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March Favourites | Product Reviews

march favourites

Well better late than never! Here is a round up of products that have all brought something g o o d to my life during the bitter month of March 2013! As this is my first ‘favourites’ post I’m going to chuck in some mini reviews as well. As you probably know (I moan about it enough) I don’t have any money at the moment, it’s all going on bills and my flat, so (most of) these aren’t new products for me but still products that have worked a little magic lately.

♥ Beauty Favourites ♥

SOAPANDGLORYFAVOURITES

S k i n C a r e | Soap & Glory: Hocus Pocus
Soap & Glory’s ‘Instant visual flaw-softening’ Hocus Pocus works as a kind-of primer, kind of-highlighter, kind-of skin tone evener. I say ‘kind-of’ because it doesn’t really come across strongly as any of these. So why do I like it then?! Good question, I’ve always had a penchant for the S&G brand, I love their shower products, moisturisers, the floral fun scent they have going on and the packaging too. They are mid range price wise and in Boots there is a never ending 3 for 2 offer going on which makes stocking up cheap and easy. Even though I can’t pin down exactly why I enjoy using Hocus Pocus I’ve kept going back. This March it has been a life saver in brightening up my dull, red skin. I mix it with moisturiser and it gives a radiant finish. I’ve also opted a few times to mix it with foundation which makes my heavy coverage foundation (Nars Sheer Glow) a bit lighter and a bit brighter (yes, I don’t really find this foundation ‘bright’ despite the name, we’ll save that for another time!) Hocus Pocus comes in a dinky but heavy glass bottle that just screams quality.

S k i n C a r e | Soap & Glory: Instant Radiance Energy Balm
Another one from S&G, so same applies as above. Again it’s a radiance product and promises (as S&G tend to do a lot) BIG things, primarily ‘Beautifully luminous skin.’ I don’t think this balm lives up to all its claims, there is nothing particularly ‘instant’ about the benefits either. But then that’s the way it goes with beauty, it’s best just to blank out anything written by the brand itself and look at user reviews instead. What I will say about this is it is a great moisturiser for flagging and tired skin, whilst it doesn’t give me luminosity, it absorbs well and tackles dry areas, smells nice and has been a regular go-to for me in March.

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S k i n C a r e | La Roche-Posay: Effaclar Duo
You will definitely have seen this product on the YouTube and Blogging circuit lately! I bought this after hearing rave reviews online from some trusted beauty gurus, It was accoladed as a skin-savior for blemishes, redness and pesky pores a bit more open than we’d like them to be. The consistency is not fragranced, quite watery (definitely not heavy or seemingly moisturisng) but surprisingly does not dry out skin at all. I’ve been using this for about five months and more often than not it is the only product I use after my cleanser. Which means it’s already ticking a lot of boxes, good moisturiser, good make up base. Sometimes I find a bit more product is needed than I’d like to cover all dry patches, but in these instances I’d suggest prepping with a beauty serum, mixing the Effaclar Duo with a moisturiser or following up after with one. In terms of results I can say without a doubt it has improved my blemishes, I have a more even skin tone, break out less and when I do get hormonal/stress spots (I never seem to be able to avoid these) they reduce and fade a lot quicker than before. I won’t stop using this little gem any time soon.

S k i n C a r e | Korres: Body Butter Guava
This was a present that came as part of a set I got at Christmas and I have to say I’m majorly impressed. I’ve been using two Korres body products, this and the Body Milk: Coconut Milk. I find they both moisturise great and smell DELICIOUS. A fragrance that lingers as well so you feel fresh all day. I’ve picked the Guava body butter as my favourite this month because I think it just tops the other (it’s close), it’s a bit more of a heavy weight moisturiser so really tackles dry bits and lately my skin has needed this. I tend to use on my arms, elbows, neck and chest area and walk around feeling like I’m on holiday whenever I get a whiff!

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N a i l s | O.P.I: Nail Envy
Recommended by my friend Daisy I purchased this off Ebay (worth checking out it was £9 compared to the £18 it goes for in Boots). I was desperate for any sort of nail saviour after suffering for a long time with short, brittle nails that can’t quite make it over the edge of my finger. I’ve mentioned this product in more depth h e r e but to cut a long story short this is a base coat nail product that has improved the condition of my nails dramatically! They are currently all sporting (small) white tips and are healthier looking than they ever were before March and the before the start of my love affair with Nail Envy.

