skincare

5 Ways to improve your morning routine

  1. Bye Bye Broken Sleep 

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This may be unpopular among those of you that love a good lie in, and I do admit I am rather partial, but many health experts suggest that as soon as you wake up in the morning you should actually get up rather than turning over for another snooze. You telling your body to go back to sleep after you’ve woken up in the morning, is no different to waking up in the middle of the night. That broken sleep pattern will only make you feel overtired during the day, so as soon as you wake up give yourself a little time in bed, but then get up – go watch some TV or check your emails and see how much more wide awake you’ll feel.

2. Get Your Lemon On 

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Forget grabbing sugary fruit juice or a coffee on your way out the door – water with lemon is the way to go. Hollistic websites suggest that it can improve your mood, boost your immune system, help clear your skin and can aid in weight loss. Plus – if you don’t leave the lemon in for too long – it tastes pretty nice too. Millie Mackitosh has been quoted saying that she drinks this every morning, so why not give it a go?

3. Pick Yourself a nice 8 Tracks Playlist

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I am an 8 tracks obsessive, ever since my flatmate introduced it to me last year I have probably played over 50 playlists. If you’re not familiar with it, it’s basically the Tumblr of music websites, instead of sharing photos members share playlists with hash tags. So you could search: #folk #indie #nightout #gettingready – whatever you wanted really. My favourite is #morning because it’s full of playlists with exactly the right songs to get me out of bed and in a good mood for the rest of the day. My favourite morning tunes are: On My Way – Rusted Root; Banana Pancakes – Jack Johnson; Don’t You (Forget About Me) – Simple Minds; Put Your Record On – Corrine Bailey Rae; Home – Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros and Sunday Morning – Maroon 5 – among many others!

4. Shovel down a half decent breakfast 

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As I believe I have said before in this post. I LOVE breakfast. It’s easily my favourite meal: toast, cereal, eggs, pancakes, teacakes, yoghurt, porridge – the opportunities are endless and I honestly love nothing more than a long weekend breakfast. Sorry for the cliche, but I’m a big believer that it is indeed “the most important meal of the day”. If I don’t have a good breakfast in the morning, I’m basically a zombie before I have anything to eat that day, and then I crave coffee and bad food. Start your day with egg, they’re a great source of protein and will help keep your energy levels high throughout the day.

5. Splash your face 

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Since I bought my beloved Arbonne Cleanser I have been washing my face a lot more in the mornings, I find there’s nothing like a splash of cold water in the face to really wake me up for a 9am lecture. Washing your face with cold water in the morning helps to reduce any swelling under your eyes from the night before, and it naturally brightens your face by increasing blood circulation. Pick cold water over warm if you can bare the shock in the morning, it might be just what you need to start the day on the right foot.

Thanks for reading. Do you have any tips for getting out of bed, particularly on these chilly mornings? 

Harriette

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The No Nonsense Skincare Products*

This week, coinciding with my Fresher’s Week back at University, I have been lucky enough to test out some lovely new skincare products! I am a huge skincare fan and so I was very excited to try out a totally new brand that I hadn’t heard anything about before. If you have read my review of Sweet Cecily’s Lipbalms, then you might know that I am becoming very fond of beauty products that contain natural substances and companies that try to avoid nasty chemicals and animal testing. What is this magical new brand? One word. Arbonne.

Arbonne is a very unique beauty company, both in its set up and the products that it creates.The brand itself is not available in retail shops, but relies on the work of independent consultants like the lovely Emma Tellesey (@ArbonneEmma) who promote the company and its products, cutting out the middle man and thus making sure that you get more for your money. The consultants themselves benefit from commission on the products that their clients buy, and other perks like a large discount on all the products etc.

As previously mentioned, Arbonne products are free from nasty chemicals and animal testing, which is a great bonus as they are much better for your skin and your conscience. Although priced at a premium rate, they are considered to be high-end in their quality, with their unique, patented formulas.

Emma gave me the Arbonne FC5 range to test out, which she said is generally aimed at younger people’s skin.

IMG_4296 Cleansers + Toners IMG_4299 I tested out two cleansers, the Purifying Cleanser + Toner for Oily/Combination Skin and the Hydrating Cleanser + Freshener for Normal/Dry skin. As my skin is pretty fickle, I felt that both were pretty similar.

Generally I am used to using a cotton pad with my cleanser and toner, which involves little more effort than moving to and from my desk, however, with these products I actually had to wash my face, which I found made me feel a lot more awake first thing in the morning. Both cleansers contain natural products like fresh strawberry cells and golden jojoba, and they smell really fresh and clean and soapy, which was really pleasant.

Both cleansers were really nice to use, they were smooth and lightweight on my skin and foamed satisfyingly when rubbed onto my face so I felt like I was getting a really good clean. The end result, after only using a pea-sized amount of product was that my skin looked brighter, cleaner, fresher and more awake. Being a bit of a cleanser girl, I was really impressed with how little I had to use and how healthy and awake it made me look and feel.

Day Lotions  IMG_4304 IMG_4305 The two Day Lotions I tried, were the Oil-Absorbing Day Lotion and the Nurturing Day Lotion, both of which contain SPF 20. They both come in handy pump bottles, so that it’s easy to only use the small amount of product that you need. I was however, put off a bit at first as the white colour and thin consistency made it look a lot like suncream, which gave me the impression I’d be rubbing for ages before it actually sunk into my skin.

However, I was pleasantly surprised to find it blended into my skin really quickly with the same fresh, cucumbery, slightly floral scent that the cleansers had, prompting my boyfriend to cuddle me and tell me that I “smelt great” – always a bonus. Although I don’t think of my skin as particularly oily, I much preferred the Oil- Absorbing Day Lotion to the Nurturing one, as I found it left me with a wet, oily finish that I didn’t really like. It did however, make my skin look rather radiant and glowing, so that was pretty nice.

