Friday, 23 June 2017

Three Primers On Trial

You know it's summer when your make-up has melted off your face by dinnertime, right!? The office I work in has huge windows on two sides and no air-conditioning, so by about 11am it's a bit like working in a sauna... If there's one thing my make-up needs in weather like this, it's a decent primer! I've got three new priming products in my stash and the past couple of weeks have been the perfect time to give them a thorough testing. My skin is incredible oily and I have quite a few enlarged pores on my cheeks, so for me the perfect primer would be mattifying and blur those pores, as well as keeping my make-up in place all day.
Three Primers On Trial - The Hero Project, Soap & Glory and Collection
The Hero Project Double Blur® HD Ready Skin Perfector | £24/30ml here | I got this 10ml travel-size in my Build Your Own Gift Set from The Hero Project (post here) - the full-sized product comes with an airless pump for easy dispensing. I really love the blurred, airbrushed and mattified look this gives to my skin - it works so well to hide pores and fine lines, and leaves my skin feeling super-soft and velvety smooth. It also contains Glycerin which is fab for hydration - perfect for those warm days that can suck all the moisture from your skin! My foundation goes on beautifully over Double Blur and it does help to hold it in place, keeping me matte maybe a little longer than I'd manage without primer.
Soap & Glory One Heck Of A Blot Instant-Perfecting Power Primer | £10/30ml here | I tried the One Heck of A Blot powder and was quite disappointed, but had heard that the primer worked better. It's easy to apply and sinks into the skin quickly, but I've found that my foundation is a little bit harder to blend in over this primer. I don't mind this too much and I'd deal with it if the foundation would stay put once it was on... But honestly, I feel like this makes my base get oily more quickly and my foundation seems to break up around my nose and forehead, the oiliest areas of my face, within a couple of hours. I'm really not impressed with this one I'm afraid!
Collection Powered by Witch Primed & Ready Mattifying Pore Minimiser | £4.99/25ml here | This is a super-budget-friendly buy with a very silicone-y texture, which also contains Witch Hazel to (theoretically!) treat blemishes whilst you're wearing it - a great claim although I can't say I've noticed much difference in my skin since using it. It smooths out pores and fine lines really well and gives a good base for my make-up, and I feel like it lasts well without slipping, but unfortunately it doesn't keep me matte for very long and I find myself having to blot and re-powder within 2-3 hours.
Three Primers On Trial
So unfortunately, none of the primers I've been trying have turned out to be The One for me - the Collection/Witch one is nice but doesn't do much to keep me matte, and Double Blur is lovely but again not as mattifying as I'd ideally like - whilst the Soap & Glory one was just a massive let-down! Do you have any go-to priming products for summer? How do you keep your make-up looking fresh in the heat and humidity of Britain in June?

[*Post contains affiliate links.]

Friday, 16 June 2017

Blemish-Busters You Need To Try!

