Tuesday, 17 March 2015

The Easter Lush Haul

A caramel-toffee scented bath bomb (similar scent to Honey I Washed the Kids) which contains fair trade Columbian coco butter and moisturising olive oil. This bath bomb feels more like a bath melt in the hands so I'm intrigued to see how in turns out in the bath. One downside, this glitter gets everywhere so I'd recommend tipping this straight out of the bag into the bath. 

I won't lie, I bought this one purely for the scent and no other reason. I really enjoy sweet smells for my baths and this one is no exception as it's candy floss scented. Apparently this is the scent of Snow Fairy so it's the perfect bath bomb to go for if you can't wait till Christmas for your Snow Fairy fix. Unfortunately there's no information about this online so I'm not sure of the benefits but it certainly smells delicious and one of the least inexpensive products from the Easter range.

Bunch of Carrots is what initially drew me to the Lush Easter products as it's an interesting take on the typical Easter products. This bubble bar is scented with lemon and grapefruit oils which aren't at all overpowering - good for those who aren't fans of strong scents. I'd personally use these individually to get the most out of them but you could stir all 3 into the bath for huge bubbles.

This giant bath bomb is the definition of Easter in a bath product. It's sweet with vanilla but lemon and grapefruit oils give it a sharp twist - this is the scent I smell when I walk into a Lush shop. This is one of the more expensive products in the range but you get definitely make the most out of it. You can crack the egg in half to create 2 baths and then inside is either a chick or a bunny! 

This little bunny bath bomb contains anti-bacterial violet leaf absolute and soothing lavender. Lush describes this one as herbal scented but I personally smell it as parma violet sweets. Plus it has popping candy which is by far my favourite thing to be added to bath products!

This isn't part if the Easter products but it is limited edition as it's for Mother's Day. This is a hollow bath bomb which is filled with Turkish rose petals. It's floral scented and smells old fashioned but in a good way (i.e. no complicated scents). This bath bomb contains uplifting orange floral absolute and softening soya milk powder. While this isn't some I would typically go for, something about the petals drew me in and I imagine it would make for a very relaxing bath. 

Let's forget this looks like a Pacman ghost and talk about the smell. Like the Fluffy Egg bath bomb, this has an insanely sweet smell - candy floss and dolly mixture scented. This is the first bath melt I've bought as they're not something that I'm immediately draw to, but I couldn't resist the scent. I initially decided against this but as I was still thinking about it by my next Lush visit, I knew I had to get it. This melt contains marshmallow herb which was traditionally used to treat cuts etc so I imagine it'll be extra soothing for irritated skin. 

The staff in my local Lush store are so friendly and the man serving me was kind enough to give me a handful of samples to take away. They staff spend a lot of time talking you through the products and their benefits whilst often giving a lot of demonstrations (Cribbs Causeway - check them out if you're in the area!).

This is a physical face and body scrub that use sea salt as it's scrub. It contains lime with vodka and grapefruit, however, don't be nervous as it's also contains softening avocado butter and coconut oil.

Grease lightening is a powerful spot treatment in a gel formula. It contains aloe vera gel, tea tree, anti-inflammatory witch hazel and calming lavendar as it's main ingredients. This spot treatment aims to treat the spot directly without irritating the skin surrounding it. I tend to steer clear of spot treatments for fear of them being too chemically harsh but this seems as great alternative!

Cupids Love (sample - Discontinued)
I'd never thought to spend my money on a Lush soap before, I imagined they'd all just be too fussy. That said, I'm excited to have a little sample so I can truly see what the soaps are like! This particular soap is fruit scented with passion fruit and contains soy yoghurt to nourish the skin. Unfortunately, I'm pretty certain this was limited edition for Valentine's Day.

This is another fruit scented soap, this time with mango and mandarin. It also contains neroli oil which has been scientifically proven to increase serotonin levels - a chemical that is thought to influence mood (the psychologist in me is fascinated by this). By scent alone, I think I may be purchasing a full size of this soap for summer. 

I can't quite describe the scent of this soap, but it has a typical 'perfume' smell to it (I think it may be the bergamot oil). It contains a lot of dried fruits mixed with moisturising olibanum oil. This would be a perfect soap to use during the Winter or if you suffer with dry skin. 

What is your holy grail Lush product? Let me know in the comments!


