Friday, 28 February 2014

Why Neom candles are so much nicer than Diptyque

I was in London at the weekend and I'd tweeted several times expressing my intent to buy a Diptyque candle; I'd seen them on various different blogs - each review raving about how good they were and how wonderful they smelt. I was expecting great things, especially for the £20 price tag for the smallest candle. I walked into the home department of Selfridges and started picking up each candle to see which one was my favourite. I smelt each one several times, but none of them jumped out at me as being an outstanding scent; Feu de Bois was one which I found particularly 'odd' shall we say - why would you want a log fire smell in your house, when you don't have a log fire? Some of them were nice but not '£20 for a small candle' nice, I considered Baies, Pomander and Ambre but then I turned around and realised there was a Neom stand; another candle brand I've been dying to try for ages. 
Neom pride themselves on using only organic and natural ingredients in their candle, whereas it's actually quite difficult to find out what Diptyque put into their candles - which suggests to me that they're synthetic (please correct me if I'm wrong, and point me in the direction of some information about this!). I went around the Neom stand smelling their candles, their fragrances are equally as strong and bold as Diptyque and some of them I really did not like but I finally found one which stood out to me as being the perfect home fragrance for me. The travel candles are £5 cheaper than the small Diptyque candles but they do have a shorter burn time (Diptyque mini candles burn for around 30 hours, Neom travel candles will burn for around 20 hours) so this was a bit of a deal breaker for me - I had to have the Neom one instead.
Neom Serenity Travel Candle £15
I chose 'Serenity' which is vanilla and sandalwood; it's not as overpowering as some of the others I smelled. Vanilla can sometimes be a little overbearing in a candle but the sandalwood seems to tone it down to a gorgeously soft relaxing scent. Neom only make their candles with vegetable wax and pure essential oils which means that they burn without releasing harmful chemicals, toxins or soot. The black ring you usually get round a candle - yep that's due to all the artificial ingredients in a candle, and you're breathing all those artificial toxins too. 
I've burnt mine for 12 hours so far and there has been no sight of any soot or blackening of the glass - it's burnt so cleanly; I've never seen a candle burn so clean! I have my travel candle in my front room which isn't a big room but maybe a little too big for a travel candle as they are more suited to small rooms such as bathrooms. Nevertheless the candle enveloped the room with the beautiful scent of a spicy kind of vanilla. For a small candle it packed a punch in terms of the scent it emitted; it fragranced the room far better than any Yankee Candle I've had.
Don't get me wrong, Neom is an expensive brand and I'm not normally one for spending a fortune on candle; I often think you'd get more enjoyment out of burning £5 notes but with this I have really been converted to organic candles. The essential oils content is so apparent and I absolutely love it. When I've finished this I just know I'll want to buy a 3 wick candle, it's a luxury that I'm going to make sure I save money for!
I do wonder whether some people buy Diptyque because they actually like the candles or whether they buy them just to say they have a Diptyque candle and they can take pretty blog photographs with it - surely people wouldn't be so daft?!
 Have you tried Diptyque or Neom?
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Thursday, 27 February 2014

TRESemmé Platinum Strength Deep Conditioning Treatment

I've haven't used a good hair masque for absolutely ages, I've just been sticking to a simple haircare routine; shampoo, conditioner and a bit of dry shampoo if I've needed it. I asked on twitter if anyone could recommend a good intensive hair treatment, a couple of people suggested the TRESemmé Platinum Strength Hair Masque, given that there was 1/3 off this in Superdrug I thought I'd give it a try. I have blonde hair which is subject to colouring and heat damage so it can start to look damaged and dull very easily, I need something that is going to inject my hair with moisture and restore some life and shine. I've been using Tigi S Factor Serious Conditioner every other wash and then using this TRESemmé one twice a week.

The claim on the bottle is that it could 'visibly repair up to 2 years of damage', but upon looking a the small print this claim is only applicable if you are using the whole system; ie. shampoo, conditioner and treatment. I also find it quite difficult to believe that it can repair severely damaged hair, I would imagine that once your hair is split you cannot repair that... but I could be wrong?

tresemme platinum strength hair mask

My thoughts: After using this for a good 3/4 weeks I have felt a difference in the feel of my hair and how manageable it is. My ends felt very dry when I was just using a regular but by using quite an intense conditioner more frequently (the Tigi S factor one and this one) but they now feel much better and I can see a visible difference the ends of my hair aren't as visibly split and it feel much softer immediately after drying (before, it tended to look very frizzy). My hair is quite thick and using a 50p sized amount on the bottom half of my hair weigh my hair down at all, although I wouldn't recommend using it on your roots because it would be far too heavy I think. I would also air on the side of caution if you have very fine hair as this may be a little too much for your hair.

I do think this is good for a high street hair treatment but I don't think it matches Morocconoil light treatment which I haven't repurchased for a long time due to it being expensive; if you're looking for a nice conditioning treatment at a good price then I'd definitely recommend this TRESemmé one.

Friday, 21 February 2014

Tangle Angel Brush Review

The Tangle Angel and its innovative design make it easier to manage knotty hair keeping it silky smooth and easy to style. Tangle Teezers seem to be the go-to detangling brush among most beauty bloggers but just recently I was kindly sent a new detangling brush, which for me beats Tangle Teezer on lots of points - a lack of awareness of the Tangle Angel has to be the only reason for it not being the favoured detangling brush. Suitable for all hair types, this is not only a detangling brush but it can also be used as a blow drying brush because its bristles are heat resistant (the fact that you couldn't use the tangle teezer with heat was one of its biggest downfalls in my opinion). It comes in five different colours; pink, blue, pearl, silver and black and is possibly the cutest brush design you've ever seen - it reminds me of something that might come with a Barbie doll!

