Friday, 15 December 2017

Under £15 Gift Guide




So if you are like me and you are just about getting around to starting your Christmas shopping, then do not panic we still have a week or so to get it done. This year, I am struggling with the smaller presents, the ones that can be the most meaningful. At work we have are doing secret Santa which is set at £15, and I wanted it to be a thoughtful gift and not just another bath set. 

If you are like me and you drink umpteen cups of tea a day whilst at work, buying someone a mug is always a great present. Primark have got a fabulous range of mugs in at the moment, and this Harry Potter mug (£6) is so god dam cute. I think buying chocolate lollies is always a lovely extra present, and my mum always buts some in mine and my sisters stockings.

If you are a beauty junkie like me, then these cute makeup Christmas sponges are a must have. For just £2.50 from Primark, they are a great little addition to someone's stocking. The priciest items in this post come from Real Techniques and their fabulous new brush crush collection. I love, love, love these brushes. First up, look at just how beautiful they are, the handles are glittery and the bristles are ombre. They range from £10-£15, and are currently on a 1/3 off offer which is always a great help.

Whilst in London I went into the Sass & Belle store which was so lovely and contains some beautiful home decor. I picked up this bird trinket dish which I have put on my desk, I am keeping my most worn earrings and rings on it. This is such a nice present for pretty much anyone, as everyone has lots of little things that they need to keep safe. I also think a pair of cute Brandy Melville earrings, or any earrings in fact are something which I would like to receive. If are unsure what style to go for, stick to something simple and everyday appropriate.

I think buying someone personalised or personal presents is always a great option. It is a thoughtful gift and it does not have to break the bank. Cheerz offer snapshot photos which you can choose and send as presents. I keep mine on a string of lights which have clips on, and I display them all above my mirror. You can choose how many photos or magnets you want to include in your personalised box, whether it is for you or a gift for someone else.  I worked with the Cheerz team last year and they kindly gave me a code which you can use: LUCMCSO, with this you can get £4 off your first order when you spend £8 or more.

I hope this has given you some last minute ideas for the presents you have still got left to buy. Let me know if you pick anything up from this gift guide.

Lucy
xoxo



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Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Pillow Talk



There is no doubt Charlotte Tilbury is one of my absolute favourite brands. Her iconic Pillow Talk lip liner has become one of her best selling products, and a holy grail item for a lot of beauty lovers. However, I am really not a lip liner person, so I have never thought about the need to have it in my collection. She has recently answered my prayers, as she has launched to exact same shade in a lipstick version. The Pillow Talk lipstick is £24, and is part of her matte revolution line. I am not a huge fan of lipsticks that are really matte, as I find them very uncomfortable on my lips. This formula is enriched with hydrating properties such as lipstick tree and orchid extract to help soften the lips, making it very comfortable once applied.

The reason why this is such a best selling product, is because it is a beautiful mid toned pink rose shade. I feel as though my mission is finally complete, I have found the perfect my lips but better shade which I have been searching for forever. It gives my lips a natural plump and boost without the need to over line them. I have been wearing this on a daily basis day and night, as it is literally a colour that I can wear everyday no matter the occasion.

The formula has quite a waxy texture feel to it, making it glide over the lips super easily. The pigmentation of this line of lipsticks is beautiful, and they are a one swipe product which is what I always want in a lipstick. The tip of the product is a unique square shape, which is angled helping with precision and equal coverage. I have two other lipsticks from the matte revolution line in the shades Sexy Sienna and Very Victoria. Both of these shades are lipsticks I pull out in a rush when I am on to go as I know they are not high maintenance.

Lucy
xoxo
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Friday, 8 December 2017

Morphe 35O2 Palette



So as soon as I got the pre-sale email off BeautyBay informing me that Morphe were launching a new 35O palette, my heart started to flutter. It is no secret that the Morphe 35O palette is a holy grail item of mine. This is such a well priced palette considering the amount of shadows that you get, and mostly importantly the quality and colour pigment pay off is amazing. I recently bought their Jaclyn Hill collaboration palette, which I am also very much enjoying. So as you can see I am a big fan of Morphe, so as soon as I saw pictures of the 35O2 palette I knew I needed it.

This was only released last week on pre sale, and I picked it up within 2 minutes of receiving the email. BeautyBay always do cracking delivery and I had it in my hands within 2 days. I have literally worn this everyday since I got it, and I am so happy with it!






As you can see from my swatches the shadows (as always!) are highly pigmented. I am always very honest with all of my reviews, and I have to say I did find 2 or 3 of the shimmer shadows needed more than just a one swipe to get full pigmentation. However, I have not come across one dud shade which is what you usually find in a palette of this size. As always with Morphe, all of the shades are creamy and super easy to blend.

