Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Spirit of Beauty Dancing Orchid Skin Balancing Moisturiser

The Spirit of Beauty Dancing Orchid Skin Balancing Moisturiser was yet another of the skincare  goodies I was lucky enough to receive as part of a giveaway prize from the fantastic Product Pixie a couple of months ago. You might be bored of me mentioning that each time I review one of the products included in that haul, but I do feel that it's relevant, particularly in this case, as at a whopping £31.95 for 50ml, this is not something I was ever likely to have purchased myself. After mentioning last week that I found the Pai Camellia and Rose cleanser ( review here) pretty pricey at £25 for 100ml, and saying that I wasn't likely to be repurchasing despite my love for it, I think we can safely say that today's product well and truly blows that out of the water. 
The Dancing Orchid Moisturiser comes in a sturdy, frosted glass bottle with a pump dispenser, and would look pretty sitting on anyone's bathroom shelf. Personally, I always feel that products are more sophisticated if they are packaged in glass- rightly or wrongly - so I already liked the look of this when I opened the box. I am always happy to see a bottle with a pump, too, as I just find them much easier to use (unless it's one of those that tries to dispense the entire contents of the bottle into your palm with just one push!).

 Lotus and Dancing Orchid Essences are, apparently said to 'revitalise, boost vitality and nurture a sense of confidence, beauty and grace', which, while sounding very lovely, are not things I would expect  from a skincare product!  Containing  Jasmine, Rose and Geranium oils, too soothe and rehydrate the skin, it did sound as though using it would be a pleasant experience - I love using products with calming, relaxing scents, as I need all the help in that area that I can get, especially before bed.

The moisturiser itself is quite liquid in consistency. It's smooth, but a little bit watery, and a couple of pumps will dispense a sufficient amount of product for both your face and neck. 
Now, Spirit of Beauty recommend popping some into your palms and rubbing them together to warm the product, before sweeping over the skin using circular motions, but you can just as easily pop some on as you normally would if you're in a bit of a hurry. It soaks into the skin quite quickly and leaves it feeling nice and soft, though not overly so. Given that it doesn't contain any SPF, this can be used both morning and night, and also throughout the day as needed. Be aware though, that this does not contain any active  anti-ageing ingredients, so if that's what you're after then this is not the one for you.

This is designed for combination skin in particular, claiming to balance your oily and dry areas. Well, I don't particularly have dry skin, but I do get the occasional flaky patch on my nose,  and I don't find this cream to be rich enough to deal with those. However, my t-zone does seem pretty satisfied with it, and it certainly doesn't break me out, so it's a nice product if you don't have any extreme skin issues.

I do love that this moisturiser contains lots of natural goodies, and it does smell rather pleasant. But do I think it's worth the £31.95 price tag? No.  I have enjoyed using it so far, but I can't honestly say that I have found it any better than any of the other moisturisers I have tried. It's a good everyday product to have around, but I wouldn't go out of my way to buy it - for me to repurchase something at that price, it would have to be pretty special. 

I would like to point out, however, that not everything in the Spirit of Beauty skincare range is quite so extortionately priced - they have a lovely selection of facial spritzes for around £18-£19, and cleansers come in at around £20. I do think they are a really nice brand, and I like the concept of their products, so if you are someone who is happy to splurge then do head over to NutriBeauty and check them out. If, like me, you are a fan of organic skincare then this is the site for you, as you will find a selection of fantastic brands, many of which consist of  natural or naturally derived products where possible. Lovely!

Have you ever tried anything from Spirit of Beauty? What did you think?


Monday, October 29, 2012

October Empties

Apologies about the slightly bleached out photo here. It was extremely sunny when I took these, and despite trying to edit this one in order for the products to be more clearly visible, this is the best I could get it.
Anyway, on to this month's empties.

Benefit Erase Paste in Shade 02 Medium
Finally, after ten months, my trusty little pot of Erase Paste is no more. This was my first time trying this concealer, and it fast became a staple in my daily makeup routine - in fact, I wouldn't leave the house without it. It's quite a thick, salmon-toned paste, and in my case it has been mostly used for concealing the dark under-eye circles which you have all heard me complaining about of late. It does do a pretty good job, better than anything else I'd tried before. But alas, it's still not concealer perfection. I'm seriously starting to doubt if there is actually one in existence that can completely mask dark circles. It does also tend to settle into the expression lines under the eyes.
Would I buy it again? Actually, yes, I would - I'm scared to be without it. But in spite of this, I am keen to try some other concealers, and have actually just bought one from a brand I'd never heard of before, so keep your eyes peeled for a review on that one in the coming weeks, and to find out if it was able to outdo Erase Paste.

Benefit The Porefessional
I got this little treat free with Glamour magazine a few months ago, as I know many of you did. While I have seen mixed reviews, personally, I really like this and have started to incorporate it into my daily makeup routine. I actually don't really use this to disguise my pores - instead, I use it as a primer. I pat some onto my t-zone before applying my foundation, which seems to prolong the wear-time and prevent my makeup from sliding off my face after a couple of hours (I don't generally have oily skin, but my t-zone does play up at times, and could do with a bit of extra help). The Porefessional gives me a nice smooth,  matte surface to work with on those areas, and I have already repurchased another little tube.
I'd just like to point out that if you use The Porefessional in the same way as I do then despite this tube being a tiny 7ml in size, it will actually last you several months! Just use it sparingly.

Percy and Reed Splendidly Silky Moisturising Shampoo
Although we got off to a bumpy start, I actually ended up really liking this shampoo. I did review it on here only a couple of days ago, so rather than repeating myself all over again and boring you silly, you can click here for more information on the product and to find out some more of my thoughts.