I've always suffered from blemish-prone skin, right from way back when I first started puberty aged ten. I've tried all sorts over the years to keep those pesky spots and blackheads under control, from those that don't really do much, to the downright ill-advised. I've also amassed a bit of a go-to arsenal which helps me keep my skin looking (mostly) clear and even - though nothing is failsafe and I will probably always get a few spots in the week before my period *sigh*
Five Products for Blemish-Prone Skins
Una Brennan Salicylic Acid Anti Blemish Purifying Cleansing Wash | I can't sing its praises enough, I absolutely love this face wash - my skin always looks clearer when I use it consistently (every morning). It smells gorgeous, isn't at all drying on the skin, and works really well to prevent spots and blemishes forming for the most part - Salicylic Acid is great for blemish-prone skins as it exfoliates gently to remove build-up of oils and dead skin cells. | £7.99/150ml here (currently on offer at just £5.33!)
Merumaya Concentrated Spot Treatment | This is the old-style packaging (it now comes in a swish-looking pump-action bottle!) but I don't think the formula has changed - this is the most effective product I've used in terms of helping spots to heal more quickly, without leaving horrible patches of dry skin. | £14.50/10ml here.
Tea Tree Oil | I don't have a specific brand that I go for, I just ordered this little bottle off Amazon... I like to mix a couple of drops of tea tree oil into my moisturiser at bedtime, a couple of times a week, to fight off blemishes - tea tree has antibacterial properties that help prevent spots. I have also been known to dab a little onto active spots to help reduce inflammation and reduce healing times. | £2.18/10ml here.
T-Zone Spot Zapping Gel* | I actually didn't find this hugely effective on my skin, but I know people who swear by it, so I'm including it as a super-budget-friendly alternative to the Merumaya version. Again, this is just one to dab onto active spots which should reduce inflammation and help them to heal more quickly.| £1.99/8ml here.
Origins Out of Trouble 10-Minute Mask | This is one of my all-time favourite masks; it's a bit strong-smelling but it's more than worth it for me - I love this to really calm down any breakouts, reducing redness and helping blemishes to fade more quickly. I try to use this a couple of times per week to keep my skin looking clear. I've recently repurchased this after a few months without it, and I'm so happy to have it back in my routine!! | £25/100ml here.
Products for Blemish-Prone Skin
Have you tried any of these products? What are your go-tos for managing blemish-prone skin?
PS - I have a giveaway over on Twitter!! You just need to follow and retweet my competition tweet to be in with a chance of winning a Sleek Eye & Cheek Palette in 'All Day Soirée'!

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

Monday, 5 June 2017

Introducing | Newtons Labs T-Zone Skincare*

T-Zone Skincare is a brand I remember using in my early teenage years, so when I was contacted recently with an offer of trying some products from the line, I was keen to see what had changed. The brand originally launched in 1998, so it's almost 20 years old! I was kindly sent a few products from the range, which I've been using over the last month or so.
Newtons Labs T Zone Skincare
I was sent two products from the original line; the Clear Pore Facial Wash and the Spot Zapping Gel.
The facial wash claims to remove grease, oil and bacteria that can cause spots; "Clear Pore Facial Wash contains antibacterial Tea Tree, refreshing Menthol and skin-clearing Salicylic Acid to effectively cleanse and unclog pores to help prevent spots." Sounds promising, and Tea Tree and Salicylic Acid are two ingredients I already know my skin reacts well to, so I was pleased to try this - on its own in the morning, and as a second cleanse in the evening. The tea tree and menthol do indeed give it a refreshing scent, and it certainly works well to leave my skin feeling clean and soft. I was a little dubious about the SLS on the ingredients list - it doesn't seem to strip my skin, but I'd be careful if you're prone to dryness at all.

"Spot Zapping Gel rapidly targets, prevents and calms spots and blemishes. This cooling and quick-drying gel combines naturally antibacterial Tea Tree and Witch Hazel with clearing Salicylic Acid to help promote great looking skin." Again, sounds promising, and I've had plenty of blemishes lately to test it out on! Unfortunately I don't think this is particularly well suited to my skin, as I've not found it to calm blemishes down or reduce healing time - but I know people who swear by it, and it's cheap as chips so might be worth trying if you're after a blemish treatment.
Newtons Labs T-Zone Skincare
I was also sent two products from T-Zone's new Charcoal range; the Charcoal Nose Pore Strips and the Charcoal Black Cleansing Wipes. Charcoal is supposed to help draw out impurities, so it makes sense to include it in pore strips - this is probably the product I was most excited to try, as I suffer terribly with blackheads around my nose. "Charcoal Nose Pore Strips are enriched with antibacterial Tea Tree, to help prevent spots and keep skin clear, while Charcoal acts like a magnet to draw out impurities and excess oil." I think these have worked the best of any pore strips I've ever tried, you can really see the evidence on each strip after use... which is a bit gross, but oddly satisfying!