N a i l s | Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat
Another nail life save saver for me, this is the best top coat I’ve ever tried. Big claims?! Well I’m pretty darn impressed. I used to find my nail polish would be chipped to the point it looks tatty and I’d have to take it off almost instantly! I’m quite clumsy as well so find it hard not to ruin nails as soon as I’ve painted them. This little beaut flash dries nails and greatly improves the resistance of the polish.

N a i l s | Shades of the Month: Barry M
Pastels have been dominating the nail trends recently and I can’t get enough of lavender/lilac shades. I’ve been using Barry M Gelly Hi-Shine: Papya and Barry M: Berry.

MAC COLOUR 3

M a k e U p | Mac: Colour 3 Eyeshadow Quad
This was another steal off of ebay (£11 I think I paid) and is a cool toned, purple eye shadow quad. The shades are (from top left): Mink Pink, Brusied Plum, Black Tulip & Jungle Moon. Purple may not be everyone’s first choice of eye colour, I do usually tend to stick to my brown, beige and gold, But purple is a colour I think suits my skin tone and eye colour (hazel) and I couldn’t resist this well ranged palette that allows me to create a soft ‘barely-there’ hue of pink or build a dramatic smokey eye with Jungle Moon in the crease and along the lower lash line. I’ve been wearing this heaps during March, if you can’t find spring, you gotta bring it to you!

♥ Fashion Favourites ♥

otherfavourites

B a g | Primark: Aztec Rucksack
Since I haven’t bought any new clothes thought I’d share this cute aztec print rucksack I got from Primark for £9. It’s a lightweight bag that is just adorable. I think these mini rucksacks are bang on trend and are actually a really practical alternative to a handbag : )

S c e n t | Tu: Orchid and Sweet Coconut
At £4 you can’t go wrong, a delicious summery scent I’ve been burning a lot this month.

♥ Other Favourites ♥

currentlyreading

B o o k | In The Woods Tana French
Currently reading so can’t review just yet but enjoying so far! It’s been a while since I read a crime thriller and they are always good to get really engrossed in. This story focuses on a pair of detectives trying to solve the murder of a 12 year old girl, however protagonist Detective Adam Ryan must face some hidden memories from his own past and races against time to remember what happened when he was 12 when his two best friends disappeared. I’m about half way through so will let you know how that goes.

B o o k | The Pocket Muse Monica Wood
I dug this little gem out of my book case recently, it gives ‘ideas and inspiration for writing.’  I bought this a few years ago to help me with my dissertation in which I created a series of short stories each based on a central motif. I was reading some blogs that featured a lot of creative writing and was thinking how I’d like to start a series of weekly creative fiction posts. This book is great at giving you scenarios to work off, beautifully presented with some great imagery inside it offers tips on writing, lets you read some fiction, and offers you a starting point – word, idea or question, on which to base your piece. You’ll see more of this book once I launch the weekly creative posts, watch this space!

So they were the items that rocked my world more so than usual in March.
What has been rocking yours lately? Any suggestions what I should read once I finish this book?

T w i t t e r | B l o g L o v i n | Y o u T u b e | I n s t a g r a m | T u m b l r

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Liebster Blog Award

So last night I received an email from the lovely Beca off of Those Moments of Serendipity nominating me for the Liebster Blog award… Lobster blog award?! I was intrigued! After a little bit of reading and research I found out that the Liebster (duh) Blog award is to give recognition to up and coming bloggers with 200 followers or less. It’s a tool of encouragement, not an ‘official’ award but a way of finding, sharing and communicating with blogs & bloggers you may not have been familiar with before, (how sweet!) I must say I’ve had a great time today just exploring Blog Lovin’ finding blogs in the furthest corners. I’ve read about peoples lives, seen photos and read poems. If this is not what sharing is about than I don’t know what is. So without further ado I will jump in to the requirements of the Liebster Blog Nomination!

♥ R e q u i r e m e n t s ♥

1. Share eleven things about myself
2. Answer eleven questions provided by the nominator
3. Nominate eleven blogs (under 200 followers) that deserve the title
4. Think of eleven questions to ask these nominees
5. Thank the person that nominated me and link back to their blog

I absolutely l o v e the way this works on a question and tagging system, not only does it give me some content to ramble on about but it connects me with other bloggers >.< and there’s nothing like a bit of networking to help boost a blogs morale (go us!) so if you find yourself tagged by me (you’re welcome) then it’s because I’ve found something special in your writing and I hope we can stay connected.

