How Waking Up Earlier Helped Me Feel Less Tired!

I’ve always needed LOTS of sleep. Since I was a kid my bed time was always way earlier than anyone else I knew (or know now) but now I’m an adult I’ll happily go to bed at half 8 without complaint.

They used to say you need at least 8 hours sleep in order to fully recharge, but I think that’s been changed to 6 hours now. I feel like a good 6.5 hours is all I really need, and a few years back I realised that I will actually feel worse if I have too much sleep.

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There’s a lot of research about different types of sleep, you can get apps and trackers that will tell you how much ‘useful’ sleep you’ve had and such.

But a while back I decided that I’d just wake up a little bit earlier in the normal working week and see how that affected my tiredness. After a little trial and error I found that waking up around 45 minutes earlier than I had been (and I usually go to sleep around the same sort of time every night) lead me to feeling more awake and refreshed than I had when I’d slept a little longer.

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I was sold! I’ve also tried a few other things to help with getting a good night’s sleep. I’ll put my phone down as soon as I go to bed, and watch tv for a bit before falling asleep. I don’t like to use my phone after around 9:30 if I’m honest, just because it’ll give my brain a little rest. iPhone recently added a feature that takes the blue out of the screen backlight after a time set by you, which is supposed to help your brain switch off and be less active ahead of sleepy time.

I was also sent a few sample products by the brand Kiss the Moon to try out. A couple of balms and face oils.

 

One was a temple balm and one was a face scrub and since my skin is so picky and changeable I didn’t really want to try the scrub. But I do love a nice face oil. I’ve given them all a go and though I didn’t find them to aid my sleep at all, they did have lovely calming scents. There’s three types and each one is aimed towards a different skin type. I decided to take one on holiday to Rome with me.

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The calm oil is my favourite scent of the bunch, but I’ll be honest they’re very ‘herbal’ scented and not really my cup of tea. I did find them to be calming, as I mentioned before, but they didn’t do anything for my skin. I have face oils which when I wake up I can feel they’ve made a difference to the softness of my skin, and with these oils they didn’t seem to make a difference, so I can’t say I’d reach for them. That being said, that’s not the primary point of these. They’re designed to relax you in an essential oil kind of way, and in that this succeeded.

Of all the things I’ve tried out, to help me wake up feeling more refreshed, I’d say setting my alarm to an earlier time was the most successful. It took a couple of attempts to know when was best, but now I’ve done it I’m so pleased I did. My brain has enough time to wake up, I’m not rushing to leave the house, and I’m calm and relaxed. I’m so pleased I did it!

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Kiss The Moon sent me a few samples of their products free of charge to give a go. You’ll be able to tell my opinions are my own and I have recieved no financial benefits for posting this article.

This Week I Have Mostly….

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Another month closes and we’re another month closer to summer. Which can only be a good thing. The weather has been somewhat volatile and as a result my winter parka is still not away, and I haven’t been able to put on my lovely spring clothes just yet.

Since I updated you last, I have been to see Bruno Mars, which I must say was all the way up there with some of the best concerts/gigs I’ve seen in my time (and I’ve seen a LOT). The stage setup, the dancing, production and the voice of the man himself was all perfect. He’s an incredible singer and entertainer, and we enjoyed it so much we looked to see whether we could get tickets for the following night (sadly, we couldn’t) If you enjoy Bruno Mars’ music, and get the opportunity to see him live, please take it.

I’ve been a little low-key on the old social media side of things, as we’ve been planning to sell our house and move to another one. Things are progressing and I’ll come back with news as I have it, but it’s all rather mentally taxing, so it’s been nice to have some more down time.

I’ve been spending my down time watching Netflix, and in the absence of my April Favourites (which I’ve decided to skip this month) I thought I’d tell you about a couple of things I’ve been watching.

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I finished watching Bates Motel this weekend, and oh my, what a show. If you like the Hitchcock movie Psycho, you really ought to watch this. But I recommend watching the original film first and then going straight into the tv show. There are so many nods to the film; lines, scenes, even just the way the actors behave, that it’s a Hitchcock fan’s dream. But on its own the show is really well written, the story lines are great and Norma and Norman are acted AMAZINGLY well. I’m really glad a watched it.

