Saturday, 29 March 2014

My After-Shower Routine

I'm a morning shower girl. I love feeling clean when I go to bed but nothing beats a shower in the morning to wake and set you up for the day. 

Although most people probably don't care, I thought I would share my post-shower skin and hair care routines. If you have read some of my older posts, you may be aware that I have fairly sensitive skin so I don't use many "fancy" products (as I like to call them). I also probably put things on in the wrong order but hey... This works for me.

Again, I apologise for the terrible quality of the photo below. I'm getting a camera for my birthday in April but until then, the iPhone will have to do!

In the shower, I'm currently using the Hair Culture shampoo from Aldi and the Alberto Balsam mandarin and papaya conditioner - both super cheap and affordable on my student budget! I can't wait to run out of the Aldi shampoo because my mother gave me a bottle of Aussi last time I went home... Eek! 
I sometimes use the Toni&Guy Nourish Reconstruction mask if my hair has been feeling extra dry. 
(None of these products are featured in the above picture)

After showering, I pat my face and body dry and then wrap my hair up in a smaller, dry towel. The first thing I applying post-shower is Bio-Oil. I've been using this for years (since I got a couple of growth stretch marks as a young teen) and it's pretty much become something that I don't think works but I like to apply it just in case. Although my stretch marks have looked the same for years, I live in hope that this Bio-Oil will make them disappear even more! The reason I apply this first is so it can dry before I put my clothes on. I have ruined many a bra by applying loads of the stuff and getting dressed instantly.

Whilst the Bio-Oil is drying, I put on my deodorant. I usually like to use Right Guard or Dove. I'm trying to steer away from spray deodorants right now. They aren't good for the environment and I always used to be anti-aerosols. Not quite sure what happened or how I got so addicted to them. So this deodorant is the Dove Go Fresh Cucumber Roll On and it is lovely! Again, I'm applying this early so it can dry. 

I then take my E45 and apply it to my legs, tops of feet, arms, tummy and as much of my back as I can reach! I love this stuff. I often use Aveeno Daily Moisturising Lotion but I'm on E45 at the moment. But again, I need to ensure that I apply moisturiser early so it can dry.

Ok, the next step I often forget about. I take a cotton pad and pour a little toner from Simple onto it. I pop this all over my face using small circular motions. In all honesty, I don't know what toners do (Google challenge for the day)! I was once told that they close your pores up after using warm water to wash it as well as clearing out extra dirt... But I could be 100% wrong. I always let this dry before applying anything else onto my face.

I then apply Grease Lightening from Lush to any spots or possible blemishes. If I've been feeling a little gross or feel like I'm about to have a huge break-out, then I'm a little more generous with this stuff and I put it all over my t-zone. I often find it brings out a spot that has been waiting to erupt on my face. Again, I let this dry.

The next thing I use is the Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Serum. Ok, I know I said I'm a morning shower girl and this says "Night Repair" but I like to use it in the mornings sometimes!  I apply it by popping a little blob on each finger excluding my thumb on my left hand, lightly rubbing them with the fingers on my other hand and, starting at the centre of my forehead, lightly drawing round to my temples and down towards my mouth. I then put my fingers on my nose and sweep them out towards my ears, always avoiding the eye area. I'm not sure if this is the correct way to apply it but it works for me and I don't want to pull my skin too much. You can read a full review of this product on my blog - click here. This product dries pretty quickly so I can usually go straight onto my full face moisturiser after my next product.

The next thing I apply is the Estée Lauder Advanced Time Zone Age Reversing/Wrinkle Eye Creme. Again, you can read a full review here. I use the tiniest amount and rub it into the areas where I get laughter lines and little just above and just below my eyes. 