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  1. I’ve lived in Cornwall, Bournemouth & London (all in the UK)
  2. I believe love truly makes the world go round
  3. I used to be addicted to World of Warcraft
  4. I regularly sleep talk
  5. I  flick between being really tidy and really messy
  6. When I find time I like to make and edit videos
  7. I adore all things cute
  8. I enjoy graphic design and making things pretty online
  9. I love Anime and Manga
  10. Cheese makes most things tastier
  11. I can sometimes be very socially awkward and shy

  1. What is your all time favorite product?
    For practicality it’s got to be concealer! I find Mac Studio Fix gives great coverage
  2. Do you prefer Boots or Superdug?
    Boots
  3. What do you do as a job?
    A bit of everything, currently Receptionist/Office Administration
  4. If you had to never use either makeup or hair products again (including shampoo!) which would you keep?
    Make up (in the hope my hair would wash itself, that happens right…)
  5. Do you have any pets?
    Two rats: Pandee & Brie
  6. What is your dream job?
    Realistically: Marketing/Communications
    Unrealistically: Freelance Writer, in a little studio in my (dream) sunlit house
  7. Do you prefer pants of skirts?
    Skirts
  8. Do you prefer twitter or facebook?
    Facebook
  9. What is your favorite genre of movie?
    Drama/Intense-plot-twisty type
  10. Cakes, brownies or cookies?
    Cookies
  11. What is your favorite flower?
    Pansies

I did some hunting high and low to compile this blog list, I’ve picked a variety of different blogs, writers, poets, photographers, those that share thoughts and those that share beauty & style. It would be great if you went and had a gander at their sites, leave some comments and connect with the content, after all that’s what this award is about!

  1. C o r n i s h  B e a u t y
  2. S i m p l e  B l i s s
  3. R e a d  M y  M i n d
  4. T h e  R a i n  G i r l
  5. M y   F a i r y t a l e  B o n e s
  6. H o w  I  D w e l l  N o w
  7. Y o u n g  G e o r g i a  L o v e
  8. T h r o u g h  a  C a t s  E y e s
  9. C a l v i  R o s e
  10. A z t e c  D o l l
  11. D i v i n e  C h a o s

p. s. In my recommending you please don’t feel any obligation to carry on the tag, it can be an honorary award : ) Also I think some of you nominees have received a Liebster nomination before – I hope you know this just means your page is loved + apologies if you have more than 200 followers, it’s hard to tell sometimes, I just went off BlogLovin’ figures : )

  1. Night or Day?
  2. Favourite quote?
  3. Girl Crush?
  4. 1 word, choose wisely:
  5. The best place you’ve ever visited?
  6. When do you feel h a p p y?
  7. What are you most looking forward to right now?
  8. 1 secret, choose wisely:
  9. Hot or Cold?
  10. 1 goal in life, choose wisely:
  11. What are you most grateful for?

Thanks for reading guys, what hidden blog gems do you think deserve the Liebster award? Make sure if you are nominated to write in the comments below if you’re going to answer my questions – I’m intrigued! : )
p.s Did you like my seal titles above? too cute!

 ♥ I was picked by Beca of Those Moments of Serendipity check out her stuff and you can find her on Blog Lovin here 
(Thanks Beca!) ♥


T w i t t e r  | B l o g L o v i n  | Y o u T u b e | I n s t a g r a m | T u m b l r

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Easter 2013 ♥ Cornwall

Last weekend was the Easter bank holiday and I can tell you a touch of escapism was greatly needed! My life in London lately has been a bit rocky (to say the least), I’ve been between jobs, have an unsightly bank balance and am just in one of those what-am-I-doing-with-my-life-black-holes!! (Okay touch dramatic) But you get the picture. So when my flatmate, who is also from Cornwall, decided to head back home for her birthday on Good Friday I thought I’d take the excuse to go back too, celebrate with her and catch up with my family. As an added bonus I got to drag John with me (mwahaha) to show him where I’m from and allow him to get scrutinised by my mum (which didn’t happen – she’s lovely.)

