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Tuesday, 31 May 2016

In Retrospect | May 2016

So I mentioned last month that I've been thinking about switching up my Empties posts; I've written an Empties post each month for almost three and a half years, and I was just feeling like the whole format was getting a bit tired! So today, I'm introducing 'In Retrospect', where I'll be having a little look back over the month that's been; I plan to still include my Empties but in a much briefer format, along with my favourite posts from the month (both my own and other bloggers'), anything else I've been loving during the month, and a little look at how I got on with my goals for the month.
Will Repurchase: Tresemmé Instant Volume Dry Shampoo - I mentioned this in my Three Dry Shampoos That Are Better Than Batiste post, and I find it works well for me in terms of adding volume and freshness with no chalky residue. I've already bought another can! // L'Oreal Paris Infallible Matte Foundation - I hated this at first and couldn't get it to sit nicely on my skin at all... Until I discovered that I just need to skip primer. It works so nicely over a healthy layer of moisturiser and really suits my skintype - it gives a high coverage and lasts well. I've already repurchased, although I have been favouring lighter bases as the weather gets warmer. // Una Brennan Salicylic Acid Purifying Cleansing Wash - My skin seems to love this cleanser and I've been using it twice a day most days. I've already repurchased this, too.
Might Repurchase: Garnier Micellar Water - I did like this and it lasted ages (like, a good six months), but I've been using their new Oil-Infused Micellar Water since finishing this, which I definitely prefer. // Acne Ultra Clear Cream* - I loved that this smelled of cinnamon and it was a lovely moisturiser which I've mainly been using in the evenings. My skin is a lot clearer in general now than when I started using this, so I'm going to see how I get on for a few weeks before deciding whether to repurchase it. // Clinique Take The Day Off Make-Up Remover for Lids, Lips & Lashes* - This worked perfectly nicely and I like the purple bottle but I feel like I can get equally as good eye make-up removers for a fraction of the price.
Won't Repurchase: Vichy Dercos Dermo Soothing Shampoo - Perfectly nice but didn't suit my hair-type // Naked Volume Body-Building Shampoo - I loved this but sadly it's no longer available so no repurchasing for me! // The Body Shop Chocomania Body Butter - Again, loved this, but unfortunately The Body Shop see fit to discontinue all my favourite lines (first Almond, now this...) so I probably won't be able to pick it up again. Sob. Thankfully I have one more tub left...  // Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse - This was a dinky sample bottle which I've finally made myself use. Wasn't a fan of the scent. // C 20 Natural Vitamin 21.5 Enhancing Sheet Mask - I'm still not a sheet mask convert and this was on the small side for my face, so I didn't keep it on as long as I should have, which is probably why I didn't notice much difference after using it...

May Goals
You can see the original post where I set my goals for May here; the TL:DR version is something along the lines of - sprained ankle, didn't do much.
• Run 5km continuously: Well, this was going well for me until the middle of the month, when I managed to go over on my ankle pretty badly - badly enough that I had to have an x-ray to make sure it wasn't broken - which kinda put paid to the running for the rest of the month. It also meant having to take time off work which I hate, but at least it gave me opportunity to relax and take care of myself a bit. Really this just served to confirm that I'm not very good at sitting with my feet up, which is literally what I was expected to do.
• See friends at least twice: One barbecue (ill-fated; see ankle tale-of-woe above); one trip to see Busted with my best friend from primary school (complete with busted ankle. Still a brilliant night!); one trip to Oxfordshire to meet my Swedish penfriend, who I've written to and emailed for around ten years but had never met before (lovely! We ate a lot, talked a lot, and looked around a lot of old churches). The busted ankle kinda put a downer on things here, too... But I did still meet this goal, yay!
• Get a job: This was set as a hopeful goal more than anything, as I had an interview in the middle of the month; sadly I wasn't successful, which I was disappointed with (I've had a lot of experience of interviewing for jobs and not getting them, so I'm not usually too bothered anymore - but I had my heart set on this one!) but it obviously wasn't meant to be. Onwards and upwards, as they say - I'm still applying for as many jobs as I can find so hopefully something will come my way sooner rather than later. Thankfully I have another interview lined up for the start of June, so I'm crossing everything!

May Loves
I adored this post on Gwennan's Bullet Journal - a new blog discovery for me but already becoming a favourite!
Twenty Something Meltdown Bullet Journal

I don't have the space for gorgeous make-up storage at the moment but Kate's post gave me a serious case of the heart-eye-emojis!
Kate La Vie Makeup Storage

I really enjoyed reading about what the lovely Hayley would include in a beauty box - I for one would definitely buy the London Beauty Queen Beauty Box!
London Beauty Queen Beauty Box
Some of my favourite posts on my own blog this month were on ways to boost your self-esteem, things you might not know about dementia, a fab split-end preventer from Tresemmé, and the gorgeous new Barry M Coconut Infusion Nail Paints. Make sure you check them out if you missed them!

