Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Ten DIY Beauty Products*

Budget skincare is great, and it's nice to know that a little pampering doesn't have to cost the earth. However, cheap products can sometimes mean cheap ingredients, and if you have sensitive or eczema-prone skin, this can make for a far less pleasant experience! Many cheaper products are loaded with sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS), which can cause irritation, or preservatives such as parabens, which can build up in your body.
Luckily, there is a way to get hold of all-natural products without spending a lot – with a little elbow grease you can easily make many of your own at home! Below are ten skin-friendly beauty products you can make from the comfort of your own kitchen.
Ten DIY Beauty Products
1. Body wash
Believe it or not, this is really easy to make at home, and you might even have some of the ingredients already. The best thing about this recipe is that you can customise it with your own favourite scent! Here's what you'll need:
• 227g Castile Soap (a gentle cleanser which can be had online for a few pounds) 
• 340g Raw honey 
• 3 teaspoons of oil (olive, or similar) 
• 50-60 drops of your preferred essential oil – you could try bergamot for a mood boost, peppermint to cool you, or chamomile to calm you. 
Simply mix these ingredients together in a plastic bottle, and shake before use.
2. Shampoo
Making a substitute for shop-bought shampoo is also surprisingly simple. By mixing a teaspoon of baking soda with a cup of water, you can clean your hair the natural way – add a few drops of an essential oil to achieve your preferred scent. The only thing to bear in mind with this shampoo is that it can be quite drying, so should only be used a few times a week.
3. Thickening Shampoo
If you have fine hair, you can adapt the above recipe to give it a natural thickness boost. All you need to do is add a handful of finely blended oats, and voila – make sure you rinse thoroughly!
4. Conditioner
Next on the list of shower products you can make yourself this rich conditioner. You will need:
• Half an avocado
• Half a banana
• 2 tablespoons of olive oil
• 1 egg
• 1 tablespoon of honey
To make the conditioner, blend these ingredients together well. The mixture should be applied to dry hair, avoiding the roots, and left for 10-15 minutes before being thoroughly rinsed out. The natural oils in the avocado and banana will moisturise your tresses, whilst honey is great for shine.
Avocado Hair Conditioner Recipe
5. Oily Hair Treatment
If you find your locks are a bit oily, this simple trick could be perfect, and chances are you already have everything you need.
For this treatment, boil 2 tablespoons of loose-leaf black tea in water for 10 minutes, and allow it to cool before working the mixture through your hair and rinsing.
6. Exfoliator
This natural body scrub is gentler on your skin than the cheaper shop-bought products, and is easy to make. Mix a teaspoon of granulated or caster sugar with 1-2 drops of water, and 1-2 drops of your favourite essential oil. Use the scrub a couple of times a week and rinse thoroughly for best results.
7. Face Wash
With a small investment, you can make your own soothing face wash. You'll need:
• 85g Aloe Vera Gel
• 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
• 2 Tablespoons Water
• 1 Tablespoon Liquid Castile Soap
• 5-10 Drops Essential Oil of your choice
To make the wash, simply combine the ingredients in a clean jar and shake well – also give it a shake before each use.
Homemade Face Wash Recipe
8. Face Masks
You can make yourself a gentle, acne-friendly face mask with just a few food items you probably already have stashed in your kitchen. Simply blend a banana with 85g of natural yoghurt, and 2 tablespoons of honey. Apply the mask, avoiding the eye area, and leave for 10-20 minutes before rinsing.
9. Toner
Apple cider vinegar has been used on skin for centuries, and is as effective today as it has ever been. By mixing 1 part apple cider vinegar with 2 parts water, and 5-10 drops of essential oil, you can make a gentle and effective toner.
10. Food for Good Skin
It's important to look after yourself from the inside as well as the outside, and there's a lot you can do to improve your skin without the help of expensive vitamin supplements.
  • Stay hydrated – consuming plenty of water allows your skin to retain its brightness and elasticity.
  • Foods high in vitamin C, such as blueberries and oranges, help your skin to heal blemishes.
  • For eczema-prone skin, try:
    Foods high in vitamin E such as avocados and hazelnuts
    Omega-3, which can be found in oily fish, soy beans, and spinach
Beauty on a Budget
Hopefully these recipes have given you some inspiration – with a little time and effort, they could save you a bundle in the long run. Small steps like this can make a big difference to your finances – especially when debt is involved. As the cost of living rises, more and more of us are borrowing to keep up. Shelter even found, in one study, that 1 in 3 people on a low income are borrowing money just to pay their rent. Luckily, debt help is out there, and in the meantime, enjoy saving some pennies with these quick and easy recipes!

Have you ever made any homemade beauty products? What are your favourite recipes? I'd love to hear if you give any of these a go!

xo
[*Sponsored post.]
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Sunday, 13 August 2017