Tangle Angel* £15.99 Tangle Angel Website

What I love about the Tangle Angel:
- It has two places in which you can grip it; on the handle for everyday use and around the wings for a more controlled grip.
- Contoured bristles which detangle the hair on several levels rather than just tackling the first couple of layers.
- Heat resistant bristles mean that you can use it with heat styling tools - this is a massive plus for me because you can just use one brush for all instead of having to switch up half way through.
- Anti-static properties mean that it reduces flyaway hair when brushing.
I've been absolutely loving using this, it detangles really well and I love, love, love the fact that you can use it with heat tools without the bristles becoming mishapen. If you were to buy two separate professional brushes; one for detangling and one for blow drying and styling, you'd be spending at least £20-25 whereas this one is only £15.99 and it does both things. I would recommend this brush 100% to anyone who has hair that is hard to manage or that breaks easily with regular brushing. Tangle Angel also do a similar brush for children called the Tangle Cherub which has all the features of the Angel but in a smaller compact size.
Which brush are you using at the moment?
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Thursday, 20 February 2014

Glam Glow Super-Mud Clearing Treatment review

There's been quite a bit of a pattern on my blog just recently with regard to skincare, I've been trying lots of things to get my skin as clear as it could possibly be; I've addressed active spots & scarring so the last thing on my list is blackheads. The absolute bain of my life, believe me. I have always suffered with blackheads on my nose and chin and they can make applying makeup in those areas an absolute nightmare, I long for a smooth canvas to apply foundation to. 

Glam Glow is one of the more expensive face masks on the market, at £39.99 for a 34g tub it isn't suitable for everyones pocket but I've been dying to try it for ages so I decided to buy a 2.1ml sample sachet which involves a lot less of a financial commitment at around £4 on eBay. Let's face it, almost £40 is a big commitment for something which might not work or you might only use once and never use it again.

Glam Glow Super Mud has been massively hyped up both by bloggers and magazines and it's claim is that it will clear up lots of common skin concerns such as spots, blackheads, visible pores, razor burns and even ingrown hairs. It helps to brighten and even complexion, de-clogs and minimises pores while speeding up the healing process of your skin. A full pot of this should give you 17 applications or 1000 on the spot treatments.

The mask is actually really thin, which isn't what I expect from a clay mask; when I saw how small the sachet was I didn't think it'd cover my nose let alone my whole face. A little goes a long way with this mask though and it's really easy to cover most of your face with very little product. It is really dark in colour and has some little bits in it which feel a bit like a scrub (I believe these 'bits' are tiny pieces of leaf). It dries quite quickly and feels ever so slightly tingly whilst doing so. 

Glam Glow Super-Mud Clearing Treatment uses 'Pore Matrix' technology with Activated-X charcoal which is a carbon which absorbs and attracts toxic mass upto 500 times its volume meaning that it can attract substances from from the toughest areas of your face. It also contains K-17 clay which extracts and holds on to excess sebum (awful word), bacteria and toxins. These two ingredients create the 'Pore Matrix' which shows extraction areas in the darker spots, ready to be washed away with clean, warm water. The look of the mask when it's been on for 15 minutes can be seen below; it looks pretty gross because it highlights my problem area which is my nose and surrounding area but I actually quite like that it does this because it makes me feel like it's actually doing something. Most clay masks just dry up and go really really tight. Although they look it, these areas don't feel wet - they're actually completely dry.

I left this to work its magic for 15-20 minutes and I wiped it away with warm water and a flannel. It comes off incredibly easily; probably the easiest face mask I've ever taken off. It left my skin feeling really smooth even after just one application. My nose wasn't completely smooth; I could still feel some of the rough black heads but for a first application I was really impressed. I applied La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo Plus afterwards and it tingled a little bit, which made me think that my pores were still open from the product extracting the oil from them. 2 days later my nose still feels very smooth which impresses me because usually treatments which seem to work wonders for my nose don't have long lasting effects.

I am so tempted by the full sized tub of this, the only thing stopping me is the price; I should have got it when Beauty Mart had their sale on but I just never thought on... kicking myself now! £40 is just such a big commitment for me, I don't have money trees in my back garden unfortunately!

Have you tried any face masks from Glam Glow?
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Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Heal Gel Face used for acne scarring and redness - review

Last month I posted about the fact that I'd been using Salcura Antiac to help fight blemishes, which helped massively with the persistant breakouts I kept having on my cheeks and on my jawline. It had managed to get rid of the offending blemishes but I was still left with redness and scarring where they had attacked my face. I also had a bit of dryness on my cheeks from the aftermath of spots which I was looking to sort out. 

The much talked about Heal Gel Face is actually an aqueous gel containing the best ingredients to soothe, repair and protect your skin. It's a base layer treatment to help replenish dehydrated skin and restore elasticity; I don't have a problem with my skins elasticity as I am only 23 but I do think my skin is dehydrated. I have tried Hydraluron which is to be used underneath your normal moisturiser but Heal Gel can be used on its own with similar results. It was the fact that this is said to be great for acne scarring and redness that really caught my eye though, and so many bloggers have been raving about it so it must be good, right?

Heal Gel Face* £48.00 Cult Beauty 
My thoughts: I've been using this every single day since the day I received it, morning and night I've been using it in place of my usual moisturiser and before I apply La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo Plus. A pump and a half is enough for my whole face and I make sure that I massage this in properly so that it can get to work without having to 'soak in' first. The formula is so lightweight and non-greasy, as I said you only need a small amount to cover your face and the pump action dispenser means that you needn't waste a drop. After using this for over a month I have seen a noticeable difference in the redness on my cheeks, they look much less angry and I never feel any tightness - which can be a symptom of dehydrated skin. As with most new skincare products, I worry that it'll break me out but I've only had one active spot appear in the time I've been using this and I don't think that Heal Gel is to blame at all. On the whole my face feels a lot smoother and I've found that I feel much more confident without makeup; the redness hasn't completely disappeared but it is well on its way. 
There's no denying that it is an expensive product, and the no-nonsense packaging doesn't infer that it should be priced high end bracket. The development and the ingredients are what warrant the expensive price tag, and it is said to also help a lot with eczema and psoriasis as well as targeting fine lines and wrinkles. I can't speak for these benefits but this has lots of reviews elsewhere from people like Sam and Nic from Pixiwoo who said that Nic had used it on her cesarean scar with very pleasing results! I'm not suggesting that you rush out and splurge on this if your pocket doesn't allow for it but if you do have trouble with acne scarring and dehydrated skin and you can afford this, I would recommend trying it.
Have you tried anything from Heal Gel?
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Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Getting pregnant isn't that easy - My story so far

I wasn't going to write this post, I didn't know whether it was a) appropriate or b) whether anyone would want to read it but after asking using the #lbloggers hashtag the general opinion was that if I was comfortable writing about it then I should, because it could help someone out or make them feel better about their situation. I'm not saying that every woman will experience these things while trying to get pregnant but this is just what has happened to me so far.

