Monday, 28 April 2014

Cable And Cotton Lights Review

I've always loved fairy lights. As I've got older, I always keep my eye out for less kiddy-looking string lights which can make any room look put-together and feel homely. These lovely lights from Cable and Cotton come in three lengths (20, 35 or 50 bulbs) and you have the option to pick your own colours! It was almost like picking out new eyeshadow colours from MAC when I choose them online (I went for a mixture of different blues), and they arrive completely un-assembled so you can place your chosen colours in whatever order you want. The little spheres are actually made from wrapping thread around a balloon(!) by workers in Thailand who are employed ethically. If you're looking for lights to match an existing colour-scheme I can see this being just perfect. As they're such an original design I think a set of Cable and Cotton lights would also make a lovely gift or house-warming present!

Friday, 25 April 2014

Clarins Radiance-Plus Golden Glow Booster | Made To Measure Self Tan

As soon as I heard about the concept of this new Clarins Self-Tan, I was immediately excited. It's essentially a concentrated tanning oil which can be mixed in with your existed favourite skincare products for an adjustable glowing tan. I can't believe no-one has come up with this idea before! Instead of waiting for your moisturiser or serum to dry before applying yet another layer of skincare in the form of your self tan, this allows you to create a hybrid skincare product to apply in one layer, with the added benefit of being able to add exactly how much of the tanning ingredient as you like. This is also great for us sensitive skinned folk who find that many face self-tanners contain unwanted ingredients that cause reactions and breakouts - not with this little bottle! I've found that three drops mixed with my nightly moisturiser results in just the subtle glow (not at all orange) that I like, with absolutely no streaks. I love how teeny the bottle is, and that even this tiny amount of product will keep you topped up on tan for a good three months. The dropper device works well, and the screw top lid prevents any worries about spillage. This is one of those really well thought out products that's just pretty much perfect

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Seven Tips for Clear Healthy Skin

My last 'Seven Tips' post [Seven Tips for Beginner Bloggers] went down so well (it's by far my most 'liked' post on Bloglovin') that I thought I should do another! Today it's seven tips I've learnt and rely on to improve my skin. Note 'improve'! : After many years I've finally realised that with my genes, I will never have 'good' skin. Naturally large pores and combination acne prone skin will never be perfect, no matter how much money or time you invest. These tips help me to keep my skin in the best possible state it can be in and will hopefully help yours too.

1. SANITIZE! This makes me sound like a Germaphobe, but rogue bacteria is often a reason you can't shift those breakouts. Deep-clean your makeup brushes regularly with Johnsons Baby Shampoo, and get a cleaner with alcohol for spot (quick) cleaning (I like the Dior Brush Cleanser). Don't forget to clean your phone every now and then (since this touches your face) and try to get out of the habit of touching your face throughout the day with your hands.

2. BE KIND TO YOUR SKIN. Try to treat your skin as if it's already perfect. This might sound strange, but if you keep this in mind it will prevent you from angrily scrubbing when cleansing, which just makes things worse. Your skin will thank you if your use products with calming ingredients, rather than harsh stripping chemicals. Even if you think your acne-ridden oily skin needs salysilic acid and similar ingredients, trust me, it doesn't (I made this mistake!). Try using soft cleansing balms and hot cloth cleansers instead.

3. INVEST TIME, NOT JUST MONEY. Take time to learn what your own skin-type is, what it reacts well to, and read up about which ingredients to look for in skincare products - you might find the same ingredients in a drugstore product that costs half the price of a high-end product.

4. MINIMISE MAKEUP. I can't tell you how much I hate it when people used to tell me to stop wearing makeup and let me skin breathe - if my skin is looking bad, the last thing I want to do is to leave my face bare for everyone to see it! However, avoiding putting on your makeup whenever possible really does help your skin, even if this means just taking your makeup off and giving your skin a good cleanse as soon as you get in from work. 