Night Cream

IMG_4302 IMG_4303The Moisturizing Night Cream I think probably got overshadowed by all of the other products that I was trying at the same time, and had I the time to test it out on it’s own, I probably would have got a better idea of what exactly it does. What I did get from it is that it uses ingredients such as fresh mango cells and olive leaf extract and has a much more floral and soothing scent than the other products in the range. Just like the other products, only a small amount is needed to completely cover the face and neck, and after applying my skin looked and felt really soft and healthy.

Primer

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I would argue that I have definitely saved the best until last. This primer is hands down the best one I have ever used (though I have to admit I have not tried a large variety of premium primers). It is absolutely fantastic! Just like the day lotions, again here the pump bottle comes in really handy as it makes sure you don’t waste any product – and one or two pumps is definitely enough which is great.

The primer itself has a gel-like texture, which instantly feels smooth and nourishing on the skin. It immediately reduced the redness on my cheeks and around my chin, and gave me a really healthy dewy glow so that I was happy to wander around the house all morning wearing it just on its own.

The true magic of this product however is revealed when you apply your foundation over the top. Typically I only use high street foundations, but with this primer it looked absolutely amazing. My skin literally looked photo-ready, as if my makeup had been done by a professional, absolutely radiant, mattified and pore less. And one major bonus to add, is that the texture of the gel works to smooth out the under-eye area and so I didn’t experience any of the usual concealer residue lines in the creases under my eyes. I was really, really impressed with this primer and I definitely think it’s one for my wish list, just because I think it can make even a cheap foundation look really expensive and well-applied.

The Round-up

As a whole I was very impressed with the FC5 range from Arbonne and the wonders that it did to my skin. All the effects were very positive: some little dried up spots, which generally would take ages to go away were gone within two days of using these products, and a few horrible little spots that threatened to move in around my chin area shrunk back to little bumps and disappeared. Miracle!

The top two for my wish list are definitely the cleanser and the primer, as I felt I could really see what they were doing – another benefit of Arbonne of course is that you get to trail the products in advanced to see which ones best suit your skin, but also so you can see what you’re paying for.

Although the products themselves are certainly more expensive than I would usually pay, I really do think that you get what you pay for, both in how far the products themselves actually go and in the visible results. My skin has looked disappointingly dull and lifeless ever since.

Have you ever heard of, or tried out any Arbonne products? Which ones did you test? 

Harriette

Bath + Shower Favourites

Ever since going to University, I have been a little bit obsessed with fancy toiletry goodies. Anything that’s a little bit luxury and smells nice is a little bit special when you’re at Uni to be honest and so I sort of starting collecting toiletries. I celebrated my birthday the summer before going to Uni and so I had a lot of nice birthday gifts to take with me including a Ted Baker bath and shower set, a Baylis and Harding bath and shower set, and some Lush goodies. As if this wasn’t enough, I also attended two bloggers meets, one in January and another in June where I received even more lovely shower products. So here it is a list of a few of my favourites that always cheered me up (wow, that’s a little sad) after a crappy day because there’s nothing like feeling clean and warm and relaxed and smelling good.  

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Lush “Whoosh” Shower Jelly

I’ve been picking this up for just over a year now and I really like it. I first became aware of this product when I received it as a birthday gift from my boyfriend’s nan a couple of weeks before I started my A levels, as it claims to give “renewed focus with tired jet lagged or revising for exams”. For my birthday this year I actually received two tubs of this, the smaller tub from Lewis and this larger tub from my mum. Made with lemon, lime, grapefruit and rosemary, I like it because it smells quite a bit like Jelly Babies. I think the renewed focus is more the result a placebo effect than the actual product itself, although you do have to concentrate pretty hard with this slippery substance in the shower so maybe that’s where the focus comes in. 

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Lee Stafford “Get’s Rid of Frizz” Treatment

This is, and has been for a while, my absolute favourite shower product. I got this in my goodie bag at the Bristol Bloggers Meet, and didn’t actually touch it for about 4 months. Then one day I came across it, and decided to put it in my en suite and use it the next time I had a shower. This stuff is absolutely uh-mazing! To start with, it smells incredible, sort of floral and coconutty, giving you that ‘just stepped out of the salon’ whiff. This product is designed to be used between you’re shampoo and conditioner as a hair mask. You take an egg-sized scoop of product and put it all over your hair, leaving it for a set amount of time so that it sinks in properly. I’ve been using this product for a pretty long time now, and I still have a little bit left, so it does last a long time. This treatment is fantastic for nourishing dry hair, detangling and just making sure you get a smooth, sleek, shiny blow-dry. Perfect! Generally it says to use a conditioner afterwards, but you’ll probably find that you don’t need one. This product particularly came to my rescue when I used to go swimming in the mornings at Uni, as a small amount of treatment would easily detangle those stubborn chlorine-induced knots. 

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Boots “Build Up Removal Expert” Shampoo 

I bought this after reading a couple of good reviews on a few different blogs about how it can really declog all of that product build up out of your hair. I have to admit I was surprised at the hefty price tag of just under £4.00 but I decided that for a product that I was only going to use one in a while to detoxify and remove all the impurities from my hair, it wasn’t too bad. For me this product is perfect for when I feel like i’ve been using a lot of products in my hair. Shampoo, Conditioner, Heat Protection Spray, Sea Salt Spray, Dry Shampoo – it can all make my hair feel heavy and thick, so using this shampoo to wash that all away leaves me feeling much lighter and cleaner. 