Sunday, 8 March 2015

The Skincare Routine

The Introduction
Let's just put it out there - I bow down to Caroline Hirons for my improved skin and skincare knowledge. I was going through a pretty rough patch skin wise when I stumbled across Caroline's post on Perioral Dermatitis.  I'm only self diagnosing here but this seemed to describe exactly what was wrong with my skin and so I was immediately interested in her blog.

I also saw her 'Cheat Sheet' on skincare routines which was incredibly helpful. When I wanted to move my skincare past the basic stages of cleanse, tone and moisturise, the cheat sheet helped me decide what types of products I needed to add into my routine and what order to use them in. Since then I've seen a huge improvement in the condition of my skin.

The order of my skincare routine is pretty much the order in the post below. Plus I don't currently have separate am and pm routines as I use a lot of the products morning and night. Oh and in case you're wondering I have sensitive, combination skin.

 The Cleansers
Lancome Galatee Confort Cleansing Milk- £36 (400ml)
I use this as my morning cleanser and a second cleanser in the evening. Not great from taking off make up but particularly good at cleansing bare skin and leaving it super soft. Directions say to remove this with a tissue but I prefer to use warm water and a muslin cloth to remove any residue.
This was a very generous gift from my mum along with the Lancome toner below!

I use this oil in the evening as a make-up remover (i.e. before using my Lancome cleanser) or if I just want to give my skin a deeper clean. It's incredible at breaking down make-up, particularly eye make-up. Directions say to emulsify the oil with water but I find using a damp muslin cloth is a much better method for riding the skin completely of make-up. This is one of the steps I added after reading Caroline's cheat sheet!

The Toners 
Nip+Fab Glycolic Fix Exfoliating Facial Pads - £12.99
I was a little nervous at the prospect of a chemical toner - images always sprang to mind of people's skin after a chemical peel. However, these don't irritate my sensitive skin at all. I'm pretty sure this product is geared towards older skin but I don't have any problems with it. It strips my skin back (not in a bad way), refreshes, resurfaces and tightens. Bonus - it completely dries out any blemishes.

Lancome Tonique Confort - £36 (400ml)
I use this as a 'moisturising' toner after using the exfoliating pads (I use both toners morning and night). I was also sceptical about this toner as I'd previously been using a spritz rose water toner from Lush. This is much more of a milk consistency which requires pouring it onto a cotton pad (bit of a fuss) but it's super moisturising. This actually feels very cooling and I find it really soothes and calms my skin. If you find the Lancome cleanser and toner are both to your liking, then definitely purchase the duo here which is £43 instead of £72 if bought individually.

The Eye Treatments
Boots Vitamin E Gentle Eye Cream - £2.54
At the age of 23, I don't feel it's quite the time to start investing money I don't have in expensive eye creams. This one is nothing special but it does the job. I particularly like using a eye cream  in the evening to allow it soak in over night. I use a small dot before my serum and use my ring fingers to pat it in.

Simple Kind to Eyes Revitalising Eye Roll-On - £5.49
Again, a pretty inexpensive eye product here - this time for mornings. This one has a metal roller ball and a gel type formula which is extremely cooling and brightening around the eyes. My eyes don't really get puffy in the morning but it's just a nice sensation to wake up the eyes with!

The Serum
I had to do some research into what serums actually did to justify needing one (note - Nip+Fab say it has smaller molecules than a moisturiser so it can penetrate deeper into the skin). When using this I notice a considerable difference in how plump and firm my skin is, and I find it also reduces the frown line I have on my forehead (note to self - stop resting bitch face). I found this slightly difficult to work with at first as it dries quickly. However, I've gotten used to it and find if I dot the product about my face and then smooth it out this works fine.  

 The Moisturisers 
This is the moisturiser I've been using as my morning moisturiser. It's a thick consistency which I find odd for a day moisturiser but it's lightweight and sinks into the skin very quickly. It's easy to put make-up on immediately after and almost acts like a primer once it's sunk into the skin.  Only problem I have with this is the packaging - the word 'hygiene' springs to mind when I have to dip my finger into the pot. 

I've been using this as my evening moisturiser. Nothing particular to report about - it's inexpensive, does the job and sinks into the skin well. However. I have noticed that this moisturiser can sometimes 'roll off' my skin, although I'm not sure if this is the moisturiser itself as I've heard serums can make this happen. 

