Wednesday, 12 December 2018

Wet n Wild Photo Focus Foundation

When Wet n Wild was first launched at Boots I was really interested in trying some products from their range. I am always on the look out for new foundations, and with my recent skin changes I am still working out what foundation works best with my skin.

I have never been able to wear matte foundation before, so I thought this was a good opportunity to see how this finish would now look on my skin. This is advertised is containing a light-diffusing complex which gives your skin a #nofilter matte finish. Before applying the foundation I use an oil free hydrating moisturiser and a glowy primer. I do not like my skin to look too matte, as I like a natural, glowy finish. This photofocus foundation aims to diffuse the flashback which happens when we take photos. They say that flashback occurs when white particles in makeup reflect when flash is used in photography, they have eliminated the white cast particles within this foundation to prevent this from happening. 

In my Boots store I was unimpressed with the shade range as there was only 4 shades available. I was doing a bit of research for this post and noticed that our Boots online has 6 shades, however on the USA Wet n Wild website they in fact have a shade range of 20. In 2018 for Boots to only invest in a range of 6 shades it is clearly never going to be inclusive of a range of skin tones. For me, the shade nude ivory is a perfect match for me. I probably go as far as saying that this is one of the most perfectly matched foundations for my skin which I own. The bottle says it is for a light neutral skin tone. I would usually go for a foundation which is more catered for a pink undertone, but on this occasion this is a great match. 

I am a big lover of a pump applicator, as you can control how much product you need and you do not end up wasting any. This foundation comes with a small flat shovel shaped applicator. It is definitely not my favourite chose of applicator as it ends up getting a bit messy. When I first started testing this out about 4 weeks ago I was applying this straight onto my Beautyblender, however I have now started applying it straight onto my skin and I now prefer to do this. It is a little bit messier but I find the product then blends in better into my skin. The bottle contains 30ml which is the standard size for any foundation. I hate bottles which are big and bulky and take up a lot of space in my makeup drawers. This has a glass bottle but it is small and compact and is easy to travel with.

The most important aspect of any foundation is its actual performance on the skin. I am happy to say that this has pleasantly surprised me. As I have already mentioned it blends in well, and offers a great coverage which is buildable. I think this would be okay also for acne prone skin as you can build up to the finish you desire. I have used this with a variety of concealers and they have blended together well, and have not become patchy or had an affect on the foundations finish. I have worn this to work many times over this test period, and I have been really happy with its longevity on the skin. Overall, I think for £5.99 it is a bargain and a great high street find. In terms of the flashback, it definitely does not make me look shiny in photos especially in my T-zone areas. I have been recommending this to my friends as it reminds me of Charlotte Tilbury's magic foundation but £25 cheaper.



Wednesday, 5 December 2018

Aloe Vera Vaseline Lip Balm

On my roaccutane journey my most harsh side effect was definitely how dry my lips became. I was prepared and bought a lot of different lip balms in preparation. I bought budget and high end lip balms to try and prevent the dreaded dry lips. I started out using good old Blistex and it wasn't until about month 3 the toll really struck, and it was just not doing the job. There was cracks and bleeding to my lips and whilst browsing the aisles of Boots I decided to pick up a Vaseline stick lip balm, but not just any old Vaseline, their aloe vera version. Thank the lord I did because from that moment on my lips were on the way to recovery.

I can't pinpoint what makes this Vaseline so special. Hands down this out does any high lip balm. My little trick was to not let it harden. It needs to be soft in order for it really stop any dryness. For the cracking especially in the corners of my lips the Blistex relief cream was a little angel. It was brilliant at filling in those cracks and as it says providing relief. At some points it was so painful, I literally couldn't open my mouth fully or it would bleed. It was also during the warmer months meaning the dryness was inevitable anyway but the sunny weather definitely did not help.

We all know that aloe vera is known for being a calming and soothing property, and I think this is exactly why this excels compared to the other Vaseline products. After my revelation of reaffirming my love with Vaseline, I went and bought the original and the rose version to see the comparison. Although, they did both help with the dryness it just was not to the same standard as the aloe vera. It is a golden lip balm and gets 5 stars from me. Whilst doing a bit of research into the differences between all of the Vaseline range, I discovered that they all contain Vaseline's triple-purified petroleum jelly and Vitamin E. However, the aloe vera version as expected contains aloe extract which is the secret weapon to calming and soothing dry and irritated areas. I knew there must be other ingredients alongside the aloe vera, and it also contains cucumber extract and Vitamin A.