I spent a good number of years trying to prevent pregnancy; like many young women I've been on the pill and had the contraceptive injection and I just always imagined that I would be able to get pregnant whenever I wanted, I would just have to stop taking the pill for a couple of months. You hear of women who get pregnant just because they miss one pill in the cycle, or the condom breaks and BAM! they catch on. Getting pregnant is all about 'doing it' at the right time, there are actually only a couple of days in every monthly cycle that a woman is fertile (when she ovulates), so providing everything is in working order and sperm meets egg at the right time, you will get pregnant. 

I took my last contraceptive pill in April 2012, and was 'not trying but not preventing' (which is having sex without protection but not counting cycle days/doing ovulation tests) for a good 6 months until we got married in the October. I then started to look into what I should be doing to start properly trying to get pregnant and after trawling through various websites and forums I bought some ovulation sticks and a thermometer to test when my most fertile time was every month in the hope that we would have sex at the right time. The problem was that my periods were a little hard to keep a track of; the shortest cycle was 27 days and the longest was 38... which makes finding out when you're ovulating even more difficult!

A year passed and nothing so I decided it was time to go to the doctors to see if they could help (generally doctors won't do anything for you unless you have been trying to conceive for around a year). The doctor sent me for some tests and requested that my husband did a semen test. For men, a semen test is pretty much where it ends and my husbands came back fine so it was kind of left down to me... which isn't a great feeling.

The first step in my case was to go and check that I didn't have polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) as I had some of the usual symptoms; adult acne, being overweight, painful, irregular periods and obviously finding it hard to conceive. The way they check for cysts on your ovaries is to do an ultrasound scan, so off I popped to my local hospital for a scan.
Ultrasound Scan Experience

The instructions on the sheet I was give was to make sure I drunk plenty of water one hour before the scan and didn't empty my bladder as a full bladder would show my ovaries a lot clearer. I obviously followed the instructions and the nurse began the scan by scanning my abdomen; she shook her head and said, in a scolding tone 'your bladder isn't anywhere near full enough, you haven't drunk enough water have you', I knew I had, I followed the instructions exactly and explained this to her, she said that she couldn't see anything of my ovaries by scanning my abdomen from the outside and told me only alternative was to do an internal scan. This involved a pretty scary looking probe which would be inserted to allow my ovaries to be viewed from the inside rather than the outside. She made absolutely zero attempt to make me feel at ease about the situation; I'd never had any kind of examination 'down there' so this was quite a big deal for me and her lack of bedside manner really wasn't helping. Nevertheless, I agreed to the internal scan because I knew I would have to make another appointment if I didn't. She inserted the probe and began a scan of my ovaries, this was uncomfortable but not painful and fairly quick. She took a few still shots of what she could see, removed the probe and told me to get dressed. I asked if she could see anything and she replied telling me that she wasn't qualified to interpret the scan results... which is fine but woah was she cold and uncaring about the whole thing, maybe she was having a bad day but I certainly don't think I deserved to be treat in such an unfeeling manner. But it was over and I had to ring my doctor for the results.
Result: Clear; my ovaries didn't have any cysts.

Next I had to have a series of blood tests to determine whether I was ovulating or not; this is done by testing for the luteinizing hormone at the beginning of my cycle and then again towards the end of my cycle. The results should show a higher level of the hormone towards the end of my cycle than at the beginning; this shows that there has been a surge which indicates that I have ovulated. 
Result: Yep, I was ovulating

So now I had to make an appointment with a fertility specialist doctor to determine the next course of action. I went and had a general check up at the hospital, got weighed and all that and was told that I had to lose weight. I knew this, my BMI was way too high (39) and this could be a factor in why I wasn't getting pregnant. By this time I was already going to Slimming World which was a step in the right direction; the doctor didn't dwell on my weight issue for long but she said she wanted me to reduce my BMI to 30 by the time she saw me next (which will be May 2014)... my BMI is currently 34 so I'm doing well :) I had an internal examination and the doctor took several swabs to test for chlamydia and other things which could affect fertility and be quite dangerous if I still had them during the next test she was about to put me in for.
Result: Nope, I didn't have chlamydia

The next test I had to have was a Hysterosalpingogram (HSG), in fact I had it last Thursday, so the experience is really fresh in my mind and it's actually what led me to write this post. When searching on the internet I found such a lack of information about what actually happened to people during this test. You have to ring for an appointment for this on the first day of your period and they will aim to give you an appointment within the next 12 days as this test should be done before ovulation rather than after. To give a brief description of why they perform this test; it's to check whether you have any blockages in your fallopian tubes or any other abnormalities in that area by injecting dye into them and taking x-ray pictures.
HSG Experience

I had to go a bit further afield for this test because my local hospital doesn't do it, so off I popped in the car feeling pretty apprehensive about the whole thing... the fear of the unknown I guess! I got to the X-ray department and waited, reminding my husband every 5 minutes of how much I was crapping myself about it. I was then taken into another area where I was asked by a very nice, soft spoken lady to wee into a cardboard hat and gown up leaving my trousers and knickers off. I was comforted somewhat by how the lovely lady was with me, she was so nice. I wasn't allowed to take my husband in with me which made me more nervous but when I saw the size of the room and what was in it I realised why. I was then led into the x-ray room and took a seat while they did a pregnancy test (injecting dye into a pregnant womans uterus obviously isn't a great idea). There were 5 women in the room all at once (2 nurses, 1 radiographer and 2 doctors; one of which I think was a student) which did make it a little crowded and made me feel a bit on edge but the fact that 3 out of the 5 were reeeeally nice made the experience a little more bearable. 

