Friday, 11 January 2013

And relax...

January, not everyone's favourite month of the year. After some well earned time off over Christmas you're straight back into it come January 2nd and for me anyway it seems more hectic than ever. That's why I decided to have a 'relax' evening of a lovely warm bath, pampering, a good book and candles and I felt a million times better because of it. 

I would highly recommend getting a getting a few candles out, a few self indulgent beauty products and here are my top tips for a 'relax' evening. 

Light some candles, particularly ones that smell of lavendar/camomile etc and only turn on warm lamps, no bright overhead lights. As I've just purchased the This Works Night Owl kit I decided to try out the candle and it didn't disappoint.

Before the bath I cleansed my face with Liz Earle's limited edition Cleanse & Polish Cleanser in Lavender and Rose - a perfect cleanser for this sort of thing, luxurious and extremely relaxing.
Run a bath and use some beautifully smelling bath salts. I love the This Works Deep Sleep Bath Soak. They're made especially for before bed and smell absolutely delightful! 

Ideally put on a great smelling face pack (it's all about the smell to get you relaxed!) whilst in the bath. I used the Wei Hydrating Face Treatment Pad which I really needed at the moment with this cold weather.

Don't rush it! Soak it up with a good book (at the moment I'm reading Delirium). 

Pyjamas, a dressing gown and comfy slippers are the obvious clothing of choice in this situation. I then sweep over a bit of Garnier Comforting Toner with Rose extract and slather on The Body Shop's Vitamin E Intense Moisture Cream. The normal Vitamin E Moisture Cream would work just as well, I tend to get quite dry skin in winter so usually go for the most hydrating moisturiser possible. 

Hopefully that should be all you need for a relaxing evening after a stressful day at work!

Who needs to spend lots of money at a spa trip hey?!

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Leopard Nails - Models Own Nail Art

So I got this Models Own Nail Art Pen for my birthday so I decided to try out some leopard nails I saw on Pinterest here.   

You need two colours plus the nail art pen so this time I went for a Rimmel splurge with Rimmel Lycra Pro in  Aqua Cool for the base nail. This has been my absolute favourite nail varnish in 2012. It's such a pretty bluebell colour with a hint of purple. For the spots I went for Rimmel Lycra Pro in Peppermint which is a gorgeous pastel green colour and I thought the colours went beautifully together. 

Polish like usual with your base colour. To make it look leopard-y dab a few spots of the second colour on a feature nail (don't worry if they're not perfect, it actually makes the leopard look better if they're not). 
Once dry use the nail art pen to draw two un-even lines around each spot (see picture) and add a couple of black splodges where there isn't any colour too. A top coat of clear nail varnish and you're away!

My first attempt at using the pen using a nude base colour and a bright pink in the middle which I also think looks awesome. So many combinations to try!

Top 5 books of 2012

So I know this is kind of heading off the beauty track but I really enjoy reading other people's reviews of books they've loved and generally I like to buy books that I know others have enjoyed so I hope you find this useful! 

These books haven't all been released this year, it's just my five favourites that I've read in 2012. 

5. Into The Wild

Into the wild is an interesting, real life account of Chris McCandless who decided to donate his $24,000 life savings to charity, abandon his family and go on a nomadic adventure across America living off the land. In a few years time his body is found in a remote part of Alaska starved and completely absent of fat. The author, Jon Krakauer by his own admission became completely obsessed with this man, his journey and his motivations and has written a fascinating account of what happened to Chris McCandless on his journey leading to his death. 

Another one that's been made into a film which is pretty good too. 

4. Me Before You

I really enjoy a good girly romance and I do read my fair share of them but this one just stands out for me. The plot follows Louise Clark who's lost her job and decides to take a job as a carer for Will, a quadriplegic confined to a wheelchair after a road accident and who used to be an extremely successful businessman in London. I'm sure you can probably see how the story might pan out. 

In another's hands this story line might have become downbeat and depressing but Jojo Moyes creates a brilliant romance novel that's uplifting, inspiring and thoughtful. It comes with a warning though - it's a tear-jerker. 

3. To Kill A Mockingbird

I know this book may have been a mandatory read for many at school with monotonous trawling page by page, picking out specific words or phrases and analysing them to an inch of its life. Well I was no different and to be honest, doing it that way knowing that there's an exam on it at the end kind of takes the fun out of reading it, funny that. So I decided to pick it up again and read it to enjoy it myself and I'm very glad I did. As one of the most famous and well regarded books in the world it doesn't really need another raving review or another stamp of approval to be honest but it's got it from me. 

2. The Hunger Games Trilogy

The Hunger Games

I'm sure a considerable number of people have already read the trilogy already  (and probably seen the film too) so I won't bore you with a synopsis of what The Hunger Games are about. I would have put all three books as two, three and four as they're all brilliant but that would be a dull and pointless post! 

Great plot, engaging, thrilling, and I know this is such an obvious thing to say but they actually are page turners. Couldn't put them down. Literally. 

And for my number one, dah dah dah dahhhh....

1. The Help


Now I'm not usually into capitalising my writing as I find it a bit over dramatic so this just highlights how brilliant, touching and heartwarming The Help is. There are so many brilliant things I could say about this book but I think the incredible five stars it still has from over a thousand reviews here says it all. Many of you may have already seen the film and yes I enjoyed it but as with the majority of books that have been made into films, the book wins hands down.

I didn't want it to end and felt that sadness after finishing the last page when you know you've just read a book that's really special. 

Apparently it's sold over five million copies and there's a reason for that. I urge you to get it and see for yourself. Utterly brilliant in every way.