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Soap and Glory ” The Scrub Of Your Life” Body Scrub and “Glad Hair Day” Shampoo

I hadn’t actually tried out a Soap and Glory product until last Christmas, I’d just gotten the blogging bug and so I was on the look out for brands that all the beauty bloggers were using. I’d always seen Soap and Glory products and loved the puny names and retro design, but the cost did put me off trying any. In recent years however, I have made the momentous discovery that is Boots on Boxing Day and I have to say I would recommend everyone go. Long story short, I used to head straight for Topshop for the Boxing Day sales until I realised that Boots sell all of their fancy gift sets half price. Needless to say I was extremely happy when I picked up a Soap and Glory Bubble Barrel complete with 6 miniature products for only £6.00! I love all of them individually but “The Scrub of Your Life” and “Glad Hair Day” smell particularly good and are so handy for shoving in my bag for a weekend in London with Lewis or for a holiday, or just for when I feel like smelling amazing.

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Elemis “Skin Buff” Face Scrub

Elemis are a really terrific skincare brand and I really love their scented cleansers and toners. I got this “Skin Buff” in my Elemis Skin Brilliance Hydrating Skincare set [which I had reviewed here] and initially I wasn’t really a big fan. Face scrubs aren’t really my favourites as I have pretty sensitive skin and my cheeks tend to go all red and a bit sore if I use a face scrub, so I tend to just stick to cleansers. When I first gave this a go I found it to be a bit rough and sandpapery. However, after going a while without using it, I reread the instructions on the back and had another go. This time I was a lot more gentle, and i found it a lot more comfortable. The “Skin Buff” for me works better than other face scrubs as it has really tiny grains, rather than larger beads and so it’s a lot softer. It leaves my skin feeling soft and smooth and looking brighter. I’m not really sure that I would buy this product on it’s own, but as part of a set I’m happy to use it when my skin is looking a little dull. 

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Ted Baker “Body Scrub”

From face scrub and onto body scrub, as you might be able to tell I’ve gotten into the whole exfoliating thing at the moment, mainly because I’ve been slapping on the fake tan in this summer weather. This body scrub from Ted Baker looks pretty much just like salt, and rubs gently onto the skin to give a lovely soft finish. I love putting it on my legs after I shave them, to leave them feeling soft and silky smooth all day.

IMG_5352 IMG_5353Yves Rocher Organic Raspberry “Exfoliating Shower Gel”

Ok, so maybe not actually one of my favourites, as the actually exfoliating parts are a bit rough and annoying and end up all over the shower. But I do appreciate the fact that some of the exfoliating beads look like, or are, strawberry seeds. The only reason I’ve mentioned this product really is because it smells like jam, which is a bit of a novelty.

IMG_5347 IMG_5349Betty Jackson “Fresh Lavender” Bath Oil 

Of course one of the great things about being at home and not in halls is that I can have lovely long baths and watch Netflix on my laptop. Ah bliss. I found this cute little Betty Jackson Black set in our spare room, complete with lavender candle, this bath oil and a lavender body butter. Lavender in itself is great for a long relaxing bath as it’s a naturally soothing smell and the oily texture of the product actually makes your skin feel really smooth and lovely. Even on getting out of the bath, my skin was still all oily and moisturise, which might not be for everyone but I didn’t mind it. I fell asleep very quickly that evening, and have saved the rest of the bottle for the day I get home from Reading Festival – although I think i’ll have a little shower first! 

I hope you enjoyed this post of my bath and shower favourites. What are some of your favourite products to use in the shower or the bath?

Harriette

Strong Not Skinny

The word “role model” is often banded together with the idea of fame or celebrity in modern media, as the majority of big bloggers might be only too aware. Writing a blog that becomes very popular, or appearing in a reality TV programme can mean that an individual comes to be regarded as a role model, and that of course comes with the heavy burden of responsibility. A role model’s lifestyle, dress code and eating habits can easily be picked up by an eager fan, and this is where debates about good and bad role models arise.

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Made in Chelsea star Millie Mackintosh was criticised at the beginning of last month after sharing a photo of herself on Instagram and Twitter at a photoshoot. The uncaptioned photograph, showed Millie wearing a silver bikini, highlighting her slim, muscular frame. This Instagram picture quickly sparked outrage as Mackintosh’s husband, Professor Green retweeted the photo onto his own Twitter account, adding “#thinspiration”. Experts (according to The Daily Mail) criticised the couple for encouraging young girls to starve themselves. Despite Mackintosh’s prompt reply to her husband’s joke, highlighting that her message was actually one of “fitspiration”, the media soon caught hold, with the uploading of the photo and Millie’s “role model” status even being debated on popular ITV programme Loose Women.

As a young (just about still teenage) girl, who has followed Millie’s Twitter for a good year now, I would have to respectfully disagree that she is in anyway a bad influence to young girls. There are a plethora of horrendous and harmful images available to young people on the internet with the label “thinspiration” – often used by pro-anorexia groups – but this isn’t one of them. Mackintosh’s “strongnotskinny” message, which she promotes heavily both on her Twitter and Instagram pages, encourage healthy, clean, eating and plenty of exercise. Despite her slim frame, it is her strong body which she is promoting, a body far away from the skin and bones look incorporated in most “thinspiration” images.

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It is a sad and indisputable fact that the majority of women and increasingly, younger and younger girls, will at some point, or maybe several points in their lives think about losing weight. However, adding tone to you body, can give the illusion of lost weight without getting to an unhealthy stage. By acting as a role model for young girls, celebrities like Millie Mackintosh – who children should be made aware, are generally slim as part of their job description – are at least sending out a message that strong is the way to be, not skinny, whilst at the same time promoting the empowering idea of improving your body for yourself.

