Vegan Sun Protection - Lush

I understand that it's quite difficult to find cruelty free/vegan sun protection, in this day and age you'd think that more companies would tap into the massive market of people who refuse to use anything which contains any animal derived ingredients or anything which has been tested on animals... I won't get into it because that's a whole different blog post but I am pleased to say that Lush have now finally found a way to make cruelty free & vegan sun protection products.
I will start by saying that these are not a conventional sun care products. I expect sun cream to have a certain smell; often something coconutty or fresh but the Sesame Suntan Lotion* (£8.00 for 100ml) literally smells like sesame seeds... even borderline peanut butter which is a bit odd to say the least and The Sunblock (£8.95) is applied by washing it onto your skin which obviously isn't a 'normal' method of sun protection application but I remain open minded!
I have only actually tried the Sesame Suntan Lotion so that is what I'll be focusing on as I can't say too much about The Sunblock having not tried it but one thing I can say is that the Sesame lotion is a  low protection (SPF 10) whereas The Sunblock provides a higher protection (SPF 30). I would personally only use this for in the UK because I don't think such a low SPF would be appropriate for use abroad where the sun is usually more intense... I'm sure there are people who will say 'what is the point in SPF 10?' and for use in intense sun I would agree but I think this would be fine for days in sunny England when the sun isn't out at full force.
The formula is quite an oily one, I did find that it took a while to soak in to my skin and I would even say it bordered on sticky... not what I'm used to as I usually go for invisible sprays etc. but it does mean that a little goes a long way. Like I said, this is by no means a conventional sun protection product but it's worth a look even if you just went in store to smell it. I'm sure the scent will attract as many people as it puts off; it's just very weird and although it does fade the smell is there for some time. I would like to try The Sunblock just to compare and see if it suited me better but for now I think I will be sticking to my coconut stuff!

Roger & Gallet Gingembre Rouge

Roger & Gallet was founded many years ago in 1892. Their roots lie in a Parisian perfume apothecary and this is so apparent in the design of their branding and bottles. They pride themselves on using rare natural ingredients to create traditional and luxurious fine fragrance.
Gingembre Rouge was inspired by a trip to Zanzibar; this is a spicy fragrance with notes of ginger (obviously), pomegranate and mandarin. For me, this is a mature take on a fruity fragrance. The bottle is really simple and it seems that they have tried to stick to tradition with a modern twist. Roger & Gallet are actually stocked in various places both on the high street and online; if you want to try some of their products in person then Marks & Spencer is the place to be. Their 30ml bottles are very reasonably priced at £16.00 and you can also buy soap and body care products in each of the fragrances. Roger & Gallet definitely seem to aim their products at a more mature audience so if you're looking for something a bit different for a family then Roger & Gallet might be a good place to start!

Nivea Summer Essentials

The sun has been out for a couple of days and it's officially 'mafting' (as we say where I live!), we moan when it's too cold and we often moan when it's too hot but Nivea have some products which make the sun & heat just a little easier to deal with!


Nivea Powder Touch Antiperspirant* RRP £2.29 - Nivea is one of my go-to brands for deodorant/antiperspirant because it's long lasting, it doesn't irritate my skin (even when I'm freshly shaved!) and both the powder touch and the pearl beauty sprays smell really lovely.

Nivea Sensitive Cleansing Wipes* RRP £3.05 - I must take off and re-apply my makeup at least twice on a hot day just because my face feels so hot and sticky. A sweaty, shiny face is not a good look and it's definitely not a nice feeling so these wipes are perfect for sweeping across your face to give you a fresh base for makeup. They'd also be great if you wear very minimal makeup and you want to cool your face down.

Nivea Raspberry Rose Lip Butter* RRP £1.99 - My lips suffer in the sun if I don't keep them properly nourished so I have an SPF lip balm to hand to protect them and I also have a butter like this to keep them from feeling dry and dehydrated. The fresh fruity smell and the soft buttery texture makes this a handbag essential this summer!

Nivea Protect & Refresh Invisible Cooling Mist SPF 30* RRP £16.00 - Sun protection application is both easy and pleasurable with this handy spray; with it's continuous spray action is releases fine droplets of product which offer a refreshing, cooling mist and sun protection all in one. Waterproof protection with no stickiness or white marks... what's not to love!?