During my 8 months on roaccutane, I think I must have bought at least 6 of these chap sticks. Can I also say that the tin version is definitely different to the stick. I don't know whether it is how it is made when it is put into the tin or stick, but the stick also contains SPF 15. I do not how to describe exactly what makes this little stick so special, but all I can say is if you suffer from persistent dry, chapped lips look no further. 2 months post treatment and my lips are still dry, but thankfully nowhere near as bad as how they used to be. However, I still carry a green stick of joy wherever I go. My sister laughs as I have one in every handbag, and I always have one in my car to take to work. This is just another case of spending more does definitely not buy you the best. The best thing is Vaseline is always on offer in Boots and Superdrug and I have never paid more than £2 for one.



Wednesday, 14 November 2018

Netflix Top Picks #2

In January I brought you my first installment of my netflix picks which included some of my favourite shows including - Pretty Little Liars, Cheersquad, 13 Reasons Why, Dynasty, Riverside, Stranger Things and You, Me, Her.

The best Netflix programme to be released for me in 2018 is definitely Queer Eye. It features five fabulous men who basically transfer all aspects of a nominated man's life. Each of the five guys work within an industry such as fashion, lifestyle, home design, relationships and cooking. They use their experiences and put it into place within the life of the person they are trying to help. It is just such a great feel-good programme and I love seeing how they transform someone's life in such an exceptional way.

I watched Girls Incarcerated at the start of the year and I loved it. It is set in an all-girls youth prison in Madison, America. This prison is for lesser crimes such as drug offences and stealing. All the girls are enrolled on a rehabilitation programme and it follows the lives of them in the prison and after finishing the programme back home.

The Staircase is a documentary filmed over an extensive period of years following a real life trail of a family. A woman named Kathleen is found dead at the bottom of the stairs in her home, and her husband Michael is straight away put on trail for her murder. It follows the story and how the trail is put together from the prospective of the police and Michael and his lawyers. I found it very compelling and I was totally gripped leading up the trail. I was totally conflicted and changed my mind with every episode trying to decide my own verdict.

Good Girls is a show which has had me belly-laughing at times. It is based on three mum who are all having their own individual problems at home. They all need money and they start committing petty crimes, as the money comes rolling in the crimes become more and more extravagant. This leads to them making deals with a drug dealer and all of a sudden they are stuck in a very sticky situation.

The Adventures of Sabrina is something I was very excited to watch. I always remember when we were younger me and my sister both watched the TV show for years. This new Netflix show has been great and I love the feminist vibes. Sabrina is so sassy in her ways and views, and I think the part is played brilliantly. I am only currently half way through the series, but I already know I am going to be waiting for series 2 to arrive.

There has been two films I have recently watched which have made me feel 13 again. All the Boys I've Loved Before is a lovely film about a teenage girl called Lara who writes love letters to the all the boys that she has ever fancied. However, they are never meant to be posted, until her little sister decides to send the letters to these boys. It is an easy watch teenage heartthrob movie. Similar to this is The Kissing Booth, which is based on a popular guy falling in love with a quiet girl. However, the girl's new lover just turns out to be her best friend's brother. This is another great film which had me thinking about my high school years.

What is your fave Netflix show?



Sunday, 11 November 2018

Is overworking the only way to success?

I have been comparing myself to a lot of people recently as I feel as though everything I read is about having to work yourself in to the ground in order to succeed. I completely understand that it takes a lot of hard work, working endless hours and determination to reach a goal. However, I feel as though I am constantly made to feel as though whatever I do isn't good enough. I have definitely had periods of time in my life where I have doubted myself and my self-esteem has taken a knock. I feel as though I have been witnessing it in all areas of my life. I love that with my job I kind of leave it at the door. I obviously keep up to date with things I need to know about and attend courses, but I have no access to my work email at home and I obviously cannot really take my work home. I think I am lucky in this regard, as I do not think work and home life should mix. On my days off I use them to unwind as it is what I need.

I think blogging as a career is something which you must struggle to leave at the door. You can constantly do your work at home, you can pick up your laptop and start to write a post to get ahead. If I was ever lucky enough to turn blogging into a career, I would have to gain that work/ life balance for my own sanity. Victoria / InTheFrow is my biggest blogger influencer she has done some absolutely incredible work and she deserves all the success. I know on YouTube and on other social media outlets you are only seeing snippets and a snapshot of someone's daily life, but you can tell Victoria puts in the hours daily and nightly. She herself has openly expressed in her vlogs how stressed she has been recently. I also saw Tamara / GlamandGlitter who travels the world on a weekly basis for work, on one of her Instagram posts she flew from the USA to London and back to the USA in 48 hours. Someone asked her how she does it all and she replied honestly saying that there is no time for jet lag as work and content is always needing to be produced. Lastly, she said that it is "mandatory within this industry so I just do it". I honestly think Tamara is also one of the top worldwide influencers and it is easy to see it is due to her hard work. I am just not sure I could cope with all.

