Thursday, 27 November 2014

Christmas Gift Idea #2 - Let's get personal + Discount code

If you’re looking for something a little bit different for someone this year then a personalised gift would be the perfect kind of present! Among lots of other Christmas gift ideas, Toxic Fox have a brilliant selection of personalised gifts for everyone and I have a couple of ideas to share with you today and there's a little discount code at the bottom of the post if something catches your eye...

Clairabella Bags were made famous a couple of years ago by the stars of TOWIE and other celebrities and they remain as popular as ever. There are lots of Claireabella products which can be personalised but the large jute bags are probably the most well known. You can have your name or nickname on the side of the bag along with a character of your choice… using the simple to use customisation process you can choose the eye colour, hair colour and style, outfit and skin colour of your character which will be hand painted making every single bag totally unique in their own way. 

You could use this bag for so many things whether it's school, university or work, on the beach or days out shopping and there's no mistaking it's yours because it's personalised with your name on it! It's big enough to fit everything in it at 40cm wide and it's comfortable to hold either in your hand or on your arm with the rounded handles. It's cute, functional and personalised... what more could you want in a present? Don't forget to order as soon as possible when it comes to personalised gifts because they do take a little longer than regular gifts to be despatched. 

If you're looking for something which could literally be for anyone; male or female, young or old then a Typography of Love Frame would be a great idea. Basically you choose 9 words associated with that person or family which are then arranged in a shape to create a framed print which represents the recipient perfectly! I chose to use our family name and then added 9 words which are special to us and I think it looks fab on our living room wall. So if there's someone who you find really difficult to buy for then I reckon they'd really appreciate something like this; again it's totally unique and they definitely won't have one exactly like you buy them!

Even if these don't tickle your fancy, Toxic Fox have so much more to offer whether it's personalised gifts or novelty stocking fillers. They've made it so simple with their Christmas Gift Finder is there to help you find something perfect for anyone and it's so easy to use; you just say who it's for, what kinds of things they love and what your budget is and it'll bring up suggestions for you!

And to make your Christmas spending money go a little further, I have a 10% off discount code for the Toxic Fox website: just enter TFBlog at the checkout!

Subscribe: Blog Lovin' | Twitter | YouTube

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Revlon Colorstay Moisture Stain in Parisian Passion

Berry and red lips have to be my all time favourite lip colours, I'm confident enough to carry them off now so I'm being much more adventurous with my lip shades. I've had all different kinds of lip products from matte to gloss and stains to paints; stains can be a little more difficult to wear as they have a habit of sinking into dry lips but I was hoping that this 'moisture' stain was going to overcome that problem...

As you can see it has a doe foot applicator, which I actually quite like when it comes to gloss products but I found that this made application really difficult. I think stain requires a level of precision and the angled doe foot just made it a bit messy and hard to get an even coverage without blending out (which obviously stained my finger... not ideal).

As you can see on the first swatch, the product has kind of collected in a line on both my top and bottom lip which could only be sorted out by me blending it out with my finger. The bottom swatch is obviously a much nicer, even colour but I really resented having a stained finger. Parisian Passion is a wearable berry colour and it's about as moisturising as you're going to get a stain but it's not perfect by any means.

tl;dr: Not something I would buy another shade of and I wouldn't rush to recommend it but it will be staying in my stash because I do like the shade.

What are your favourite lip stains?

Subscribe: Blog Lovin' | Twitter | YouTube

Friday, 21 November 2014

Current Haircare - Shampoo/Conditioner

Dealing with hair that's greasy at the roots and dry at the ends has become a bit of a pain in the neck to be quite honest; finding shampoo/conditioner to sort out both problems has proved quite difficult! I know Lee Stafford do one for 'oily roots, dry ends' but I'm sorry, I'm not prepared to spend £8.99 each just yet... However, Schwarzkopf Essence Ultime is usually £4.99 a bottle but it's on offer at £2.49 at the moment so I thought I'd give it a go. Sucker for a bargain, I know.

Schwarzkopf Essence Ultime Omega Repair £2.49 (usually £4.99 each)

Developed by Claudia Schiffer, the Omega repair shampoo and conditioner contains rich omega oil to repair damaged hair cells and prevent split ends by up to 90% (oop, there we go again with the big claims). Omega Repair is supposed to be most suitable for damaged, depleted hair; words which I would usually avoid when it comes to choosing shampoo and conditioner because it usually means they're quite heavy which can weigh down my hair but I'm so desperate to make my hair look less like straw I'm willing to put up with a certain degree of product weight...

The first thing I noticed about these were the smell, they smell luxurious. You know that kind of 'salon fresh' smell, well this is what this shampoo and conditioner leaves on your hair which I absolutely love! Both products are nice and thick so you don't need to use loads to get the results and I find that even just after the shampoo my hair feels really soft; some shampoos can clarify a little too much and make my hair feel really dry and strawy even though it's wet... if that makes sense? But it's clear that these products contain oils because after shampooing/conditioning my hair feels really soft and manageable. 