Glossybox August 2017 | Girls Just Wanna Have Sun

I've had a Glossybox subscription for almost a year now and I have to say, I've been impressed with most of the boxes I've received; I generally find that there's a good mix of products in terms of product type (skincare/haircare/makeup etc.), and in terms of familiar and new-to-me brands. I don't make a habit of sharing what I receive each month on my blog (though I do tend to post over on Instagram!) but thought I would this month as it's a lovely summery collection of products. The box is a beautiful sky-blue colour embossed with the motif 'Girls just wanna have sun', which I think sums up this month's theme pretty well! So what did I get in my box...?
August 2017 Glossybox
Valquer Ice Hair Mask Total Repair | Valquer isn't a brand I've heard of before but I was intrigued to notice that the bottle felt cold to touch - though once I read the bottle, it became obvious why! Glossybox say, "This one-of-a-kind energising hair mask has a cooling effect, which powers up the macadamia oil making it even better at hydrating and taming hair." I love a good hair mask so I'm looking forward to giving this a try, and I'm definitely hooked in by the unique cooling effect!
Batiste 2-in-1 Dry Shampoo & Conditioner in Orange & Pomegranate | I was a little disappointed to receive two hair products in one box, as I'm not a massive hair product lover, but I will use both of these so I don't mind too much. Glossybox say, "Rethink the way you use dry shampoo. This 2-in-1 combines dry shampoo with conditioner to refresh your roots while conditioning the lengths, making it particularly good for those with dry, coloured or curly hair." My hair is neither dry, coloured nor curly so I'm not sure this is best suited to me, but I'll give it a go nonetheless!
Glossybox August 2017 2
Model Launcher Safari Sun Bronzer | I'm not much of a bronzer wearer but this does look super pretty. Glossybox say, "Summer makeup isn't complete without the perfect bronzer. This talc-free, mineral-enriched formula looks as good on skin as it does in the compact. It's best when all the shades are swirled together and then buffed over the face." I'm hoping it won't be too dark as, being super-pale, I'm a bit scared of ending up looking orange or just plain mucky!
Essence live.laugh.celebrate! Palette | I've previously reviewed Essence's My Must-Haves palette and eyeshadows, which I loved, so I was happy to see some more of the same range in this box! Along with the fab compact with tiny sparkly beads in the lid (remember the nail caviar trend? Like those beads!), I received four pans of product to put in my palette. I received a highlight in shade 01 'My Special Highlight', a blusher in shade 01 'Rhythm of the Night', and two eyeshadows in shades 04 'It's My Birthday' and 05 'T.G.I.F.'. These are all really wearable shades which I see myself getting plenty of use from!
Essence live.laugh.celerate! palette 1
Essence live.laugh.celebrate Palette 2
Rodial Suede Lips in 'Big Apple' | I have a few Rodial products I've acquired from various beauty boxes and as magazine freebies, but I've not really got around to trying them yet... 'Big Apple' looks like a lovely wearable berry-nude which I'm looking forward to trying - I really love lip products in crayon format! Glossybox say, "Intense. Matte. Moisturising. This perfect summer lip shade contains hydrating Vitamin E and the shape makes it easy to swipe on."
Glossybox August 2017 3
All in all, it's quite a nice box, with three full-sized products (the bronzer, lip crayon and palette) and two decent travel-sized products (the hair mask and dry shampoo). There's also an 'Aloha' bracelet from Purelei, which will be a cute addition to summer outfits. I'd have maybe liked a skincare product in place of one of the hair products, but I don't mind too much as I have just had my hair cut so I need to make more of an effort with it!

I estimate the total value of the box as being around the £50 mark, which isn't bad for a £10/month subscription. You can pick up your first Glossybox for just £6 (plus postage) when you subscribe here; that's a right bargain considering you get three full-sized products this month!
Do you have any beauty box subscriptions? What's your favourite product from the August Glossybox?

xo
[Post contains affiliate links.]
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Thursday, 10 August 2017

skinChemists Moisturisers*

A little while ago, I posted about skinChemists' Pro-5 Collagen Oxygenating Night Cream; skinChemists have very kindly sent me a couple more of their luxurious skincare products, in the form of their Rose Quartz Hydrating & Illuminating Day Moisturiser*, and their Advanced Snail Duo Moisturiser*. Ever the skincare addict, I was excited to try these out and see how my skin liked them! I've been using them most days for the last month, so how have I been getting on?
SkinChemists Moisturisers - Rose Quarts Hydrating & Illuminating Day Moisturiser and Advanced Snail Duo Moisturiser
skinChemists Rose Quartz Illuminating & Hydrating Day Moisturiser
"Suffer with dry, damaged skin? This could be the product for you! Our Rose Quartz Hydrating & Illuminating Day Moisturiser has been formulated with repairing and hydrating actives to transform dull and damaged skin. Alpine Rose Stem Cells aims to repair the skin after daily exposure to harsh environmental aggressors and boost skin regeneration, working alongside Vitamin E which works as an anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory to soothe and repair the skin. The moisture balance is then restored in the skin by the Rose Otto Oil which also works as an anti-bacterial. This would be the perfect moisturiser for those living in urban and city areas who are exposed to daily pollutants. The Rose Quartz Hydrating & Illuminating Day Moisturiser will work to detox and hydrate the skin for a rejuvenated appearance."
skinChemists Rose Quartz Day Cream
There is a significant part of me that wanted to love this immediately, purely because it's bright pink! I've been using this most mornings and, although my skin is definitely oily rather than dry, I do struggle with occasional dry patches (hooray for eczema) and dullness. I've found that the Rose Quartz Day Moisturiser sinks into my skin quickly, leaving it feeling soft and velvety - it gives a lovely mattified base which is perfect for applying make-up over. I do feel that it brightens my skin, making me look healthier and more awake, which is always nice! I've been really impressed with this product and have found it suits my skin really well.
skinChemists Advanced Snail Duo Moisturiser
"Inspired by popular Korean skincare treatments, the skinChemists' Advanced Snail range takes the anti-oxidant properties of snail secretion and infuses it with a collection of highly nourishing actives to help repair and protect the skin. Key ingredient Poly-Helixan (snail secretion) derives from the natural defensive liquid secreted by snails. This liquid is rich in regenerating substances and anti-oxidants including: allantoin, AHAs, collagen and elastin. This incredible mix of actives aim to delay premature ageing of the skin, whilst reducing visible age spots and providing protection from free radical damage."
skinChemists Advanced Snail Moisturiser
The Advanced Snail Duo Moisturiser is designed to be used as both a day and night cream (hence "duo"), promising repair the skin from daily damage and protect against future environmental stress, leaving the skin mattified. I've mainly been using it at night, purely because I've been using the Rose Quartz one as a day cream. Again, I've found this sinks into the skin quickly and leaves it feeling soft, smooth and comfortable. Any dryness or tightness is instantly soothed; I have found that my skin is quite oily by morning, but it usually is so that's not the fault of this moisturiser. Overall, this is another lovely product and one which has fitted into my routine beautifully.
skinChemists Rose Quartz & Snail Moisturisers
The skinChemists Rose Quartz Hydrating & Illuminating Day Moisturiser is priced at £89.90 for 50ml, available here, whilst the Advanced Snail Duo Moisturiser is £114.90 for 50ml, available here. These are certainly not the cheapest of products and personally, they're beyond budget for me at the moment - however, I have found that they work really well for my skin, so if I'm in a position to be spending this kind of money on skincare in the future, I know where I'll be looking.