May In Summary
So aside from failing abysmally at my goals for the month (one out of three! Pah!), I've actually had a pretty good May, with the highlights definitely being singing along to Busted songs from somewhere near the back of Manchester Arena, finally meeting someone I've "known" for over a decade, and seeing the handsome fella below up close.
I hope you like this new format for my last post of each month - let me know what you think and if there's anything I can change, add or improve! I'd love to hear any thoughts you might have. What have you been up to in May? Whose blog posts have you been loving?


Saturday, 28 May 2016

Review | Organic Surge Brightening Hot Cloth Cleanser

I received a travel-sized tube of Organic Surge's Brightening Hot Cloth Cleanser as a freebie with an order a few months ago; as a bit of a cleanser addict, I was thrilled to be able to try out a new one, and have been using this as part of my evening skincare routine for about six weeks now. I always remove my make-up (on days when I'm wearing it!) with a micellar water before double-cleansing properly, so this has been my first evening cleanse.
Organic Surge Hot Cloth Cleanser Review
"Gently remove all dirt and impurities with this highly effective facial cleanser which harnesses the highest quality essential oils to care whilst it cleans for fully rejuvenated skin. Massage into dry skin over face and neck, then use your favourite face cloth rinsed in hand hot water to wipe your face clean. Rinse cloth and repeat, then pat dry with a towel."
So, as suggested, I spend around a minute massaging the cleanser into my face and neck; I find a little goes quite a long way, I'd guess I use slightly less than an almond-sized amount each evening. This feels really lovely on my skin and I love the gentle rose fragrance it has, which is really soothing and luxurious; perfect at the end of a long day. I then gently wipe off with my flannel as recommended, and follow up with a gel-based cleanser to ensure my skin is thoroughly cleansed (I'm currently using this Una Brennan one which I love).
Organic Surge Hot Cloth Cleanser
I've really enjoyed having this cleanser as part of my evening routine; not only does it feel lovely on my skin and smell beautiful, but it seems to work really well with my skin-type and the rest of my routine. My skin has been calmer the past few months than it has since I was about ten! I love how this is helping to keep my skin soft, nourished and clear-ish of blemishes. Organic Surge says it's suited to normal to dry or mature skins, but in my experience it suits oily skin just fine!
The Brightening Hot Cloth Cleanser is priced at £13.95 for 150ml here, which I think is a great price - I've barely dented my 75ml tube and, as I said, I've been using it almost-daily for around six weeks now. I can easily see it lasting another three or four months, so the 150ml bottle should last around eight months by my maths! Have you ever tried Organic Surge's skincare? What's your favourite type of cleanser?

[Post contains affiliate links.]

Thursday, 26 May 2016

Review | Swimovate PoolMate Swimmer's Shampoo

Since starting to swim regularly last year, I noticed a real change in the condition of my hair; my ends have always got dry and split quite quickly even after a decent trim, but it had reached the point where my hair just didn't look or feel nice. It never felt clean, the roots felt permanently oily and sticky, like I hadn't quite washed all my shampoo out... And it just looked blergh. My hairdresser suggested trying an anti-chlorine shampoo (I know... I can't believe it had never occurred to me, either!), and I was amazed to find an SLS-free one to try out.
Swimovate Poolmate Swimmer's Shampoo Review
Swimovate PoolMate Swimmer's Shampoo doesn't have any fancy packaging or super-pretty, Instagram-worthy branding - just a black plastic bottle with a click-down-pop-up lid which allows you to squeeze out the shampoo easily. Swimovate claim, "Four different chlorine binding agents remove chlorine and metal ion residues from the hair. Moisturising coconut oil helps nourish and protect."
The first thing I noticed was the lovely coconut scent - coconut always smells like holidays to me so that is more than okay with me. I love the scent of this shampoo! It has a thick pearly-white texture which is easy to massage through wet hair; I tend to shampoo twice before following with a conditioner (I'm currently using Dr Organic's Manuka Honey one), and then towel-dry before adding a quick spritz of Tresemmé's Nourish & Replenish Hydrating Mist combed through my ends.
Swimovate Poolmate Shampoo
Since adding Swimovate PoolMate shampoo into my routine, I've found that my hair no longer gets that nasty build-up feeling after a few swims, and it's generally in much better condition; I think with this and the Tresemmé spray, I'm onto a winning combination! My hair still gets oily quite quickly but hey, you can't win 'em all! I only use this on days when I've actually been swimming, but I don't think there's any reason not to use it every time you wash your hair as it's a perfectly functional shampoo.
The best price I've found for this shampoo is £6.27 for the 200ml bottle here, although I've not ordered from this website so I can't comment on that I'm afraid (my Mum ordered this for me and I'm not sure where she bought it from, sorry!) - but it's also available on Amazon for £9.79 here. Have you ever used a specific swimming shampoo?