Nivea Protect & Bronze Face Lotion* £8.99 - Some foundations will have an SPF in them but sometimes it's not enough, especially in the heat of the midday sun so this protection lotion is specially formulated for your face so it shouldn't be too heavy. It also contains a natural plant extract which helps the tanning process along so not only are you protected, you're also achieving a healthy glow sensibly.

Some of these Nivea products are actually on offer in Boots at the moment so grab them while you can if you fancy trying any of them! 

Carex Fun Edition Hand Wash and Sanitiser

Boring hand washes have been a thing of the past for quite some time now; there's so much on the market to tempt you into keeping yourself clean but the Carex Complete Fun Edition products have really caught my eye. The first thing I tried from the new ranges from Carex was the Chocolate Orange hand wash which is part of the 'Family Favourite Fragrance' collection and it was love at first sniff - it smells just like a Terry's chocolate orange! So naturally when I was sent some 'Fun Edition' products I was excited to try them!

Carex Strawberry Laces Hand Gel £1.45 Superdrug*

Hand gel is a handbag must have for me, you never know when you might need to wash your hands when you don't have access to soap and water so it's perfect for just shoving in your bag and squirting onto your hands quickly when you need it. However, most hand gels are pretty bog-standard... boring packaging with the overwhelming smell of alcohol but Carex has changed this! As you would expect, it smells just like strawberry laces and the scent stays on your hands for a good while after application; when I first used it I had lots of people asking what that 'sweet smell' was. It kills 99.9% of bacteria and absorbs pretty much instantly into the skin.

 Carex Bubble Gum Handwash £1.80 Tesco*

For me, anything bubblegum is hard to resist. This hand wash smells amazing, and I just love the colour of it too! Even my grandad commented on how nice it smelt, so it just shows that you're never too old to enjoy a bit of bubblegum. It makes hand washing a little less of a chore for people of all ages; it kills germs and leaves your hands feeling and smelling amazing! I could quite easily have a full collection of these Carex products because they're just so novel! 

Morning Cleanse - Bee Good Cleansing Water

I find that I don't need to cleanse my face with a heavy hot cloth cleanser in the morning; I'm not taking off a layer of makeup and grime which has built up over the whole day, I'm simply wiping away any oil and sweat (nice!) which has graced my face during the night. As you'll know I'm a bit obsessed with the Bee Good brand at the moment so it should come as no surprise that my current morning cleanse comes in the form of their cleansing water.
Bee Good Honey & Wild Water Mint Cleansing Water £10.00*
With ingredients like honey and mint, I find this so cool and refreshing; perfect for waking my face up in a morning. It leaves my skin feeling clean, ready to moisturise and apply makeup onto... as with most cleansing waters you just simply soak a cotton pad and then sweep across your face, no need to rinse afterwards. I have been using this also as a night cleanse for the past couple of days while I was waiting for a fresh supply of Bee Good Cream Cleanser but I have to admit that for me it wasn't really enough for a night cleanse. Although I think it would be fine if you didn't wear much makeup I do prefer the cream cleanser for my night routine as I tend to wear more makeup and my face can get quite oily.

When you love something, buy it in 3 colours

Might seem extreme to some people buying the same pair of sandals in 3 different colours but I couldn't resist with these wide fit sandals from New Look. I go through a lot of shoes, I'm on my feet all day so they seem to wear pretty easily and I have wide feet so regular shoes sometimes aren't very comfy but this particular design are perfect; they're comfy, stylish and affordable... I'm so tempted to buy them in the coral colour aswell. I got all three of these pairs for a total of £23.97 which I think is an absolute steal for such a nice pair of sandals!