In the meantime, skinChemists have regular offers whereby you can pick up selected products for a fraction of their usual RRP - for example, their Advanced Snail Night Moisturiser is currently just £29.99 down from £109.90 - which are a great way to try their products without breaking the bank. Have you ever tried any skinChemists products? What's the most expensive skincare product you've ever purchased?

xo
[*Product provided for consideration.]
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Sunday, 6 August 2017

Feelunique Treats

Given that I'm not working in August and therefore won't be getting paid again until the end of September, it probably wasn't the wisest time to decide to place a Feelunique order... But there was a cracking gift-with-purchase on offer and basically, I couldn't resist. Fancy a nosey at what I treated myself to?
Foreo Luna Go
I won a Foreo Luna Play around a year ago and have loved using it, but the battery is definitely on its last legs now and since they're not rechargeable, I've been thinking about treating myself to one that is - after a little browse, I went for the Foreo Luna Go for Oily Skin, which comes in the same compact size as the Play but with the option to recharge the battery. This was £85, which is a lot of money but I'm hoping it will last a long time! I've really loved using the Play, so it made sense to invest in something a little longer-term.
Kiehl's Pineapple Papaya Facial Scrub
This was the point at which I spotted the gift with purchase which was available with a spend over £100, and decided I may as well spend another £15 to qualify for it... After a little browse, I decided to go for a brand I'd been wanting to try for a while - I've heard nothing but good things about Kiehl's, and their Pineapple Papaya Facial Scrub sounded right up my street. Again, at £24 for 100ml, it's not the cheapest of products, but I'm trying to move towards more mindful skincare purchases so that I can afford to be a little more picky with ingredients and suchlike. Made with real fruit extracts, this claims to leave skin soft, smooth and even-textured which sounds pretty good to me! I'm looking forward to trying my first Kiehl's product.
Feelunique Samples
Feelunique always let you choose two samples with orders over £30, so I went for a 1.5ml sample of Tom Ford's Noir Extreme Eau de Parfum, and a 3ml sample of La Roche-Posay's Anthelios XL Anti-Shine SPF50+, with my upcoming holiday in mind - perfume samples are perfect for travelling with, and a good facial SPF is a must when we'll be spending lots of time outdoors exploring! And then I came to the gift-with-purchase, which claims to be worth £105 and features fifteen sample-sized products in a canvas tote bag. So what was included?
Feelunique Gift With Purchase
Dr PawPaw Original | I already have a full-sized tube of this multi-tasking wonder, but I can see this dinky little tube making its way into my handbag for on-the-go use.
Moschino Fresh Rose Eau de Toilette | This comes in a miniature version of the iconic full-size "cleaning spray" bottle which I love. There's just something about tiny things which I can't resist.
Givenchy Live Irrésistible Délicieuse Eau de Parfum | Again, this will be perfect for taking on holiday with me!
REN Flash Defence Anti-Pollution Mist | I love a good facial mist and, although I'm a bit dubious about the anti-pollution claims, any added benefits are obviously a bonus!
Vichy Pore Purifying Clay Mask | I love a good clay mask and this is quite an affordable pick, so I'm keen to see just how much it can purify my pores!
First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream | I've heard such good things about this and am hoping it'll sort out those horrid dry patches that spring up from time to time.
Palmers Shea Formula Body Lotion | Palmers Shea products smell gorgeous and this is a really good size sample - perfect for my gym bag or, of course, my suitcase!
Feelunique Gift With Purchase 1
Skyn Iceland Eye Gels | I'm intrigued by these kinds of product and feel like these will come in handy for covering up late nights once I start my doctorate!
Revlon Ultra HD Gel Lipcolor | I received the shade 760 'Vineyard' which looks like the perfect pinky-nude hue.
Moroccanoil Treatment | I'm always a bit cautious with hair oils as my hair is very oily to begin with, but this is a cult favourite so I'm looking forward to trying it.
Caudalie Vinoperfect Radiance Serum Complexion Correction | This sounds rather fabulous, who doesn't want a bit of radiance and a more even complexion!?
La Roche-Posay Effaclar Purifying Foaming Gel | I'm a bit wary of this as it contains SLS, but it does sound like it'll suit my oily skin.
Emma Hardie Amazing Face Moringa Cleansing Balm + Professional Cleansing Cloth | I have tried this cleansing balm before and whilst I didn't think it was worth the price tag, it does feel lovely on the skin.
Origins Clear Improvement Mask | One of my all-time favourite masks, I'm always happy to have back-ups of this!
Murad Invisiblur | This sounds like the perfect base for make-up and I love that it contains SPF, as I'm usually hopeless at remembering to apply it.
Feelunique Gift With Purchase 2
So all in all, I was pretty impressed with this gift-with-purchase - there's a good range of skincare products from cleansers to masks, a couple of perfume samples which I'm always happy to have, and a wearable lip shade which should suit most skintones. As well as all this, there's also a 15% discount code which can be used against any of the brands included, so if I particularly like a product I can treat myself to the full-size!
What's the best gift-with-purchase you've ever received? Do you like the look of this one?

xo
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Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Hello August!

