Sunday, 30 April 2017

In Retrospect | April 2017

Well, another month has passed us by in the blink of an eye and we're now a third of the way through 2017 - which is pretty scary really! I've been a bit disappointed with the weather towards the end of the month, as it seems to have gone really cold again, but apart from that April has been pretty darn good! As always, I like to take the opportunity to check in with how the month has gone, including my goals for the month...
April In Retrospect

April Empties.

April Empties
Will Repurchase: Toni & Guy Matt Texture Dry Shampoo | This is a favourite for me, it's a bit more expensive than I'd like at full price but I've noticed that it's often on offer in Asda. // Kind Natured Coconut & Passionflower Body Wash | This smells amazing and doesn't trigger my eczema - yay! It's also super-affordable and available in Boots. // Super Facialist by Una Brennan Vitamin C+ Brighten Cleansing Oil | I loooove this. It smells beautiful and works really well to break down make-up and general day-to-day grime. // Rimmel London Match Perfection Silky Loose Powder | Powder is an absolute must-have for my oily skin - this is cheap and cheerful and, whilst it doesn't keep me matte all day - I've yet to find a powder that does...

April Beauty Empties
Might Repurchase: Klairs AHA/BHA Clarifying Treatment Toner | I have a few other acid toners to use up before I think about repurchasing but this did work nicely for me. // Elemental Herbology Facial Detox Masque | This actually reminded me of the Origins Out Of Trouble Mask which I love when my skin is playing up - this one is a little more expensive so I'd probably go for the Origins, but you never know! // Amie New Leaf Deep Pore Exfoliating Polish | I loved the scent of this, really fresh and mango-y, and it was quite nice once a week or so to smooth my skin out. I'm trying to move away from manual exfoliators but this one was quite gentle so I may pick it up again in future, who knows!

April's Beauty Empties
Won't Repurchase: Umberto Giannini Morning After Dry Shampoo | This did nothing to refresh my hair and I wasn't too keen on the scent either. // Moroccanoil Dry Shampoo for Dark Tones | This worked okay but not as well as the Toni & Guy one, and I just can't justify the price! // Elemis Hydra Balance Day Cream | This was quite nice as a moisturiser but I didn't find it did anything to balance my oily skin, which I was disappointed about - maybe I was hoping for too much!?

April Samples.

April Sample Sachets
Sanctuary Spa 5 Minute Thermal Detox Mask | This is one of those self-heating masks which feels super luxurious on the skin - I really liked this actually, it didn't dry down as I was expecting, meaning it didn't leave my skin feeling stripped or uncomfortable as some clay masks can, and it seemed to work quite well to clear my skin out. | £10/100ml here // L'Oreal Elvive Extraordinary Oil-in-Cream Leave In Cream | I wasn't expecting to like this but it actually made my hair feel really nice and soft, without weighting it down as I was worried it might. | £4.50/170g here // Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel Moisturiser | Yhis felt cool, light and refreshing on my skin which I really liked. It sank in quickly without leaving a greasy or sticky feeling, and seemed to work well to hydrate my skin. | £12.99/50ml here.

April Goals.

• Read at least two books. Sadly I'm not quite there with this one - I did finish The Outrun by Amy Liptrot which I'd really recommend, but am still working my way through the second book of the month! I'm really enjoying My Son's Not Rainman, but don't seem to find myself reaching for it as much as I should.
• See friends at least twice. A couple of walks with my friend Matt, a leaving party where everyone had to bring a dish from a country they'd never been to (Afghan food is delicious, FYI), a few afternoons hanging out with one of my friends from Warrior and a trip to the cinema to see Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, which I really enjoyed! We've also had a couple of leaving dos with work, which have involved a lot of delicious food.
• Interview prep. I feel like I've made a good start on this, I've got another couple of weeks until interview day so I can get some more prep in but I'm feeling pretty good at the moment.
• Get out on my bike. I managed a couple of rides, although I have to say I've not been getting out as much towards the end of the month - the weather hasn't been as good, so it's far less appealing to head out in the evening after work! That said, I need to make more of an effort as I'm finding I'm really enjoying cycling at the moment.
 No chocolate or sweet treats til Easter. I made it! I had a Creme Egg on Easter Sunday and it was so disappointing... And then I've basically not stopped eating sweets and chocolate since then, it's pretty horrific. I really need to sort it out actually because, for the first time, I've noticed that my skin has got so much worse since I started eating sugar again.

Four out of five, then - I'm happy with that!!

April Loves.
I loved Nida's post about her experience of doing a face mask every day for a month - I was amazed by her dedication and I've added approximately 943 masks to my wishlist as a result of reading her post... It's no surprise to anyone that Gwennan is pretty much a monthly feature in my Loves, and this month I've really enjoyed her impartial post about the upcoming General Election - she's even included gorgeous illustrations of some main party leaders, and has managed to make Theresa May look almost appealing (I am far less impartial than she is, clearly!)
Here on The Indigo Hours I shared a little peek into my perfume collection, and some tips on keeping motivated at the gym, so do check those out if you missed them!

April In Summary.

All in all, April has been quite a nice month! We've had some half-decent weather (and some horrific weather - snow! Ugh!) so I've been able to get out and about a bit more, things have been going well with work, I had a nice little road trip with my Mum to watch my brother racing... How was your April? Have you been up to anything exciting?

[Post contains affiliate links.]

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

An Infallible Duo?

