Friday, 9 December 2011

My lipbalms

Since I started taking medication for my acne my lips have got considerably drier (as I expected). They were dry to begin with so I always had a couple of lipbalms lying about. Since starting the medication though, my lipbalm collection has grown considerably. I've found that I like to have a couple of lipbalms whereever I am so that I never find myself somewhere with really dry uncomfortable lips and no way to soothe them (It has happened and it was not fun). So I now have three lipbalms in my bedroom, one in my coat pocked, two in my pencil case and one that moves from my pencil case to my coat pocket (not of its own accord though, that would be worrying). 

So I thought I'd go over my lipbalms and tell you what I think about them.

L-R, top to bottom: Burt's Bees beeswax lip balm, Burt's Bees replenishing lip balm with pomegranate oil, Carmex cherry moisturizing lip balm, Blistex raspberry lemonade blast, Blistex lip medex, Carmex cherry moisturizing lipbalm, Blistex medicated lip ointment and Vaseline [not pictured].
 Carmex cherry moisturizing lip balm
This is, by far, my most favourite lipbalm ever. I first got it two years ago when I was in England and stupidly only bought one pot (well, stupidly in afterthought as I didn't know I would love it when I bought it). I then (this time very stupidly) proceeded to put in the the washing machine when I was washing some clothes and it all vanished. :( When I went back to England last February I picked up two pots and am almost done with the second one (I actually lost it for about a month and had to beg my mother to buy my a new one when she went to Norway a couple of weeks ago. She bought two, darling woman that she is. Incidentally I found it about five minutes before writing this). There are three things that I love about this lipbalm. 
1) The scent. To me it smells exactly like a Chupa chups cherry lollipop. Now, if you don't like cherry sweets or things that smell like cherry sweets, you probably won't like this. The smell is also very strong, if you're applying this the person next to you will most definitely smell it as well. 
2) It's not medicated. Some of the lipbalms I own have active ingredients so you can only apply them a couple of times per day, but this one doesn't so you can reapply freely. :) Actually this is a bit of a lie, it contains oxybenzone, which is an active ingredient used in sunscreen so that doesn't really count.
3) It works. For me at least. Before I started my acne medication my lips had never been as soft as they were when I used this. And I've always had really dry, chapped lips, so having soft lips for once was wonderful.
It also has SPF15 which is always nice. :)
You might have noticed that I said earlier that I'd bought this lipbalm when I went to England. That is because I thought you couldn't get it here, I'd never seen it anywhere. Then, while I was wandering around a shop called Mega Store, which sells cheap, American stuff, I suddenly say it by the till. I was so happy! It was also in stick form rather than in a pot, which is nice, especially when you're out and about, pots can get a bit gross. This lipbalm, however, smelled a bit plasticy at first, but that smell has gone away now. So now I keep the pot beside my bed and the stick in my pencil case.

Blistex lip medex

This is one of the lipbalms that does contain active ingredients (external analgesics, i.e. external painkillers) so you're only supposed to apply it 3-4 times per day at the most. I've found that this doesn't really sink into my lips very well and if I use it alone it doesn't soften my lips. So I use it before I go to bed mostly. It doesn't have a very pleasant smell, I don't mind it, but some people might not like it. It kind of smells like tiger balm if you know what that is, but milder.
This lipbalm is in a pot, which can be a bit annoying, but I can live with it. Another thing which I don't like is that it's rather glossy. I can't stand lipgloss and don't like lipbalms that look glossy, but since I only apply it before going to bed it doesn't matter too much.
In case you're interested, the active ingredients are camphor, menthol and phenol, which all give your lips a tingling sensation when you apply it, as well as being an analgesic. The Blistex website also lists Petrolatum (petroleum jelly) as an active ingredient which I find rather odd, but never mind.
All in all I like this lipbalm but it's not my favourite, it does soothe your lips when they are sore though.

Blistex medicated lip ointment

This one is pretty similar to the Lip Medex but it doesn't contain as much petroleum jelly so it's less glossy. It actually contains less of the active ingredients mentioned above which I think is rather strange since I find it a lot stronger. Maybe the name of it just tricks my mind into thinking that it is. ;) As with the Lip Medex you can only apply this 3-4 times a day. I tend to use it only when I'm about to go outside and it's very cold/windy. Maybe I should start using it more often though since the website says that it's "clinically proven to heal dry, chapped lips", whereas the Lip Medex only provides relief or something like that. Hmm. This one has a stronger smell than the Lip Medex, more mentholy, but I like it.

Blistex raspberry lemonade blast 

I bought this lipbalm in desperation after having lost my Carmex one. I regret it. I really don't like the smell, it's way to strong and sweet-like in a not-so-nice way. I actually realised that it smells like a Twister ice lolly, which made me like it a tiny bit better but I still don't want this smell on my lips (I know how ironic this is considering what I said about the Carmex). The website says that the two scents deliver an "explosion of flavour". Oh how right they are. One thing I do like, though, is that it's very waxy and doesn't give you a glossy finish. It also tastes really nice, which I consider a bad thing because you're not meant to be eating it! Then you just end up having to reapply it. You can reapply it as often as you like though.
I won't be buying this one again, I probably won't even finish the one I have.