I have never been a girl who’s been desperate to lose weight. Of course I’ve had my moments of “Oh my God, my jeans don’t fit!”, but generally I’m quite lucky that I’m mostly happy with myself. Recently however, I have felt inspired to exercise at least 3/4 times a week, trying to add a bit of tone to my tummy, but also, in the hope it might have other health benefits, such as giving me more energy. Since going to Uni and being able to pick my own food, I’ve always tried to eat well. I’d rather make all of my meals at home from scratch and go for the occasional meal out than eat a ready meal [mostly because they taste vile]. If I can swap a potato for a sweet potato, I will and if I can have slightly more veg and meat on my plate than carbs I will.

Personally I don’t believe in dieting, as I really don’t think it’s sustainable. But making little lifestyle choices, like cutting out bad food and trying to eat more eggs and apples and low-fat yoghurts makes me feel like I’m doing my body a favour. And ofcourse, I’m not good all of the time. I absolutely LOVE bad food. Yesterday I had lunch out, came home and ate 6 profiteroles…. I’m not denying my body food in the slightest, I’m just trying to think more and more about what I’m putting into it.

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In the way of exercise, I am working on strengthening my body through cardio and strength exercises. I’ve been enjoying using Davina McCall’s Body Buff Workout Video, which provides a range of warm ups, workouts and strength exercises allowing you to focus on key parts of the body, as I’m going on holiday soon I’ve been focusing on my “abs”.

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We also at the moment have in our house a spinning bike, which my Dad borrowed from my Uncle in order to train for a cycling race. I was slightly reluctant to give it a go, as  I had previously read a tweet from a female comedian (I’ve forgotten who) that spinning is very much like being punched in the v***** – nice. I have to say the seat is not incredibly comfortable on our old model, but I’ve found once I’ve got all my gear on and found a great workout/pop/r&b playlist on 8tracks I’m pretty good to go AND it helps me mix up my workout if I need a change from Davina.

Personally, I think I’ve been really inspired by Millie’s #strongnotskinny mantra. To me it’s a really important and empowering message to send out to young girls, that if for what ever reason you want to slim down [although I do not believe in doing so if it’s unnecessary] then at least go about it in the right way, with a healthy diet and exercise, to strengthen your body rather than weaken it. Celebrities like this, should be encouraged to spread such a positive message about looking after your body. Hopefully when girls who watch Millie strutting her stuff in her Louis Vitton, look up to her as a role model, and admire her body they will be inspired by the her happy, healthy, balanced lifestyle.

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I hope you liked this post, to read Millie’s reaction to the media attention surrounding her Instagram photo click here.

Harriette

The Birthday Wishlist.

So it’s my birthday on Thursday (the 20th of June) and I can hardly believe it’s come around so fast. Although, looking back my little cakes and wine party with all my best friends, and going out in a borrowed gold dress from my sister and a cardboard tiara made by a friend’s boyfriend, does seem like a pretty long time ago. This year probably has been one of the most dramatic of my life so far (duh duh DUUUHH), but first year at Uni has come and gone so quickly I can hardly believe I’m at the other side of it, celebrating a new birthday. 19.

Present-wise of course, my friends and family have had a slightly more difficult time this year as I haven’t been at home to drag them around various shops endlessly hinting that THAT looks very nice. I have however, spent what I think is probably a considerable amount of time, going into shops a ‘browsing’ unable to make my student budget stretch to THAT dress or THOSE really nice shoes.

So to help them out, and to hopefully acquire some of the many, many products I have been coveting I wrote a Birthday Wishlist. Some of things you will see below are actually on the list, a few our other things that caught my eye whilst I was sourcing photos. The original Birthday list, comes with the explanation that these presents are ‘ideas’ and that I certainly don’t expect everything on there, it’s really just a guide if they have no idea.

Birthday Wishlist 1

Clothing 

From top left:

Pins & Needles Floral Playsuit 

I spotted this playsuit in Urban Outfitters, next to the underwear and was a little confused as to weather it was some weird kind of nightie/ sleep suit. I did however resolve that I would wear it as a day playsuit regardless, as it’s so little and pretty. I can definitely see myself wearing this and a pair of wellies at Reading later in the year. I have recently seen a sunflower version of this playsuit, which is really pretty too.

Topshop Stripe Organza Trim Crop Tee

I loved this top when I first saw it in the shop, as I am rather partial to a striped tee in the summer – they’re just so easy to pull on over a pair of denim shorts and make a really cosy, casual summer outfit. This top is particularly nice because it’s cropped, and it has a really pretty lace trim on both the arms and the hem giving it a girly touch. I’ve seen quite a few people wearing this since my local Topshop starting stocking it and it looks great paired with a number of different outfits.

White Chunky Cleated Sole Gladiator Sandals 

My favourite type of shopping is when I can actually completely justify ‘needing’ an item. I’ve recently had a few problems with achey feet and my doctor has told me that wearing flat sandals and esprdrills in the summer is definitely not helping. She suggested that if I could find some shoes with a bit more support on the bottom, then both my feet and back would be relieved from the horrors of wearing flat shoes all summer. I stumbled across this pair of sandals in New Look the other day whilst I was searching for clothes. They come in both black and white, although I thought I might be daring and try the white as it’s lovely and summery and all of my other shoes are black. These shoes weren’t on my original birthday list, however, they might be a bit of an essential if I am fortunate enough to get any spending money.

White No 1 New York Boutique Paris T-Shirt

I saw this T-shirt a pretty long time ago now in River Island, and I am both surprised and thrilled that they currently still have it in stock. I was really, really lucky last year and got to go to New York as part of a joint birthday celebration with my mum and ever since, for no particular reason I’ve really wanted some kind of t-shirt that says “New York” on it. This one for me is ideal, it’s crisp  and simple with the black and white writing and like the striped Topshop tee I can see it working nicely with a pair of denim shorts, or with jeans or skirts in the winter.