Wide Fit Sandals £7.99 New Look

5 Reasons Why You've Got Spots

If you've read my blog for a while then you'll know that I've been battling with acne for a number of years, only now does it seem to have given me a bit of a break. I still get the odd one or two but they're far more manageable than they ever have been. I have always asked myself why on earth I still have spots when I'm twenty-odd, and after much research I have come up with a few reasons as to why you might still have spots later in life... I'm no skincare expert but trust me I'm an expert at having spots.
 if you've been reading for a while, you'll know that the above picture is very good compared to what my skin used to be.
Hormones:- this is the obvious one, if your spots are around your chin area and it's almost 'that time of the month' then you can probably attribute those to hormones. This is one of the reasons why I still get some spots.
Diet:- I noticed a massive difference in my skin when I started Slimming World; as soon as I started reducing my intake of high fat, high sugar foods my skin became far more manageable and the spots started to subside. The saying 'you are what you eat' definitely applies to me, if I suddenly eat too much sugar or fat my skin rebels and a few spots will appear. There might be certain triggers with your own skin; I've heard dairy can affect some people's skin so it is a case of experimenting and eliminating foods if you think it could be your diet.
Lifestyle:- stress and tiredness can make your skin rebel, if you feel like you're getting too stressed or you feel like you're not getting enough sleep try your best to get a day off or at least get a couple of hours to yourself where you can destress and have some me time! Also smoking & heavy drinking won't do your skin any favours; I'm not going to preach about it but if you smoke then don't be surprised if you have spots... like I said, your skin reflects the toxins which you put in your body! 
Products:- Another fairly obvious one I would have thought; I make sure I'm really careful of what new products I use on my skin. If you spend time looking at different ingredients it may be possible to work out if there's a particular ingredient triggering breakouts. I generally find that thick creams clog my pores and I now make sure I avoid products which are alcohol based because they can strip the skin too much which makes it over produce oil which can also block your pores and lead to breakouts.
Pillowcases:- These are a breeding ground for bacteria and I would guess that lots of people don't change them anywhere near as much as they should do. I personally change my pillowcase every 3-4 days and I find it really helps my spot situation. If you find that you have more spots on one side of your face then your pillowcase might be the culprit! Also make sure you change your actual pillow when it needs it, as disgusting as it sounds, sweat and other things will penetrate into the pillow itself over time so it's a good idea to clean them or change them fairly regularly.

Handbag Essentials

I do like to keep my handbag contents to a minimum but there are some things that I always carry around with me...

Superdrug Nail Shaper - If my nails look a little uneven it's because I have a nasty habit of biting them, so to stop myself being tempted to nibble I always have a nail file to hand!
Bee Good Vanilla & Honey Lip Balm- The first thing you need to know about this is that it tastes like ice cream. The second thing is that the formula glides onto your lips effortlessly without leaving a sticky residue; it leaves a nice sheen to your lips which I think is perfect for when your lips are feeling dry and you don't have the time or inclination to apply a colour. 

Crabtree & Evelyn Caribbean Island Wild Flowers hand therapy* - I seem to go through numerous hand creams which never really get appreciated on here but this one had to have a mention. It smells amazing and leaves my hands feeling powdery soft; there's not of that sticky or slippery feeling for ages after application, it absorbs quickly and makes my hands feel lovely. I love the tube style too!
Bath & Body Works 'Cashmere Glow' fine fragrance mist -  I couldn't go to the states and not go in a Bath & Body Works; it was my first experience so I spent a considerable amount of time choosing what I wanted. I got three of these fragrance mists and this is the first one I've cracked open since I got home; the bottle is big and it does take up a bit of room in my bag but I love it so much I can't resist not carrying it round with me. If you're off to the States you definitely need to take a trip to Bath & Body works, Cashmere Glow is a peachy vanilla kind of scent but they honestly have a massive choice of different fragrances you're totally spoilt for choice.

Body Care Favourites

Garnier Summer Body Light - Love this for maintaining or topping up a tan if I haven't got time to do a full fake tan; it doesn't smell like fake tan and the colour is very subtle. You can also use it as a gradual tanner without any existing tan but I prefer to just use it to top up as I can't see enough difference with this light one; when I repurchase I will definitely go for the darker one so I can use it on its own as well.

Nivea In-Shower Body Moisturiser in Honey - I rave about these, I know I do but I can't stress how good I think they are. It takes the hassle out of daily moisturising and I honestly wouldn't be without a bottle!

Caudalie Vine Body Butter - This smells amazing; it's luxurious and it sinks into your skin effortlessly. There's nothing worse than feeling all sticky when you've applied body cream but this doesn't leave you feeling like that. I love applying this after I've shaved my legs, oooh so smoothhhh...
Nivea Q10 Firming Body Oil - In all honesty I've never really been one for body oils but with the promise of firmer skin and improved look of stretch marks I had to give this one a try. I've been using it on my stomach (where I have stretch marks and my skin has gone a bit weird and lost its elasticity) and also on my boobs (losing weight has taken its toll a bit on the girls, unfortunately). As daft as it sounds it's not a really oily oil; it actually absorbs really quickly and doesn't leave my skin feeling slippery or overly oily. I have noticed a difference in how supple my skin is and my stretch marks are looking more silver than red now which makes them less noticeable. I don't expect miracles because at the end of the day my skin is damaged (probably beyond full repair) but this has made my skin feel like it's regained some of its youthful feel. Full review of the Nivea Q10 range coming soon!

