GLOSSIER OVERHAUL

All products - www.glossier.co.uk

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THE BRAND

A firm cult favourite is US brand Glossier, having launched in U.K I was able to try a few of the core products such as boy brow but waited until a trip to the showroom in New York to get the full low-down on all of the range. With the brand rapidly growing and new products being released constantly Glossier offers products which are alcohol free, fragrance free, paraben free, cruelty free, hypoallergenic and dermatologically tested. A conscious skin care and makeup range that is minimal and simple and suitable for all skin types - win! Offering only a small core range of essentials with the cutest pink packaging and branding, it has become the most talked about beauty range of our generation. I couldn't wait to try the rest of the products!

CLOUD PAINT - DUSK (£15)

Cloud Paint is an easy to apply gel-cream blush that is soft, blendable and pillowy in texture. You apply simply by dabbing it onto the apples of your cheeks and blending outwards. it has great coverage and pigment and is available in the most flattering shades, Inspired by gradient pink NYC sunsets. Definitely the key to a dewy glow that appears natural and not too heavy or matte. I would recommend for all skin types, it even stood the test of time on my oily skin in 28 degree NYC heat.

HALOSCOPE - QUARTZ (£18)

Haloscope is a solid stick highlighter that delivers a dual formula with the outer halo ring infused with genuine crystal extracts for light reflecting pigment and glow and the inside core offering a vitamin-rich moisturiser for a hydrated, plump finish. I had seen how dewy and fresh faced Haloscope had made my friends look but was sceptical because of my oily skin type and the oil rich, hydrating ring of the highlighter sounded a little concerning. After trying it on my skin in store, I realised i was only applying the highlighter to around my upper cheek area to contour my face and a little down my nose which aren’t my oiliest problem areas and it gave my skin the natural, fresh faced look I was hoping for. I dislike makeup that is overly thick or unnatural looking so Haloscope delivered on radiant, dewy skin without the glitter and harshness of some other liquid highlighters. I would avoid using this product if you tend to apply highlighter to large areas of your face and are combination-oily. I would stick to using it sparingly across the upper cheeks. Hydrating, natural, dewy and radiant to summarise - not one for the matte finish fans.

STRECH CONCEALER - MEDIUM (£15)

I am not a big concealer wearer, I tend to just use a full coverage foundation in any areas where i need a little extra help but my friend, who swears by concealer for covering a multitude of sins, had nothing but good things to say about Stretch and recommended that i give it a try! The idea behind Stretch Concealer is elastic micro waxes that move with your face instead of caking and sitting on top of it with nourishing oils that give a dewy finish. I found that underneath my eyes, where I tend to be my oiliest, is where I often need a touch up. My mascara has usually transferred under my eyes or my oil has swept away my foundation in that area and so on this occasion on a warm, humid train, i topped up with Stretch. i found that it wasn’t a match for my skin type as after an hour or so, the concealer was sat in my lines, gathered. Being an oily product to start with and then having mixed with my own oils, it felt incredibly hydrating and tacky to touch. I think Stretch is the perfect concealer for a normal-dry skin-type and would offer the most natural barely there finish but it definitely didn’t agree with my oily skin and I couldn’t imagine feeling comfortable applying it to a blemish prone or congested area. Im sadly yet to be convinced by a concealer!

BIRTHDAY BALM DOT COM (£10)

By far the product that I was most impressed by and would repeatedly buy again, Birthday Balm Dot Com reminds me of being in high school and seeking out a super sweet flavoured lip gloss to apply that smelt like a sugary treat. The balm is glossy, but not overly tacky and offers a beautiful, hydrating sheen to the lips making them appear plumper and fuller. The smell is just like birthday cake, inspired by my favourite treat at Milk Bar NYC and i had to stop myself from eating half of the product on application. It lasts a few hours and doesn’t leave your lips dry or sore, offering total protection. i pop it on over my lip pencil, lip stick or on unruly eyebrow hairs and my lids for glow.

LESSONS IN FEMALE FRIENDSHIP

When I was younger, my mother would always encourage me to go and make friends with the new girl who had just moved in across the street. It was a desperate bid to get me out of the house and socialising with another human being that wasn't a part of our family. I would recoil in horror at the thought of striking up a conversation with someone new and would imagine myself back in the safety of my bedroom, curled up with the latest Jacqueline Wilson novel.