Finally - cleansing wipes aren't a product I use very often (literally only on the odd day when I go to the gym after work and want to remove my make-up before I work out!) but are always handy to have. "Charcoal Black Cleansing Wipes effectively cleanse skin, remove make-up residue instantly and absorb dirt and excess oil. Enriched with naturally ultra-purifying Charcoal which acts like a magnet drawing out impurities from the skin." I've only used these a couple of times so far but I have to say I've not been impressed, as they seem to leave a lot of make-up on my skin - but in fairness that's a complaint I have with all cleansing wipes. They're certainly handy to have but I wouldn't rely on them alone to cleanse my skin

So all in all, I've found the T-Zone range has some hits and some misses - I'll definitely be buying the Charcoal Nose Pore Strips again, and I'd consider the Clear Pore Face Wash, but I'm not really sold on the Spot Zapping Gel or the Charcoal Black Cleansing Wipes. You can find out more about the T-Zone range and their stockists here; all the products are budget-friendly and are available on Amazon and Fragrance Direct amongst others. Have you ever tried T-Zone Skincare? Are there any products you swear by for treating blemishes?

[*Product provided for consideration.]

Friday, 2 June 2017

Hello June!

June. Summer is well and truly here, theoretically at least - a few weeks of sunshine would be nice, but then again I live in the North of England so the few days we had in May could have been the extent of summer for us! The sixth month of the year is looking a bit quieter than May but as always, I'm setting myself a few goals to work on in the coming weeks...
Hello June!
Finish at least one book. I got myself back on track in May with my goal of twelve books in 2017, so I'm hoping to keep the progress going in June and finish my sixth book of the year - I'm about halfway through Always with Love by Giovanna Fletcher, which has been a nice light, easy read so far, so hopefully this will be an easy goal to tick off!
See friends at least twice. Another standard monthly goal for me, but as I say every month, I do find that setting this goal means I make a bit more effort to actually see my friends, rather than giving into the temptation to spend every spare second hiding under my duvet! I've actually already been for dinner at my best friend's house with a few friends, so I'm halfway to completing this one too!
Have a barbecue. This one might be a bit of a challenge as my family don't actually have a barbecue (I KNOW!) but I love a good barbie and hopefully we'll have some half-decent weather. I'll be happy with a little disposable one!
See the new Pirates of the Caribbean film. I loooove the POTC films, I know most of them word-for-word off by heart and that's not even an exaggeration, so you can imagine how excited I am for the fifth instalment! If the weather's not brilliant I'm hoping to go this weekend but I definitely need to see it at some point soon.
 Cut back on sweet treats. I'm carrying this one over from May as I really didn't do very well with it last month - I think there was just too much going on for me to focus on it properly. I'm hoping that June will be a bit quieter so I can focus on sorting my diet out a bit, by which I mean not spending every afternoon at work eating chocolate and/or biscuits.
Complete the Blogilates 30 Day Abs Challenge. I did a few days of this challenge some time last year (or maybe the year before!?) and then kind of forgot about it, so I'm going to give it another go and hopefully see it through this time! A friend of mine has been doing it and I did day 11 with her and found it totally do-able, so with any luck it won't be too hard? Ha! Wish me luck!!
June 2017 Blossom
I don't think I've got anything planned in June aside from the first Total Warrior weekend of the year towards the end of the month, which I'm really looking forwards to! We've also got the General Election coming up next week, and I'm still not sure how I feel about that - I honestly don't know which way it's going to go, which is pretty scary. I hope you're all registered to vote if you're eligible!
Are you up to anything exciting this month? Are you setting yourself any goals for June?

[Post contains affiliate links.]

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

In Retrospect | May 2017

It's been a funny old month, hasn't it, May? The last couple of weeks have been very quiet here and even over on social media - there's just been so much going on, and I haven't had the time, energy or inclination to sit down to blog, schedule tweets or even open my laptop at all some days. I've also been struggling with a major lack of inspiration for this little space, with no idea what to write even when I have felt motivated to sit down and write something... I'm sure we all know the frustration! I'm hoping that getting my monthly review post written and posted will help?! Any tips to overcome writer's block gratefully accepted...
May In Retrospect

May Empties.