If you have taken a good look at the photograph above, you will see that I have four moisturisers on there. I started off buying the green tub, which is the Garnier Moisture Match in Shine Be Gone (ideal for combination/oily skin). I feel in love with the matte texture and the way it actually helps with my shiny t-zone. As I don't wear make-up often, I rely on a good moisturiser to ensure I look fresh as a daisy everyday! Anyway, I fell in love with this product so much that I simply had to buy a couple more tubes and Boots had an offer on so it would have been rude not to! I bought the Protect and Glow (yellow tub - with SPF20 and suitable for normal skin), Start Afresh (blue tub - suitable for normal/dry skin) and Wake Me Up (orange tub - suitable for dull skin). Why do I need so many? Because my skin is different everyday. I use Wake Me Up and Shine Be Gone the most. All have been fine with my sensitive skin.

I then use the Lush lip scrub in the flavour Popcorn to remove any dead skin from my lips and once I have licked it off (yum), I put on my little life saver (Carmex) to moisturise my lips. 

I will then brush my hair into a middle parting and, taking a small amount of my anti-frizz serum from Aussie, I comb my fingers through my hair, starting at the ends and working my way half way up my hair. I then take the heat protection spray, also by Aussie, spray this all over my hair and then comb it through to ensure it is evenly spread. I'll then blow dry my hair upside down to give it some lift as I have super flat and straight locks and it's completely frustrating! 

Once dried, I will spray through some Toni&Guy Casual: Sea Salt Texturising Spray whilst still blow drying my hair to bump it up a little.

Anyway, this is my post shower routine... Pretty long. I got a little carried away. 

Peace and love, my lovelies <3

Friday, 21 March 2014

Watermelon Nails

I was recently inspired by my favourite emoji - the watermelon. 
I was rubbing my chipped orange nails clean and decided I wanted to have a pattern instead of a block colour. I have never been a nail expert. I don't own even one professional tool for nails. All I have are cocktails sticks and nail polish bottles. 

So despite the finished product being a heck of a mess, here is my WATERMELON design! 

[Insert watermelon emoji here]

For a quick step-by-step, see below. 

  • Red nail polish
  • Black nail polish
  • Light green/mint or white nail polish
  • Darker green nail polish
  • Base coat
  • Top coat
  • Cocktail stick
Start off with a base coat to protect your natural nail. Apply one to two coats of the red - I used one. Taking the light green or white nail polish, paint along the top curve of your nail, following the shape of the white tip, like a french manicure. Draw a slightly thinner line above that, leaving a small strip of the light green or white. Then, taking a cocktail stick dipped in the black polish, put the tip of it on your nail and slowly move it towards your hand until the pip is the size you want it. Repeat until you have enough pips. Finish it with a top coat to seal in your design.

Friday, 14 March 2014

5 Beauty Products You Can Make At Home

After a stressful day, all I want to do is climb into a big bubble bath with a glass of wine, a good book and a face mask (suitable for my sensitive skin, of course). 

Oh, but wait... I'm a poor student who has just gone into her overdraft. 

This semester, the only beauty product I have bought for myself is the MUA cream blush which cost £1. I am in desperate need of pampering. So I took to the internet to find some beauty products you can make with things you may already have at home. 

Coffee Scrub

(Picture from WholeLatteLoveOnline & recipe from A Cup of Mo)

This facial scrub is perfect for those days when you're feeling a little tired. The sugar exfoliates and clears away dead skin, the coffee helps reduce swelling (like many caffeine based products, such as the Clinique All About Eyes Serum) and the olive oil moisturises. I have to be honest, I haven't tried this yet. I'm at my Aunt's in London and I don't want to waste her coffee! Regardless, I swear by caffeine based beauty products and the recipe sounds simply divine... And who doesn't want to save on the 

  • 1 cup of ground coffee
  • 1 cup of sugar (preferably brown)
  • 1/2 cup of olive oil
  • 1 tbsp of freshly ground cinnamon. 
Blend the four ingredients together in an airtight container or jar. You can apply this to wet of dry skin. Rub in circular motions onto your legs, arms, feet and anywhere that may feel a little swollen. I would not advise applying this to your face. The oil will leave your skin feeling a little greasy. If you don't mind this, then leave it overnight to soak into your skin. Otherwise, you can use a little shower gel or soap to wash it off.