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I’ve been watching Riverdale pretty much only to kill time. The show is as bad as the Photoshop job in the promo photo above. It’s based on Archie comics characters, of which I know zero about, but I have it on good authority that the link is pretty tenuous anyway. The story line is loose, I don’t care about the characters and I seem to only find myself wondering what brand of lipstick the girls are all wearing. But for some reason I keep switching the darn show on.

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I love Netflix documentaries, and we watched Casting Jonbenet a couple of weekends ago. It’s an interesting take on looking into the death of Jonbenet Ramsey. The makers of the documentary made the film as if they were casting for the parts of the main players involved in the story, and as such were able to get first person theories and opinions from local townspeople. All put together in re-enactments, they create a collection of theories on what actually happened. It’s worth a watch.

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Having never watched Twin Peaks when it originally aired in 1990 (when I was 7) I thought it about time I rectified the situation, and what with a new season of the show airing this month, we have just begun to watch the show. I knew the show was going to be a bit twisted, since it’s David Lynch, however what I didn’t expect was the humour and so-subtle nuances of the characters. We’re only a few episodes in so I can’t make a proper judgement yet, but I will say I’m very much enjoying what I’ve seen so far. I’m also really pleased I’m watching it now, as an adult, because I think I wouldn’t have recognised these subtleties back then – I would have just thought it was weird!

Coming up next weekend, I’m off to see Harry Potter Live at the Royal Albert Hall, another one of those events where you watch the film and a live orchestra plays the score live in front of you. I’m looking forward to it, because I love John Williams’ score in the Harry Potter films. And no doubt I’ll be running around making preparations in the house, whilst trying to remember it’s also important to chill out and relax. Ho hum!

I hope you have a great week 🙂

When In Rome

If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram (hi guys!) you’ll know I recently took a 5 day trip to Rome.

It was the first time I’d been to Italy and I was really excited to see what it was all about. I struggle with travel anxiety and especially in places where I don’t speak the language, but G Man had already been and had been fine so I was pretty chilled about this trip.

I’m used to long haul flights so the 2.5 hr flight seemed like a breeze. I was able to listen to the second and third Childish Gambino albums in full from take off to landing perfectly!

We grabbed a shuttle bus with a very friendly driver to our hotel and checked. The River Palace hotel is situated just off the Piazza del Popolo so was in a great location for walking to all the places we wanted to visit.

We arrived pretty late in the day so headed straight out to grab some dinner. We found a lovely little place and sat inside because it was a tad chilly. I had a great bowl of spaghetti with tomato and basil sauce. I wasn’t majorly hungry and the serving was a perfect size. I hadn’t expected this, but it seems in Italy you eat a starter, 1st course of pasta, 2nd course which is your main course and then desert. I couldn’t work out how everyone wasn’t the size of a house!

Back at the hotel we slept badly and we had decided the room as way too small (you couldn’t actually fit into the shower and my knees butted against the sink when I sat on the loo) so we upgrade and moved our belongings into our new room. The second room was much better, we even got an extra pillow each!

I was very impressed with the breakfast in this hotel, which comes as part of your room. There were pastries, pancakes, fruit, cereal, meats and cheeses, bread and hot food (scrambled eggs, potatoes, sausage and bacon) and coffee with juices. All of this was buffet style so you could have however much you wanted, and the dining rooms were never too busy.

Over our stay we visited the Pantheon, The Vatican and saw the Sistine Chapel, the Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, the Spanish Steps, Piazza Navona and of course the Piazza del Popolo, amongst other things we passed by. We also ate in some amazing places, one of which was recommended to me on twitter, Di Qua.

We actually ate here twice and I really liked the modern feel of the restaurant mixed with the traditional cuisine.

The other thing I hadn’t expected from the food was that the only things you can eat are pasta and pizza – like every restaurant had the same menu. So it then boiled down to quality, price and ambience. I think we chose pretty wisely!