I didn't think I'd done very well with the empties this month until I came to take these photos and actually there were loads more than I thought there was going to be - I think I finished a few early on in the month that I'd forgotten about!
May Beauty Empties
Will Repurchase: Swimovate PoolMate Swimmers' Shampoo | This smells lovely and coconutty, and works well to stop the chlorine in the pool damaging my hair now I'm swimming twice a week again. Winner. // Ojon Damage Reversing Thickening Spray | This smells gorgeous (you know those foamy banana sweets? Like those) and leaves my hair feeling soft, and with a bit more volume. Love it! // Kind Natured Coconut & Monoi Foaming Sugar Scrub | I cannot overstate how much I love this stuff! It smells incredible and works so well to exfoliate my arms and legs. I already have a couple more tubes... // Sure Maximum Protection Anti-Perspirant | I don't think we need to talk about how this is my favourite deodorant, I say it every time I finish one! I don't buy anything else now. // Super Facialist by Una Brennan Salicylic Acid Anti Blemish Purifying Cleansing Wash | Longest product name ever but also my favourite face wash ever, it works so well to balance my oily skin and keep blemishes at bay. I adore it.
Empties May 2017
Might Repurchase: Green People Scent-Free Shampoo* | This is a bit more than I would usually spend on shampoo, but I might buy it again if my eczema was having a particularly bad flare-up. // Garnier Matcha & Kaolin Purifying Face Mask | I'm not sure whether this did much for my skin but it was nice to use and, at £1 a sachet, there's a good chance I'll give it another go at some point! It was also a pleasing shade of bright green which is always a winner for me. // T-Zone Charcoal Nose Pore Strips* | I've not used any nose pore strips in ages but I was sent these recently and have been reminded how satisfying they are!
May 2017 Beauty Empties
Won't Repurchase: Real Techniques Deep Cleansing Brush Gel | I wanted to like this but I just felt it was over-priced and not that effective. I'll be sticking to my antibacterial handwash from now on, I think! // Paula's Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Lotion | I didn't dislike this but I didn't feel like it was anything special, and for upwards of £20 I'm definitely wanting special. It was nice to try it but I wouldn't go out of my way to buy it again. // Natural World Argan Oil Hair Mask | Again, I didn't dislike this per se, but having used their Macadamia mask as well, I much prefer that one and, given the choice, would choose it over the Argan Oil one. // The Organic Pharmacy Double Rose Rejuvenating Face Cream | Another one - it's nice but not nice enough for me to justify the price tag.

May Samples.

I feel like it was a bit of a poor effort on my part this month, but two samples is better than no samples, right? Right?! In my defence, I've been working through the samples pretty solidly, so my options are dwindling... 
May Beauty Samples
Manuka Doctor ApiRefine Targeted Wrinkle Filler with Purified Bee Venom | I didn't really feel like this did much, although maybe I'd need to use it for more than a week or so to notice the effects? It's good in theory but seems quite expensive for a product I'm not even sure I like... | £14.99/15ml here // Origins Out Of Trouble 10 Minute Mask | I finished a full tube of this a while back and actually really missed having it in my stash; this sample reminded me how fab it is, and I've since repurhcased a full-size tube. It works so well to calm down my skin, reducing redness and the size of any active blemishes. | £25/100ml here.

May Goals.

