Sunday, 22 February 2015

It's been a while...

Why hello there! It really has been a while.
I've been pondering whether to continue, or try again, I guess, with my blog. It's something I love, having somewhere I can discuss things I'm passionate about, where I can raise awareness of an issue that means something to me. But I've never really been true to myself, it's something I've struggled with as there are so many wonderful blogs scattered across the internet, I felt like I needed to fit in. Taking time out makes you realise that you have to be you to keep something up and hopefully be successful at it - this applies to everything in life, not just blogging.
Anyway, enough rambling about stuff that's been said so many times before... What's been going on?

Not a lot has happened since my last post but here are the most important(ish) bits:

  • There is no reason for the photograph in this post apart from the fact that I have become obsessed with taking photograph's of the sky. At least once a day the sky will be looking beautiful as I take a peek out of my window. I can't help but snap it every time, so my camera roll is probably about 85% full of the sky. Better than my face though right? 
  • I began my third and final year of University - I am currently in my second term which means my dissertation is well underway and also a final group project. 
  • I turned 21 in November!! It hit me a lot harder than I expected. I decided that I'm 20+1 as it doesn't seem so bad! It's hard to believe 22 is just around the corner. 
  • Christmas was really, really lovely. Being at home during the holidays is so much more special now than before, since I live away from home during term-time. Family time is cherished and very, very welcome come end of term. 
  • I have gotten into yoga (long time coming) and also dabbling at running - I joined a running group! It's not something I'm openly admitting at the moment just in-case I don't stick to it but it's a lot more enjoyable than expected. Here's to hoping nice slim, toned legs will be carved out by the summer... Or maybe just nice?
  • Third year has been treating me well so far, to my surprise. I was dreading it and felt extremely overwhelmed with pressure over the Christmas period to do well in my essays and presentations from first term. I done pretty well and surprised myself so much that I had to double check one of the essays was actually mine! So pleased as it means I'm heading along the right lines for this year. 
  • A decision has been made on what I'd like to do in the future, although it is still very much subject to change. I'll be taking a year out after Uni to gain some experience in the field and just to get more life experience in general. This also bides time to weigh up other options of what I can do for the rest of my life! Serious, scary stuff.

As I said not much has happened, it's mostly the goings-on of University. Most of my time is spent cooped up in my room, head in my book/laptop, reading and scribbling notes and quotes. The rest of the time I'm volunteering at shelters or different organisations for people who are experiencing homelessness. It's something I've been longing to do for a while since moving to Exeter, but never had the confidence until my group project, as I had not witnessed many people sleeping rough before. It is such an eye opening experience, so much more than I could have hoped for. Meeting these people is truly amazing, they are so interesting and extremely friendly. The moments are very special and profound, just like the people. I'm hoping to discuss this a lot more soon and use things such as this blog and social media to raise awareness of issues closer to home. Acknowledging something really is the first step to making a change.

Please let me know if there is anything you'd like to see on the blog. I'd like to begin writing about books I've read, continue with beauty and makeup, and also general life matters. Hey I could even share my favourite sky photo of the week!
If there's anything you love seeing elsewhere or even some new ideas, I'm all ears. 

Hope you're well,

Monday, 26 May 2014

Wish List: Books #1


Reading has been a pretty big passion of mine for as long as I can remember. Coming home from school and tucking into a book, usually finishing it that night, was a normal thing for me to do from a young age. Books from Glitter Girls, The Lady Elizabeth/any book on Queen's/people of royalty to every Jacqueline Wilson book you can think of. Over the past few years reading for pleasure has been put on the back burner as academic reading has become more important (necessary). Back in February I decided to trial Audible as audio books seemed to be a way of integrating enjoyable reading with that of the academic kind. The first book I chose was the infamous The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. And daaang can I see what all the fuss is about! Let's just say, it encouraged the purchasing of a membership. There are a couple of membership options however I opted for the one book monthly (costing £7.99) as it seemed more feasible during term times. Have you tried audio books?     
Anyway, the point of this post is to introduce my love of reading into my blog as it's a good source of discussion and also a lovely way to bond with people. Another reason (underscoring the reason for starting a blog) is that I don't really have anyone to talk about books with so I thought doing this would be a nice way of sharing my thoughts on any books I've read and ones that I'm looking forward to reading. I will do this in the form of reviews and wish lists, like this one. Any feedback or suggestions on what else to do or how to improve on the ideas I have decided on are welcome and appreciated.

So onto the wish list itself. Audible has a wish list option and mine is never-ending, I currently have 19 books in there. The books on this mini wish list are the ones I am going to purchase with my next couple of credits. I think Life After Life will be my next choice and probably a more uplifting one after that. But before that I have The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion and Orange Is The New Black by Piper Kerman to dig my teeth into. If you're interested I am currently reading/listening to Alone in Berlin by Hans Fallada. And so far so good!

 Have you read any of these books or are they on your wish list? Are there any books you would recommend I read?  

P.S.Yes I said dang!!