Once the pregnancy test came back negative I was asked to lay on the bed under the x-ray machine with my bum on one pillow and my head on another. The whole time they 2 nurses and the radiographer were talking to me and trying to keep my mind occupied. The radiographer explained that when they were about to inject the dye they would ask a second male radiographer to go to the control room corner, he wouldn't however be able to see anything (not that I was bothered, I figure that in hospitals you pick your dignity up when you walk out of the door!). They brought the x-ray machine down to my abdomen and the doctor asked me to part my legs. She shoved the speculum in, and when I say shoved, that is what I mean. It didn't hurt but it just took me by surprise, I expected to at least be told what they were going to do! Then I felt something cold and one of the nurses said right we're going to insert the tube for the dye in now; this is the part I'd watched on YouTube, they insert the tube and then inflate a small balloon inside the uterus (presumably to stop the dye just flowing straight out). Well when they did this my uterus started cramping and I felt the one of the worst pains I think I have ever felt; it was like a really really really bad period pain. I screamed and said 'OW OW OW that is really really hurting' and was almost in tears. One of the nurses said grab my hand and squeeze it as tight as you want, and I really needed to. For me it was the kind of pain which makes you want to writhe around but obviously I just had to lay there and take it. The radiographer then called the male radiographer in and they injected the dye; this felt like hot liquid coursing through my insides, it wasn't as painful as the initial insertion of the tube but it was still bad enough to be breathing heavily and getting teary. The nurses tried to turn my attention to the screen as they took x-ray pictures of my uterus and fallopian tubes but I only managed to get a quick look; I think I could see the dye running freely out of one fallopian tube but I didn't look at the other side so I'm not sure about that. 
I just started to get hot and really quite fed up with the situation when one of the nurses said right that's it all done and they pulled the tube out, which was pretty painless and hat was it the pain was gone. I was told to lay on the bed and move up so my legs weren't dangling over the edge and they asked me if I wanted a glass of water - I didn't I just wanted to get up and out. One of the nurses went and got me a sanitary towel which was like having a brick between my legs because she explained that the dye would run out of me and I could have some slight spotting afterwards. Both nurses continued to be really nice, honestly they couldn't have been nicer, they were both saying that I needed to rest for the remainder of the day and they encouraged me to milk it with my husband for as long as possible. I waddled through to the changing room with the pad between my legs and got changed, the nurse popped her head through the door and asked if I was ok and said 'good luck' which I thought was really nice. I didn't catch their names but if I did I would be writing a letter commending the pair of them! 
Once out of the changing room I found Jason, I was so relieved that it was all over that we got out into the corridor and I just burst into tears. I felt like I'd had a really traumatic experience, I didn't expect pain like that nor had I ever experience it before. I was given 2 types of antibiotic to help prevent infection and a course of Diclofenac which is an anti-inflammatory painkiller to help with the pain. I didn't actually think I was in pain until I got to the pharmacy, well the cramping started again and I must have looked like I was in labour or something (oh the irony); I was puffing and panting and doubling over with pain for about 10 minutes then all of a sudden it just stopped even without pain relief, which I thought was a bit odd but I was so glad of the let up.Since then I've had a little bit of cramping and a tiny bit of spotting but nothing major; they say if you get heavy bleeding then there's something not right and you need to see a doctor. 
Results: All clear...

Insider tip: Don't buy expensive pregnancy tests off the high street when you're trying for a baby, you go through so many of them that it would cost you an absolute fortune. I buy mine from eBay, they are like the ones that they use in hospitals; it's just a stick which you dip in your wee rather than them having all the unnecessary plastic around them! These are only £2.39 and they are really sensitive ones, meaning you could technically test before your period is due. 

So that's as far as I have come in my quest to get pregnant so far, I next see the fertility doctor in May 2014 so we'll see the next plan of action then. Since first seeing my GP, my periods seem to have regulated a little more, I've have 2 that have been bang on time recently which really ups my confidence. I see it as my body thanking me for losing some weight by letting my cycles return back to normal thus making it easier for me to chart when I'm ovulating. So we're just going to carry on as we have been for the past however many months and hopefully I won't need to see the doctor again in May. 

If you have reached the end of this post then well done! It was a lengthy one but I wanted to make sure that I didn't omit any important details that might make someone else more aware or help them in some way. I don't want to scare anyone with my experiences, I'm not saying that every nurse is as rude as the one who did my internal scan, or that every HSG is as painful as mine was but I think it's SO important to be prepared for example I might have taken a painkiller before my HSG to take the edge off. If I have made one person feel less alone in their struggle to get pregnant then this post was so worth while; I know when you're trying everyone around you seems to be shelling babies like peas which makes the fact that you don't have one when you really want one all the more frustrating and sometimes upsetting. 

If any of you ever would like to just talk about your experiences, please email me, I will be more than happy to lend a listening ear and share a friendly word!

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Monday, 17 February 2014

Rimmel Pink Rose Blush

blush and brush

rimmel pink rose blush

If you read my haul post the other day you will have seen that I got a Rimmel blush for the bargain price of  £2.50 (usually £3.99), recently I've been more of a bronzer kind of person but I thought I'd give this blush a try because it looked like a really gorgeous rose gold blush. The first thing that strikes me is how small the blush actually is, you can see that the Real Techniques blush brush is actually bigger than the pan itself which is a little weird because I'm used to being able to swish the brush in the product whereas with this you have to kind of swirl it on the spot to load the brush. The product itself has a Union Jack etched onto it, I'm a sucker for any kind of little details so I love that. It's the first time I think I've ever used a high street blush since I was very young so I was looking forward to seeing what Rimmel had to offer.