L'Oreal's Infallible range seems to be growing almost exponentially, and I just couldn't help myself picking up a couple of the newer items to try - the Infallible Total Cover Foundation, and the Infallible Fixing Mist. I know the Fixing Mist has been around a while, but I've only just got round to picking it up...
L'Oreal Infallible Total Cover & Fixing Mist
I picked up the foundation in shade 12 'Natural Rose', which I believe is the second-lightest shade of the nine available in the UK - so not the best shade range, but better than some drugstore foundations. The foundation itself is pretty thick and almost mousse-like in texture, and has quite a weird scent to it which thankfully fades pretty quickly upon application. I've found this blends into the skin best with a buffing brush, I really struggled to get it to look even when using my dampened Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge. Below I've used the foundation on the left of the photo, whilst the right side is no-makeup - you can see that it evens my skintone out nicely, has a matte finish, and works well to hide redness, blemishes, and the dark circles under my eyes.
L'Oreal Infallible Total Cover Foundation Review
I really like the finish and I was pretty excited at first about this foundation - for the first 2-3 hours. Sadly, that's as long as it lasts on my skin - I generally apply my make-up at around 8:30 before work, and by 12:00 my face is a veritable oil-slick. Given that this claims to last up to 24 hours, I found that pretty disappointing! It's just about redeemable with blotting sheets and powder, but even that will only last me another couple of hours before, once again, I'm as shiny as a shiny thing. I'm actually quite disappointed as I did really love the finish and the coverage. It might work better for skin more in the normal-slightly oily category but for me, it's just not workable.

I've not tried a fixing mist before, so I wasn't sure what to expect from this - but I was hoping for something that would keep my make-up looking fresher and my skin matte for longer. I've been using the Infallible Fixing Mist daily for the past month or so and to be honest, I'm still not sure what I think - it's easy to use, as long as I remember to spritz before I apply my mascara, in order to avoid panda-eye smudges (I've only done that twice!) I haven't found that it really changes the appearance of my make-up, apart from maybe making me look a little less powdery if I happen to have overdone it with the setting powder... And I honestly haven't noticed any difference in how long my make-up lasts - I still get shiny quickly, my eyeshadow still creases if I don't use a base, and my foundation still tends to settle into fine lines over the course of the day. I'm not sold, I'm afraid!
L'Oreal Infallible Total Cover Tattoo
The TV advert for L'Oreal's Infallible Total Cover Foundation seemed to make the claim that it will cover tattoos - as you can see above, this certainly wasn't the case for me! I actually found that two layers was as good as it got, as the third layer just kind of went a bit cakey and started moving the previous layers around, rather than building over them. To be honest, I didn't buy this foundation to cover tattoos, so it's not the end of the world to me - I just thought it'd be interesting to share, and I definitely wouldn't bother if you're after a product to hide your ink.

L'Oreal's Infallible Total Cover Foundation is priced at £9.99 for 30ml, whilst the Infallible Fixing Mist is £7.99 for 100ml. If your skin isn't too oily and you're after a full-coverage foundation then this might be worth a try, and similarly with the Fixing Mist - but sadly they were no match for my super-oily skin! I'll be sticking with the Infallible Pro Matte (US version) from this line for the time being. Have you tried either of these products? What's your favourite full-coverage foundation? Do you use a setting spray?

[Post contains affiliate links.]

Sunday, 23 April 2017

My Perfume Collection

I've been curating a little perfume wardrobe for a while now, collecting delectable scents which I love to wear each day. I like smelling nice, and I feel like a gorgeous perfume can really finish off an outfit. I love to choose a fragrance for the day based on how I'm feeling, what I'm wearing, or what the weather is doing; I also really love how scents can evoke such powerful memories. Fancy a little look at what's on my perfume shelf?
My Perfume Collection
Armani Code | from £48.50/30ml here | This is the only perfume I've ever repurchased, and there's actually only about half an inch left in this bottle - sob! I really love the warm, rich scent, which has top notes of Jasmine and Orange, heart notes of Orange Blossom and a base of Honey and Vanilla.
Marc Jacobs Daisy Dream | from £42/30ml here | This is a beautiful fragrance for spring and summer, with its fruity top notes of Blackberry, Grapefruit and Pear. These open to a heart of Jasmine, Lychee and Blue Wisteria, whilst the base consists of White Woods, Musk and Coconut Water - a gorgeous, refreshing scent.
Jeanne Arthes L'Eau de Rose | I haven't been able to find this for sale anywhere, but I received it in my February Glossybox. It's honestly not a scent I would have chosen for myself, being far more floral than my usual choices. It's unmistakably a rose fragrance, quite light in nature, and I've found it wears off quite quickly. That said, it is a pretty perfume, and I have been wearing it now and then.
Viktor & Rolf Bonbon Couture* | from £59/30ml here | A true gourmand scent which lasts amazingly well on my skin, this offers notes of Mandarin and Peach Accord, with a heart of Orange Blossom, Jasmine and Caramel. The base consists of Sandalwood, Patchouli and Vanilla.
Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb Bloom* | from £45/30ml here | The latest addition to my collection, this is a gorgeous Spring scent which I've been wearing quite a bit lately, as the days get warmer. Notes include Centafolia Rose, Jasmine, Osmanthus and Orchid, over a base of Musk, Vanilla and Patchouli.
Yves Saint Laurent Black Opium | from £50.50/30ml here | I picked this up in a gift set in the January sales on a total whim but I'm so pleased I did - it's definitely one of my favourite scents! It's another gourmand scent and honestly, the notes of Coffee, White Florals and Vanilla just make me happy.
My Perfume Collection - Marc Jacobs, YSL, Armani, Viktor & Rolf, Jeanne Arthes
It's not a huge collection by any means, but I'm really happy with it - I feel like there's something for every occasion, from lighter, fresher scents through to heavier more evening-appropriate fragrances. I've also noticed from writing this that there are definitely certain notes that I'm attracted to - namely the fruity top notes, jasmine, vanilla, patchouli, and musk What's in your perfume collection? Are there any particular notes that you tend to lean towards?