One thing I will say about these is although I love the feeling of my hair being soft, you have to be really careful that you wash out ALL the product because I've got out of the shower a couple of times now and realised that my hair still has conditioner in it even though I think I've rinsed thoroughly (I've even got half way through drying my hair and discovered it still had conditioner in it... that was annoying). But if you use the conditioner sparingly and rinse thoroughly you shouldn't have this problem. 

I've found that my hair is far more manageable than it's been for a long time and even though it hasn't sorted out my oily roots (not that I expected it to) and it hasn't worked miracles on my hair I would definitely recommend this to anyone with normal to thick dry hair. I wouldn't say it's suitable for anyone with thin hair because I do think it'd weigh it down far too much but if you're looking for something to soften up your hair, this could be for you!

While it's on offer I think I'm going to try the Crystal Shine range for when I've finished these two bottles as that sounds quite good as well. Saying that, I still don't think I'd pay £4.99, I still think that's a bit steep for a high street shampoo but while it's on offer at £2.49 you can't go wrong really.

What's your fave shampoo/conditioner at the moment?

Subscribe: Blog Lovin' | Twitter | YouTube

Friday, 17 October 2014

How to buy perfume without smelling it first

Some of us don't live in big cities and our nearest beauty hall is a decent car drive away so buying things like perfume, which is a very personal and individual thing, can be difficult without making that trip out in the car. I've bought a few perfumes online now without trying them first but it can be quite worrying at first, especially if you're spending over £20 on something which you've never smelt in your life!

Basically, you'll probably notice that there are some keywords which are used when describing perfume; 'fresh', 'floral', 'fruity' and 'oriental' are all common words used by brands and shops to describe scents. Generally people tend to favour certain types and I now know which keywords to look for when choosing perfume and which ones to avoid.

I really aren't keen on 'fresh' perfumes (Davidoff Coolwater) and I also don't tend to go for overly floral perfumes like Marc Jacobs Daisy and Chloe. I look for keywords like 'oriental' because it puts more of a musky, spicy spin on the perfume... it can also makes it a stronger scent which can be very easily recognised if you smell it on someone else. My number one perfume of all time is Jean Paul Gaultier which is a heavy floral-oriental perfume; so I look for those keywords in the descriptions of other fragrances. Perfumes with similar descriptions are Armani Code, Valentino Valentina*, Dolce & Gabbana The One and Gucci Guilty so it seems sensible for me to choose something which has a similar description.

To do this yourself you just need to do is look at the perfumes on your dressing table and have a quick google to see what the keywords are used when they're described then have a browse on some different perfume websites (as they all have their own ways of categorising perfumes) and you should find something that's perfect for you without leaving the comfort of your own home.

Do you prefer fresh or oriental scents?


Sunday, 12 October 2014

Rhodes 2014

So I lied a little in my previous blog post title and made out I was going to Jamaica, but this time I actually have been to Rhodes; Not as exotic or as far away as a Caribbean Island but every bit as enjoyable. We went at the end of the season (1st October - 8th October) so it was quieter than normal but most things were still open and the weather was still gorgeous (between 24 and 29 degrees all week!). We stayed in a hotel called Sentido Port Royal Villas and Spa which was in the small, lesser known resort of Kolymbia (also spelt Kolimbia); the hotel was like nothing I've ever seen before...

It had 2 pools, 3 restaurants and the rooms were arranged in blocks rather than just being one big block of balconies which really set it apart from other hotels. We had a standard pool view room but the view was still amazing (first photo is the view from the balcony) and the room was amazingly spacious with a massive bed, sofa, flatscreen TV and mini bar. 

View from the back balcony (was a tad windy that evening!)

The only thing about the hotel was that the evening entertainment wasn't great and drinks were very expensive if you weren't all inclusive (we were half board) so we tended to venture out every night or stay in our room and watch films (might sound sad but we don't really get to watch TV and films at home because we work a lot so it's a luxury to just be able to relax in front of the tele). We hired a car for 3 days which was a very reasonable 100 euros and used it to travel to neighbouring resorts. One night we went to a Greek night in at the 'Cannon Bar' in Falaraki; our friends stay there every time they go to Rhodes so we thought we'd pay a visit to see what all the fuss was about...

The owner, George, was grilling fresh octopus caught that morning served with garlic bread and there was lots of shouting and singing coming from his direction. As the night progressed (and the carafes of wine were flowing on my table!) the plate smashing and Greek dancing started which was really fun to watch and George really made an effort to try and get everyone involved. I'd highly recommend a visit to the Cannon Bar if you're around Falaraki; it happens every Saturday night at 9pm.

We also took a trip to Rhodes Town in the hire car (the driving there really does leave something to be desired; safety is not on their list of priorities!!!) and we explored the old walled town for a while and also paid a visit to Sephora (what I want to know is why Greece can have a Sephora and we can't?!)