I know we all do things in different ways; I am not trying to compare woman to woman in the slightest. All jobs have different schedules and I am not going to deny this year I have come home from work and cried quite a few times at what I have seen and coped with. I know with time this will improve. I look up to the more senior staff for support but it can be crazy. We are all tested in life, but what I really wanted this post to be about is - does working all hours god send = success?

I do see certain influencers telling their viewers to chase their dreams and that everyone can do anything they want to. I just worry that we are moving in the direction that success only comes from running yourself into the ground. We are only appreciated if for example I volunteer to go into work on my day off. I am only coming from the perspective of the industry I work in, and I have also been a blogger for 5 years.

My friends and I have discussions about this often. Honestly, my friends have achieved so much already, and I have friends who are still working on their final goal. I do however find we all have a common ground of being realistic. I get people saying why don't you travel the world whilst you are young and have no attachments. Hun, I would love to, but it isn't just as easy to get up and go. I am just not sure that we can do everything that we dream of.

You can clearly see from how I have portrayed this post, that I have been comparing myself to others. Social media can be the devil, and I know that we have to be open the idea that most of social media is just the best and sometimes fake aspects of someone's life. I am just not sure how we measure success. I think many measure successes by the amount of money you have in your bank account. But does this equal happiness? I think we can often overload ourselves with work. I understand that in the blogging industry, it is difficult to earn money as you are relying on campaigns and regular readers in order to secure a steady income. It is essential though that we get that balance for our own sanity. It is not healthy to have no time away from your work life. Working so hard with such intensity at some point it has to come to a head and an aspect of your health whether it is physical, emotional or mental is going to start to be affected. However, once you are in the routine of this 24/7 work mode, it becomes life and it is harder to get out of the cycle than we think.

I can see it from the other side of this, that hard work does take determination, sleepless nights and sometimes risks. I am not in any way denying we shouldn't work hard to reach our goals, as it does take a mixture of so many things to become successful. I think what I am really trying to say is success is measured in lots of different ways. We need to all be a little kinder to ourselves and learn that things can take time to get there. I have learnt to stop comparing myself to others, and measure my own success by what I have achieved already. I have a mental list of everything I want to achieve but I know it will take time, and I need to not be too hard on myself. Things can sometimes takes a little bit longer than expected and that is okay.



Wednesday, 7 November 2018


Whilst on our travels around Tuscany and Florence, we decided to take a day trip to Siena. The only downside was from Florence it took an hour and a half to get there, which for a day trip is quite a long way. However, we have heard such great things about and it was a must- visit place in our guide book so we decided we needed to make the effort to go. As the journey was long we planned it all the day before to make it as seamless as possible. We got on a train at around 9am and the train was direct to Siena. It might seem like on this trip we visited to a lot of cathedrals, but this was a must see attraction and my god I am so glad we did it. From the front it is stunning with the huge stain glass window, but out of all the duomos (cathedrals) we visited I think Pisa's front was my favourite.

The tickets to go into the cathedrals cost 15 euros which at first we all thought was quite expensive. We found that each town and city very much varied in price as to how much they charged to visit their own cathedral. The cathedral inside was honestly absolutely breath-taking, I was very much taken a back. I can hands down say it was the most stunning place which I have ever visited, ever. My parents and I were just wandering around trying to take it all in, but it was just so beautiful. The entirety of the flooring throughout the place was covered in marble. Each different slab of flooring told a story. They have laid a small pathway throughout the cathedral to try and preserve the flooring from wear, which is completely understandable due to the immense amount of tourists who visit on a daily basis. Each piece of marble flooring told completely different stories and all done with such intricate detailing, we stood around each one interpreting what is trying to be portrayed. 

There was library which didn't look like anything special from the outside, but wow from the inside it was something else. From the pictures you can see that the entirety of the ceiling was covered in embossing which were brightly coloured. You can see that is has been really well maintained, and it was definitely the surprising element of this visit. Every single part of this duomo is beautiful, and I can easily say that the interior is the best I have ever seen. When you get back from your holidays and people ask "did you have a great time?" this visit to Siena is what I have been telling everyone about.

