Saturday, 31 January 2015

Review and How-to: Pure Virgin Coconut Oil

Hi girlies!
It's super cold at the moment and I've been using my coconut oil loads so I decided to do a little review/how to!

Although coconut oil has many uses, I don't tend to use it for cooking. I use it as a face and body moisturiser and a hair conditioner. It's great for winter when my hair and skin becomes drier :(

Coconut oil has been hyped up quite a bit, but it really is worth the hype. It smells amazing and it does wonders for your skin and hair. 

To use as a moisturiser:
Warm a small amount between your fingers and apply after cleansing.

To use as a hair mask:
Warm between your fingers and apply throughout the ends of your hair, wrap in clingfilm afterwards. Leave in your hair until you want to wash it (anytime from half an hour to overnight). Make sure to use lots of shampoo when rinsing as it isn't the easiest to get out.

My Holland and Barrett own brand coconut oil - good but definitely not my favourite! Also, it's a little too pricey for my liking.

My favourite brand is Tiana. It definitely smells better than the Holland and Barrett one and it is creamier. The Vita Coco one is amazing as well. If using coconut oil on your body, I would advise buying pure raw virgin. I am always looking for cheaper options though, and I want to try the 
Superdrug one which has great reviews despite not being organic raw virgin.

£££: Holland and Barrett, £15.49 (453g). Tiana Organic Raw Virgin, £8.99 (100ml). Vita Coco Organic Raw Virgin, £5.99 (250ml).

Friday, 30 January 2015

Review: Body Shop Banana Shampoo

Hi girlies!

I miss my dip-dyed hair :(

(And my holiday tan..)

But I hated caring for it as I felt that I had to use too many conditioning products so that my ends weren't dry. However, I found a solution to this...

Meet my savior: Body Shop Banana Shampoo! I first used this as a teenager when I dyed my hair and used heat on it daily and it really helped to keep my hair in good condition.

This shampoo is absolutely amazing if your hair needs a bit of TLC. Containing banana puree and fair trade honey, this shampoo gives your hair nourishment without having to use a tonne of different conditioning products. I always keep a bottle of this in my cupboard for when I feel that I need it. It really is fab stuff. When my ends were bleached it made them feel as nourished as the rest of my hair which is great. Plus it smells like those foam candy bananas (hell yeah). They also do a Banana Conditioner which I haven't tried yet but I plan to.

£££: £4.50 (250ml)

Note: This shampoo does get used up fairly quickly if you have long hair so it's not the most cost-effective product out there.

Review: Laura Mercier Foundation Primer

Hi girlies!

Today's post is a short review of the Laura Mercier Foundation Primer. 

I apply this after moisturising and before my foundation (my skin is normal/dry if anyone is wondering!) I first started using this primer around September 2014, so I've been using it around 4 months now. Before that I was a Mac Prep and Prime girl through and through. 

My cute handbag size <3

However, I do prefer the LM Primer even though it is slightly pricier. Mac Prep and Prime has a silkier feel and applies more like a luxury product - the LM Primer is fairly liquidy in comparison. 

But, the LM Primer gives my foundation amazing staying power compared to using Mac Prep and Prime. After a 12 hour shift my makeup is still on which is great! Also, my face definitely looks more flawless and even-toned when using LM.

£££: £29 (50ml).

Thursday, 29 January 2015

How to: Cutting LUSH Soaps

Hi girlies!

I've been cutting my soaps since I first got into LUSH about eight years ago. The benefits of cutting your LUSH soaps include: 

  • Scent and colour last longer as they are not in the paper that they come wrapped in.
  • Less soap is wasted as you take smaller pieces into the shower.
  • It's easier to mix and match and use a bit of one soap and a bit of another without too much being wasted or the soap going icky.

So here's my advice for cutting your soaps:
  • ALWAYS, mark faintly on the soap so you have a guide on where you want to make your cuts.
  • Decide whether you want squares or rectangles beforehand as there's no going back! I prefer squares personally :)
  • I tend to cut my soaps on a disposable plate, but you can cut them on pretty much anything. Just make sure it's not something you need to keep clean as there may be some wax transfer.
  • If you haven't got a very sharp knife at hand, warm your knife under hot water. I don't need to do this as I have a knife block with lots of sharp knives. (obviously don't use a butter knife!!)
  • Do not pause as you're cutting, make the cut in one smooth movement.
  • Wrap your soaps in cling film once you have cut them, they keep their scent and colour well like this and they are easier to store (see photo above).
  • Don't worry too much, it's really not hard at all.