5. MASKS ARE YOUR FRIEND. Face Masks should be your go-to product for any skin concern and contrary to popular belief, you can use different ones almost every day of the week. My current favourite is Una Brennan's Superfacialist Tea Flower Clay Mask, which contains quality ingredients for a bargain price.

6. ADJUST YOUR LIFESTYLE. It's an obvious one, but some key changes to your lifestyle can make huge differences to your skin (not to mention your overall health. Eat less oily, fatty and sugary foods, take daily vitamin pills and get the recommended amount of sleep.

7. CALL IN THE PROFESSIONALS. This last tip is for when you've exhausted all the others on the list. If your breakouts aren't budging, it might be worth seeing your GP for advice on treatments that you can't buy over the counter. 

Feel free to share your clear skin tips in the comments!

Monday, 21 April 2014

MAC Strobe Cream Reveiw | A multi-use Genius

MAC Strobe Cream // £23.50

I am constantly on the search for products which make me look healthier and more glowing, as I have problematic and dull skin. MAC Strobe Cream was much talked about around a year ago, but I recently picked it up, and it's become a new staple in my collection. A light cream with tiny shimmers, it's one of those mutli-use products that's really versatile - it can be used by layering underneath your base, mixed in with foundation or added on top of foundation in places you want to highlight. Whilst my skin has been behaving, I've been mixing it with the Revlon Colourstay foundation to create a lighter-coverage base which is much more glowy which still has all the good things I love about that particular foundation. MAC Strobe Cream also boasts skin-loving ingredients such as vitamins and green tea, to help make skin look more radiant in the long-term. Thumbs up from me!

Friday, 18 April 2014

A New Favourite Primer | Smashbox Photo Finish Light

With combination/oily skin with enlarged pores, I have tried a lot of primers. I mean, a lot of primers. Without a primer my base will be breaking up within a couple of hours, even in the winter (thank you stupid skin). When I try out a new primer what I'm looking for is something that feels light and unclogging on the skin, doesn't cause breakouts, provides a smooth surface for my foundation, and helps my makeup to stay longer. Smashbox's Photo Finish Foundation Primer LIGHT does every one of these steps incredibly well. The 'Light' formula is made specifically for those with acne-prone or sensitive skin (mine is unfortunately both). It smooths over the skin effortlessly and allows foundation to be applied almost flawlessly. I'm particularly impressed with how well it minimises the appearance of pores, when that's not even one of it's main claims! Not to mention that my foundation holds in place and remains un-cakey for substantially longer over other primers. The tube seems small, for the price of £25, but it's deceptively long-lasting and holds 30ml of product - the same as one of my other favourite primers which comes in at £36. This product is a definite repurchase for me.

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Boomf | Your Instagrams on Marshmallows

Boomf Marshmallows * // £12

Yes, you read the title correctly: Boomf literally print your own Instagram snaps onto MARSHMALLOWS. The concept is both bonkers and awesome, which I why I just love it. I think a box of edible treats with you and your friends faces on would make such a cute and crazy gift for the friend that has everything. For marshmallows, I'll admit they're very pricey, but for the awesomeness factor that comes with eating your own likeness, it's say it's worth it. I choose photos of me and my fiance for my marshmallows, and quite a lot of laughs were had when I took them to his family's house and the family devoured our heads! I would recommend that you print close-up photos of objects and faces, since the ones with lots of detail in came out a little blurry. However the general quality of the printing is pretty impressive, and from a distance, they look great.

Would you get your Instagram photos printed onto marshmallows??