My thoughts: It's surprisingly soft and pigmented considering it's a high street blush, and just as I imagined it's a really nice rose gold tone. I'm not one for barbie pink blush so I really like this, it's perfect for everyday use because it just gives a flush of colour on the cheeks; it's got a slight shimmer to it but nothing too much. I'm not sure it's totally brought me away from using bronzer but if you're looking for a new blusher and you don't want to spend a fortune then I'd definitely consider Rimmel. High street brands aren't often talked about when it comes to blushes, I think we tend to believe that they can't be any good if they cost less than £15.

Do you have a favourite high street blush?

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Sunday, 16 February 2014

Lush Handy Gurugu Hand Cream Review

So for Christmas my step-sister, Shikha, asked what I would like for Christmas, I always struggle to think off the top of my head what I would actually like so I just said 'get me anything from Lush' which I think is a pretty safe bet no matter who's asking! You could literally buy me anything from Lush and I would love it I think. One of the things she bought me was a tub of 'Handy Gurugu' hand cream; Lush is heavily featured on lots of beauty blogs but it's usually bath products or face masks, I don't think I've ever seen a Lush hand cream reviewed on any of the blogs I read - so here we go.

lush handy gurugu

lush handy gurugu

Lush customers had been crying out for a more intense hand cream, and this is what they came up with; it's a 'powerful super moisturiser for extra dry hands'. My hands aren't excessively dry but they have suffered a little this winter so I've been using hand cream a lot more than previous years. The product is incredibly thick for a hand cream - it's a good job it's in a tub because I do not think this bad boy would be in a position to be squeezed out of a tube. It does not move in the pot at all, it looks solid and you have to kind of scoop a bit off the top with your finger to use it. It contains a blend of creamy nut butters, chamomile and evening primrose oil to provide instant relief to dry, sore and irritated hands. 

I've been using this after I have washed my hands or had my hands wet in the kitchen sink and I really love it. Despite the fact that it looks really thick in the tub, it melts into your hands effortlessly and leaves them feeling really soft and nourished and the smell isn't at all overpowering, I think it's actually quite comforting. If you have extra dry hands then a good idea would be to apply an extra thick layer before you go to bed and wears some sleep gloves; I would imagine this could work wonders! There's 100g in the pot, I've been using it over a month and barely made a dent in it so although it looks quite small tub, a little goes a long way! The only thing I don't like about it is the fact that it's in a pot, which is why I only use it when I've washed my hands; using it on the go could mean you're dipping your fingers in it and leaving it less than hygienic... 

Overall I would recommend this to anyone with very dry hands, I usually buy my Dad and my Nana (who both get dry, sore hands) a tube of Body Shop Hemp hand cream but I think this would be a nice little change for them. At over £7 a tub it's not cheap but I believe if something works, paying a little extra won't hurt.

Have you tried a Lush hand cream?

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Saturday, 15 February 2014

Tigi S Factor Serious Lustre Nourishment Set

If you've been reading my blog for a good while, you'll know that I'm a bit of a haircare junkie; always looking for the next big thing to give me silky smooth, shiny locks. Blonde hair has to be the worst hair colour to try and get a shine on but over the past 3 years of being blonde it has become my mission. I've tried lots of different shampoos, some costing a fortune, others costing the measly sum of £1... and I have to admit that haircare is probably my favourite thing to put to the test. 

Recently I was sent the 'Serious Lustre' set by Tigi S Factor which contains two products; a 'Serious Conditioner' and a 'Smoothing Lusterizer' both packaged together in a cute little white bag (gotta love a bag that I can cram a load of products in reuse). This is the ultimate duo to fight frizz and rescue dry and damaged hair... I use heat styling on my hair pretty much every day so you could say that the ends of my hair are a tad dry and damaged; the amount of hair which falls out on a daily basis is quite alarming to be honest.

tigi s factor serious lustre set

tigi s factor
Tigi S Factor "Serious" Conditioner
First of all, I love intensive conditioners; there's no better feeling than washing your hair and popping a treatment on let it work its magic. The S factor "serious" conditioner contains sunflower seed oil to give your hair the injection of moisture it needs to get it looking shiny and healthy
My thoughts: I like how this dispenses out of the tube, it comes out of a long tapered end which means that you get just the right amount of product out without wasting any. The conditioner is really thick and creamy, I use it once every other wash on the bottom half of my hair and after about a week of use I started to be able to see a difference. I leave it on for between 3 and 5 minutes when I apply it and it leaves my hair really manageable to style and it doesn't seem to break as easily.

Tigi S Factor Smoothing Lusterizer

This is to be used on either wet or dry hair in place of a serum and is packed with cyclomethicone to target and eliminate frizz from root to tip. 
My thoughts: The main thing I absolutely love about this is the smell, it smells exactly like strawberries and cream... it's sooo nice! I use this on my hair both when it's wet and I find that using a 5p sized amount is perfect. I still prefer my frizz ease serum for when my hair is dry but using this on wet hair has made my hair really soft, shiny and manageable... also how cool is the shape of the bottle?!

If you're looking for a set to 'rescue' damaged hair then I'd definitely look into this because not only do the products work, they also work out to be a bargain in this gift set because if you buy them individually from the Tigi S Factor range it would cost double the price of this gift set. The individual products are bigger but I think if you're looking to try something from the range this is ideal, these work out at just over £11 each which I think is very reasonable for luxury hair products!
What are your favourite hair treatments?
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Thursday, 13 February 2014

Rimmel Mini Haul & ASOS Discount Code

If you follow me on Twitter you might have seen me tweet about ASOS and their reduced Rimmel products, I went on to find that lots of their Rimmel stock was reduced by at least a couple of pounds which makes quite a difference considering their full price is very affordable. I ordered three things last night at 7pm and because I paid for ASOS premier they were with me by 2pm today... how ace is that?! 

rimmel products

Rimmel Lasting Finish Soft Colour Mono Blush in 'Pink Rose' £3.99 £2.50

Who doesn't need a rose gold blush in their collection? At £2.50 you really can't complain either, the pan is very small I think but when you consider how long it takes you to get through bigger blushes (such as NARS), does it really matter? This is really nicely pigmented and a gorgeous, I might even do a full review! 