Finish reading two books. Proud to say I smashed this one and am actually halfway through my third book of the month, which means I'm actually ahead of target for my goal of twelve books this year - whoop! I think this has largely been a side-effect of not blogging as much - I've found myself reaching for my book in the evenings rather than turning on my laptop, which has been nice.
See friends at least twice. Well, two of my friends had a little housewarming do in Sheffield, which was lovely, and I met a friend from Uni for a cheeky Nando's a classy and sophisticated lunch whilst I was there. I also squeezed in a fire on the beach one evening after work with a couple of friends, and a celebratory night at the pub.
Get sweet treats back to "treats" rather than daily snacks". I've not done very well here... Whoops! I just have a major sweet tooth and I'm not very good at limiting myself... I'm going to give this another go in June and hopefully do a bit better.
Get out on my bike at least once a week. May has been a beautiful month for the most part, which has made it pretty easy to get out on my bike for an hour or so in the evenings after work. I've started using Strava recently and I have to say, it's pretty addictive tracking my rides and seeing my times improve!
Get a place on the Clinical Psychology doctorate programme. I didn't think my interview had gone very well but obviously it wasn't as bad as I thought as, amazingly enough, I've been offered a place to start in September! I'm honestly thrilled and can't wait to get started; my contract at my current job runs until the end of July so it's looking like I'm going to have August off before starting in September on the course. I'm so excited!!!
So that leaves me on four out of five in May - I'll take that! Considering how much has been going on, I think I did pretty well.

May 2017 Sunset Sandside

May Loves.

I haven't been reading a lot of blogs, either, through May, but I did love Roxie's post on Tarte's gorgeous Maneater collection; the leopard-print packaging basically makes it my ideal collection and I love the look of the palette. Dorota's post on skincare for glowing skin was an interesting read and certainly gave me a few ideas for products to try when I get chance! First on my list will be The Ordinary's AHA/BHA Peeling Solution which sounds pretty incredible.
Here on The Indigo Hours, I shared my picks in building my own custom eyeshadow palette with Essence Cosmetics, and some thoughts on the eczema-friendly Scent-Free range of beauty products by Green People, so do check those out if you missed them!

May 2017 Sandside Cumbria

May In Summary.

I feel like I can't finish this post without mentioning the horrendous events in Manchester towards the end of this month; as a North-West girl through and through, it's been heartbreaking seeing events unfold and hearing about the beautiful people we've lost because of one person's incomprehensible actions. Manchester has done us proud in its response, though, and I think it's safe to say it'll take a lot more than that to keep the Mancs down. My heart breaks for those who have lost loved ones and I hope they are able to find some solace in the love and support that have been so forthcoming in the days since the attack.

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

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Review | Primark Silicone Make-Up Sponges

I've seen silicone beauty sponges popping up here, there and everywhere over the past few weeks; the next big thing in getting that flawless base we all crave, these slightly odd-looking make-up tools claim to blend your foundation without absorbing product. I'm sure we all know the frustration of half your foundation disappearing into a Beauty Blender or buffing brush, so when I spotted that Primark have launched their own version of the Silicone Sponges, I couldn't say no.
Primark Silicone Sponges
"The perfect tool to blend make-up without soaking up any product." The information on the packaging is brief and to-the-point - in fact, that's all they tell you. At just £2 for two sponges, these are super budget-friendly and unlike Beauty Blenders (and their dupes, like my beloved Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge), I don't see them disintegrating anytime soon - so if they work, I can see these being a pretty fab buy all round.
Primark Silicone Makeup Sponge
Unfortunately, I've been pretty disappointed with their performance - I'd definitely agree that the sponge doesn't absorb any product, but really that's the only good point for me! Rather than blending my foundation in for a flawless finish, the silicone sponge seems to kind of push it around on the surface of my skin (even using the tiniest amount of product) leaving it looking frankly awful - it sits weirdly over the open pores on my cheeks and doesn't give the kind of coverage I'm used to getting from a standard sponge or buffing brush. No amount of blending seems to help and my foundation just ends up looking mask-like and unnatural. I end up using a sponge or brush to buff the product in properly, which kind of seems to defeat the object?
I'm not sure how well you can tell in the photo below but this is just foundation "blended" onto my skin after moisturising, you can see the product sitting horribly over the pores around my nose and even out to the edge of my cheek.
Foundation applied with Primark Silicon Makeup Sponge
So overall I can't say I'm impressed with Primark's take on the Silicone Make-up Sponge, it's certainly not a tool I'd recommend and not one I'll be repurchasing. If you're really that keen on your application tools not absorbing any product I'd honestly suggest using your fingers - they'll give a better finish! Have you tried any silicone sponges - Primark or other brands? Do you have any tips for making them work? I'd love to hear about your experiences!