Monday, 14 April 2014

A Spring Tan | Lavera Self-Tanning Body Lotion

Lavera offer natural cosmetics, skincare and perfume and have great commitments to organic agriculture and are completely cruelty free (It goes without saying that I love the brand already). The Lavera Self-Tanning Body Lotion is a gradual tanner that develops over about five hours to give a very natural tan. With one application, my skin was a subtle glowing brown, with absolutely no streaks, as if I'd spent a couple of days sunbathing. The results of this lotion are the most natural I've managed with any self-tanner, so I think this is perfect for the self-tanner beginner, or when you want that first subtle tan in spring time. The product itself comes in a lovely chunky tube and is easy to dispense. It has quite a strong scent, but not one that I mind, and can be applied with you hands like a normal body lotion (as long as you wash you hands afterwards!). It's a white cream, so you don't have a guide as to where you've applied the product, but this didn't seem to be a problem, as I wasn't left with any darker patches or streaks. The Lavera Self-Tanning Body Lotion is currently selling with a free 50ml face cream here.

Saturday, 12 April 2014

Soap and Glory Hot Cloth Cleanser - The Ultimelt

You might have noticed my recent obsession with Hot Cloth Cleansers. This year I was introduced to the wonderful world of creamy make-up removers with the Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish, and then I tried the cheaper No7 Beautiful Skin Hot Cloth Cleanser. Today I want to tell you about my most recent Hot Cloth find - an offering from my much loved Soap and Glory - The Ultimelt. At £10 for 100ml it comes in as the midrange priced product between the two others I've tried, but is much closer in price to the luxury Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish (although, saying that, it's nearly always on 3 for 2 at Boots). This cleanser comes with one cloth which I find a bit too small for the whole face, but really nice and satisfying tube packaging. I found this cleanser to be a little less 'creamy' and a little more 'greasy' feeling on the skin, but it removes makeup very well. The greasiness didn't cause any breakouts, and all in all I experienced the same results as with the No7 Cleanser - smoother softer skin with reduced redness and less sensitivity. It's a lovely product, but for the price I'd recommend going for either the cheaper No7 offering for a very similar product, or paying that little bit extra for the Liz Earle luxury experience. 

Thursday, 10 April 2014

I'm ENGAGED! | Our Proposal Story

I'm sorry for the lack of posts over the last week, but I do have a good excuse! For those of you who follow me on Twitter or Instagram, you might already have heard my exciting news - I'm ENGAGEDDD! On Monday afternoon, my boyfriend of five years today, Jonny, asked me to be his wife, and I think I might be the happiest girl on the planet right now. I wanted to share the story with you (since most people I know love a soppy love/proposal story), and let you know that there may well be quite a few wedding related posts appearing over the next year. We haven't taken any kind of official engagement photos yet, so I'm sorry about the lack of photos of us in this post, but I'll be sure to post them as soon as we have some!

I met Jonny when I started going to a new Church in my hometown, at the age of fifteen. He doesn't actually remember the first time he met me (something I relentlessly tell him off for!), but we spent many Sunday mornings and evenings in our Church youth group - him the loud and jokey one, and me the quiet shy one. 

Five Years Ago At Spring Harvest

Around a year later, in April 2009, our Church went on a holiday to a Christian Festival type thing called Spring Harvest (If you are a Christian, or even if you're not, I would absolutely recommend Spring Harvest!) By this point we'd been flirting for months, and everyone knew what was going to happen on this trip! On the last night we had our very first awkward teenage kiss, and the next day, back at home, Jonny 'officially' asked me to be his girlfriend, in the oh so romantic setting of a McDonalds. To describe the next five years is an impossible task, but within a few months we had fallen completely in love, and saw each other almost every day. We got to know each others families and went on many holidays together - Venice, Spain, The Isle Of Wight, The Cotswolds, Tenerife, Copenhagen, Belgium, and, Spring Harvest at Easter every year. We went through the adventures of growing up together - learning to drive, getting our first important exam results, leaving home to go to (the same) University, and looking for our first jobs. Like any relationship there has been some hard times, but I am so confident in our future knowing that even at the age of sixteen, we stayed together. He makes me laugh like no-one else, and although our interests are so different, our personalities just work so well that we can finish each others sentences.