Rimmel Stay Matte Pressed Powder in 'Silky Beige' £3.99 £2.50

As you probably already know, this product pretty much holds 'holy grail' status for me, I've posted about it numerous times and I stand by the fact that Rimmel Stay Matte is one of the best value pressed powders on the high street so it made sense to buy one when it was cheap even though I have lots left in my current pan.

Rimmel Professional Eyebrow Pencil in 'Hazel' £2.99 £2.00

I seem to have misplaced my MAC lingering brow pencil so I thought I'd have a dabble in the high street. Upon first impressions this isn't a patch on the MAC one because it's not anywhere near as soft but the pigmentation is ok so I'm going to give it a go for a while instead of Benefit Brow-zings

I'm still browsing the ASOS website as I type this because I'm tempted to buy more; last night the discount code wasn't active so I'm thinking that another 15% off justifies some more purchases. The discount code is FINAL15 for 15% off (excludes certain brands) so get shopping!!

Let me know if you buy anything!

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The Blogger made me do it tag

This has been sat in my 'drafts' for quite a while now, I did it instantly when I saw it on Sailor Jennie's blog. I actually really like doing tags, I don't know why I don't do them more often! It was originally made by Daniella at Famous in Japan, isn't she clever?!

Who are your most influential bloggers? Who are the ones that you really rely on for reviews and swatches? 
I find it really difficult to pin the ‘most influential blogger’ title on one individual, because I rely on different people for different things. I would say that when it comes to skincare I rely quite heavily on Caroline Hirons’ blog, she’s a fountain of skincare knowledge. When it comes to makeup I will usually go to The Sunday Girl for shade swatches and Bamboozle Beauty Blog for foundation recommendations, because we’re quite similar in skin type.

 Do you buy a product solely as a result of one review from a favourite blog, or do you look for more reviews from others?
I generally look for reviews from others, I’m not much of an impulse buyer anymore because I simply can’t afford to. Having said that, if I saw a product which dramatically reduced the appearance of acne I would be on it so quick! And come to think of it I have bought some products just because Caroline Hirons told me to....

What is your favourite item that you have ever bought as a consequence of blogs? 
It has to be the Urban Decay Naked palette; one of my first big splurgy buys and I’ve never looked back, well I say I never looked back; I have actually bought it twice because my dog chewed my first one when he was a puppy!

urban decay naked palette

What is your least favourite item that you have ever bought as a consequence of blogs? 
Probably MAC MSF in Soft and Gentle, I really want it to work for me but I just don’t get the use out of it that I thought I would. I keep saying I'm going to try again with it but I just keep forgetting it's there!

 Name 5 products you have bought recently as a result of blogs?
YSL Shocking Mascara – overrated in my opinion.
Becca products from Fragrance Direct – if it hadn’t have been for blogs I wouldn’t have known about these bargains.
GHD Hair brush – I didn’t technically buy this, my dad bought me it for my birthday but I asked for it because I’d seen it so many times on different blogs.
Viva La Juicy Perfume – Again, this was a Christmas present but I asked for it because I’d seen it on Sprinkle of Glitter.
Maybelline Brow Drama – Actually on recommendations from Instagram (I would imagine a lot of my followers are bloggers) and I absolutely love it, I use it every single day.

 Have you ever given into a blogger hype? If so, which hype?
I fell for a lot when I first started blogging, now not so much, I now tend to read into more reviews etc. but the hyped products I’ve fallen for include: Caudalie Beauty Elixir, MUFE HD Foundation, Revlon Lip Butters, Maybelline Baby Lips, Benefit Porefessional…

revlon lip balms

Have you ever avoided a blogger hype? If so, which hype?
The Urban Decay Naked 2,3 and Basics palette and I’m sooo proud of myself for this (although admittedly, I keep thinking about buying the Naked 3). Also never bothered with a Clarisonic, even though I umm-ed and ahh-ed for absolutely ages, I couldn’t justify the price.

Is everything you buy based on blogger reviews or are there some items you buy without checking out a review? 
I sometimes buy stuff if I like the look of it, but this usually only applies to high street stuff, you won’t often find me splurging on something I haven’t properly researched first.

I tag you all to do this, I really enjoyed doing it… please let me know in the comments below if you decide to do it.
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Wednesday, 12 February 2014

My Body Butter Collection

Is it just me or do you seem to get lots of body butters at Christmas time? They seem to be in so many of the lovely gift sets I receive and before I know it I've got a massive oversupply of body butters! I thought I'd share my little collection with you today and tell you a little bit about each.
body butter stack
Treacle Moon 'Her Mango Thoughts' - I actually did a full review of this around this time last year, I was raving about how much I loved using it, this is my second tub as I grabbed it when they were on offer in Tesco. To me it smells just like Lilt and it even though it's really thick it absorbs really quickly into my skin leaving it feeling lovely!
Caudalie Vine Body Butter - This is the most luxurious of the 4 body butters, for me it's ideal as an after sun product because it relieves tight feeling skin, it's lightly perfumed and packed full of grape and shea butter... I think the packaging is also really nice, simple but pretty.
Ted Baker Body Souffle - The largest of the 4 tubs, this one holds 300ml of product and it's full to the brim. It's the thinnest in consistency of the 4 because it's a 'souffle' but seems to leave a bit more of a greasy residue than the others. This tub will last absolutely ages though so 
Champneys Skin Comforting Body Butter - A 300ml pot of this is only £5 at the moment in Boots so if you're in the market for a body butter and you can find one in store, I'd highly recommend this one for the money. It has more of a mature scent but one that reminds me of being in a spa; it's more of a powdery scent rather than a perfumed or fruity scent. It's quite a thin consistency for a body butter but I find that it's perfect for melting into your skin after a hot bath/shower. 
So I suppose you could say that I've currently got enough body butters to moisturise a small army, but who doesn't like a bit of choice?! I actually can't believe that none of these are from the Body Shop, when I think 'Body Butter' I automatically think of that brand but for some reason I don't actually own any!
Do you have a favourite body butter?
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Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Balancing your blog and your work/personal life