We also wanted to hunt out a good gelato place, and after searching on Pinterest I saw Giolitti recommended a couple of times. When we arrived we joined a line of people to pay – you pay for the size of gelato you want, and pick up a ticket. You then take your ticket to the gelato counter, where it’s every man for himself (think Brooklyn meat deli) – I noticed whilst we were waiting that they had milk-free options and when we requested these our server was awesome. We specified that we wanted milk free and chose our flavours, and he immediately put down the cone in his hand and said we wanted a cup (I assume the cone had risk of dairy) and then went out the back for a brand new paddle which he scooped my gelato with. I really appreciated how he took my intolerance seriously without being told – much better than here in the UK. We then went outside to eat! I chose Melon and Wild Cherry flavours and they were both out of this world. As we ate the line outside for ice cream snaked out of the door. I think we chose a perfect time to go in!

Another thing I noticed whilst we were there was that people ask for their gelato in a cone, use a spoon to eat it with and then throw the cone away…. Very confusing.

We did a huge amount of walking on this trip – we hit 23k in one day alone. I’m so glad I took my Sketchers and Tevas. I also sunburned by face quite badly on one of the days…. I’m such a sunshine novice!

I took loads of photos on this trip, so here’s a selection of some of my favourites!

It was an awesome trip and although I was tired by the end, I’m very glad I visited. I’d like to see other parts of Italy now, as I now don’t have the anxiety of the language barrier. If you can recommend other parts of Italy, then please go ahead in the comments. Where should I go next?

Requested: My Every Day Makeup Application

I was recently asked to write a post on what order I apply my every day makeup. I really liked the idea because I quite often think to myself that I put my makeup on a little bit backwards! But there’s a reason behind it, and I’d like to share that with you today!

Since I’m a really cack-handed, accident-prone person I always start makeup with my eyes. I’m the kind of person who likes to try things out with my eyes, since I’m new at this makeup thing. I have a tendency to sneeze, blink or just poke myself in the eye with mascara and because of that I’d much rather be able to remove my eye makeup without messing up my base and having to start all over again – and wasting product. I can also wipe away any fallout from eyeshadows without worrying about mucking things up! So whatever look I’m doing I will always start with my eyes.

Firstly I tightline. I don’t always do this but I like the fuller look it gives my lashes. I use the NYX Tres Jolie gel eyeliner pencils because they rarely transfer and they stay put. A lot of people think tightlining is lining the waterline, but it’s actually not. It’s pushing eyeliner between the lashes on the lashline to give a fuller appearance at the base of the lashes. I will use this eyeliner to push product between the lashes and then use a cotton bud to neaten up and remove any product from my waterline. It takes some practice at the start but it doesn’t take long to get the hang of it. I’ll sometimes use a tiny angled nail art brush with a Bobbi Brown gel pot instead. I have very watery eyes, and they’re sensitive too so I make sure there’s no product likely to drop into my eyes.

If I’m using eyeshadow, I’ll do this next, starting with a primer (I use NYX at the moment) and then go ahead with the shadow colours. Eyeliner comes next, if I’m using it and then I’ll curl my lashes and use mascara. I use the CoverGirl Clump Crusher, which is my current favourite. It actually keeps my lashes separated, coated and somewhat curled for the whole day and doesn’t leave me looking spidery. It doesn’t flake either!

Once my eyes are done, I prime. I use the Pür HydraGel lift under eye primer and whatever face primer I’m using at the time. Let those settle a little and then go in with my foundation. Then I use concealer on my face and lastly on my under eyes. I like the Benefit BOI-ING potted concealers.

Currently I set my under eyes with the ELF brightening under eye powder, and my face (only where I’ve put concealer) with the Bare Minerals Perfecting Veil pressed powder. But I’m actually considering picking up the Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Powder because I need some help with oil on my nose before the summer hits.

Next I’ll go onto blush and bronzer (if I’m wearing it) I’ll apply the bronzer first because it gives me and idea of what blush shade I should go for.

Then I’ll use clear brow gel (NYX Control Freak) to tame my eyebrows – I don’t use any coloured products on my eye brows because they’re heavy as they are. They just need setting so they don’t move during the day!

If I’m going to use a setting spray I’ll spritz that next because it will sometimes dull the brightening effects of the under eye products I use. If this happens I’ll tap a tiny amount of Touche Eclat under my eyes and on my nose to highlight, once the setting spray has dried.

Lastly I’ll go to my lips with whatever product I’ve decided will work – balm, gloss, lipstick.

Then I’ll probably spend 10 minutes trying to find suitable light to take a selfie and then I’m done!