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

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Sleek 'All Day Soireé' Eye & Cheek Palette

I received a Sleek Makeup palette in my Glossybox (get 50% off the April box with code GB50 here!) last month; it's been a while since I've tried anything new from Sleek, but the Eye & Cheek Palettes look perfect for travelling. They each contain two cheek colours and four eyeshadows - I received the 'All Day Soireé' palette, which looks to contain some lovely daytime shades. On first impressions, this really reminded me of a NARS palette.
Sleek Makeup All Day Soiree Eye & Cheek Palette
The palette did come with a little brush, intended for the cheek shades, as well as a double-ended foam applicator for the eyeshadows, but I ended up chucking them as neither of them were much good. There's also a good-sized mirror in the lid of the palette which, again, really lends itself to a travel make-up bag!
Sleek All Day Soiree
The two cheek products are both shimmery; I think they're both supposed to be blushers, but the left-hand one is definitely more of a highlight shade to my mind, being a pale champagne-type colour. The right-hand one is a very pale pink which I didn't think would show up too well on the skin, and I was right - it's definitely more of a subtle shade, but perfect for giving just the barest hint of colour to the cheeks. Both transfer reasonably nicely to the skin, giving a touch of glow without any obvious chunks of glitter.
Sleek All Day Soiree Palette
Meanwhile, the eye shades split quite nicely into two little duos - a matte mid-brown with a shimmery cream, and a matte peach/orange with a shimmery orange/gold. All four are well-pigmented, applying smoothly to the eyes - there's a bit of fallout from the matte brown shade, but the other three seem okay. I've found they wear well over a primer, and have easily lasted me 10 hours of wear even on my oily lids, without creasing or fading.
Sleek All Day Soiree Swatches
As you can see below I've used the peach/orange shade all over my lid and up to the crease, paired with the shimmery gold/orange just on the lower part of my lid. I was unsure as to how wearable the orange shade would be for everyday wear, but I actually really like how they look on my eyes. They're super summery and look really striking, but I don't think they're too over the top? I think you'd struggle to get an evening look from this palette, but for daytime wear I really like the shades.
Sleek All Day Soiree Palette Look
Overall, I've been pretty impressed with this palette; it'd be perfect for a weekend away to give yourself a blush, highlight and a couple of options for eye make-up, without taking up too much room in your make-up bag. I've found it super-handy for in my gym bag!! I'd like if the blusher was a little deeper in colour but all in all, I'm happy with the shades on offer.
The Sleek Eye & Cheek Palette in 'All Day Soireé' is priced at £10 for 9g of product. Do you like the look of this palette? Would you wear these kinds of shades?    Glossybox

[Post contains affiliate links.]

Monday, 17 April 2017

6 Ways To Keep Your Fitness Motivation Up

Having been working out regularly since I re-joined the gym at the end of last October, I've noticed what an impact it's had on my fitness. I've recently started running and cycling again, and it's been easier than it ever was - I'm literally the fittest I've been in my entire adult life! That said, a lot of hard work has gone into it, with gym visits 4-5 times per week and more early starts than I care to remember... Which has got me thinking about how I've kept myself motivated for the last six months. Here are my top tips!
Six Ways To Keep Your Fitness Motivation Up

Plan Your Week.

The biggest thing for me is figuring out how to fit everything in! I find it helps to know what I'm going to be doing, when - so I plan out my week of workouts in advance. I have little post-it note tabs which I stick onto the relevant days in my planner, so I can see at-a-glance what I should be doing each day, and plan around whatever else is going on in life. So if I know I'm busy one evening, I know not to plan a workout then - and if I have to be at the other side of the county for 9am with work, I know getting to the gym in the morning isn't possible so I can plan to run instead, or go to the gym after work!
Gym Motivation - Planning Workouts

Be Flexible.

That said, you don't want to let your workouts take over your life - it's important to keep some flexibility so you can switch things round if you need to! The post-it notes are particularly handy for this... So if a friend suggests a run on Thursday evening, it's easy to swap things around to make it work. I've also recently found myself ditching post-work gym sessions to go out on my bike to make the most of the good weather. There's nothing more demotivating than dragging yourself into a sweaty over-crowded gym on a beautiful night!

Think In Chunks.

Breaking your goals up into manageable chunks is just common-sense, but somehow we can miss this when it comes to forming a gym-going habit. I find that working in chunks of 30 days means I have more clarity and focus, rather than trying to think too big. This way I can set myself monthly goals and see how I'm progressing towards them. Rather than seeing fitness as a huge commitment, it's just something you're doing this month. (And then next month. And the next one.)

Rest Days.

Rest days are just as important as training days when it comes to improving your fitness! I try to fit in at least one rest day each week (usually on a Sunday), when I'll just go for a gentle walk rather than doing anything high-impact. This gives the muscles time to repair themselves, which is how they get stronger. I also make sure to alternate between muscle groups so I get some recovery time in between.

Mix it Up!

I'm sure it's not just me that has the attention span of a goldfish? I get bored so easily, so I try not to do the same thing too often - whether that's trying a new machine at the gym, using the recumbent bikes instead of the upright ones, or switching up my run routes. Keeping things fresh means I'm much more likely to stick to my plans. Maybe for you this means trying a new class, booking in a session with a personal trainer to get some new ideas, or switching up your cardio - whatever it takes to keep things enjoyable!

Figure Out What Works.

For me, it's early-morning workouts before work - getting to the gym for about 7:00am, which gives me an hour before I need to start getting showered and ready for work, and then having breakfast when I get to work. This way, my workout is over and done with before I get started with my day, and I don't have to drag myself into the gym after a long day in the office when frankly, all I want is my bed. It's all about finding the routine that works best for you!

But when all is said and done, the part I find most motivating is seeing myself get stronger and fitter - whether it's adding another 5kg on to my weights, or running to the top of a hill I'd previously have had to walk up - it's just so satisfying, and really spurs me on to keep working hard and see what else I can achieve!!

Do you have any tips to add to my list? What are your favourite ways to keep yourself motivated when it comes to fitness?