Why It's OK to use Face Wipes

Hands up if you've ever felt personally victimised as a face wipe user?

Face wipes, it would seem, are the root of all evil. Well I beg to differ. Although I'm not suggesting that you use face wipes as a regular cleansing method, I do believe there is a time and a place. I'm never without a packet of face wipes; they always have been and always will be a staple in my little collection of products. I've always liked Simple Face Wipes*, my mum used to buy them for me when I was younger and I've just always stuck to them, especially if they're on offer.


Face wipes are great for a number of situations when you don't have the time or inclination to do a full on hot cloth cleanse: on long haul flights when you don't have the facility to wash your face comfortably wipes are great for just refreshing your skin and making you feel a little more human before touching down. You can use them for wiping away any makeup mistakes or for touching up eye makeup during the day in the event of runny mascara or wandering eyeliner. I sometimes find that I want to apply a fresh full face of makeup half way through the day so I use wipes to give me a clean slate to apply a fresh base so I'm not applying makeup upon makeup.

Like I said, there's nothing better than a proper hot cloth cleanse at night to make sure you've got all the grime off your face from the day, but the notion that you shouldn't use face wipes at all is quite frankly ridiculous I think! 

What happens when you Give Blood in the UK

** There are photos of blood and needles in this post so if you're not into that then please don't read any further **

The main reason why I'm posting about this isn't because I want you all to tell me how wonderful I am for donating, it's actually because I want you all to know how easy and painless giving blood is. Before I donated I was so nervous because I was unsure of what was going to happen - I couldn't find any real life experiences online so I thought I'd add mine in the hope that it would encourage someone to register and give blood.
I always said I would give blood ever since my auntie had some blood transfusions which I believed prolonged her life for a couple more weeks when she was really poorly before passing away. It's taken me 6 years to actually pluck up the courage to do it and now I wish I'd done it much sooner!!
Basically, the first step is to register online and find out your nearest donation location. They will ask you a series of personal questions to make sure you are eligible to donate; you need to be in good health, you must not have had any piercings or tattoos in the last 12 months and there are also some pretty intimate questions which they ask about your sexual history (just to establish whether you have been at severe risk of contracting HIV or other sexually transmitted diseases). If you are eligible to donate then you will be able to make an appointment at your nearest location, it is possible to walk in to some places but it can mean waiting longer and you are not guaranteed to be able to donate. 

After registering online you will be sent some forms in the post which you must complete and take with you when you attend your donation session. Try and make sure you eat a substantial meal before you donate; they're all about reducing the risk of you feeling faint and this is one of the ways you can ensure you feel absolutely fine. Upon arrival at your session, you will be asked to sit down and drink a large glass of water or squash (this is said to reduce the likelihood of feeling faint afterwards) and you are asked to read the booklets you are given while you wait.


 You will then be called through to be asked more questions about your general health and the answers you put on your questionnaire which you were sent in the post. If all is well on that front then they prick your middle finger (which is literally just like a sharp pin prick) then squeeze some blood out of it to drop into a solution to test your iron levels. If the drop of blood sinks then you're good to go but if it doesn't sink you will have to have a further test to make sure your iron levels are high enough to donate.

My levels were absolutely fine and I was sent to another waiting area. After a couple of minutes I was called to the donating area, at this point you can have someone to sit with you if you want. They ask which arm you would prefer to have blood taken from; mine is always my right arm because I think the vein is better. Then you sit on a weird little recliner chair thing and a nurse comes to get you all set up, here's what happens:




- They put a cuff on the top of your arm and make it tight to restrict the blood flow to make your vein more visible, you may also be asked to squeeze your hand a few times.
- Once they've found the vein they will clean your arm thoroughly with an anti-septic wipe
- Then the nurse will inform you that the needle is going in; it is bigger than a blood test needle but honestly it is exactly like having a blood test; just a sharp scratch then once it's in it's completely painless.
- You lay like that for around 10-15 mins - however long it takes for the blood to be taken. In the meantime you might need to squeeze your hand just to help the flow of blood. They take just under a pint of blood which is monitored on the machine, it automatically stops when you get to the amount.
- Once the donation is complete the machine will beep, the nurse will come and take the needle out of your arm. Again, just a small scratch, I had my eyes tight shut and didn't even realise it was out until she said 'can you just apply some pressure on there' and showed me a bit of gauze on my arm.
- They will sit you up in the chair and ask you if you feel ok, then you can move on to arguably the best part of the experience...