Growing up, my family would often comment on how I had always chosen to have just one best friend, who I hated to share with anyone else. I would tell this friend all of my secret games; we would share stories and secrets, I would tell them about the boys that I fancied and occasionally let them wear my favourite black top with diamantes on. I have always been - and still am in many ways - private and closed off to meeting new people. I dissect everyone I meet, wondering if they have similar interests as me, similar humour and whether they will enjoy talking about clothes, books, food and podcasts as much as I do. Recently, I turned twenty-five and found myself spending my birthday weekend happily celebrating with a new friend who I had recently met online and had known a matter of weeks, and I sat wondering when this new sense of openness had arrived and how did I get to where I am today? Was this the beginning of true adulthood and maturity?

In my youth, I had pictured growing older alongside my high school best friends, the group of girls who were my ride or dies and my BFF's for life. They were my crutch throughout the familiar trials and tribulations that being a teenager has to offer. We would hold each other’s hands walking past a group of girls we didn't particularly like in order to show allegiance and strength, we would be a shoulder to cry on whenever one of us had our heart broken for the first time, and through every laugh out loud moment of silliness or rage at not getting what we wanted and how life was just oh-so unfair, we were each others rocks. In this passage of time, known as the 'coming of age years' I was completely devoted to my friendship group and they became my sisterhood, the people who understood me like no-one else did and championed every good or bad decision. We would holiday together, spend every single night in the same bed and would discuss and dissect every part of our lives and anatomy together. It seemed like an unbreakable bond, one that would certainly stand the test of time. It was only as I grew older and became more independent that I began to pull away from the all-encompassing group - I wanted to make my own decisions and choices without question. Initially it left me feeling vulnerable, isolated and exposed. Who was I outside of this friendship group that had shaped me?

After two long years of being in the pressure cooker that is high school without a solid female support network, I began to realise that walking to the beat of my own drum was refreshing. I moved away for college and discovered I could reinvent myself and be whoever I wanted to be. I liked indie music, I didn't really fancy the cool muscular type of guy everyone else did, and I realised that being obsessed with your looks isn’t all that fulfilling. I immersed myself in learning, meeting new people and finding new hobbies and interests.

A new outlook on life and openness led me to meeting one of my closest friends. She was chalk, I was cheese, I had long hair, and she had a pixie crop. She wore charity shop vintage finds, her nan being her fashion icon and I was a TOPSHOP girl through and through with Kate Moss as my poster girl. She was fiercely independent and I was extremely needy. On a wet and miserable day during a windy bus journey to the beach as part of an art trip to 'find inspiration', we realised we had a shared love affair of dancing and R&B music. We took one look at each other and knew we would be in each other’s lives forever. It was an undisclosed stamp of approval and the beginnings of a solid friendship. Soon enough we were inseparable; I would ditch my then-boyfriend to spend time with her doing The Ministry of Sound exercise DVD in a bid to get fit for our upcoming Miami holiday, we would have 'Hangover Hut' in bed where one of us would be forced to embark upon the strenuous task of ordering a Pizza Hut delivery from our phones. At one point, we were so inseparable that we were questioned on whether we had started a lesbian relationship. Best of all, in our group of boisterous male friends she made me laugh more than anyone else ever did. She taught me how to be unashamed of your sexuality, how to not be damningly co-dependent and how to walk away when you are no longer romantically fulfilled. 

After reading Dolly Alderton’s Everything I Know About Love, which as the title suggests, is all about her experiences with the four-letter word, I found myself hardly surprised that the book is mostly about her female friendships and less about her romantic endeavours. She talks so highly of her female companions and how they are the only constant in her life but is keen to stress that true friendship isn't without its hardships. When we develop a strong emotional bond with our friends, we can (though not always knowingly) expose ourselves - the good, the bad and the ugly. But what if over the course of time, the bad and the ugly overrides the light and the laughter? If you naturally grow apart, or the friendship becomes problematic or toxic over time - do we just simply walk away? There seems no attempts at an awkward conversation of uncovering where it went wrong, no blame game or frank conversation i.e. 'you’re driving me insane with your constant boyfriend obsessing' and certainly no sorrow goodbyes. In my experience, we simply choose to move on in a way we very rarely do in a romantic relationship, there seems to be no closure and no discourse when ending a long-term friendship. We accept that we have out grown each other and we move on.

Some of the lessons my friends and I have had to learn to keep our friendships healthy are thus:

1.  When your friend gets a new partner, you will become less close. You'll have to adapt your friendship and its dynamic entirely. You can't go from spending every waking minute with someone to seeing them once a week and think you'll remain extremely close. It takes hard work and effort from both parties and a mutual understanding is necessary. This sad fact is part of growing up: you should be kind and supportive to each other (providing their partner isn't a total douche) if they make your friend happy then you should just be happy for them. Acting jealous is detrimental to your friendship.