Tonights #FBLchat on twitter was all about striking that balance between working/education and blogging, for the majority of people blogging is a hobby and a secondary income (if generating any income at all) so it's a popular topic of conversation between bloggers who are struggling to find the time to work and blog and have a little bit of a life aswell. In an ideal world we'd all like to be able to make a living from our blogs because we love it so much but for those times when you still have to go to work/school/college/uni... here are a few tips:
to do list 1. Schedule - I know many of you do this already but for me it has been the key to blogging for the past couple of years, I will usually write posts really late at night when I have time but I don't think posting them at 11pm is the best idea because the vast majority of my audience will be in bed and by the time morning comes my post will have been pushed down most peoples feeds and my post might be missed or forgotten about. If you use Blogger the option to schedule is on the right hand side of the page, you can set a date and a time for your post to go live; I usually post mine at 10am on whichever day I choose but you might have a time in mind when you think it will be seen by the most people... maybe 7.30pm when people have settled down to chill out?

2. Choose specific times/days to post - I think this strategy is actually more popular in Youtubers; you tend to find a lot of YouTube personalities will pick a particular day to post so they know exactly where they are in terms of what they need to do and their audience know when to expect a video. For example Jenna Marbles usually posts on a Wednesday and although she might do the odd video in between, her readers know to expect a video every week on that one day. If you really do struggle to produce content more than once a week then this would be a great idea for you. 
3. Brainstorm - Whenever an idea for a blog post comes into your head make a note of it, doesn't matter where, just write it down so you don't sit down to blog and think 'ohh I had such a good idea but I forgot what it was'. I usually come up with ideas right before I go to sleep so I just write them in the notes section of my phone.
4. Blog in bulk - if you find that you have an afternoon free try and write lots of blog posts all at once, then all you need to do is find time to take photographs... the same goes for photographs, if you have free time and there's some really good natural light coming into your house then get your camera out and get snapping away! You'll be so glad of the photos you've taken when you're stuck for time and natural daylight. 
Word of warning - when I say 'blog in bulk' I don't mean write lots of meaningless posts with a few words and a picture, your readers will notice when you can't really be bothered to write and I always say quality over quantity! 

5. Stay active on social media - Even if you're not writing blog posts, let your readers know that you're still alive and kicking, try not to leave your Twitter, Instagram and Facebook dormant even if you can't find the time to write a blog post because people will still love to talk to you and see your face on the 'blogging scene'.
6. Don't stress - I know this can be easier said than done but don't let your blog stress you out, if you can't post then you simply cannot post, don't let it get you down or make you unhappy because a hobby is not worth that. I know lots of you are keen for your blog to succeed but you must keep it as something you enjoy, don't let it become a chore because something you once loved will become something you loath and all your hard work could go to waste.
7. Ask for guest posters - If you're going through a particularly busy period in your life then it might be an idea to ask people to guest post for you, even if you just have one once a week it will create content and also help your fellow bloggers get a bit of exposure. Guest posts are usually reserved for when bloggers are on holiday but there's no rule to say you can't do them anytime you want!

Do you find it difficult to balance your blog and your work/personal life?
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Slimming World Journey Update

So I've been doing the Slimming World plan since the end of September 2013 and I feel like I have come so far since then so I thought I'd write a little blog post to update you on my progress and to show you some of the things that I love to eat and STILL lose weight! I'm now in week 22 and feeling the benefits of losing weight in so many ways, I knew I was ready for it and I knew I could get my head into the Slimming World plan because it's so easy. 
So far I have lost 2 stone 11.5 pounds... in the last 22 weeks there have only been 2 occasions where I have gained weight; my birthday week which I put 2lb on and last week when I put on 0.5lb. I don't think that's bad going at all, I've had a few maintains but overall my average weightloss per week has been 2lb. It doesn't feel like I've been on Slimming World for nearly half a year, and I think that's because it's not a drag, it's not a total pain to be doing. You can still live your life and lose weight at the same time. I'm never hungry and I mean NEVER, I eat properly and my plate is always full of food. I even have chocolate.
Here are a few of my favourite things to eat...
slimming world sausage and mash
 Sausage and Mash - Using Tesco Healthy Living cumberland sausages (1 syn each) and Bisto beef gravy (1.5 syns for 100ml). 

slimming world ocean salad
 Huge Ocean Salad, couple of syns in the extra light mayo but mixed that with tomato puree (free) to give me a very low syn seafood sauce.

slimming world spaghetti bolognese
 Spaghetti bolognese made with extra lean mince and a jar of Dolmio (half a jar is 5.5 syns). So easy and so delicious; I don't like the spag bols made using SW recipes so I'm more than willing to use some syns on this.

slimming world chicken kiev
 These chicken breasts are packed with garlic in the middle which is absolutely gorgeous and feels so naughty... but it's not! They're from Iceland's new 'Posh Grub' range and they're 2.5 syns for both breasts! Served with actifry chips (used fry light instead of oil) and a big salad.

slimming world stew
Who doesn't love a big bowl of stew in this horrible weather, I can eat this until it comes out of my ears because it's complete free as I used a stock pot instead of gravy granules and it was absolutely beautiful. Packed with superfree foods and really comforting.

cadburys chocolate
Here we have 10 syns worth of chocolate, some Cadbury Bubbles bar and some Cadbury Caramel. It might not seem like much but if you really enjoy chocolate it's well worth the syns, I've learnt that chocolate is not for chewing it's for savouring!

reeses peanut butter cups
 My all time favourite - Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, these are 3 syns per cup and worth every single syn in my opinion!

slimming world chicken jalfrezi
Finally when I'm really craving a takeaway (which isn't a good idea if you want to stay within your syns for the day) I go to Iceland and pick up one of these Chicken Jalfrezi frozen ready meals, it doesn't come with rice it's just the curry but they're only £1.50 and it's 3.5 syns of pure luxury when you haven't eaten a curry for ages! You can make curries using Slimming World recipes but I find these are quite complicated and I don't always have time for that!
So there were are these are a few of things I eat, and I've still lost almost 3 stone!! I think I've decided that my ultimate goal is 5 stone so I've got just over 2 to go... Hopefully I'll have lost at least another stone before I go to Florida in May as I expect some serious damage will be done during those 2 weeks!!
Are any of you following a healthy eating plan?
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Beauty releases I'm excited about...