We discovered through reading in the handbook that there is a secret viewing point which you can go to. It was kind of hidden away in one of the back buildings. It was a little tight and narrow spiral staircase which you go up. It was all worth all the steps as you get to see this absolutely beautiful view of the entire town. You were able to see how big the site of the duomo really was and all the different elements which make it up.

There is no denying that the duomo is the stand out piece within Siena. However, the town its self is stunning. There was lots of shops to looks round and the whole town oozed character. As on all holidays we stopped for endless coffee and cake tea breaks. Overall, it was such a great relaxed day where we were able to stroll around at our leisure taking in everything around us. I have also written posts about Florence and Pisa if you want to find out about the rest of this trip.


Sunday, 4 November 2018


Whilst on my travels around Florence (which you can read all about here), we decided to do a one day trip to Pisa. We had pre-planned the trip so we set off from Florence centrale train station early doors and the train to Pisa was approximately one hour. When we got there we needed to get a bus to the sites that we wanted to see. The main reason for this trip was to see the leaning tower. Until I did some research before the trip happened, I did not release that the tower is in fact on a world heritage site which holds a variety of different site seeing opportunities. 

Once on the site we were in absolute awe of just how beautiful everything was. The Pisa tower is one of four buildings which make up this complex. The first building constructed was the Cathedral called Duomo di Pisa which is absolutely inspiring, and it is set on a white marble platform. The next addition to be created was the baptistery. Then finally the campanile and the cemetery were added. When you buy your tickets you have to decide what package you want to buy. You buy the tickets for the tower on their own and they cost €18 each to go up to the top. The rest of the sites you can buy in different combinations for one site it was €5, for two €7 and for 3 €8. We decided we want to just pay €5 the baptistery. To go into the cathedral it is free, but you have to go to the ticket office to get a ticket with a specific time on which I think is a great idea so you do not end up queuing for hours.

I thought it was all very organised as we decided to go up the tower first we arrived at 12pm and we managed to get a 1pm slot. There have 40 slots per every 15 minutes. My dad and I arrived and we got into the entrance of the tower at 1.05pm. There are 297 steps to climb up which does not seem a lot when saying it out loud. However, the steps were small in width and the spiral up to the top was very tight. Once at the top though, it was worth all the huffing and puffing that it took to get there. The views were absolutely incredible from the top. The tower has eight stories stacked on top of each other. At the top you can feel the definite slant in the tower, you can stay and walk around the top platform and look at the bell chambers.

This is the view from the top of the duomo  -

The cathedral was absolutely beautiful both inside and out, and even if you don't want to pay to go into the sites it is worth a trip just to walk around the collection of buildings and look inside the duomo. I have been completely overwhelmed by the beauty of the duomo's which I visited whilst on this trip to Italy. The baptistery was just as magnificent as everywhere else, and we all came away saying how glad we were that we made the effort to go.

Unfortunately, when we got back to the train station we did not have enough time to explore the town of Pisa. I would love to go back if I had the opportunity to and see what more it has to offer.


Wednesday, 31 October 2018


I recently jetted off on a six day trip to Florence. Italy is my favourite place I have ever been to, and I know I am very lucky to have visited different parts of the country 9-10 times in my life. Florence was a city which I had never been to before and I had heard so many people saying it was a must visit place that quite spontaneously we went and booked it.

There is no denying that this trip was not cheap. Italy is not a cheap place a visit, I don't think it can really be done on a very tight budget if you want to see and do everything. Baring this in mind we did go in the October half term holidays which does always make it more expensive. My parents like to book a package holiday, for the simple reason you know that everything is sorted and it is an easier life. For this trip to get from the airport to our hotel, it involved getting our own way there. To get to Florence from the UK you fly in to Pisa airport. There is an airport in Florence, but it is for internal flights only. We got off the plane in Pisa, and we had researched before going how to get to Florence and the journey was in fact pretty seamless. We bought the train tickets at the airport and got on a small metro called the Pisamover which is easy to find within the airport and takes you to the Pisa Centrale station in 10 minutes. Once in Pisa Centrale we then got a train to Florence, the journey on the way took 48 minutes. The price of the combination ticket was 11.30 euros each. 

Before booking the trip we decided we would want quite a central hotel as we knew we wanted to take a few day trips to different parts of the country. The hotel we decided in was called the Hotel Caravaggio. It was an easy 10 minute walk from the train station to the hotel. The hotel was lovely, the staff was great and we opted for the bed and breakfast option.

