Sunday, 20 August 2017

Vienna | My Travel Make-Up Bag

Today is actually my last day in Vienna - we're flying back tonight! - but even so, I thought I'd share a peek at what I packed in my make-up bag for our week away. A week is long enough that I'd like to have a couple of options, and since we travelled with checked luggage I didn't have the restrictions of trying to squeeze everything into a minuscule plastic bag for hand luggage - hurrah!
Holiday Makeup
Given that my skin has been relatively good recently (touch wood!) I'm hoping that I'll mostly be able to get away with a tinted moisturiser rather than a full foundation - although I have brought both just in case, in the shape of Origins VitaZing Tinted Moisturiser and L'Oreal Infallible Pro-Matte Foundation (US Version), along with George's Super Boost Concealer for any blemishes that do pop up.
The weather is meant to be nice, which means I'll need a good setting powder to keep my make-up in place and keep my skin matte - I've been using Kryolan's Anti-Shine Powder recently and, applied with a dampened beauty blender (I'm using one from EcoTools), it's pretty bloomin' good! For blusher, I've gone for my old favourite MAC Mineralize Skinfinish in 'Stereo Rose', which is like a blusher and highlight combined. I've also got a liquid highlight (NARS Orgasm Illuminator), and the blusher in my Tarte 'Be Your Own Tarte-ist' palette, so I've got a couple of options for my cheeks. I've chucked in L'Oreal's Infallible Fixing Mist, which I don't love but am trying to use up.
For brows I've kept it simple with my I ♥ Makeup Brow Kit, and my almost-empty Benefit's Gimme Brow to set, as well as my trusty Tweezerman tweezers for keeping things neat and tidy. In addition to the six shadows in the Tarte palette, I've got my Essence My Must-Haves palette, and Soap & Glory's Thick & Fast HD Collagen Mascara, which gives me a few options for eye make-up. I've then thrown in the Rodial lip crayon from this month's Glossybox for good measure, although I don't wear a lot of lip products - it's nice to have the option if I feel like being fancy!

I think I did pretty well at packing a streamlined make-up bag which gives me a few options without carting a million products along with me - although I'm sure my boyfriend will still think I've brought too much... How do you decide which products to take on holiday with you? Does this look like a lot for one week, or would you be taking more?

xo
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Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Ten DIY Beauty Products*

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

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

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

Glossybox August 2017 | Girls Just Wanna Have Sun

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

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

xo
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Thursday, 10 August 2017

skinChemists Moisturisers*

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

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

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

Feelunique Treats

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

xo
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Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Hello August!

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

xo
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