Friday, 14 April 2017

Review | Skin Chemists Pro-5 Collagen Oxygenating Night Cream*

I was recently very kindly offered the opportunity to try a product from Skin Chemists's new Pro-5 Collagen range; I was sent their Advanced Pro-Collagen 5 Oxygenating Night Cream*, which claims to offer increased radiance, skin tightening and firming, as well as aiding with blemishes.
Skin Chemists Pro-5 Collage Oxygenating Night Cream Review
"Our Advanced Pro-5 Collagen Range is a unique and true revolutionary formula for perfect skin showing the early signs of ageing. Our Advanced Pro-5 Collagen Oxygenating Night Cream aims to boost skin elasticy and even the skin tone, restoring it to optimal level when your skin is in its most restorative state as you sleep. Gatuline Bio works to promote skin health and regeneration, reducing the visibility of wrinkles by renewing dull or ageing skin, and providing hydration. Matrixyl 3000 aims to smooth away visible wrinkles and blemishes for an even, mattified complexion."
From the description this actually sounds pretty much perfect for me; I'm 25, with my skin beginning to show some fine lines around my eyes and mouth, as well as on my forehead. My skintone can be very uneven, with redness on my chin and cheeks; I also have very oily skin and suffer quite a lot with blackheads and blemishes, and my skin often looks a bit dull and lacklustre.
Skin Chemists Collagen Oxygenating Night Cream
I've found that the Pro-5 Collagen Oxygenating Night Cream has a lovely light texture which absorbs quickly and easily into my skin, without leaving it feeling sticky or greasy. I was a bit thrown at first by how shimmery the cream is - I couldn't figure out why I was covered in glitter the first night I used it! I'm still a bit unsure as to why a night cream needs shimmer, but there it is... That aside, I feel like the cream works really well to hydrate my oily skin, although I have had a couple of dry patches lately (hooray for eczema) which have required something a bit heavier-duty. I'd suggest if you have dry skin, this won't be enough for you, but normal- or -oily-skinned ladies (and gents!) should be just fine.
Skin Chemists Pro-5 Collagen Oxygenating Night Cream Ingredients
In terms of the results claimed - I've been using this for the last three weeks and can't say I've noticed any improvements in blemishes - I've had a couple of bad break-outs lately and I don't feel like this night cream has made any difference to those. However, I do think that the fine lines on my forehead and around my mouth have softened a little - it's early days, so I'll be keen to see how I get on with the rest of the bottle, but it's a promising start! I've also been impressed by how soft my skin feels in the morning after using this at bedtime, and I don't seem to be as oily as I often am when I wake up, which is a bit of a bonus.
Skin Chemists Pro-5 Collagen Night Cream
I have to say, I really like the bright yellow bottle, and love that it comes with a pump dispenser! Skin Chemists Pro-5 Collagen Oxygenating Night Cream is available here at £109 for 50ml of product, but until the end of April you can get it for just £19.99 with the code INDIGOBLOG - so if you like the sound of it, I'd be popping an order through sooner rather than later! Whilst it's a bit beyond my budget at full-price, I do think it's a total bargain for less than £20; if you're in your 20s or early 30s and after an anti-ageing product for normal or oily skin, I think this would be well worth a try. Have you tried any Skin Chemists products before? Do you like the sound of the Pro-5 Collage range? Do let me know if you give it a try - I'd love to hear what you think!!

[*Product provided for consideration. I will earn a small commission on any orders placed using this discount code.]

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Magazine Freebies | May 2017

It's been a while since I've shared any magazine freebies, mainly because there haven't been that many around - they always seem to go quiet for the first couple of months of the year, and pick up again towards Spring & Summer - so hopefully there are some good ones to come in 2017! I've only spotted one so far this month but I think it's a good one...
May 2017 Magazine Freebies
Marie Claire (£3.99) comes with a full-sized 50ml tube of Neal's Yard Remedies Hand Cream - there are three variants to choose from. I went for Wild Rose (how pretty is that tube!?), but also available are Bee Lovely and Geranium & Orange - both of which I've tried previously, and both of which are really nice! I also got a sample of Lancôme Le Nuit Trésor Eau de Parfum and a 1.5ml sachet of Neutrogena HydroBoost Moisturiser within the magazine.
Neal's Yard Hand Cream
Neal's Yard hand creams are really lovely so I think it's well worth picking a copy of Marie Claire up - there's a good chance I'll grab another one before the end of the month as I always like to have a good stock of hand creams! These retail at £10 for the 50ml tubes, so getting them for £3.99 is an absolute bargain. Have you picked up this freebie? Have you spotted any others this month?


Saturday, 8 April 2017

Recently Rediscovered

I'm sure I'm not the only one with a ridiculous stash of beauty products, to the point where I completely forget I even own certain things? This is frustrating in a way as it means products are going to waste, but on the other hand it means that a good old sort-out can throw up some little gems that almost feel like new! It's like shopping without the spending, which I think we can all get on board with. I often find these rediscoveries can happen as the seasons change and we look to mix up our routines - here are a few of the products I've been loving all over again now Spring is (just about) here...
Recently Rediscovered
Recently Rediscovered Beauty Products
Benefit Sun Beam | I've been loving High Beam (and, of course, this £3.50 dupe!) lately but now the sun is putting in more of an appearance, the gold tones of Sun Beam are just beautiful for a real sun-kissed glow. I love blending this onto my cheekbones and browbones to give my face a bit of a 'lift'. You can see how well-loved my bottle is - all the writing has worn off!
MAC Mineralize Eyeshadow in 'Earthly' | I posted on Instagram the other day that I always feel like I'm neglecting my single eyeshadows - palettes are just so much handier to reach for, aren't they!? This looks gorgeous in the pan; it's almost a disappointingly wearable mid-brown once the swirls are all blended together, but it's pretty nonetheless!
George at Asda Shimmer Me! Shimmering Brush On Powder in 'Heaven Sent' | I hadn't forgotten this as such, it's just more of a summery product to me - it gives such a beautiful flush of colour with a real glow to it, but without being over-the-top. I love blushers that can double as highlight, and this definitely ticks that box!
Topshop Holographic Nail Polish in 'Wistful' | How much does this look like unicorn nails!? I must have had this about four years, I remember being so excited when Topshop launched their holo nail polishes... and then it disappeared into my nail polish hoard, never to see the light of day again. I'm so happy to have dug this out recently, I can see it getting a lot of wear!

Do you love the look of any of these? Have you rediscovered any forgotten beauty treasures recently?


Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Spring Fragrance | Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb Bloom Eau de Toilette*

I'm the first to admit that I don't tend to mix up my fragrances with the seasons; I'm more in the habit of finding a scent I love and sticking with it. I have a small collection of perfumes which I wear year-round, depending on my mood each day. That said, I can totally see how heavier, muskier scents work well for the cooler months, whilst Spring and Summer might call for lighter, sweeter fragrances. And so I was thrilled to receive a bottle of Viktor & Rolf's latest addition to the Flowerbomb family, Flowerbomb Bloom Eau de Toilette*.
Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb Bloom Eau de Toilette
"The new eau de toilette continues the iconic addiction of the Flowerbomb floral bouquet, adding in a breath of fresh air with a burst of fresh spring flowers to bring a fresh, sparkling and sensuous tone. Fresh rewriting of Flowerbomb, Bloom’s floral signature becomes more aerial with a breath of flower led by the delicate essence of sparkling pomegranate. Woody tones of patchouli enhanced by musky vanilla give the fragrance the extra layer of sensuous complexity that has made Flowerbomb so successful. A contrasted and seductive alchemy that will leave many captivated hearts in its trail."
Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb Bloom
Now I don't know about you but Viktor & Rolf's beautiful poetic blurb means very little to me - so for the less perfumier-minded among us, Bloom offers top notes of Pomegranate, Bergamot and Mandarin. The heart is similar to that of the original Flowerbomb, consisting of Centafolia Rose, Sambac Jasmin, Indian Osmanthus and Cattleya Orchid, with the addition of a pure air molecule; the base offers musk, patchouli and vanilla.
Flowerbomb Bloom Viktor & Rolf
Now I'm not a lover of floral fragrances, tending to lean more towards sweeter, fruitier and more gourmand scents; so for me, Flowerbomb Bloom is the perfect floral, with its fruity top-notes and the warm, deep notes in the base. A couple of spritzes is all that are needed as it offers quite a strong fragrance, with the fruity top-notes really coming through for me. As it settles on the skin, it does indeed smell more like the original Flowerbomb - a light floral scent which I find quite girly and 'young'. Being an eau de toilette, this doesn't last as well on the skin as, say, an eau de parfum - but I've still found it to wear pretty well, with the musk and vanilla from the base still coming through after a good six hours' wear.
Viktor&Rolf Flowerbomb Bloom EDT
Viktor & Rolf's Flowerbomb Bloom Eau de Toilette starts from £45 for 30ml; if you like your florals with a bit of an edge, or are just a fan of the original Flowerbomb and looking to add to your collection, I'd say this is a great pick! Do you tend to choose a new perfume for each season, or do you have a few trusted favourites you wear year-round? Will you be searching out the new Flowerbomb Bloom Eau de Toilette to see what you think?

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

Sunday, 2 April 2017

Hello April!

Well here we are in April - already past a quarter of the way through 2017, which I'm trying not to think about too much! April is the first proper month of Spring and I always feel like it holds a lot of promise, somehow - the days are getting lighter, the sun is putting in more of an appearance (hopefully!), the flowers are out and the whole world feels happier. I love it! As always, I like to set myself some goals each month to keep me on track, so here's what I'm hoping to achieve in April.
Hello April!
Read at least two books. I failed miserably at my one book for the month in March, so I've got March's book to finish, and then another one to read to get back on track with my goal of 12 books in 2017! I've almost finished The Outrun by Amy Liptrot, and I'll have to pick something quick & easy for the second one, I think...
See friends at least twice. I always find this a nice goal to include - it can be far too tempting, after a long day at work, to just come home and hide in my bed - I need a bit of motivation to make more effort to see people!
Interview prep. Having surprised myself by actually getting an interview for a Clinical Psychology course, I now need to start preparing for it! It's not til May so I've got plenty of time but still, I'd like to get thinking about how I'm going to answer some of the questions. Thankfully the interview process doesn't sound toooo brutal so hopefully it'll be a pleasant experience, whatever the outcome.
Get out on my bike. I've really got back into cycling lately (just for fun, I won't pretend I'm good at it!) and now the evenings are getting lighter, there's a good hour or so when I get home from work of a night when I could get out for a quick ride - so I'm hoping to do that at least once a week.
No chocolate or sweet treats til Easter. I've been doing really well with this so far and have almost stopped being tempted! Easter is only a couple of weeks ago now so I'm aiming to keep strong til then so I can really enjoy an Easter egg. I'm actually planning to carry on being quite strict after Easter, as I have a ridiculous sweet tooth and it's really not good for me. I'm thinking I'll allow myself one sweet treat a week?
April Goals
I don't think I've got anything exciting planned for April just yet - I've got an appointment to give blood mid-month and I'm looking forward to a few days off over the Bank Holiday weekend, but that's about it! Have you got anything nice planned for April? I'd love to hear what your goals are! Here's hoping we don't get too many April Showers...