Hair Mask

(Picture from Cacaomix & recipe from Bella Mumma)

Our hair is mostly made up of protein and moisture. If there is an imbalance of these two, we experience breakage - something I know all too well. Simply having too much exposure to the sun can cause our hair to become dry, frazzled and eventually snap. This hair mask will help to replenish some protein, leaving your hair silky smooth - hopefully!

  • 2 Eggs
  • 1/2 cup of yoghurt 
  • 1/2 cup of honey
  • 1/2 cup of olive oil
Beat the eggs until they become frothy and mix in the olive oil and yoghurt (random fact: I really enjoy saying the word "yoghurt"). Once the mix is creamy, add the honey and blend it all together. Your hair should be damp for this to work best. Comb any knots out. I advise using a Tangle Teezer - they are designed to get through your knots without breaking your hair. Massage the mixture into your roots and spread it through to your ends (you could use a comb for this). Finally, wrap your hair in a warm towel for 20-30 minutes before rinsing it out. Don't forget to shampoo!

Green Tea Face Mask

(Picture from Tea Is My Cup Of Tea & recipe by me)

I presume that there are hundreds of recipes out there that are dedicated to green tea face masks. However, this one I made up on my own. I'm not saying that no one else has made this - in fact, it's probably the most common one out there as it uses very generic ingredients. Nevertheless, I didn't use the internet to find this and I have tried it out and it works wonderfully. Green tea is absolutely bursting with health benefits. It is jam packed with antioxidants, it helps burn fat, prolongs your life, lowers stress, boosts brain power, reduces high blood pressure, protects your lungs from smoking and liver from alcohol, prevents tooth decay and cures bad breath and helps build and preserve bones. 
It is also said to help fight signs of ageing and protect against UV rays. So here is my face mask concoction!

  • 1 green teabag
  • 1 teaspoon of honey
  • Face cleanser (optional)
  • Rice flour (optional)
Make a mug of green tea and let it brew for about 3 minutes. Take the teabag out and allow it to cool down - you can drink the mug of green tea you just made whilst waiting! Once cool, rip off the top of the teabag and poor the contents into a bowl.

Add the honey and mix it together. Now, this is where the two optional ingredients come in. If you are or have suffered from acne, then the rice flour will help to reduce the appearance of scars (I'll admit, I did a little research to find this). The cleanser, which I used, is good to just completely clear your pores. 

Next, use circular motions to massage the mixture onto your face with your fingertips. You can bring it down onto your neck if you wish. Leave the mask on for about five or ten minutes and then rinse off, pat your face dry and moisturise. Here's a picture of me with creepy red eyes sporting the face mask. 

Lip Scrub

(Picture from Euphoria and recipe from Little Miss Makeup 25)

This recipe is inspired by the Bubblegum Lip Scrub from Lush. Lip scrubs are fantastic for removing dead skin and helping you lipstick to glide on and stay on. 

  • Pink food colouring
  • Bubblegum extract (or any other flavour)
  • White sugar
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Container
Place some white sugar in a bowl and add a small amount of olive oil. Like anything, it's better to start off with a small amount and if you need more, add more. Mix these together. Make enough to fill your container. Add a drop of whatever flavour extract you chose and mix it in. Then take the pink food colouring and add as much or as little as you like and mix. Don't go overboard - you don't want a runny mixture! Apply with a clean finger and once you're done, you can lick it off! Yum!

Dry Shampoo

(Picture and recipe from Instructables)

I've always been a Batiste girl but as a student, I can't really afford to be parting with my money on something as unnecessary as dry shampoo when I could just wash my hair. But I love the effect dry shampoo has. My hair looks messy and is far easier to style when it isn't completely clean. One alternative option would be to use talcum powder. For years, I used talc to freshen up my hair but it often left little white patches which I can assure you isn't a good look! So here is a fresh new recipe that I found online.