[Post contains affiliate links.]

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Ten Thoughts You Have at 3 a.m.

Generally speaking I'm a bit of an early bird when it comes to bedtime - I value my sleep (read: I'm useless without it!) and tend to be tucked up in bed well before midnight. Recently, though, I've slipped into the terrible habit of turning my laptop back on when I get in from work at 10 p.m., which has led to hours upon hours mysteriously disappearing... Here are ten things I'm sure we've all found ourselves thinking at 3 a.m.:
Ten Thoughts You Have At 3 a.m.
[Photo Credit: Ivory Mix. Edited by me.]
  1. I'm sure it was only 11 p.m. last time I looked at the clock, like, half an hour ago?!
  2. I was meant to be having an early night...
  3. My alarm is going off in *counts* four hours. How am I going to function!?
  4. Why is my brain full of ideas and motivation instead of sleepiness?
  5. I'm hungry. I wonder if there are any chicken nuggets in the freezer...
  6. Did I remember to submit my mileage claim at work / feed the goldfish / lock the doors / insert other important thing here?
  7. I'll just finish writing this blog post... 
  8. ...and edit this last photo...
  9. ...and comment on these couple of posts in my Bloglovin' feed.
  10. Okay let's just look at Analytics. Maybe someone's looking at my blog right now. Oh. Okay. They're not.
What are your typical 3 a.m. thoughts? Do you have any to add to my list?


Sunday, 22 May 2016

The Beauty Products Always In My Stash

You know those staple beauty products that you don't even think about; they're just a permanent fixture in your stash? The ones that get overlooked and have never even featured on the blog? Yeah, I thought it was about time we talked about those! For me, these are the affordable little products that often have multiple uses, that you're just never without...
The Beauty Products Always In My Stash - Beauty Essentials
Carmex Classic Lip Balm
Carmex for me is an absolute essential; I really like the flavour and the slight tingly sensation it ha on the lips... Not to mention it's super effective at softening up dry, chapped lips in next to no time! If my lips are a little bit worse for wear (which usually happens as the seasons change) and dry, chapped or cracked, a thick layer of this overnight usually sorts them right out. I sometimes apply a thinner layer during the day as well. I've used Carmex for probably about ten years now and have been through I don't know how many tins and tubes. (£2.69/7g at Boots)
Tea Tree Oil
My other must-have beauty product is Tea Tree Oil; this works so well dabbed onto spots and blemishes, working to clear them up, again almost overnight. I tend to just dab on a tiny bit each evening with a clean fingertip to any blemishes on my face, chest and shoulders, and they're always smaller by morning. Tea Tree Oil is also great for bites - I don't usually get bitten much but for some reason I had five bites a week or so ago, and this worked really well to soothe the itching. This is just Boots' own brand Tea Tree Oil (£7.99/20ml - they don't seem to do the 10ml bottle anymore...) but I really like The Body Shop's, too (from £8/10ml).
Beauty Product Must-haves
Both are absolute beauty bargains in my book as they last for an absolute age and work so well for me - they're utterly dependable! Have you tried either of these products? Do you have any beauty must-haves? I'd love to hear what you consider to be essentials!

[Post contains affiliate links.]