Rhodes Town although busy, is a really beautiful place and the old walled town really does take you back in years to how life used to be there with the maze-like streets and old medieval buildings. If I was to go to Rhodes again I'd probably be quite tempted to stay in a Boutique hotel in Rhodes Town... it has the hustle and bustle of the city but with a Greek touch. 

And then of course, the main reason why I love any Greek island... the food! I love pitta breads and taramasalata and tzatziki dips, I could literally eat them until they come out of my ears! 

Have you visited a Greek island? 

Subscribe: Blog Lovin' | Twitter | YouTube

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Woah, We're going to Jamaica

Totally Tropical went to Barbados, the Vengaboys went to Ibiza and I'm going to Jamaica!!

Ok... I'm maybe not lucky enough to actually be going to Jamaica but I've been making some cocktails to get me into the holiday mood! Cocktails are known for being free flowing abroad, especially in the Caribbean and the taste always reminds me of being somewhere just a little warmer than the UK.

Every country seems to have their signature cocktails; Cuba has the Mojito (one of my favourites), in Barbados is the Rum Runner and one of the signature Jamaican cocktails is Planters Punch. Virgin Holidays have created these great cocktail masterclass videos and kindly sent me a cocktail kit, challenging me to make my very own Planters Punch with a few extra treats from the Caribbean Island to try...

I had a bit of a Jamaican themed night in the pub last saturday when I got out packets of plantain crisps and unleashed the cocktail shaker. Plantain is a traditional Jamaican snack which is similar to our crisps, it's similar to dried banana but in savoury form; it sounds a lot weirder than it tastes because I can tell you now they're very easy to just keep eating and eating... and it's the closest thing you're going to get to banana without being banana so it's a fruit... right??? Anyway I got on with making the Planters punch and actually made some so everyone could have a try, it was incredibly easy to make and doesn't include loads of expensive ingredients; here's how it's done...

25ml Jamaican Overproof Rum
50ml fruit juice (I used orange)
Dash of cane syrup
Squeeze of lemon and lime

- Grab a tall glass and fill it with ice
- Pour the rum and fruit juice in (at the same time if you're feeling adventurous)
- Finish with a dash of cane syrup and a squeeze of lemon and lime
- Garnish with a slice of fruit (orange, pineapple... whatever you have)

So simple yet so tasty (and quite strong so be careful!) and you could use any fruit juice you have laying around in your fridge and I'm sure that regular rum would work just as well (and it wouldn't pack such a punch in the alcohol content department!).

If you fancy getting in the holiday mood then here you can find lots more cocktail recipes.

What are your favourite holiday cocktails?

Subscribe: Blog Lovin' | Twitter | YouTube

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

A 'small change' purchase

The worst part about reading blogs is seeing products that I want but simply can't afford... talk about dangling a carrot! I know that lots of you are in the exact same position as me so today I'm bringing you something which you should be able to go buy without any guilt or real damage to your bank account, I like to call it a 'small change' purchase; one which you could probably buy with the money you find lying around your house/car/old coats and bags...

Powder Brush £4 Wilko

Wilkinsons (or 'Wilko') isn't a place you'd expect to find some decent beauty tools/products but since the recent launch of Essence and Wilko's very own tool line, things are looking up for the high street chain. It looks like they might have taken a little bit of design inspiration from another high street makeup brand launched by two very popular makeup artist turned Youtubers with the sleek black handle and bronze colour block handle and the quality of the brush is certainly one of the best I've ever seen, especially for the money. 

As you can see the brush is very dense, with hues of red running through the black bristles creating a kind of ombre effect. It is so incredibly soft, like so soft I could just sit and stroke it (at the risk of looking a little bit weird). The large surface area means that you get plenty of product on and it makes powder application an absolute doddle; I've only used this with a pressed powder but you could use it with a loose powder and I would imagine the results are just as good. I compared this to the Real Techniques powder brush and I do think the handle is slightly more ergonomic than this one but the bristles on the Wilko brush are much softer.

So what I'm basically trying to say is that you need to get yourself to a Wilko's store or have a look on their website. Even if you don't need a brush, you need to see how soft these are!
Have you seen Wilko brushes yet?

Subscribe: Blog Lovin' | Twitter | YouTube

Monday, 29 September 2014

How the La Roche Posay Effaclar Anti-Blemish System worked for me

I started using this at the end of August so I think after 4 weeks I've used it long enough to know how it's working for me. I did a post about it here but just to recap it's a 3 step kit consisting of a foaming gel cleanser, clarifying toner and a corrective serum type product. As you'll all probably know, I've been battling with acne and blemishes since I was 13 and although my skin has cleared up considerably I still get the odd 'attack' and at the time of starting to use this my skin was having a meltdown so it was the perfect time to put something like this to the test...