August is set to be a busy one! I've started the process of moving into my new flat which I'm very excited about. I've also got five nights in Vienna with my boyfriend booked in the middle of the month, which I'm really looking forward to - it's been literally six years since I've had a proper holiday (more than just a weekend away) and I can't wait to discover a new city and have a little break.
Hello August
August is also my last month of freedom before starting my doctorate on the first of September, so I'm hoping to make the most of the time - and, as always, I'm setting myself some goals for the month:
See friends at least twice. August could end up being quite an isolated month for me as I've finished work until September and will be living on my own quite soon! I always aim to see friends at least twice a month, which hopefully shouldn't be too hard in August as we've got Total Warrior this weekend and a few birthdays towards the end of the month.
Read at least one book. I'm ahead of target for the year with my reading goal and I'd like to keep it that way, as I imagine things are going to get a bit busier once I start uni! I'm currently reading The Warning Bell by Tom Macaulay which my boyfriend's Mum has lent me - I've not read anything like it for a while so it's making a nice change. I'm hoping two flights, combined with the fact that my flat isn't getting its internet connection until almost the end of the month, will give me plenty of time for reading.
Get everything moved into my new flat and unpacked! I hate moving house with a passion, but I do have the luxury of time on this occasion. I've got the whole of August to get things moved across from my parents' house, as and when it suits me, which is quite nice - I hate the stress of having to move everything in a day or two. However, by the end of the month I'd like to be all moved in and unpacked - I'm going to need an Ikea trip and a good trawl round the local charity shops for some bits and pieces of furniture...
August 2017
Have a good clear-out. I moved back into my parents' house three years ago, and at the time I thought it would only be for a few months... I've got a lot of stuff  that I probably didn't need to keep for this long, and I've already thrown quite a lot away. I've got stuff I'd forgotten I had, and things I've no idea why I kept. I want to use moving as an excuse to have a reet good sort-through my belongings and get rid of things I don't want or need - the charity shops are in for a treat!
Get my sweet tooth in check. I'm thinking that living on my own will help with this - if I just don't buy sweets, fizzy drinks and suchlike, I can't eat them! Six days in Austria may make it difficult but apart from that I'm hoping/planning to really cut back on the sweet stuff. I set this as a goal in June and July as well, so I really need to make an effort this month to actually do it...
Get a haircut! I hate having my hair cut and I've been putting this off for weeks months, but I really want to get my hair cut and looking nice again before I go on holiday. I'd better get a shake on with that, hadn't I?!
August Goals 2017
I don't think there's anything too ambitious on here, but hopefully I'll manage to make my way through these over the course of the month - we shall see! Have you got anything nice planned for August? Are you setting yourself any goals?

xo
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Monday, 31 July 2017

In Retrospect | July 2017

Can you believe it's already the end of July!? There are just five months left of 2017, which is frankly horrifying - where is the year going? July has been a pretty busy month for me and it feels like it's gone on a very long time, on the one hand, whilst on the other hand it doesn't seem five minutes since I was setting my July goals... Is this what being an adult is like?!
July In Retrospect
July Empties.
July 2017 Empties
Will Repurchase: Garnier SkinActive Aqua Mask | I really liked this mask, it left my skin feeling soft, smooth and plumped-up // Kind Natured Sea Salt & Bergamot Body Wash | This has a lovely fresh unisex scent and works well to wash my skin without triggering my eczema // L'Oreal Infallible Pro Matte Foundation (US Version) | One of my favourite foundations, this gives good coverage, matches my skintone well, and lasts reasonably well even on my oily skin. Shame the UK version is a bit pants! // L'Occitane Zesty Lime Hand Cream | This smells lovely and is really hydrating for my dry, scaly, eczema-prone hands! L'Occitane's hand creams seem to pop up quite regularly as freebies with magazines and I always pick a couple up when they're available // Sure Maximum Protection Sensitive Skin Anti-Perspirant | I swear by these Sure deodorants, they're the best product I've found at keeping me dry on all but the hottest of days.
July Beauty Empties
Might Repurchase: Lacura Magic Curl Mascara | I liked the curved brush with this and the formula was pretty good too! It's sadly not a permanent part of the range at Aldi but if it pops up again on Special Buy, I'd pick a tube up if I needed a mascara.
Empties July 2017
Won't Repurchase: Garnier SkinActive Juicy Mask | This just didn't seem to make any difference to my skin, disappointingly // Ted Baker Mint Body Soufflé | I did like this and it smells gorgeous but sadly it just wasn't hydrating enough for my skin.

July Goals.
• Read at least one book. I actually read two books in July and am part-way through my third! I'm ahead of target on my goal of twelve books this year, which I'm pretty happy about - I feel like once I start Uni in September, I may struggle to get the time to read, so I'm hoping to read as much as I can with my month off in August!
• Complete this Blogilates 30-Day Waist Trainer Challenge. This didn't go very well... Things started okay, but then I missed a day and ended up getting confused with which day I was on, and then I missed a couple more days, and before I knew it I'd forgotten about it altogether. I'm going to give this another go at some point, but probably not in August as I've got enough on as it is!
• See friends at least twice. I had a barbecue by the lake with my best friend (ticking off June's missed goal of having a barbecue!), a meal out with work friends to celebrate my leaving, and a couple of evening walks with my friend Matt. I also met up with a friend from high school (and her new puppy!), and have spent quite a lot of time cuddling my neighbour's new puppy too, if that counts?!
July 2017 Puppy
• Complete at least one open-water swim. I did two open-water swims - I dragged the boy into Ullswater (not literally) for a paddle about, which I really enjoyed, and we also did another swim at my local diving club, which I've now joined so I can go and swim whenever I like! I've really been enjoying open-water, my next challenge is going in without my wetsuit... I've taken it off in the water afterwards both times so I should be fine but I'm still kind of terrified, ha!
• Curb my sweet tooth. I don't really know what happened here - but it didn't happen. I actually think July has been a particularly bad month in terms of what I've been eating, I really need to buck my ideas up in August.
So three out of five - not brilliant, but things could be worse. I definitely have things to build on moving forwards into August!