Petite Paint Floral Flippy Skirt 

Like probably a lot of people, come the summer time my wardrobe is usually in need of a bit of a colour injection. Black is certainly my winter staple and I love it, but I do like to try and mix it up a bit every now and then. I thought this skirt was a really pretty colour and could be matched with different tops for day/ night outfits.

Pink Floral High Waisted Bikini

After investing in an high-waisted bikini from Urban Outfitters, I have very much fallen in love. I just think the shape it gives me is much more flattering, and it seems to make my legs look a bit longer, which certainly is never a bad thing. Usually I wouldn’t go for a swimsuit quite as bright as this, however I really love this pattern from Topshop, I think it’s so pretty. Just have to watch out for those ‘unfashionable naked scenarios’ as Alexa Chung calls them.

Glamorous Tall Paisley Print Playsuit 

Although I certainly don’t fall into the category of “tall”, I really love the shape and pattern of this playsuit. It’s very summery and pretty and could be easily dressed up or down, for day or night.

 

Birthday Wishlist 2

 

Beauty 

From top left:

Elemis Total Glow Gradual Tan Bronzing Body Lotion

I’ve seen a couple of good reviews for this, and I am both a big fan of Elemis and of tanning products so I want to give this a try. Gradual tanners historically are not my favourite to use, as I find they are typically slightly more streaky to apply, however I thought this might be a good product for topping up my (hopefully natural) tan from my holiday. I’ll be sure to review this if I am lucky enough to receive it.

Benefit Dandelion Blusher

This is definitely one on the duty-free list if I get a few extra pennies. The Benefit lady used this on my face when I had my makeup done at the counter, and it really works for my paler skin. The colour is so light and pretty it’s perfect for summer as well.

Fairy Dust Scented Candle by Lily Flame

Lily Flame make some gorgeous smelling candles and Fairy Dust is by far my favourite. I used all of mine up at Uni, so I’d love to get a replacement so that I can get my room smelling like melted marshmallows again. You can read my post about this candle here.

Real Techniques Finish Perfected Blush Brush

I started out with the Real Techniques Starter Kit of brushes just before Christmas and I’ve really got on with them so well, I’d love to add the Blush Brush to my little collection as it’s just a bit of a better size for blusher that the Buffing Brush.

Benefit They’re Real Push-Up Liner

After seeing Anna’s review of this new product on Vianna Does Makeup I really wanted to give this a try. I too am a bit hopeless at eyeliner and tend to rely heavily on eye makeup remover to fix my wobbly mistakes and to make it look vaguely like a smooth line. Maybe with this product from Benefit my skills will improve!

St Tropez Face and Body Self  Tanning Kit

I have become rather fake tan obsessed ever since I recieved the Cocoa Brown 1 Hour Tan Mousse in a goodie bag at the Bristol Bloggers meet. And of course, I am curious to try the ‘real deal’ and to compare it to my first love of fake tan.

Urban Decay Naked 2 Palette

There’s a lot of hype around the Urban Decay Naked Palettes and I’ve always taken the opportunity to dabble in other peoples when I’ve had the chance. My friend Rachel is some what more of a makeup expert than me, so when I was having a little eyeshadow crisis she grabbed her Naked Palette, smudged a few shades onto her fingers and one, two, three I had a smoky eye in no time. The variety of shades and how easy they are to use certainly makes this product tempting.

MAC lipstick

Hands up, I’ve never owed a MAC lipstick and I think it’s about time I got my hands on one. At the moment I can’t decide whether I’d rather go for a lighter, nudey pink shade like this one for day use, or whether I want to go for a deep dark red for big nights out. Any recommendations on favourite shades will be much appreciated as the range is so vast!

Birthday Wishlist 3

 

Mugs and Books 

Of course, as an English Degree student there are a few books on my birthday list. The promise of having most of the summer to read whatever I like is certainly a nice thought, so I put a few on my list: God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy; Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck; A Long Way Down by Nick Hornby [making myself read this before I watch the film] and Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad.

I have also been in the search for a really cute little mug to fill up with tea and get me through long days of essay writing next year – I really love these sweet designs from Paperchase, Emma Bridgewater and Indigo [sadly I don’t think this one is available for purchase in the UK].

So there you go, that’s a idea of some of the things I’ve got my eye on for my birthday. I’ll have to do an update on what I do get, my friends and family always have amazing surprises for me, so I’m sure I’ll be over the moon with whatever I receive.

Do you ever write birthday lists for your birthday? Or do you prefer surprises? Would your family be clueless if you didn’t give them a bit of help? Let me know.

Harriette

This Month I’m Loving… Nair Brazilian Spa Clay Shower Power Cream

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I have to admit that I didn’t actually expect to do a review on this product, and so I didn’t take any good product pictures before I started using it and the bottle got a bit gross. Definitely more from my messiness than a comment on the product itself.

I recieved the Nair Brazilian Spa Clay Shower Power Cream as part of my goodie bag from the Bristol Bloggers Meet and I was more than a little dismissive of it, shoving it in my Ted Baker beauty box for a rainy day. I had used one Nairs product before this and I wasn’t majorly impressed with it. I was convinced that hair removal cream didn’t actually work and the only way to get rid of my hairy legs was (a) to have them waxed or (b) to shave them. Usually my method is the latter, primarily because: I have a very low pain threshold, shaving is cheaper, and I hate the idea of letting the hair grow back in between waxes [although this usually happens anyway down to my laziness].

Anyway, in that very long introduction to this post, I am trying to explain that I was more than a little bit prejudice against hair removal products in general and especially Nair. However, I am happy to announce that this product has changed my mind, so much so that I feel inclined to share my love for it on here.