La Roche Posay Effaclar 3 Step Anti-Blemish System £32.50 Boots

Did it help to reduce blemishes?

I'll start by saying that I have been using this through two 'cycles' so therefore I should have technically had two menstrual breakouts on my chin within this time. However, I have actually only had one spot which was anything to shout about which is VERY good for me. The only thing it hasn't helped with is blackheads, they unfortunately remain unchanged and still continue to plague my nose. tsk.

Did it improve the appearance of your skin?

I used to have quite a bit of redness from acne scarring and I think this has improved, I could now get away with a lighter foundation if I wanted to as it doesn't take as much to give an even colour all over my face. The reduction in excess oil was also noticeable without drying my skin out which is a refreshing change because some products which claim to reduce oil will strip your skin within an inch of it's life!

What did you think of the individual products?

Foaming Gel Cleanser: I'm not a fan of foaming cleansers and I have to admit that my opinion hasn't really changed because using this meant that I had to use a separate eye makeup remover (I'm all about the quick and easy cleanse) and although my skin did feel clean when I used this I couldn't help but go back to my old favourite Bee Good Cream Cleanser for my night cleanse. However, I decided to use this just for my morning cleanse as I never need to remove eye makeup in the morning and I think it really contributes massively to the reduction of oil on my face. 

Clarifying Toner: I really, really like this. Toner was always the step I tended to skip in any skincare regime but I forced myself to remember to use this while I was trying out this kit; it's clarifying but not drying and it does do a great job of removing any residual cleanser or grime from your face. Lots of blemish fighting toners on the market are full of alcohol which can strip your face of natural oils which can then make it over produce oil (ain't nobody got time for that!!).

Effaclar Duo +: This has been the main game changer for me, I've been using it as a primer after moisturiser and I really love it. It is absorbed instantly by my skin without leaving it feeling tight, and although it doesn't fill your pores (like some primers do) it does give you a great base for your makeup to stick to.

What were your overall thoughts of the kit?

I think kits like this are all about making them work for you and I would say that if you struggle with blemishes and problem skin then you would find a way to make each of these products work in your favour. Although I don't use the cleanser morning and night as the instructions suggest you should, it works much better for me just as a morning cleanse. At £32.50 for a full skincare system I don't think you can go far wrong with this and you also can't buy the toner separately which for me is a reason to buy this kit in itself! 

If you are struggling with your skin and you're at the end of your tether thinking you've tried everything then I really do recommend La Roche Posay; it's gentle yet effective stuff and it doesn't break the bank.

Have you tried any La Roche Posay products?

Subscribe: Blog Lovin' | Twitter | YouTube


Friday, 26 September 2014

Do's and Don't's of Fake Tanning + An Exclusive 45% off code for Vita Liberata NKD SKN

It's not often I get to share exclusive discount codes on my blog but today I have a code for all my readers to get an incredible 45% discount on all products on the NKD SKN website. As we kiss goodbye to the 'summer' Vita Liberata have launched a brand new collection of fake tan products. NKD SKN is the latest luxe tanning range created with girls on the go in mind. If you don't have time to be waiting for a fake tan to dry and develop then NKD SKN is for you.  

NKD SKN Tinted Tan Mousse in Medium* £8.22 (Full price - £14.95)

It's all well and good finding a great new tanning product but if you aren't sure how to fake tan properly then even the best tan isn't going to work for you so here are a few do's and don't's of fake tanning...


Exfoliate! - Although this is arguably the most important step in tanning, I also think it's one of the largely ignored steps! Exfoliation gets rid of the dry, dead skin cells which is often the cause of a patchy tan. In particular, knees and elbows should be paid attention to as these are often where patching occurs. 

Use a tanning mitt to apply - Don't use a regular glove or a sock (!) because the tan will soak through onto your hand and to be honest you might as well have just tanned with your bare hands.

Use circular motions - Another kind of obvious one but this helps to make sure that you don't go all streaky!

Go bottom to top - Make sure you tan your feet and legs first, that way you don't smudge your arms when you're trying to tan your bottom half.


Forget your fingers/hands/feet/toes - I'm guilty of forgetting to tan my fingers and hands, the tell tale tide line around your hand is one of the most common tanning mishaps. However, use sparingly and wipe your hands/feet with a slightly damp cloth following application.

Use moisturiser right before - using fragranced products like moisturiser can interfere with the DHA which is what helps your tan to develop. Make sure you moisturise once your tan has developed but don't mix the two!

Tan straight after shaving/waxing - I think hair removal is best done 24 hours before tanning as if you tan straight after waxing you'll probably end up with little brown dots where the tan has sunk into where the hair was... not a good look!

About Vita Liberata NKD SKN...

There are 3 different types of NKD SKN tan in 2 different shades; medium and dark. I've tried the Mousse version but they also do an instant wash off tan and a liquid developing tan. Even without the 45% discount the products are very affordable at just £8.50 for the Instant Wash Off Tan, the Tinted Liquid is only £10.00 and the Mousse formula is just £14.95. 