Burt's Bees beeswax lip balm and replenishing lip balm with pomegranate oil

Burt's Bees products have just arrived here in Iceland and I got the pomegranate one on a whim whilst buying my acne medication last month. They were right by the till, but they only had one tester which was the açaí berry one, which I didn't love so I just grabbed the pomegranate one since I like pomegranates (and Peresphone). The pomegranate oil one has a pink cap and the lip balm itself is dark pink (no pictures because it's a bit melted and gross looking). It has a glossy finish, which I don't really like (but you knew that already) and I'm not too keen on the smell either. It's a bit, I don't know how to explain it, heavy for me. Not in a musky way, but more in a floraly way I suppose. I can't explain it.
A couple of weeks later I picked up the beeswax one thinking that it probably wouldn't smell of anything much, being beeswax. I was mistaken. It smells of peppermint! It's absolutely lovely (if you like peppermint that is) and it even was a waxy finish. Points all around. Having said that though, I think they could have mentioned peppermint somewhere in the name, it's only listed in the ingredients, which I didn't have a chance to read. Oh well, no harm done. :) I rather fancy trying the honey one as well, but now I have no idea what to expect scent-wise (I've just Googled it and I think it just smells of honey, at least that's what I judge from the ingredients list). I keep the beeswax lipbalm in my coat pocket as it's perfect for when you're on the go and the peppermint scent is very appropriate for winter. :)

While looking at the Blistex website I saw that they have a new lipbalm, a cold and allergy lip soother which looks like it might be rather nice. I swear, by the time I finish taking the acne medication I'll have more lipbalms than I have fingers and toes!

That's all I have to say for now, I meant to make this post super short, but I failed rather miserably. 

A wintery post

I thought I'd share with you some pictures I took lately. 

It's a tradition at my school that during the last week before the finals every class (that wants to) decorates their classroom and then the classrooms are judged and one class wins. My class won two years ago because we went all out. We hung baubles from the ceiling, had christmas lights everywhere and we even put up a fake snowhouse and included two stuffed polarbears and glass coca cola bottles (inspired by christmas decorations that our local shopping centres has every year. Their's move though).

Anyway, this year we didn't go as crazy, but we did decorate quite a bit. A couple of girls and I took it upon ourselves to thread popcorn and cranberries onto a piece of wire (I'd seen in on Gilmore Girls once and though it looked cute). It took aaages let me tell you, but turned out rather well I thought. 

So I thought I'd just share a few of the pictures I took of our decorations with you and I'm also including a few pictures I took after school the same day. I bought a cup of peppermint hot chocolate and took a couple of pictures of the mostly frozen lake in my city. It always has hot water running into it on one side so it's never completely frozen, otherwise I'd feel sorry for the poor birds.

That's all for now! Hope your exams are going well if you have them, I finish on Monday. :)
Speaking of exams though, I'm so annoyed. I was on my way to take an exam this morning and it was pitch black outside, but the moon was huge and full and the light from it was shimmering on the sea. It just cried out to have a photo taken, but sadly I couldn't turn around and go get my camera. :P

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Liz Earle Cleanse & polish hot cloth cleanser

Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish, (L-R) 100ml, 200ml and 30ml

I first started using the famous Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish back in February. I'd read so many good reviews that I knew I had to try it. I've been using it now for about eight months and I really enjoy using it. It hasn't transformed my skin, but then again I shouldn't have expected it to. I suffer from acne which scars really easily and I was secretly hoping that this product would magic it away. Which, of course, it didn't, since it's not especially targeted at acne-prone skin. Here's what Liz Earle say it will do:

Our plant based cleanser has a two-phase action, phase one is the cleansing. Free from mineral oil, it has a rich and creamy texture and swiftly removes all traces of face and eye make up, even stubborn mascara.
Phase two is the polishing. Polish off the cream using the pure muslin cloth to gently dislodge dead skin cells and help reveal clean, soft and radiant skin.
Naturally active ingredients include eucalyptus and cocoa butter for smoother, clearer skin. (Source)
This cleanser is brilliant at removing makeup. It even removes my waterproof mascara (Maybelline One by One, in case you're interested). The instructions on the back of the pump/tube tell you to massage it onto dry skin over your eyes, face and neck. The first time I used this I was a bit nervous about using on my eyelids because I was worried it would irritate my eyes as I use contacts. I needn't have worried, it didn't sting at all.
After applying it you're supposed to rinse the muslin cloth in hand hot water (I use hot water because I find my cloth gets cold straight away otherwise) and gently polish off the cream. You want to make sure that you get all the cleanser off because otherwise it can block your pores and give you (well, me in any case) small raised bumps on your skin. I was a bit annoyed when I noticed this at first because I thought it meant I needed to stop using the cleanser, but I've found that if I'm careful to remove every last trace it's fine. It says on the bottle that you should splash your face with cold water at the end, but I don't do this because  I really hate getting water into my eyes, and anyway, have you ever tried splashing your face with water? Not the lovely refreshing moment you see in the adverts, but more of a missing your face completely and getting everything around you soaking wet moment. However, I do sometimes wet my hands with hot water and pat my face, but I usually forget. :)

