June Favourites

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Today’s post is very exciting because it is the first of my Monthly Favourites.  At the end of each month, I will review five or six products that I have reached for again and again during the past four weeks.  So here are my most loved products from June:

This Works Perfect Legs Skin Miracle

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My first favourite from June is the Perfect Legs Skin Miracle from the brand This Works.  The name of this product includes two very big words: ‘perfect’ and ‘miracle’.  Even the brand name piques your interest and builds expectation.  But I’m happy to say that this product definitely delivers.  Summer officially began in June here in the UK and this product helped ease me into those first tricky days of exposing my poor sun-deprived legs in summer skirts and dresses.  I am fair-skinned and I have come to accept that, but this stuff just takes the edge off.  It is a dark brown gel that sheers out to give you a very natural sun-kissed glow.  It describes itself as a serum that smoothes and perfects your legs.  I also love the fact that it smells really good so you avoid the horrid biscuity fake-tan smell.

Jelly Sandals

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Continuing along the summer theme, my next favourite is also perfect for this time of year.  I think jellies are the Marmite of the footwear world; you either love them or you hate them.  I loved them when I was little and I couldn’t be happier that it is once again socially acceptable to go out and about with jelly-clad feet (although I think my mum and sister might disagree with me on that one!)  I got this pair from Asos and they were only £10.  I particularly liked them because the ‘jelly’ has a more purply-blue hue to it rather than the grey ones I have seen around.  They are insanely comfortable, sparkle in the sun and they make any colour you’re wearing on your toe nails look incredible.

The Balm Frat Boy Blush

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Next up is the Frat Boy blush from The Balm.  I mentioned this blush in a previous post, which you can read here, and I still love it.  In fact, I hardly wore anything else on my cheeks all month.  It is just so good for brightening up your complexion and giving you that natural, lit-from-within flush.  And unlike a lot of powder blushes it doesn’t fade at all – the formula is so pigmented it has an almost buttery consistency and you can still see it on your cheeks at the end of the day.  I think this blush would look great on all skin tones.

Life NK Daily Fix Muscle Relief Bath Soak

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For me, this next product was love at first smell.  I was browsing the minis section in Space NK after work (OMG the minis section – am I right?), I just casually opened this to give it a sniff and I was hooked.  I knew instantly that it was coming home with me.  The scent is very difficult to describe but it’s absolutely gorgeous; it’s not particularly feminine, in fact a man could definitely use this as well, and it has hints of mint.  When you pour it into the bath it fills the whole room with its delicious aroma and it is perfect for a nice, relaxing soak.  It doesn’t really create any bubbles and I haven’t yet tried it out on sore muscles so I cannot vouch for the ‘muscle relief’ claims but it is still a really lovely product and I am I keen to try more things from this brand.

Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat

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My next June favourite is the Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat.  I am probably very late to the party with this one but the hype is totally justified.  This is hands down (pun intended) the best top coat I have ever used.  It dries so fast – we’re talking seconds here! – and it makes your nail polish look so glossy, with an almost gel-like finish.  Plus, when I first tried this, my nail polish stayed chip free for a whole week…a week!

Charlotte Tilbury Makeup Bag

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My final favourite from the month of June is my gorgeous Charlotte Tilbury makeup bag.  There are no words to describe how much I love this makeup bag; it is so sophisticated and luxurious.  I adore rose gold and so Charlotte Tilbury’s products always look great to me anyway but I love the lipstick pattern to this and the fun quotation on the back.  It is a good size (quite Tardis -like in fact) but it is still squashy enough to be easily packed.  I have so far managed to keep the cream material clean but I love the fact that the material inside the bag is black because then the inevitable marks from your makeup don’t show up.

That’s it for my June Favourites, I hope you liked my first post like this.  Let me know what you’ve been loving this month.

x

 

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Acne Series Part Three: General Chat

This evening’s post is the last in my three-part series for Acne Awareness Month.  So far I’ve covered skincare and makeup but today I want to chat more generally about acne and my experiences.

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It’s often the case that blemishes and breakouts can be the result of an unhealthy lifestyle, stress or poor skincare but for an unlucky minority acne is not so easily explained and therefore much harder to remedy.  Whether it’s hormonal or genetic, chronic acne that you just can’t seem to grow out of is the toughest of them all and can really affect your confidence and self image.

The internet has so much conflicting advice and there are thousands of products claiming to be that miracle cure.  Sometimes it’s just not your fault and nothing you try gets rid of it.  If you’ve been struggling with acne for a long time and it just won’t budge, my advice would be to go and see your doctor.  And don’t feel that you’re being petty or superficial by admitting that your acne bothers you; if it’s getting you down then you owe it to yourself to explore every avenue.

