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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?


Saturday, 11 March 2017

Review | Garnier Micellar Cleansing Gel

I really love Garnier's Oil-Infused Micellar Cleansing Water (it even featured in my recent Ten Under £10 post!), so when I heard that Garnier were launching a new Micellar product, I was all ears - enter the SkinActive Micellar Cleansing Gel. This is a bit different from other micellar products on the market, by virtue of being a gel rather than a liquid. Garnier claim, "Our all-in-one rinse-off gel not only cleanses but also soothes and removes make-up, even on eyes and lips. For the first time, Garnier has integrated Micellar technology in a rinse-off gel wash. A new formula enriched with naturally-derived grape extract and active micelles that capture impurities, sebum and make-up like a magnet."
Garnier Micellar Cleansing Gel Wash
Whilst for a lot of people, the appeal of micellar waters lies in the fact that they don't need rinsing, I've never used them that way - I only ever use micellar water as a pre-cleanse and always follow with a proper cleanser. I figured I'd use this as my morning cleanse, and as my second cleanse in the evening to remove any last traces of the day.
As a straight-up face wash in the mornings, it works okay, but it's nothing special and it doesn't have the added benefits of, say, Una Brennan's SuperFacialist Salicylic Acid Purifying Cleansing Wash which is my favourite for blemish-busting and keeping my skin looking calm. If you're just after a basic, no-frills face wash, this is spot on; if you like your face wash to be a bit more skincare-y, it may fall short. In the evenings, I tried this (once!) as a make-up remover (it was pants) before switching to using it as a second cleanse - so, removing make-up with actual micellar water, then cleansing with an oil, then using this. Again, it worked okay, but nothing spectacular, and it doesn't half sting around the eyes - I'm really not sure how they can claim it's suitable for removing eye make-up!
Garnier Micellar Cleansing Gel is priced at £3.99 for 200ml of product, available from Boots here; it's actually currently on offer at a third off for just £2.66! Personally, I wouldn't buy it again, as I tend to want a little bit more from my face wash than just a basic product - I like the added skincare benefits of my Una Brennan, for example, but if you are after a very simple face wash, this could be for you!

[Post contains affiliate links.]

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Kind Natured Bodycare

Well over a year ago now, I posted about Kind Natured Hair Care - and that post has been one of my most-read posts ever since! When I realised that Kind Natured also have a bodycare line available via Boots in-store and online, I went a little bit OTT flinging products into my basket and ended up with three body washes and a scrub to try...
Kind Natured BodyCare
There are a few fragrance variants available in the body wash, but the Sea Salt & Bergamot is really lovely - it smells super-fresh but soothing at the same time. I've found that the body washes all lather up reasonably well, especially considering they're SLS-free, and leave my skin feeling clean and soft. I tend to use this with my exfoliating gloves for a good ol' scrub in the shower and it ticks all the boxes for me.
The Foaming Sugar Scrub was an interesting concept, as I've never used a scrub that foams before! I absolutely adore this, though - there's plenty of sugar in the foaming base, so it's easy to get a decent exfoliation of your limbs. The sugar doesn't dissolve too quickly, as it can with some scrubs, but it doesn't feel too harsh on my skin - it leaves my skin feeling really smooth, and I imagine if you're a fake tan user, it'd be perfect for prepping your skin. I'm not sure about the "moisturising" claim as I do always use a body lotion after a scrub, but it certainly hasn't stripped or irritated my skin. As an aside, I have no idea what Monoi is, but it smells bloomin' gorgeous!

Kind Natured's Sea Salt & Bergamot Body Wash is priced at £4.99 for 250ml, whilst the Coconut & Monoi Foaming Sugar Scrub is £5.99 for 250g (currently on offer for just £3.99 though!). The products are super affordable and a really great option if you're looking for SLS-free bodycare offerings. I'm now eyeing up the body lotions and hand creams in their range... Have you tried anything from Kind Natured?

[Post contains affiliate links.]