I hope you’ve found this useful. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to pop those below!

 

March Favourites

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This month I have a little bit of beauty, a little bit of music and a quite a bit of entertainment to share with you all.

As usual, we’ll start with beauty!

So to start let’s talk about the Pixi Glow Mist – I bought this on a recent trip to London and have since received another bottle in a goodie bag, and I’m so pleased I have a back up. This little spray works as a hydrator, primer, setting spray and general all over glow creator. It can also be sprayed on the ends of your hair to soften dry split ends. I have used it in almost all of these ways. As someone with an oily t-zone I didn’t find this made me greasy at all. There’s a layer of oil you shake into the rest of the solution and then spray evenly over your face. My face was left feeling soft and hydrated, and as a setting spray this left my makeup looking soft, even and natural. I also sprayed it onto my beauty blender ahead of applying my Urban Decay Naked foundation and it took away the matte powdery look I dislike from the finish of that makeup. I’m in love!

Next is the White Mud exfoliating scrub and mask from The Estee Edit. This came in my Glamour Beauty Festival goodie bag and I’ve used it twice so far. I really like this mask. Firstly you only have to leave it on for 5 minutes so already it’s a time-saving mask! It comes in a tube so it’s travel friendly and you barely need any to cover your whole face. You rub it onto your face in little circles to exfoliate, leave it 5 minutes and then when it comes off it’s super easy to remove. I found my skin and pores were clearer than it’s been using any other mask. It knocked GlamGlow and L’Oreal’s mud masks out of the park. I’m super impressed.

Next is a couple of blushes. The Physician’s Formula Butter Bronzer is one of my all time favourites (not just because it smells AMAZING!) so when I heard they had released two shades in blush formula, I knew I wanted one. A friend who was visiting America kindly picked one up for me in the shade Plum Rose. I’m so impressed with the shade, texture, finish and longevity of this blush – plus it smells just as good as the bronzer!

As part of the goodie bag I mentioned earlier I received a mini Nars blush in the shade Orgasm. This is many people’s holy grail blusher, and I’ve bought an ELF blush which is said to be a dupe for it, but I can now say it’s not. This Nars blush is beautiful. It’s a gorgeous shade, easily buildable and not glittery at all. I don’t know whether I’ll re-buy this because I have a lot of similar shades, and the full size of this is pretty expensive BUT I’m really pleased to have this and I will continue to use it regularly until it’s gone!

Lastly for beauty is the Davines All in One Milk and a couple of lip products from ColourPop. This blowdry spray is a multi purpose leave in conditioner that detangles and makes my hair feel and smell wonderful. It doesn’t weigh down my hair and leaves it wonderfully soft but manageable. I got a small bottle of this in my Liberty Advent Calendar and have since purchased the full-sized bottle because I can’t live without it!

The ColourPop lip products I’ve been loving this month are the Blotted Lip in Lexi and the Gloss in Finders Keepers. They seem to have been my go-to products this month. The gloss add the right amount of colour and gloss and lasts a really long time, and the blotted lip looks fabulous until it wears down a little and then I pop some Rose Salve on top and it lasts a little longer. I’m impressed!

So from beauty to music! This month I have been obsessively listening to Bruno Mars and Childish Gambino. I just can’t get enough!

 

24k Magic just makes me want to dance and there’s so much soul in Childish Gambino’s music….. I’m a fan!

Now onto TV! This month we’ve completed quite a few tv shows and I’d like to share my favourites with you.

 

Freaks and Geeks is a show originally aired 1999 and set in 1980 about a bunch of high school kids – written by Judd Apatow and only one season long, this show featured actors like Seth Rogan, James Franco and Jason Segel. It’s a fantastic show and I really enjoyed watching it – it’s such a shame it was cancelled after just one season!

Also from Judd Apatow, Love season 2 was put up onto Netflix this month, and we breezed through it. This is such an awesome show and I’m really pleased that season 3 is in production. If you haven’t checked it out but you like Judd Apatow’s work, then definitely give the first season a watch.

And lastly, another Netflix show, Atlanta. Created by and starring Donald Glover (aka Childish Gambino) this is a funny, intelligent and sometimes a little excentric programme – but so worth a watch. It follows Earn and his life as he becomes his rapping cousin’s music manager but it’s one of those ‘real’ shows that showcases the weirdness of life and the hilarity of people.