Herbalife Skin Activator Day Cream
This has been my daily moisturiser for the past four or five months, and again, I've enjoyed using it. It does make my skin feel nice and soft, but it's not really anything out of the ordinary. It's supposed to prevent the signs of ageing and when used regularly, improve skin firmness, clarity and luminosity, but I really couldn't tell you if that's been the case with me, because I have been trying out so many different skincare products of late! My skin actually has started looking nice and clear and glowing within the past couple of weeks, but given that I've been using this cream for a few months now, I'd say it's more likely to be down to a couple of new face masks I've been using.
I would repurchase, but at the same time I'm happy to try out other products. As a beauty blogger, this is so often the case,so a product has to REALLY impress me to stick around.

Liz Earle Energising Body Wash
Containing the active ingredients Damask rose flower water, sweet orange oil and vitamin E, surprisingly this shower gel has quite a strong, astringent scent. I usually prefer fruity scents in the shower, but this was actually quite invigorating when used as part of my morning shower routine. This is the second bottle I've got through, but not because I purchased either of them - they were both sent to me as free gifts when I was making bulk purchases of some of Liz's other products online.
I don't think I'd repurchase, just because at £11.50 a pop it's a bit pricey for a shower gel. Plus, as I mentioned, I do tend to prefer fruity fragrances. But if I happen to receive one as another free gift next time I'm making a purchase then I will happily use it up.

Clinique Sparkle Skin Body Exfoliator
Again, this was a free gift with some Clinique purchases, although I must admit, this was about two years ago! And yes...yes, I have lost the lid. Again.
This product left my skin feeling really polished and smooth, but I probably wouldn't repurchase because there are plenty of other good exfoliators for a fraction of the price.

Can you tell that I'm a bit of a cheapskate when it comes to body products? I don't know why, but while I'm happy to splurge on facial skincare if I see fit, I hate to do so on things like shower gels and scrubs. There are just so many fantastic products and brands available at affordable prices, and in my eyes, they really do do the job just as well, while with facial skincare I believe that you generally get what you pay for.

So, that's it for October Empties. Do let me know if you've tried any of these products and what your thoughts were.

What have you used up this month?


Sunday, October 28, 2012

Weekend Wishlist

Can you tell that I've suddenly started worrying about my skin this week? I've noticed the lines beneath my eyes have deepened and it's freaked me out a bit, so now it's all about the anti-aging skincare! I'm not convinced any product can really improve the appearance of fine lines, but I don't want to have the skin of an elephant any time soon so I must go for prevention at the very least! Some of you might think I'm going a little bit crazy, only being in my twenties. But believe you me, those first lines act as a wakeup call for anyone, so this Origins gift set is top of my Christmas list, along with the Liz Eatle Smoothing Line Serum.
On the upside, my skin has actually been fantastic recently, which I think I have a couple of new facemasks to thank for (reviews and details coming soon). So, as it's looking so clear and glowing, I thought I'd take full advantage while I can and swap heavy foundation for a nice, light tinted moisturiser (Nars Pure Radiant). Yes, I'm very well aware that it's winter, but I think that if you can get away with it, it's really better to wear as little makeup as possible on your skin when you have the chance. That said, my under-eye area is still in need of a bit of help, and I wouldn't dare leave the house without a bit of concealer to hide my dark circles, so I'm quite interested in trying the Perricone MD No Concealer Concealer. I'm not sure I'm really on board with the whole 'No Concealer' name thing, as clearly it is exactly that. But who am I to argue? As long as it does the job well then I'm in.
Clothes-wise, I think this knitted beanie, sequin ombre shorts, berry clutch and tan studded boots are all great staple pieces for winter. Most of my weekly wishlists seem to have featured one pair of studded boots or another of late, but this is the first good pair I've found that isn't black, so they are a definite must and will last well into the Spring, when they can be worn with the same shorts and bare legs.
I also really love the look of this pretty floral kimono and rose-print jeans, which will look great with basic pieces and layers.
Last but not least is this pretty green tea-scented candle. Those of you who know me well will be aware that I am an avid green tea drinker (along with my traditionall British cuppas, of course!) and I do find the scent quite relaxing. But mostly, I just really like pretty scented candles, and enjoy having an array of scents to choose from according to my mood. The fact that they look great around the house is an added bonus.

Well, that's it for this week's wishlist. Did you see anything you liked?
What's top of your Christmas list this year?


Friday, October 26, 2012

Rediscoveries Reviewed: Percy and Reed Splendidly Silky Moisturising Shampoo

Percy and Reed is a brand created by celebrity hair stylists Adam Reed and Paul Percival, who developed their own range of salon standard products with the idea in mind that modern, cutting-edge style could be enjoyed by anyone, anywhere, any time.

I actually got this shampoo free with a magazine about a year ago, and was really excited to try it after hearing lots of good things about it. However, after giving it a fair few goes, I was pretty certain that I didn't like it. It didn't lather up at all when I applied it to wet hair, and for me that's a deal breaker - if I don't get a good lather my hair just doesn't feel clean afterwards.

However, I recently rediscovered this little tube and decided I'd give it another go. Perhaps I had been missing a trick before?
Well, as it turned out, yes, I had. You need to make sure your hear is completely soaked through, for a start (although I had made sure of this during my initial experimentation). You also need to use a good old dollop of this - although saying that, it's pretty thin in consistency, so for me it's more of a palm-ful (small hands). The usual amount won't suffice with this shampoo, so you really do need to use that bit extra to get a nice thick lather on the go.