Saturday, 21 May 2016

Barry M Coconut Infusion Nail Paints

Since working in care, nail posts have been sadly lacking on my blog, basically due to the fact that I can't wear nail polish for work and I rarely have more than one day off at once, so it just seems a waste to put it on, only to have to take it off again less than 24 hours later! However, an unfortunate turn of events has left me off sick for a few days (ain't no running round after old folks on a sprained ankle!), so I decided to take advantage of this and paint my nails.
Barry M Coconut Infusion Nail Paints 1
I'd picked up a couple of Barry M's new Coconut Infusion Nail Paints a couple of weeks ago, which you may have seen in my Sunday Night Pamper Products post! Barry M say, "High-reflective colour infused with Coconut Water and Coconut Oil to hydrate and nourish nails. With clinical proven Hexanal for added strength and nail condition. For full benefit, do not use a base coat." Any excuse to skip a step of the manicure routine is fine by me! Coconut Oil and Coconut Water are very much the "in thing" at the moment so it's nice to see a drugstore brand hopping onto that trend!
Barry M Coconut Infusion Nail Paints
I picked up two shades; 'Surfboard' is a pretty pastel-pink, whilst 'Laguna' is a lovely periwinkle-blue which I've been wearing on my toenails - it actually matches the bruising on my poor sprained foot quite nicely at the moment...  'Laguna' went on super-smoothly to give a beautiful, opaque colour with two coats. I know toenails aren't quite such a test of longevity, but I've been wearing my two coats with no base or top coat for well over a week with no signs of chipping yet, which isn't bad!
Barry M Coconut Infusion Surfboard NOTD
'Surfboard' is a different consistency to 'Laguna' - it applies much more streaky and whilst two coats of 'Laguna' was sufficient, I really needed three of 'Surfboard' to get an even finish on my nails. That said, it does apply nice and smoothly and dries quickly, so it wasn't too much of a faff. It dries to a beautiful glossy finish, as you can see, so there's not really any need for a top coat - although it might help with wear time. Saying that, I've managed 48 hours at the time of writing with no chips at all so it isn't half bad anyway! I really like the brushes of these polishes, which are wider and flatter than Barry M's standard brushes, making for an easier & neater application.
Barry M Coconut Infusion Surfboard
Barry M Coconut Infusion Nail Paints are priced at £4.99 each for 10ml of product, which is a little more than Barry M's standard nail polishes but still not a bad price at all, especially considering they're currently buy one, get one half price at Boots! Have you picked up any of the Coconut Infusion Nail Paints yet? Do you like the look of the shades I chose?


Wednesday, 18 May 2016

My Favourite Split-End-Preventer

Hair isn't something that gets a lot of mention here on The Indigo Hours; that's mostly because hair isn't my thing. Honestly, some days I'm doing well if I remember to brush it; I wash it and condition it and throw it into a ponytail for work, and that's about it as far as my haircare routine goes. However, my hair is long (almost to my waist) and thick (very thick) and prone to horrible dry ends which split really easily, leaving my 'do looking tatty and unattractive. So I picked up this little bottle of Tresemmé Expert Selection Botanique Nourish & Replenish Hydrating Mist in Asda to see if it could help with my hair woes...
My Favourite Split-End-Preventer
It was the 'Silicone-Free' claim that initially drew me in, as I do prefer to avoid silicones in my haircare if I can help it - I find they make my hair oily faster, as well as causing me to break out on my shoulders and chest. So, we were off to a good start before I'd even bought it! Tresemmé claim, "The specially crafted Tresemmé Botanique Hydrating Mist formula is infused with our rich botanical blend of coconut milk and aloe vera. It gently detangles and conditions hair for a weightless, moisturised feel. Give your hair the extra nourishment it needs to stay soft, smooth and manageable."
Tresemme Botanique Nourish & Replenish Hydrating Mist
My first thought upon trying this was that I'd really like a finer spray, as it was a lot like trying to attain an even misting through my hair using a water pistol. Honestly, I found the term "hydrating mist" so misleading as this is not a mist by any stretch of the imagination! The best way I've found of using it is to split my hair into two sections down my parting, hold each section away from my face, close my eyes and hope for the best... Not ideal. I only spray into the bottom four or five inches of my  towel-dried hair, as I do have very oily roots, and then brush through with my beloved Tangle Teezer.
Tresemme Hydrating Mist
All that faff aside, however, I do really like this - I had my hair cut around a month ago and I'd usually be noticing dozens of split ends by this stage, especially considering I'm swimming 2-3 times per week at the moment. I've actually barely noticed any, which is amazing for my hair, and I can't think what else could be responsible. Which makes me wish even more that it had a decent spray-nozzle-thing. I haven't noticed any unpleasant residue in my hair after using this - no crispiness or stickiness or anything like that.
Tresemme Nourish & Replenish Mist
So, apart from the dreadful delivery mechanism, I do really like this - I've been using it almost every time I wash my hair and have honestly noticed a difference in the quality of my ends, with far less splitting than I'm used to. I'll keep using this and I'll probably repurchase - maybe I just got a dodgy bottle? Tresemmé Expert Selection Botanique Hydrating Mist is priced at £5.50 for 125ml in Boots, although I think it was half-price in Asda when I bought it so it's worth keeping an eye out for a deal! Do you take care of your hair? What are your go-to products for preventing split ends?