I haven't been 'excited' about any beauty releases for quite a while now but there are a few things which have caught my eye recently and I thought I'd share them with you as I figured you might not have heard about them.
new beauty releases
MAC Maleficent Collection (due for release in the US May 2014)
I completely missed the MAC Villainous Villains collection which was released in 2010 with the amazing Disney cartoon print packaging so when I heard that they were releasing some 'Maleficent' pieces to accompany the upcoming film starring Angelina Jolie. There's not much information about it at this time but I can imagine that some of the pieces will be gorgeous... if I can find an exact date of release for this and I'm in America I will be dragging my husband to a store to get some because I reckon it'll sell out in no time!
OPI Glitter Off nail base (due for release March/April 2014)
Like a lot of people, I love the look of glitter polish but getting it off your nails is an absolute pain, it takes a lot of soaking and rubbing to get it off properly and sometimes when I'm applying nail polish I just aren't ready for that removal commitment. OPI are bringing out a base which allows you to paint on top of it with glitter polish and just peel it right off when you're doing, leaving a lovely clean nail ready for whatever other colours you want to throw at it. I daresay there's already a base which allows you to peel off glitter nail polish but I haven't found it yet so I'm very excited about this!
Are there any upcoming beauty releases that you're excited about?
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Monday, 10 February 2014

Win Your Valentines Wish List from Links of London

I saw this little competition on the Links of London website to win £1000 worth of Links of London jewellery, to enter all you need to do is create a blog post or a Pinterest board with your Valentines wishlist, made up of pieces from Links of London up to the value of £1000. I've chosen three things that I'd really like to receive this Valentines Day (in my dreams... obviously).
links of london valentines wishlist
Mayfair Black Crystal Watch £325
I've wanted a really nice watch for long enough, the past two Christmases have seen me 'umm' and 'ahh' about several different rose gold watches. I love this one by Links of London; the black strap, large face and gorgeous rose gold and crystal detailing make it perfect for both day and night time wear. 
Entwine Ring £250
I only own two rings: my engagement and wedding ring. I'd really love a nice ring for my right hand because it's looking a bit bare and unloved. I love the design of this cocktail ring, the white sapphire stones give it a perfect twinkle to wear to any occasion.
Leather Stackable Jewellery Box £120
I don't actually own a jewellery box, there I said it... all my gorgeous jewellery is left to fend for itself around the house which won't do for much longer! Who knew Links of London did jewellery boxes... well I didn't but this cream leather one would look amazing on my new dressing table.
So there we have, my Links of London Valentines wishlist, I'm just going to go and sit with my fingers crossed that I win this amazing prize to put my bare wrist, right hand and neglected jewellery out of their misery!
This competition is open to the general public; for more information follow this link
Have you seen anything you fancy from Links of London? Please link me if you take part in this competition!
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Sunday, 9 February 2014

Discover a new blogger/youtuber #1

I don't do this anywhere near as much as I should do but just recently I've discovered some real gems in the blogging/youtube world and I thought I'd share them with you...

Liza is a relatable glamour-puss, she's gorgeously pretty and does some of the most amazing makeup looks. She has one blog to share her fashion and beauty loves; Glam Beautys and a separate blog Glam Bambini to share her escapades with her baby boy, Vinny, among other lifey bits and pieces. She always looks flawless and also does some great videos over on her YouTube channel.

Some of you will probably be thinking 'what?! you've only just heard of Hannah Maggs' ... yep I have only just discovered her blog and youtube channel. I passed about 2 hours last night watching different videos on her YouTube channel and I can honestly say I think she's a really lovely inspirational woman. She takes her readers through her turbulent times in Draw My Life (tissues at the ready) and shares some of the 'highlights' of the birth of her baby boy Grayson in her Birthing Video. Hannah is also a make up artist, she shares all her makeup tips, tricks and reviews on her blog. She seems so down to earth, so lovely, so my kind of lady.

Katie seems like one of the most down to earth bloggers ever, and she's a fellow Yorkshire girl which I also love about her. She's got gorgeously pastel pink hair and a lipstick collection to die for, she's sure to get you hooked on her YouTube channel and her Blog. One of my favourite posts by Katie was about her struggle with weightloss, being overweight for most of my life I find it quite 'comforting' (if that's the word to use), that there are other ladies who share my problem.

I'll be honest with you and say that I don't follow that many 'mainstream' fashion blogs, purely because a lot of the clothes featured aren't available in my size (I pray for the day I can get back into a 14, seriously) but Claire's posts never fail to catch my eye when they pop up on my dashboard, I always end up clicking for a little look and I will very often comment. The outfits she puts together are amazing, they are always so flattering but yet they look so effortless; the black jumpsuit in her latest post... how beautiful!!? She also does a weekly snapshot post which I absolutely love and read every single time it pops up in my feed. 

This post has literally taken me about 2/3 weeks to write, I read so many blogs that it really is difficult to try and narrow it down to a few to feature in a post like this. I have full intentions of making this at least a monthly post, so you never know, your blog could be up here next :)

Tell me... which are your favourite blogs/vlogs?

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