Wednesday, 17 May 2017

New From Essence Cosmetics | My Must-Haves

I popped into town at the weekend for a few bits and pieces, and whilst I was there I thought I'd just have a quick look at the Essence stand in Wilko's. It's not a huge store and the stand hadn't been updated with new products for ages so I wasn't too hopeful, but as it turned out I was glad I looked, as they've finally refreshed it and added some new lines! I was intrigued by the 'My Must Haves' range, which allows you to build your own eyeshadow palette from a selection of shades. I'm not sure when these launched, but I've not seen or heard anything about them so I'm guessing they're fairly new?!
Essence My Must-Haves Custom Palette
The palettes are available in four- and eight-space variants; I went for a quad as I was trying to be restrained! Looking online, it seems that there are lip, blusher, bronzer and powder pans available as well, but the stand in my local store only had the eyeshadows, so I chose four shades from the range. I tried to pick shades which would be cohesive and work well together, and that I would get plenty of wear from; my first choice was 'Chilli Vanilli', a matte cream shade which looked perfect for all over the lid and highlighting the browbone. Next I picked out 'Brownie'Licious', another matte shade but this time a cool-toned brown which I thought may work for filling in my brows, as well as on the lids. My third choice was 'All I Need' which is a pretty, shimmery gold/taupe - the perfect everyday shade. Finally I went for something a little bit more out-there, 'Raspberry Frosting' which is a bright, sparkly Barbie pink.
Essence My Must-Haves
Each shade came with its own little plastic pop-off lid, so if you didn't want to assemble these into a palette you could easily keep them as individual pans. They're super easy to fit into the palette, though - they literally just click in, and click back out again should you wish to change or rearrange them.
Essence My Must Haves - Chilli Vanilli, Brownie'Licious, All I Need, Raspberry Frosting
I've found that all four shades have a lovely soft formula, picking up pigment easily with a brush and translating well onto the eyelids. As I hoped, 'Chilli Vanilli' works really well as a browbone highlight, whilst 'Brownie'Licious' is pretty much perfect for filling in my brows, and also works well as a transition shade blended into the crease. Neither of the matte shades are chalky or powdery, as can often be an issue for mattes from budget lines. 'All I Need' isn't massively pigmented without a base, just adding a hint of shimmer, but with a primer under it it's really lovely. Similarly, 'Raspberry Frosting' needs a base for it to really shine, and I've not had chance to wear it properly yet as it's not the most work-appropriate of shades! I would point out, though, that it's not nearly as frosty in finish as it appeared; as soon as you've removed the overspray it's actually quite a wearable finish.
Essence My Must-Haves Swatches
The swatches above are all two swipes with no base - as you can see, they all give a lovely smooth colour, with the mattes being impressively pigmented, and the shimmers being pretty decent too. Even without a base, I've not had any problems with the shadows creasing - they've easily lasted ten hours on my oily lids, which I'm more than happy with.
Essence My Must-Haves Quad
All in all, I've been pretty impressed with Essence's My Must-Haves line; they're super-affordable and there's a decent range of shades to choose from, although I'm disappointed that my local Wilko's only has the eyeshadows and not any of the other products available. I was happy to discover how easy the pans are to pop in and out of the empty palette, and the shadows themselves have performed reasonably well. I have a feeling I'll be picking up a few more shades before too much longer! Have you tried anything from the My Must-Haves range? Do you like the idea of building your own palette?