Let's talk a bit about the muslin cloths. In my first order I got two muslin cloths with my 100ml pump. With my order I also got a free 30ml tube which came with one cloth. I also ordered two extra cloths (not knowing I'd get one free) because I knew I'd forget to wash them regularly. You're supposed to wash them every two or three days to prevent bacterial growth (since they're always damp and warm, that leads to lots of bacterial growth). I now have six muslin cloths (I got one with my last order as well), so I'll use one for a couple of days and then switch to the next one and so on until I'm on my last one, then while I'm still using the last one I'll wash the other five with my towels at 60°C. I usually hang them up to dry, but one got accidentally put in the tumble dryer and it came out a bit frayed at the ends.
Also, if you feel the cloths are a bit rough the first time you use them, wash them a couple of times and they'll soften. :)

One thing I should mention before I go on, the scent of the cleanser. I love it, but I know a lot of people really hate it. A lot of people describe it as smelling 'herbal', but to be honest all I can smell is the eucalyptus (does that count as herbal? To me herbal is more rosemary and thyme). It's not as strong as, say eucalyptus essential oil (I love to put a few drops of that on my pillow before I go to sleep if I have a cold), but it is pretty strong. If you know that you don't like the smell of eucalyptus, don't buy this product, there are other similar cleansers out there. If you've never smelled eucalyptus before (or don't know what it is) and can't go to a place that sells Liz Earle to smell it, go to your local chemist and see if they have some eucalyptus essential oil. If you don't like the smell, don't buy the cleanser. I don't think you should force yourself to use a product if you don't really enjoy it (unless it's the only thing in the world that works for you, or something). Anyway, let's move on.

So far I've bought the cleanser in three of the four sizes they offer, a 100ml pump, 200ml tube and 30ml tube. The first time I placed an order I got the 100ml pump and a free 30ml tube and the second time I ordered two 200ml tubes and a 30ml tube to take on holiday with me. I really like the colour of the packaging, it's a very pale robin egg blue colour with dark grey and light green lettering. I have one bad thing to say about the pump though and that is that you have no idea how much you have left. With the tubes you can easily figure out if you're running out of product but with the pump the only thing I noticed was that it got a bit lighter in weight (obviously). I don't know how they could improve that though because apart from that issue the pump is really nice and mess-free. It's probably not an issue if you live in the UK or somewhere else where they have Liz Earle counters, but if you're ordering from abroad it can be a bit stressful. Ah, well, you can have everything I suppose! :)

Now, I'm going to try something new in my reviews. I'm going to list all the ingredients of the product and a short explanation of how they work and/or what they are. I am in no way a professional but I do have a best friend called Google and paired with common sense we make an awesome team. :)
I'm doing this just to give you a sense of how the product works and what sort of stuff is in it.

On the Liz Earle website they say that they always try to use high quality, safe, naturally active ingredients and you can have a look at their ingredients philosophy here.

Now, let's have a look at the ingredients and what they do.

✦ Aqua - Distilled/purified water is used as a solvent in products, meaning that it dissolves the other ingredients, allowing them to disperse equally in the container.
Caprylic/capric triglyceride - an oily liquid made from coconut oil. It forms a barrier on the skin's surface slowing down water loss from the skin. It also alters the thickness of liquid products.
Theobroma cacao (cocoa) seed butter - Slows down water loss on the skin's surface by forming a barrier, it can also provide relief to the skin.
Cetearyl alcohol - Keeps an emulsion (a mixture of water and oily liquids) from separating.
Cetyl esters - Acts as a lubricant on the skin's surface, making it appear smooth and soft.
Sorbitan stearate -  Helps to form emulsions, that is, it helps water and oily liquids to mix together.
Polysorbate 60 - Helps other products to dissolve in the solvent, in this case the water. It also helps to form emulsions (see above).
✦ Glycerin - a humectant, meaning that it increases the water content on the top layers of the skin by drawing out moisture from air around the skin. This helps to moisturise your skin.
Cera alba (beeswax) - Helps to keep an emulsion (mixture of water and oily liquid) from separating. Also increases the thickness of the oil components in the product. 
Propylene glycol - Attracts water and acts as a moisturiser, reducing flakiness in skin and restoring suppleness. It also helps stabilise formulations.
✦ Humulus lupulus (hops) extract - Has astringent and skin conditioning properties as well as having a pleasant fragrance.
✦ Panthenol - Derived from vitamin B5, it acts as a lubricant on the skin's surface, making it appear soft and smooth.
Rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) extract* - An antimicrobial agent (inhibits the growth of fungal cells), antioxidant** (prevents or slows down deterioration of skin cells caused by a chemical reaction with oxygen), fragrance agent and it forms a barrier on the skin, slowing down water loss.
✦ Anthemis nobilis (chamomile) extract - Enhances the appearance of dry skin and has a pleasant fragrance. 
Eucalyptus globulus (eucalyptus) oil - Enhances the appearance of dry skin and adds fragrance.
Limonene - Adds fragrance.
Citric acid - Acts as a preservative and adjusts the pH (acid/base balance)
✦ Sodium hydroxide - controls the pH, meaning that it controls the acidity.
✦ Phenoxyethanol - Prevents or slows down microbial (often fungal) growth, acts as a preservative. 
✦ Benzoic acid - pH adjuster (adjusts the acidity), preservative and adds fragrance.
 Ethylhexylglycerin - a preservative, often used instead of parabens. 
Dehydroacetic acid - Kills microorganisms (bacteria) and prevents the growth, thereby acting as a preservative. 
✦ Polyaminopropyl biguanide - a preservative. 

