle Superskin Concentrate. I was in need of a new facial oil & considered repurchasing either Balance Me's Radiance Oil or Trilogy's Rosehip Oil. I also considered trying something new like Sarah Chapman's Morning Facial or Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Concentrate. In the end I had a look in my skincare stash & found a tiny vial of this stuff. It's been a long time since I've used any Liz Earle products but when I first started getting into skincare I ordered from them all the time & they always sent out little samples of this oil. My skin absolutely lapped it up so I splashed out on a big bottle because I preferred the pump packaging to the rollerball. The Superskin Concentrate features plenty of skin-friendly oils including avocado, rosehip, argan, lavender, hazelnut, neroli & chamomile plus vitamin E. Massaging this into the skin feels like such a treat. The natural scent is divine & helps send me off to sleep quicker. The oil is really nourishing & whenever I use it I wake up with bright, fresh & dewy looking skin. It's more of a night oil but I do sometimes mix it in with my moisturiser during the day if my skin really needs it. I just love how it feels on my skin & it's a great solution for a dull, dry complexion.

Benefit Gimme Brow in Medium/Deep
I put a lot of effort into maintaining & filling in my eyebrows. I'm definitely one of those annoying 'brows on fleek' people & want them to look as good as possible. I adore all of my Anastasia Beverly Hills products but I was drawn to this brow gel from Benefit because the tiny brush seemed ideal for defining the hairs at the front of my brows. It's easy to control & the formula is fairly dry so you don't end up splodging excess product all over the skin which does sometimes happen with the Anastasia Tinted Brow Gel. Just a few strokes deliver fuller, darker brows that still look natural. The water-resistant fibre gel adheres to the tiniest of hairs filling in gaps & keeping everything in place. It really beefs up the hairs so it'd be great for anyone with sparse brows. The Medium/Deep shade is a good match for me. It's cool-toned & not too dark so it doesn't make my brows look fake. It works well on it's own & also looks fab applied alongside my Anastasia products.

NYX Powder Blush in Taupe
I've been getting back into contouring this year & one contour product that I'd always wanted to try is NYX's Taupe blush. Often hailed as the quintessential contour colour for us pale girls, I'm not quite sure why it's taken me so long to purchase it. Although NYX is now stocked on FeelUnique & Boots I had to order it off eBay as NYX actually changed their powder blush formula. Apparently the HD version of this blush isn't quite as good as the original so I wanted to make sure I got the right one. Taupe is a matte cool-toned brown that mimics the appearance of a natural shadow. The pigment isn't too strong but that works to your advantage when contouring. It blends easily & you can build up the colour where you need to. It's a very flattering, natural shade that never looks muddy on the skin. The price is really affordable so I would recommend this product to contouring beginners & experts alike.

twitter / tumblr / youtube / instagram / bloglovin'