Fast forward to this week, and we headed off to Spring Harvest for the sixth year running. We had talked about getting engaged and married for a long time, and I thought he would probably ask around Christmas time at the end of the year. In the middle of the holiday, when the sun finally made an appearance in rainy England, a group of around twenty of us were sitting around chatting in one of our chalets, when Jonny asked if I'd like to go for little walk. We headed off and Jonny asked where I wanted to walk to, knowing of course that I would say the beach! We wandered along the sand, talking away, and as we neared a picturesque sand dune, Jonny began getting a little bumbly and restless. By the time we reached the top and looked out at the gorgeous view, I could tell something was up. Before I knew it, he was telling me that it was time to prove how much he loved me, and was down on one knee in the sand, with the sun shining on a twinkling ring in his hand. I immediately started crying, and completely forgot that I had to answer his question, 'Will you marry me?'! Finally I said yes, and we were engaged!

The next few days are a bit of a blur - telling everyone at the chalet (who already knew what was going to happen on that walk!), calling everyone in my phonebook, and being invited up on stage at Spring Harvest to be prayed for by four thousand people! It's been an incredible few days.

Up On Stage! Crazy!

I really hope you enjoyed this little post - I've cried a few happy tears writing it! I'm so blessed and so excited that I get to marry my best friend and enjoy our lives together. We're getting married next summer (Summer 2015), so hopefully you'll enjoy a fair few wedding posts over the next year, eeee! If you do have a wedding blog, or know of any useful ones, please do link it down below.

Friday, 4 April 2014

My MAC 15 Eyeshadow Pro Palette 2014

I thought it was probably time to do a post dedicated to the beauty that is my MAC eyeshadow palette. Just look at it. Of course, a MAC palette is such a cult blogger/youtuber thing to have in your stash, but I always love seeing other people's posts on the shadows they've picked. The real beauty of these palettes is of course the customizability and the huge range of shades MAC has for you to choose from. Having your own completely custom palette which you can continue to change as you discover new favourites is what really makes the MAC palette special. I've finally filled a 15 pan insert, and now I'm inspired to be wearing these shadows everyday, rather than saving them for special occasions. I've gone for mainly neutral shadows, just because that's what I go for to wear 99% of the time. I did want to get a good range of shades and finishes though. As you might notice, a lot of these shades are blogger favourites, but, they've favourites for a reason! The palette itself has it's good and bad points: It's so easy to remove the insert and play around with the order of the eyeshadows which stick magnetically to the base, and the transparent lid is great. However, the palette is incredibly prone to dust and loose shadow sticking to it, as you can see in the photos.

My current favourites shades are Sable and Mulch, and I can't wait to try out some looks with the new colours in my collection - Sumptuous Olive and Cranberry. I'm thinking of getting a quad, so that I can travel with my everyday shades a little easier, and expand my collection a bit further! If you have any recommendations for my light skintone, or staple colours you think I'm missing, please let me know in the comments! 

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Nourish Revital-Eyes Eye Cream

This teeny little bottle is the Nourish Revital-Eyes (I see what you did there Nourish!). I've tried two skincare products from Nourish before (see them reviewed here) and loved them, so I was excited to try their eye cream. Like all their products, this eye cream uses high quality vegan natural extracts and includes vitamin-rich kale extract, pomegranate enzymes, antioxidants and B-vitamins to really pamper your skin. I was a little sceptical about the small size of the bottle (it is £30 after all!), but the pump (after a little practice) can be used to dispense a really small amount, and the bottle is lasting me ages. The cream is a light yellow shade and fairly thick in consistency without being greasy. It's best applied onto clean skin with your ring fingers and gently patted under the eyes. The scent is inoffensive and none of the ingredients caused those little white bumps that I find to be quite common with eye creams. Regarding the results that I've seen since using this, I can't comment on the anti-ageing effects since I have yet to get my first wrinkles(!) but it may well be helping in a preventative way. The biggest effect I've seen is noticeably softer skin which makes applying under-eye concealers much easier, with less creasing and caking of the products I place in those areas. My dark circles have also marginally improved with this product which is pretty impressive! Revital-Eyes is a really lovely little skincare product.