Your GP can offer you multiple remedies to try from topical treatments to antibiotics and if one option doesn’t work, try the next one.  If your skin is really bad then your doctor can refer you to a dermatologist.

As well as trying to fix the problem, I have one more piece of advice and it is much easier said than done; in fact it’s an attitude I am trying to adopt myself.  There are days when acne can make you feel so low that you want to avoid mirrors completely and just hide under the covers, but you can’t let spots ruin your life.  It could be so much worse, so try to focus on more positive things; I bet that no matter what your skin looks like your family will still love you or your friends will still be there for you.  They love you for you and they won’t care about a few nasty red spots.

Try not to be afraid to go out in the world without any makeup on.  I love days when I don’t have to wear makeup and I can just let my skin breathe.  People are generally pretty self-involved and so while you’re worrying that they’re judging you for your less-than-perfect complexion, they probably more concerned with how they look.  Your spots will appear ten times worse to you than they do to anyone else so try not to let them inhibit you.

Not being able to control or improve your skin can be very demoralising, so try and focus on other things in your life that you can make better.  Whether it’s taking more exercise, reading more often, spending more time with your friends, dive into things that will distract you from your skin and get things back into perspective.

Finally, give yourself a break.  Don’t beat yourself up about it.  Take whatever steps you can to fix it and then the rest of the time try not to think about it.  Do things that make you happy rather than dwelling on your skin.

If you have acne and happen to have stumbled across this post, I hope you have found it helpful.  I would love to hear any advice that you might have and how you cope with spots.

Have a great week and don’t let those spots get you down!

X

Acne Series Part Two: Makeup

It’s me again, with the second part of my Acne Series!  And this time, the topic of the day is: makeup.

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When you have blemishes, makeup can be both a blessing and a curse.  On the one hand it allows you to cover up those nasty red bumps and go out into the world feeling shielded and less self-conscious.  On the other hand, slapping a load of foundation and concealer on your face can clog your pores further and provoke breakouts.  It’s a vicious cycle and, as much as I love makeup, I hate feeling reliant on it.

I’ve discovered a few tips and products to help put a stop to the horrid makeup/acne catch 22.

1. Wash your makeup brushes regularly

I know it’s boring but this is a really important one.  Brushes that get used over and over again start to build up bacteria and the last thing you want to do when you have acne is smear that bacteria all over your face.  Try to get into a routine of washing your brushes at least once a week.  You don’t need to spend a fortune on special brush soap; you can just use a cheap and cheerful drugstore shampoo.  I like the Boots Essentials Two-in-One shampoo because it cleans and conditions your brushes as well as leaving them smelling fresh.

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2. Prep your skin

Instead of applying makeup directly onto your skin, try using a primer first.  I use the Smashbox Photo Finish Primer with Blemish Control.  It contains that little skincare gem salicylic acid which works to prevent your pores becoming clogged.  Having a protective layer between your skin and your makeup can help to reduce breakouts.  An added bonus is that this primer will also help your makeup to apply more easily and last longer.

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3. Pick your base products carefully

When it comes to base products I like to invest in higher quality formulas.  Don’t get me wrong, I love drugstore makeup – why buy a £20 mascara when you can get a better one from Boots for £8? – but with bases it’s a slightly different story.  Your foundation or BB cream sits directly on your skin and so if you pick a cheap, nasty one full of chemicals it’s not going to do your complexion any favours in the long run.  Shop around for a good quality foundation that has skin-loving ingredients that won’t aggravate your spots.  I swear by the Dior Skin Nude BB Cream because it is so gentle and I know it’s not going to make my skin worse.  It may be an eye-watering £30 but my tube lasted me a year and I wore it to work nearly every day.  Plus, you’ll save money in the long run because the better your skin is, the less foundation you will need to apply.

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4. Pick and choose where you apply it

When you have acne, the temptation is to pile on a lot of high coverage foundation all over your face – a mask to hide the skin underneath.  But this can actually make your skin look worse.  Very few people have spots that cover their entire faces.  Whether it’s your forehead or your cheeks (for me it’s my chin), breakouts will usually be localised to one or two areas of your face.  So don’t hide the other areas where your skin is actually good by slapping on a thick layer of foundation where you don’t really need it.  Opt for less or no coverage in the areas where your skin is clear and use a higher coverage foundation or concealer only in the areas where you have spots.  Enhancing the healthy, beautiful, clear skin on your face, will help draw attention away from the areas that are less good.  I apply a thin, well-blended layer of my BB cream first which lets my clear skin shine through and then I go in with a higher coverage foundation like Vichy Dermablend or my Collection Lasting Perfection concealer just to cover the spots on my chin.  The Vichy Dermablend foundation is great for covering acne because it is mattifying and hypo-allergenic.  It also has SPF 35 which will help reduce scarring and hyper pigmentation caused by exposure to the sun.