2. Your friend will probably ditch you for a sexual partner at some point. This happens to everyone and neither you nor your friend should ever make this a habit. It is true when your mother always says 'never ditch your friends for a guy.' You should learn to find a balance and a way of being in a long term relationship, maintaining your independence and seeing your friends. It keeps you grounded and it is good to have a range of diverse conversations away from your partner. My boyfriend hates rom com's and my friends love them - win!

3. You will probably become jealous when your friend gets a new friend. Its human nature and you'd be lying if you said you didn't from time to time feel the pangs of the green eyed monster. I have a desperate desire to be everyone’s favourite friend and would always see a friend of a friend as competition, but with hindsight – you have to just get over it, welcome their new friend and be nice. Channel that energy in to making your own new friends. As Monica once said to Rachel in F.R.I.E.N.D.S 'me being friends with Julie doesn't make me any less friends with you.'

4. Talk through your issues, always. When all of the above points happened to my friend and I at exactly the same time, I wanted to cut all contact so she knew how mad I was. I was so hurt that she hadn't been in contact, that she had no time for me and I felt like, quite frankly, she valued her new boyfriend over me. When it all went wrong between them and their relationship ended, she finally got in contact and was bemused by my rage, being the more laid back of the two in our friendship. If I had said how I was feeling earlier on and put my bruised ego to one side then it never would have built in to such strong resentment. Always air how you are feeling from the onset.

5. Sometimes you will still always want 'just that one best friend' feeling. If you have read the Dolly Alderton book I referenced earlier then you will have read the delicious passage she writes about having that one best friend: 

I thought about how we’d known each other for twenty years and how, in all that time, I’d never got bored of her. I thought of how I’d only fallen more and more in love with her the older we grew and the more experiences we shared. I thought about how excited I always am to tell her about a good piece of news or get her view when a crisis happens: how she’s still my favourite person to go dancing with. How her value increased, the more history we shared together, like beautiful, precious works of art hanging in my living room. The familiarity and security and sense of calm that her love bathed me in.

Never stop your search for a true soul-sister, someone who you can connect with on every level. Cheesy as it may be, she's out there!

6. Friendship is a two way street. I used to fall in to the habit of wondering whether to stubbornly reply to a so-called friend who I hadn't heard from in a while. A friend but not a close friend, who would often get in touch just to offload all of their problems, talk endlessly about their busy work schedule and why they haven't been in touch, about how their latest boyfriend drama has taken over their lives or just to bitch about another friend you've never even met. I decided to stop replying to those friends who use all of your resources and drain you of all of your energy without so much as a 'hey, how are you?' first. It is exhausting, time consuming and in the end you gain nothing. Ask yourself, if you never contacted them first - would you have a friendship? If they didn't need your emotional support, would they stick around?

7. Sometimes you can lose a friend and you aren't sure why. I used to have a best friend. We had the same taste in music, clothes and our humour was dry and self-deprecating. She was one of the only friends who I ever really let myself feel vulnerable around. She knew all of my horrible traits and loved me anyway and I loved her for that. She never judged me, she never appeased me and was always a support to my co-dependent ways. Slowly as time passed, we became too complacent within our friendship and could only ever bond over the hard-core emotional stuff, so much so that we forgot about the fundamentals of being a good friend and it became more and more awkward when nothing dramatic was happening in our lives. Our friendship became a wallowing pit of self destruction and we were more like therapists to one another than friends. Slowly we lost touch, in the wake of our own happiness, we had nothing to say. Now that time has passed, I wonder if she's grown like I have and that we could become friends again. I occasionally scroll through social media and look back on all of our memories and the fun that we once had together and wonder how we ever drifted apart.

8. Be a cheerleader for your friends. I always make the effort to tell my friends that I love or miss them because who doesn't feel instantly warm inside when they receive a message saying 'I miss you'? If my friend posts a hot selfie or they share a fantastic article they have written or even just manages to get out of bed for the first time post-break up, it is so important to be a cheerleader woop-wooping them for their achievements no matter how trivial or small.

9.  Try not to spread yourself too thinly across many different friendship groups. Being the tight-knit friendship group person that I am, this has never been a problem for me but certainly has for some of my friends. I have a friends for whom I am just one of many close friends. The social butterflies that I know often send rushed 'so sorry I haven't been in contact for 6 weeks, I have been seeing X, Y and Z, along with work, planning a holiday with A, B asked me to the cinema last night and I'm now dating C.' I think people see this form of lifestyle as aspirational and typically millennial when in fact, it can be draining and damaging to your friendships. I noticed how my friends who forge this cycle of constant activity are always the ones who appear distracted at dinner and have their smart-phones within reach, never really being present. If a jam-packed schedule makes them genuinely happy, that’s great but ensure that they seek some well-needed downtime now and again. You will find out over time how people operate and how often they have time for you. 