  • 1/4 cup of cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp of baking soda
  • 2 tbsp of unsweetened cocoa powder (optional)
  • Container
Put the cornstarch and baking soda in the container and shake well. Done. That's it. Your dry shampoo is ready to go! This works well for people with lighter hair. 
If you have darker hair, take the above mixture and add the cocoa powder. Again, shake it up and voila! Dry shampoo!
Take a small amount into your hands and rub your fingers together. Pat the parts of your head that need a quick freshen and then rub it in so you can't see the powder.

Thursday, 6 March 2014

February Favourites

I wanted to get this post out before we get too far into March and nobody cares about February anymore. It's a new post. I've never tried this kind of thing before. If you're a bit of a YouTube fan and you read a lot of blog posts like myself, you'll possibly be familiar with the monthly "favourites".

I think this kind of thing works best on a video but I'm a little scared to branch out into the world of YouTube right now. Maybe someday in the future!

Anyway, here are my February Favourites; albeit a little late.

Sorry for the background and the iPhone photography, yet again!

1. The first thing on my list is a little peculiar. During my first year at university, I mostly used cheap-o toothpaste. Last semester (start of 2nd year) I bought some COLGATE! I know a lot of people out there use brands such as Aquafresh etc but I'm a Colgate girl through and through. During February, I have seen my bank balance drop to below the £100 mark and I noticed that my toothpaste is starting to run out. I know this will be the last tube of Colgate I will have for a while. Very saddening.

Weird fact: Back in high school and sixth form, I used to carry a tube of Colgate around with me everywhere I went. I'm a little sad when it comes to fresh breath. Mints just don't cut it!

2. The next thing on my list is Spyro 2 Gateway To Glimmer (or Ripto's Rage as it is known in other countries). I rooted out my PS1 last year after my mum bought me Spyro the Dragon (the original game) for my birthday. I still had my Spyro 2 game but it broke late last year so I had to buy a new one. It is in perfect condition and I have spent hours and hours on it during February. 

Anyone else get nostalgic just looking at it?

3. I wrote a blog post a while back on this product. This is the Barry M Gelly Hi-Shine Nail Paint in the colour Lychee. I currently have it on my nails. I absolutely love nude nails and this is such a pretty shade. I'm usually a matte person but I didn't make a connection with any of the matte nail polishes out there. I don't think they work very well. So instead of jumping on the matte bandwagon, I opted for super shiny!

4. When I first started wearing makeup, I always used a pencil. As I got better (and turned into a "scene kid"), I started using liquid. When I tried to leave this phase of my life, I turned to gel. Now I use all three plus a liquid felt-tip style eyeliner. This is the Supercat Liquid Black Eyeliner Pen from Soap & Glory. I absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE this product! It goes on perfectly pretty much every time. I have a really shaky hand usually but I can get a nice cat eye with this.
Thanks, mum! <3

5. This is Superdrug's Gentle Eye Make-Up Remover from the Vitamin E Skin Care collection. I have the exfoliator from this range as well, which I love. I have started using Benefit's They're Real! mascara and it is an absolute nightmare to get off in the shower. Face wash just doesn't cut it. This eye make-up remover gets rid of it all and it's super soothing, high in anti-oxidants and vitamin E (obviously). 

Plus, it doesn't aggravate my sensitive skin - which is always nice, isn't it? 

6. The next thing that I loved in February is the Rimmel London Apocalips Lip Laquer in the shade Eclipse (304). I don't like lip glosses very much. I've always been a lipstick girl. But I was so drawn in by this product at the end of last year that I bought three different colours just before Christmas. This colour is definitely my favourite. It's a lovely berry shade and it's really pigmented. Although it goes on like a lipgloss, it dries out quite quickly and isn't sticky like normal glosses. 

Sorry for the yucky-ness on the bottle - the label didn't come off very well.

7. The next thing I loved last month was the Moisture Renew Lipstick from Rimmel in the shade In Love With Ginger (660). One of the first things I noticed was the smell. This might sound a little odd, but it smells like baby powder mixed with the standard make-up smell (am I the only one who thinks there is a standard make-up smell..?). Anyway, it's quite a nice scent. Again, this is really pigmented and I love an orange lip. It also moisturises, which I loved. It's like a lip balm and a lipstick all in one!