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I finally gave in and decided to give it a try because I was about to try fake tan for the first time ever. I got the Cocoa Brown 1 hour Tan Mousse in the goodie bag also and I was desperate to try it ready for the English Ball ( check out my tanned self here). As this was my first time using fake tan, I wanted to make sure I’d done my research so I read alot of blogs and watched a few Youtube videos – particularly Marissa’s own one. One of the pieces of advice given was to shave your legs well, as hairless legs prevent tan sticking to the hairs.

Now I am definitely not the most careful shaver, and I often find later that day after shaving I still have rather hairy knees or the backs of my legs are a bit stubbly. Not ideal. So I thought that using the Nair cream might be a slightly quicker way of removing as much hair as possible, and would get to those hard to reach areas that I tend to miss – thus providing me with the optimum streak free godess tan.

To apply the product, Nair provide a weird little spatula, which stops you from getting the cream all over your hands, although it does sort of go everywhere anyway – but again I’m not the most careful. It can take a bit of a long time to spread the cream in an even layer all over both your legs, but I don’t think it takes any longer than shaving and I do prefer it. Generally I’d put the cream on, leave it for 5 or so minute and then turn the shower on and wash it off.

The product itself is a beigy-grey colour and certainly is not my favourite smell, although my little en-suite bathroom at Uni has smelt of it for a while so I’m probably just sick of the smell by now. It does smell a bit like the “clay” it claims to be and any unwanted smell is easily resolved by a nice smelly showegel after you’ve washed off the cream. Obviously for covering both your legs like I did, you do use quite alot of product and I think I got about 3 uses out of it before I ran out but this acutally isn’t too bad.

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By far the best thing about this product is how long the effects last. After first applying it on the Friday night, I didn’t see any significant re-growth until the following Friday, which rather impressed me. Plus using the product nourishes your skin, leaving it smooth and silky to the touch – what everyone wants after a shave. You get quite a bit of product in the bottle, despite the fact you use quite a lot each time, so I managed to get about 4 uses out of it, each time doing both of my legs from thigh to ankle. This spa clay retails for about £6.99, which I think is a great price considering that’s essentially a month’s worth of smooth legs.

Overall I have been surprised by how much I love this product. I would certainly consider buying it again, even if it’s just use on the areas I hate shaving like knees, ankles, and down there. It’s especially convient for use a couple of days before fake tanning, as my Cocoa Brown tan looked great on and I didn’t have to worry about hairy knees.

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Harriette

Festival Beauty Essentials

festival 5   Going to a music festival is one of the most exciting things to do over the summer, and its very easy to get excited as the weekend – booked way in advance- draws closer and closer, until it’s the day before. This, from personal experience I have found, is when the panic packing begins. You’ve been so caught up in all of the bands you can’t wait to see and how fun it will be to camp with all your best friends, that you haven’t really thought much about what you need to take. In this instance, it can be difficult to actually think of the things that you might need for the weekend. In particular it might escape your attention that you can’t just sling your usual makeup collection into a bag and hope for the best. Festivals and camping mean adaptation. So lest you forget, here are some key essential makeup items that you should be packing: wet wipes

  1. Wet Wipes

Not so much for cosmetic reasons, as for personal hygiene. Although these babies are good for taking all of your makeup off, they are also great for a weekend where it is highly unlikely that you will see a shower. When you stumble back to your tent covered in mud or urine or beer and see these little clean, white wipes lying in your tent, you will be very thankful.

  1. A Mirror

This is something that I usually forget. Used to the indoor world, we tend to be presented with mirrors everywhere, for putting our makeup on and sorting out our hair. However, unless you take your own, mirrors do not tend to be available in a big field in the middle of nowhere, and although you might not actually want to look at yourself by the last day. Makeup can cover up a lot of the lost sleep and bad skin. N/B If you take a mirror and others forget, you can guarantee that you’ll have lots of bare-faced friends asking to borrow yours each morning. festival collage

  1. UV Face Paint/ Glitter

Very much festival essentials, although one is probably enough, both might make you look a bit like a drag queen. Personally I tend to go for the UV paints, as you can have a number of different styles if you’ve got a few colours. If you can get your hands on UV paints before a festival it’s probably a lot cheaper as they tend to sell them in packs of 3 for about £10 and the tubes aren’t that big. They do however, last for a pretty long time. My UV paints have lasted me three festivals and a few Uni Paint Parties. Above are a few different looks modelled by yours truly, as you can see my posing for photographs has not improved….

  1. Cotton Buds

Not so much an essential as a festival hack. If you’re investing in UV paint it’s definitely worth packing some cotton buds. Whether you’re going for the traditional dots in a swirl across your nose or painting little flowers or whatever, cotton buds make the job a lot neater than doing it with your fingers – and you don’t get covered. batiste

  1. Dry Shampoo

Another absolute godsend when you don’t have a shower. Dry Shampoo will ensure that your hair isn’t looking too greasy after a few days without washing. Hairbands are also very important, as a dirty hair carefully styled into a fishtail plait looks more like a choice, than a must.

  1. SPF Foundation/ Moisturiser

Taking sun cream to any festival is a must, even if it’s forecast to rain. However, if you’re not a fan of putting sun cream on your face, grab yourself some foundation or moisturiser with that all important SPF to stop any unwanted redness ruining your camping photos. On another note, moisturiser in general is a good idea, just to keep your skin hydrated – especially after using all those wet wipes! hand sanitizer

  1. Hand Sanitizer

Another product you’ll be thankful you brought after a few days of using portaloos. Getting a small bottle that you can carry around in your pocket is ideal for giving your hands a quick wash after you’ve been to the loo, or before you snack into some jerk chicken. Picking one with a nice smell will help you feel clean and fresh and you might find yourself using it to clean other parts of your body too.    

