Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Let's talk about mental health.

I've been considering writing a post on this topic for a while now, but in light of recent events, it seemed more relevant than ever. Robin Williams sadly passed away on 11th August from suspected suicide, after a long battle with depression.

His death has shocked people the world over, who simply cannot comprehend how a man who on the surface appeared so happy and so full of life, could behind closed doors be suffering to such an extent that he felt death was the only way out.

It's awful that it has taken the death of such a talented, inspirational man in order to raise this issue, but if anything positive at all can be taken from this tragic event, it is that hopefully it will help to remove the stigma surrounding mental illnesses. 

If you haven't ever suffered with a mental illness yourself, then it's extremely difficult to understand them. Because there are no obvious, physical symptoms, it's easy to pass mental health issues off as less severe, or less "real". However, this couldn't be further from the truth and as Williams' death highlights, mental illness can and does kill.

One of the problems in our society is that terms like depression and anxiety are thrown around far too easily, which almost belittles the illnesses to mere emotions. Being sad, or worried, is a perfectly normal human occurrence. It is when these feelings become so overwhelming that they have a debilitating impact on your day to day life that it becomes an issue. 

Over the past couple of years I have suffered with anxiety and for a long time I avoided going to see a doctor, purely because I knew that I wouldn't be able to explain 'why' I was feeling the way I was. It's easy to try and pinpoint a cause that may have resulted in the illness, but the truth of the matter is that sometimes there really is no trigger, it just happens.

You wouldn't ask someone with cancer "why" they have cancer. It's all too easy to ask "what have they got to be depressed about?", "what have they got to be anxious about?", but for many, half of the problem is that they don't know why they are feeling the way that they do. Robin Williams was an extremely well-loved, successful actor-comedian and yet he was still burdened with this terrible disease. Mental health issues can affect anyone, regardless of fame, wealth, gender or age.

From experience, I have found that when it comes to my anxiety there is no overnight cure, or a single pill that will take everything away. But seeing a doctor and getting help is a vital step in the right direction and there are counsellors and therapists that they can refer you to, who specialise in helping people to overcome these problems. According to mental health charity Mind, every year one in four of us will experience some form of mental illness including depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, extreme OCD or schizophrenia, to name but a few. I assure you, you'd be surprised how many people that you know who will have suffered from, or are still suffering with, similar problems.

In the words of Stephen Fry, who has openly spoken of his own battle with bipolar disorder-

"It will be sunny one day.
It isn't under one's control as to when the sun comes out, but come out it will.
One day."

If you, or anyone you know, is suffering, I would recommend checking out mind.org.uk and samaritans.org.

Help is out there.

Friday, 8 August 2014

Origins Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask Review

Hey lovelies, 
I've never been a major skincare junkie, but just over a month ago I noticed that my skin wasn't looking as clear as usual, so I decided to take action. I'm not sure whether it was just a hormonal thing, the fact that I'd been working full-time in the city, or my diet, but for some reason my skin just felt quite clogged up. I've been using this Origins Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask, £23 for the past few weeks and have been thoroughly impressed with it, so I thought I'd share my thoughts! 
The active charcoal in this mask is designed to draw out any dirt which may be clogging your pores, whilst white china clay helps to absorb any environmental pollutants and lecithin helps to dissolve any impurities. 

Origins recommend first using a hot, damp towel to open your pores before applying the mask. After this I apply quite a thick layer all over my face and then wait for it to dry, which usually takes around 10-15 minutes (perfect opportunity to shave your legs!). As the mask hardens, it does become quite tight, which I personally like as it feels like it is really getting into your pores and giving you a really thorough cleanse. When it comes to removing the mask, I use either a damp flannel or a muslin cloth and despite the mask being almost black, it's really easy to rinse it out under the tap so don't worry too much about ruining them. After I've rinsed it off I like to pat my skin dry with a towel and then apply a really rich moisturiser, lately I've been using the Elemis Hydra-Nourish Night Cream, £42.

