Why you should visit Croatia in October

reviews, travel

It may seem like a pretty random time to jet off to a beach holiday, but October in Croatia is literal perfection. It’s the end of their holiday season, which means you can have free reign of the pool, sun loungers and all associated excursions. The temperature at this time of year is comfortable, ranging from 24-26 degrees on average.

My friend Elizabeth and I have just returned from spending one week in Makarska, Croatia. Makarska is a town located around an hour and a half drive from Split airport, it is on the Adriatic coast line and very scenic. You get the ultimate combination of mountains, forestry, plus a Mediterranean style coastline.

I have visited many countries all over Europe, but I must say Croatia really impressed me. Here are the main reasons why you should visit (any time of year really, but October is exceptionally good):

1. Weather

Although the official average for October is between 24 – 26 degrees, it feels much warmer than this. I sunbathed on a day where the temperature was 26 degrees, and developed a bronze tan in under two hours! The sun is intense and there is almost no humidity (nothing like the UK summer sun). The October sun is great as it isn’t too over bearing, don’t get me wrong you can still burn (I have the itches to prove this). But it’s comfortable, especially when sleeping at night.

2. Culture

There are thousands of Croatian islands and I would recommend visiting even a handful when you visit. We did a boat tour to the islands of Brač and Hvar, and each island has unique qualities to offer. Hvar was rural, and it was fantastic to see the locals selling a myriad of Lavender produces (grown naturally on the island), plus many herbs and chillies grown there. The architecture is beautiful, as much of the island contains limestone, buildings and houses are pale which provides a lovely contrast to the deep blue of the sea, and the palm trees.

The island of Brač is the longest Croatian island and has an amazingly beautiful coastline; the length makes it a paradise for divers and water sports fanatics.

(Below – View of the Adriatic Coastline from the Island of Brač)

And here are some from Hvar island:

Not only does Croatia have fantastic produce to offer, there is an array of wildlife on each island too. When travelling between islands we spotted many dolphins, and our tour guide informed us that there are also whales and sharks in the Adriatic Sea. Many of the islands have lizards, snakes and wild cats!

3. End of season

Despite October being the most perfect heat in Croatia, it’s also grand to visit in October as it’s not too busy. There are still plenty of excursions you can experience, but it’s not heaving with tourists. I think that this enhances your experience and allows you to really take in the views and culture (and of course the all important sun bathing!).

If you have ever considered visiting Croatia, and you were on the fence about your decision. Let me make it for you. Go to Croatia, you will have your breath taken away. It is rich in culture, hospitable, and stunning to look at. I may have just found paradise on Earth…

I’d like to give a special thanks to TUI and the TUI Sensimar Adriatic Beach Resort. The TUI representatives and the hotel staff were more than accommodating, they went above and beyond. They each made this trip one in a lifetime.

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My Anti-Ageing Skincare Routine At 25

product review, skincare

You may be thinking it is a little premature for me to start thinking about my skin ageing. Why am I worrying about wrinkles before I even get old? But the truth is, would you wait to clean your car after 6 months? Would you let leaves, pollution, dirty rain water (plus more additionally disgusting things) build up to the point your car is unrecognisable? The answer is no. When we can visually see something depreciating and decaying, we often step in to stop the process. Why should our skin be any different?

In fact we should be even more stringent with our skin because it has to endure a lot. So I’ve decided to actively start to maintain my skin and do everything I can, yes at age 25, to eradicate the chances of premature ageing. Of course, having a good skincare routine isn’t going to roll back decades for us. There are many other external factors which can age skin. Stress, smoking, sun damage and even genetics can make us predisposed to ageing. That is why it is mandatory to replenish the skin where you can.

As a blogger / reviewer / social media influencer / I don’t even know what to refer to myself as anymore, I have reviewed a plethora of skincare products. What works for me personally is keeping to a routine, consistency is key. Decent products that work together.

I’ve recently been using the Drops of Youth collection by The Body Shop, combined with the Oils of Life intensely revitalising cream. These products are from two of The Body Shops Premium skincare ranges, thus, they are a little pricier but well worth it. Here is a breakdown of each product and the order in which I use them;

Drops of Youth, Youth essence lotion, £15 for 160ml

A gel to water toner which is to be used straight after cleansing. It is extremely hydrating, infused with a blend of three plant stem cells. This sits well with my skin in particular as it’s more of an oily toner, as opposed to conventionally stringent toners.

Drops of Youth, Youth Concentrate, £33 for 50ml

This is essentially a serum concentrate designed to target the first signs of ageing. It smells magnificent, and leave your skin with a moisturising glow.

Drops of Youth, Youth Bouncy Eye Mask, £18 for 20ml

An absolute wonder of a product. The eye mask can be applied directly under eyes to refresh them, or used as an overnight sleeping mask. I personally suffer terribly with dark circles and this is the only product that has ever visibly improved them. Enriched with cucumber extract, the non sticky formula helps to address the first signs of ageing.