Cosmetic Info
EWG's Skin Deep

* The Liz Earle website does not say whether they use Rosemary Leaf extract or Rosemary flower extract, so I'll list the properties of both.
** I have very little faith in the powers of antioxidants. I have yet to find a scientific article or study which proves that they work when used on your skin. If anyone knows of such a study I would love to see it. :)

So what are my final thoughts on the cleanser?
I really like the smell and enjoy using it. It hasn't magically transformed my skin, but it has made it look brighter and I think it's reduced some of the acne (like the spots you get from not cleaning your face properly). I will try to repurchase this product, although I might have some trouble when I run out of my backup 200ml tube as my sister has moved back home so I'd have to have it sent to me in Iceland and then pay the customs for it, which would probably be the same amount that I paid for the actual product (see earlier posts).
I would recommend this for someone looking for a luxurious feeling cleanser. It's maybe a bit much to spend on a cleanser, but if you want to enjoy your skincare routine and feel a bit pampered, then this is for you (providing you like eucalyptus!)

A 100ml pump costs £11.75, but for £13.25 you also get two muslin cloths. To see other sizes and for more information, see their website

I really hope this review was helpful to some of you and that you enjoyed learning a bit about the ingredients. If you have any questions or comments, please leave them in a comment below, or email me. :)

Friday, 23 September 2011

1 month

So, I've been on my acne medication for a month and a few days now and I thought I'd just quickly write about how I've been getting on. Before I go any further though I just want to say that I'm not telling anyone to use this medication and you need to get a doctor to prescribe it to you anyway. This is mainly just for me, so I can write down any symptoms I've been having and stuff like that. So, let's get on with it.

I went to see a dermatologist last month about my acne. It's not severe, but I do get red marks from the acne that stay for months and months and I just wanted to be done with it. I hardly had any acne about a year ago but then I suddenly started getting lots of spots, mainly below my cheekbones and along my jaw and chin. I hardly ever get any on my forehead which I find weird since I had a full fringe and oily skin! Anyway, I went to see a dermatologist and she said a topical cream probably wouldn't do anything for me and that I could try antibiotics but she said she thought they probably wouldn't be enough. So she gave me a booklet thing about acne tablets called Isotretinoin (also known as Accutane, Roaccutane and Decutan) and told me to think about whether I wanted to try, otherwise I could try the antibiotics.

Now, if you haven't heard of Isotretinoin/Accutane/Roaccutane/Decutan, whatever, here's some basic information. Again, I'm not a doctor but I am studying biology so I do understand some of it and I haven't put anything here which I don't understand myself.

Isotretinoin is a retioid, meaning it's a derivative of vitamin A. Apparently (or according to wikipedia at least) it was first used to treat cancer. One of the major side effects of the drug is that it caused birth defects so all women who take it has to use contraceptives and usually needs to take a pregnancy test every month. It's not really known exactly how the drug works, but it pretty much just dries out your entire body by reducing the amount of sebum your body makes, which is why other side effects are dry skin, dry eyes, dry mouth and dry lips.

So after reading the booklet and spending hours browsing the internet I finally decided to try the tablets. My main reasons were that I don't fancy the idea of being on antibiotics for a long time and also two of my close friends had taken the tablets and said they'd recommend it. So (after having blood tests which resulted in a huge bruise which made me look like a drug addict) I started taking the Isotretinoin. I started off by taking 30mg every day, 20mg in the morning and 10mg in the evening. I didn't notice any side effects during the first week, and during the second week I noticed my lips were getting drier. Now, my lips are always dry but this was a bit worse than I was used to, when I woke up I'd feel as though I had scales over my lips, but lots of lipbalm and careful scrubbing/peeling took care of that. Towards the end of the month I also noticed my legs were a bit drier than usual (although they're always slightly dry) and I had dry patches on the insides of my forearms and elbows (again, I'm prone to eczema in those places during winter). So all the side effects so far were really only slightly worse versions of problems I'd had before anyway. The only other side effects I've had so far are dry eyes (which I get only when I've had my contacts in for about 10 hours so I now use glasses when I'm at home) and a slightly dry mouth. Oh, a good side effects I've had is my hair has been a lot less oily meaning I can go about four days between washes (which is lovely as it's so long and thick it takes aaaages to dry. Don't worry though, I still shower and I never really put products in my hair so it doesn't get horrible buildup or anything. :) ) Also, my back's been a bit sore lately but I'm not sure that's connected, I think it's just the chairs at school.