8. The next thing on my list is this rose gold star bracelet from Jack Wills (please excuse the hair bobble marks on my wrist). I absolutely adore rose gold. It's such a pretty colour. I've been obsessed with it for years because my auntie has always had a few little pieces of rose gold jewellery. She bought me this for Christmas but I stopped wearing it for a while. It goes really well with my Michael Kors watch but I can't wear them on the same wrist because my watch just swallows it up.

9. The final thing on my list is my Converse. I stopped liking Converse a while back but these little beauties are just too funky to not wear! I love the laces, colour, fringing and the fur lining. They are just so cool! I wear them nearly everyday! 

Ew, I put my shoes on my bed. Not sure why I did that.

Anyway, I know these are probably the most random items to have on a February Favourites post but hey! 

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Estée Lauder product review

If you have read any of my previous posts, you may be aware that I have sensitive skin. The way I often buy products is to ask for a weeks worth of samples first so I can make sure that I won't react before parting with my money. 

But that's not quite how I bought these... 

*ahem* Impulsive splurge *ahem*

In this post, I'll be looking at three Estée Lauder products that I bought over Christmas.
Sorry for the scruffy background and the iPhone photography!

The first product I want to talk about (and my favourite of the three) is the Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Recovery Complex II serum. I bought the 30ml bottle for £48 (50ml is £65 and 75ml is £78) from Boots. It's kind of expensive but it actually WORKS! I absolutely love this product! There has been a lot of research into anti-ageing products and also into how our skin and cells try to fix themselves over night. The Advanced Night Repair serum works with your skin's natural renewal process to reduce signs of ageing so you wake up looking as beautiful ever!

The product is fragrance free - which is possibly why I can use it without my skin flaring up. The serum still has a scent to it which smells quite perfume-y but it's a nice smell. Just to clarify for those who may not understand: "fragrance free" means that no scents have been added to the product to mask its natural smell... I didn't understand this for years.

Like I said above, my skin doesn't seem to react to this product. I'm not entirely sure why because I have unbelievably sensitive skin (I currently have bobbly cheeks because I slept in my foundation). Now, I'm not saying this will work for everyone with sensitive skin but I don't react at all to this! The label says it is suitable for all skin types. I've used it almost every night since I bought it over the Christmas holidays and, as you can see in the photo below, there is still LOADS in the bottle. You don't need much at all. It should be applied to clean skin before you moisturise. I apply it by popping a little blob on each of my four fingertips, lightly rubbing them with the fingers on my other hand and, starting at the centre of my forehead, lightly drawing round to my temples and down towards my mouth. I then put my fingers on my nose and sweep them out towards my ears. I'm not sure if this is the correct way to apply it but it works for me and I don't want to pull my skin too much. This should NOT be applied to the eye area. Your skin is 40% thinner around the eyes and this product contains some pretty strong chemicals. If you want a product for the eyes, Estée Lauder do have an eye version of this product. I have sampled the eye serum and it is lovely!

I know some people may think I'm a bit daft having a product like this when I'm only 19 and I don't have any permanent lines on my face. However, for me, prevention is better than cure! If I have a stressful day, I often get little faint lines on my forehead and this product makes me feel better and they are completely gone by the morning. 

The only reason I have the next two products is because they came free with the Advanced Night Repair! It was a limited time offer so I doubt you will be able to get the same deal I did. If I were to buy this product, I would have definitely sampled it first. Creams are my skin's arch nemesis! 

This is the Advanced Time Zone Age Reversing/Wrinkle Creme. Again, this product should NOT be applied to the eye area for the same reasons as above. Normally, this would cost £53 for 50ml. My tub is only 15ml, so it's a baby. I don't think you can buy this size. I think it was just available on the offer.

What I love about this product is that it is oil-free and has SPF 15. It's quite a luxurious and thick cream. It even smells expensive! Again, it's fragrance-free but it still smells like a lady's floral perfume! I usually don't like any scent in my products at all but this is quite a nice smell. The product claims to make you look younger in five days. Obviously, I'm probably a little too young to notice any difference on my skin right now. However, like the Advanced Night Repair serum, this does reduce any fine lines that I have. 

