Daily Dose of Bloggers: Who I'm Reading

Just a quick post today, but hopefully one that presents an opportunity for discovery! I'll be a little bit AWOL over the coming weeks with all sorts of revision, exams, meetings, re-watching the whole Gossip Girl series etc, but I have plenty of goodies planned for here and there. For now, enjoy this little list I've prepared* (inspired by this post):

Beauty:


Fashion


Lifestyle and Food


Vloggers (all of which are beauty bloggers too):

Fleur De Force --- Lily Pebbles --- Vivianna Does Makeup --- Essie Button (Estée) --- Amelia Liana --- Zoella --- Tanya Burr --- Lips So Facto (Meg) --- Ghostparties (Kate) --- I Covet Thee (Alix) --- Hello October --- A Model Recommends

Get comfortable and read/watch away.. after my exams are over, I have a seventy week summer (oh the joys of a gap year) so after this final push, expect much more regular posting!

*these are just my favourites at the moment, they do chop and change as I do read a ridiculously excessive selection of blogs.. seriously, way too many. 

Worldwide Wardrobe: Cocktails in NY

I've already posted my other outfit for the 'sightseeing in Paris' look of this competition, and I'm back with 'cocktails in New York'. Oh the temptation to add some Knicks merchandise to this outfit- die hard fan right here- thankfully, I resisted. I've never been to America, but I've always always yearned to go, and NY has been my dream place to go for a myriad of reasons; primarily the shops, the atmosphere, the scenery (and the Knicks).

The phrase 'cocktails in New York' just brings to mind a scene from The Great Gatsby, so I initially started looking for ideas for this outfit based around the '20s glamour of flapper dresses, and glittery embellishments-  (NB: virgoslounge is, in my opinion, one of the best places to achieve that kind of look); but after putting it all together it just didn't feel like something that would suit me, so I scrapped the idea completely and decided to inject a little 21st century into the idea, and instead opted for a modern/chic (hopefully) version.

Who said that cocktails always require cocktail dresses? New York is such a fashion-forward city, I think it can handle a slightly more adventurous outift; so I've decided to really emphasise the green and blue tones in the atzec blouse and lime bag by keeping the rest of the outfit neutral, understated and black. Although I don't think cocktail dresses are a necessity, I hardly ever go for a drink without my trusty heels so I couldn't resist adding these platform beauties- structured enough to prevent any embarrassing trips, but high enough to enable you to scout through the crowd for a Mr Big to your Carrie (SATC anyone?). Paired with the heels are a standard pair of disco pants, but such a steal at only £30- a great dupe for the American Apparel ones. There's quite a lot going on with the crazy print on the top so I didn't want to add too much bling; a flash of this simple ring provides just enough sparkle to draw the eye without being too 'in-your-face'. Finally, I felt like adding a blazer really makes the outfit so much more sophisticated and wearable and voila, finishing touches complete! - now all I need is my passport and a boarding pass.

For those of you who haven't heard of this competition, be sure to click on the link below but basically Travel Supermarket have challenged people to come up with outfits for five different occasions in five different places- Thailand, London, New York, Ibiza and Paris. The outfits and accessories need to total £200 or under, and the prize is a trip to the destination of the outfit plus £200 to buy the outfit- sounds too good to be true, right? There's still enough time left to get up a few outfits so be sure to check out here to be in with a chance of winning! 

BOTW #7

It's my little sister's birthday today- she's eight and adorable, so I'm squeezing this post in before I go and collect her from school as a special birthday treat (the little things, eh?).

Anyway, this blog created by Megan is a perfect mid-week read. Full of coveted products and a few hidden gems, I sat down at my laptop yesterday and read almost every single post dating back at least three months (yes, those views were mine, sorry!). The layout and header has recently changed, which I'm loving by the way- much simpler and easier to read; but that's not why Thumbelina Lillie is my BOTW #7. I just find the posts so interesting to read and Megan really does have such a naturally easygoing flair to her writing- jealous. Plus, she's currently running a giveaway to celebrate 500 followers so if you go and follow her ASAP, you can be in with a chance of winning too! So get comfy, prepare yourself for a long evening and, most importantly, enjoy.

I've already got next week's BOTW all planned out, and it's one that I'm really looking forward to sharing with you all, but in the meantime, keep an eye out for some (hopefully) exciting posts this week...

REN Invisible Pores Detox Mask Review

As I mentioned in my REN haul post, I plan to review all of the products in due course, and I feel like I've used this mask enough times to be able to write an accurate review- yay!