So, what were the results after giving this shampoo a second chance to impress? Well, I actually really do like it. If I'm honest, I rarely say this about a shampoo, as most of them are just 'ok'. Yes, they leave my hair feeling clean, and that is the main thing, after all. But do they give me voluminous/silky smooth/bouncy hair? Bar a select couple, not really. However, the Percy and Reed Splendidly Silky Moisturising Shampoo left my hair looking nice and shiny, as well as thicker, softer and more manageable. My only gripe is that you have to use so much of it to get results, as it does make it somewhat less purse-friendly.

Is it a miracle worker? No. But it does do a lot more for my hair than the majority of shampoos I've tried, and I shall indeed be repurchasing.

Have you tried this shampoo, or anything else by Percy and Reed? 
What were your thoughts?


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Pai Camellia and Rose Gentle Hydrating Cleanser: Review

I was lucky enough to win the Pai Camellia and Rose Gentle Hydrating Cleanser in a giveaway over on the fantastic Product Pixie, and thank goodness I did, as with a £25 pricetag, it was not something I was likely to be popping into my shopping bag of my own accord, especially since at the time I knew very little about the brand. I was perfectly happy with my Liz Earle Cleanse and polish, and if it wasn't for my little win then I probably would have stuck with it.

Now, first things first. Pai formulates all their products with sensitive and allergy prone skin in mind (not my case, but anyway) and everything they sell is certified organic by the soil association. It was also the first brand to list all its products' ingredients in plain English, so, in their words, "you don't need a chemistry degree to understand them". Now, personally, with this information in mind, I was already pretty sold on them as a brand, as I am a huge fan of organic skincare and do like to know what exactly I'm dealing with.

This is a cream cleanser, and what immediately struck me about it was that actually, it's quite similar to Cleanse and Polish in terms of how it's designed to be used. I usually use a couple of pumps on this and massage it onto a dry face (although the instructions suggest damp skin), before removing with the muslin cloth provided, soaked in hot water, using a circular motion. You can use this cleanser on a full face of makeup, and it'll get the lot off, as well as gently exfoliating and sloughing away any dry skin and dead cells (nice!) and you can also use it as an eye make-up remover - just pop a bit onto a couple of cotton pads and wipe gently over your eyes.
 What I love about this product is that it's so gentle (it's designed for all skin types, sensitive included) and yet really effective, and as an added bonus it is comprised of lots of natural ingredients such as camellia (which is packed with Omega 3 and vitamins A, B, C and E) and rose (obviously)  essential oils. It's also free from alcohol and parabens, which means that you can use it without having to worry about the effects of those sorts of chemical nasties.

Now, for any of you fragrance-phobics out there, this cleanser is lightly scented. For me, it smells like a mixture of chamomile and rose, but given that I'm unsure of the scent of Camellia, it's probably that.

So, what's my overall verdict?
I'm sold. I've hugely enjoyed using this cleanser, and have found that it has left my skin feeling really clean and fresh. It gets all of my make-up off without irritating my eyes and has kept my skin clear of breakouts (bar the odd hormonal spot which can't be helped). I really love the ritual of using a hot cloth cleanser, and can really notice the difference in my skin when I do, and I don't find that I need to use an exfoliator very often as this keeps my skin looking bright and glowing. The only thing that I don't like about it is the hefty price tag - at over £10 more than the Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish for the same volume, I'm afraid to say that I can't bring myself to repurchase. However, for any of you who don't mind splashing out that bit more, I highly recommend this cleanser, and Pai as a brand.

Do you enjoy using organic skincare? If so, what are your favourite brands?


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

~All That Slap~ Talks Pampering Perfection (Guest Post)

You all know how much I love a good old bit of me-time, and it's no secret that I like to indulge in a bit of pampering come the weekend. But how does the very lovely Grace of All That Slap like to go about it? Read on to find out.

I love a good pamper session! For me, there is nothing nicer than a lovely evening in with PJs on, a cup of tea and some nice beauty products to slather on whilst I relax. When I am having one of these “sessions” I love using a face mask, hair mask and sometimes an eye mask too!
My absolute favourite is a face mask. I have acne prone skin so I love using clay masks that help to draw out impurities and bring spots to the surface. A few of my favourites are the Una Brennan SuperFacialist one, which I have reviewed here, the Queen Helene Mint Julep Mask one and the most recent favourite is the pricey but amazing Glam Glow – this is brilliant and very effective, If you do not have sensitive skin and can find it in your budget then I highly recommend.

I do, from time to time, love to also make my own DIY face masks. I love natural skincare and there is nothing better than home made all natural if you ask me – and its good for your wallet too!
One I love for acne prone skin is the honey and aspirin mask, reviewed here, its brilliant. Honey is great for the skin and aspirin contains acne fighting ingredients and also exfoliates the skin very well.
Oatmeal and honey is also another lovely mask to use, oatmeal can exfoliate but its more gentle than using aspirin and better for those with sensitive skin.
A strawberry and yogurt mask is lovely and smells amazing! That’s always a nice to try in summer when there are more berries around!
Look at this great blog for lots of recipes and tips for making your own face mask – its FAB!

In terms of a hair masks (or treatment) I love love love using coconut oil. It’s one of the best hair treatments you can possibly do. Coconut oil is one of very few oils that penetrate the hair shaft, its rich in vitamin E and helps condition and repair hair. I get mine from an Asian supermarket and its very cheap. Melt down (its solid at room temp) and apply to dry hair, leave as long as possible, preferably overnight, and then wash out with lots of shampoo in the morning. You hair will love you for it!
From time to time instead of using plain coconut oil, I use a treatment from Leonor Grayl which contains coconut oil in it as well as other hair loving ingredients. I use it the same way I would if I were using normal coconut oil. It is pricey but very nice. If you are in a budget, stick with normal coconut oil and your hair will be treated none the less!
A final branded hair treatment I love is the Macadamia Oil Deep Repair Masque – reviewed here, its fab and a little goes a long way and it smells yummy! The great thing about this is that you can use it in the shower or whilst in the bath and there is no need to leave it on for a long time like the coconut oil or Leonor Grayl.