Monday, 16 May 2016

Dementia Awareness Week | Five Things You Might Not Know About Dementia*

This week (15th-21st May 2016) is Dementia Awareness Week, which is a topic that's close to my heart, given that I work in the Dementia unit of a care home. If you follow me on Twitter you'll no doubt have seen me moaning and complaining about my job, but I do love the residents I care for; I spend more time with them than I do with my own family, friends or boyfriend, so I definitely grow to love them. I thought today would be a nice opportunity to share a few things you may not know about dementia, based on the two years I've spent working with some truly amazing people.
Five Things You Might Not Know About Dementia
It's not just about getting "a bit forgetful".
Memory loss is usually the first thing people think of when you mention Dementia, but actually, it's an extremely complex disease which affects people differently, and can impact on literally dozens of areas of life. Yes, a lot of people suffer with memory loss (usually starting with more recent memory), but other common symptoms include problems with speech (dysphasia), mobility (balance and co-ordination), and spatial awareness. Dementia can affect a person's ability to make decisions; understand what's real/now and what's pretend/a memory; control their emotions; and understand the consequences of their actions.

There are different types of Dementia.
Dementia is a bit of a catch-all phrase which describes the symptoms of a number of diseases. The most common form is Alzheimer's Disease, but Dementia may also be Vascular (following a stroke or brain injury). Other types include Dementia with Lewy Bodies, and Fronto-Temporal Dementia. Each type tends to present slightly differently, although there is a lot of overlap and it's ultimately very difficult to get an accurate diagnosis.
It doesn't just affect "old people".
Yes, the majority of people with Dementia fall into the 65+ age category, but around 5% of sufferers have what is known as Early-Onset Dementia - this includes anyone whose symptoms started before the age of 65. Early-Onset Dementia can affect people as young as their 40s; a family friend of ours was diagnosed in her mid-40s. Younger people with Dementia face a whole different set of challenges - these are often working adults who become unable to work or properly take care of themselves, which has a whole lot of social stigma attached.

It's progressive.
This means it gets worse as time goes on; the idea of a little old lady who forgets about her cup of tea until it goes cold and insists on calling you Mabel might seem endearing, but ultimately, Dementia will kill her - that's the cold hard truth of the matter. The disease literally destroys brain tissue until there isn't enough left to function. Having worked with people with extremely advanced Dementia, I think it's fair to say that toward the end the person isn't really there anymore for the most part; it's heart-breaking to see someone become a shell of what they were.
Dementia Awareness Week 2016
There's no cure.
There are drugs available for Dementia which may slow down its progression, but as yet, there's no cure. There are also lifestyle changes that people with symptoms or a diagnosis are encouraged to make, such as eating more healthily, cutting down on alcohol, and getting regular exercise - but again, this won't cure the disease. Some of the people I work with have lived active lives up to the age of 90+, eat well and didn't drink, and yet still ended up with Dementia.

I know I've painted a fairly bleak picture here and I'm sorry for that - but this is the reality of Dementia. However, there are often several years of mild symptoms before a diagnosis is made, and several more years following diagnosis before the impact of the Disease is overwhelming. People can and do live well with Dementia for a number of years.
Barchester Healthcare have a really helpful guide available which is designed to help people choose the right care home for their loved ones with Dementia; I know from experience that moving a loved one into a care home is a stressful experience for all concerned - and my top tip would be to give it time, don't expect your relative to settle in overnight. Some people take to it like the proverbial duck to water, whilst others take a good few weeks to get used to the change and "find their feet" in the new environment.
Do you have any experience of Dementia in your family or amongst your friends? Do you know much about the disease?

[*Sponsored post. I was planning to write this anyway but the opportunity came up so it'd have been silly to turn it down!]


Saturday, 14 May 2016

#FaceTheDay with Balance Me | Instant Lift Pore Minimiser*

I was recently sent a box of goodies from Balance Me which promised to help me #FaceTheDay; I've spoken before about how I'm really not a morning person, so anything that can help me get going in the mornings is more than welcome!! Alongside some tea and snacks (the way to my heart!), I was sent a tube of Balance Me's new Tinted Wonder Eye Cream* which I've previously talked about here, as well as their new Instant Lift Pore Minimiser*.
#FaceTheDay with Balance Me
My pores are something I really struggle with and whilst I've become kind of accustomed to the fact that there isn't a way to shrink them (pores are not doors!), I still like to minimise their appearance as much as possible - so I was really keen to try the Instant Lift Pore Minimiser. Balance Me claims, "Banish enlarged pores and dramatically reduce fine lines with our complexion perfecting skin smoother. Designed to instantly lift and refine skin so it looks more youthful and virtually pore-less."
Balance Me Instant Lift Pore Minimiser Review
The first thing I noticed about the white gel-like product is that it doesn't have the silicone-y texture that many pore-hiding products seem to - it feels much more natural and skincare-like on the skin, which I have to say threw me a little to begin with! Rather than physically filling in pores, this works more by blurring them - so it's perfect for those who try to avoid silicones, or who are just looking to try something different. Enriched with hydrating Hyaluronic Acid, antioxidant-rich Spruce Knot and Carrot Oil to smooth the skin, this is like make-up and skincare rolled into one!
Balance Me Instant Lift Pore Minimiser
The effect is quite subtle and natural which I liked - this won't give airbrushed, doll-like perfectly smooth skin but it does blur pores slightly to give skin a more even appearance, which hopefully you can see below - I'm wearing the Instant Lift Pore Minimiser on the left of my nose in the photo, whilst the right-hand side is just foundation over my bare skin. I can definitely see the difference which if I'm honest is the main thing - I don't think anyone else ever noticed my pores! I guess it's one of those things that you notice because you're self-conscious about it, even though no-one else will ever look that closely. So, if I can see the improvement - that's what matters!
Balance Me Instant Lift Pore Minimiser in action
The new Instant Lift Pore Minimiser is available from Balance Me, priced at £10 for 5ml, which would be the perfect size to try it out, or £22 for the full-sized 15ml. I do think that sounds quite expensive for how much product you get, but you do only need the tiniest amount to smooth over the areas where you need it, so I think it'll work out to be quite reasonable. It's definitely a product I'd recommend if you're looking to blur your pores in a more natural way or wish to avoid silicone-based primers. Do you struggle with your pores? What are your favourite ways to hide them?