Just a note to say that I've used this 15ml tube around about five times now and there's still more than half left- impressive. Consistency wise, this is very similar to most clay masks, i.e thick and white(ish), although it dries to a slightly more off-white colour. I don't exactly follow the instructions to a tee as they say to "allow to dry until the mask can be removed by gently rubbing the skin with fingertips", but I don't find that this ever dries quite that well so I tend to use it for ten minutes or so instead. I can't really speak for the claim to reduces the appearance of pore size as I don't really have a problem with large-looking pores, but this works wonders for everything else. Complexion wise, I usually see a big difference in my skin straight after using this; I do feel a bit more radiant and my skin always feels so smooth and soft, although as a clay mask, it is pretty drying so probably not the best for dry skin- I only use this on the oilier parts of my face and really try to avoid using this on my cheeks.

As far as it being a detox product, this really does feel so relaxing (probably due to it's number one ingredient, Lavender), and it's just something that I love to do on a Sunday evening to prepare for everyone's dreaded day of the week- Monday.. At £18 for a 50ml bottle, it's looking very likely that I'll repurchase this in the near future.

Hope you've all had a lovely weekend!

Worldwide Wardrobe: Sightseeing in Paris

I've been debating over posting this for a while as my fashion taste isn't the best, but the competition is drawing to a close and I'd hate to have missed out on such an amazing opportunity, so here's my outfit for sightseeing in Paris!
I love Paris so much, it is my all-time favourite city, rain or shine- though this outfit leans a little more towards the latter, and I just felt like making an outfit for Paris would be the perfect fit. Often referred to as the fashion capital of the world, I feel as though a Parisian outfit should be sophisticated and quite simple so I've not opted for any embellishments and have kept shimmers to an absolute minimum. Although this outfit is relatively understated, I added a pop of colour in the green satchel and pastel yellow stripe- enough to stand out but not enough to take away from the simplicity of the outfit (I hope) because a little bit of colour brightens everything up! Sunglasses are an absolute necessity for any sudden sunshine appearances, and I think that nude cat-eyed sunnies aren't too hard to wear and suit absolutely anyone. Traipsing around Paris from arrondissement to arrondissement can be a little tough on the feet but these mid-heel sandals from Zara are so lovely, I couldn't resist- oh well, there's always the Metro. 

Depending on how much free time I have over the next few weeks, I might try and create some outfits for some of the other places- listed below- so stay on the lookout for those too!

For those of you who haven't heard of this competition, be sure to click on the link below but basically Travel Supermarket have challenged people to come up with outfits for five different occasions in five different places- Thailand, London, New York, Ibiza and Paris. The outfits and accessories need to total under £200, and the prize is a trip to the destination of the outfit plus £200 to buy the outfit- sounds too good to be true, right? There's still enough time left to get up a few outfits so be sure to check out http://www.travelsupermarket.com/c/holidays/worldwide-wardrobe/ to be in with a chance of winning! Bonne chance!

Seeing Double: The Repurchases

Nope, you aren't going crazy- and those glasses of wine from last night haven't come back to haunt you with double vision either- I've just repurchased some items (phew).
Collection 2000 Lasting Perfection Concealer- #Fair

It's no secret that I love this concealer; after waiting for weeks for Boots and Superdrug to restock, a page refresh later and this baby was in my metaphorical basket. Nothing new here, I'm sure, same old trusty formula for an incredibly cheap price providing industrial blemish coverage- a.k.a an absolute steal. My skin is being quite lovely to me at the moment but it is always handy to have a few back ups of these- one for the handbag, one for the beside table, one for the coat pocket... just me? Oh well.

Neutrogena Visibly Clear 2-in-1

Ooooooohh I can't even. This product has been a godsend for me, and I'm so glad I can still find it in it's original form (thanks to Superdrug, no thanks to Boots who only stock the reformulated version that I am so not ready to try yet). I use this daily, sometimes twice a day, as a cleanser, as a mask- it's so versatile and still gives really good results. I'm beginning to branch out further into the world of acid cleansers- AHAs I'm comin' for ya- but if you want to err on the side of caution, or for anyone with sensitive skin, this is really nice as it contains salicylic acid- the stuff that leaves your skin feeling tingly, cool and refreshed (plus it's great for acne situations). I would say that if you have dry skin, don't overdo it with this, 2/3 times a week will do.

Simple Soothing Facial Toner

Now, this is the sort of product I actually dreaded repurchasing, because I hopped onto the website and saw it had been repackaged, and with repackaging usually comes reformulation, which is not always such a great thing. But to be fair, this one 200ml bottle of toner (on the right, with a third still left), that I use twice a day, has lasted me for a good couple of years- seriously- so I should have expected some changes. I've been pleasantly surprised though, despite a completely different ingredients list, this toner still remains alcohol free, fragrance free, and now includes vitamin B3- bonus. I've not really noticed any change in its effect but it prevents my skin from feeling tight after cleansing, calms down any redness after exfoliation and is a firm staple in my cleansing routine. Plus, it's also really inexpensive- as usual.

What things have you repurchased recently? Let me know in the comments!

