January beauty favourites

make-up hauls, product review

I’ve really started to dislike January with a passion. Financially crippled from Christmas, depressive grey weather (even snow in some parts), bitterly winds and de-motivational feelings – it’s certainly not the jolliest of months. However, it’s the start to a new year and with new beginnings brings new chances, new opportunities – and yes, you guessed it, new make up.

Just like every other beauty enthusiast I received some goodies for Christmas (I’m sure no-one buys me anything other than beauty products); and so I have been sampling them all through January. Here’s my favourites so far;

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1. Zoeva Eyeshadow Fix in Pearl, £8

I used to be one of those people who didn’t ”believe” in eye shadow primer. I thought it was merely a gimmick produced by the beauty industry to encourage us to consume more goods. Turns out I was terribly false, and actually, eye shadow primer is a must. It helps your eye shadow to appear more pigmented and gives staying power. I got this primer in Pearl, mainly because the retail assistant in Douglas in Berlin sold it to me; but also because I generally wear metallic shades of shadow. However, there is also a matte version available, if you feel that would suit you better.

2.Marc Jacobs Velvet Noir Mascara in Black, £22

This mascara has progressively grown on me. It gives amazing volume in no time at all, the brush is thick and long, long lashes cab be achieved in just a few swipes. No doubt you can replicate a similar effect with cheaper alternatives, but sometimes it’s nice to treat yourself to a bit of high end luxury.

3. Barry M Flawless Setting Spray, £4.99 

Brilliant value for money. I had Urban Decay All-Nighter Setting Spray previously – and I am adamant that this performs just as well. Preserves make-up to within an inch of its life.

4. Barry M Liquid Chrome Highlighter Drops in ‘At First Light’, £6.99

This has fast become my daily highlighter, it gives a natural yet pearlescent glow. Because it’s in liquid drop form, it’s easier to work with. You can apply and work into your cheekbones gradually. Add to foundation for an all over glow. Real-life mermaid vibes here.

5. Urban Decay Moondust Glitter Eyeshadow in ‘Space Cowboy’, £15.50 

I know it’s expensive for a single eye shadow, but it is so worth it. This glitter eye shadow is buildable, and the pigmentation is out of this world. You can wear it both casually or going out out. I’ve come to rely on it, whenever I want to add a dazzle to my make-up, oh and FYI it lasts AGES.

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Hormonal skin / acne defense kit

product review

You know only too well those dreaded feelings. Irritable, on edge, mentally imagining hurting people for saying the wrong thing. Craving everything in the world that is bad for you, chocolate, crisps, chips. I’ll have all the calories at once please. Just to add insult to injury, your skin is also plying havoc with you. Lovely great red bumps appearing in cute little mountains all over your face. Yep, you are about to menstruate. And it’s not fun.

For those of us suffering with acne (I only just realised I am now classified as an actual adult, skin condition has evolved into ‘adult acne’), or annoying breakouts right before our period; it can cause stress and lower self esteem. Because as if your devilish hormones didn’t make you feel bad enough, your skin also has to suffer for you being part of the female gender.

I have compiled a kit which helps eradicate the breakouts and keep spots at bay, whilst also targeting other skin concerns. I personally have acne, and severe dry patches of skin (possibly eczema). It can be difficult to find products which can cater for two contradicting issues. Hopefully this kit can be utilised by anyone with differentiating skin types, as I seem to have developed all of them at once!

Here is the ultimate skincare line up of all line ups:

1. What Skin Needs Skin Balm, £9.99

I have mentioned this miracle cream in previous posts, and it continues to amaze me. Containing exotic Aussie natural ingredients, the Balm promises to treat a number of dry skin conditions. This moisturiser will help renew hydration in the skin, which can be lost using stringent cleansing agents – especially when treating acne / spot breakouts.

2. Primark Cucumber & Aloe Hydrating Mist, £2.00 (Available in store)

Just to reiterate, it is mandatory to restore the moisture in your skin. I use this hydrating mist after cleansing my face, however it can also be spritzed on after make up application. Use throughout the day to enjoy a fresh burst of moisture. This is an unbelievably cheap dupe for Mario Badescus facial spray.

3. Vitamin E Dual Phase Cleansing Oil, £2.99

A great everyday cleanser which is gentle to skin. Although it may not assist with breakouts, it will help restore any damage caused by harsh acne treatments. My usual routine is to use a face mask once a week, and cleansing oil for the rest of the duration of the week. It’s easy to over cleanse when trying to eliminate spots and oily skin, counteract this with a cleansing oil.