July Loves.
This month, I really loved reading Leanne's suggestions of K-Beauty brands which are readily available in the UK - I didn't know Skinfood had launched in Boots, so I'm pretty excited about that!! Cath posted a fabulous round-up of 20 Cushions Under £20 which I'm pretty obsessed with - Cath has brilliant taste, her home is beautiful, and there's a pretty good chance I'll end up buying some of her picks. I loved Dorota's peach-themed Peach, Please post - what could be more summery than pretty peachy make-up hues, even when the weather is less-than-summery? And finally, Erin's post about her July skincare saviours has me adding products to my wishlist like there's no tomorrow - I'm desperate to try the Oskia Renaissance Cleansing Gel! Do pop over and give some of these a read if you get chance, they're all lovely ladies with brilliant blogs.
Bowness July 2017
July In Summary.
July has been busy. I accidentally got a new flat (having said I'd decided to put that on hold til early next year, the perfect one popped up, so I went for it!) so there's been lots going on with viewings, paperwork, planning, and starting to move. I've left my job (sob!) which meant work was pretty busy for the last couple of weeks as I tried to get all my loose ends tied up and everything finished off and handed over so I could leave.
In amongst all of that I've managed to have a few really lovely days out with my boyfriend including a little daytrip to Bowness, which maybe wasn't the brightest idea on the first weekend of the summer holidays, but it wasn't as busy as we'd thought it might be and we had a lovely day - if you're ever in Bowness, get yourself to ChoccoBar and try their waffles.
I'm looking forward to a (hopefully!) more chilled August before I go back to Uni in September!

Have you had a good July? What have you been up to? I'd love to hear how you've got on with your goals this month!

xo
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Saturday, 29 July 2017

Natural World Hair Masks*

I was recently contacted by Natural World, who make haircare products with 95% naturally-derived ingredients, free from parabens, pthalates, phosphates, dyes and gluten. Unfortunately their shampoos contain SLS which means I can't use them, but they very kindly offered to send me a couple of their hair masks to try out. I received their Argan Oil of Morocco Moisture Rich Hair Mask*, and their Charcoal & Mint Rebalancing Hair Mask*.
Natural World Hair Masks Argan Oil & Charcoal and Mint
Natural World Argan Oil of Morocco Moisture Rich Hair Mask | £4/200ml | "Infused with certified organic Argan Oil to moisturise, nourish and help restore shine and softness. For all hair types."
This smells lovely and sweet, and smooths through the lengths and ends of my hair quite easily after shampooing. I tend to use a mask once or twice a week (bearing in mind that I wash my hair most days), leaving it on for around five minutes to soak in and work its magic. I've found the Argan Oil mask is easy to rinse out of my hair and leaves it feeling soft and silky, without being weighed down or left sticky or greasy. It also leaves its gorgeous scent lingering in my hair, which makes it a winner for me!

Natural World Charcoal & Mint Rebalancing Hair Mask | £4/200ml here | "Infused with Activated Charcoal to help keep the scalp clean and healthy looking. Soothing hydration for all hair types."
The scent of this one is quite strong and minty, which I personally love - I find it really refreshing and invigorating, though sadly it doesn't last in my hair once washed out. The colour surprised me at first - it's a kind of dark grey - but I guess if I'd thought about it, I should have expected it, what with the charcoal and everything..! Again, this is easy to smooth through the lengths of my hair, and washes out well after five minutes or so. I find that this one also leaves my hair feeling soft and silky, without any unpleasant residue or heaviness. I'm not sure how much rebalancing the charcoal can offer, as it doesn't go anywhere near my scalp, but nonetheless it's a nice mask and I'm enjoying using it.
Natural World Hair Masks
I've found Natural World's hair masks to be really effective for the price, and with decent-quality ingredients - none of the nasty parabens you can often find lurking in budget-friendly haircare products! Both of these work well to hydrate my hair, leaving it soft and silky but not heavy or greasy.
You can find the full Natural World Haircare range available to purchase in larger Tesco stores or online here; I love that you could just pick these up with your weekly shop! Have you tried any Natural World hair products? What are your favourite hair masks?

xo
[*Product provided for consideration.]
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Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Roccabox July 2017 | The Sunday Girl's Edit*