Sunday, 18 May 2014

Makeup Brush Cleaning

It has been said many times that deep cleaning makeup brushes is the bane of any beauty lover's life. I clean mine at least once a week however, finding the best way to get rid of all the grime and makeup has taken a while. Picking up lots of tips and trying a couple of different shampoos has ensured a fail safe routine which I have broken down into steps below. 

Step 1 - Oil 

Olive oil is great to use before washing your brushes to break down the makeup and dirt. Put a spoonful of oil in a small bowl, dip your brush into the oil and swirl it around in the palm of your hand. Squeezing the brush and adding a drop of hot water will dislodge any stubborn makeup. You may need to do this a couple of times.
This is a tip I saw on one of Anna Saccone's vlogs (you really have to check out their vlogs, I am hooked). I decided to try it and it worked so well that it's become a permanent part of my routine. 

Step 2 - Shampoo

When most of the makeup is removed from your brush, dampen one of your hands with warm water and place a blob of your chosen shampoo into your palm. Take your brush with your other hand and swirl it around in the soap until you can see the excess makeup coming loose. Squeeze the brush to release the dirt and to get rid of any soap suds.
For this I like using Johnson's baby shampoo, a regular anti-bacterial soap or any of Dr Bronner's Liquid Soaps

Step 3 - Rinse

When the suds turn clear with no sign of makeup left in the bristles, rinse your brush under warm running water. Be sure it's not too hot as I think this can affect the bristles. This is difficult when you have a hot tap and a cold tap... I leave both of them running and jump between the two when things get too hot! Point the brush head down into the water to ensure that no water gets into the handle. Squeeze the shampoo and water out of the brush as many times as it takes until all of the shampoo and makeup has washed out. When you think it has all gone, swirl the brush in your palm to see if any suds are left, if so rinse and repeat.
I usually repeat this step a couple of times to make sure the oil has also been rinsed out. 

Step 4 - Leave to dry

Drying brushes is a difficult task! I've tried so many ways and this one works for me. Lay your brushes on a rolled towel and leave to dry. Always roll the towel under a couple of times so there is a slope, making sure the brushes are on a gradient with the head pointing toward the flattest part. This is so that water does not get into the handle as the brush is likely to shed if the glue gets wet. I usually leave my brushes to dry overnight and reshape them throughout the process. Come morning they are ready to use.

This little cleaning routine has made washing my brushes quicker, easier and weirdly a bit more exciting. How do you wash your makeup brushes? Do you have any tips I could use?

Sunday, 27 April 2014

The First Steps to Brighter Skin | Exfoliating Masks

Face masks are a firm fixture in my skincare routine. Exfoliating masks provide instant results and help to freshen up the skin while brightening the complexion.

Elemental Herbology are a brand I have been wanting to try for so long. Their high prices have put me off yet made me want them even more (does that even make sense?!). The Pure Radiance Kit, containing the Facial Glow mask and Cell Food Serum, was in the Christmas sale along with a few other bits I picked up. Facial Glow is a radiance peel that brightens the skin by exfoliating dead skin cells. To use remove makeup, cleanse your skin and apply a generous amount of the mask to your face. Four minutes is all it takes for the magic to happen. You then remove the mask using a damp warm flannel to be left with a fresh and glowing complexion. The botanical ingredients leave the skin incredibly soft, nourished and make a noticeable difference to any pigmentation.

REN is a brand that I am faithful to thanks to their simple but effective skincare. The Glycolactic Radiance Renewal Mask is also a peel mask however, in terms of texture this is the least scrub like as it is of a gel consistency, akin to that of jam. Once smoothed over your skin the mask feels fresh and soothing. Applied to clean skin, you leave it for 10 minutes and a slight tingling sensation occurs, but that's when you know it's working right? Removing the mask can get slightly messy even when using a damp flannel, but you are left with a radiant, healthy looking complexion. Again skin feels extremely soft to the touch with no signs of drying. I really enjoy using this mask, it is great for renewing skin cells and evening out skin tone.

Avene was the first skincare brand I dipped into after putting down the old makeup wipes. The Cleanance Mask is specifically designed for blemish/acne prone skin. Unlike the REN mask it has the typical scrub texture and helps to mattify the skin. You apply this mask to clean skin, leave for five minutes and then gently massage with wet hands to further exfoliate the skin for as long or as little as you wish. Wash off with water or use a damp flannel, I usually do the latter as it makes sure all of the scrub is removed. There is a visible difference in the skin after use, it is noticeably smoother, brighter and feels really clean.

All of these masks help to soothe clogged skin and speed up the healing process. Alternating the masks seems to work really well for me. I use them once a week alongside chemical exfoliation (Alpha H Liquid Gold) twice a week.

Do you use exfoliating/peel masks? Which is your favourite?