You see instant results when you first apply this so you can see exactly where you've been with the tanning mitt, it doesn't streak or patch and it dries instantly so you don't have to wait 10-15 minutes to put your clothes on which is great if you always leave tanning until the last minute. It also doesn't have that tell tale biscuit smell; it has a very slight smell but nothing offensive and nothing which would be noticeable to anyone else (literally your nose has to be on your skin to smell anything at all and usually my husband moans when I get in bed smelling like a biscuit but he never said a word). I'm quite fair skinned so medium is dark enough for me but if you're more olive skinned or you want a deeper bronzed look then I'd suggest going for dark. 

If you would like to try NKD SKN then you can use my exclusive discount code BEAUTYBUTTERFLY45 to get 45% off at the checkout on the NKD SKN website.

Let me know what you think if you decide to try it!

Subscribe: Blog Lovin' | Twitter | YouTube

Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvet Lipsticks - My Thoughts

This probably won't be the first, or the last time you see Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvets featured on a blog, bloggers have gone pretty mental for them so I thought I'd also give my 2p on them. They come in 8 different shades and the formula is a highly pigmented, matte liquid lipstick. They kind of remind me of a Limecrime Velvetine but the formula is actually nicer and they're more forgiving when applying as they don't stain your skin.

The two colours I chose are 'Hot Pepper' (perfect bright, orange toned red) and 'Nude-ist' (a slight rose toned nude). As you will see, Hot Pepper does look quite daunting and it wouldn't normally be a colour I'd go for but surprisingly I do actually think it suits me and there aren't many reds out there that do! Nude-ist isn't what I'd call a traditional nude shade because it's so wearable, I think the word 'nude' conjures up this image in our heads that it's going to be a wash-out, concealer type shade but this is so different. If you're looking for a winter shade but you don't think you can quite pull off a dark shade of plum then this would be a great starting point. Admittedly, they both look better with a liner; I've been using Rimmel 1000 Kisses liner in 'Spice' for the nude shade but I have yet to find a good match for the orangey red.

It's fairly easy to apply and it's buildable so you can layer it up for an extra bold look or you can just do a thin coat if you just want a wash of colour; I personally like to layer it up with 2-3 coats. The matte formula is quite a weird one to get used to especially if you're not used to matte lip products. It applies like liquid but dries completely matte with very little smudging or transferring and it can feel a little dry. I actually found that the nude one was a little more drying than the red but that could be partly due to the liner. I'm often tempted to soften things up a little with a balm but it would probably ruin the whole look, I guess with any matte lip product there is going to be a level of dryness because of course matte is a 'dry' look whereas obviously a gloss is a wet look... am I making sense?

Basically, what I'm trying to say is thatI really enjoy wearing both of these shades and I can deal with a bit of a dry feeling because I love the shades so much and I think they wear really nicely, you don't have to constantly reapply and they don't sink into the cracks of your lips or anything like that. I'm actually eyeing up one more shade which is 'Grand Cru', it looks like a really nice deep plum shade which is perfect for autumn/winter. Oh and did I mention they're only £5 in Superdrug at the moment...

Have you tried Rouge Edition Velvets yet? Let me know what you think...

Subscribe: Blog Lovin' | Twitter | YouTube


Wednesday, 24 September 2014

GHD Hair Tools - Worth the Splurge?

ghd straighteners have been a part of my life for a good 7 years, I'm onto my second pair (because Jason stood on my first pair, that was not a good day) and they've been going strong for 4 years so far. Everything about them just screams quality to me. They might be fairly slim in design but they are solid; after 4 years of straightening they aren't showing any signs of wear other than the ghd logo has rubbed off a little bit and they just don't look as pristine as they did. The coating on the actual plates is still in good condition and they still run smoothly down my hair. The salon length cord is also another aspect of them which I love; it makes it so easy to use them even if your mirror is a way from the plug socket. The ones I have are an older version of the IV Styler which are actually the cheapest of the designs at £89.00 but if you want to have a go with GHD straighteners these would be the place to start. They're the ones which you'll find in most salons and that speaks volumes to me!

After having a ghd Air hairdryer on my wish list for long enough I finally decided to buy one last Christmas. I had heard lots of people say how they were far superior to any other hairdryer they've used. The 2100w motor makes it a powerful drying tool and definitely makes a difference when you've got long/thick hair which usually takes ages to dry; using this has probably halved the time it takes me to dry my hair. I wouldn't say that it helps to stop it going frizzy because I don't think it does but like the straighteners, the overall design is sleek, sturdy and obviously good quality. Possibly a little on the pricey side at £89 and I daresay you could get an equally as powerful hairdryer for a fraction of the price but I'd be questioning how long it would last. 