Sunday, 5 March 2017

10 Under £10

Everyone loves a budget beauty gem, am I right or am I right!? I've been having a little think lately about some of my favourite affordable beauty products and thought I'd put together a wee list of the gems you can pick up for a tenner or less!
Ten Beauty Products Under A Tenner
Una Brennan SuperFacialist Salicylic Acid Purifying Cleansing Wash | £7.99/150ml | My all-time favourite facewash; I cannot sing its praises enough! It smells gorgeous, it's super gentle and non-drying on my skin, yet by some form of magic seems to really help keep my skin looking clear.
Nuxe Rêve de Miel Ultra-Nourishing Lip Balm | £8.55/15g | A blogger cliché, to be sure, but it's a cliché for a reason - it really works! I'm not a huge fan of the scent of Nuxe products, but I can kind of overlook it because of how great this is for hydrating dry, chapped lips and leaving them good-as-new overnight.
Toni & Guy Casual Matt Texture Dry Shampoo | £7.49/250ml | I admit it's more than I'd ideally be spending on a dry shampoo but it's my ultimate favourite... No white residue and it actually leaves my hair looking presentable - my scalp is super oily so many dry shampoos fall short, for me.
Garnier SkinActive Oil-Infused Micellar Cleansing Water | £5.99/400ml | This is so gentle on the skin and doesn't sting my eyes, meaning I can use it to remove all my make-up in one go - no faffing for me! You just shake to mix the oil with the water, soak a cotton pad and swipe over the skin. Obviously I only use this as a pre-cleanse, I wouldn't depend on it as my only cleanse.
George Highlight & Define | £3.50/12ml | This is pretty much a perfect dupe for Benefit's High Beam but at a fraction of the price and, in my opinion, with better packaging. It gives a lovely glow to my skin without being overtly sparkly. I love it!
Ten Beauty products Under £10
Sally Hansen Hard As Nails | £4.75/13ml | I'll admit I'm useless at remembering to use this, partially because I rarely get chance to paint my nails anymore, but when I do remember, it gives a lovely glossy finish and makes a great base for nail polish.
MUA Luxe Eyeshadow Palette in 'Paradise' | £8 | This has been my most-used eyeshadow palette since I got it, it's got such beautiful shades in and they wear really well. The price belies the quality, I'd happily pay twice that price for it!
Tea Tree Oil | £1.88/10ml | Tea tree oil is an absolute staple for me, I don't have a favourite brand (this is just a cheapy one off Amazon!) but I love it to just dab onto spots, as I find it really brings the redness and soreness down overnight.
Kind Natured Coconut & Passionflower Body Wash | £4.99/250ml | This smells gorgeous and, being SLS-free, it doesn't irritate my eczema - it just leaves my skin feeling clean and super-soft. Love! I've got a post on Kind Natured's bodycare products so check that out if you'd like to learn more about this brand!
The Body Shop Hemp Hand Protector | £5/30ml | Cheating a little here because the photo shows the big 100ml tube which is actually £11... But you can get a smaller tube for under a tenner so I'm counting it! Nothing else works quite like this to soothe and heal my eczema-prone hands.

Have you tried any of these products? What are your favourite affordable beauty products? I'd love to hear about them!

[Post contains affiliate links.]

Thursday, 2 March 2017

Hello March!

Without thinking too much about the fact that it's March already, how exciting is it that Spring is on its way!? It's been so cold the last few days here in Cumbria but we've had some gorgeous sunshine (and this beautiful sunrise yesterday morning!) which almost makes up for it, and I'm hopeful that things will start to warm up soon! As always, I'm setting myself a few goals for the month...
Hello March
See friends at least twice. Standard monthly goal for me! I don't think I'm a naturally sociable person (I like my bed and my own company too much for that!) but I still think it's important to make the effort to see the people who matter to me.
No chocolate. I gave up chocolate for Lent last year so I know I can do it, but I'm making it harder for myself this year by also cutting back on refined sugar as much as I can - so where last year I replaced chocolate with jelly babies, this year I won't be giving myself that option! I'm expecting to be very grumpy for a couple of weeks whilst I get used to it... But I'm hoping I'll see some benefits in terms of my energy levels, the state of my skin, and maybe even my jiggly belly! My friend is doing it with me (so he says...) so at least I'll have company in my misery.
Read at least one book. I got myself back on track in February for my target of twelve books this year, so I want to keep up the good work in March and add at least another book to my 'Read' list for the year. I'm actually working my way through The Outrun by Amy Liptrot, which I'm really enjoying so far, so fingers crossed I make the time to finish it.
Try going to the gym twice a day. I won't be doing this everyday (I'm not that mad... Yet!) but I've basically reached the conclusion that the only way I can fit in all the workouts I want to, is to exercise twice some days. I'm hoping to be able to fit in two runs, two swims and four gym sessions each week (as well as a rest day!), so two double-workout-days per week should cover it. I'm giving myself this week to recover from the horrible cold I had last week and build back up a bit, but then I'm hoping to start seriously working at this. Ideally I'd like to fit in a bike ride as well but that probably won't be every week...
Interviews! Less of a goal (because I can't do anything about it now!) and more of a hope - I'll find out the middle of this month whether I've got any interviews for the doctorate programs I applied for, so I'm crossing everything that I'll be offered at least one interview!

I've got a week off in the middle of the month with nothing really planned yet, so I'm hoping to fit something fun in there... Any suggestions!? Do you have anything nice planned for March? What are you hoping to achieve this month?

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