The science behind it: it contains something Estée Lauder call "Tri-HA Cell Signaling Complex". This helps skin boost its natural production of line-plumping hyaluronic acid.

It should be applied AM and PM after the Repair serum.

The problem? My skin isn't a fan of this product. I get a few rashes around my cheeks and chin after a couple of days use. I think I will give this to my mum since I can't use it. I know she loves her anti-ageing products and she never shops at Estée Lauder so this will be a new experience for her.

The final product I want to talk about is the Advanced Time Zone Age Reversing/Wrinkle Eye Creme. I am a bit of a novice when it comes to eye creams. This usually costs £38 for 15ml. Again, I got a dinky version since it came free. This is only 5ml. For me, that's quite a lot. It'll last me a while because you don't need much.

This product should be applied AM and PM after the Repair eye serum.

I love wrinkles around the eyes. I think it really gives a person character to see laughing lines. However, I'm still young and I don't want them just yet! I like this product a lot. It works. Another brilliant product. It reduces any lines that may have appeared during the day.

Surprisingly, this didn't give me any rashes but it did have a slight burning sensation. I probably won't use this often (a burning feeling can't be a good thing, can it?) but I think I will keep it.  

Estée Lauder really smashed it with these products. I would go as far as to say that the Advanced Night Repair serum is possibly the best product of its kind right now! 

Items For Your Home

You know you are about to leave your teenage years when you start to develop a love for candles, storage units and wallpaper designs. 

Recently, I have spent hours looking at little pieces that I would like inside my future home. I've barely spent any time looking at clothing and makeup. So, I thought I would share some of my favourite finds for your abode!

A set of two golden pig book ends from CB2. 
I have a pretty large book collection and they are always toppling off my shelves. I think this golden pig is super cute and totally different to anything I have seen. 
Click here to buy for £19.04.

Floor candle stick from Nkuku.
I love love love candles! I got quite a few yankee candles for Christmas. But nothing beats a classic candle on a pretty stand. I love the distressed look on these Nkuku tall holders. Prices vary.
Click here to buy.

Retro cushion covers from Twenty Seven Palms.
I've always had a cushion obsession. I found these on Not On The High Street originally. I then googled the brand and found that they sell so many different retro patterns! I'm besotted! Prices vary.
Click here to buy.

Egg house from Next.
I don't ever shop at Next. It doesn't ever cross my mind to even look in there. However, mum and I were flicking through my grandma's Next Home directory over the weekend and I thought this egg house was simply divine! Only £10 as well!
Click here to buy.

Aqua fade bowl set from Etsy.
I have been an Etsy fan for years now. I spend far too many hours looking at stuff on there. I love how simple these two bowls are. I'm not sure what you could put in them (maybe peanuts?) but I love the colour and design. They cost £17.22 which is a little too pricey for me on a student budget - but I love them all the same.
Click here to buy. 

Mini plant pots from Etsy.
Another Etsy find! How cute are these?! Perfect for little cactuses/cacti (which is it?!) like it shows in the picture. I'm a sucker for small things and these are small and cute and ahhhh! <3 I just love them! Ony £20.92 for a set of 5.
Click here to buy.

Antique door plates from Etsy.
Oops! Another Etsy piece! I love how old these are! I'm not sure whether they would be too battered to use on a door... However, I would definitely find a use for them... Maybe stick them in a pretty glass cabinet or on a wall for some crazy decor... Who knows? I just wish I could afford to buy things that I don't need! £7.38 for a set of two.
Click here to buy.

Mesi duvet set from Not On The High Street.
 I'm not usually a fan of tribal prints but I was strangely drawn to this. I love the colours and the print and it's only £50 for the whole set! 
Click here to buy.

Ok, so I could go on forever but I won't. This was a pretty strange post. I didn't really know how to go about writing this kind of thing so I hope it isn't too messy and weird!