Wednesday, 16 January 2019

Sephora Haul and First Impressions

When I went on my last trip to Italy of course I had to take a little trip to Sephora. I knew I wanted to pick up my favourite product which they sell their own brand concealer. I also had saved a little bit of money as I know I always want to treat myself to a few things whilst shopping in the store. I did really well and I usually only buy Sephora own products or brands that I know I can't get hold of easily in the UK.

The Sephora high coverage concealer was a big hit with bloggers a few years ago, and I don't think it is really talked about as much as a must-have product anymore. However, for me it is still a holy grail concealer. It has definitely gone up in price over the years but at €14 (£12) it is still good value for money. I love the consistency of this as it is very creamy and light to apply on to the skin.

The coconut water rubber mask is enriched with coconut water extract, the powder mask transforms into a bright rubbery dough when mixed with water. It works in just 5 minutes to relieve the discomfort or dry skin and reducing signs of dehydration. When the mask is dry you simply pull it off your face to hopefully reveal skin which is quenched and comfortable. I can't wait to try this it sounds amazing but for €3.90 I hope it does wonders as it is a one use only product.

I have tried many cream lip stains from Sephora in the past, and I have always been so impressed with their pay off and pigmentation. I was intrigued to try this cream lip stain from their metals range  (€10.90). I picked up the shade fancy peach (115) which is a beautiful metallic rose. On first impressions it is soft and smooth when applied to my lips, and I love the colour pay off. It is an ombre shade of a muted rose pink which is a lovely neutral colour which adds some definition to my lips, with a gold light shimmer running through it. These dry down quite matte, but are budge proof which is exactly what you want from any liquid lipstick.

The Sephora #lipstories range seems to be a big hit within their line. I think they release different colours and finishes of these each season and they are one-off exclusives. I picked up the shade berry-licious (32) which has a satin cream finish. Once again on first impressions this is really soft when first applied to the lips. I don't usually use dark toned shades, but on the lips I really like this. It is very much a vibrant red grape, and I love it on me. This is perfect for that "can't be bothered to really do my makeup, but I will stick on a bright lip to make up for it" kind of day. I don't think this going to be completely smudge-proof as even on swatching it is easy to smudge, so I think after eating and drinking it could potentially end up all over my face. I think at €8.90 these are well priced as they are really well pigmented and I only need one layer to achieve the colour pay off I like.



Sunday, 13 January 2019

Product Empties

This is my second tub of this which I have used up this year, the Kiehl's ultra facial oil-free gel cream is the first moisturiser in years that I have really got on board with. I have since bought my third tub as I am scared to invest in anything else in case I don't like it. It is not cheap as this size tub costs £24.50, but it lasts me a good 4 months and I use it literally every day. It is advertised to be must suited to normal to oily skin types, but mine has been dry and it has still worked really well. It is light and feels lovely and refreshing when applied, I really do recommend it and I have done to many people.

I remember years and years ago this Smashbox photo finish primer was a must have product for many beauty bloggers. I was always a bit sceptical as it is expensive and I was never sure about the silicon consistency. It is oil free but as expected I did not love this on my skin, it felt a little greasy. In terms of being a primer I get the reason why people like it, it preps the skin well before application of base products. However, like I say the consistency felt a little oily and I did not like the texture on my skin. I won't be repurchasing this, as I now know I much prefer a cream/liquid primer consistency.

I bought my first Sephora high coverage concealer years ago on one of my very first trips to a Sephora store. Every time I have been on holiday and there has been a Sephora store I have ensured that I have added one to my basket. They don't seem to last me very long, but it contains 3.4ml which is the standard amount. I love the flat ended applicator on this as it makes it so easy to apply to the exact areas you want, I then use my damp Beautyblender to blend it into my skin.