Finally onto eye masks, these are new for me – I have not used them much but I know they are really popular in the Far East. Recently I got one got this Diamond Blend one, but I want to use eye masks more and hopefully they will help to delay the signs of aging!

What are your favourite ways to pamper yourself? What are your favourite products? Mel and I would love to hear from you! Get in touch and leave a comment J
I hope you enjoyed this post and thanks so much to the lovely Mel for letting me do it! I really appreciate it.

A huge thanks to Grace for guesting today, and if you haven't checked out her fantastic blog, All That Slap, then I highly recommend that you go right on over and do that now!  If you're interested in natural products and like to know what you are really putting onto your skin then she's your girl!


Saturday, October 20, 2012

Weekend Wishlist

It's all about the khaki this winter, whether we are talking clothing, make-up or accessories, so a pair of warm skinnies to mix and match is going to be a staple piece in my wardrobe. I also can't get enough of layering so this cosy sleeveless parka is an essential and would look great thrown on over all manner of knitwear (I've already got my eye on several hundred woolly jumpers!). When I want to dress things up a bit, the structured blazer will be perfect and can easily take a look from day tonight, as it's suitable for work as well as wine.
Add to these key pieces yet another pair of studded boots and just one more peplum and my winter wardrobe will be looking close to perfect, in my eyes. It's just a shame this is only a wishlist and not my actual shopping bag!
I am keen to pick up the UnBEElievable BEE Prepared Daily Defence Immune Support in order to ward of winter colds, as it's all natural and contains all sorts of goodies such as bee propolis, black elderberry, olive leaf and beta glucans. I usually pick up every bug going in the winter, so I need all the help I can get!
Skin could always do with that bit of extra pampering in the colder months, and with GlamGlow bringing out a special edition of their fantastic mud mask for Breast Cancer Awareness, it would be rude not to. Granted, I don't really need any more face masks, but it would be rude not to when it's all in the name of a good cause. I'm also hoping to grab the Clarins Vital Light Skin Illuminators Collection and provide my skin with that extra bit of glow for the festive season. My skin tends to be a bit dull in the winter so it can do with all the help it can get.
Lastly, I am beyond keen to get my hands on the new L'oreal Paris Volume Million Lashes Excess Mascara (phew, long name). The normal version is my all-time favourite mascara and I use it on a daily basis, so I'm really excited to try this ramped-up version and see how it performs.

I'm so glad to be finally feeling up to blogging again after a rough week. I've been spending some time with the in-laws, who have been feeding me cake (they know me so well) and the hubby has been looking after me too, so I am feeling lots better and ready to face the world again! This weekend I am planning on chilling out, with a pamper session on the cards tonight. It's been a while since I could actually be bothered as I haven't been interested in anything for a couple of weeks, so it's long overdue and I'm going to enjoy tring out some of my newest products.

What's on your wishlist this week?
Do you have anything exciting planned for the weekend?


Wednesday, October 17, 2012



I really want to blog this week. I do. And the fact that I have been off sick for the past few days has meant that I've had plenty of time to. But it's just not happening - my mind is having none of it.
I went to see the doctor at the end of last week and was given some medication that I had been reluctant to take, as in my eyes it was far too strong for what I was experiencing. I am a huge fan of natural remedies and always stick to them where possible, but somehow the doctor managed to convince me that, as the things I'd tried in the past hadn't helped with this particular issue, I should take the medication she had prescribed. So, I went with it. I managed to avoid Googling it for the first few days of taking it, but then I cracked, and what I read freaked me out so much that I stopped taking it immediately, which has frankly left me feeling like utter crap. Anyway, I'm sure it won't last, I think my brain is just a bit confused at the moment, but due to this I can't seem to string a sentence together in order to write about anything constructive, or about anything fun or beautiful that I would like to share with you. I've got so many products I want to review, and I was supposed to be doing some baking and other DIY bits and pieces, so as soon as I feel up to it I will have plenty to write about and talk to you lovelies about.
So that's me. I'm actually not even sure why I am posting, but it just felt better to say something than nothing.
Hope you lovelies are all having a good week


Monday, October 15, 2012

Beautifully Superfluous: What Does Your Scarf Say About You? (Guest Post)

Hi everyone! I’m Helen from Beautifully Superfluous and Mel has very kindly let me write another post for you all. This time it’s about scarves – because they’re my favourite accessory for this time of year. At last count I had over 50. Eek. I always think you can tell a lot from the kind of scarf that someone wears so here’s what your scarf might say about you...

Traditional Wool
These scarves as the most homely and traditional of all scarves now on the market. They tell me that you like things to be the way they should be, caring more about comfort and warmth than fashion. You probably have a thing for vintage too.

Traditional with a Twist
When I say this I mean that the scarf is probably wool and quite long but it’s got something fashiony about it. It tells me you still have like to be traditional but add that modern twist to things. You’re probably a fan of Cath Kidston and follow the Domestic Sluttery blog.

These are widely available from almost any clothing store – mine are mostly from Primark as they’re usually good quality for only a couple of pounds. They’re not very warm though and tell people that you care more about making your outfit ‘work’ than keeping overly warm in cold weather. It says you follow the trends and you probably buy fashion magazines on a regular basis.