Sunday, 14 May 2017

Green People Scent-Free Beauty for Sensitive Skin*

A few weeks back I was contacted by the lovely folks at Green People, who thought that their Scent-Free range* might work well for my sensitive, eczema-prone skin. They very kindly sent me over a couple of products to trial, so I've been using these in my routine for around three weeks now.
Green People Scent-Free Products
"Sensitive skin can be caused by an imbalance in your skin's sebum and moisture production. Your skin needs products that restore and strengthen the skin barrier to protect and soothe, providing moisture and reducing irritation. Our neutral products are free from any essential oils and drying alcohol. This silky smooth, deeply hydrating range contains a skin-matched complex of phyto actives to balance and calm. Ideal for sensitive skin and suitable for people with eczema and psoriasis."
Green People Scent Free Shampoo
The Green People Scent-Free Shampoo* has a jelly-like texture and, whilst I was expecting it to be colourless, it's actually a kind of yellowy-brown colour. I've found it's pretty easy to work through my hair and it lathers really well, especially for an SLS-free product. My hair is left feeling thoroughly clean, although I do find I need to follow it with a good conditioner. I've not had any flare-ups of my eczema whilst using the shampoo so I'd definitely agree that it's friendly for sensitive skins.
Green People Scent Free Hand & Body Lotion
The Green People Scent-Free Hand & Body Lotion*, meanwhile, comes in a handy pump bottle which I love, and the lotion itself is white in colour with a fairly runny consistency. It's easy to massage into the skin and sinks in quickly, leaving my skin feeling soothed and hydrated but without any sticky or greasy residue. Again, I've not had any eczema flare-ups whilst using the body lotion, and have found it works well to soothe any dryness or itchiness I may be suffering - particularly after shaving my legs!

The Scent-Free Hand & Body Lotion is priced at £18 for 150ml, whilst the Scent-Free Shampoo is £12.50 for 200ml, and is also available in a travel-friendly 30ml tube for £4; there are quite a few products in the Scent-Free range, so I'd suggest having a browse if you're interested! These products are a little more than I'd usually pay for shampoo or body lotion, however they have lived up to their claims of being suitable for sensitive skins, and I've found a little goes a long way with each of them, so if you struggle to find products which don't irritate your skin I'd say they're worth a shot! Have you ever tried any products from Green People?
Green People Scent-Free Range
[*Products provided for consideration. Post contains affiliate links.]

Thursday, 11 May 2017

New Additions To My Face Mask Stash

It's no secret that I love a good face mask; I try to squeeze one into my routine at least a couple of times per week, choosing my mask depending on how my skin is feeling at the time. Lately my skin has been particularly unhappy and I'm not really sure why - I've been suffering horrendous breakouts all over my face, whereas usually any spots I get are contained to a couple of areas. Whilst annoying, this skin meltdown was the perfect excuse to buy a couple of new masks!

...As if I needed an excuse!
Antipodes & Origins Face Masks
I've had my eye on the Antipodes Aura Manuka Honey Mask (currently on offer at £16.49/75ml) for the longest time; it claims to deeply cleanse the skin and leave it soothed and hydrated, which is pretty much what my skin needs at the moment! The antibacterial action of the Manuka Honey combined with the scent of Vanilla and Mandarin sound just gorgeous, I really can't wait to try this. I'm already a little bit in love with the tube!
New Face Mask Purchases
The Origins Out of Trouble Mask (£25/100ml), meanwhile, was a repurchase; I finished my old tube a few months ago and have been missing it in my routine as it really is brilliant at clearing up breakouts and calming down redness. I find that slapping this on a couple of nights in a row works absolute wonders for my skin and leaves it looking much clearer and generally healthier. It has quite a strong scent which isn't the most pleasant, but it's more than worth it in my book for the outcome. You can check out my full review of this one here.

What are your favourite face masks? Do you have any go-tos for when your skin is having a meltdown?

[Post contains affiliate links.]