This palette contains 11 shimmer shades out of 35, which always makes me happy. There is no denying I am a big fan of a good shimmery shade especially for a night out. What I like about this palette is that it has more brighter shades than the original palette, which add some vibrancy to the overall feel of the palette. The array of matte shades are much warmer compared to the 35O, and I think they have got a great variety of light to dark colours.


I thought it was important to do a comparison picture of the 35O with the new 35O2. When I actually put them side by side, I can definitely see that the tones of the darker brown shades in the 35O2 palette are much richer. I enjoy using dark cocoa brown shades, however I would have liked a few more of those firey shades that this new palette has incorporated. I am not sure if I will ever be daring enough to wear the bright fluorescent red shade, but a few more coppery shades or even some deep purples would have made this my perfect palette.

As you can see Morphe has come out with a new brand logo. They have kept the exact same sleek black packaging for the actual palette. However, the new white logo looks great on the black background, it is very plain and simple, but effective. They have also changed the outside boxes to match the new look and layout.

To put this simply - get this palette on your Christmas list, with a big underline and star next to it! For £23, yes just £23, you will not be disappointed. If you think about how many high end brands charge £40+ for 12 shades, when you get 35 in this I think it is a jolly decent buy. I don't mean to rub salt in the wound, but this palette is currently sold out everywhere. However, definitely sign up to BeautyBay's alerts, so when it is back in stock you can quickly snatch it up!

Lucy
xoxo
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Wednesday, 6 December 2017

24 hours in Christmassy London







When your best friend lives in London, it is always a treat to pop on a train to see her. This time me and my other two best friends planned a little overnight trip, with a visit to Winter Wonderland as the main event. We hopped on an early morning train and headed to Euston. We decided we would head towards Carnaby first, it looked so amazing as they had all of the Christmas decorations up. As we always act like such tourists, we went to Liberty's to have a look at their entire Christmas floor. I always like to buy a present or two, but this year I decided to buy a tree decoration. As it was a Saturday afternoon every restaurant was packed, but we managed to get a table at Pizza Pilgrim's. The pizzas were absolutely divine, and I would definitely recommend visiting. After some more shopping and encouraging each other to buy pretty much everything, we began to make our way back to where we were staying.

We did end up taking a slight d-tour to the giant Topshop with five floors on the way back to the underground. That store is unbelievably big, at one point I actually lost everyone and was concerned we were never going to reunite! After yet again spending money we probably shouldn't have, we then actually did head back to my friend's house. We had always planned to get tea at Winter Wonderland, so we all sat on the sofa for an hour or two, catching up and making Christmas plan whilst drinking tea, before cracking open the prosecco!

We left a little later than planned, and last year it was busy but nicely bustly. This year it was 10x as busy, the queues for security (which I understand is completely is necessary) were just so huge. There was hundreds upon hundreds of people trying to all get into the park. Once inside, we headed to the carousel bar which is always fun. It is a literal carousel which has a small bar right in the centre, whilst everyone stands around on the moving part of the carousel, which after a few drinks can make you feel a little dizzy. There is no doubt that there is an amazing atmosphere, wherever you decide to wander. There are lots of different rides to go on, and a variety of classic fair ground stalls. There is also a  great range of food stalls to choose from, and wine and bar huts to get your alcoholic beverages from. They have huge beer halls where they have performers on, and everyone can sit around on long tables and have a little dance and a sing along. The only thing I would recommend is getting there earlier than planned, if you are wanting a whole night there. They stop serving alcohol at 9.45pm, and the music and stalls start shutting at 10pm.

On the Sunday as one of my friends had never been to London before, we took her on a mini sight seeing tourist tour. We went to the House of Parliament to see Big Ben, and you can also see the London eye along the River Thames. We then went for a wander along the Southbank as they had some Christmassy markets. For brunch we went to a little place called The Fire Station, where we all had a nice late big breakfast. The restaurant was lovely, the decor was nice and cosy, and most importantly the food was great. Before heading back to Euston, we stopped off in Covent Garden. We had a look around some of the shops, and we loved how the inside of the markets had been decorated. It looked beautiful with lots of lights and huge baubles hanging from the ceiling. Of course I made the girls take a trip to Ben's Cookies in Covent Garden, as it simply sells the best cookies which I have ever tried. As always I had a fabulous time, and we have already planned next years trip.

Lucy
xoxo
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Friday, 1 December 2017

Bye Bye Bad Skin (well lets hope!)