You can also cut bubble bars. They are fairly easy to cut. I would not recommend cutting bath bombs, I tried to cut a Father Christmas one once and ended up with a powdery mess.

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Review: Bootea 14 Day Detox

Hi girlies!

I am going to talk about the Bootea 14 day 'teatox' in today's post. It's had a lot of attention on social media and I've done the detox three times now so I think I'm in a good place to give an honest review. Bootea contains 14 Daytime Tea bags and 7 Bedtime Cleanse bags. The instructions tell you to take the Daytime Tea bag everyday and the Bedtime Cleanse bag every other day. The Bedtime Cleanse bag works to cleanse the body. Drink before bed as it takes about 8 hours to work. I think cleansing the colon is important as nutrients are more easily absorbed when your digestive system is clean.

Daytime Tea Ingredients: Chinese Oolong Tea, Mate Leaves, Ginger Root, Fennel Seeds, Lemongrass, Dandelion Leaf, Ginseng Root, Gotu Kola Leaves, Nettle Leaves.
Bedtime Cleanse Ingredients: Senna Leaves, Peppermint Leaves, Fenugreek Seeds, Liquorice Root, Burdock Root, Hawthorn Leaves, Valerian Root, Psyllium Seeds.

The Bedtime Cleanse tea may aid sleep as well as cleansing your body due to the addition of Valerian Root, which has traditionally been used as a a sleep aid. Also, the anti-spasmodic effects of Peppermint could help with any hunger cramps if you're using this tea for weight loss. 

There's lots of dramatic before and after photos online and I was a little sceptical and perhaps rightly so. I wasn't doing the detox for weight loss, just for general health, and I did feel good during the 14 days but the effects did not last. I had more energy and I did go to the toilet often which is great. I felt like drinking Bootea was a great start to my day. Also, I was slightly less bloated which I attribute to going to the toilet regularly. However, I am never usually constipated so this did not make a huge difference. If you do suffer with constipation then this will definitely sort you out. 

Visibly high quality loose leaf tea - Bedtime Cleanse

I like herbal tea so the taste is not a problem for me but some people choose to add honey or lemon to make it more bearable for them. I love Bootea for if I have a period in my life where I have to be 100% alert and feel great all the time. Due to it being fairly pricey it is not a tea which I use regularly. 

I will include a brief summary of what my diet is like so you can get a rough idea of how it might work for you and your diet. I did not change my diet as I was not detoxing for weight loss. (DISCLAIMER: I don't eat perfectly by any means)

BREAKFAST: 1 Serving of Ready Brek with Flaxseed and Chia Seeds
SNACK: 1 Banana, 1 Nakd Bar
LUNCH: Chicken and Avocado Wrap, Crisps
SNACK: 1 Innocent Smoothie
DINNER: Spaghetti Bolognese with Parmesan Shavings
DRINKS: Water, Starbucks Skinny Latte (Grande)

BREAKFAST: 1 Serving of Ready Brek with Flaxseed and Chia Seeds

SNACK: Starbucks Double Chocolate Muffin
LUNCH: Falafel and Hummous Wrap, Kale Chips
SNACK: 1 Quest Bar, 1 Small Punnet of Blueberries
DINNER: Innocent Veg Pot - Thai Coconut Curry
DRINKS: Water, Starbucks Skinny Coffee Frappucino (Tall), Diet Coke.

BREAKFAST: 1 Quest Bar, 1 Banana

SNACK: 1 Bounce Ball, 1 Apple
LUNCH: Pret-a-Manger Kale and Cauliflower Mac and Cheese
SNACK: Handful of Cashews 
DINNER: Beef Burger with Sweet Potato Fries
DRINKS: Water, Pepsi Max.

As you can see my diet fluctuates quite a bit from day to day depending on how much time I give myself to sort my meals out and how hungry I am. I eat exactly what I want so I wasn't expecting a dramatic result. Just would have been nice for the results to last a little longer than the 14 days.

I actually bought the Bedtime Cleanse bags separately after my last detox so I always have some in if I need them. I was fairly reluctant to pay £10.99 for 7 teabags though..As for the Daytime Tea, I feel that there are more cost-effective alternatives out there which give the same energy boost.