Beauty subscription boxes are nothing new, but Roccabox is new - promising a box with contents hand-picked by a different beauty industry insider each month, I was very kindly send July's box which was curated by the lovely Adrienne of The Sunday Girl blog. As one of my favourite bloggers, I was excited to see what Adrienne had chosen for her very own beauty box... When it arrived, I immediately fell a little bit in love with the rose-gold branding on the sleek white box, and of course the pretty pink shredded paper packaging! Have a peek at what I received and my initial thoughts...
July Roccabox The Sunday Girl
July 2017 Roccabox
Ellis Faas Concealer | This is the only full-sized product in the box and, being from a brand I've not heard of previously, I'm excited to try it! The shade is S202 which should hopefully suit my skintone as I'm pretty fair-skinned, but I'm looking forward to giving it a go. The sleek, silver pen with built-in brush applicator is classy and feels sturdy, so it should be safe in my make-up bag. | RRP £22. Full-size.
Soap & Glory The Rushower Dry Shampoo | Dry shampoo is always handy to have and I'm excited to try this new one from Soap & Glory, which claims to have 'touch release' technology, releasing a burst of mandarin rose and bergamot fragrance when you work it into your hair. Sounds lovely, huh!? | RRP £4/200ml or £2.50/50ml. Sample worth £2.50.
Balance Me Congested Skin Serum | I actually already have a tube of this which I've not tried, so I'm really going to have to get my act together and give it a whirl. I'm not sure why I've not used it yet, to be honest, as my skin is the definition of congested and it basically sounds perfect for me! | RRP £16/15ml. Sample worth around £7.50.
The Sunday Girl Roccabox July 2017
MOA Green Balm | I'm not familiar with MOA, which stands for Magic Organic Apothecary, but I'm intrigued by this multi-use product which claims to be suitable for everything from healing chapped lips to combating scars and stretch marks, and can even be used as a cleansing balm! Sounds amazing, right!? I was impressed at how affordable this is, too. It's only a small sample but it seems the sort of product that will go a long way, so I'm hoping to get a decent trial from this.| RRP £6/15ml or £15/50ml.
Evolve Organic Beauty Radiant Glow Face Mask | Evolve is another brand I'm not familiar with, but I'm always happy to try new face masks! The Radiant Glow Face Mask contains raw cacao powder and clay to revitalise and purify, whilst coconut granules provide gentle exfoliation. I'd have liked a slightly bigger sample of this but I think I should get one good use from it, which should give me an idea of whether I like the mask. | RRP £20/60ml.
Burt's Bees Cleansing Oil | I love a good cleansing oil and I love Burt's Bees, so I was happy to see this in the box! It's a fair-sized sample and I think I'll take it to Vienna with me when I go next month. I do think the full-size is quite expensive, so I'm hoping to be wowed when I try this! | RRP £16.99/177ml. Sample worth around £2.83.
July Roccabox
You get a double-sided card in the box telling you a little about each product, why it was chosen and what it does/how to use it. The card also offers discount codes (ranging from 15-20%) for three of the brands featured, plus a competition you can enter to win a product from a fourth brand - so if you like something you try, you're able to repurchase at a reduced price or maybe even win one! I was really impressed with July's box - it feels like a good mix of high street and high end, and of familiar and new-to-me brands.

Roccabox is available priced at just £10 per month here; it's a rolling monthly subscription after the first month, so you're billed on the first of each month and receive your box around a week later, and you can cancel at any time. You can also subscribe for a year for £100, meaning you effectively get two boxes for free! I was so impressed that it's such an affordable price, I wouldn't have been surprised if it had been £18-20 per month given the quality of products and the value being around the £35 mark. Have you heard of Roccabox before? Would you be happy to receive this box?

xo
[Product provided for consideration.]
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Saturday, 22 July 2017

L'Oreal Paris Infallible Eye Paints

I am not to be trusted going to the shop on my lunch-break, because inevitably I end up in the make-up aisle; one such trip resulted in me picking up a couple of L'Oreal's new Infallible Eye Paints, because I hadn't heard much about them and was curious. I really liked the idea of cream eyeshadows in this format, and they were on an introductory offer, so I picked up two shades to try out.
L'Oreal Eye Paint Cream Eyeshadows
I went for 101 'Eternal White' and 203 'Iconic Silver', both of which are shades with plenty of shimmer. You can see in the swatches below that they're well-pigmented and creamy in texture, and I found that these swatches were difficult to remove once they'd dried - they took a lot of rubbing, even when wet, before they'd shift, which I took as a good sign!
L'Oreal Eye Paint Swatches
The tubes unscrew to reveal doe-foot applicators, which I have to say are a little tricky to use accurately - I've found the best way to apply the eye paints is actually by dabbing them onto an eyeshadow brush and then blending onto the lids. They blend really nicely, and I've been quite enjoying wearing both shades together - with 'Eternal White' all over the lid and 'Iconic Silver' blended into the outer third for an easy smokey effect. 'Eternal White' also makes a lovely highlight, and I'm actually wearing it blended onto my cheekbones in the photo below - I just dabbed on with the applicator and blended out with a dampened make-up sponge. You could also use an angled brush to apply these as a liquid eyeliner - 'Iconic Silver' would look amazing in this way!
L'Oreal Eye Paint Cream Eyeshadow
As I suspected after swatching them, the Infallible Eye Paints wear really well - I've used them without a base and found that they easily withstand a full day at work for me (around ten hours by the time I've got home and got round to taking my make-up off!) without creasing or smudging, which is impressive. The picture below is actually taken after I got home from work, so I'd been wearing this eye make-up nine hours by that point - and all I did before taking the photo was add powder to counteract shine - the eyeshadow itself had lasted beautifully.
You've got enough time to blend them nicely before they set, but once they're dried, that's it. That said, I've found it they remove readily with micellar water on a cotton pad - no tugging at the delicate eye area!
L'Oreal Eye Paints
I've been pleasantly surprised by how much I liked these - the shades are pretty, the formula is nice, and they wear really well! L'Oreal Paris Infallible Eye Paints are priced at £5.99 each, and are currently on a 3 for 2 offer at Boots - if you can resist those 3 for 2 offers, please let me know your secret. There seem to be seven shades available in total, so I'm sorely tempted to pick up a few more to try...
Have you tried any of the Infallible line? Do you like the look of these eye paints?