You have to sit down for 10 minutes or so and have a cold drink of water or squash and a biscuit or a bag of crisps, you can also have a hot drink afterwards if you like. I felt absolutely fine after donating but the nurses really do look after you well both during and after donating, my nurse asked me several times during donation if I was feeling ok and if you don't feel too good then they can stop the donation at any time.
Overall the whole experience was so rewarding and not scary in the slightest. I think it's the fear of the unknown that puts lots of people off; I'm a proper puff when it comes to pain and I will definitely be making an appointment for October. If you've been thinking about doing it and you are eligible please take this opportunity to register and do something truly amazing which will save lives!

IMATS London Show Coverage

 So it's all over for another year, I traveled down to London for the day on Saturday to go to my seconds IMATS. With over 50 exhibitors showcasing their products, offering discounts and several scheduled talks on each of the stages within Olympia, IMATS really is a haven for anyone who loves makeup. The exhibitors were very similar to last year with a few new ones popping up and a few old faces taking up a little more floor space. I met up with Laura, Gemma and Kat and spent the day with them (tip: if you want to be restrained with purchases at IMATS, do not meet up with other like-minded individuals, you spend a LOT more!).

  The view from the upper gallery; a great place to get away from the hustle and bustle for a few minutes
So much colour at the Stargazer stand
Crown brushes were there on their usual large stand
NARS and Bobbi Brown had a fairly small stand in 2013 but because last years show was so successful they obviously decided to get a bigger pitch; this made it so much easier to browse the stands. NARS was offering a 30% discount and some really good value gift sets at £15 each, I noticed that Bobbi Brown were doing their popular Gel Eyeliner for a fraction of the normal price at just £9. As a whole I noticed the show was less crowded but as usual, the NYX queue was mental which for the life of me I cannot understand why! There were also some new faces there like Sugarpill and Violet Voss who were very popular with the neon & glitter fanatics in the room! 

The ladies from Cinema Makeup School working on their model.

This was one of the models which fascinated me the most, I genuinely couldn't work out what was real and what wasn't until the model opened their eyes! This amazing creation was by an artist from Arts University Bournmouth.

This is Zoe Newlove creating her superhero on the Crown Brush stand
The Charles Fox/Kryolan model in progress 
Terminator-esque model walking around the show
I really enjoyed walking around the show and seeing all the different exhibitors, I still say that if I had the money I would take some kind of course in professional makeup application! I managed to catch the end of the Pablo Rodrigues talk on the main stage which was showing all the key runway trends for this coming autumn; he's a real inspiration to any makeup artist! If I went again I would try and plan my day a little better so I could cram in more of the speakers.

This year was actually quite different to 2013 in the fact that I could tell that the show was aimed more at makeup artists than last year. Last year I think it had become a little bit like a meeting place for YouTube fan girls (with the likes of Fleur de Force making an appearance and being hounded at the front door), whereas this year they upped the entry age to over 18s only and the speakers were aimed at those in the industry and for those seriously interested in makeup. I actually found that the feel of the show was much better because of this, even though the Saturday show was sold out it was much less crowded on the whole and it was just a lot more 'grown up'.
Although the discounts didn't seem to be as good as last year, I could see how the show had changed for the better this year and I really hope they keep it the same for next year. As much as I love meeting other bloggers, it shouldn't be the main reason why you visit IMATS; it's primarily for makeup artists and I think they kind of lost sight of that a little last year.

Overall, I really enjoyed my second experience at IMATS. I know lots of you were disappointed when you couldn't get hold of Saturday tickets this year, so my advice would be to buy early next year if you really want to go (you usually get a discount if you buy before a certain date). I would also make sure you plan your day properly so you can make sure you don't miss out on any of the exciting speakers because at the end of the day IMATS isn't just an opportunity to shop till you drop, you also might learn something!