So me, John, Pandee & Brie set off at 4.30am on Friday the 29th! We made quite a sleepy bunch dragging ourselves from South East London to Paddington in the wee hours. What didn’t help was the fact we’d been awake watching Game of Thrones at 1am (and admittedly I was still packing). Our original plan was to get the 5.30pm Megabus home on Thursday (we were both working that day) and the coach made sense as it is the cheapest (albeit most uncomfortable & longest) way to travel to down to the far corner of the UK. Although, as is usual with me and my last-minute-ness, things didn’t go to plan. The Megabus sold out : ( and I was thrown in to a mad panic because we couldn’t afford the train at least until I saw there was one at 6am on Good Friday for a fraction of the price. Again though I didn’t really think about it in great detail and it was only the night before that we realised there were no trains or tubes to get us directly to Paddington at 5am so we had to opt for a grueling one hour night bus which was naturally the perfect way to start a long day of travelling : | My little jelly squids were perfectly behaved on the train and Brie even had a little stretch of her legs on our seats to the horror/fascination/joy of the other travelers. John was pretty impressed by the sea when the train hit the coast as he said he hadn’t seen it since he was 17! (Aww) In all honesty though it just goes to show how easy it is to take natural beauty for granted and growing up by the coast has meant I definitely don’t always appreciate the sea and the beautiful beaches we have. must. do. more.

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Anyway so we pulled in to the beautiful station of Camborne (haha it’s really not beautiful) at about 1.30pm a little tired and extremely hungry. We went back to my home, let the rats settle and I caught up with my mum and brothers. But we didn’t have long to rest before we caught the train to Truro for Lucy’s birthday celebrations! We ate out in a really nice restaurant called Bustophers I had this posh looking chicken dish with ‘fondant potatoes’ (didn’t have a clue what they were!) and lots of wine. John had the steak though which made me very jealous (but not of the price tag!) The evening was just perfect because I got to spend time with my Cornish girls, and since going separate ways after University, this is always cherished. The night got a bit more merry, was filled with Jäger bombs, lots of photos and dancing. We moved onto Spoons then Vanilla Bar before ending up in one of our college day haunts L2 nightclub.

♥ Me and my girls. My outfit: black skinny jeans, peplum top & heeled trainers all primark.
Birthday girl, Rhos and Mike. More pics of us! ♥

The rest of the weekend was relaxed. We spent time at home watching films with my family, went down to Godrevy for a walk on Saturday and then to Carbis Bay and St Ives on Easter Sunday. Got to partake in (and win!!) an Easter Egg hunt with Aidan (my little brother) and John. Enjoyed mum’s classic Sunday roast and indulged in a bit too much cake and chocolate >.< It was a lovely break away from the city and a reality shock when we had to endure the 8 hour Megabus back on the Monday at 5am!! Time back home is always special and I’m so happy I go to spend some time in one of the most beautiful places in the country with my favourite people : ) Hope you enjoy my pictures.

♥ Mums Easter cake | Aidan & John | Easter bunnies | Chocolate overdose | Sunday Roast
Sleepy cat | Caves | Early mornings | Exploring | John at Carbis Bay | Cat attack | Friday night  ♥

What did you get up to for the Easter weekend? Has anyone visited Cornwall before, what are your thoughts? I love being by the seaside and feel lucky to have grown up there!

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Hand & Nail TLC

My nails are not in the best shape, they are flaky and brittle and every time they get close to having a respectable “white” tip they crack and break. It’s a very frustrating cycle to be in! Last year I worked in waitressing which meant I put a lot of pressure on my nails. I was often polishing glasses and cutlery, cleaning surfaces or washing my hands, (nails HATE water), which meant even if I tried to look after my hands at the start of a 12 hour day they were a bit worse for wear by the end. In saying this you don’t have to give up on achieving your dream nails if your job (or other aspects of your life) take their toll on nail maintenance! As much as I blame my old job for the state of them, I equally blame myself and how I would always slip out of the ‘get-nice-nails’ routine that was giving me results. Anyway this is what works for me, it may work for you too if you’re struggling.

Know your hands/nails:
I have friends who have gorgeous nails no matter what, (some even worked in the SAME job as me), this is just the way it is. Sometimes they look after their nails more (hand cream, base coats, more calcium, vitamins) but unfortunately it can just be in your genes, (I say unfortunately because I’m jealous, of course). Anyway my point is, know which type you are. Are your nails falling apart at the seams because you’re neglecting them? Overworking them? Or are they just naturally weak? The cracks in my nails began through neglecting them and now the condition they are in perpetuates the cycle. Once they start to creep over the edge of my finger the splits and layers say NO and I will inevitably end up breaking them. I have brittle nails that I need to work on strengthening, directly linking to this I often get dry hands which I know adds to the problem, a lack of moisture in the hands can lead to a lack of nail growth (plus it doesn’t feel or look too good either).