BOTW #6

I have my A2 French oral exam today which means a day of revision, so blogging will probably be at the back of my mind all day so I thought I'd get this post up this morning instead (can anybody tell I should be revising right now? Procrastination is the bane of my life).

IMG_4204My pick for this week is Amelia, the very first person that I followed on bloglovin'- who many of you probably already know or have seen featured in a few blogs and YouTube videos lately. The main reason that I chose Amelia's blog today, although it's pretty well known, is because she announced yesterday that she has joined the vlogging community- eeeeek! Her first video went up yesterday, and you can find it here. Simply clicking on Amelia's blog feels to me like a luxury click, and everything in her posts; from the writing to the photography to the layout is in keeping with that atmosphere as it really makes for such a luxurious read- but don't be fooled by the sophisticated appearance, there are some budget buys and drugstore picks here too. Hopefully if you hadn't heard of this blog before now, you'll check it out and be very impressed, I'm sure of it*!

*Guaranteed satisfaction- check.


Maybelline Colour Tattoo- Permanent Taupe Review

So I'm a little late the bandwagon with this, but as a non eyeshadow-wearer, hopefully that can be forgiven as Stefanie's review of this just sold it so well (advertiser's dream, I know).. so I just had to see if it was worth the hype.

The packaging is quite nice, a little bit chunky considering the actual amount of product but for me, glass is usually a winner!
 For a taupe product, the colour was dead on in the tub,  but when I swatched it onto my finger, it suddenly went a bit more grey and less taupe-like (even greyer than in the picture above), which was a bit of a disappointment as a lot of people have apparently had this problem, but on application I actually really liked this product. Quick, easy and blendable with some lasting power- hence the Tattoo part of the name I guess.  The amount of product you actually need is a little bit deceptive, as I found a little goes a long way with this. I used my ring finger to blend this onto my eyelid in an upwards motion and it slid on effortlessly (yay!). It gives quite a subtle matte finish but is definitely buildable for a more intense, smoky eye- I'm looking forward to using this on a night out.
Eye on the left bare, eye on the right with Permanent Taupe
And that's the finished result (please ignore my bed hair) - overall, I was quite impressed; it gives a subtle taupe tint to the eyelid, I just wish it was a little more on the brown side- oh well, I guess that's an excuse to buy some more- isn't it?

Going Milk-Free

I've actually been planning on making this change for a while but I hadn't really researched what going milk-free actually meant, what I could/couldn't have, alternatives, the lot. Since a lot of people in the blogging world have announced that they are also saying goodbye to milk- namely Meg and Ruth- I've been able to understand the whole decision a lot better.

I'm not a huge milk drinker; I don't drink tea/coffee, no milkshakes or smoothies or big glasses before bed, for me it's all about the water, as I'm sure many of you know. I do enjoy a big ol' splash of milk on my cereal in the morning but since learning about various things like the potential link between acne and milk, I've become so conscious about just how much milk I'm using, so I've decided to cut it out completely- along with ice cream (not a huge fan anyway, sorbet is my fave), soft cheese (sob sob), and all other things milky*, including chocolate- wah wah wah!

Whilst writing this post, my brother is doing the food shop and hopefully picking me up some Alpro, which I'll be testing out for the first time in my cereal tomorrow, so I'll keep you guys posted on how things work out!


*The only thing I'm not entirely sure about is butter- like a blogger without a laptop, my bread is not complete without butter, and finding an alternative is just too scary for me right now. I might be able to factor in some sort of almond butter or the like in due course, but for now, butter's staying with me. Along with hard cheese- there is no way I'm giving that up.

Skincare Advice (Clear Skin Tips)

I am by no means a skincare guru or anybody professional but when it comes to skincare and problem skin in particular, I do feel like I know a whole lot more now than I did before.. partly due to Caroline Hirons' blog (go and follow it and you'll never look back, although your bank account might wish you had!).

I have normal-combination skin and have suffered from breakouts for the past two years or so. Never anything major but I never had a lovely clear complexion- there's only so much make-up can do. Anyway, a few months ago I had some consecutive really nasty under the skin.. issues.. on my chin (the kind that honestly looked so awful I stayed in my house for days), and I decided that I was not going to let that happen again, so I've really cracked down on everything and by following this random set of tips that I sort of came up with over time, my skin has calmed down completely. I've not had any breakouts at all since and my complexion has never been clearer. So if that's what you're aiming for, then obviously there are no guarantees, but certainly no harm can be done by following the advice below.. (I've sort of listed them in effectiveness order but as I have been doing all of these in combination, I can't be 100% sure).

Water

I have already done a post on the benefits of water, here, but I feel like this is the single-handed skincare miracle for my skin. I have really been sticking to my eight glasses a day of water and I have noticed the biggest difference in my skin when I keep to that, so if you have any acne problems or dullness, make sure that drinking lots of water is your priority.. I really can't stress that enough!!!