Now that I've written it all down it sounds like quite a lot of side effects but really it's not been terrible. I haven't noticed any improvement in my skin, but everywhere I read said that it doesn't improve at all during the first month anyway. The worst thing is the dry lips, but as they haven't cracked in the corners yet (touch wood) I can't complain too much. I have a feeling though that all these side effects are going to get worse as I go on especially since I've now been put on 50mg per day. The doctor did say though that if it was too much we could lower it again. I'm supposed to be on the medication for five months, so I should be done by february. :)

So, I think that's all I have to say. This was really just a way for me to get all my thoughts on paper (or laptop) but if you're using this medication or have done and have any questions/advice, please do share!

OH! Something before I forget. If you are thinking about this treatment and don't eat gelatine, please ask your doctor if the tablets are in a gelatine capsule, 'cause mine are but they don't say so anywhere on the packet or in the leaflet thingy inside. I only found out by looking up the tablets on the Iceland drug database or whatever it is. I've actually started cutting out gelatine in my diet but only because I think it's a bit disgusting when you think about it, so I'm not really too fussed that they're in the tablets, but if you're a strict vegetarian you might want to check to make sure.

Now I'm done, I'm going to the cinema to see a new version of Wuthering Heights, looking forward to it. :)

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Mermaid inspired hair

Whilst doing my hair this morning I suddenly felt the urge to do something different to my fringe, which I'm growing out so I always need to pin it up. Normally I go for either a French twist type thing or I simply pin it up and make a small poof. Today however, I was inspired by the mermaids in the fourth Pirates of the Caribbean and did five twists moving away from my forehead. I did one in the centre and then two on each side. I rather like how it turned out, it's something different. :)
Anyway, I thought you might enjoy seeing how it turned out. There's a weird blondeish tint in my hair in a couple of the pictures, I've no idea what that is, and I apologise for the not-so-nice looking lips, the decutan (accutane) is making them very dry. :( Also, I'm going to work in a bit, so that's why I'm wearing a boring black t-shirt. :)


Saturday, 27 August 2011

A look into my bedroom

I was woken most unpleasantly this morning by a very large fly buzzing very noisily around my room. I hate waking up to a fly in my room, I always freak out and think it's a wasp and throw my quilt over my head until I can make sure that it isn't. I then had to try and lure it out of my room and it took ages because it just kept flying at the mirror. I then found myself alone at home because my parents and brother have gone to a geothermal conference for the day. So I just stayed in my pyjamas all day and tidied up my bedroom. At one point I actually stopped tidying up and started taking pictures of random things in my room. I've been slowly adjusting to my camera and learning to use it properly, I had lots of fun playing around with the focus today, I love when something's in focus and the background's all blurry, I really want to find out how to do that when taking pictures of people, like you can do with DSLRs, but I think it's hard to do with a regular digital camera.
Anyway, I thought I'd post some of the pictures on here for you to (hopefully) enjoy. The pictures are very edited though, the lighting bit anyway, it makes them look a lot more interesting I think. :)

I really like the last one, the lights look really pretty out of focus. :) Let me know what you think, my parents are on their way back so I'm going to (try and) make myself look a little more presentable, I have my hair in a top knot and it's falling over my face!
Hope you're having a nice weekend!

Friday, 19 August 2011

I'm baack!

I got back from Turkey on Tuesday and had such a lovely time, although it was a bit too hot for my liking! I'll include a few of my favourite pictures at the end for those who want to see. :)

In other news, tomorrow I start taking decutan for my acne. I think it's similar to accutane and roaccutane. I went to see a dermatologist yesterday and she said that since I get so much scarring from my acne, antibiotics probably wouldn't be enough. You have to use some sort of hormone birth control with the decutane because if you get pregnant there's a very high risk of birth defects. So I started taking the pill yesterday and it made me feel really nauseous and I ended up being sick at work (too much info? I hope not), which was not fun at all. So while I was at the chemist getting the decutan today I picked up some Preggie Pop drops which are supposed to help with nausea, and they taste really good! The flavours I got were Sour Rasperry, Sour Lemon (although when is lemon not sour?) and Green Apple. :)

I'll try and keep you posted with my decutan experience (if anyone's interested), I think it'll be good to write down how I feel about it and what side effects I get and stuff. That's actually one of the main reasons I like to blog, it's a really good way to keep track of what and when I buy stuff. Whenever I look at a product and wonder whether I need to throw it away I just check my blog archive to see when I bought it. :)

I start school on Monday, my last year before I go to uni! I can't wait, I can't wait to start university, I think I'm going to do biochemistry and really hope I'll be able to do either a year or six months in the UK.

That's all I have to say for the time being, here are some pictures from my graduation trip to Marmaris, Turkey. :)

I went parasailing! It was so much fun!