10. Find what works for you and never settle for being treated in a way you would never treat anybody else. It goes without saying really but we are all living, breathing, hormonal human beings and we all make mistakes. Choosing to live your life alongside anybody is no easy ride. There will always be lows to bolster the highs. I have realised over the course of my twenties that I will never be a social butterfly and I will never seek to categorise my friends and break off tiny parts of my personality to suit certain people. I want friendship to be whole and encompassing and for the few people I do let in to my life, to be the ones who stay and see me through all aspects of life. I have friends who I will message all day, everyday and who I can spend hours talking to without coming up for air and others for whom I will see once a month for a lengthy catch up and a realisation that we have become different people and that our lives have changed but fundamentally we still have a shared love of certain things. 

Recently I had become resigned to the fact that I wouldn’t meet any more female leads to star in the story of my life. I was nearing twenty-five and with university over and the avenues of friendship in my current job exhausted, I feared my friendship-seeking gateway pass had expired. One afternoon, I was sat writing a blog post on my laptop when I took to Instagram for a welcome distraction. I was a pro in procrastination. ‘Oh I am DYING to eat in this restaurant!!!!’ I wrote, to a female online acquaintance after seeing a delicious plate of food on my screen. ‘We should go together one time, the gnocchi was amazing but I want to go back to try the octopus’ she replied. Another shiny red notification pinged in my inbox from a female writer I had long admired ‘So glad you liked the article’ it read, ‘we should meet up for a coffee sometime.’ My old self would have rapidly replied with all will and intent of meeting up and agreed hastily, finding that when actually pressed for a time or date I would never commit. I hated the unknown and the anxiety of meeting someone new. What would we talk about? Would it be really awkward? I don’t even know this person so how could I talk to them aimlessly for an entire lunch hour? In the haze of irrational thinking, I was overridden with a sense of curiosity and optimism – what do I really have to lose here?

The worst-case scenario would be that we realised our perfectly constructed Instagram feeds hid the fact that we were both in actual fact, complete morons and we would go our separate ways. I realised how far fetched this thinking was, if I knew I was a decent person then the likelihood was that they were too. Although a culmination of online images should be taken with a pinch of salt, they too could be a real reflection of who they were online and what they stood for, I did too. I had seen the workings of this person already and had agreed with their views, had already pictured myself wearing the cute Zara dress they purchased last week and had envisaged scenarios of us becoming besties over a glass of Aperol Spritz whilst putting the world to rights. I already kind of knew who they were through the powers of social media. I took the plunge and agreed to meet both girls, fixing a time and a place. Naturally the conversation came in abundance and we found ourselves finishing the other ones sentences. I was in awe at how easy the company was but really I shouldn’t have been surprised at all. We had chosen each other and had chosen to be here. We weren’t forced by our mothers or our school timetable to be friends. We had sought this connection for ourselves.

I would encourage other women to do the same and to reach out to someone who you have long admired online and tell them what you love about them or their work. Maybe even suggest a grabbing a coffee together because you never know where it could lead. As I raised my glass at midnight to ring in my twenty-fifth birthday, I reflected on all of the shortcomings and bloody brilliant moments that friendship has afforded me and was grateful to myself for being bold enough to put myself out there, having met some really wonderful women along the way. 

MY FAVOURITE & MOST USED APPS

Since like most people, I spend a fair bit of time on my smart phone, I have found it to be more useful than ever for organising and inspiring my day to day life through using different app's. I live for Pinterest and spend hours selecting images for my style mood board, perusing vegetarian recipes and lusting after unaffordable interior design items. Usually whilst browsing said boards, I have Spotify playing one of my favourite Frank Ocean tracks and whilst attempting to put down my phone for some offline solitude, I find myself hooked having 'one last scroll' through Instagram or Twitter, my two favourite social apps. Here are some other lesser known favourites I couldn't live without.


HEADSPACE

Free with in app purchases - iTunes Store

 

Headspace is a guided meditation app which focuses on relieveing mild symptoms of anxiety, depression and stress. The app offers a range of techniques and exercises to help encourage wellness, restfulness and to aid sleep meaning a more product day will follow. Headspace allows you some quiet time and the chance to train your mind, becoming in tune with your thoughts and not allowing them to distract or concern you. The series of thought training techniques helps us to control our panic in a stressful situation. Headspace allows you the option to select anything from a daily meditation on a topic of your choosing, 2-3 minute 'mini meditations' or 'SOS meditations' for when you have intense feelings of panic or anxiety. Headspace really does offer a library full of stimulation including sleep sounds to help you drift off. One of my favourite features of the app is that it sends you push notifications of 'mindful moments' which are thought provoking memos to help keep you present and aware throughout the day. As someone who doesn't manage stress very well and often gets anxious and overwhelmed by the smallest of things, Headspace has helped find some restorative time. 