xo
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Wednesday, 19 July 2017

NEW! | Garnier SkinActive Face Mask Sachets

A few weeks back now, I noticed a selection of Garnier SkinActive Face Mask sachets on one of those displays that Primark put in their queues, presumably to draw you in when you've already spent too much money and are waiting for an indeterminate but lengthy period to pay and leave... Obviously, me being me, I picked up one of each mask on offer and into my basket they went! There were three varieties available in my local Primark, but I believe there are a couple more out there which I've yet to track down...
Garnier SkinActive Mask Sachets
Garnier SkinActive Matcha + Kaolin Mask (£1.50/8ml) | "A new generation of face mask combining Matcha Tea and Kaolin Clay in a creamy-clay texture that purifies for refreshed, mattified and cleaned skin. Immediately: Impurities are removed, skin appears mattified. Long-lasting effectiveness: Skin appears purified as if rebalanced." Now I've only used this once so can't really comment on the long-term effects, but I'd agree that this mask mattified my skin and it did seem to draw out impurities. The creamy texture felt pleasant on my skin and I didn't find it drying, as clay masks can sometimes be.
Garnier SkinActive Juicy Mask (£1.50/8ml) | "A new generation of face mask combining Lemon Extract and smoothing Glycolic Acid in a jelly texture that illuminates for smooth, radiant skin with a healthy glow. Immediately: skin looks more refined, luminous, with a healthy glow. Long-lasting effectiveness: Skin tone appears more radiant, smoother and softer." I found that the one sachet was actually enough for two applications with this mask, but unfortunately I didn't really notice any of the benefits it offered; my skin just didn't really seem any different, either time.
Garnier SkinActive Aqua Mask (£1.50/8ml) | "A new generation of face mask combining Pomegranate and Glycerin in a fresh jelly texture. It hydrates to quench skin's thirst and it rehydrates skin in just 10 minutes, leaving it re-plumped and silky-smooth. Immediately: Skin looks bouncy, fresher. Long-lasting effectiveness: Skin feels hydrated, suppler and soft." This mask was probably my favourite of the three - it worked exactly as it claimed, leaving my skin looking and feeling super-well hydrated and really plumped and soft. The effects maybe only lasted a day or so, but I'd be interested to see if they last any longer with regular use.

Overall, for me, there are definitely some hits (the Aqua Mask) and some misses (the Juicy Mask) in this range, as well as some I'm just not bothered about (the Matcha + Kaolin Mask), but I'm still keen to try the other variants in the SkinActive range. I do think that single-use sachets like this are a fab way of trying something new without the commitment of a full tube of product, and they're perfect for travelling - though it would be nice, I think, to have the option of buying a tube if you like one - the masks are a little cheaper at Primark (£1 when I bought mine about six weeks ago) but still expensive for how much product you get.

Have you tried any of the SkinActive masks? Which is your favourite?

xo
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Friday, 14 July 2017

What Have I Been Reading?

One of the goals I set myself for 2017 was to read twelve books, and amazingly enough I'm actually on target with that, having just read my seventh book of the year - don't forget to have a peek at how I'm getting on with the rest of my goals! I've been sharing what I've been reading here on my blog, so let's have a look at my latest reads...
Mini Reviews - The Cursed Child, Library of Souls, Always With Love
Recent Reads
Library of Souls | Ransom Riggs | ★★★★★
I loooove the first two books in this series and the third was no exception; I find Riggs' writing style really easy to read and his stories are total page-turners! I loved the premise of Library of Souls and thought it was really well executed, too, with twists that I didn't see coming and a whole host of interesting characters being introduced along the way. I really hope there's more to come from this series.
Always With Love | Giovanna Fletcher | ★★★☆☆
Fair disclosure; I haven't read the rest of the Billy and Me series, so I may be losing something there, but I didn't feel like I was missing much when reading this to be honest - all the characters and storylines were fairly well-introduced and there wasn't anything that I struggled to keep up with. Overall this wasn't a bad book - light and fluffy and easy to read, but not really my cup of tea.
Harry Potter & The Cursed Child (Script) | J. K. Rowling | ★★★★★
I devoured this in three hours this week - I think the script format makes for much quicker reading than a novel of the same size would be! I'm now totally unsure whether I'm emotionally stable enough to go and see the stage production, I think I'd be in pieces - I did really love the story, though, and found it so interesting to see what life is like for Harry, thirty years down the line.
What Have I Been Reading
All in all, I think I've been choosing pretty well in terms of enjoying the books I'm reading! I'm definitely going for quality over quantity here... And I'm now making my way through Dark Places by Gillian Flynn which I'm loving, too! You can check out the other books I've read so far this year here and here, if you're interested - I'd love to hear any recommendations of books to add to my reading list - what have you been reading lately? Have you read any of these?

xo
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Monday, 10 July 2017

Sales Buys From The Body Shop

I was in town with my Mum at the end of last week and just so happened to notice that The Body Shop had a little sale on... Now I was all out of body butters and who can say no to a half-price sale!? After a good few minutes spent sniffing various pots and jars, I stocked up on some old favourites and also, on the recommendation of the lovely lady behind the counter, got myself something new to try!
What Did I Buy In The Body Shop's Sale
The body butters I went for were Blueberry, Vineyard Peach and Raspberry, all reduced from £15 to just £7.50 for the 200ml jars - what a bargain! I also picked up a Blueberry Body Scrub Gelée which was £6.50 down from £13 (although it's showing at £7.50 online - that said, mine is a 200ml jar and the ones online seem to be 250ml).
The Body Shop's body butters are some of my absolute favourites for adding plenty of moisturisation to my dry, eczema-prone legs, without feeling heavy, sticky or greasy. This little lot should last me a while! The Scrub Gelée, meanwhile, looks like blueberry jam and smells like bakewell tarts, so suffice to say I'm pretty excited to give it a try...
Body Shop Sale Haul
It turns out that you can take an extra 40% off the sale prices online with the code 14673, making all my purchases an absolute bargain at just £4.50 each!! I'm definitely not considering buying a few more online to make the most of this knowledge... You can find all the sale items here, go wild! You can thank me later... What are your favourite products from The Body Shop? Is there anything you'll be treating yourself to with the discount code?