[*Product provided for consideration.]


Thursday, 12 May 2016

The SS16 Fragrance Wardrobe with Next

I was actually planning to treat myself to a new perfume with my Boots points whilst in town at the weekend, but when I popped into Next I had a little play with their testers and ending up deciding to pick up a few of these instead; I love that there are so many size options available, I chose three of the 10ml sizes which only cost me £12 in total and means I get to try out three lovely scents - I couldn't be more thrilled! These bottles are the perfect size for trialling out a scent, or indeed for travelling, and the fragrances go right up to 100ml if there's one you love.
Spring Summer Fragrance with Next
Of the three I went for, Paradise Island is my favourite, with notes including Mango, Guava, Pineaple and Coconut Water with a base of Sandalwood and Musk; it's a classically summer fragrance in my opinion and it's been absolutely perfect for these last few days of brilliant sunshine.
Paradise is quite a similar fragrance, with its notes including Apple, Lemon, Magnolia and Rose over the same Sandalwood and Musk base; again, this is a lovely fruit summer scent and I've really liked wearing it.
My third selection was Sparkle, which is a little different - notes of Neroli, Plum, Orange Blossom and Tuberose complement a base of Amber and, again, Musk. To my nose this is a bit more of a mature fragrance, but still beautiful.
Next Eau de Parfum
All three come in identical glass bottles with the name printed in silver, matching the silver caps; they're not anything fancy or ground-breaking but they look classy and certainly not cheap - there's beauty in simplicity and I really like them. As I said, these would be the perfect size for travelling with, to keep in your handbag, or just to try a few out if you were struggling to choose from the extensive range!
Next Perfumes
Being Eau de Parfum, these last quite well on the skin - certainly, I can still detect the scent after about eight hours of wear, although it is a lot fainter than when first applied. Even so, I'm more than happy with that, especially when I can get a huge 100ml bottle for £12. Have you ever tried a perfume from Next? What are your spring/summer fragrances of choice?



Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Review | Born Pretty Waterproof Eyeshadow Pen*

I've previously posted about one of Born Pretty's Waterproof Eyeshadow Pens* which I was kindly sent a few months ago in Shade #4; I really liked it, so I was happy to receive a second one in Shade #11*, which is a beautiful coppery shade. Let's have a little look at it!
Born Pretty Waterproof Eyeshadow Pen
This came in the same pretty floral-print box with holographic accents as Shade #4, with the pen within being identical aside from the colour of the band around the base, which in this case is copper to represent the product it contains. I really like this as it makes it easy to know which shade I've grabbed from my stash without having to remove the lids. Similarly, this is a twist-up product which doesn't require sharpening; you can literally swipe it onto the eyelids and go!
Born Pretty Waterproof Eyeshadow Pen Review
Just like Shade #4, this has a really nice smooth, creamy texture which applies beautifully to the lids with no pulling or tugging. You've got a minute or two to blend if you wish, but once it's set, it won't go anywhere! This is a pretty shade by itself, a lovely warm-toned metallic copper shade which is perfect for summer; it lasts well on my lids without creasing, fading, or sliding, which is fab - I often find I need to set cream products to keep them in place, but that's not the case here. Below you can see it blended out over my lids on its own - it's definitely wearable like this and is a lovely shade it its own right.
BPS Waterproof Eyeshadow Pen Shade 11 Alone
It also makes a brilliant base for powder eyeshadow products; I'm loving wearing it under shades from my Fortune Favours The Brave palette (my favourite palette so far this year!) where it really helps to add a bit more depth to my eyeshadow - here you can see it with 'Peachy' over the top.
EOTD BPS Waterproof Eyeshadow Pen #11
Born pretty Waterproof Eyeshadow Pen Swatch
In all, this is a brilliant product in my opinion, especially considering its bargain price of £3.23 here - remember you can take 10% off store-wide on the Born Pretty site with my code 'JESSMK31' as well. There are a total of twelve shades available so I'm sure you'll spot one you love! Do you prefer cream or powder eye products? What are your favourite summertime eye shades?