This has been a long standing MAC must have in my collection. I remember buying my first MAC skinfinish powder when I was about 17 and every single beauty expert was saying it was a must have in your collection, and thank god I got on board with the hype. I buy one a year and it tends to last me well, when my skin is really dry I do not use much, if any powder as I find it sets my dewy base which I have tried so hard to achieve a little too much. If you are a little bit oily or are needing to set any areas this is a fantastic powder. It is finely milled and you can add just the perfect amount of product.

Even though I love wearing mascara, when I go beauty shopping it is the one product which excites me the least. I bought the Maybelline falsies push up drama mascara when it was first released, I bought it on an introductory offer as my last mascara had just ran out and I tend to buy them one at a time when I need one. I usually like a brush with a bit of curl and I think this is what this lacked. I used my own eyelash curlers to add some natural curl to my lashes before applying this. I like how spread out the bristles are on this brush as it coats each lash from root to tip. I like it but I didn't love it, I then tried L'Oreal's paradise mascara and liked that more due to the curve of the brush.


Friday, 11 January 2019

Before and After Roaccutane

I went to my final dermatologist appointment with the happiest smile on my face. It sounds like complete madness but I feel like my days of roaccutane seem like a life time ago and having acne seems like it never happens. Even typing that sounds so surreal as I can vividly remember in an instance how I felt starting roaccutane and how I wasn't that hopeful. I had lived with acne for 11 years and it was just a part of me. Sometimes I sit and look back at my photos from February and remember how I felt on that first day of my dermatologist saying he would finally start me on it.

I took these photos on day 2 of roaccutane and I am so glad I did as you can clearly see the scale of my acne and that underneath all my pretty makeup, my acne really had taken over my entire face. I remember for the first time being really determined that this was going to work for me.


These pictures were taking in Jersey when I was on my holidays with my parents. Seeing as this was was 2 months into the treatment I remember feeling like my skin was possibly improving and then all of a sudden I got this row of large spots on my forehead and they were huge. I felt like I had taken about 10 steps backwards.

I took this picture in June and I remember looking at this and being able to pinpoint that this was the time when I was starting to actually feel as though my skin was getting better. I went to my month 4 appointment and I feeling great and determined to carry on. However, this was when all of the side effects had well and truly kicked in and my lips were like the sahara desert. I was getting headaches and my skin was so dry nothing was helping. My chin has always been the areas where my acne has been the worst and that was the area where I was seeing improvement. However, I was still getting a collection of pesky spots across my forehead and around the edges of my lips.

I couldn't find a close up picture from in August but after being on the treatment for 6 months my skin was so much better. Out of my 14 days on holiday in Madeira I think I only wore makeup twice. I remember going on this day out to this these beautiful botanical gardens and knowing I would want some insta-worthy pictures, but also knowing it was a boiling hot day. I remember at this point I had not had any new major spot in weeks and my skin was just holding onto the left over rough reminiscence of old spots that were not for leaving. I did have to wear factor 50 this entire holiday as my skin could not take more than an hour in the sun. I felt like I was continuously burning no matter how much suncream I applied.

I took this picture the day before I went to my last appointment on roaccutane. I went into the room with the biggest smile and as discussed in my last post I had three weeks left of roaccutane. However, I had been very emotional and was not feeling myself at all so on the 10th October 3 days after this picture was taken I decided to stop taking roaccutane all together. I was scared but the dermatologist said I had had a good period of time with being happy with my skin and not having any breakouts so it was time to see how my skin now coped. As expected I was so nervous and the last time I took a tablet I also stopped taking my pill which I had been on for the entire 8 months. I felt as though I wanted my body to completely hormone free for the first time in what felt like forever.

This photo was taken on the 23rd December, and I am soooooo happy to report that since finishing the treatment I have only had one tiny pesky red spot which has now disappeared. I know it sounds silly but I was convinced that my spots would return and I would be back to square one. There is no denying that my 2018 had pretty much been consumed with roaccutane but wow am I glad I finally took the plunge.

If you want to catch up on my entire roaccutane journey you can read my before, starting, month 1, months 2-3, months 4-6 and finishing posts to see the entire process. 



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.


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