Cleansing Routine & Acid Cleansers

Right up there with water, a really good cleansing routine is absolutely essential to getting clearer skin. I'm going to be a massive hypocrite now after massively glorifying face wipes in a recent post- I've done a complete 180 and decided that they just weren't cutting the mustard for me anymore- sorry! Instead, what I've been doing, with amazing results, is firstly an optional pre-cleanse cleanse with a balm or oil though I don't do this too often, before going in with a salicylic acid based cleanser (my all time favourite is Neutrogena's 2 in 1 wash and mask, inexpensive but really really effective*), then after patting my face dry, I'll apply a gentle toner (Simple's Soothing Facial Toner is fine for me and one bottle lasts for ages). After that's dried, I'll use a salicylic based moisturiser (Neutrogena's Pink Grapefruit one is a winner). There are certain changes that I might make throughout the week like my biweekly deep cleanse and mask or weekly exfoliating, but the above routine is my basic one that has improved my skin dramatically.

Diet

Diet is another thing that, since sorting out, I've noticed a massive change in my skin. I don't mean a massive overhaul here, don't start calorie counting or just drinking blends- they will just make you more paranoid about weight. And weight isn't what I'm talking about here. I've basically increased the amounts of fruit and veg I have each week, cut down on junk food, milk and bread and swapped unhealthy snacks for healthier ones- out with the crisps, in with the almonds- which has made my diet more healthy yet in a more bearable way. This isn't a steadfast diet type thing in any way at all; there is complete leeway for an odd slice of cake here and there don't you worry about that! I'll be honest, at first, I didn't think I'd be able to maintain this sort of healthiness because I do have a bit of a sweet tooth but with eliminating acne as my motivation, I've not found it difficult at all!

Medication

I wouldn't have classed my bad skin as being that bad until the flare ups a few months ago, at which time I was just feeling so stressed about my skin and frustrated- a vicious cycle as you'll find out in the next tip- so I popped down to the doctors, probably not the best people to talk to about skincare issues but as dermatologists are few and far between in the UK, I had to make do. My doctor put me on Tetralysal, which is an antibiotic designed to somehow reduce acne, I think by killing off bad bacteria. I can't really say whether this is what's helped my skin as I've only used it in combination with everything else, but I would say that if you are on antibiotics then it's important to remember that these could be killing off some good bacteria too, so I like to eat probiotic yoghurts from time to time to maintain a healthy balance. Anyway, please don't be disheartened if you don't have access to/don't want to take medication as I honestly don't feel like this has been the overriding factor in my clearer complexion.

Relaxation

I really do believe that stress is a mahooosive trigger for spots, in particular those nasty aforementioned under the skin ones, and relaxation really is key. This year, I've generally been a pretty calm person but we all have those stressful last-minute exam panics, deadlines, family problems, or even stress about acne (which turns into a horrible cycle). Whatever it is, I like to just take some deep breaths and relax myself.  "Inhale positivity, exhale negativity" is a technique that has worked very well for me in the past but a candlelit bath or a feel-good film are good pick me ups for people with a little more time on their hands.

Sleep

Okay, I'm not massively sure what effect this is actually having on my skin breakout-wise but a good night's sleep is what everybody needs. I've been making sure that I sleep when I'm tired instead of getting into the nasty habit of jumping into bed and watching Celebrity Juice until an ungodly hour- guilty.

Aaaaaaaand, done! Sorry if that was too long, too detailed or just plain boring, I've been spouting off these tips to friends and family that have wanted to know how to combat their problem skin and I thought it might help others too. I hope it's been a little bit useful!

*I've linked to the Superdrug website because there are two different types of this product, both under the same name by Neutrogena, at first I thought it was just the packaging that had changed but upon closer inspection, the one that's sold at Boots has been completely reformulated. I prefer the one I've linked. 

BOTW #4

I've been so busy over the last few days with meetings, revision and the like that I completely forgot to do my BOTW yesterday, ooops! Anyway, this week's finds are a spontaneous nomination, and ones that I'm definitely looking forward to sharing with you all...

Okay, so I've actually got two favourites this week; the first one is Gabriella, a new beauty youtuber who is just so much fun to watch. Her channel is relatively new so I'd advise checking out a few videos and then, of course, subscribe! She is so funny and comes across as a lovely person too, you won't regret it..

ABOUTMy second favourite is actually a blog, and a pretty well-known one at that. Stefanie's blog claims to be a 'life, style and beauty' one, and it makes for a really relaxing read (in my opinion). The reviews are in depth, her taste in fashion is bang-on and once again, the photography is just perfect. The posts are fairly regular and always interesting; it's definitely one of those 'stop what you're doing and read' blogs, so give in to curiosity and check it out!

Hope you're all having a lovely day!