Passed down from my mum who purchased this in a French pharmacy (i.e. not so easy to get your hands on). The smallest amount of cream comes out of the pump but a little definitely goes a long way. I particularly liked using this when I was having bad skin flare ups to combat flakiness but it's also good for sore skin e.g. when you have a cold. Not something I reach for every day, perhaps more a winter product, but definitely good at delivering a intense shot of moisturise to severely dry skin. 

The Extras

Lush Mint Julips Lip Scrub - £5.50
I have extremely dry lips but also happen to love matt lipsticks so a lip scrub is something I need use daily. I like to use this after cleansing so I can wipe any extra scrub off with my toner. Although, you hardly need to wipe it off as it's so natural (literally castor sugar and oils) that you lick it off after your done. This particular one tastes like mint chocolate (they also do bubblegum and popcorn flavours).

Lush Mask of Magnaminty - £9.75 (315g)
I recently used up Lush's Catastrophe Cosmetic and bought Mask of Magnaminty in it's place but I am yet to use it so unfortunately can't comment on it's effectiveness. Lush staff told me this is a great mask for 'sucking' things out of the skin which is great as my skin had been feeling particularly congested at the moment. Plus it contains evening primrose seeds and ground aduki beans which act as a scrub when you're removing the mask.

Apologises for the length of this post - I've really been getting into skincare recently!
Do you have any holy grail skincare products? Let me know in the comments!


Wednesday, 4 March 2015

The Races - #ColourMeMarch

Spring is feeling particularly close today. As I'm writing the sun is soft, filtering through the bare branches of the trees and all is quiet aside from the birds flying and chattering outside my window. And as the Spring atmosphere grows, so does colour. Whether it's the sudden growth of vibrant flowers or bright clothes reflecting the warming change in the weather, colour definitely begins flow in around this time of year. Which is why Ladies Day at the Cheltenham Races have created the perfect theme of celebrating colour.

Above I've put together an outfit that I would wear if I was going to the races. I wanted something classic, that obviously incorporated colour, and so picked this pastel blue skater dress. I paired it with nude heels (which have a metallic heel), flushed cheeks and coral lips. 

Ladies Day is taking place on the 11th March (more about the day here) so if you're lucky enough to be going remember to take a photo of your vibrant outfit and include the hashtag #ColourMeMarch. If you happen to blog about it too, leave me a link in the comments as I'd love to see how you used colour in your outfit! 


Sunglasses - Dolce&Gabanna
Dress - Dorothy Perkins
Shoes - Miss Selfridge
Watch - Tissot

No7 Stay Perfect Foundation in Calico
Prestige Illuminating Bronzing Powder in Terra
MAC Sheertone Shimmer Blush in Springsheen
Eyeko Skinny Mini Liquid Eyeliner in Black
Rimmel Scandaleyes Flex Mascara in Black
Gosh Long Lasting Brow Pen in 004 Wheat
MAC Omega Eyeshadow (used for brows)
Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvet in 09 Happy Nude Year 

Sunday, 22 February 2015

The Move to Cruelty Free

The Back Story
I'm not entirely sure what inspired the initial thought, but this year I've decided to make a transition into only using cruelty free products and clothes. I've been vegetarian for 8/9 years now and so I find it hard to make sense of that while I've been extremely careful about what I'm eating, I've not been so careful about what I've been using and wearing.

When the idea of going completely cruelty free crept into my head, I was sat with my rabbit Benjamin and I couldn't think of a single reason to not make the change that was more important than the life of an animal. The majority of horrible cosmetic testing photos you see are of rabbits and I couldn't imagine my own bunny going through something like that.

The Research
With this formed thought in my mind came hours and hours of researching. 

Peta is a good place to start researching, particularly for more well known and US based companies - check out this page to search products that are cruelty free, lists of companies that do/don't test and FAQs. However, I have heard some people say that the lists aren't as up to date as they good be. 

The Leaping Bunny also has information here about which the cruelty free stance of companies.

Some companies, despite not having logos on their physical products, may have in depth information on their websites about their views and involvement in animal testing (some are refreshingly honest, others are quite vague). 

Also, don't be afraid to contact a company if they don't have enough information to put your mind at rest!

The Transition
I won't be throwing away any products I already have in my collection by companies which do test on animals. It seems like a huge waste of money and pointless since they've already been bought from the company. However, I won't be re-purchasing them if the products aren't cruelty free. Same goes for any clothes, handbags and so on I have which are leather, suede etc.