Every time I use this mask my skin is left feeling really soft, brighter and most importantly really intensely cleansed, so if your skin has been looking a bit dull lately I would definitely recommend giving this a try. 

Have you tried any Origins products?

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Dirty Looks Hair Extensions Review

Hey lovelies! Ever since a disastrous pixie crop aged 9 (honestly, it was horrendous), I swore to myself that I'd never cut my hair short again and have had long hair for years now. Therefore, I was never really interested in extensions as I always had relatively long hair anyway.
However, I'd heard a lot of great things about the brand Dirty Looks and so when the opportunity arose to test out some of their hair extensions I was too intrigued to pass it by. Also, with fans including Fearne Cotton, Jessica Lowndes and Alexa Chung I felt like I was in safe hands. After sending a couple of photos to their stylist I was advised to opt for the shade "Paparazzi Highlighted" and I was genuinely shocked at how well the extensions blended in with my hair colour.

Another thing that I was pleasantly surprised by is quite how much hair you get! Having long hair anyway, I chose the longest set which is 24-26", but the wefts themselves are so thick that they create a really natural look, with plenty of volume, as opposed to the straggly rats' tails effect that can be associated with cheaper extensions. The set even includes a quad weft, which is essentially four wefts in one, for extra thickness. In fact, my little pea head means I don't really have the scalp space to wear all ten of the pieces they provide in the set, however that is more a critique of my tiny head than their extensions! They come with a really handy how-to guide which shows you exactly how to section off your hair and clip them in for the most natural look, which I found really helpful.
In terms of styling the extensions, as they are 100% real human hair you pretty much treat them as you would your own hair, so you can straighten them and curl them, but obviously heat damage and regularly using products on them will reduce how long they last so bear this in mind. I personally prefer to wear mine with curly hair as I feel like it helps them to blend in more naturally with my regular hair. 
If you're on the market for some new extensions, or if you're a complete extensions virgin like I was, I would definitely recommend these ones as they are so easy to clip in and give a really lovely natural look. Although I probably won't wear these on a daily basis, I'm looking forward to wearing them on nights out or for special occasions when I want my hair to look especially nice!

Dirty Looks Full Head Extensions range from £69.99-£124.99 depending on the length you choose, for more information check out their website here.

Have you ever worn hair extensions? 

I was sent this product to review by Dirty Looks, however all opinions are my own.

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Boots Bargains!

I was in Boots the other day and decided to browse the clearance section. Usually I find that the clearance section consists purely of broken eyeshadow palettes and questionable nail varnish shades, so I was pleasantly surprised when on a recent trip I stumbled across these products in the sale section. As my local store is so small, they often have to clear stock to make room for new products and I managed to pick up all of these products for just £7.25! 
First up is this Expert Wear Blush by Maybelline in the shade Rosewood. I thought this looked like a really pretty, wearable shade for everyday use and as I usually opt for higher end blushes I'm intrigued to see how this compares.
RRP: £5.19, I paid: 26p!
Next up is this L'Oreal Color Riche nail varnish in the shade Opera Ballerina. I'm a massive fan of nude nail varnishes and the applicator brush is quite wide which I like as it makes painting your nails a lot easier. Also, to be honest, as I do ballet I also just liked the name! (That's a legitimate reason for buying it right?!)
RRP: £4.99, I paid £2.50!
I also picked up this Revlon Grow Luscious Plumping mascara as I was quite intrigued as to how a mascara could "plump"! I really like mascaras that give my lashes added volume and so I thought I'd give this a try. They only had this mascara available in the Blackened Brown shade, which I don't usually go for, but I think brown mascaras are perfect for creating a more natural, subtle eye look.
RRP: £9.99, I paid: 50p!

I've actually been wanting to try this mascara out for a while now as I'm a massive fan of the Maybelline Volum' Express range and the One-by-One mascara is my all time favourite. This is the Mega Plush mascara, which has an innovative gel-mousse formula and a super flexible brush to coat every lash. I'm really excited to try this out and I'm hoping I love it as much as the One-by-One!
RRP: £7.99, I paid £3.99!