[*Product provided for consideration.]


Sunday, 8 May 2016

The Sunday Night Pamper

Working every other weekend as I do, I find myself taking a Sunday night pampering quite seriously when I get chance to fit one in! Often I'm busy driving back from somewhere on a Sunday evening, but when I've had a weekend at home, it's lovely to wind things up by having an hour or two of relaxing "me-time"... I love nosying at the products people use when they really want to spoil themselves, so here are my current picks:
The Sunday Night Pamper Session Products
I'm obsessed with exfoliation and recently picked up this gorgeous Mango Sugar Scrub from the Boots Extracts range (here); it's a bargain at just £6.50 for the huge 400g tub and it smells bloody lovely. This is perfect for keeping my arms and legs silky-smooth, which I have to admit I neglect a little through the winter months... Now that summer's here, though, I'm making more of an effort! I also like to use a lip scrub, with my current one being from LUSH's Christmas range - I'm also a massive fan of the Bubblegum scrub. You can check out the full range here - these are £5.50 for 25g. I recently re-discovered this Dove Pistachio Cream & Magnolia Body Oil in my stash and have fallen back in love with the scent; it's a little on the pricey side for a drugstore product in my opinion, at £8.99 for 150ml, but I think it's worth it for a little luxurious treat. It's not the most hydrating product I've ever used which is probably why it's been forgotten about over the winter but now the weather's warming up, it's just perfect.
Boots Extracts Mango Sugar Scrub
A face mask is a must and I love Origins Drink Up Intensive; this is an overnight mask, but if I remember I like to apply a layer earlier on in the evening, and then top it up just before bedtime for double the hydration. Now I wouldn't like you to think scent is the only thing that matters to me but again, this smells amazing - it's a mid-range option at £23 for 100ml (here) but my tube has lasted ages so again, I think it's worth the investment. I also like to slap on a foot cream as, despite the best of intentions, I'm pretty useless at remembering to do this every night as I would in an ideal world. For that reason, this CCS Foot Care Cream* has lasted me an absolute age, too, although it's very affordable at £7.99 for 150ml (here) so I'm happy to slap it on generously.
The Sunday Night Pamper
Finally, a rare treat - I've actually painted my nails this weekend! I definitely didn't need any more nail polish but somehow ended up picking up a couple from Barry M's new Coconut Infusions line; this gorgeous pale pink shade is called 'Surfboard', and I also picked up the pastel blue 'Laguna'. First impressions of these are they require a careful application to avoid streaks, but are opaque in two coats and have a lovely glossy finish without the need for a topcoat. These are £4.99 for 10ml although Boots are currently running a buy one, get one half price offer (here).
Pamper Routine
What do you like to include in your pamper nights? What are your must-have products for an evening of indulgence?

[*Product provided for consideration. Post contains affiliate links.]


Saturday, 7 May 2016

Magazine Freebies | June 2016

I love when the new magazines come out each month and I can have a good browse to see if there are any freebies worth picking up! May is looking like a good month, as there are some gems to be had with the June issues of magazines. Read on for my round-up and to see which ones I've got my mitts on!
Magazine Freebies June 2016
Marie Claire (£3.99, Drew Barrymore on the cover) comes with a 50ml tube of St Tropez Gradual Tan Everyday Tinted Body Lotion. I'm not a big tan user (okay, okay, I've never used fake tan) but I've decided to be brave and give this a try. I can't go too far wrong with a gradual tanner, right?! I've heard nothing but praise for St Tropez so I'll be crossing my fingers... There are also sample sachets of The Body Shop's Drops of Youth Youth Concentrate & L'Oreal Paris Revitalift Laser Renew Day Cream within the magazine.
Marie Claire St Tropez Freebies June 2016
ELLE (£4.10, Léa Seydoux on the cover) comes with a 75ml tube of Percy & Reed Perfectly Perfecting Wonder Overnight Recovery; I've always found Percy & Reed products a bit hit and miss but this sounds lovely and exactly like what my hair needs at the moment, so I thought it was worth a go. There are also sample sachets of L'Oreal Elvive Extraordinary Clay Re-Balancing Shampoo & Conditioner within the magazine.
Elle Percy & Reed June 2016
InStyle (£3.99, Chloe Moretz on the cover) comes with a Nails Inc nail polish in one of four shades. You can pick this up for just £2.50 at WHSmith's, so if you like the sound of this offer, I'd head down there if you can! I've given this a miss as I just have no need for more nail polishes, although all four shades look lovely:

(L-r: Texas Talking, California Dreamer, Ohio Desire, Oregon's Out)

Have you picked up any of this month's magazine freebies? Which of them has caught your eye? What are your favourite type of products to get free with magazines?