Sunday, 30 December 2012

My hair care routine

Difficult is an understatement when it comes to my hair. I know a lot of people would kill for thick wavy hair like mine and do love it, honest. It's just it takes a lot to control it, it's a lot of work which is why I usually just have time to pin it back into a high bun for work. If I have a bit more time and quite often at weekends I'll straighten my hair using the wide GHD straighteners for unruly hair which has great results. The straightening, the hair colouring and the brushing can take its toll and so I try and use good quality hair products to get the life and shine back into my hair. 
Before: how my hair is naturally after drying. Not sure what I'd do pre-straighter time...

I don't tend to wash my hair every day, it doesn't get overly greasy until about day 3 so if there's no point why wash it. For general washing I just use VO5 Nourish Me Truly shampoo and conditioner which I found works really well with thick hair. About once or twice a week or whenever I have time or feel my hair needs a bit more nourishment, instead of the VO5 conditioner I'll swap it for either Kerastase Nutritive Fondant Nutri-Thermique (I'll usually use this one if I'm planning to straighten my hair as it works best with heat) or Redken All Soft Heavy Cream for dry and damaged hair. These are interchangeable so I'll use Kerastase one day and then Redken another. 

Depending on time I'll squeeze as much water out as possible, apply a good layer of the mask, wrap in a towel to keep warm (I've heard this encourages the mask to work) and leave for around 10 minutes. I usually get out of the bath at this point and rinse the mask off separately.

Once my hair is feeling a little healthier I'll add three pumps of Loreal Elvive Extraordinary Oil. I've tried a number of leave in conditioners from creams to oils and personally I find that ones that have an oily consistency like this one work better. The Berber Oil in a previous Glossy Box was another winner for me. They always leave my hair really soft and shiny. Finally before I start to blow dry I'll spritz on a little Trevor Sorbie Beautifully Straight Heat Protecting Spray. As you can see from the pic my hair naturally does it's own thing but the Trevor Sorbie seems to do a good job of de-frizzing and protecting at the same time. 

Loreal Elvive Extraordinary Oil
Trevor Sorbie Heat Protecting Spray

I always use my trusty Body Shop Paddle Brush to de-tangle before drying. 

With this routine I find that the damage to my hair is minimal with all the bleach and straightening. Particularly when it's straightened I've had quite a few comments (even from strangers!) about how healthy and shiny my hair looks which is testament to these products (and to having a good chop now and again). 

Next time I'll do a review of the GHD wide plates with before and after pics as for me they're absolutely amazing. 

Lip Tip - Elf Concealer

I'm not a big one for strikingly bold lips. I tend to class my face as quite classicly 'English Rose'-y which means that heavy eye shadow, liner or lipstick can tend to make me look slightly drag queen-ish. I do like to dabble with eye shadow and striking lip colours occasionally but only for special occasions and definitely not for normal day time, I've tried it before and to be frank it just doesn't suit me. 

That's where the Elf Tone Correcting Concealer comes in. To be honest, as a concealer it's possibly the worst out there, it literally does nothing to conceal or hide anything so if you're looking for a good concealer this aint it (there are plenty of brilliantly amazing concealers that I could rave about but perhaps another time). What it is good at however is toning down lip colour which, for me, I find very useful. 
Elf Tone Correcting Concealer
  I love a bit of lippy don't get me wrong but a lot of the time I just find the the colours out there are too 'strong' for my face. I like the tones and the colours like the Mac Sheen Supreme lipstick below in Gotta Dash but hopefully you'll agree as well that the peachy tone that comes out after I've used a couple of dabs of the Elf concealer over the top is a better finish. I think the reason why this 'concealer' is such a good tool for this sort of thing is because it's very watery. It's not thick or dense in colour like a lot of good concealers so on the lips it doesn't give a crusty/dried out 'foundation lip' finish, it leaves the natural glossiness of the lipstick whilst adding a bit of natural skin colour. 

Before: With Mac Sheen Supreme in Gotta Dash
After: With the Elf Concealer

 Rather than chucking it away after the first time I used it, it stayed in the make-bag for a while and now it takes a firm spot with all my lipsticks rather than my concealers. I like to experiment with make-up sometimes, just because it's marketed as doing one thing it doesn't mean there's not a better use for your face shape/skin type etc. Everyone's different and after quite a few make-up disasters in my teens I think I've got pretty good judgement now of what suits me and what doesn't 

Elf is so cheap it's worth getting for those times when you think 'arghhhhh too bright!' or 'arghhhh too much for work'. Rather than eliminating lipstick altogether just tone it down. 

Saturday, 29 December 2012

Welcome to the world of beauty blogging!


..where to begin? I've decided that blogging has become an increasingly more 'natural' thing to do in every day life. Expressing your interests to people around the world has become the norm and hey, it's fun to be able to talk with other like minded people about the things you love and to be creative. It's amazing really that you can spread your own views and experiences to people half way across the world. So I've decided to start my own blog, a beauty blog to be more specific, right here from my room in rainy England. 

About 3 years ago my housemates at university introduced me to the world of make-up blogs on youtube (these ones to be exact  Sara pixiwoo and Tanya Burr who are like the biggest beauty bloggers of like ever so I'm sure you've heard of them. Seriously if you haven't make it your first stop to check them out - where have you been?!). 

Since then my make up bag has probably gone from being a cheap foundation, a broken up blusher and an eye-liner that has never been sharpened, to a beautifully organised make-up collection of tried and tested purchases that have come highly recommended from beauty bloggers and quite a few pieces that I've also tried out myself. It's turned into quite a hobby. I feel that I've built up quite a bit of knowledge over the years and I've become self-taught in the world of make-up artistry and beauty. I've even started doing make-up at family weddings and events - all thanks to where it all started, beauty blogs. 

So... I thought hmm! I should give that a go. I'm going to be as honest and as detailed as I can be about all the products I try so I hope you find it useful. Enjoy!