Overall RRP total: £28.16, I paid £7.25!

I can't wait to start trying out all of these new products and would definitely recommend you checking out the clearance section in your local Boots!

Have you found any make-up bargains recently? 

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Illamasqua Powder Blusher in Tremble

 Hey lovelies! I can't believe it has been so long since I last posted, but unfortunately uni and work got in the way and I've had to channel all of my energy into that. However, I'm back with a review of the Illamasqua Powder Blusher in the shade Tremble. I actually received this as a gift from my friend Alice back in February for my birthday, so I've had the opportunity to try it out numerous times with various looks.

(yay for colour coordinated nails!) ;)
This is actually my first ever Illamasqua product and on the website it is described as a "soft lilac pink, matte finish". I disagree with this statement for although in some lights this blush appears to have a lilac tint to it, I'd definitely say it's more of a true pink with a slight coral tinge when swatched. 

The formula itself is perfectly matte which I love. I tend to use my MAC Mineralize Skinfinish in Soft & Gentle as a highlight, so sometimes I feel as though using a blush with shimmer in simultaneously can be a bit much and I can end up looking like a glitterball. The incredible pigmentation of this product is actually both a blessing and a curse. On one hand the colour you see in the packaging is pretty much identical to how it transfers on your face. However, it also means that it is quite easy to apply too much and end up looking somewhat clown-like. That said, once you get the hang of applying this blush with a lighter hand, the colour pay off is wonderful and leaves your cheeks with a really pretty, doll-like flush.

I really like the packaging of this blush as the top is clear, meaning it's really easy to see the product inside and the shape of the pot itself is unique to Illamasqua, meaning it's easy to spot amongst the other blushes in my collection. 

This product is pricey and at £21.50 for just 4.5g of product these blushes are significantly more expensive than ones from other higher end brands such as MAC, whose powder blushes retail at £18.00 for 6g. However, unlike other high end brands, throughout the year Illamasqua have AMAZING sales during which these blushes can be reduced to around £5-£7.50, so if you're set on buying an Illamasqua blush look out for these as they're a great time to pick up some bargains and try out products that you wouldn't usually splurge on. 

To find out more check out the Illamasqua website.
Have you tried any Illamasqua blushes?

Sunday, 9 February 2014

London Haul ft. Brandy Melville, H&M and Levi's

Hey lovelies, last weekend I went to London to see Taylor Swift at the O2 (she was amazing!) and of course, being deprived of any decent shops here in Cornwall, I took full advantage of all that London had to offer and hit the shops. I obviously couldn't resist the allure of the massive flagship stores on Regent Street and Oxford Street, but I actually went a little further afield to Chelsea too, specifically Brandy Melville, which did considerable damage to my poor bank balance...

I've seen this Brandy Melville dress all over YouTube/Tumblr/Instagram (Kylie Jenner was spotted in the burgundy version here!) I really love the cross over detail at the back and as soon as I saw it I knew I had to have it! I've taken the tags off and I can't remember exactly how much this was, but I know it was about £21 pounds, which I thought was really reasonable for such a versatile dress.
I don't know why I felt the need to buy a basic long sleeved t-shirt, but the material was so soft that I couldn't leave it behind. It's slightly sheer, really loose and flowy and I think a good white top is a staple for any wardrobe. I'm a sucker for a good skater skirt and I loved the oxblood colour of this skirt. The material looks just like silk and I like that as the back is elasticated I can wear it quite high waisted. (Both from Brandy Melville)
I picked up this black body from H&M for about £6.40 as they had a 20% off event for students with myunidays, I've become obsessed with scooped backs lately, I think they look so feminine and very ballerina-esque. I got this tartan skirt from Brandy Melville too, tartan skirts are really on trend but most of the ones I've seen have either been A-line or pencil skirts, so I thought this was a slightly girlier alternative and I like the detail of the buttons down the front.
I actually ordered these shorts online but thought I'd include them in this post too! They're destroyed Levi's shorts from the Vintage Renewal section of Urban Outfitters and they were £10 in the sale! They only had size smalls left which are a little large for me, but for £10 I don't mind having to wear a belt! This cream jumper is just a basic knit from H&M-I thought it was best to keep it simple on top since the shorts have so much going on! 