Now onto the paddle brush. Before I continue I know that £20 is a lot for a hairbrush but you would not believe the amount of brushes I've been through because lots of them just do not stand heat styling or detangling the knots in my hair. For me, the ghd paddle brush is every bit worth the £20 I paid for it. None of the bristles have fallen out or misshapen under the heat and not one bit of the design has come at all loose. The plastic handle is totally solid whereas some cheaper ones just feel hollow and although it's solid it's not heavy or uncomfortable to hold. If you have thick, long or unruly hair then I highly recommend the paddle brush, it makes brushing so much more pleasurable. 

In answer to my initial question, yes ghd tools as a whole are worth the splurge if you can afford them. In my opinion, the straighteners especially, are far superior to any others I've used. When the sad day comes that I have to replace them I would be tempted to go for the new Eclipse styler which is more expensive but it looks amazing. The fact that I've spent a small fortune of my own money on these products is testament to how wonderful I think they are.

Do you own any ghd tools?

Subscribe: Blog Lovin' | Twitter | YouTube

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Moroccanoil Hair Treatments

I've gone on and on about products which claim to perform miracles but fail to deliver results; i'm a firm believer that split ends cannot be repaired as the hair is already broken; unless you glue it together it ain't going back! A couple of years ago I tried Moroccanoil Light and aside from the price tag, really liked it. In a moment of late night/early morning madness I made a bit of an impulse purchase from Feel Unique because I was feeling at the end of my tether with my dry frizzy hair...

I've gone on and on about products which claim to perform miracles but fail to deliver results; i'm a firm believer that split ends cannot be repaired as the hair is already broken; unless you glue it together it ain't going back... but you can help to improve the appearance of your damaged locks! Moroccanoil has an amazing reputation for being really effective on damaged hair making it smooth, soft, shiny and manageable. 

The two products I chose are to repair and hydrate my hair. The Intense Hydrating Mask is meant to be used a couple of times a week as a conditioning treatment which you apply to towel dried hair and leave to work for between 5 and 7 minutes. I chose not to go for the 'light' option because the ends of my hair are pretty bad, I just make sure I only apply this to the bottom half of my hair and I rinse thoroughly. It smells lovely and doesn't weigh heavy on my hair at all, it's just left feeling silky smooth. 

I use the Moroccanoil Treatment on the ends of my hair just before drying and also after drying to smooth things out further. Even though I got the light version last time, I think I actually prefer this original formula. Even though it is heavier and I wouldn't recommend it for fine hair, it is perfect for my thick hair. It smells gorgeous and does a far better job than any serum I've used; serums don't penetrate beyond the surface of the hair whereas this oil really feels like it's a deep treatment. 

I got the mini versions of both of these products because I didn't want to splurge on the full size, which would have cost £56.60, instead I only paid £21.10. Obviously it's better value for money if you know you love them and you're definitely going to use them religiously but if you're just looking to try some Moroccanoil products (or you simply can't afford the full size) then these versions are perfect!

It might be a pricey brand but I do love Moroccanoil. Have you tried anything from the range?

Monday, 22 September 2014


Michael Kors Jet Set Double Zip Tote Bag £310.00 House of Fraser

There are some things in life that we buy when we don't really need them but we convince ourselves that having said item will make us happy - it's just the materialistic beast inside creeping out. A Michael Kors bag has been on my wish list for a long time and after a long summer I decided now was the time to treat myself for all the hours I'd put in at work (we all make excuses for these purchases, don't we?!). 

I went into House of Fraser in Meadowhall with a structured bag in mind and an eye for something which I could fit everything I needed in. When I saw this Jet Set Double Zip Tote Bag I fell in love with it straight away. The Saffiano leather, gold hardware and 3 compartments made it perfect for what I was looking for. I did consider the bucket style bags with just one compartment but I think the zips really add style to this bag and make it something a little bit special. 

Of course, a bag like this isn't something I can afford to buy every month or even every year but I'm hoping that this will be on my shoulder for a good number of years because it's a classic, timeless design.

What do you think of investment buys - sensible or a waste of money?

Subscribe: Blog Lovin' | Twitter | YouTube

Sunday, 21 September 2014

What it's like to lose weight

It's been just over a year since I started Slimming World, after 5 years of doing different kinds of diets and eating plans (Weight Watchers, Herbalife etc.) I finally 'got my head on'. Anyone who has lost weight and kept it off will know what I mean when I say I got my head on; something clicked in my brain and said 'right now you need to lose weight'. I've lost 5 stone so far and although I'm not done yet, losing that amount of weight has made a massive difference to my life and I wanted to share a bit about me and my weight loss. It's going to be a bit of a wordy one so grab a drink and relax...