 

VSCO

Free with in app purchases - iTunes Store

 

I receive so many messages from people online asking how I edit my pictures and VSCO is one of my favourite photo editing apps. I have used VSCO ever since it was released in 2011 and no-one really knew how to use it, myself included. I mostly played around with the pre sets and experimented with edits until I found a style I liked. VSCO allows you to import your photos and sharpen, adjust the brightness and contrast and add the popular editing effect of 'grain' to photographs. To get the most out of the app, I would recommend purchasing all of the pre set's, they are fairly inexpensive and it offers you a huge range of options to play around with. 

 

AIRBNB

Free - iTunes Store

 

As most of you are aware, whenever I travel I use Airbnb, so this is definitley one of my most used apps! Ever since browsing for a budget accommodation on a city break to Copenhagen, I became hooked. I love the experience that Airbnb offers, you get to live like a local when you stay in somebody else's home and experience a new place without the distanced feel of a hotel. Whether you rent an entire apartment/house or simply rent a room, your host can offer you a world of local knowledge. I love to quiz my host beforehand on where is great to eat, to shop and what are the best neighbourhoods to visit. With Airbnb there is a personal relationship and genuine communication that very rarely happens when you check in to a hotel. My favourite thing about browsing the app is that it suggests fun activities to try in your upcoming destination and you can use the price, location and accommodation filters to find exactly what you're looking for. We have sourced accommodation as cheap as £30 per night to a more luxurious stay at around £285 per night. The app caters to all budgets and requests. Airbnb is completely safe and you must be registered and verified to be either a host or a guest. Any issues, Airbnb are on hand to resolve your queries through a call centre or email and for further reassurance, the company hold your money until you arrive and are happy with your accomodation. A brilliant, money saving app that has allowed me to travel as much as I have over the past three years. I could not recommend it enough!

 

TREATWELL

Free - iTunes Store

 

After moving from Liverpool to London, I found myself desperately searching for a good hair salon, manicurist, waxer, masseuse - the list goes on. Liverpool is a hub of glamour and beauty and over my twenty four years I had navigated my way through all of the hotspots and had found my trusty favourites, so moving to a new city felt like starting all over again. In a place as large as London, I felt overwhelmed and this is when I discovered Treatwell. An online hair and beauty booking system showcases your nearest and best rated salons offering you a discounted price and convenient time slot with your favourite consultant. You can use it in any city and the app are always emailing out generous loyalty vouchers and promo codes for your next booking.

 

MAPS.ME

Free - iTunes Store

 

Since Jamie and I were often travelling in the days before data roaming became free to use, we desperately sought a solution to get us from A-B when navigating a new city. We downloaded Maps.Me which is an offline map that helps you travel from one destination to the other. Sounds pretty simple right? but what I really love about this app is the fact that it lets you plot and colour code your visiting points and attractions on the map. For example, all restaurants are in pink, all cafes in red, all art galleries in blue and so on. This simple tool has helped us source the nearest cafe for a drink when walking for miles and is extremely useful for creating a a day plan and helping maximise our time. A ciy break essential for those who love to be organised when travelling!

 

MEXTURES

£1.99 - iTunes Store

 

Mextures is another great photo editing app that allows you to add light leaks, colourful filters and vintage looks to your images. I found the one off payment offers you a great selection of different light enhancements to play with and also some great grunge, radiance and grain textures too. A really fun app to play around with if you are looking for something a little different from your editing style.

 

UNUM

Free with in app purchases - iTunes Store

 

UNUM is one of my favourite and most used apps and has always been my little secret - until now! It is essentially an Instagram feed planner, which if your Instagram is as un-spontaneous and meticulously thought out as mine is (I know - where's all the fun right?) then this is the app for you! UNUM uploads your live instagram feed and allows you a selection of grids and the option to arrange and order your photos. The app also allows you to temporarily delete pictures so you can play around with your feed and see what images work best before uploading. A really handy and practical app for anyone who uses their instagram professionally or for business. 

 


 

 

CHARLOTTE TILBURY - THE DOLCE VITA EYE PALETTE

£39 - John Lewis

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THE BRAND

Charlotte Tilbury is a hugely popular makeup brand here in the U.K offering luxurious, high end products. As always with my skincare and beauty recommendations, the brand is cruelty free and does not test finished products or ingredients on animals. The Tilbury look is glamorous and soft with a hint of sexy, offering the perfect products if you're looking for makeup that will help you achieve a natural, glowing sun kissed look. 