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I hope you have found something useful in today’s post.  These tips have certainly helped me deal with my acne.  Do you know of any good makeup products for blemish-prone skin?

x

 

Acne Series Part One: Skincare

As June is ‘Acne Awareness Month’, I thought I would do a series of three posts about that sensitive subject.  I have had problems with my skin since I was a teenager (I am now 24 and still blighted by pesky blemishes) and over the years I have picked up a few dos, don’ts, tips and tricks which I want to put out into the ether in the hope that someone might find them useful.  Today’s post will focus on skincare, the second post will cover makeup and the final post will be a general chat.  So let’s do this!

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When it comes to acne, whether it’s chronic or just the occasional hormonal breakout, skincare is extremely important.  Here are a few useful pieces of advice that I have found helpful.

  1. Thoroughly remove makeup

As much as I love makeup, it can often aggravate acne, especially if you don’t remove it properly at the end of each day.  I would suggest that the first thing you do when you get home in the evening is thoroughly remove your makeup; and I’m afraid a cleansing wipe is just not going to cut it!  Cleansing oils and micellar waters are the most effective methods of makeup removal – I use both!  First I go in with my Melvita Milky Cleansing oil to breakdown the majority of my makeup (it’s even good for getting rid of waterproof mascara) and then, once I have rinsed that off, I go in with my trusty Bioderma on a cotton pad.  The great thing about Bioderma is that you can see if there is any makeup left on your face because it will show up on the cotton pad.  Don’t stop until the cotton pad comes up completely clean.

But note: this is not a substitute for actually cleansing your skin!  First remove your makeup then go in with your regular cleanser to actually clean the skin.

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2. Some ingredients to look out for

A lot of skin care products targeted at acne can be very harsh and leave your skin feeling stripped and dry so knowing which ingredients to look out for can really help you find a good quality product that will help tackle spots as well as caring for your skin.  So what should you look for?

  • Salicylic acid or Beta-Hydroxy Acid (which actually comes from willow bark) can be found in lots of skincare products.  It is great for getting down into clogged pores and clearing them out.  It is also an anti-inflammatory.
  • Benzoyl Peroxide is an anti-bacterial chemical which helps to reduce the bacteria on the skin that can clog pores and cause breakouts.
  • The ingredients on the back of skin care products are listed in order of quantity, so the more of something there is in a product the earlier it will appear in the list of ingredients.   Try to avoid products that list alcohol as one of the main ingredients as this can dry skin out.
  • Some natural ingredients that can help with acne are Tea Tree (100% pure tea tree oil can be used directly on a blemish as a spot treatment and is easy to get hold of) and Aloe Vera, which is very soothing and great for calming redness

3. Wash your hands

In general I would say try not to touch your face if you have acne because your hands carry lots of bacteria that you pick up throughout the day.  Touching your skin just transfers these bacteria onto your face.  So when it’s time to wash your face at the end of the day make sure you wash your hands first.

Finally, here are a couple of my favourite products:

The Body Shop Tea Tree Cool and Creamy Cream Wash, £5

This is a really lovely product – it contains lots of good ingredients including Salicylic acid and Community Fair Trade organic tea tree.  It is a creamy consistency and is non-foaming (this is a real advantage because lots of foaming acne products can be quite drying) and leaves the skin feeling soft and hydrated.  It also gives a lovely cool sensation which is really refreshing and awakening.

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Neutrogena Visibly Clear Spot Stress Control Ultra-Light Spot Treatment Moisturiser, £4.99

In my opinion, Neutrogena is the best high street brand for products targeting acne.  Their two-in-one mask and face wash is particularly good.  Although this product is actually a moisturiser, I quite like using it as a topical spot treatment.  I pop it on before bed and leave it to work overnight.  As it’s a moisturiser, it won’t leave the skin around the spot looking dry and flaky which makes it easier to cover with concealer.

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Obviously I must point out that I am not a dermatologist so these tips and recommendations are purely based on my experience and they therefore might not be right for everyone.  I do hope though that you have found something that helps you if you get breakouts too.

My next post in this series will cover what makeup is best for blemish-prone skin so look out for that on Wednesday.

x

 

What’s in My Handbag

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Call me nosy but I love seeing what other people carry around with them in their handbags.  They are some of my favourite blog posts to read and so I thought I would give you a quick tour of my bag and show you what I like to have with me on a day-to-day basis.

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My handbag is by Rebecca Minkoff and it’s the Mini MAC bag with rose gold hardware.  It is a great city bag because it is nice and compact and the cross-body strap means I have my hands free to carry shopping, scan my oyster card or generally keep myself upright on the bus or tube.  It is quite small, which is an advantage for me because it means I can’t load it up with everything plus the kitchen sink!