4. Avon Anew Reversalist Night Treatment Cream, £20.00

This cream is aimed at ageing skin; however if you have been subjected to taking any type of oral acne treatment, or other medicinally prescribed treatments for conditions such as eczema; they often contain ingredients like steroids which can strip layers of skin and cause premature ageing. Not to mention all the chemicals which are features in drugstore ‘acne’ treatments which can also harm the skin over prolonged usage. I feel at 25, this is a great time to start targeting the early signs of wrinkles. This Avon dual treatment is scientifically proven to target wrinkles and improve skin elasticity. It works by rotation, you use the night treatments for one week at a time and alternate between the two. It contains a super retinol which boosts collagen and reduces wrinkles.

5. Dr Organic Rose Otto Face Mask, £7.99

I find this face mask is brilliant at calming down stressed skin; especially during or in the midst of a breakout. It contains natural China Clay, which draws out oils and impurities without being harsh on skin.

6. The Ordinary Advanced Retinoid 2%, £8.00

I use this intermittently when not using the Avon treatment (this product advises against using with other retinoid treatments). As standard with The Ordinary skincare range, I find this more of a treatment rather than an everyday product. On the day where you feel your skin has broken out – or is just about to. This is the perfect time to reach for this emulsion. Although this also contains super retinoids to target uneven skin tone and ageing. I find this also dries out spots, I use it after Cleansing and before moisturiser as a toner. It doubles up as a wrinkle treatment. Killing two birds with one stone!

With this kit your skin should be armed to face anything. The world can be falling apart around you, at least your skin will be flawless.

How to survive the festive period with depression 

opinion piece

It was at that moment that time stood still. Laying limply in a bath full of water which had long gone cold, still. Physically weakened by your own mental state, moving is not an option. Staring blankly at a blank wall, thoughts full of angst and pain. Angst and pain. 

Photography Credit: Nikita Campbell


If you battle depression or anxiety; you will be familiar with this situation, and these bleak feelings. The bad periods come and go, but I have noticed the festive period can be particularly challenging. 

Photography Credit: Nikita Campbell


It’s a time of year where we are expected to be appreciative, grateful and ‘happy’. What if we can’t keep up the pretence? What if we truly aren’t happy? Society at large and the media don’t cover this. This Christmas I found myself at an all time low, I can’t quite distinguish what was the root cause. I fear it may be a build up from what I can only describe as a very harrowing year. 

How can you make it through the period of happiness when you feel like utter rubbish? 

Don’t get caught up in the hype. I think one great tip is not to get caught up in the hype surrounding Christmas. We must remember it is a commercial holiday, with targeted advertising to sell products. It’s almost too easy to browse social media, or any media advertising and see these perfectly constructed images of how Christmas should be. Whether you are religious or not, we can all agree it is a good opportunity to be grateful for what we do have. And not think about what we don’t. 

Don’t suffer in silence. I believe that loneliness is a silent killer; and anyone who will be alone on Christmas (unless it’s by choice), should try their hardest not to be. You can also help relatives who will be alone by visiting, picking them up or even a simple phone call – it can make someone’s day, contributing to their overall mood. If family are too far away, talk to friends. Failing that, if you get into a real depressive mood you can always call the Samaritans suicide helpline at any time on 116 123. 

Don’t overthink. I have recently come to the realisation that my own brain is my worst enemy. I over think absolutely everything, and work my mind into a stage of anxiousness. I think this can be the case for a majority of people who have any type of mental health battle. Although it’s easier said than done, I always advice finding a release. For example, for me writing is a therapeutic activity that I enjoy. It keeps me busy and inspired. Find your activity and revert to that at times of need. 

Finally, I just wanted to make the effort to say that if anyone is reading this and is having a rough time; I would be happy to talk to you if you need. Don’t suffer in silence. Get in touch. Together we can raise awareness of mental health issues, one case at a time. 

Are commercial brands like Neutrogena suitable for sensitive skin? 

opinion piece

*Disclaimer; I am not a trained cosmetologist or scientist, opinions included within this post are based on my own experience, skin type, research and opinion* 

I know I have previously mentioned all of my hundreds of skincare concerns, however I am going to reiterate for the sake of this post. My skin seems to incessantly hate me, for it doesn’t matter how much time or money I spend trying to love it – it still misbehaves almost instantaneously. The main problem is that I have suffered with acne for the last 10 years, meaning my t-zone is naturally full of oil. I was taking accutane for a year to treat my acne (a very strong drug used to treat cancer and other ailments). This drug severely dries out your skin, so now I have both permanently oily and dry skin. Oily overall with dry peeling patches. So not ideal really. 

