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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.

skincarebest

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!

nailcarefavouritesmarch

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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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