To start with, I am using products by companies who are cruelty free but whose parent company may not be. For example, I am using The Body Shop products as they are cruelty free although some people won't as The Body Shop is owned by L'Oreal (who do test). Hopefully in the future I'll be able to products from entirely cruelty free companies and parent companies but currently it's not so easy. 

I'm also not vegan so I won't be committing to using vegan only products, but I see it as a bonus if they are. 

The Disclaimer
I am by no means an expert in this field, I'm still relatively new to cruelty free and I'm learning as I go. This post wasn't written in order to push anyone to make the change to go cruelty free nor was it written to force my views on anyone. I wanted to write this in order to share my experiences in making changes to my cosmetic and style purchases. 

Furthermore, if you see any products in upcoming blog posts which are tested on animals, please note the above - I'm not throwing away anything currently in my collection but it won't be repurchased in the future. 

Let me know in the comments your favourite cruelty free companies and products

Hollie Mae

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

The (late) January Favourites

Potentially the furthest into a month a favourites post has ever been posted, but better late than never! January is the month I re-discovered reading after a long time and found my favourite liquid lipsticks (and possibly lip product) of all time. 

Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvet Lipsticks 
(Nudist and Happy Nude Year)
I currently own 5 shades of these lipsticks but found myself reaching for 'Nudist' (a berry toned nude) and 'Happy Nude Year' (a pink toned nude) over December and January as they're perfect shades for everyday.  A matt finish and a texture like nothing else. 'Velvet lipsticks' is spot-on, they truly feel like velvet on the lips - incredibly soft and lightweight. They take a little while to set but once they do they are extremely long lasting and yet don't dry out the lips out at all. I'd recommend these over and over and over.

Rimmel Lip Pencils
Exaggerate in 067 Eastend Snob
Lasting Finish in 011 Spice
If I haven't been wearing the rouge edition velvet lipsticks then chances are I've been wearing one of these two Rimmel lip liners. Eastend Snob is known for it's ability to create a Kylie Jenner lip and while I find it too pink on my skintone for that, it looks great on the lips. It's a soft twist-up liner with a matt finish that's easy to work with and is long lasting. Perfect.

If I'm looking for something a little darker on the lips, I've been using the lasting finish liner in Spice. I'm not head over heels for the formula (doesn't stay on as long as Eastend Snob despite having a 'stay on' formula and it's slightly drying) however the shade is unlike anything else I have in my collection.  

Gosh Long Lasting Brow Pen in 004 Wheat 
I've never been satisfied with a brow product before, and while this Gosh pen isn't perfect, it's the best I've tried so far. Although there is a slight red hue to the shade, it's much more cool toned than drugstore pencils which gives it a natural look on the brows. The finish is slightly sheer which means it's pretty difficult to create a heavy, drawn on look and it's easy to layer strokes. I like use the pen to create the shape then use MAC's Omega eyeshadow over the top to set my brows. 

 I received the original Kindle as a birthday present a few years ago, although I hadn't used it much within the past year. I had a ton of 'real' books that I had yet to read so I made an effort to get through those before buying anything else. Fast forward a year and I am back into the swing of using my Kindle. It's a perfect size to pop into your handbag and it's particularly useful, if you're impatient like me, to get your hands on books straight away if you can't wait to visit a bookshop.

Plain Truth by Jodi Picoult 
Jodi Picoult is by far one of my favourite authors, mainly for the plots of her novels. If you haven't heard of her, most of her books tend to explore controversial topics through the courtroom and the families that the situation surrounds. Things are not quite as they first appear in her novels, which I something I personally love in films and books.

This particular novel focuses on a murder of a newborn baby which occurs on an Amish farm and leads onto the trial that follows. The book gives a real insight into life in an Amish community, teenage pregnancy and the courtroom.

Fire N Gold - Bea Miller


I came across this song after hearing a few covers on vine (check out Andrew Bazzi's cover with Rajiv Dhall on vine) and I've it on repeat ever since. I was surprised to find out Bea Miller is only 16 and competed on the US X Factor a few years ago. I love the tone of her voice and the song, particularly the chorus, it's really addictive. Definitely give it a listen! 

What is your current favourite song? Let me know in the comments below!

Hollie Mae