The view from the hotel's beach

The cutest turtle ever! At turtle beach

The Library of Celsus at Ephesus

At Pamukkale

At a togaparty :) (The 6.R is the name of my class, everyone had their class name on their shoulder)

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Things I'm taking on holiday

I'm going to Marmaris, Turkey the day after tomorrow! I'm so excited! I've been slowly packing for the past couple of days and today I sat down and decided what makeup/beauty products I'd be taking with me and I thought I'd show you what I'm taking :)

So let's have a closer look at everything..

For face brushes I'll be taking the large powder brush, large angled contour, duo fibre and tapered blending brush, all from Sigma. In case you're wondering I use the tapered blending brush (second from right on picture) to apply powder under my eyes, as the large powder brush is way too big for that.
As for eye brushes I'm going to take the medium angled contour, large shader, eye shading and SS217 (which I got free with the brush set, but it's actually my favourite brush). I know it's quite a lot of eye brushes (I'm only going for 10 days after all), but I use each brush with one specific eyeshadow, that way I don't have to spot clean as often, lazy I know :P 
Speaking of spot cleaning I'm also taking my Mac brush cleanser, but I've put it in a small spray bottle because I find the other one really awkward to use.

Eye products:
L'oreal Super Liner: I really like this liner, it lasts a long time and is pretty easy to use with its felt tip. I never feel quite ready and myself without eyeliner :)
Gosh Defining Brow Gel: I bought this a couple of weeks ago, it's just a clear brow gel.
Urban Decay Primer Potion: My bottle is looking a bit grubby, and I feel like I'm running out, but I think I'll wait a while before I cut it up and scoop out the rest of the product.
Maybelline One by One Volum' Express waterproof mascara: That's a mouthful! I got this yesterday because I needed a waterproof mascara (I've actually never tried one before) I like it so far, it's gives a very natural look.
I'm taking five Mac eyeshadows, Jest (potted), Kid, Sable, Yoghurt and Shroom. They're all more daytime shadows, apart from Sable which I think looks nice across the lid and in the crease. 

Face and lip products:
I'm taking my two concealers, the "Touch up" no. 2 from Gosh and Maybelline's Pure.Cover Mineral, also in no. 2.
Maybelline Dream Mat powder: I use '04 vanilla rose'. I'm almost out of it and don't think I'll be repurchasing, it's not that great.
Mac Well Dressed and Fleur Power: would you believe, these are the only blushes I own! I was just going to take Well Dressed but then I wondered whether it'd look weird with a tan, so I took the other one in case.
Sample of Chanel Vita Lumiere Aqua: I don't remember what shade this is in, but it's too pink and dark for me, but maybe it'll suit my tanned skin?
Maybelline Dream Satin liquid: This is the lightest shade, ivory, and it's much too dark for me now, but again it might work when I'm more tanned. I hope it does because I really do like it.
Gosh Natural Touch foundation: I really don't like the smell of this and it's pretty rubbish actually as it doesn't offer any coverage at all so it'd only be good if you had perfect skin already, but it's good for lightening foundations that are too dark.
Blistex Lip Medex and Carmex moisturising lip balm with SPF 15.
Gosh Velvet Touch lipliner 'Simply Red': I really like to use this instead of red lipstick, it lasts really well as it's waterproof.
Mac Girl About Town lipstick: I love this lipstick, though it is a bit drying.

Sun products
Lavera Sun Spray SPF 20: My mum got this for me today, it's a mineral sunscreen as well as containing organic ingredients and being vegan friendly (although, come to think of it, I can't think why any sunscreens wouldn't be vegan). Aloe Vera gel: Another thing my mum bought (thanks mum!), a necessity for summer holidays.
Simple suncare cream SPF 50: I thought I'd use this on areas of my legs where I've got scarring so that the scars don't get any darker, I also wondered whether it'd be a good idea to use it on my acne scarring so that doesn't get darker either.
Nivea Anti-Age face sun cream SPF 20: Pretty self-explanatory. I'm not fussed about the supposed anti-ageing benefits but it was the only one I could find apart from Hawaiian Tropic, and for some reason I don't trust them as a suncare brand, I don't know why. 
Skincare products:
Liz Earle Instant Boost Skin Tonic: My toner of choice, I love the scent!
Liz Earle Skin Repair Moisturiser for normal skin: I actually use the one for oily skin but I got this one for free with my last order and it's the perfect size for travelling.
Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser: Love this! I also put some in a travel pot because I'm afraid I'll run out.
The Body Shop Tea Tree Oil: for skin emergencies.
Clean & Clear Advantage spot treatment gel: Ditto.
Nivea tinted moisturiser: Google Translate tells me that the packaging is in German and therefore the shade is called Bright. I thought I'd use a tinted moisturiser instead of foundation during the day and then just concealer in the places I need it.
Athena Beauté Facial Cleansing Wipes: I got these purely because they were cheapest, 3 packs for 2, and I only use them so that I don't have to use the Liz Earle cleanser to remove my makeup as it's a bit of a waste I think.
Nivea Eye Make-up Remover: I like this one, it's cheap and works well.
The Body Shop Almond Body Butter: I like the scent of this one, it's not as thick as the shea butter one but it was 50% off. :)