So those are my favourite things of March! Have you watched any of these shows, heard any of this music or tried any of the beauty products I mentioned this month? I’d love to hear what you thought!

 

Glamour Beauty Festival, London

On the 11th March Sophie Kate and I headed to the Saatchi Gallery on London’s King’s Road for the Glamour Beauty Festival.

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Sophie won tickets on Pixi’s instagram competition and chose to take me along, so I was ecstatic. Not just to go to the event, but to finally get to meet Sophie!

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The weather was fantastic, and promised to be around 17c which made choosing an outfit a lot easier – no need for the bulky coat!

Our slot was in the morning so we arrived and got our wrist bands. The event covered three floors, with treatment stands in every room. In the first room was OGX and GHD. We grabbed some free samples of shampoo and watched people getting their hair braided and curled on both sides of the room.

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There were also a few good selfie opportunities!

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Across the hall was skincare, featuring fresh and Pixi. In here you could get a luxurious facial from any of the brands.

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Then to makeup, one floor up and as well as shopping for makeup you could have your makeup and eyebrows done professionally or get a manicure – all for free.

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The top floor was the theatre for talks and though we didn’t have time to attend one, we still wanted to pick up our goodie bags – worth a whopping £190!

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The event was great and there was a lot on offer, if you were prepared to line up for a while. I could imagine if you turned up hair undone and makeup free you could leave looking ready to attend London Fashion Week! Personally I’m not a fan of treatments, I like to do all those things myself, but you could really get bang for your ticket price if you spent the whole day there.

It was an awesome morning, and I’m really pleased I got to go! Thanks to Pixi Cosmetics for the tickets, and to Sophie for bringing me along! Same time next year?

 

Blogging Tools I Can’t Live Without

Since I’ve been blogging for quite some time now, I thought I’d share some of the tools that have come to be invaluable to me.

Technically, you just need your brain and a platform and you’re all set, but there are a few things I’ve come to appreciate as tools I just can’t live without when blogging.

First of all, my laptops. I have a Microsoft HP and a MacBook Pro. I don’t have a word processing package on my Mac so tend to do most of my writing on the HP laptop, unless I’m writing straight into my blogging platform.

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WordPress is my platform of choice, having used a few different ones over the years. I like that even on a free package you can produce a customisable and professional looking blog. It’s flexible and you rarely see two blogs looking the same. It has its glitches, but what website don’t? I feel like at some point in the future I’ll need to move to self-hosted or a paid account, but until then it works just fine, thank you very much. As well as the web-based platform, I have the WordPress app. It’s not without its limitations, but is handy for replying to comments, checking stats and uploading images on the go. You can write posts on there too but I prefer to do that on a computer, mainly because I’m rubbish and slow at word processing on my phone!

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For cameras, I switch between my Canon EOS 400D, Sony a5000 and my iPhone 7 Plus. I’ve been using my SLR less of late for the reasons you’ll read in a moment, but even though it’s kind of old now I love the quality of photos I get from it. My Sony a5000 has earned its cost times over. I love how small it is, the quality of photo and video and it’s light. But other than that, the Wifi function comes in so so handy. I can take a photo, send it to my phone and then edit it, upload and publish it, all within 5 minutes of capturing the shot. The iPhone 7 Plus is pretty awesome for taking photos too, and though I haven’t had it long, I can already see the difference in lens quality with the shots I’ve taken.

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As well as using my iPhone for images, I have a tonne of apps I use for blogging. Here are a few of them.

I’ve mentioned the WordPress app so I won’t go into that again. I use Buffer to scheduling tweets, which I don’t do all that much, but it’s good to have an easy app to do it when I want to. Twitter (of course), Facebook and Instagram – I don’t really have to tell you what those do, right?

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Lightroom app for iOS is awesome for photo editing. The auto presets are a great place to start, and then you can tweak until your heart’s content.

As an amateur photographer, I’ve been uploading to Flickr for over 10 years now, so it’s almost as though I have my own iStock of photos on there. It’s awesome because I pretty much have a photo already taken for a lot of posts I might want to write. So, if I ever don’t have the time to take photos, I can usually pull from there. The Flickr app allows me to save my own photos and then I can upload them to WordPress. Job done!