 

MY DESIRED LOOK AND EXPECTATIONS

I used to prefer wearing really dramatic makeup of an evening and would usually opt for darker eyeshadow shades such as greys, silvers and blacks. After toning down my makeup in recent years and having a consultation with the gorgeous Christine at Tilbury in Liverpool, I became drawn to softer, more flattering shades such as nudes, pinks and browns. Christine demonstrated how to emphasise my dark features without the use of harsh black or silver tones and I now wear brown mascara daily. To create a dramatic evening look I wanted to try the palette at home for myself. I am looking for something fairly low maintenance, natural looking and easy to apply. 

 

PROS

The Dolce Vita palette has all of the shades I am looking to use in one evening. It has rusty pinks to colour, champagne nudes to highlight and sultry bronzes to enhance. The shades compliment each other perfectly and are subtle enough to see you from day to night. The powders are velvety soft in texture, allowing an easy blend across the eyelid and are highly pigmented to build coverage. I have been using the coffee shade just underneath my lash line as opposed to eyeliner and it works beautifully. The palette is also demonstrated online as complimenting all skin types and tones and shows tips on how to achieve the best results. The compact style and mirror is simple and easy to use and is travel friendly. I could not recommend this palette enough if you are looking for a low maintenance, natural makeup look that still offers you a hint of glamour. 

 

CONS

The palette is a little on the pricy side in comparison to other brands, but the packaging and quality of the product certainly make up for the cost. The Dolce Vita definitely delivers on luxury. 


THE ORDINARY - GRANACTIVE RETINOID 2% IN SQUALANE

30ml - £7.80

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THE BRAND

Cult favourite The Ordinary have taken the beauty world by storm in offering affordable and effective skincare. Cruelty free, they use scientific formulas to create a range of products that are free from silicones, oils, gluten, nuts, alcohol and soy. Their website tool guide tells you what is in your product, what the products will do for your skin and what they feel like upon and after application. There is also a forum when buying the products to communicate with The Ordinary staff and ask any questions regarding the products.

 

MY SKIN & EXPECTATIONS

If you have read my previous product reviews, you will know that my skin is oily and tends to be blemish prone. I had read about retinol being the only ingredient to actually give our skin the nutrients that it needs. Packed with vitamin A derivatives, retinol has been hailed as the holy grail of all skincare. It is proven to boost collagen production, speed cell turnover and unclog pores. Meaning rejuvenated, dewy skin is here to stay, even if I forget to drink three litres of water per day!
 

PROS

According to The Ordinary, this water-free, vegan solution contains a 2% concentration of an advanced retinoid active complex called Granactive Retinoid that has been shown to offer better results against multiple signs of ageing than retinol without any of the irritation and drawbacks common with retinol. I had heard about building a tolerance to retinol as it can be quite harsh and skin is initially very sensitive to use. However, I have been using this product for over a month and even on my initial application I experienced no irritation whatsoever. I woke up with smaller looking pores, the pesky red marks Id had from spots were drastically reduced and my skin, for the first time ever - looked dewy! My oil was completely balanced and I haven't had to use a moisturiser for a month, which seems like an alien concept to me. My pigmentation is virtually gone and I haven't ever used a product which seems to work as well as this does. I honestly could not recommend it enough!

 

CONS

Using any product with retinol means you need to protect your skin with a strong SPF. I always wear a factor 30-50 as retinol increases sensitivity to sunlight and can cause your skin to burn easily. Try to only apply this product at nighttime. Initially retinol may seem daunting to other oily skin type users as the consistancy does feel similar to an oil. However, it absorbs quickly into the skin and your complexion is completley matte come morning time. 


 

 

MY BEDSIDE TABLE

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I think the items we keep on our bedside table share a story about who we are and how we like to live. Mine is always kept very minimal. I like to have a tidy and simple living space and I don't like my bedroom to feel too cluttered or have lots of objects scattered around. When I get in to bed, I like to take time to unwind and relax before going to sleep. On my beside table is only my essentials.

 

I take my Aesop Resurrection Hand Balm with me everywhere I go. It smells like heaven. Lavender is one of my favourite ingredients, it is so calming and soothing. Whenever I feel a little irritable or stressed, applying this before bed instantly distresses my mind and the balm works wonders on my hands! I hate the feeling of dry skin or rough cuticles, so this products is a must. I carry one in my handbag too. For a little extra cuticle hydration try the & Other Stories Cuticle Saviour, it stops any hard skin from forming around your nails and keeps your nail bed strong and healthy. 