Have you been shopping lately? I'd love to see your haul posts too! 

Monday, 3 February 2014

Bioderma Sensibio H2O Review (formerly Créaline)

Hey lovelies! If you’ve read my blog for a while or you follow me on instagram or twitter you might know that at the start of January I went to Paris for a few days with my boyfriend. I bought quite a few things while I was there (I went a bit crazy on the Champs-Élysées...), but one of the purchases I was most excited about was the Bioderma Créaline H2O Solution Micellaire. This product was actually renamed Sensibio H2O a while ago, but the bottles I purchased still have the old name on for some reason, but the product is the same regardless.

For those of you that aren’t familiar with this product (have you been hiding under a rock?!), it is basically a micellar water that acts as both a make-up remover and a cleanser in one and is extremely well loved by beauty bloggers worldwide. 

One of the reasons that this has become such a cult product is the fact that it is such a mild formula, being fragrance, soap and alcohol free, making it great for those with sensitive skin. Personally I don’t have overly sensitive skin, but I have found that in the past some make-up removers, even those specially formulated for removing eye make-up tend to irritate my eyes, but I don’t have this problem with this product at all.

I use this product every morning and before I go to bed by pouring it onto a cotton pad. I usually press the pad onto my eyes for a few seconds and then wipe away my eye make-up and then remove the rest of my face make-up afterwards. I always follow up with my trusty Olay Beauty Fluid and the combination of the two products leaves my skin feeling thoroughly clean and moisturised. This product has truly exceeded my expectations and now I completely understand why it has become such a well-loved product. I've never used anything that has removed make-up as quickly and thoroughly as this does and I'd even go so far as to say it has replaced my beloved face wipes ;) 

I stocked up on this whilst I was in France, where it is readily available and managed to get two massive 500ml bottles for around €23 in a random little pharmacy near the Eiffel Tower. As you can see from the photo on the left, I'm not even halfway through my first bottle and I've used it twice daily for over a month, so I've got enough to keep me going for a while! However, if you don't have a trip across the channel planned any time soon you can now buy it online in the UK from escentual.com

Have you tried any products from Bioderma?

Thursday, 9 January 2014

Urban Decay Naked 1 & 3 Review

Hey lovelies! I received the original Urban Decay palette in February last year as a birthday present and it has become a staple part of my make-up collection and I use it almost daily. Unfortunately when the Naked 2 palette came out I wasn't particularly excited by it as I was already content with the neutrals I had in the Naked 1. From photos and swatches online I didn't feel that I could justify spending £37 on an almost identical palette and so I decided to let that one pass. 
However, Urban Decay recently released their third installment of the collection, the Naked 3 and as soon as I saw the press release photos I knew I had to have it. Unlike the Naked 2, there is no doubt about the fact that these colours are completely different to the original and unlike the previous two palettes all of the shades in this third palette are all brand new and exclusive to the palette.
Naked 1- Urban decay describes this palette as a collection of “bronze-hued neutrals”. It contains a couple of matte browns (Naked and Buck), which are great bases for eye looks and also good for adding definition to the crease, whilst Half Baked and Smog are lovely for creating a bronzy look. The lightest shade in the palette, Virgin, is a shimmery champagne colour and works perfectly as a brow bone or inner corner highlight.

Naked 3
- This palette is “rose-hued” and is extremely feminine and girly. It’s not as warm and bronzy as the original (with the exception of Trick which is a lovely shimmer copper) and instead contains a range of shimmery pinks (Dust, Burnout), mauves (Buzz, Liar), pinky browns (Nooner) and even a beautiful shimmery black infused with specks of red glitter (Blackheart). The highlight colour in this palette is Strange, which is an extremely pale pink/champagne colour (almost white) and I love that it is a matte shadow. Unfortunately I’ve found that the matte Urban Decay shadows tend to have quite poor pigmentation but this is absolutely not the case for this shade. 