What's different this time to all the other times? 
I actually properly wanted to lose weight and I wasn't looking for a quick fix, I was prepared to see it come off over a period of time. I was ready for change whereas I wasn't before. Anyone who has lost weight and kept it off will know what I mean when I say I got my head on; something clicked in my brain and said 'right now you need to lose weight'. Changing your eating habits is like giving up an addiction and learning to live controlling your intake of unhealthy food, unless your mindset is right you simply will not do it; you might start off with good intentions and probably lose a bit but it won't be a long term thing. This time I knew it was long term.

What made you lose weight?
Of course, I lost weight for myself. I knew I was built to be solid but my weight had got out of control and it was starting to affect my life; my job involves spending a lot of time on my feet and it was becoming very uncomfy to stand for long periods of time - my feet would hurt, my knees hurt and my ankles sometimes felt like they could give way at any time. My skin was really bad (I've always had spots but they were particularly bad) and I couldn't wear the clothes I wanted to wear.

There were also some incidents which triggered that 'click' in my head and whilst I'm not going to go into detail about exactly what happened, two incidents will always stick in my mind: firstly, being behind a bar is quite difficult when your confidence levels are low and when I had some very pretty, slim barmaids standing next to me it made me feel extra fat and ugly. There was one time when the girls I was working with had gone home and there was what can only be described as a drunken a***hole stood at the bar with his mate, he looked at me and said 'urgh god we're not left with her are we'. That crushed me. Like, really made me feel horrific. All I wanted to say was 'well you can always f*** off home!!!!' but I couldn't, I just stood there, gulped and vowed that nobody would ever say anything like that about me again. 

The second incident involved someone putting a status on Facebook about me 'never having my head out of the fridge'. This didn't upset me as such because I would imagine most people would think 'what a cruel thing to say' but it did spur me on even more to make changes in my life to make sure that nobody could do that to me again.

How long did it take before you saw results?
I would say around the two stone mark I started to be able to tell (which sounds like a lot of weight to lose but in the grand scheme of things, it wasn't even halfway there), my clothes became loser and I had to start buying new bits here and there. I think this was the point where other people started to notice too. 

What's the best thing about losing weight?
I can't pick a singular 'thing' so...
- Being able to wear clothes from any shops. Once you get to a size 14 the boundaries of which shops you can shop in are suddenly opened and they welcome you with open arms (This, in my opinion, is all kinds of wrong, but that's a different post altogether). 
- The massive boost in confidence due to the compliments from other people and also feeling more comfortable in my own skin. 
- My body doesn't hurt, I can stand on my feet for 16 hours and other than a bit of hot foot-burny foot I don't really feel it.
- Being able to stick the middle finger up (in my head) to anyone and everyone who has ever said anything about my weight, whether it's too my face or not.

Why did you choose Slimming World?
My mum has done Slimming World for years so I've just kind of grown up with it so I've always known the basics of the plan and I know it works! Of course, I couldn't do this post without a cheeky plug of my weightloss blog, I posted about why you should choose Slimming World when I first started it up and it explains the basics of it and the benefits of doing it over any other eating plan so if you're interested go and have a read. 

Any tips for losing weight?
- Make sure you want to do it for you before you start, I know that there were triggers for me which weren't technically from 'me', the root reason why I started Slimming World was for myself, I felt that losing weight would make my life better. I know society is so-anti fat in a lot of ways, don't let that push you into dieting because you'll never stick it out and you'll make yourself very unhappy. 
- Do a sensible eating plan and do not tell yourself that you're going on a diet because as soon as you mention the d-word you'll psych yourself out of it. You'll feel deprived and that really isn't a good foot to start on plans like Slimming World & Weight Watchers help you to lose weight safely, healthily and without leaving you feeling deprived. 
- Don't think you're going to get to your target weight overnight; the average amount of weight you should lose each week is 1.5lb, this is healthy and sustainable but obviously isn't going to get you overnight results. But I can tell you that if you lose weight at 1.5lb per week you're much more likely to keep it off than if you did a 10 day crash diet and a stone in that time.
- Keep things fresh: don't eat the same thing over and over again (unless you REALLY enjoy it) because it will quickly get boring and you'll want to resort to your old favourites (which are very often the wrong choices). Try looking on Pinterest or other weightless blogs and you'll find some lovely recipes which are usually a healthy version of a traditional recipe but they're often just as good if not better!

I'm so determined to keep this weight off, my life has completely changed in so many positive ways (the only negative is my bank balance!). I'm not saying that everyone should lose weight, this post was for anyone who was considering losing weight but needed some motivation. If you're reading this and you're struggling with your weight just keep in mind that one day you will have cracked it and you'll know when it happens! Once I hit target I'm going to do a before and after post but at the moment I'm still not where I want to be so I'll just keep plodding along...