As I begin to venture into the world of YouTube, the YouTube app has come in very handy, as has the YouTube Creator Studio app. It shows me views, stats, trends and comments all from one place. It also allows me to push videos live, share and copy links right from the app.

For planning I like to use the notes section on my phone, when out at about, and for proper planning I’ll use my Ultimate Blog Planner from Dot Creates. This planner allows me to make in depth notes, or even start writing the blog there and then. There are sections where I can write prompts for photo ideas I’ve had too. It’s really invaluable.

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Photo lighting comes in the form of either the Earth’s sun or, because this is England, I have a pair of softbox lights which I use for both photography and video. They’re pretty new to me so I’m still getting the hang of them, but I love the natural light they throw out. You can find the set I bought from Amazon here!

Other than on my phone, for photo editing on my laptop I use a really old version of Paint Shop Pro. I could upgrade but I know this software like the back of my hand, and if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it! I also use this software to make any graphics I need for my blog or elsewhere.

So, those are my ‘can’t do without’ blogging tools. I hope this helps you with your blog planning and editing, and please let me know if you use something you love that I haven’t mentioned!

Why I….. Started Reverse Washing My Hair

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I have what I would consider to be unmanageable hair. It’s poker straight, really fine and very flyaway. I can put my hair up in a pony tail and it’s the thinnest pony tail you’ve ever seen.

So, for the longest time I have to work hard to make my hair more coarse, less sleek and try to get some body and volume to it. I use Bumble and Bumble surf spray to add texture, and dry my hair in a twist to add shape.

My hair is colour treated – when it’s not, it’s too fine. I’ve died my hair red for 18 years, and in amongst those years I’ve also bleached it, which is what I do currently. I have a red/brown dye which I then top with blonde highlights so they go different shades of ginger and blonde. I love doing this and it definitely dries my hair out enough to give it some texture.

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I’ve used Aussie shampoo and conditioner for years. I like the way it makes my hair feel, it doesn’t coat my hair with silicone and it allows me to wash my hair every other day with no problems. Aussie shampoos and conditioners contain sulphates, which some people say is bad for your hair and strips hair colour. But I actually like my bleached bits to fade pretty fast once they’re done, so I can get the different tones to develop as briskly as possible.

When I heard about reverse hair washing, I think it was around the time that Tresemme released their reverse washing system. I don’t really like Tresemme so I didn’t head out and pick up their kit, but I did hop onto Google to see what the fuss was.

Reverse hair washing is simply using conditioner before you shampoo, instead of the other way around. Apparently it doesn’t work effectively with all types of shampoo and conditioner, but I didn’t want to splurge on more when I had a practically full bottle at home. The reverse washing method is supposed to be great for fine hair because conditioner can weigh hair down, so if you don’t end with it, but still condition, it can leave your hair feeling lighter.

After a little light research I discovered a method I liked the sound of. You wet your hair completely, condition well from the mid-length to the ends, leaving the roots (I can get greasy hair if I condition the roots too much) and then massage the hair. Leave it about a minute, if you have time, and then grab the shampoo. You then wash the conditioner out using the shampoo. This way the shampoo doesn’t strip your hair completely, as the conditioner is acting as a kind of barrier.

I washed my hair this way a couple of times, and didn’t really see a difference to start with. During this first week I also dyed and bleached my hair, and I did find the bleach settled in faster using the reverse method. But since I wasn’t seen a difference I went back to washing my hair the traditional way. After leaving it two days I started to wish I’d continued.

It was a subtle difference, but my hair did feel more manageable, healthier and when I combed my wet hair through directly after washing using the reverse method there were much less knots. So I went back to it!

I’ve been washing my hair ‘backwards’ now for over a month, and I’m converted. I really like how my hair feels. Like I said, it’s a really subtle difference, but I enjoy the way my hair feels, the condition of it and it’s less knotty. I even think it’s shinier!

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So, I’m going to carry on washing my hair this way for the forseeable future!

Have you tried this method of hair washing? How did you find it? Are you converted?

 

January Favourites

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And so we move into the second month of the year, in the hope that we can bypass the cold weather and all of a sudden be honoured with Spring-time. I wish!