The first day was long as we set off to Manchester Airport at 6am for our flight, and we arrived in the hotel at 3pm. We wanted to quickly unpack and then go and explore. It is great on your first day to go out and find your bearings. We had a great wander round and picked up some late dinner as we were all very hungry. After refuelling we wandered around the city and we found the Duomo. I have to say this is such a wonderful site, and I was very taken a back. It is enormous and it is such a stunning place. It was one of those where no matter how you tried to take a picture, it will never ever look as good as it does in front of you. It is the centre piece of the city, and we ended up seeing it on a daily basis in passing and everyday we would all stand and take it all in again. As it was the first night we didn't want to go too far, so we went for a stroll and we ended up at a small family run trattoria called La Divina Osteria on Via Guelfa. This restaurant is the exact reason Italy is my favourite place. I had my first pasta dish of the holiday and it did not disappoint. In Italy depending on where you are visiting the prices can vary quite dramatically. In this restaurant pizza and pasta dishes ranged from 9-13 euros, which we all thought was very reasonable. We were also very happy to see that a litre of the house white wine for just 12 euros!!

Ponte Vecchio was built in 1218 but then it had to be rebuilt in 1345 and overlooks the River Arno. There has been shops on the bridge since the 13th century. It originally used as a market for locals to get fresh produce. In later years, more expensive shops such as goldsmiths and jewellers moved on to the bridge. In more recent years, there is now a large variety of shops both high and low end which is bustling on a daily basis with both locals and tourists.

We decided that one place that we definitely wanted to visit was Pitti Palace. It is a large collection of museums all in on one site. You are able to go into lots of different parts of the palace where the generations of families used to live. This includes the museum of modern art, the silver museum, costume gallery, the porcelain museum and the palatine gallery. It is also surrounded by huge gardens which are beautiful.

That evening we decided to go to dinner at a restaurant near the Duomo, it was called Nuttini and was just off Saint Lorenzo square. We once again had fantastic food and the pizza was amazing!

On day 3 we had planned our trip to Pisa which was super exciting.

Before visiting Pisa, I thought that the leaning tower was on a site on its own. In fact the tower is located on a world heritage site called the square of miracles. There are four different sites to visit on the square - the leaning tower, Duomo di Pisa, baptistery and the cemetery.

The Duomo is built on top of a white marble pavement and is very impressive to look at. It is a prime example of romanesque architecture. The leaning tower is obviously the main tourist attraction that people flock to see. My dad and I paid 18 euros each to walk up the spiralling tower. It was a lot of steps, but it was great and the views from the top were incredible. I am going to write a post dedicated to Pisa next week.

This evening we decided we wanted to eat something a bit different and we had seen that there was a little Indian restaurant close to our hotel which was always bustling. It was called Indian Palace on Via Guelfa, and the food was delicious. On holiday it is always nice to try different cuisines and this definitely did not disappoint.

We had decided on day 4 to visit the city of Siena. This was a bit of a spontaneous trip, and we are so glad that we did it. From Florence to Siena on the train it was quite a long trip, it took about 1hr 30 mins and cost 10 euros each return.

This Duomo looked less impressive on the outside compared to the one in Florence, however inside it was absolutely stunning. It cost 15 euros to go round into all the different parts, which we thought was expensive but it was definitely worth it. It was honestly incredible. The floor was marble and each individual bit of the floor was carved with stunning representations as to what was going on in that particular period of time. The most stunning surprise was the library which had an incredible ceiling which had paintings on it. I am also going to be doing a separate post too on this trip.

On day 5 we stayed within Florence and decided to have a relaxed day of strolling, eating and shopping! We ended up in a little square called Piazza de Santa Croce, which was not as busy as lots of others as it is on the edge of the city. This is called the Church of Santa Croce which we didn't pay to go in as we had already been in to a lot of churches by this point. It is definitely worth a wander down into the square though if you have a chance. We went to a lovely pizzeria called Pizza Napoli on Via dei Neri, it was lovely and I had a to die for lasagne with some rose wine.

There were a few tourist attractions in Florence which we didn't actually go to. I think your holiday is yours to have and do what you want with it. As a family we are not into art or have a dying interest to go round galleries. However, if galleries are your thing and you are willing to wait in 3 hour queues then there are two which you should definitely visit. The first is La Galleria de Uffizi, this is a museum that contains one of the oldest and most famous art collections in the world. It displays work by Giotto, Paolo Uccello, Botticelli and De Vinci. The second being Galleria dell 'Academia, which is mostly known as it is home to some of Michelangelo's work including Prisoners, St.Matthew's and the must see statue of David.

On the last day we had a flight at 1pm meaning we had to get up early in order to make the journey back to Pisa. Overall, I had an absolutely fantastic time in Florence and its surrounding areas.

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