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I keep my essential bank cards, ID etc in this handy Cherry Lane Card Case from Kate Spade.  I think it looks really sleek and sophisticated with the black leather and gold logo.  It is perfect size for the little interior pocket of my bag so I can fish it out easily.

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Along with my phone, keys, oyster card, pen (because you never know when you may need one) and umbrella (I live in London…need I say more?) I keep a couple of makeup bits with me for touch ups during the day.  Concealer is a must and I am currently using this Collection Lasting Perfection concealer in the shade 1 Fair.  It is a great little concealer with excellent coverage, especially given the fact that it only costs £4.19.  I keep my trusty One Heck of a Blot powder and kabuki brush from Soap and Glory with me at all times – you can read my review of this here – and I love the Soap and Glory Sexy Mother Pucker Gloss Stick in the shade Bashful.  It’s a lovely glossy pink that goes with everything.  I am currently addicted to the Jo Malone White Jasmine and Mint Cologne; it’s so fresh and unique and this 30ml bottle is perfect for popping in your handbag.

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Continuing along the Soap and Glory theme (can you tell I’m a fan?!) I also have a couple of their hand products.  If you read my post on my top three hand creams, you will know how much I love their Hand Food.  The Hand Maid antibacterial gel is so useful, especially if you live in a city.  The great thing about it is that it smells amazing and doesn’t have the strong alcohol scent of most hand sanitisers.

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I have so many lip balms it’s beginning to be a bit of a problem…but this recent find has quickly become my favourite.  The Aloe Lip Care from the Body Shop is so hydrating and feels lovely on the lips.

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I hope you enjoyed this post.  What are your handbag essentials?

X

Products mentioned:

Rebecca Minkoff Mini MAC with rose gold hardware

Kate Spade Cherry Lane Card Case

Collection Lasting Perfection Concealer – 1 Fair

Soap and Glory One Heck of a Blot Powder

Soap and Glory Kabuki Brush

Soap and Glory Sexy Mother Pucker Gloss Stick – Bashful

Jo Malone White Mint and Jasmine Cologne

Soap and Glory Hand Food

Soap and Glory Hand Maid

Body Shop Aloe Lip Care

 

 

Purple Obsession

My absolute favourite colour of the moment is purple purple purple and lilac in particular.  My eye goes straight to it these days; I just can’t resist.  It’s pretty and it suits so many different skin tones.

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Here’s a random collection of my favourite purple things.

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This lovely jumper from Zara is perfect for spring.  Here in Britain the weather rarely gets really hot and so even though the sun has been appearing a little bit more frequently lately you still need to wrap up warm.  The pretty lilac colour gives it that spring-y look.

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I jumped on the Bobble bottle train a few months ago and despite hearing mixed reviews I am very much a fan.  The built in filter means that your water is always clean and fresh, plus you only need to change it after every 300 uses!  You can get them in all kinds of colours but of course I went for the lilac one.

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I don’t have enough good things to say about this GORGEOUS nail polish.  If you buy one thing this spring, make it ‘Splash of Grenadine’ from Essie.

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Purple cotton buds from Tiger… I told you this purple thing had become an obsession!

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In my book, nothing beats a nice pair of thick woolly socks and this lilac pair from Gap are so snuggly and warm.

Have a good week!

 

Healthy Juice

I’m sure I’m not the only one who overdid it on the Easter eggs this year.  I can no longer polish off a mountain of chocolate without a care in the world like I could when I was little, so I decided to kick my chocolate hangover with a nice healthy juice.

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Juices are so great because you can really be creative and cater them to your preferences / whatever you happen to have in the fridge.

Here’s what I used:

  • 1 carrot, washed
  • A handful of strawberries, washed and halved
  • 1 apple, quartered (there’s no need to peel or core)
  • 1 kiwi (scoop the flesh out of the skin)
  • Orange juice
  • Coconut water

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All these fruits go really well together and give the juice a lovely, fresh flavour.  Coconut water is a relatively new discovery of mine and it is fantastic stuff with loads of health benefits.  It is rich in nutrients, extremely hydrating and aids with weight loss.  I personally started drinking it to help clear up my skin.  Mixing it with other juices is a great way to get your dose of coconut water, especially if you’re not wild about the taste of coconut.

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So you just need to pop all your fruits and vegetables in the juicer and then mix in the orange juice and coconut milk to your taste.

I like to chill a glass in the fridge for a few minutes before serving so that the juice is cold and refreshing.

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Top it off with a strawberry on the edge of your glass and enjoy.  This is a delicious way to make you feel a little bit more virtuous after all those Easter choccies!

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I hope you had a lovely Easter weekend.