It’s been crazy cold, icy, some people have had snow; but we have had plenty of lovely winter sun, so it’s not all bad.

This month, as well as upping the frequency of my blog posts a little, I’ve been able to post up a couple of videos to my YouTube channel, which is really exciting.

As well as that there have been some fab things on the TV, great music and I’ve had the chance to try out some of the beauty things I got for Christmas AND splurge a little on the January sales…

Let’s start with some music.

Ed Sheeran announced his new album and released two tracks from it, which went straight to number 1 and 2.

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My favourite of the two is Shape of You which I’ve had on repeat ever since. I can’t get enough of it, and I’m excited to hear the rest!

I mentioned in a past post I wrote about my 2016 in blogging, a planner that I’d picked up from Dot Creates.

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The Ultimate Blog Planner is a spiral bound notebook with sectioned pages designed to allow you to plan out your blogs as and when inspiration hits.

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I’ve actually started to really fill up the pages! Because it’s not dated you can write in it as and when you want, and it means you’ll never forget that glimmer of an idea you have because you can run and write it down when you have it! They come in 3 designs and are really inexpensive, so if you blog – go get one!

On a recent January sale shopping excursion we headed into The White Company, a shop I didn’t really go into, and saw they had a sale on their towels. We really needed to replace our towels since they were a wedding present 10 years ago – they’re still going strong, but they’d been washed and washed and washed… you get the picture. Anyway, we found these amazingly soft and HUGE bath sheets, hand towel and face cloth all in their sale.

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I swear when I wash my face with the face cloth it’s like rubbing my face with a fluffy puppy…. and when I get out of the bath and use my towel – woah mumma!

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Next, I finally took the plunge and bought a Beauty Blender. I’d never actually used a beauty sponge, but thought I’d see if they had any discounts on the Beauty Blender website. I managed to get a gift set which contained a pink and black sponge, a black micro sponge, a black oil blotter sponge and black sponge cleansing soap for £32 which I think is pretty good! They also included a free mini white sponge cleansing soap and mini cleansing liquid bottle too! So I think I got a great deal.

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Anyhow, I used the micro sponge and the pink Beauty Blender this past weekend and I’m really impressed. I’m mostly impressed with the micro sponge, and how it’s improved the look and longevity of my undereye concealer. Win!

Next, I want to talk about cleansing. I’ll admit it, that before Christmas I ONLY used miscellar water makeup wipes. They did me no harm, and they did the job. But since receiving the Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish cleanser at Christmas I have seen the error of my ways. It’s amazing.

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Not only does this variation smell amazing, but it’s so soft on my skin. It’s moisturising, gets all of my makeup and mascara off my face without needing to scrub and it leaves my skin feeling amazeballs!

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And last is this incredible body scrub from The Body Shop. I picked this up in their sale for about £6 I think.

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If you were reading my blog last year, you’ll know I’m pretty obsessed with any body products that are coconut and pineapple scented. So when I saw this, I HAD to get it.

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Not only does it smell amazing though, the product is incredible. It’s very soft and has just the right about of exfoliating grit in it. You rub it over your skin and afterwards you feel soft and moisturised for DAYS. I mean it – no need to moisturise afterwards but you’re not feeling greasy or anything. I’m obsessed!

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I’m hoping this is a whole range because I’ll definitely be picking up more scents if it is!

And that’s it for another month! Have you tried any of these? I’d love to hear what you think 🙂

My New Year Beauty Splurge

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I admit it, I decided at the beginning of the year that I wanted to treat myself, and buy some of the things I’d been lusting over towards the end of the year.

And finally all the items have arrived so I can tell you (brag) about them!

I haven’t tried all of these items yet, since, as I just mentioned, they’ve only just arrived, but I’m going to share them with you anyhow, and if I love them you just know they’ll feature in a future post!

So let’s start with a couple of bits I picked up for my hair. I have been growing my hair out mainly as a kind of experiment just to see how long I could get it to grow. I have a trim every 3 (read 6) months and tell my hairdresser to cut off as little as possible. This is all well and good, but my hair is very fine and not thick so I have to do a lot to it to make it look like it has volume and isn’t limp.