Friday, 5 May 2017

Recent Reads

A while ago now I shared my first two reads of 2017, and since I've now finished another two books (bringing me back on track with my target of 12 for the year, hooray!) I thought I'd share my thoughts on the latest additions to my Goodreads 'Read' Shelf!
Recent Reads May 2017
The Outrun | Amy Liptrot | ★★★★★
I'll confess I picked this up purely because I thought the front cover was gorgeous; I know you're not supposed to judge a book by its cover but in this instance, can you blame me!? I honestly didn't even read the blurb so I had no idea what to expect, but I ended up being very pleasantly surprised at how the book unfolded. It's written from the author's perspective, detailing her journey from a life of alcoholism in London, to moving back to her childhood home on the island of Orkney in the Scottish Islands. I found the writing style just beautiful; it's that kind of poetic prose that really speaks to me and I loved reading it. I'll definitely be looking out for more of Amy Liptrot's work.
"We are mirror images, both at the edge of our worlds."

My Son's Not Rainman | John Williams | ★★★★★
This was an impulse order, despite already having a teetering heap of books I've not yet read; I stumbled across John Williams's blog, My Son's Not Rainman, and discovered he'd written a book by the same name. It's the tale of a young boy, referred to throughout the book as The Boy, and his Dad, the narrator. The Boy is autistic, and the story takes the reader on a whistle-stop story of what life is like for the two of them - from the highs of 3-D screenings of Dr Who, to the lows being turned away from school after school. It's a book I found hilarious and heartbreaking in approximately equal measure - it's a life that is so difficult to imagine and, as Williams so rightly points out, it's not a story about autism, it's a story about a boy who happens to have autism, but nonetheless I found it really insightful.
Recent Reads
I'm not sure what to read next but I have a few books on my reading list to choose from... I think I need to go with something fairly easy-going to keep myself on track for my goal! What are you reading at the moment? Have you read either of these?

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Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Hello May!

May. May! It is literally beyond me where this year is going!! I can't believe it's already time for me to share my goals for the month that always feels like the beginning of summer - in spirit, if not in weather! I don't know about you but I'm definitely ready for long, warm evenings, pub beer gardens and flip-flops...
Hello May
Finish reading two books. I struggled with this one last month so I'm hoping to dedicate a little more time to reading this month - if I manage to finish two books by the end of May, I'll be back on track for my goals of twelve books this year... I'm halfway through My Son's Not Rainman by John Williams, which I'm really enjoying, though I'm not sure what to read next. I have a few on my reading list for the year so I may just pick at random!
See friends at least twice. This shouldn't be too hard as my friends are having a housewarming party mid-month so one box is already ticked! I'm really looking forward to seeing their new home and having a good catch-up with everyone.
Get sweet treats back to "treats" rather than "daily snacks". I've gone a bit mad since the end of Lent and have been eating actual ridiculous quantities of chocolate, cake and goodness knows what else. I've noticed my skin has got really bad around the same time, so I have a sneaking suspicion the two are linked... Time to cut back and hopefully make my eating habits a little healthier - starting with taking fruit to work and actually eating it, instead of ignoring it in favour of the office biscuits...
Get out on my bike at least once a week. I'm hoping for some decent weather to make this possible but I'll be happy with an average of once a week, so 4-5 times over the month... They don't have to be hugely long rides, around 15-20 miles is enough for me as that's a good hour to an hour and a half. We've all got to start somewhere, right!?
And finally... less of a goal and more of a hope, really:
Get a place on the Clinical Psychology doctorate programme. I've got my interview in a couple of weeks and I'm really not sure how to feel about it - I wasn't expecting to get any interviews this year as it was my first time applying, so part of me feels like anything additional is just a bonus - but on the other hand, of course, I'd love to be successful! All I can really do though is make sure I'm as prepared as possible and give it my best shot - fingers crossed!!

Aside from my interview and the housewarming party, I'm going to see John Bishop with my Mum towards the end of the month, which I'm really looking forwards to - I've seen him before and he's hilarious, so that should be a good night!
What have you got planned for May? I've love to hear about any goals you're setting yourself for the month!

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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?

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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?

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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?

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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

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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?

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