 

My small grey ceramic plates are from O/HP/E in Paris. I love to collect locally made objects so that you can bring a little part of the city back home with you. I use one plate to keep my vitamins on, I take two capsules of Evening Primrose Oil which helps to keep my skin healthy and my hormones balanced. I also take Omega 3 for getting those essential fatty acids in, it is great for your heart, skin and your joints. I love holistic and alternative medicine and I am a big believer in the benefits of vitamins. The other is my Liz Earle Superskin Night Concentrate Oil which comes in a pocket sized, roller ball applicator. The brand is of course, cruelty free and the night concentrate is packed full of rich, essential oils such as argan and organic rosehip oils, soothing neroli, lavender and camomile with added antioxidant vitamin E. All of the ingredients are naturally and ethically sourced too! Although I have oily skin, the concentrate is a rebalancing oil and is suitable for all skin types. It helps with any pigmentation and scarring as well as making my skin super smooth.

 

The other ceramic plate holds my beloved Diptyque Ambre candle. I have candles all over my bedroom but this one is special. I am obsessed with anything smelling of amber, cedar wood, sandalwood or vetiver so this is the perfect candle for me. It definitely delivers a powerful woody scent and makes me feel ready for bed after burning for twenty minutes. 

 

My favourite thing to do before going to sleep is to read. We don't have a TV in our room because I would much rather read or listen to music to unwind. I tend to read every evening and go through a new book quite quickly. My all time favourite has to be Patti Smith - Just Kids where Patti describes finding her feet in 1970's New York. Such a gorgeous memoir and Smith is the perfect story teller. For Christmas I received her second memoir M Train, a story of Smith's life since losing her husband. 

 


 

 

LIZ EARLE - SHEER SKIN TINT BRONZING FLUID

40ml - £26

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THE BRAND

Liz Earle is a British beauty brand who are cruelty free and vegetarian, using only the finest botanical ingredients. Harnessing naturally active ingredients, they’ve developed a cult following for their range of skincare, haircare and body care. Liz Earle products offer a fuss-free, simple routine which anyone, regardless of age, gender or skin concerns can use. Their customers are at the heart of the brand and the specialists aim to deliver honest, accurate advice depending on your needs. 

 

MY SKIN AND EXPECTATIONS

I have oily skin and I am looking for something to use in the winter months to give my skin a little glow, some natural colour and make my skin look refreshed and radiant. 

 

PROS

The bronzing fluid has a really deep colour which initially I thought would be too dark for my pale skin, however after dropping a couple of beads in to my foundation, I found it gave my makeup a luminous, dewy finish. My skin appeared more sun kissed and the look was natural and not too bronzed or heavy. The bronzing fluid contains lots of hydrating ingredients such as meadowfoam seed, borage seed and avocado oils. Alaria esculenta extract and natural source vitamin E is also used to leave skin looking revitalised.  After trialling the fluid for a further week, I discovered I preferred using it as a contour come highlighter. Brushing the liquid across my cheekbones and temples using a foundation brush worked really well with the light reflecting particles.

 

CONS

A little pricey for a product that you will use sparingly but at least it will last longer. A little does go a long way. The product is definitely too dark to use on it own, unless you are already a bronzed goddess and does need to be mixed with your existing foundation. Hence the name, the product is very sheer and is like a milk in consistency so if you are looking for something thicker and more long lasting - or something that can stand alone on skin then this isn't the product for you. 


SUNDAY'S CHILLED PLAYLIST

My favourite thing to do on a Sunday morning is laze around, have breakfast in bed and listen to a super chilled out playlist. I have a premium subscription to Spotify and can honestly say, it is the best thing money can buy so here are a couple of my favourites! 


1. Mac DeMarco - Let My Baby Stay

2. Christopher Owens - Heroine

3. The Growlers - Derka Blues

4. Her's - What Once Was

5. Day Wave - You

6. Swim Deep - King City

7. Cigarettes After Sex - Apocalypse

8. Devendra Banhart - Fur Hildegard von Bingen

9. Homeshake - Making a Fool of You

10. Father John Misty - Real Love Baby

11. MGMT - Hand It Over

12. Real Estate - Talking Backwards

13. The Drums - Days

14. Solange - Cranes in The Sky

15. Ariel Pink - Baby

 

GLOSSIER - BOY BROW IN BROWN

0.11 oz - £14

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THE BRAND

Another firm cult favourite is US brand Glossier, having recently launched in U.K I was able to finally try the products that have been sat on my wish list after what feels like, the longest wait! The brand offers products which are alcohol free, fragrance free, paraben free, cruelty free, hypoallergenic and dermatologically tested, meaning they are suitable for all skin types. Offering only a small core essential range with the cutest pink packaging and branding, it has become 2017's most talked about beauty range. I couldn't wait to try Boy Brow having heard rave reviews and seeing it voted a beauty game changer by Teen Vogue.