Friday, 31 March 2017

In Retrospect | March 2017

Well, it's almost time to say goodbye to March... We're now into Spring, which I couldn't be happier about - I love the longer, warmer days and finally getting a bit of sunshine! It's so nice to come home from work in the daylight and be able to get out on my bike for an hour or so in the evening. And as always, the end of the month means it's time for a look back over the past few weeks...
March In Retrospect
March Empties.
I seem to have finished loads this month, without really consciously trying - which probably means I'll finish about two products next month. Still, this is good progress for me trying to slim down my ridiculous hoard of beauty products!
March Beauty Empties 1
Will Repurchase: Kind Natured Amber & Pink Pepper Body Wash | This smells lovely, leaves my skin feeling clean and soft, and doesn't aggravate my eczema. // Sure Maximum Protection Anti-Perspirant | These are the only deodorants I trust! // L'Oreal Infallible Pro 24H Matte Foundation | This is the US version which I much prefer to the UK one - it sits far better on my skin as well as lasting longer. // Garnier SkinActive Micellar Oil Infused Cleansing Water | I love this stuff for removing my make-up before a proper cleanse in the evenings! Really effective and doesn't sting even around the eyes. // The Body Shop All-In-One Instablur | I love this, too! I have a few other primers to use up but I'll definitely be coming back to this one.
March Beauty Empties 2
Might Repurchase: Vitamasques Hydro Face Mask | I do think this is expensive for a single-use mask but I'd consider it for a special occasion as it worked pretty well. | The Hero Project Hyasoft | I quite like this under my moisturiser for an added dose of hydration. // Balance Me Skin Bright Toning Mist | I have to say I didn't really notice any skincare benefits from using this, but it did smell nice and feel refreshing on my face. // Merumaya Gentle Exfoliating Toner | This was a dinky sample bottle which did me two applications - not really enough to get a proper idea, but I am keen to try it more thoroughly. // Lacura Lip Balm | These are an absolute bargain, I think they're about £1.50 from Aldi and they contain SPF which is a bonus! This one lived in my car for lip hydration on the go. // Yes to Blueberries Smooth & Shine Conditioner | This was quite nice, smelt good and left my hair feeling soft and smooth. // Electric London Shampoo | This isn't a brand I'm familiar with but I did quite like this shampoo - it left my hair feeling soft, with plenty of volume. // Salcura Bioskin DermaSpray | I quite liked having a body moisturiser in spray format and felt this worked reasonably well on my eczema-prone legs. // Merumaya Overnight Recharge Night Cream | I felt like this was a bit heavy for my skin, but it might be something I'd buy in a few years time as my skincare needs change.
March Beauty Empties 3
Won't Repurchase: Benefit High Beam | I do love this highlight, but I wouldn't buy it again when I can get an almost perfect dupe from Asda for £3.50! // Kind Natured Volumising Rosemary & Mint Shampoo (x2) | I really liked this at first but I found it quickly became less effective for my hair and by the time I finished these two bottles, it wasn't leaving my hair feeling clean at all. // Friction Free Shaving Cationic Shave Cream | I did really like this but unfortunately you can't order it on its own from FFS, and I don't like their blades so have cancelled my subscription. // Skintifique Moisturizing Lotion* | This worked okay but the price would put me off buying it. // Essence All About Matt! Fixing Compact Powder | This shattered early on which put me off, but it also did very little to keep me matte. // sk:n Anti Blemish Lotion* | This smelt like rubbing vodka on my skin and I didn't dare use it on my face.

Sample Sachets.
I've not done quite so well with sample sachets this month as I have the past couple of months, but I've still used a few up - mostly haircare! Let's have a little look...
March Beauty Samples
Nanokeratin ReVive Invigorating Shampoo | I've tried this before and do quite like it but there's no way I can afford to buy it! From $56/320ml here. // Garnier Ultimate Blends Strength Restoring Balm | This worked reasonably well to nourish the ends of my hair, leaving it feeling soft and smooth. I'm terrible at remembering to use hair masks but I'd be tempted to give this one a whirl. £3/300ml here. // Aussie 3-Minute Miracle Reconstructor Deep Conditioner | I used to love Aussie products because they smell amazing, but sadly had to stop using them due to the SLS and silicons. This was nice as a one-off but not something I'd use regularly. £4.99/250ml here. // The Hero Project Glow Drops | This was heavier than I was expecting and felt quite sticky on my skin - I'm in two minds but I do have about another 8 sachets to use before I need to decide whether I want to buy it! £24/30ml here.

March Goals.
See friends at least twice. I sadly missed a pub night last night due to being ill, but I have managed a couple of walks with a couple of different friends, not to mention numerous cups of tea and a day in the hills with my best friend.
No chocolate. I think I've done pretty well with this - even managing to resist my manager bringing chocolate brownies and caramel shortbread to work on multiple occasions! I've also been doing pretty well at cutting out sweet things in general - no biscuits, no cake, no jelly babies...
Read at least one book. I've nearly finished! I have no excuse for this, I had a week and a half off work... I just haven't got on with it.
Try going to the gym twice a day. I've managed this quite a few times, although I've not been well this week so I've eased off the gym, and I wasn't going to trail through twice whilst I was off work. I've found that as long as I plan in advance what I'm going to do when, taking into account things like where I'm starting/finishing work, it works pretty well for me.
Interviews. This wasn't really a goal, more something I was hoping for... But I'm proud to say I've been offered an interview! It's not til May so I've got plenty of time to prepare for it; it's my first round of applications for Clinical Psychology, which is a notoriously competitive course to get onto, so I'm just going to see how it goes - but I'm pretty pleased to have even got an interview first time round!
So I make that four out of five - I need to get my act together in April and get back on track with my reading goals!

March Loves.
The lovely Gwennan shared a look-through of her 2017 Bullet Journal so far. I've basically accepted that I don't have the time or the patience to create a BuJo of my own, so I'm just living vicariously through Gwennan now. Bee wrote this fab post on annotating books which really got me thinking - why don't I write in my books!? I also enjoyed reading Jasmine's thoughts on dupes of high-end beauty products, finding that I agreed with most of her points. Here on The Indigo Hours, I shared a second instalment of ways to practice self-care in five minutes or less, and ten of my favourite beauty products for under £10, so do check those out!

March In Summary.
Much like the last week of February, I'm feeling pretty sorry for myself at the end of March as my glands are so swollen it hurts to move my head, but hopefully I'll be feeling better soon! That aside, it's been a pretty good month - it was nice to have a week off work, and I've had good news interview-wise. How has your March been? What are you most looking forward to in April?