Silk Scarves and Neck Ties
Aside from air hostesses and bank cashiers having to wear these types of scarves they are great for adding some sophisticated flair to an outfit. They say that you like classic dressing, probably have a house full of clean lines and spacious areas and a taste for the finer things in life (especially if your scarf is real silk). They say preppy and pretty.

I hope you enjoyed this post. All of the scarves in all of the pictures are my own and as I wear all of them at some point or another I suppose it shows I have a multifaceted attitude towards fashion and my tastes in everything else. It was fun to write so thank you very much Mel for letting me write this! I hope to see you all soon!

Thanks to the lovely Helen for guesting today, check out her fantastic blog over at Beautifully Superfluous or find her on Twitter as @Superfluous_B !

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Weekend Wishlist

Good day lovelies, hope everyone has had a lovely relaxing weekend. In my case, it seems to have flown by, and I can't believe it's Sunday already. It probably doesn't help that I usually post my wishlists on Saturdays as I think that's been confusing me a little bit!
Today I was planning on doing some baking, but as it turns out, I didn't have a couple of the ingredients I needed for the Nutella cinnamon rolls I wanted to make (find the recipe on the lovely Francesca's blog - On the Bias -  here. So I decided to go ahead and make some cupcakes instead, only to find that the flour was full of weevils! Baking fail. However, I might still pop out and buy some more and do them this evening.
Other than that I've just been chilling with the hubby today, although yesterday involved going for a run, cleaning the house and doing some paperwork, so that wasn't quite as relaxing. I also attempted to DIY ombre my hair as I am feeling really bored with it at the moment, but unfortunately the dye I used didn't lighten my hair at all. To be honest, I was sort of expecting that to be the case, as my hair does already have dye on it. If I really want to go for it then that means going for the full-on bleach, so I think I'm going to give it a miss and keep my hair as it is - in (reasonably) good condition. I have suffered with dry ends for a while and have only recently started to get them into shape again, so I don't want to undo the good work I've done there.
I had been hoping for a bit of a pamper sesh tonight, but my goodies didn't arrive in the post, so all in all, the weekend hasn't gone hugely to plan! But that's ok, at least I've had time to just sit and chill.

What have you been up to this weekend?
What's top of your wishlist this week?


Saturday, October 13, 2012

And Relax....

If you read my October Agenda post on Sunday, you'll be aware that I, like many other bloggers, suffer somewhat from anxiety. It's not a constant thing, but at times it can affect me on a daily basis, making it really difficult for me to relax. I'm not necessarily constantly worried or stressed out about specific things (although I am a worrier by nature), but whether or not there is something on my mind, I do still suffer from the physical symptoms of anxiety, and even if I'm supposedly 'chilling out' on the sofa, I often find that both my mind and body refuse to relax. During the week, I long for the weekend, but come Monday I am already pining for another one, as I didn't manage to de-stress at all!
So, for those of you who can identify with what I'm talking about, and also for those of you who just feel a little bit stressed out at times, as everyone does, I thought I'd share with you some of the things that help to get me through and chill me out!

Rescue Remedy is my little secret weapon, and I carry it with me wherever I go. Whenever I start to feel the onset of that jittery, uneasy feeling, a couple of drops of this on the tongue often do the job. Sometimes, I've even forgotten about it after a few minutes. However, it's not a miracle worker, and on those days where the feeling is just too strong - which for me tend to be during the week before THAT time in the month - it doesn't cut the mustard, and on those occasions I have to employ some other tactics to get me through.

Chamomile tea is something else that I always pop in my handbag, just in case, and in fact, I try to drink several cups throughout the day with the idea that prevention is better than cure. I actually used to drink this before bed when I had sleeping problems in the past (it's great for that), but had somehow forgotten I had some in the cupboard until I spoke to @ladyloula on Twitter last week, so thank you for the reminder lovely! Chamomile is nice and calming, and there's something really relaxing about sipping a nice warm cup of it when you are not feeling at your best.

Scented candles are really nice for those evenings when you're able to have a bit of me-time. Your me-time can involve anything that you find pleasurable (oo er, I'm not talking about that!), or that takes your mind off things. For me, that involves slapping on a facemask, making myself a cuppa and sitting down to read some blogs and write some posts of my own, with maybe a few Youtube videos thrown in. Having the aroma of a lovely scented candle wafting around the room while I do so just makes things all the more enjoyable and pleasant, and scents such as sandalwood, bergamot and lavender are all supposed to have calming effects.

I was reluctant to add this one in as I know it's a cliche, and it has taken me until this week to actually give in and give it a try. I did try a yoga class many moons ago, but it wasn't for me at the time. However, having given it a try, I do have to admit that is has calming effects. One thing I will say, though, is that this probably isn't the thing to start doing when you are already feeling jittery or anxious, but rather as a daily exercise, again with the idea that prevention is better than cure.

Exercise is supposed to be the best thing people who suffer from stress or anxiety can do for themselves. Not only does it stimulate the release of feel-good hormones endorphins in the brain, but it also gets your circulation going and leaves you with a general feel-good sensation. I also find that I'm more able to relax after exercise simply because I know I've done it, so it's one less thing to feel guilty about not doing!
Now, if you're like me, you might find that getting yourself all out of breath and having your heart pounding can, at times, only serve to set off the anxiety, so i'd suggest just going for a brisk walk on those days and then trying to step things up a bit whenever you feel better. The thing to remember is that it's normal for your heart to beat that fast when you have been exercising and that actually, it only means you are doing good for your body - and your mind.