So I am finally (well hopefully!) if all things go to plan, I am going to start on Roaccutane early next year. I feel like I have not really posted too much on my blog about my skin issues, expect in posts where I explain the makeup I use due to my acne. I have had acne for a good ten years now, it all started when I was about 13. It started about the time I started my periods, and ever since I have had acne. My dermatologist for a long time described it mild, but for the last few years it has been in the moderate -severe category.

I have to say over the last ten years I have popped a lot of pills and tried a lot of topical treatments to try and solve my acne. I have tried every pill possible under the sun, and I have literally no other options left. I met a new dermatologist at my last appointment, and she seemed to really understand my frustration. As soon as she saw me, she said your acne is definitely hormone related due to it being spread over my chin and a little bit on my cheeks. I have never had spots on my forehead and she said for this exact reason she knows it is my hormones that need to be directly treated.

I have also not discussed my recent testing for polycystic ovaries on here, but it is pretty much confirmed that I have it. I am just waiting on my final blood hormonal profile results and my appointment with my gynaecologist in January to confirm what we all suspect. I am so grateful to my doctor at university two years ago who started these investigations for me, as I never knew the reasoning or causes to my acne. I have to say I went on a contraceptive pill called dianette for 18 months a year ago and I did see improvements in my skin. This is the only pill of any kind which I have actually seen an improvement in my skin. However, this is not a pill which you can use forever and is suppose to be a short term solution.

I sat in my dermatologist appointment and stated that I had done a lot of research and I had previously discussed with both my GP and previous dermatologist the prospect of starting roaccutane. My previous dermatologist who I had seen for 20 years recently retired, therefore I felt very deflated at the thought of having to start all over again. I am so grateful at the way she reacted at the prospect of trying the treatment. She straight away stated how she could see that I had tried many treatments and had little success. After some discussions into other medical problems and a thorough explanation into side effects, she had hoped to start me on stage one of roaccutane (the brand name) which is an isotretinion topical treatment. However, as always things are never simple for me and this product is stopped being produced at the moment, due to a manufacturing problem. However, I have been put on epiduo which she states is similar, although I know it is not as good as it does not have the same ingredients as the isotretinion topical treatment.

There is always going to be bumps along the way, and I am determined not to let these set backs get to me as overall I am excited to finally be getting the ball rolling. At the start of January, I have another appointment with my gynaecologist to discuss which contraceptive pill will be best for me to go on whilst under going the roaccutane treatment. This drug is not giving out easily, and it is imperative you do not get pregnancy during treatment due to it causing serious defects to babies. You have to use contraceptive methods during the treatment. I will then go on a contraceptive pill for 6 weeks, before meeting again with the dermatologist where stage 2 of actually taking the isotretinion capsules will hopefully happen.

I tell you something, boy am I ready for this. I am actually really scared as the dermatologist laid out clear and simple that I am definitely going to get some side effects in some way and form. However, I am just dreaming of acne free skin and it actually makes me feel really emotional about it. I am now 23, a fully fledged adult and I am glad we have finally concluded my acne is not due to 'teenage hormones'.

I originally wrote this post about a month ago after coming out of the dermatologist appointment with hope that I am finally on the right path to having some kind of clear skin. I have updated it with the problems of getting the topical treatments I need. It is really interesting as I had to go back to my GP yesterday (who I have to say has tried to help me as much as possible), and his words were "These dermatologists are fobbing you off, none of these topical treatments will work for your acne. It is clear to see it is all hormonal due to it being focused on your chin". He also told me how so many other patients go to him expressing the same frustrations as me. However, I work in the NHS and I know how grateful we should all be to have such a great health service in our country. I find it very interesting as at work I get so many patients saying we feel like we are being fobbed off, as we go to these appointments and then again in 6 months time and no improvement or change has been implemented. I always say I know the feeling, as I do. But, I do reinforce that things do take time and unfortunately we often have to explore lots of avenues, and sometimes it takes some changes before you find exactly what works for you. I think that what can be hard to grasp is that we are all very different, and what might have worked perfectly for others, may not work for you.

I do still have hope that 2018 will be the year I will confident in my own skin.

Lucy
xoxo




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Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Lush Sleepy



So this month saw the start of my night shifts (horray!), and to be honest I am not the biggest fan of them. I have been in a regular sleeping routine in the last year of only day and twilight shifts. As a student I did many night shifts, and I have to say they were not my best friend. Some of the girls at work have been putting Lush Sleepy to the test to see if it helps them after their night shifts. I thought it was time that I joined in and put it to the test.