Hair products:
The Body Shop Ginger shampoo: I put it in a travel container because the actual bottle is a bit big.
Garnier Fructis Strengthening conditioner: also in a travel bottle.
Batiste Dry Shampoo with a hint of colour: Just in case I'm too lazy to wash my hair one day. :P
Inceto Smoothing Hair Serum: for flyaways, a little of this goes a long way!
Inecto Leave in conditioner: I love this stuff and I really need it for my constantly tangled hair.
TRESemmé Fesh Start dry shampoo: In case the Batiste runs out.
*random note* I had no idea batiste was an actual word! I just noticed my Google Chrome spell checker didn't underline it and then went to look it up. Apparently it means
a fine, often sheer fabric, constructed in either a plain or figuredweave and made of any of various natural or synthetic fibers.
Who knew! Or maybe everyone does and I'm just being stupid, but I've never seen it written anywhere else! Oh well..moving on *random note*
TRESemmé heat protector: (not pictured) I'm feeling too lazy to go see what this is actually called because it's wrapped up in a plastic bag because I've read online that it likes to explode/leak during flights.
I'm also (obviously) taking a hairbrush, but I forgot to take a picture. I use the Tangle Teezer in case you're interested.

Nail products:
I managed to narrow it down to only two polishes after a lot of um-ing and ah-ing. Let's be realistic here, I'm not going to want to spend ages painting my nails, now am I? Unless I do it while I'm sunbathing....maybe I should take more...ah! Anyway these are the ones I'm definitely taking, O.P.I On Stranger Tides and Done out in Deco.

Sorry this was such a long post! If you made it this far treat yourself to something nice and if you just skipped to the bottom, I don't blame you!

Friday, 22 July 2011

How to: sugar scrub

Hello all.
I wanted to share with you a super simple, quick, easy way to make a sugar scrub.
I rarely buy exfoliators or body scrubs any more, especially after I started doing this as I find the store bought exfoliators are filled with unnecessary ingredients. This scrub only requires two ingredients and they can easily be changed according to what you have to hand.

What I used
I mixed together about two tablespoons of white sugar with a heaped tablespoon of coconut oil. The oil was solid when I used it, if your oil is in liquid form I would maybe use a bit more oil. As I mixed the sugar and oil the oil softened until it formed a paste. It doesn't really matter how thick it is, as long as you can scoop some out into your hand and rub it onto your skin. I then just stood over my bath rub and rubbed the scrub over my legs in circular motions, be careful not to rub too roughly.

You don't have to use coconut oil, or sugar for that matter. All you need is an exfoliant and a liquid agent. Here are some examples as to what you can use.

❥Sugar, this can be white, brown, cane, demura or whatever you have at home.
❥Salt, such as Epsom salt (commonly used in bath salts)
❥Coffee grounds (you can even use used coffee)
❥Ground almonds, though I think that would be a bit expensive, but might be more luxurious.
❥Oatmeal (it might be a bit messy though)

Personally I would reccommend you used sugar, it's available in most homes, is usually cheap and doesn't make a mess in the bathroom, it will usually dissolve if you rinse the bathtub/shower with hot water.

Liquid agent
❥Coconut oil (I used organic, virgin cold-pressed oil, but to be honest I don't think it matters)
❥Olive oil (virgin is probably better, but I don't think it makes too much difference to be honest)
❥Other oils, peanut or sunflower for example
❥Citrus juice (lemon, lime or orange for example) is supposed to contain astringent qualities.
❥Milk products (milk, yoghurt, sour cream). The lactic acid is meant to help remove dead skin cells.
I think you could even use butter if you didn't have anything else, but I don't think I would want to!

I personally chose to use coconut oil because I like the smell. Simple enough reason. :)

I found the scrub to exfoliate nicely and the oil left my skin feeling very soft. The quantity I made would be enough to do the legs and thighs, maybe with a bit left over to use as a lip scrub. :)

I wouldn't recommend storing this, I'm sure it would keep in the fridge for a bit, but it's always nicer to use it fresh, isn't it?

If you want a really luxurious scrub you might want to try mixing together ground almonds and a bit of milk, it feels like something Cleopatra would have used ;) I haven't tried it though, as there are rarely ground almonds in my house.

I hope this post inspired you to try making a body scrub, I'm sure you've either done of heard of it before, but it really is fun and really easy to do. 

Please do let me know if you decide to try it after reading my post. :)

Have a lovely weekend everyone!

Friday, 15 July 2011

Watermelon Raspberry Lemonade

Hello again!
I thought I'd share with you a quick recipe for a very cooling summer drink.

What I did:

I used about a cup of watermelon and put it in a blender along with about a quarter cup of frozen raspberries (I would have used more but that was all we had left). You could use fresh raspberries, but as we rarely get nice fresh ones here (and if we did I'd rather just eat them on their own) frozen worked just fine. I also added about a cup of cold water because the fruit wouldn't blend properly. If you're a really patient person you could de-seed the watermelon first, but I could not be bothered. I did end up with teensy little bits in my glass though, but I didn't mind. :)

I then juiced half a lemon that I found in my fridge. I put the juice into a jug with a strainer on top to catch the lemon's have pips or stones? Google says pips, so pips it must be! Anyway, I then poured the blended watermelon and raspberries through the strainer and into the jug. I had a bit of a taste and though it was a little bit too sharp.