Sunday, 20 April 2014

The Body Shop Cleansing Oil

Cleansing oils have always intrigued me but never enough to try one for myself. The opportunity rose to grab this at a fraction of the price - you know The Body Shop's 40% off flash sales? Yep, it got me. 
Removing makeup with a cleanser has never appealed to me, I don't find they break down makeup very well therefore micellar waters, or the like, have always been my remover of choice. Makeup removal is made effortlessly simple when using a cleansing oil. They make complete sense now I have used one. Have you tried one?
Simply dispense 2-3 drops of the oil into the palm of your hand, rub gently together and slather onto dry skin. Gently rubbing over the eyes and eyelashes ensures complete removal of even the most stubborn waterproof mascara. Using a damp warm flannel softly wipe away the makeup mess on your face. There is no oily residue left on the skin, nor the tight or drying feeling you get when using other makeup removers. The camomile ingredient helps to soothe your skin and makes it perfect for even the most sensitive types. 

I could not recommend this product enough. I mostly use the oil to remove a full face of make-up as it breaks down so easily however, you can use it on a daily basis. 

What is your favourite product from The Body Shop?

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Soap & Glory Bright Here Bright Now

I love Soap & Glory - their body care is something I've used for a long time and always find myself recommending it when someone is in search of a good body scrub or moisturiser. In the last year or so I've even dabbled in their makeup, I particularly love both the Glow All Out highlighter and Solar Powder bronzer. Something I never would have thought to look at Soap & Glory for is skincare. But I'm glad I started with this.

The Bright Here Bright Now Instant Radiance Energy Boost Balm (whopper of a name) is a brightening moisturising balm that smooths over the skin, making it radiant and illuminating. Although it has been labelled a balm, it has more of a gel-like consistency, thicker than a normal moisturiser but not akin to that of a balm texture. The light balm can be used as the last step of your skincare routine, over the top of your normal moisturiser, or mixed in with your base of choice. 
I have been using this in place of my normal moisturiser on days when I need help to make my skin look brighter and more radiant. Providing a boost of moisture, the balm energises the skin giving it a subtle glow. I have been braving the makeup-less look a lot recently due to doing a practical module at University and this balm gives me the confidence to do so. Smoothing over any imperfections, it blurs my scarring, evens out my skintone (especially those dark circles) and adds some life to otherwise dull skin. It is also lovely to use as a base for makeup offering more of a dewy finish. The brightening properties have somehow managed to keep me looking fresh and awake after a night on the town. Application feels soothing and refreshing due to its minty scent. 

For more dry skinned gals I would say to use this alongside your normal moisturiser, however if you have more normal or oily skin then foregoing your moisturiser would do no harm. Bright Here Bright Now is on offer for £8 at the moment instead of £12!

Have you tried any skincare from the Soap & Glory line?

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Summer Nail Varnishes

I love nail varnish all year through, but particularly when it comes to Summer time. It is a lot easier to experiment with different colours, and some often look different when you have a nice tan. Maybe we'll skip the tan for this post. I have also skipped on swatches... unless you wanted to see one finger at a time, and you couldn't tell where the nail started and stopped, then you're out of luck. All of the colours translate onto the nails almost as they look in the bottle.

Rimmel London 60 seconds in 825 Sky High, £3.69:
This is the perfect teal. I find one coat of this could be enough, but a second coat gives a smooth even finish. It's quite hard to go wrong with these polishes as they always give an even finish. Perhaps 60 seconds is not true, but it does dry pretty quickly. It lasts well, with a good top coat, around three days before any sign of chipping.

Essie Lapiz of Luxury, £7.99:
I picked up this gorgeous sky blue colour when there was a hype around Bikini So Teeny. I much preferred this one, and I am glad I chose it. I've worn it quite a lot throughout the year as I think it is quite a versatile colour. You are able to build up the opacity by applying in thin layers. Like all Essie polishes, it lasts roughly four/five days before chipping. I love wearing this one on my toenails as it's a flattering colour.

Essie Meet Me at Sunset, £7.99:
I thank Anna from Vivianna Does Makeup for this purchase. Her post claiming that it was a possible dupe for Chanel's holiday had me hotfooting it to my nearest Essie-stocked Boots. It is a gorgeous orange colour with a good mix of red. The perfect colour for matching fingernails and toenails. I feel like the brush on Essie polishes does most of the work for you.

Topshop Firework, £6:
This is my one and only glitter polish. I'm not mad about glitter, but I was sucked in by the sparkly accent nails a couple of months back. I have worn it alone, one coat adds a nice subtle sparkle, but two coats really ramps up the glitter. I prefer to wear it over a light purple polish, or a lilac based grey colour. I usually save this pretty for nights out, but I think it's perfect for Summer.

Rimmel London I ♥ Lasting Finish in Hotshot (270), £2.99:
This little number is a lovely hot pink colour. The pink looks really good with a tan... Although a tan isn't necessary as it compliments pale skin, and brightens up the nails. I have had this one for a while and find it quite gloopy now, but much like Sky high, a coat or two and you're ready to go. A base and top coat are needed to prevent early chipping.

What polishes are getting you in the Summer mood?
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Hope you're well. xo