£££: 14 Day Detox, £19.99. 28 Day Detox, £37.99. Bedtime Cleanse 14 Day Supply, £10.99. Daytime Tea 14 Day Supply, £10.99. 

It is available from Holland and Barrett and the Bootea website. 

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Homeware Haul: The Range

Hi girlies!

I went to The Range today and bought a few things so I thought I'd make a little haul post. My boyfriend has moved in with me and we are in need of more places to store things so I bought a few cute boxes and the most adorable craft paper. 

£££: Macaron box, £3.99. Set of 3 white floral boxes, £11.99. Frozen box, £2.99. Craft paper, £7.99. 

MAC Starter Kit: Eye Shadow Quad

Hi girlies!

So, it's no secret that I think that MAC Eye Shadows are the best around... by far. They are easy to apply, have absolutely amazing staying power and come in so many gorgeous colours. I have tried a lot of MAC Eye Shadows, like really. I have settled on four that are my firm favourites. I repurchase these as soon as I hit pan. 

These are great for if you're starting out with makeup as they are neutral shades and all four can be used to create one makeup look. I apologise for how filthy this quad is but I carry it around with me everywhere in my bag. Also I've been using Naked Lunch wet so it looks a bit gross but I will fix it up soon enough.

Top left: Satin Taupe, 'taupe with silver shimmer'
Top right: Naked Lunch, 'minimal pink with shimmer'
Bottom left: Dazzlelight, 'neutral with shimmer'
Bottom right: Woodwinked, 'warm antiqued gold'

If you want something slightly different then you could get: 
Shroom, 'soft beige with shimmer' instead of Dazzlelight.
Cork, 'muted golden brown' instead of Woodwinked.
All That Glitters, 'beige with gold pearl' instead of Naked Lunch.

I like to use Naked Lunch all over the lid, Satin Taupe on the outer corner, Woodwinked in the crease and Dazzlelight on the brow bone. It's such an easy and gorgeous look.

£££: Single Eye Shadows, £13. Pro Palette Quad, £5. Pro Palette Refill Shadow, £10.

As you can see, it's better value to get a pro palette and buy the eye shadows in pan refill form. The quad would cost you £45 altogether that way whereas buying the eye shadows separately would cost £52. 

Monday, 26 January 2015

Review: LUSH Valentines 2015 - 'The Kiss' Lip Scrub, 'The Kiss' Lip Gloss, Unicorn Horn and Cupid's Love Soap

Hi girlies! 

Today's post is going to be about LUSH's Valentines range this year. It's so so exciting, I love everything and I shall get right into it.

'The Kiss' Lip Scrub

So, this is probably my favourite LUSH lip scrub so far. I usually go for Bubblegum. I also really love Popcorn and Santa's lip scrub. However, this one is just divine. 'The Kiss' contains sea salt, mandarin oil, almond oil and cocoa butter. The ingredients in LUSH's products never fail to impress me. It smells like pick and mix and has little love hearts and sprinkles running through it. It tastes beautifully sweet and makes my lips super soft, ready for lip stick. I will have to stock up I think!

'The Kiss' Lip Gloss

This is a really cute product. It contains shea butter, mandarin oil, agave syrup and guarana. Pretty impressive ingredients for a lip gloss. It's pink and glittery and fairly sheer on the lips. I apply this to my lips after pink lipstick to give the look a sheen. It also increases the staying power of my lipstick whilst being moisturising too which I definitely need when wearing my Barry M lip paints. On it's own it's incredibly subtle but it does feel great on the lips.

Unicorn Horn

Now, I will start by saying that I don't actually have a bath at the moment! Only a shower. I have been using unicorn horns in a similar way to FUN, just gliding over my body to wash it. It works well like this. I also like to break off a little piece and smoosh it into my hair after conditioning so my hair smells lovely and goes all glittery! Unicorn horns smell absolutely amazingly sweet and I buy them every year at Valentines. You will love this if you are into neroli and sweet scents.