Supplements-wise, a daily dose of vitamin B complex and  magnesium are said to help support the nervous system as well as minimising the effects of stress and anxiety (deficiencies in either of these could even be responsible for the onset of your symptoms!).
Omega 3 is also great for this, and if anyone suffers from depression then this is apparently a good one for you, too.

A couple of quick 'don'ts' for you.
It may be tempting to turn to wine, chocolate or cake to help you unwind - and I must admit, I am prone to doing this myself! - but actually, both of these can exacerbate your anxiety, thanks to the alcohol and sugar in them. Coffee is another one to steer clear of when you are feeling on edge, and the same goes for energy drinks.
Personally, I won't deprive myself of chocolate and wine completely if I  feel that that is what I want, but I will limit myself to just one glass and a few squares. Anyone who feels anxious on occasion will know what a horrible feeling it is, and how it makes you feel you'd do anything to be rid of it, so I'm not about to knowingly make things worse for myself.

Another one I have got to mention is herbal remedies containing Valerian. Now, I'm aware that this won't be the case for everyone, and for some of you this may even be the answer to your troubles. But in my case, it most definitely was not. I bought myself some Kalms tablets, which are supposed to promote relaxation and natural sleep, and I can tell you that for me, they made things a zillion times worse. They gave me such a horrible, tense feeling in my chest and I just couldn't relax one bit, and I know that I am not the only one as I have heard the same thing from one or two other bloggers. So just a heads up - they might work for you, but be aware that they also might not.

That's about my tuppence worth on relaxation, I think. I am by absolutely no means an expert on this - if I was, then I wouldn't actually need to be trying all these methods in the first place now, would I?
One last thing I will say before I go, though, is: Never forget the importance of me-time. Set aside an evening per week and dedicate it all to yourself. Have a hot bubble bath, read a good book, bake, blog - whatever it is that you love doing. Spoil yourself a bit, because let's be honest, we all deserve it sometimes, don't we?


Friday, October 12, 2012

Lipsticks and Heels: Skincare for Dry Skin (Guest Post)

First of all I would like to thank Mel for letting me write something for the blog!

So basically, my skin is REALLY dry all of the time. On the one hand, this does mean that I don't really get spots which is great. However, flaky skin isn't attractive either. The two main components of my skincare regime are therefore exfoliate and moisturise!
These are my most used products: Morrison's Sensitive Baby wipes, Johnson's Baby Lotion, Nivea Creme, Balance Me Wonder Eye Cream, Vichy Idealia Day Cream and a homemade sugar and oil exfoliator.

I make this scrub using around 2 teaspoons of sugar and 2 teaspoons of oil. I use olive oil most of the time, but it would work with coconut oil, argan oil, anything! Obviously as this scrub has oil in it I wouldn't recommend it to you if you are prone to spots! I try to use this around every other day: I just prepare the scrub and massage my face, and then rinse! If I do this before bed, I will apply Nivea Creme to my face. I apply a generous layer and by morning it has sunk in and leaves my skin extremely soft. Nivea Creme is very thick so I never use it in the morning as it takes a long time to sink in.

I alternate the Vichy Idealia Day Cream and Johnson's Baby Lotion daily. I find that if you use the same moisturiser too often your skin gets used to it... I don't know if there's any science behind that but that's what I've found! The moisturising effects of both last all day unless it's very cold in which case I may need to reapply moisturiser at some point in the day!

To remove my makeup, I avoid using water and cleansers because the majority leave my skin feeling really tight. I simply use baby wipes. The reason I use baby wipes over makeup wipes is because: a) baby wipes are a lot cheaper, and b) they are a lot more gentle. Sometimes despite the packaging of makeup wipes saying they are fragrance free, a quick look at the ingredients list reveals that they do contain a fragrance! 

Obviously I must add that these products are simply something that work for me, you might be different. If you have dry skin, what products work for you?

Thank you very much to the lovely Alexandra for writing this post. She's new to blogging so do be sure to pop over to Lipstick and Heels and check out her page, where you will find a mix of product reviews, hair tutorials and suchlike. Find her on Twitter at @lipsticks_heels


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Suti Peppermint Water Organic Facial Toner: Review

After the rip-roaring success of the Caudalie Beauty Elixir, I was really excited to try this spray toner, which I was lucky enough to win in the lovely Product Pixie's fantastic skincare giveaway a couple of months ago.
I had never really seen much point in toners in the past, in that I was never really sure if they were actually doing the job for which they were designed. But I've always enjoyed using them all the same, as I feel that, when applied to cotton wool pads and swiped over the face, they do leave my skin feeling refreshed as well as removing any last traces of grime after cleansing.
But it was when I tried the Caudalie Beauty Elixir that I began to use a toner on a daily basis. I loved the refreshing, invigorating burst it gave my skin on a warm summer's day, and it seemed to help clear up any minor blemishes I was experiencing too, so when I saw that the Suti Peppermint Toner came in a spray bottle too I was already fairly sure that I would like it.

So, onto the product itself.

Suti Peppermint Water Organic Facial Toner comes in a glass bottle, which I really like, and think it looks pretty sitting on my bathroom shelf. I always feel that skincare products in glass bottles and jars have a more sophisticated feel, although the other elements of this one are very minimalistic and pared down. I think this compliments the fact that this is an organic product and so uses minimal, naturally derived ingredients, which for me is a huge bonus, as I often worry about the chemicals I'm putting onto my skin.

Now, as with all spray toners I have tried, I did find that it took a bit of practice to make the most out of the spray mechanism. If you hold it too close to the face then you will need to use five or six sprays to cover the whole face, whereas if you hold it at about half an arm's length then only a couple of spritzes will suffice. This is not the cheapest of products, retailing at around £15, so personally I would like to maximise the number of uses I get out of it.