Now, before you jump to conclusions, I did not add white wine into the lemonade. I added sugar syrup. I made some a few weeks ago. If you like drinking lemonade during the summer I would recommend making a batch of sugar syrup to keep in your fridge. It's very simple (it's even called simple syrup sometimes). Just boil two parts sugar with one part water. So say you boil one cup of water, then you'd need to add two cups of sugar. Simmer until the sugar has dissolved and it's a syrupy consistency (the syrup should drip off your spoon in a stream). Allow to cool completely and then store it in some sort of container. I just used a clean and sterilised wine bottle. It'll keep in the fridge for a long time.
I added about a quarter cup of syrup into the jug, stirred and tasted again and then decided it was now too sweet. So I had a look in my fridge and saw that there was also about a third of a lemon there so I just squeezed that in. I then added two more cups of water (although I think a cup and a half would have been enough), some ice and voilà! a perfect summery drink.

I enjoyed it with some salt and vinegar crisps while sunbathing on the balcony and listening to the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy audiobook read by Stephen Fry. Incidentally I would listen to anything read by Mr. Fry, I love his voice, in fact the other day I listened to a podcast talk by him talking about the history of computers and Apple and such, not the most fascinating thing I've listened to, but I did enjoy it. :)

Let me know if you decide to make this, you could leave out either the raspberries or the watermelon if you don't have them, or both and just make normal lemonade, but it wouldn't be such a pretty pink colour! ;)

Also, let me know if you don't like how I arranged the photos, I can't decide whether or not I like it, but I thought it would make the post too long if I just put them below each paragraph. 

Lazing on a Sunny Afternoon...

Hello there!
Before I start rambling I would just like to say hello to the people who decided to follow my blog after the lovely Louise of Sprinkleofglitter very kindly tweeted about it. This absolutely made my day as I adore her blog and her videos are always very fun (and funny!) to watch and her reviews are always very informative and helpful. So, Louise, if you're reading this, thank you again!

I'm currently sat on my balcony with my back to the sun so that I can see the screen on my laptop. Since the weather was so nice I decided to try and work on getting a bit of a tan before I go to Turkey in August. As the sun is so strong over there I want to avoid sunbathing too much but don't want to be my pasty self either! I made myself a watermelon and raspberry lemonade (recipe to follow shortly) and had some salt and vinegar crisps as well. I love salt and vinegar crisps, but they're pretty much impossible to locate here. Whenever I go to England I always buy loads of bags of Walker's salt and vinegar crisps at the duty free and generally get very odd looks from the person at the shop. To my surprise my mum actually found some in a shop the other day (not walkers ones though), but hasn't seen them there again.

Anyway, enough rambling about crisps, what else is new with me?

I saw Harry Potter on Tuesday. I went to a special preview where they were showing Part 1 and 2 together, so I spent about 5 hours at the cinema, but it was totally worth it! Most of the people there were die-hard Harry Potter fans (some even dressed up, I think the guy who dressed up as Dumbledore must have been very hot under the beard though) and everyone in the audience kept clapping and certain scenes. What really surprised me was some of the girls though. During a certain scene in the new film I could hear very loud sobbing. Not just crying, but actual having-difficulty-breathing-sobbing.
I could barely hold back tears in some places, actually I couldn't hold them back at all. I'm not going to spoil anything for anyone, but I'll just say that I was really pleased with it. Yes, they left some things out, but I think that they did the book justice.

Anyway, I think I'll leave you there, I'm boiling hot and in need of a cooling shower before I write my next post.
I hope you all have a lovely start to the weekend!

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Playsuits aplenty!

Today I had the urge to buy some new clothes. I don't get this urge often, I often want new clothes but when it comes to actually spending the money I can think of a million other things I should rather be spending it on. So I hit my city's vintage shops with my friend, as all the highstreet stores here are ridiculously over-priced (Topshop over here is literally twice the price as in the UK!). The vintage/thrifty stores here are a bit strange, the charity shops are cheap but the other shops that sell second hands things are really expensive! So I only ended up getting two things, and they're both playsuits. I've never realised how clever these are before, they're perfect for dancing as skirts can end up being a bit...hazardous.

I really need to work on my camera face...

I think the second one might be good for my holiday in August, although I'm not sure I could get away with wearing just a bikini under it...I shall have to see. It has a zip on the stomach area that I think is meant to be hidden, I think I'll be able to iron it so that the fabric hides the zip, I think it looks a bit strange otherwise. It's also missing a button, which is why I was holding it in place. I thought I'd have to find one to go with it, but then I saw that there were two buttons fastened in the trouser leg so I'll just have to sew one on :) It's also a little brighter than what I'd normally go for, I usually wear more earthy tones, like the first playsuit, but I thought since it's summer I should go for something colourful!
The playsuits were both around £30, which is a lot for second hand, but still half the price of what I'd pay in Topshop here!