xo
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Thursday, 6 July 2017

2017 Hopes & Goals | Checking In

Back in January, I set myself some goals for 2017; now that we're halfway through the year, it seemed like a good time to check in with how they're going. I always find that keeping check of my goals and keeping myself accountable is one of the key ways of making sure I achieve as many of them as possible (I actually did a post about things that stop people achieving their goals, and how to overcome them! *shameless plug*) - "I just forgot about it" is such a rubbish reason for not achieving something that was important to me!
Checking in with 2017 Goals
01. Read 12 new books. I've just read my seventh book of the year so I'm actually on track with this one - a good start! You can check out a few of my reads so far this year here, and I'll be posting about the most recent books I've finished soon.
02. Move out. I'm still living with my parents and whilst I'd originally planned to move out before starting back at uni in September, now I've had a bit more time to think about it, I've decided I'm going to keep living at home for a few more months so that I can save up some cash - I'll be getting a pay rise, so a few months of living at home will allow me to save quite a bit of money, quite quickly. I'm not entirely happy about this but logically, I know it's sensible, and I'm probably going to need to buy a new car in the not-too-distant future, so I'm just going to have to lump it. I'm still intending to move out early next year!
03. Save money. I've actually just got a standing order each month to my savings account which makes this a very easy goal to keep up with! It's very satisfying, though, seeing that number creep up each month - it's not a huge amount but it's certainly a good start.
04. Learn to use my new camera. I still feel like I'm mostly working on trial and error to be honest; I've not had a proper chance to sit down and go through all the settings, figuring out how they work. Maybe this is something I can do in August whilst I'm off work!
2017 Goals
05. Get away. We've just booked a few days in Vienna in August which I am incredibly excited about; if anyone has any suggestions or recommendations of things to do/see there, I'd love to hear them! I'm so excited to tick this goal off as it's been literally six years since I had a proper holiday - as in more than a weekend away. I can't wait!!
06. Take better care of myself. This is a funny one and I feel like it's going to be a long journey, but I'm on the way, so that's a good start! I've got much better at saying no when I need to and at eating well (mostly - I still have a ridiculous sweet tooth and am entirely hopeless at moderation!), and I'm probably the fittest I've ever been thanks to going to the gym four times a week, swimming twice a week, and running and cycling occasionally as well. I'm going to say I'm on track with this one.
07. Run Total Warrior inside 90 minutes. Having been plagued on and off with shin splints over the last 12 months or so, I'm actually not sure whether I'm going to manage this or not this year - but if not, I'll carry it forward to next years, as it's still something I'd love to achieve!
08. Hit 5000 Twitter followers. I feel like I'm well on my way with this one; I'm approaching 4500, having started the year on just over 4000, so I'm a little bit behind target but not a huge amount, and to be honest I've not been hugely active on Twitter so I'm not surprised. Hopefully the second half of the year will be a little busier for me and I'll meet this goal!
2017 Goals Checking In
09. Hit 2000 Instagram followers. I honestly don't think this is going to happen - I've gained less than 100 followers so far in 2017 and have just been finding growth so difficult. I'm not worrying about it though, it's only social media at the end of the day! I really feel like the new algorithm destroyed Instagram for so many people - it's so difficult now to even see recent posts in my feed, they all seem to be at least a week old!
10. See more live music. I actually don't think I've seen any live music yet in 2017 which is a real shame and I'm quite disappointed in myself. I need to have a look at who's playing locally in the near future and get something arranged!!
Checking in 2017 Goals
I also wrote about a few things I was hoping 2017 would bring: "I really, really hope I get a place on a training course to work towards becoming a Clinical Psychologist this year; it's my first application so statistically, my chances aren't great (it takes an average of three applications...) but even so, I feel I'm ready and I'm really excited at the prospect of starting training, so I'd love to be on a course come September. Either way, I hope I'm able to keep doing a job I love and keep working towards the career I want. I hope to figure myself out mentally/emotionally a bit more - I've really struggled with mood and motivation towards the end of 2016 and I'm really not sure why. I hope to be able to get a bit more of a handle on that, and be happier and healthier in 2017."

I'd say I'm doing okay with these - I was offered a place on training which I'll be starting in September (hooray!) and I feel like I've been a lot more mentally/emotionally okay since my last relationship ended earlier in the year - I don't think I'd realised what a drain it had become on me. I've also taken a step back from blogging and have been putting far less pressure on myself, which has helped massively!

Did you set yourself any goals for 2017? Have you checked in with them to take stock of how you're getting on? I'd love to hear about your progress and successes!

xo
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Monday, 3 July 2017

Hello July!

Well, June was a very quiet month here on The Indigo Hours, and I haven't got off to much better of a start in July, have I?! I'm already a day late with this post, ha!
July is my last month in my current job, having been there almost a year now - my contract finishes at the end of the month anyway, and I'm starting my doctorate course at the beginning of September... So I have a feeling July could be quite a busy month, with trying to get all the loose ends tied off.
Hello July
Read at least one book. I need to finish at least one book in July to keep on track with my goal of 12 books this year - I've not even got one on the go at the moment so I need to have a little look at my To Be Read heap and choose a good one!
Complete this Blogilates 30-Day Waist Trainer Challenge. I really enjoyed doing the Blogilates 30-Day Abs Challenge last month and wanted to complete another one in July; this one promises to help you gain a stronger, slimmer waist, which I am all for - I've definitely seen results from the Abs challenge, so I'm excited to see what this one can do for me. Again, I'm expecting it to be quite hard work, but hopefully I'll manage to complete the 30 days!
See friends at least twice. Standard monthly goal but I need to include it so that I actually make the effort to see my friends, rather than just coming home from work every evening and hiding in my bed like the antisocial individual that I am.
Complete at least one open water swim. I did my first open water swim in about three years last month and loved it, so I'm determined to fit in as many as I can this summer - I have a wetsuit sat gathering dust so I really need to make the effort to take it out more and get a few swims in whilst the weather is good.
Curb my sweet tooth. I've discovered that "cutting back" on sweet stuff doesn't work for me - I can't do moderation, I find it so much easier to just know that I can't have something. I've just booked a holiday for August so I'd like to lose a little bit of the flab I'm carrying round my middle by then - and hopefully, this paired with the Blogilates challenge will see me right! We're going for a week in Vienna so it won't be a bikini kind of holiday but even so, it's good to have a date to work for and a nice reward for working hard.

I don't think I've got anything majorly exciting planned for July just yet - all that springs to mind is a trip to the dentist - thrilling I know! Have you got anything nice planned this month? Are you setting yourself any goals?

xo
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