For me, the product itself and the ritual of using it are just a  phenomenal combination. On a hot day, this will provide a welcome blast of coolness and a real treat for the senses too. The gentle peppermint aroma provides a calming, invigorating effect and I always like to take the opportunity to breath it in upon application to reap the full benefits. If you are someone who suffers from stress, anxiety or headaches then this is a really great product to carry around n your handbag with you, whatever the weather or the season. This is not just for use during your morning and evening skincare routines, but can be spritzed onto the skin at any time during the day. I like to use it to wake myself up a bit when that mid-afternoon slump hits and I'm feeling a bit lethargic and head-achey, as well as to pep up my makeup a bit when it's starting to wane or look a little 'tired'. It's also fantastic for bedtime as peppermint provides a relaxing effect, which is just what you need when preparing to sleep. 
The organic peppermint leaves used to create this lovely revitalising spritz help to calm and sooth irritated, inflamed skin, and to clear up blemishes too.

All in all, I consider this a must-have product for both the body and the mind, and it's not often I find a product I am able to say that about. I will definitely be repurchasing it as it just has so many uses and benefits, and I have really enjoyed using it so far.

Are you a fan of facial toners, and do you enjoy using any organic skincare products?


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Top Picks for Big Hair

I don't know about you, but I am forever in pursuit of big hair. I'm not talking enormous beehives, but I can't live without a bit of volume in my hair, whether I'm wearing it curly, wavy or straight. I just find that it suits me a zillion times better, and I will not be embracing the flat-to-the-scalp looks I have been seeing around of late for anyone.

So, without further ado, here are my favourite products for giving my hair that extra bit of oomph.

Batiste Dry Shampoo
Everyone knows about Batiste dry shampoo. Some of you love it, some of you hate it, but there's no denying it gives the hair a boost as well as soaking up excess oil. What's not to love?
Just spray it into the roots of your hair, rub it in and leave it for a couple of minutes before brushing out any white residue. I sometimes spray it beneath the top layer of my hair so that I don't need to brush it out, and that way my hair stays all the more voluminous.
I'm yet to try the XXL version but it's currently at the top of my shopping list, so I'm sure that it will soon be replacing the normal stuff on my shelves.

Tresemme 24 Hour Body Root Boosting Spray
I like to spritz this into my roots before blow drying for some extra lift. This is great for when you want a more subtle look, rather than the enormous hair you might be after for a night out. There is also a mousse version of this, which I haven't got at the moment, but when I do I often scrunch some through my hair before using the spray. The two work together to boost your roots as well as leaving your locks looking well-groomed.

Tresemme 24 Hour Body Sky High Plumping Powder
This stuff really does the job. Sprinkle some into your roots and rub it in and big hair shall be yours. However, the unfortunate thing is that it is really rather sticky, and I do find that after a few hours my hair goes flat again and begins to look a little oily (probably from where I've been touching it and spreading it around). There's no getting away without washing your hair after you've used it, either.

Umberto Giannini Glam Hair Backcomb in a Bottle
Simply spray this through your roots and tease your hair into place. Personally, I like to give my hair a quick manual back-comb after use, and I find that that the two work really well together. The spray holds the back-comb in place as well as providing some good volume of its own. Again though, you can't go a second day without washing your hair after you've used this.

So there you have it, my top picks for big hair. If any of you have any holy grail root boosting products then do let me know your favourites in the comments below.

Hope you're having a great week!


Monday, October 8, 2012

Beauty SOS: October

Another month, another Beauty SOS post. I'm afraid this one is going up a little bit later than usual, and if you read my October Agenda post then you'll know why, so I won't bore you with the details again!

So, last month, I must have been feeling unusually satisfied with my beauty issues, as I only asked for you lovely ladies to get involved with two little puzzles of mine. Either that, or I had already used all my other ones up the month before!

So, what did I ask you lovelies for your suggestions on last month?

1. A blemish-fighting product.
Last month, I was going through a bit of a skin nightmare, which I now believe was due to my over-zealous testing of a large number of new products in a short space of time. My t-zone became really oily and I found myself with some rather large blemishes popping up one after the other. I did freak out a little bit about this, as I usually have pretty normal skin, so I asked you lovelies to suggest something. Needless to say, several of you piped up with the Origins Spot Removing Gel/Pads. Other ideas were Alpha H Liquid Gold, Quinoderm, Sudocrem and Lavender oil. As I had some lavender oil to hand, I decided to give that one a go on a particularly unsightly spot that had chosen to pop up on my chin. I dabbed some on before bed and in the morning, voila - it had dried right out and diminished considerably in size. After my success with this, I decided to give the more expensive products suggested a miss (but thank you very much to those who suggested them!), as I am currently trying to cut back on my spending, and if something as inexpensive as an essential oil can do the job then I'm happy with that. A second discovery I made is that Propolis works equally well, so if you've got eiher of those in your cupboard at home then give them a go!

2. A good volumising product for hair.
Suggestions on this one were Sexy Hair Big Powder Play and Umberto Giannini Backcomb in a Bottle. I was very pleased to hear the latter suggestion as it reminded me that I actually already had a can of this, which had been squirreled away and subsequently lost and forgotten at the back of my cupboard. So I dug this out and gave my hair a good spray, and I must say, it does do the job rather well.
If you would like to hear more about my favourite products for big hair then keep your eyes open tomorrow, as there will be a post going up on precisely that.

So, with what do I require your assistance this month?

1. A great anti-ageing night cream.
I'm looking for something really moisturising but that won't clog my pores overnight. I've had bad luck with these in the past as they have often broken me out by morning!