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I found out about Grow Gorgeous through twitter and decided I would take the plunge and try their Hair Growth Serum and End Split Ends serum. I haven’t started using them yet, but the hair growth serum is a 2 month supply if you use it daily (which I probably won’t) so I’ll keep you updated. It’s supposed to add thickness and healthiness to fine and thin hair and promote a longer mane. The split end serum, I’m sure you can guess, is to help with my wispy ends towards the time in which I really should be getting a trim. I’ve just had my hair cut, so I’ll be starting to use these very soon!

The next thing I picked up is a product I’m sure you all know about.

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The Anastasia Beverly Hills Modern Renaissance palette was probably the most sought after palette towards the end of 2016. Every beauty blogger and YouTuber was talking about it, and it was always either sold out or just darn hard to find in the UK. I saw it was in stock at Cult Beauty so went for it.

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There were a few reasons people were going nutty over this palette. Firstly, the quality of the shadows. They’re so pigmented that you only need a slight dab with the brush to get an adequate amount of product to apply. Secondly, this palette is mostly mattes with 3 shimmers. And the colours all go together. You can get masses of looks with this palette and there are so many combinations for different looks. Third, it comes with a nice brush and mirror and it’s light. It doesn’t feel like it’ll break in your suitcase. The brush isn’t the best but it’s enough to do the job, so you would do fine if you only had this to work with. I’ll level with you, at £41 this isn’t cheap, but it’s a gorgeous palette and I can see me getting use out this all year around. The shadows blend really nicely and because you barely need to use any it’ll last a long time before you hit pan.

Next, I was totally susceptible to Stila’s tweets advertising their sale and decided to pick up a few of their lip products. I got a nude liquid lipstick set featuring three of their Stay All Day lipsticks. They’re lovely shades, and so lightweight. They dry down very quickly but don’t drag or patch when you’re putting them on. Once they’ve settled they are transfer proof. I’ve only tried the colours so I can’t vouch for how long wearing they are, but I’ll let you know.

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I also picked up one of their glitter glosses. I’d been after a glitter gloss over the Christmas period, but didn’t see one I liked or was worth the cost. This Stila Metallics gloss in Citrine was £4.50 so I guessed even if it wasn’t for me it wouldn’t be a waste of money.

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But I LOVE it. Just look at the sparkles! It offers a lovely subtle glittery finish to bare lips and a metallic sheen as a lipstick topper. It smells lovely (as do the Stay All Day, liquid lipsticks) and when it wears off it leaves your lips all glittery (which I love). It is a sticky gloss, so if you don’t like that then you might not like this. I wore it on a windy evening and my hair stuck right to my face!

Next up, I’d been wanting to try an Urban Decay foundation for a while, and when a friend raved about the Naked Skin foundation for her oily skin I thought I’d give it a try. I was colour matched in store to be shade 1.0 and I was really pleased with the finish and the colour match. I’ve used it a few times now, and here’s what I think.

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This is a medium to buildable foundation. I expected to hate the smell and though it is a little painty to start with it goes away. It offers a matte finish, and I prefer a dewy finish so sometimes I use a hydrating primer underneath and that seems to help. It’s very easy to apply, goes on streak-free and with a brush offers a very natural finish. It doesn’t stay tacky, which I appreciate, but isn’t transfer proof. However each time I’ve used this (and with different primers underneath), around 3-4pm I noticed that my chin, nose and forehead oils had broken the makeup down and there was pretty much nothing left. I always set my t-zone with a powder too, so I don’t know if this was hindering rather than helping performance. It’s a shame. I need to work around this, and find out what’s going on with my skin and also which primer will work best with this. I really like this foundation so I’m willing to make it work! I’m going to try it with a setting spray and see if that changes anything.

Lastly, and mainly to get the free shipping when I ordered my palette, I picked up a Morphe brush to apply my new foundation with.

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It looked like it would be good for foundation and the reviews agreed, so I went for it. This is the Morphe Deluxe Buffer brush (M439) and it’s my first Morphe brush so I have high hopes for it. I’m looking forward to giving it a go!

And that was my splurge! Let me know if you’ve used any of these products because I’d love to know what you think. And if you have any Modern Renaissance palette looks you like, then let me know. I’d love to see how you’ve been using yours.