Temptalia has some amazing swatches if you'd like to see these colours up close.

Naked 1- I love the chocolate brown velvet case of this palette, but unfortunately it does get dirty extremely easily and it’s a bit irritating that the letters have started wearing off. I do like the magnet closure however and I’ve taken it on various trips and it’s always been very secure and none of the shadows have been damaged. I really dislike the brush that comes with this palette though as it's quite stiff and is only really useful for packing on colour.

Naked 3- Urban Decay have clearly acknowledged the obsession girls have developed lately with rose gold and there’s no denying that the packaging of this palette is lovely. The metal casing does make it feel slightly more high end and durable. Also, the fact that the mirror inside is so much bigger is definitely a major plus as it makes it perfect for travelling and on the go touch ups. The brush supplied with this palette is double ended and much softer and it's great for blending so i'm really happy with it.

   The Naked 1 came with a mini tube of the original primer potion. The Naked 3 came with 
   this collection of samples of the different types of primer potion that have since been released and i'm excited to try them out, but to be honest I love the original formula so I think I would preferred to have another tube of that one.

Which do I prefer?
Don't get me wrong, I absolutely adore the Naked 3 and can't wait to start experimenting with all of the colours . However if you don't yet own any of the Naked palettes or are on the hunt for the perfect palette of everyday neutrals I would definitely say go for the original Naked palette, as it really is worth the hype and can create endless different looks.

Both palettes retail for £37 in the UK and can be purchased from Debenhams and House of Fraser.
Which palette do you prefer?

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Sales Shopping!

Hey lovelies, this year I managed to get some really good deals in the Christmas Eve/Boxing Day sales and I thought i'd show you what I bought.
Knitted Jumper- £25 from Topshop
I don't usually tend to look at anything other than make-up in House of Fraser, but I actually bought this in their Topshop concession. I love wearing big chunky knitted jumpers, particularly with shirts underneath as I think it looks really cute when the collar pokes out! I don't often buy knitwear from Topshop as I think it's really overpriced but this was a great deal (it was originally £46) and I loved the peach colour.

Playsuit- £25 from Topshop
I didn't see that much in the Topshop sale that I liked but I saw this in store in the petite section and thought it looked really pretty. It's a nude/cream colour and is made of a chiffon type material and I think it will look great with a statement necklace and a pair of heels on a night out. Also, i'm pretty sure it's the one Tanya Burr is wearing in her twitter icon photo!

Skort- £19.99 from Zara
I already have a black skort from Zara and I love it, so when I saw this tartan one in the sale I knew I had to have it! This one looks more skirt-like from the front which I like and the material feels really high quality. I think this could be good for everyday wear but i'm also excited to see how I can style this for a night out.

Necklace- £2 from New Look
I don't tend to wear much jewellery on a daily basis, but i've wanted a new statement necklace for a while. I like that the spikes on this necklace are only at the front as it means it'll go well with a collared shirt. I think this will compliment a lot of outfits and for £2 you can't really go wrong!

Shoes- £4 from Primark
These weren't strictly in a sale as such as Primark always have offers on their shoes, but I wanted a nice pair of brown pumps for everyday wear and I liked the style of these ones. They're a ballet pump/moccasin hybrid and I know i'll get a lot of use out of them.

Riding Boots- £20 from New Look 
I'd wanted some riding boots for a while as I think they are a great winter staple and I saw this pair online in the New Look sale for just £20 reduced from £69.99, which I thought was great considering they're real leather! They're quite a slim fit which I like as it means they look great with skinny jeans but the elastic back means they do have a little stretch room. I wore these for the first time on a day trip to London which probably wasn't the greatest idea as I ended up having to pop to Boots for some Compeed plasters but hopefully once i've worn them in a bit more they'll be okay! 

I also bought some new underwear from Gilly Hicks, but i'm still waiting for it to come. They have some great deals on at the moment though so i'd definitely recommend checking them out!
I hope you've enjoyed seeing what I got in the sales, did you manage to grab any good deals?