  1. Tissues

As everyone knows, the best thing about going to a festival is that you get to use a portaloo (not). For your entire weekend, these little plastic boxes will –especially if you’re a girl – become the bane of your life. Unfortunately there’s not really much to be done about that, however you could make the experience a little bit nicer for yourself by packing a few packs of tissues into your festival luggage. You may think I’m exaggerating, but people have been know to be so elated at the sight of toilet roll in a portaloo, that they have stolen the entire roll for themselves for future use. Be aware of these people and the fact they might take all the loo roll.

Photo Credit: barelyorganizedchaos.com

Photo Credit: barelyorganizedchaos.com

  1. Perfume Samples/ Body Spray

Lack of showers and the hot weather at festivals make a sweaty and smelly combination. To make sure you’re friends don’t start avoiding you after a few days, pack a little bottle of body spray to give yourself the once over every morning. N/B Febreeze is also acceptable for spraying yourself, and likewise body spray can be used to make your tent smell a bit better. On the other hand, if you have any lying around take some little perfume samples with you, it’s amazing how a good smell can make you feel so much nicer and cleaner, even if you’re actually disgusting. concealors 10. Concealer Chances are when you look at your face after a night out watching Beyonce or The Killers or whoever, and no sleep because you were kept up by two boys thinking every tent in your area was actually their’s before realising they were in the wrong camp, you’re going to want to conceal everything. First of all, you need a good corrector. A corrector is just a pinkie concealer, this will cancel out the very dark circles under your eyes. Among the best correctors are the Bobbi Brown one, which is pricey but affective, or if you’re looking for a highstreet dupe Soap and Glory’s Kick Ass Concealer and Sleek’s Corrector and Concealer Palette are also both great. Once you’ve applied your corrector put a concealer over the top, arguably the best high-end concealers are Benefit’s Boing or Erase Paste, best high-street included Collection 2000’s Lasting Perfection Concealer or Rimmel’s Wake Me Up Concealer. With these products handy, you should be looking a lot more awake, ready for the rest of the day.

  Are you going to any festivals this summer? What are your festival beauty essentials?

Harriette


As some of you may know, this year I am lucky enough to be going to Reading Festival as a Festival Reporter on behalf of Studentcom, which is all very exciting. Part of my role as a reporter is to write some articles leading up to the festival itself, so above is my article originally produced for Studentcom on Festival Beauty Essentials, I wanted to post it here so you could have a read.

Bristol Bloggers Meet

On Sunday and after a lot of organisation I went to my first ever Bloggers meet. I am at University in Exeter, which isn’t too far away from Bristol but I had to go home for the weekend for the Orthodontist so my wonderful Dad drove me all the way to Bristol on Sunday morning. I wore my Topshop Daisy Dress and my new Topshop [ i do wear other brands honest!] Moni Cut Out Leather Boots.

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The Meet, organised by the lovely Emily Stoker from Pretty Please Blog and events organiser Phil McCormick was held in Revolution – a really pretty and newly refurbished bar. I hadn’t gone with anyone and so felt a bit awkward walking in, but I soon got chatting with lots of other bloggers, which was lovely. In particular I met Melody, Kim and Beky who were all really nice.We had our own little mezzanine above the main bar, with our own little bar where we could order drinks and food to be brought upstairs.

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I picked up a great cocktail, Cranberry Fizz which came in this really sweet jam-jar style mug and tasted pretty strong. Putting it down on the table for a while so I didn’t have to hold it all the time, I noticed a few bloggers taking photos of it. In fact, it was quite funny how normal it was for everyone to be taking photos of/ videoing everything all day.

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Mostly we sat on comfy sofas and chatted, but there was also a Lush table with all kinds of testers and new Easter-themed products, which smelled amazing! Natalia, founder of iamsociable (a business aimed at helping creatives seek their potential) and some of her friends gave use some great blogging tips and made Vine videos of us saying our names and our blog URLs. We all got a bit peckish around 3ish so we ordered some food, I had sweet potato wedges because I love them.

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Towards the end of the day Emily and Phil did a raffle, allowing us to purchase tickets in order to win some beauty goodies and donating the proceeds to charity.

Finally it was time to go, and my drinking in the middle of the day had made me pretty tired so I said goodbye to everyone and Emily gave us these amazing goodie bags to take home with us. I’m certainly looking forward to trying everything out and posting up my thoughts. Hopefully these goodies will keep me away from the very tempting Boots 3 for 2 offers that are on at the moment….

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Overall I had a really lovely day and was very pleased that I went. Thank you very much to Emily and Phil organising such a lovely event, I hope to go to more in the future! If like me you don’t really know many other bloggers, but spy a meet coming up in your local area I would definitely encourage people to go as it’s a great way to meet other bloggers that share similar interests to you – plus the goody bags are fabulous!

Hope you enjoyed this post.