2. A fantastic skin-balancing moisturiser.
My skin is mostly normal, but sometimes my forehead and chin are a bit oily, and sometimes I get dry patches on my nose. I'm after something to sort it out.

3. A good BB Cream.
I say a good one because all those I've tried have been a huge disappointment. Are there any that have really impressed you?

4. I know I have asked this before and gone on and on about it on Twitter, but.....
I am still on the hunt for something to banish my dark under-eye circles, preferably something to actually treat them but if you know of a phenomenal concealer then I would love to hear about that too. I'm sure you are probably sick of hearing me ask about this but if anyone is going to be able to suggest a solution then it's you lovely beauty bloggers and I refuse to give up hope! Whilst I have received some lovely suggestions so far, sadly, none of them have been able to make a difference, and I don't even consider my dark circles to be THAT dark. So, just throwing this out there. Again.

5. Your favourite pampering session products.
So, this one is not really an SOS as such, but I am looking to change up my weekend pampering routine as I am getting a bit bored with my own. I would LOVE to hear about what you do to spoil yourselves and what products you use in the comments below :)

If anyone would like some suggestions for some of their beauty ailments then let me know in the comments. I'm no guru but I'd be happy to share my findings with you, and perhaps feature them in next month's post so we can get some more ideas on the go!

Have a great week my lovelies!


Sunday, October 7, 2012

October Agenda

A bit of a late October Agenda this month. I'm not sure exactly what it is, but these past couple of weeks I really seemed to have lost my blogging mojo for a bit. I think it's probably something we all go through at some point or other, and I think in my case it was down to two things. One is that I had been so excited about the prospect of moving home next year - and I mean ridiculously so, as I have wanted it for so long - that after the initial burst of happiness had passed, I crashed back down to earth with a bump, as I realised that it's still almost a year until it actually happens. So that means eleven more months of 'this'. The second thing is that my anxiety symptoms have been really quite bad for the past couple of weeks, and when that's bothering me I really can't seem to sit down and get anything typed as it does get me down, and makes me feel really restless too.
I haven't really spoken about anxiety on here before, and I don't want to dedicate a whole post to it or anything like that, because I don't think it deserves the attention. The thing about anxiety is that the more you focus on it, the stronger its hold on you. But a quick explanation for you: I don't suffer from anxiety in the sense that I am constantly freaking out about everything, but I suppose the culmination of the fact that I have always been a worrier, coupled with the fact that I've spent so long living far from the ones I love, has led to this. Anxiety is something that affects me physically, so that means that on a day to day basis, I get this weird jittery feeling, pounding heart and shortness of breath, even when I am feeling fine and not at all anxious about anything! It's really frustrating, and when it first started I had a really hard time believing that that's all it was - I mean, who has anxiety without actually feeling anxious!? 
So anyway, that's that. Let's see how I did with the tasks I set myself last month, before moving on to this month's Agenda:

1. Save as much money as possible.
I'm pleased to report that I've been pretty well behaved on this one, and have stashed away a fair few pennies. I say this, but I suppose I'm slyly ignoring the fact that I might have had one or two Ebay mishaps - in other words, yes, I have spent money I shouldn't have. It's just so easily done when it's online, isn't it - it seems like it's not real money until you get the bill at the end of the month....not looking forward to that one!

2. Get back to healthy eating and exercising several times a week
So last month, I told you that, being someone who usually does eat healthily bar the odd slice of cake, I had fallen off the wagon somewhat and could not seem to stop eating sweet things. The evenings are my problem, as when I'm home alone I either boredom eat or boredom bake! Anyway, it took me until the latter half of the month but I do seem to have managed to rein it in a bit. I'm still baking at the weekends and having treats here and there, but in a much more controlled fashion. As for the exercise, I tend to go through phases of going for it and feeling good about it, and phases of not being remotely bothered about it (mostly the latter). However, after reading this week that exercise is the single most important thing you can do to help anxiety symptoms, I have got myself back into gear - I get  annoyed when people complain about things and yet do nothing to help themselves, so it's got to be done. I will let you know if I see any difference.

3. Get Skyping.
The idea here was to make sure Skype plans actually came to fruition. My friends and I are constantly making and breaking Skype dates and one way or another, our chats just never seem to happen. And because we are always saying that we must Skype, I never get messages telling me what's been going on in their lives, as it is always assumed that we will talk about that 'when we Skype'. Which never happens. Sadly, I am no further along on this one, although not for want of trying. 

Now, on to this month's Agenda:

1. Keep saving the pennies!
Self explanatory really, and must be done.

2. Stop being a hypochondriac.
I don't know if I actually am a hypochondriac, but I still get scared that my anxiety symptoms are something else, which in turn only serves to make me more anxious. Not fun.

3. Keep up the daily exercise.
Again, it's got to be done.

4. Blog brainstorming.
There is so much more I want to do with my blog, yet something always stops me. Outfit posts don't happen because I don't have someone patient enough to photograph me the amount of times necessary for me to get a photo I'm satisfied with. Or a tripod. Makeup (face) posts don't happen because I can never seem to get an acceptable picture for those either, despite the fact I can take them myself. Baking posts don't happen because I always bake in the evening and then the lighting for photos is awful. All of this is really starting to annoy me, as I feel that it's really limiting me and my blog, so my aimfor this month is to sit down and have a think about what I can do to make these things happen, as well as coming up with some new ideas for content. Usually, I just write about what comes to me, and I like to do it that way as I feel more inspired, but at the same time it's good to plan some bits and pieces for those days when you just don't feel like it.

Phew, that was a hefty post. If you made it this far then well done!
What'son your agenda for October?

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