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

Thursday, 23 March 2017

Recent Beauty Buys

I've found that since I'm no longer going through town almost everyday on my way to work, I'm spending a whole lot less money on make-up and skincare... I've been making an effort lately to work through some of the many products I already own, rather than buying new products, so I've been buying less for that reason too. That said, I've just had a week and a half off work, so I did pop into town to have a little browse and came away with a few beauty bits and pieces, so read on if you want to see what I've been buying! There are also a couple of bits I've picked up elsewhere over the past couple of weeks...
Recent Beauty Buys
OGX Tea Tree Mint Shampoo (£6.99/385ml, currently on offer with ⅓ off for £4.66 at Boots) | I really like OGX products as they're SLS-free and fairly widely available. I've used this a couple of times and can confirm it smells amazing as well as leaving my hair feeling soft, clean and silky - I think I'm onto a winner here!
L'Oreal Infallible Fixing Mist (£7.99/100ml at Boots) | I've been wanting to try this for a while so popped it into my basket in Boots. On first impressions I'm a little underwhelmed but I'll stick with it and have a proper review up in the next few weeks.
Yes To Grapefruit Rejuvenating Body Wash (£4.99/280ml, currently on offer with ⅓ off for £3.33 at Boots) | Another SLS-free brand, I've been disappointed with Yes To...'s haircare but was still keen to try their body products. I've yet to try this but I have given it a sniff and am a little bit in love!
Kind Natured Coconut & Monoi Foaming Sugar Scrub (£5.99/250g, currently on offer with ⅓ off for £3.99 at Boots) | I recently raved about how much I love this, so when I saw it on offer I had to pick up another tube - it was actually the last one in my local Boots or I may have grabbed a few more!
Recent Beauty Buys Boots Superdrug & Amazon
Superdrug Naturally Radiant Glycolic Acid Pads (£5.99/60 pads, currently on half-price offer for £2.95) | I blame this purchase entirely on Gemma, for telling me these are better than the Nip+Fab Glycolic Fix pads - and at that price, how could I refuse!?
Swimovate PoolMate Anti-Chlorine Shampoo (£11.74/250ml at Amazon) | I ran out of this a while ago and didn't repurchase as I'd stopped swimming, but as I'm going twice a week again now I thought it was time I stocked up - I actually bought three bottles of this! I've previously reviewed this and have found it really helps to stop the chlorine damaging my hair as much.
L'Oreal Infallible Total Coverage Foundation (£9.99/30ml, £7 at Amazon) | I've heard so many good things about this lately that I couldn't resist, and having used it a couple of times so far I have to say I like it! It gives a really good coverage and has a lovely finish, though it doesn't last as well as I'd hoped.

Have you tried any of these products? What beauty products have you purchased recently?

[Post contains affiliate links.]

Monday, 20 March 2017

25 MORE Ways To Practice Self-Care In Five Minutes (Or Less!)

A few months ago, I shared a little list of twenty-five ways you can squeeze a bit of self-care into your busy life. In my experience, self-care is something that can easily take a back seat; it's something that many people find difficult to prioritise. We feel guilty and self-indulgent for taking the time to take care of ourselves, or the thought doesn't even occur to us.
In reality, though, self-care is a must; if you don't take care of yourself, you wind up worn down, burnt out, and unable to take care of anyone else either. If you're interested in the benefits, check out my post on things that happen when you start to practice self-care. And read on for 25 more ways you can take care of yourself in just a few minutes...
25 ways to practice self-care in five minutes or less
[Image Credit: IvoryMix]
01. Stretch. Particularly if you have a desk job - my colleagues and I sometimes joke that we're "chair-shaped" after a long day - drive a lot, or spend a lot of time in one position, taking a few moments to stretch out can really refresh you. It loosens your muscles and gets your blood flowing!
02. Do a puzzle. Crosswords, Su Doku, even Spot The Difference - puzzles like this keep your brain active and let you concentrate on something other than your stressful life for a few minutes. I've taken to doing the Guardian's Quick Crossword in my lunch break.
03. Do something different. Depending how much time you've got - it could be something as simple as having a different sandwich for lunch, going round the supermarket in reverse, or driving home a different way - doing things differently than your usual routine can make them feel a bit fresher and less of a drag.
04. Read something you don't have to. A chapter of your book (if they're short chapters and/or you're a quick reader!), a poem, even a dirty Limerick... A lot of people read to relax and there's a good reason for that - it's a brilliant way to take a step back from your problems for a few minutes
05. Colour in. I personally find colouring very stressful (all that staying in the lines!) but I know plenty of people who swear by it. You can obviously buy dedicated "Adult Colouring Books" or a quick Google brings up plenty of free downloadable colouring sheets.
06. Write it down. There's something about getting our worries and stresses down on paper that can give us a bit of perspective and make everything seem much more manageable. A quick brain-dump list can make the world of difference to how you feel about those niggling little worries.
07. Throw something away. (Or ideally recycle it, y'know!) I think we all have hoarding tendencies from time to time, so letting go of something we don't want or need can be quite a liberating feeling... Even if it is just chucking the receipts from the bottom of your handbag.
08. Use a face mask. Admittedly there's a limit to what you can use in five minutes but there are masks out there that work super quickly, or if you've got a little longer than a whole load more options open up for you! Overnight masks are a great option too - they only take a minute to apply and then you just remove in the morning when you wash your face.
09. Brush your hair. Especially if you use a Tangle Teezer or similar brush, this is like a quick head massage!
10. Look at pictures of baby animals. I think this one speaks for itself. I often just Google "baby penguins" or "baby sloths" and spend five minutes squealing at how cute they are!
25 ways to practice self care
11. Spray your favourite perfume. Scents can often trigger the most powerful memories, and even if your fragrance of choice doesn't hold any particular memories for you, it's still an indulgent way to press the pause button for a few moments.
12. Look at some old holiday snaps. Bring back those happy memories.
13. Make plans. Or at least, start making plans. Give yourself something to look forward to - be it meeting a friend for a coffee, a date with your partner, or a holiday in the sun!
14. Have a quick sort-out. Maybe you can only sort out one drawer of your desk, or one shelf in your living room, in five minutes - but, hey, that's one drawer or shelf that'll be sorted out, and a clearer space contributes to a clearer mind, in my experience.
15. Use the 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 trick. This is a quick and easy way to ground yourself when you're feeling overwhelmed - you simply work through your senses and list five things you can see, four things you can hear, three things you can touch, two things you can smell and one thing you can taste (you can even switch up the order if you like!)
16. Write a list. Who doesn't find lists calming? It could be a to-do list, a shopping list, even a list of things you like.
17. Book overdue appointments. If you've been putting off going to the dentist, the optician, or for your smear test - get it booked! These things aren't necessarily enjoyable but they're definitely part of taking care of yourself.
18. Get away from the screen. That's right - stop using your phone, computer, tablet or TV for five minutes! Gaze out of the window, flick through a magazine, maybe even have a conversation with someone!
19. Have a dance. Put on your favourite cheesy song and dance like no-one's watching you! The more ridiculous the better, really - you'll get your blood pumping
20. Eat a piece of fruit. Get in one of your five-a-day!
Self Care for Busy People
21. Recognise your thoughts as thoughts. Sometimes our minds seem to be out to sabotage us - we can easily end up believing what our mind tells us, so it can help to take a step back and say to ourselves, "I'm having the thought that..."
22. Look at the sky. Maybe you can spot some shapes in the clouds, maybe you can appreciate the sunshine, or maybe (most likely, especially if you're in Cumbria like me!) you'll just notice that it's raining again - but take that moment to notice.
23. Swap jokes. See who in your office knows the worst joke, or failing that - read these terrible kids' jokes!
24. Write a note or letter. To yourself or to someone else - to send, or just so you've written it. A note to say hello, to remind yourself that you're actually doing a pretty good job of this whole 'life' business, or to get something off your chest.
25. Stop multi-tasking. Just for five minutes, give yourself permission to concentrate on doing one thing and one thing only - and see how much more you're able to get done, and how much less stressful it feels!