Subscribe: Blog Lovin' | Twitter | YouTube

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Current Favourites

Seventeen Miracle Matte Pressed Powder (£3.99) - I don't know where I'd be without this (well, I do, my face would be offensively shiny!), it's a great powder for finishing off a makeup look and it keeps me looking matte for a good 5-6 hours without caking. As I mentioned in my review, the packaging is a lot better than Rimmel Stay Matte, it's not as flimsy and it has a built in mirror!
Bee Good Honey & Propolis 2 in 1 Cream Cleanser (£11.50) - I honestly can't sing this cleansers' praises enough; it does an amazing job of melting off makeup and it doesn't aggravate my skin. This is my second tube since June and it's almost done so there's a definite repurchase on the cards.
MAC Bare Study Paint Pot (£15.50) - It's been a good while since I've featured any MAC products in a favourites post but I've been using this as a base for most of my eye looks. If you're into shimmer eye looks then this would be a great base product to give an all over neutral/light taupe colour. 
Bourjois Delice De Poudre Bronzing Powder (£7.99) - It took me far too long to buy this after wanting it for ages and now I'm so glad its in my makeup collection. It's about as close to matte as you'll get without actually being matte, if that makes any sense. Most of the other bronzers I've used have been a bit on the shimmery side for me but this is the perfect colour with the perfect amount of shimmer in it. It also smells like chocolate, what's not to love?!

Bourjois 1 Seconde Mascara (£9.99) - This is probably one of the best mascaras on the high street at the moment; in a mascara I look mainly for length and volume - this provides both without clumping. 2 coats does the trick for me, it doesn't flake after a couple of hours and it's easy to get off at the end of the day.
Eucerin DermatoCLEAN Micellar Cleansing Fluid (£9.00) - Last month I named this the 'Micellar water with cream cleanser capabilities' and I'm sticking by that name. I usually use this in a morning or if I'm reapplying a full face of makeup between day and night; it does a great job of giving me a clean, fresh canvas to work with and it's so gentle on your skin. 
Have any of these made your list of favourites?
Subscribe: Blog Lovin' | Twitter | YouTube

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Disappointing Products

I don't do posts like this very often because there aren't that many products that disappoint me enough to warrant actually calling them 'disappointing' but just recently two products have really stood out to me enough to say 'I don't like these'...

Superdrug Dead Sea Mud Mask: I've tried quite a lot of face masks and most of them do make my skin feel nice in one way or another but this just did nothing. Like literally absolutely nothing. Usually mud masks calm my skin, they reduce some of the angry redness and make it feel cool and clean. This just didn't really do a lot and it stung a bit when I put it on. It might only cost £2.59 but I still wouldn't waste my money if I were you.

Revlon Colorstay Foundation for Combination/Oily Skin: I've heard wonderful things about this from people with oily/problem skin so naturally I was hoping for a really good coverage which stayed on for a good few hours without needing touching up. Instead I found that this slid off my face within a couple of hours and I'm blaming it for a big breakout (I know you can't say 100% what has broken you out but this was the only thing I'd used which was different and BAM I had angry red spots). I'll definitely be sticking to my No.7 foundation, I'm really disappointed that I don't like this though because I really did want it to work for me!

Subscribe: Blog Lovin' | Twitter | YouTube

Saturday, 13 September 2014

3 Simple Steps to help Beat the Bloat

There are lots of products out there that claim to help stop bloating (water retention tablets and the like) but I believe that you can beat the bloat and spend very little money. Your weight will obviously fluctuate to a degree depending on what you eat but if you're finding that you feel sluggish and bloated then these 3 simple steps might help you...
Drink lots of water: Might sound daft but not drinking enough water can actually cause you to retain water. I try and aim for 3 pints per day but upping your water intake even a little will help to keep water retention and bloating to a minimum. Of course it will make you need the toilet more often which isn't ideal in some situations but trust me, it'll be doing your body the world of good.

Try herbal tea: Before I started Slimming World if I wanted a hot drink I would stick to coffee and tea but since I started losing weight I have discovered that some herbal teas can be quite enjoyable. I particularly like peppermint tea for after I've eaten a big meal, it really helps to settle my stomach and it's great for a relaxing bedtime drink. Green tea and Oolong tea are also known for helping to speed up your metabolism, making you feel less bloated and sluggish; I try to have at least one cup of green tea/oolong tea every day. Don't get me wrong if you're used to milk in your cup of English tea then it might take a while to get your taste buds round herbal teas but stick with it and you might be surprised.

Cut out white foods: They say that God made very little 'white', white bread, pasta and rice is said to be very artificial and their wholemeal counterparts are supposed to be easier for your body to digest. Don't get me wrong I love crusty bread with loads of butter but it must be a good 6 months since I've indulged in any! Lots of people complain at the bloated feeling they get when they've eaten white bread and I think the same could also apply to pasta and rice. I actually think wholemeal/brown products have a lot more taste and really add to the flavour of your meal whereas white pasta/rice can be stodgy and a bit bland. 
Do you have any tips for keeping your tummy from feeling bloated?

Subscribe: Blog Lovin' | Twitter | YouTube
© Girl Up North. All rights reserved.