Harriette

Winter Skin Saviour

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Like probably a lot of you, my skin has been suffering in this horrible English winter. I have combination skin, which can annoyingly get really dry in some places and really oily in others. However, recently I have been noticing that after putting my makeup on in the morning it would make my face look very dry and flaky, particularly on my forehead and cheeks. I had been using my normal skin care routine with the added ingredient of Rimmel’s new Stay Matte Primer and some Superdrug Facial Cleansing wipes. I read on Beaus and Bows that cleansing wipes can dry out your skin, so I immediately stopped using them – although I do miss the lovely fresh cucumber smell. Although not looking specifically for a product to help hydrate my skin before putting on my makeup, I was keeping an eye out and that’s how I came across my new skin saviour: Nivea Daily Essentials Express Hydration Primer for Dry/ Sensitive Skin. I chose the Dry/ Sensitive Skin over the Combination version, as I have been suffering more with dry skin at the moment, and I do have very sensitive skin so I have to be wary of what products I use. I bought it for £4.49 from Savers [always a good shop to check out for hair/makeup and now alcohol bargains], it comes in a really sweet little glass pot – so it immediately feels more like a high-end product and for the price you get 50ml, which is quite a lot considering I only use a few dabs each day. The primer has a really nice light consistency that spreads easily, so little product is needed. It smells really fresh and clean, which is nice for those groggy just-stumbled-out-of-bed mornings and sinks into the skin quickly. After using it, I found applying my makeup was lot more fluid and my skin was instantly hydrated with no horrible dry/ flaky patches. I have now used this product for a good week and my skin looks so much better, no longer quiet so dull it has a matte glow with works perfectly for my combination skin.

Overall, I cannot recommend this product more, it’s very low cost – especially considering the amount of product and it does exactly what it says, hydrating the skin whilst acting as a great primer. It has definitely saved my skin while this horrible winter continues.

Do you have any winter skin saviours?

Harriette

My Daily Skincare Routine + Elemis Skin Brilliance Hydrating Skincare Gift Set Review

So I just wanted to start off this post by letting you know a little bit about my daily skincare routine. I am  18 and have had my fair share of bad skin, however in recent years I’ve been blessed with pretty clear skin which  I put down to the fact that over the last 4 or so years I have used these two key products:

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Left: Simple Kind to Skin Purifying Cleansing Lotion 200ml Right: Simple Kind to Skin Soothing Facial Toner 200ml

I use these products everyday before I put my makeup on, Cleanser then Toner then Moisturiser however I would also really recommend using the Simple Kind to Eyes Eye Make-up Remover which I love. Simple credit themselves on being experts in sensitive skin. Their products have no colour, no perfumes and pride themselves on being suitable for all skin types particularly the most sensitive – so if like me, you have sensitive skin, these could be the perfect products for you.

On using the Cleanser and Toner before  putting on your makeup  you can see on the cotton pad the dirt that comes off your face, without using these products all of that dirt would remain on my skin and underneath my makeup for the whole day – gross! The products recommend that you use them twice a day, once in the morning before you put your makeup on and once in the evening to take your makeup off – personally I usually just use makeup remover wipes to take my makeup off at the end of the day but I’m sure these products work really well for makeup removal too.

Simple have created a wide range of products for good, healthy skin some of which are especially designed for bad skin, for example I use the Kind to Skin Purifying Cleansing Lotion, but they also do a Kind to Skin Pore Minimising Toning Cleanser and a range of Spotless Skin face washes and Deep Clean Cleansing Pads for getting right into those pores. I would certainly recommend Simple products to anyone as they are nice to use, they last a long time as very little product is needed per application and they are a good price. The three products that I frequently buy, the Cleanser, the Toner and the Make-up Remover retail at around £3.00 each, which I do not think is bad at all.

In fact the only product so far that I have tried from the Simple range that I don’t like is  the Simple Kind to Skin Hydrating Light Moisturiser. It’s a really great light moisturiser but I really hate the smell, it’s quite plastic and artificial and I find I can smell it throughout the day, which I don’t really like. I did originally get all 3 products but I have phased out the moisturiser and used a range of different others including the Elemis Mattifying Moisturiser as a replacement as I prefer the smell and texture.

So for Christmas this year I asked for an Elemis Moisturiser and I was lucky enough to receive Elemis Skin Brillance Hydrating Skincare Collection Gift Set…

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I am completely and utterly smitten over this gift set, I have already been looking at where I can by another one reduced online because it is so good. Originally my mum had planned just to get me the Elemis Maximum Moisture Day Cream , which retails at about £38.00 on it’s own, so the lady at the counter convinced her to get the whole gift set which full price before Christmas was about £40.00.  This set includes: the Rehydrating Rosepetal Cleanser 50ml, the Soothing Apricot Toner 5oml, the Maximum Moisture Day Cream 50ml (full size) and the Skin Buff 20ml.

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So these products are basically luxury versions of my Simple collection. The Cleanser and Toner both smell absolutely amazing and are soothing to apply to my skin – also very little product is needed which is good because then it will last much longer. The moisturiser is light and sinks easily into my skin creating giving it a dewy look. The only thing I would point out is that this is the Hydrating Skincare Elemis Gift Set so if you have quite oily skin this probably isn’t the gift set for you. I have combination skin and so I feel these products give me just the right glow before applying my makeup without making my skin look shiny and oily. I also wasn’t a big fan of the Skin Buff, which I have only used once in the shower, but I found it was very rough on my sensitive skin which I didn’t really enjoy – however I will give it another go and update you if I like it a bit better next time. Overall, however I cannot recommend these products highly enough I absolutely love them and feel like i’m giving my skin a little spa treatment each time I use them.

They are quite expensive, particularly if you’re buying them separately and so I don’t use them everyday like I do my cheaper Simple collection, but I do like to use them on special occasions or if I just want to smell glorious! And they do make fabulous gifts for your friends and family to get you if you’re not sure what you want for your birthday/ christmas. If you’re looking to purchase this set it’s worth shopping around online as some shops are still doing reduced versions after Christmas – personally I’ve got my eye on the Elemis Skin Brillance Gift Set, which includes 200ml versions of the Rehydrating Rosepetal Cleanser and the Sooting Apricot Toner, a 50ml Maximum Replenish Night Cream and a 20ml Maximum Moisture Day Cream. That’s one thing for my birthday list already!

I hope you found this post useful to read, please feel free to comment and let me know what are your holy grail of skin products – I’m always looking to try out new ones (bank balance permitting). Thanks for reading.

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