So what is this little pot of joy, you might say. So Lush, the people who create all the goodness from bath bombs to skincare, have created a little purple pot of cream which has those of us who don't always have the best nights sleep excited. Sleepy is a soft, thick lotion which has a gentle mix of oatmeal, calming lavender and sweet tonka absolute. They have then added cocoa butter to make it silky smooth and combine all those lovely ingredients together.

So I thought about how to track my sleep after my night shifts once I get home in the morning, as this is when I struggle the most to sleep. Over my 4 nightshifts I wore my FitBit Charge 2 to bed, and dosed my arms, chest and neck every night in Sleepy before literally crawling into bed. I have previously used This Work's Pillow Spray to help me nod off to sleep, and I have always found that it does help me. The main ingredient of the spray is also lavender. The morning's after wearing Sleepy, I had a quick look on my FitBit app and I was so interested to see how in depth it analyses my sleep. Here is what my night shifts sleep looked like:

                        

                         

So from the stats it doesn't real show us too much regarding if Sleepy did/did not contribute to my sleeping as I slept for different amounts of time each night. However, what I can say is that I definitely felt as though in myself I had such a better nights sleep. I usually only sleep until about 1pm after my night shifts, and every day whilst using Sleepy I slept until around 3.30pm. Two hours extra sleep is an absolute god send. But I thought I would take the experiment one step further and track my sleep when I have been to work and on days off, and use sleepy some night and not the others.


                           
                        Did not wear                                                Wore

                        
                         Did not wear                                                Wore

                          
                          Did not wear                                                Wore


So on the 16th, 20th and 27th I wore sleepy to bed. Due to my shift pattern I quickly realised this was going to be hard to track, as there is never going to be a week where I do the same shifts. On days where I wake up at 6.30ish, I had work and therefore had an alarm set, therefore I do not know what time I would have naturally woken up. However, I found it interesting on the 16th November I did not work in the day, did not wear sleepy to bed, did not have work the next day, and slept for 7hr 3 mins. On the 17th November, I also did not work in the day, but I wore sleepy to bed, and did not have the work the next day, and slept for 8hr 26 mins. It is clear to see that I slept much better on the 17th, on the night I wore sleepy to bed. On all the nights I wore sleepy, the episodes of deep sleep were for longer, and I had less episodes of being awake and as a whole they were much shorter.

My conclusion would not be classed as fully reliable if I was back in my year 11 science class, as the factors have not been the same throughout. But, I have done my best, and like I have said I was never going to get everything matching as my shift pattern does not allow this. Overall, I think for me personally sleepy definitely does help me to get to sleep quicker. For sure, on my night shifts I slept for longer and I had less episodes of waking up than normal and that I am certain of. The scent of sleepy is a gorgeous sweet lavender, and if you struggle to get to sleep, or wake up frequently during the night it is worth you investing in a tub of this goodness. You can pop in store and get a sample size pot to test, or for £7.95 you can get a 95g tub which will last you for a good few months.

Have you tried sleepy?

Lucy
xoxo

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Sunday, 26 November 2017

L'Oreal x Balmain Lipstick



I had been trying to get my hands on some of the lipsticks from the L'Oreal and Balmain's collaboration for a few weeks, but I was really struggling to find them anywhere in stock. In Harvey Nichols they had a little concession selling all the shades from the range, however when I went in on the first weekend of their release there was very little left. They had a few of the very dark toned lipsticks, which I would never choose. A week or so later I went on the Boots website, and they had every colour available to order.

I decided to order just one from the line and not get too wrapped up in the hype. I decided to pick up the shade confession. This is a typical 'me' shade, it is a beautiful mid toned pink with some peachy undertones. It has a moisturising matte finish, which is always a plus as I hate lipsticks being very dry and heavy on my lips. I have been able to wear this on a daily basis, which is great. I think it is important to invest in some stand out bright shades which I can wear for special occasions, however they can end up collecting dust within my makeup collection as I do not reach for them often. Whereas, this is a more neutral toned shade which I am able to wear it day and night, and feel comfortable wearing it.

It was easy to apply, and I was impressed with the pigmentation to this lipstick as I only needed one coat. I have worn this several times since buying it, and it now has a firm place in the bottom of my handbag. I also love the packaging of this, I think it is sleek and one that looks lovely on your beauty desk on display. There are 12 shades to this line, split into 3 different colours - black, green and blue. This line is a little bit more expensive than your standard L'Oreal lip product, as they cost £12.99. However, for a high end collaboration I think with any of brand these would easily cost £20+.

Lucy
xoxo
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