Friday, 6 May 2016

Five Ways To Boost Your Self-Esteem

I've been working on a self-esteem workbook for young people in my voluntary job and was thinking to myself that a lot of the things I'm including are actually applicable to anyone... Self-esteem is so important and low self-esteem can have a huge impact on every aspect of your life - and yet so many of us struggle along, often without even realising that we suffer from low self-esteem! With that in mind, I thought it'd be nice to share some ways you can work on your self-esteem if you feel like it could do with a boost.
Five Ways To Boost Your Self-Esteem
What Is Self Esteem?
When we talk about self-esteem, we're referring to the value you see in yourself - having healthy self-esteem means you recognise your shortcomings but you're also able to appreciate your skills, talents and the good aspects of your personality. When things go wrong you're able to appreciate that it might not be all down to you and it doesn't put you off trying again in future. Low self-esteem, on the other hand, means you struggle to see the positives in yourself, with a tendency to focus on your weaknesses and things that have gone badly for you. You're likely to blame yourself for any failures (even things that are outside your control) and may avoid trying new things or taking on challenges. Low self-esteem can suck a lot of the fun out of life!

Improving Your Self-Esteem: Note Your Negative Self-Beliefs
It's pretty hard to change something without being aware of it! Often, our negative thoughts become so natural and automatic that we don't even notice when we're putting ourselves down and talking badly to ourselves - "I'm rubbish at this", "I'll never be able to do that", "They probably don't like me anyway" - the kinds of things we'd never dream of saying to people we love, but somehow think it's okay to say to ourselves. Take a day and properly pay attention to your negative thoughts - try to notice what you're doing when they pop up, and how they make you feel. You could write them down if you like, or simply noticing them might be enough.

Recognise Your Strengths
It seems to be kind of frowned on in our society to be aware of your strengths, but it's so important. Try to make a list of things about yourself that you like - these might be skills and abilities (Good at swimming? Show-stopping baker? Play guitar?), physical features (Nice long hair? Amazing thighs? Pretty eyes?), or personal qualities (Always say 'please' and 'thank-you'? Good listener when your friends have a problem? Organised?). If you really struggle, ask a close friend for a couple of suggestions to get you started - but the important thing here is that these should be things you like about yourself.
Boosting your self-esteem
Build On Your Values
Think about the things you value in other people - friends, family, co-workers and so on. Why do you like these people? Is it their hard-working attitude? The fact they always have a terrible knock-knock joke to tell you? Their dedication to crocheting tiny animals? Once you've identified traits you value in other people, have a think about how you might already have these characteristics. When you think about it, you probably are also hard-working and humourous. Maybe crocheting tiny animals isn't your thing, but I'm sure you're creative in another way - and if not, maybe that's something you can work on!

Challenge Yourself
This kind of relates to the last point; if you've identified some traits or skills you'd like to work on, then set yourself a little challenge to do so. The key here is to make the challenges achievable - start with something small and work up as you feel ready! Setting yourself up for a failure will do nothing for your self-esteem. Maybe you could challenge yourself to sketch something every day for a week, or put your change in a charity box, or let another driver out in front of you - little things like this, done with intention, can change the way you think about yourself.
Get Active
Research has shown that people who exercise regularly are measurably happier with themselves - they like their appearance better, and are generally more at peace with themselves as people. Getting active has literally dozens of benefits but specifically here, it really does make you feel better about yourself. Recognising the importance of taking care of yourself and your health is key. Don't think exercise is your thing? Why not try something new? Sign up for a Pilates class with a friend, dig out your bike, try a Saturday morning swim... Anything that gets you moving is a great place to start!

Unfortunately, improving your self-esteem isn't as simple as simply deciding to believe the nice things people say about you, and stop thinking badly of yourself - a habit which has taken years to develop won't disappear just like that! Building your self-esteem will be a gradual process, taking place step by step, but you're sure to notice the benefits along the way.
Do you have any tips for keeping your self-esteem healthy? Have you ever felt held back by low self-esteem? I'd love to hear your thoughts and stories on this topic! I'm thinking about putting together a downloadable/printable worksheet to summarise this post, is that something you'd find useful?


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