 

MY BROWS & EXPECTATIONS

I have really neat, thin brows which I don't pluck or wax. They are a lot lighter than my naturally dark brown hair so I often look for products to darken the hairs and bulk up the fibres to make them appear fuller.

 

PROS

The wand has a really small brush head and is super easy to apply. Boy Brow gives you the flexibility and movement to style and comb your brows in any direction, whilst adding the most natural shade of colour. I loved the brown, it was the perfect shade and the product was weighted enough to keep my brows in place all day. 

 

CONS

Boy Brow was more of a coloured pomade and once dried, it left my brows a little flat and matted down. I tend to prefer a comb style wand, it clings to my hairs and bulks up the individual stands rather than just colouring and flattening them. It didn't give me the 3D brow fullness I was hoping for.


THE ORDINARY - COVERAGE FOUNDATION

30ml - £5.90

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THE BRAND

Cult favourite The Ordinary have taken the beauty world by storm in offering affordable and effective skincare. Cruelty free, they use scientific formulas to create a range of products that are free from silicones, H20, oils, gluten, nuts, alcohol and soy. Their website tool guide tells you what is in your product, what the products will do for your skin and what they feel like upon and after application. There is also a forum when buying the products to communicate with The Ordinary staff and ask any questions regarding the products. 

 

MY SKIN & EXPECTATIONS

As someone with very oily skin, I need a full coverage foundation that will last. Usually people with oil prone skin tend to opt for a matte look, but I like my makeup to appear dewy, fresh and natural on the skin. This is near impossible when most foundations with any staying power make my skin look flat, dry and overly matte. In the past I have worn Double Wear by Estee Lauder. It offers great coverage but is chalky and dull on the skin. Other foundations I have tried that offer a dewy finish would make my mascara slide, giving me black under eye circles come lunchtime. Primers do nothing for me and I am looking for a cruelty free foundation that is light yet full coverage with staying power.

 

PROS

Recently switching to cruelty free makeup and skin care regime, I am an avid fan of The Ordinary and decided to try their Coverage Foundation. Very affordable at £5.90, even if I hated it, I hadn't spent a fortune testing it. The foundation was available in a wide range of shades offering matches for silver, gold, yellow and pink undertones. I found the perfect colour match in 1.1N. I am very fair with yellow undertones and often find foundations too dark with a lot of red pigment. A medium-full coverage foundation that doesn't feel chalky or dying - finally! It contains no oil, great for my skin, without being overly mattifying. It has a silky consistency and glides across the skin. It gave me a dewy natural look without sliding. A little goes a long way too, even with such a small bottle.

 

CONS

Sadly I couldn't wear this around the eye area without some additional mattifying products, it just didn't have the coverage alone to cover my dark undereye circles, but a little concealer top up and I was good all day. I would wear this as my daily foundation but would want to opt for something a little heavier for a night out.


AESOP - VOLUMISING SHAMPOO & NURTURING CONDITIONER

200ml - £17

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THE BRAND

I love Aesop. Their philosophy and incorporation of design is inspired. The branding and packaging is non gendered and minimal, with the concept stores offering an unrivalled retail experience. The products are combined using natural, botanical, vegan ingredients and Aesop is cruelty free. I have always purchased the Resurrection Hand Balm and Wash and had been meaning to try the haircare range for a little while after my boyfriend tried the Hair Balm and became obsessed. 

 

MY HAIR & EXPECTATIONS

My hair is fine, but there is a lot of it and it is not oily at all. I opted for the Volumising Shampoo as my long, non layered hair style tends to weigh my hair down. It often has little bounce or volume at the root and I like it to feel really soft and silky with a good shine. 

 

PROS

The key ingredients in Volumising Shampoo include Fennel Seed, Peppermint Leaf and Rosemary Leaf with the strongest aroma being Peppermint, which I love. It smells clean and as though my hair is being purified from the Argan oil I use daily on the ends. You only need a very small amount of the product and lots of water to create a lather. There was no residue after drying and my hair felt like it had more volume and a visible shine.  The Nurturing Conditioner is similar in that only a small amount is needed for application, as the product is thick, which I much prefer from a conditioner. The key ingredients include, Tocopherol, Sweet Almond and Shea Butter and the products feels creamy and rich. My hair was soft when dry and the ends felt sealed and thicker. 

 

CONS

The shampoo may feel a little too purifying for some and the scent of the conditioner isn't my favourite. It smells a little like hair dye once you begin rinsing.