Don't forget to check out my previous 25 ways to practice self-care in five minutes post for some more suggestions! Do you have any little habits or secrets that you turn to when you need to take care of yourself? Will you be trying any of these suggestions?


Friday, 17 March 2017

Makeup Revolution Palette in 'Hard Day'

My lovely Swedish penfriend sent me a parcel of gifts for Christmas and one of the things she sent was this Makeup Revolution palette; I've got another of the Salvation palettes, 'Dia de los Muertos' but this one is quite different, with its subtle, muted shades. 'Hard Day' looked like it would be perfect for day-to-day wear, with quite a lot of versatility despite its fairly limited colour palette.
Makeup Revolution Hard Day Palette Review
'Hard Day' came in a metallic bronzey-orange card outer box, with the palette within being the standard Makeup Revolution glossy black plastic with gold lettering. Like all the Salvation palettes, 'Hard Day' contains twelve shimmer shades (the rectangular pans) and six mattes (the round pans); I think I've said it before, but it bothers me that the pans aren't all the same shape... Minor complaint, I know!
Makeup Revolution Hard Day Palette
The shades are all individually named, with the names printed onto a clear plastic overlay - there are some fun shade names in here, like 'Gets You Into Hot Water' and 'Words Sound Just The Same', but I do always think that Makeup Revolution shade names seem a bit... random. The shades are a selection of fairly neutral colours which I think would suit most people and be fairly easy to wear.
Makeup Rev hard Day Palette Shade Names
All the shades are reasonably well-pigmented when swatched, and all seem to apply nicely to the eyes; the mattes are a little on the powdery side but certainly not terrible! The shimmers, though, are lovely - they go on really smoothly and blend out well.
Hard Day Palette Makeup Revolution
Below, I've used 'Had Such A Hard Day', which is a cool-toned shimmery taupe, and 'It's What We Do Best' which is slightly warmer in tone, along with the matte 'With Such A Big Mouth' in the crease and along my lower lashline - just an example of the sort of wearable neutral look you can put together from this palette. I've also found that 'I May As Well Just', the shimmery cream shade third from the left on the second row of shimmers, makes a beautiful highlight - it has a pretty pink/gold shift to it and looks lovely on the cheekbones as well as in the inner corner.
FOTD Makeup Revolution Hard Day
Overall, I think 'Hard Day' offers a nice selection of wearable neutral shades; there's nothing too "out there" and I do see myself getting plenty of wear from the palette. The pigmentation isn't half bad, especially considering the price, and the wear time is reasonably good too. Makeup Revolution's Salvation palette in 'Hard Day' is priced at £6, available from Superdrug here. What's your favourite Makeup Revolution palette?

[Post contains affiliate links.]

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Review | Vitamasques Hydro Face Mask

I received a Vitamasques Hydro Face Mask in my February Glossybox, which I was pretty pleased about - I've previously tried a couple of their other sheet masks and been quite happy with the results, so I was keen to try this one out; it sounded perfect for my oily-yet-dehydrated skin, and I ended up using it as a weekend skincare treat this weekend just gone. "The Hydro Face Mask has been designed to provide hydration and moisture retention in the skin. The mask contains the patented AMF (Artificial Moisturising Factor) which enhances the skin's ability to retain moisture. AMF has been clinically proven to keep the skin hydrated for up to 120 hours. The Hydro Face Mask contains extracts from the Rose of Jericho, which enhances and further optimises moisture retention in the skin."
Vitamasques Hydro Face Mask
On closer inspection, the Hydro Face Mask is a little different to the others that I've tried; rather than being a single tissue-y sheet, it's actually two separate pieces of a gel-like material, which is backed with plastic. Once I'd figured out how to unfold it (it's not that complicated, it was just early!) I found that it adheres to the face far better than any other sheet mask I've tried, which was a pleasant surprise as it felt quite heavy in the packet. You get one piece for the lower half of your face, and one for the upper part - mine overlapped a little as you can see in the photo below, but even so I think this is one of the better-fitting sheet masks I've tried.
Vitamasques Hydro Face Mask2
It felt instantly cooling on my skin, which was quite refreshing, and it remained cool for the full 30 minutes I kept it on. After removing it, my skin felt slightly tacky, but really plump and hydrated; writing this nearly 72 hours later, I do think my skin still feels well hydrated, so it's not doing badly for its 120-hour claim either. I think I can see a reduction in the expression line on my forehead - but I should point out it's not that pronounced to begin with, so it may just be wishful thinking... I've not experienced any irritation or breakouts after using it, so all in all I've really liked this mask!
Vitamasques Hydro Mask Rose of Jericho
The Vitamasques Hydro Face Mask is priced at £7.99 for one mask, available here. I do think it's expensive for a single-use mask, but it did work well for me - so whilst it's not a product I'll be using regularly, I would definitely consider it for a special occasion. Don't forget to check out my previous reviews of Vitamasques Manuka Honey and Pomegranate masks as well if you like the sound of this one! Have you tried any Vitamasques masks? What's your favourite sheet mask?

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