Cupid's Love

This soap is absolutely amazing. Like seriously. It is creamy on the scale of Yog Nog and it smells good enough to eat (due to the addition of soya yoghurt). The scent reminds me of Turkish Delight a little bit. It contains fresh figs, passion fruit juice, bergamot and rosewood. YUM! Cupid's love produces this gorgeous, thick pink lather and the smell definitely lingers on my skin for a couple of hours after. This is one of my favourite soaps and I will be repurchasing before Valentines is over!

£££: 'The Kiss' Lip Scrub £5.50, 'The Kiss' Lip Gloss £5.95, Unicorn Horn £3.25, Cupid's Love £4.25 PER 100G.

Be sure to pick them up before Valentines day! 

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Review: Garnier Ultimate Blends Range - The Sleek Restorer

Hi girlies!

Today's post is going to be a review of my most beloved Garnier haircare range.

I began using Garnier Ultimate Blends when the collection came out a few months ago. I have tried every product within each range of the collection and I am going to review my favourite one which is the coconut oil and cocoa butter based range ('The Sleek Restorer'). There is also an avocado oil based range ('The Nourishing Repairer'), an argan oil based range ('The Marvellous Transformer'), a green tea and lemon based range ('The Shine Revitaliser'), an argan oil and cranberry based range ('The Colour Illuminator'), and a vanilla milk based range ('The Silky Smoother'). Each range includes different products. 

They all include a shampoo and conditioner and some include a dry shampoo and a one-minute treatment. The Sleek Restorer is the only range to include a hair oil. 

The Sleek Restorer range includes a shampoo, conditioner, a one-minute treatment mask and a hair oil. I love all of the products in the range and use them regularly.

The shampoo lathers well and smells absolutely divine, like cocoa butter! The two conditioners in the range smell just like the shampoo. The normal conditioner has the consistency of a usual conditioner and the one-minute treatment is a lot thicker. Both work really well. As for the hair oil, it's to die for. I have about 6 different hair oils on the go but I always reach for this one. It's super nourishing but not heavy at all and it never makes my hair greasy. The smell of coconut oil and cocoa butter really lingers on your hair after using this and it prepares the hair well for styling.

My hair is very long, it's about bum length and it's naturally curly. My hair can get frizzy sometimes but not extremely so. Fly-away hairs are the problem. I like my hair to be sleek and tidy looking and these products definitely help me to achieve that.

All of the Ultimate Blends collection is great, but I see the most difference in my hair when using the whole coconut oil range. I generally use the coconut oil shampoo and conditioner twice during the week and the one minute treatment once. I apply a pump of the hair oil every day before styling. 

Since using these products, my hair is regularly complimented which is nice! I'm not sure whether this is because it adds build up to my hair... However my hair is so shiny, nourished and rich in colour! I regularly buy the shampoo and conditioner and rotate these with my LUSH shampoo bars as I find that my hair looks a lot healthier when I change things up a bit.

£££: Shampoo £3.89 PER 400ML, Conditioner £3.89 PER 400ML, One-minute treatment £4.49 PER 150ML, Hair Oil £9.99. 

These products are pretty inexpensive considering their quality and they are regularly on offer at Boots and Superdrug so you can usually pick them up cheaper. 

Monday, 12 January 2015

Review: LUSH Coalface Cleanser

Hi girlies!

My first review is of Coalface Cleanser by LUSH! I have gotten into LUSH skin products over the last few months as I'm becoming increasingly drawn to natural products due to concerns over the long-term effects of  overly processed products. This is my favourite LUSH cleanser for a number of reasons: 

Firstly, it is super convenient to use as it is in bar form. I find that bar cleansers are better for me than the ones in pots, I find them more moisturising. 

Secondly, it is amazing to use at the end of the day when I'm all gross from work, which is when I get in the shower. It literally removes all excess oil from my face, exfoliates my skin and moisturises. Coalface contains charcoal, liquorice root and rosewood oil. So it's incredibly moisturising as well as being antiseptic which will stave off breakouts.

Aww, isn't it beautiful!

I find that the best way to use it is to break a small piece off before I get in the shower, smoosh it into my hands when the water runs then just rub the paste into my face until I'm ready to wash it off. I usually leave it on my face while I wash my hair then rinse it all off.

It has the most beautiful earthy smell, while still being girly as it is a little bit sweet and has glitter running through it.

Coalface is my go-to cleanser. You will most definitely see a large improvement in your skin within weeks of using this. Skin is more even and there's no spots to be seen!

£££: £4.95 PER 100G