Moisturise and Condition:
Once you establish the key problem areas invest in a good hand cream (or a few). I have about four hand creams on the go, partly because they have different strong points but mostly because I like to make sure I have a tube with me at all times and I am notoriously bad at leaving things in different places, if I took my handbag hand cream out I would most definitely end up leaving it beside my bed when I went to work. I think it’s good to have a light hand cream you can top up throughout the day, I use Vaseline Healthy Hands + Stronger Nails or for a treat I use my Laura Mercier Almond Coconut Milk Hand Creme because it smells delicious (even from a distance!) I believe it’s also good to have an intensive hand cream to really work into your cuticles, bare nails (especially after stripping them of polish) and between the fingers, which is where I get dry patches. In the past I’ve used The Body Shop Almond Oil Nail & Hand Cream and I’ve tried Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream (which leaves hands SO soft). Don’t just take my recommendations, there are so many creams out their to get your hands on (haha) so go experiment, not much can go wrong apart from some may be a bit greasy for the day time and some may not tackle dry spots efficiently. Look for something that smells great, absorbs quickly and leaves a soft finish then apply it REGULARLY! My biggest sin in this department is being too lazy (isn’t that always the biggest beauty sin!?) I’m lying in bed and I can feel my hands are dry from washing up or cleansing my face, but my hand cream is somewhere else in the room… so I just fall asleep. It sounds silly but times like these bring me back to square one and it’s important to always maintain the routine that helps your nails to strengthen and grow.

Base & Top Coat
I’ve always heard good things but only started using O.P.I. Nail Envy base coat a couple of months ago and I LOVE it. It really does work wonders, not only has it greatly improved my nail condition and length, it dries in seconds and is really nice and glossy for a nail strengthener. Although it is important to let our nails breathe I try not to stop regular coats of Nail Envy because when nails are bare they can split really easily. When I wear coloured nail polish I make sure I’ve always got this on as the base so it can be working its magic beneath. Which brings me on to my latest purchase (recommended by my flatmate Lucy) which is the Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat. Seeing as I’ve only just started using this I shouldn’t be on the best authority to start dishing out recommendations, however, you only need to work this in to your routine once to see the benefits. It keeps nail polish chip free for a LOT longer and helps you avoid ruining freshly painted nails, plus it adds a healthy shine to any coat of colour. All well and good, but how does this actually help the condition of your nails? Well for me it means I don’t have to be stripping my nails of all their polish so often. Whereas before my nails would be chipped the next day (meaning the ends would be venerable to water damage and cracking) and I would have to put my nails through the ordeal of being stripped down with remover. However, now my polish lasts so much better, I get a good 3/4 days out of polish – sometimes longer, I can give them a rest.

ETC:
There are other reasons why our nails suffer. It could be something lacking in your diet, your nail polish remover might be too harsh or it can even be certain other things that our hands come in to contact with such as washing up liquid or a harsh cleaning product. Try swapping different aspects of your daily routine to see if there is any changes, use the Fairy Liquid that is kind to hands, or even better wear washing up gloves. Get some more calcium, zinc, Iron and B-12 in your diet (try looking up which foods these can be found in, or opt for supplements) as nails love a dose of these vitamins and minerals.

Get some incentive:
Treat yourself to some new nail colours, It’ll give you a boost that may just keep you on track with your nail care routine. These are my favourite picks for spring (All Barry M – Normal/Gelly). Pease share your nail care secrets as I’m still on the search for the best tips and tricks to ensure healthy, vital nails!

1.Papya     2.Prickly Pear     3.Berry     4.Mint Green     5.Coral

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Friday’s piccy: Home

Godrevy and Gwithian beaches, about 10 minutes from my house. I went for a muck around surf with my dad and Sam last night and it really struck me how little I appreciate the beauty of home. The sun was sinking over the sea, the waves were not too rough – believe me it was picture perfect – and I thought how damn lucky I really was. So here’s my shout out to Cornwall and the true beauty we have here. I love you.