Over the last few years, I have tried and tested a myriad of skincare brands and products. And there seems to be one thing in common with a majority of them.  They are super stringent on sensitive skin, and consequently cause an over production of sebum – making any skin issues worsen. You see, if you strip your skin of its natural oils, as a defence mechanism your skin will start to product more sebum (oil). An over production of sebum is what causes acne. This is counter productive to treating your oily skin problem, as you are in fact adding to the issue. 

If your skin feels tight after your skincare regime, you may be using a cleanser containing alcohol. Or simply over cleansing. A lot of drugstore / commercial brands use alcohol within their face washes and toners. 

I recently attended a press event for Neutrogena, where I received these skincare products in my goodie bag:Using these products just emphasised to me how there is an entire branch of the skincare industry misadvertising. If we take the above cleanser as an example, ‘gently cleanses..’ – there is nothing gentle about this cleanser I can assure you. I have attempted to use this cream wash and it totally dried out my skin. It contains alcohol AND salicylic acid. Now, although salicylic acid is known for its acne fighting properties. What these advertisers often don’t mention is that prolonged use can dry and thin skin, and cause excessive dryness. The combination of these two ingredients plus a whole host of other chemicals makes these products very drying. There are also websites where you can check if a product contains irritant ingredients, this is helpful as you can check before investing. It’s important to remember that some of these ingredients are necessary, however try to choose products with less harmful amounts of these irritant ingredients. 

I’m sure that these products may be suitable for those with less sensitive skin. However the fact that some of the ingredients are harmful to skin, rings alarm bells in my mind. 

If you do have sensitive skin, I would avoid brands that make products similar to this. Remember to check ingredients before purchasing. Here are some other tips to stop you from over-drying your skin; 

1. Limit chemical exposure 

If you can, try to cleanse with a plain oil or water. Of course you can use a gentle oil or make up remover to take off make up beforehand 

2. Tone it down 

A lot of toners are stringent and drying. They often contain perfumes, alcohol and salicylic acid. Check the ingredients, and remove them from your skincare regime 

3. Creamy dreamy 

Invest in an appropriate moisturiser for your skin type. Especially for over night moisturisation, this will help to repair skin and leave it replenished in the morning 

The conclusion is that you must be over careful when purchasing skincare products. Always check and research ingredients – and be aware of what your own skin can handle and needs. Every facial wash out there is going to emphasise how brilliant it is – we must learn to read between the lines. I think as consumers we can often become lazy, and we trust certain brands because they have a huge reputation. This does not necessarily mean that they always have our best interests at heart. Products are produced on a mass scale to make money. Sometimes, you have to stop and think about what exactly you are choosing to lump on your skin. 

November beauty heroes 

product review

The past month has been crazy busy; and what has been a flurry of beauty reviews, starting a new job and alcohol fuelled event launches has just flown by. Having a superabundance of products to try is certainly nothing to complain about, but it does however making choosing the best of the bunch a hard job. 

Here is what I’ve loved this month and why: 

1. Protect the skin your in 

What skin needs, Skin balm, £9.99 

Forever fighting a battle against my skin, I’m always on the lookout for ‘miracle’ products to surpress my ever growing list of skin concerns. This skin balm works at reducing several types of irritations, including eczema, dry skin, acne and sunburn. It is made in Australia, and derived from a Phyto Activated plant extract. From the first night I used it, I saw a visible difference to my skin condition. An absolute steal at £9.99. 
2. Perfect for Christmas, perfect for you 

Ghost sweetheart gift set, £38 

This gift set is amazing value for £38. It contains a 50ml version of the Ghost Sweetheart perfume (which is absolutely enchanting, without being overpowering), two nail varnishes, a candle, a make up bag and body butter. Everything smells divine, everything has rose gold on it. It’s a beauty bloggers dream. This would make a perfect Christmas gift for a loved one, or why not for yourself!? 

3. Sometimes natural 
Kiss Lash Couture Eyelashes in Little Black Dress, £5.32 

As a serial lash wearer (I feel terribly bald without them), it’s difficult to find daily lashes. The trouble of searching for a glamorous false lash that isn’t totally ridiculous in the workplace. I think I have finally found a feasible solution! Kiss’ latest Lash Couture range uses faux mink lashes, which are soft and easy to use but give a good length. They look really pretty on, a lovely flirty natural lash. 

Kiss Lash Couture Lashes in ‘Little Black Dress’

Winter miracle: Balmkind Alpine & Lysine lip balm 

product review

I have previously mentioned in my blogposts that I suffer from an overactive bladder, without boring you with the medical details – this means I take medication to relax the bladder muscles. One of the most annoying side effects, is the severe drying I encounter on my lips through taking these tablets. This means my intense struggle to find a stable lip balm to see me through winter, is an uphill one to say the least. 


Desperately trying to soften my medically induced dry lips I have tried a plethora of lip balms including, but not limited to: Burts Bee’s, Vaseline (both the stick and the pot versions), Carmex (my usual go-to) and also Eve Lom. A majority of the mentioned lip balms provide temporary relief from the dryness, but do not condition the lips with any longevity. 

Super excited to try a new lip balm I was sent from Balmkind, I was filled with a hopelessly optimistic glimmer of hope that I may have finally found ‘the one’. 

Balmkind is a relatively new brand which was launched earlier this year, the lip balm is infact the only product they currently sell. I really like the fact they use antixiodant rich ingredients; Alpine Rose and Lysine (an essential Amino Acid). This means the lip balm not only nourishes, but aims to improve the overall condition of the lips, especially over longer periods of use. 

How did it perform? 

It has a lovely consistency, it’s not sticky or gloopy. It sits on your lips, and provides a lovely natural pink tone. I did find it to be brilliant at nourishing my lips, and it would be a good buy for anyone who suffers with parched lips. When testing lip balms I generally like to carry out what I call a ‘Re-application test’. This refers to the amount of time I take to feel as if I need to re-apply the balm, you know that dry nagging that almost hurts – it’s at that precise despairing moment in time we reach to re-apply. Balmkind lasted 35 minutes without me needing to re-apply, and that is pretty darn impressive by my standards. 

Our lips are often one of the areas we neglect, however it is mandatory to exfoliate and moisturise them accordingly; if not regularly, this should be done every once in a while as part of our skin care regimes. It is part of our skin after all. 

Overall score – 8/10 

The lip balm is £14 and available here

Versatile Blogger Award nomination

award

One of the fundamental reasons I started blogging is because of my passion for writing; one of the reasons why I did a Bachelors degree in Journalism, and arguably one of the only things I am actually good at. Blogging for me encapsulates my love for writing, and gives me the creative control to write about what I want, what I enjoy and what inspires me. Initially I aimed to write about deeper issues with the beauty and fashion industries; however holding down a full time job gives me severe time restrictions and so my longer, in-depth, opinion pieces are somewhat limited. Publishing reviews (still well-written and not one dimensional) has proceeded to become my forte.

I’m so honoured to be nominated for this award; it still amazes me that anyone would read anything I write – beyond close friends and family. Let alone over 400 people (the number is ever increasing, not to sound conceited at all!). It feels great that my writing can reach so many people, and if it entertains, inspires or helps even just one of you – then my job is done. I would like to thank Multibendybeauty for nominating me, what a sweetheart!

About the Versatile Blogger Award

The Versatile Blogger Award is pretty self-explanatory; the aim is to recognise bloggers who publish well-written and unique content.

If you are nominated, you’ve been awarded the Versatile Blogger Award.

There are some simple rules when being nominated for the Versatile Blogger Award;

  • You should post about your nomination, and thank the fellow blogger who nominated you
  • You must nominate 15 other bloggers you follow that inspire you
  • You must use one of the approved pictures for your feature image on your post
  • You are advised to include 7 facts about yourself

My 15 nominees for The Versatile Blogger Award are (in no particular order):

 

Seven (random) facts about me:

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  1. Those who know me on a personal level will already know this; but I have a worrying obsession with cars. My blog is focused on beauty, so a lot of you don’t get to see this side of my life – but cars make up a huge part of my life.
  2. I’m naturally brunette but have been colouring my hair since I was around 15 (and yes, luckily I do still have some left which is a miracle)
  3. I used to love piercings, and I have 3 not including my ears. I have my tongue pierced, my belly button and a medusa piercing above my lip.
  4. I don’t have any tattoos, and I don’t think I would get any unless it had a significant meaning. I have nothing against them, I just find it’s increasingly difficult to design unique designs – and I would not want to be stuck with one the rest of my life for the sake of it. It’s got to be worth it.
  5. I have a cat called Gucci. And yes she is just as high maintenance as her name.
  6. Food is another huge obsession of mine, infact this is a massive understatement. Most of my life revolves around food. How I am not obese is truly astonishing.
  7. I speak German and my dad is German (Mum is English).

Thank you for reading this post. I wish all nominees the best with their blogging careers, and heres to many more successful years of blogging.