Oils of Life, Intensely Revitalising Cream, £26 for 50ml

This cream infuses three well known seed oils from around the world, with perfecting micro pearls that replenish skin. I have been using this as the last step in my routine, both day and night. It is light enough for use in the day, but is excellent as an overnight treatment cream. Designed to fight the signs of ageing and provide intense replenishment to skin. Love it, and how silky it makes my skin feel.

The Drops of Youth and Oils of Life collections are available on The Body Shop website, and in store. You can also order through a consultant like myself; send me a message for further information.

Aadnevik SS19 London Fashion Week collection

Events & launches

Aadnevik is a name in fashion synonymous with femininity; a London based atelier that dresses celebrities alike. The brand was created by Kristian Aadnevik, and is now a design partnership between himself and wife, Hila Aadnevik. Basing their entire brand on values such as family tradition, passion and hard work. With made to measure bespoke pieces available, attention to detail and accentuating the female form have become key characteristics to Aadnevik pieces.

You can imagine my sheer excitement when I was asked last week to attend Aadnevik’s SS19 show for LFW. On behalf of The Beauty Guild Gazette I had been granted backstage access, and a ticket to the main fashion show. I tried to act all coy about it, but truth be told this was my very first fashion show in the flesh! Within my mind I had been attending them since I was a little girl. Aimlessly sitting for hours watching Versace runway shows, fingering my way through Vogue magazines and designing my own stylistic dresses (that were basically huge squares with bows on). This was a huge tick off of my life bucket list.

How was my first fashion show at LFW?

As mentioned I had backstage access, I managed to gather some half decent pictures on my iPhone. Moroccan oil were doing the hair styles on the models, and the look was very natural. The idea was to juxtapose innocent, natural waves with the sensuality of the dresses and fierce eye make up. Think of a grown up sexy version of Alice in Wonderland.

You can see all the models had their hair plaited, with heat applied to help the waves have extra staying power. Then, products were ran through the hair as the plaits were let out. Revealing loose waves that anyone could obtain.

The eye make up was a bold blue, reminiscent of mermaid eye make up. Ethereal feels all round. The entire collection was inspired by Alice in Wonderland, and this theme flowed throughout.

The dresses were nothing short of absolutely beautiful. Lace, leather, sheer, silk. The epitome of luxurious, with a hint of enchantment.

All of the dresses together;

Overall I loved the excitement of the runway. Watching the stunning models seamlessly saunter up and down in these opulent pieces, I was in fashion heaven. Yes fashion shows are hectic. Yes they usually run late and have crowds squeezed into one tiny room with sweat dripping your back. Is the actual show worth all of this? Yes. It certainly was. And this will not be my last visit to London Fashion Week.

Beauty Kitchen The Protector hair primer review

product review

So you’ve heard of a primer for your skin right? Smoothing it on like filler, prepping your skin before make up application. It has become a staple in our modern make up routines. What about a primer for your hair?

I was lucky enough to be sent a box of free goodies from Triyit; a company that launches social media campaigns to raise the profile of new and upcoming products. By sending out these products (completely free of charge!) to a matching demographic, and offering prizes for pics – the profile of these products and brands gets consequently raised.

In the most recent campaign, amongst the goodies we received was a Karine Jackson & Beauty Kitchen The Protector Multi purpose primer for hair. I was instantly drawn to its packaging, it has a somewhat environmental yet modern feel. The mantra behind the product adheres to this image. The primer is formulated by 100% natural ingredients, which in turn shields hair from brush and heat damage, protects from UV Rays and pollution.

Karine Jackson is actually a global pioneer for natural, ethically sourced & vegan hair care. The entire range she’s collaborated with The Beauty Kirchen to create is 100% natural and 100% vegan.

I think it’s really important that beauty products are embracing the need to protect against pollution. I’ve seen pollution protection in skincare in recent years – but overjoyed to now see this progression appearing in hair care products. External, environmental factors like pollutants in the atmosphere and weather conditions can cause lacklustre, flat, dried out hair.

What did I think of the primer?

I love applying this type of priming product to my hair after towel drying it. I’m very careful to only apply to the ends, as my hair can get greasy super fast.

Using this felt like a spa treatment, it has a really herbal, Ayurvedic smell that reminds me of Camden market in a reminiscent way. After blow drying my hair, it was super super soft – I could feel the difference from the wash before without using the primer.

As mentioned above, I think with a product like this that has been produced with morality in mind for a millennial market. It’s also about conscience. Not just a product that looks aesthetically fabulous and makes your hair soft. In all honesty any decent hair care product can do that. But actually buying into a brand and product that believes in the power of nature. The necessity of protection from environmental element exposure to hair and skin. A guilt free product.

Probably the best beauty quote I’ve ever heard in passing is the following: ‘You shouldn’t apply anything to your hair and skin that you wouldn’t eat.’

It’s metaphorical, obviously don’t go swallowing your Body Shop Vitamin E moisturiser. The point is to apply non chemical, non damaging products to your skin and hair.

Power to the primer! And pow to the power of nature ☄️

Karine Jackson’s The Protector Multi-Purpose Primer is £14 for 50ml, and available here

Why millennials are struggling with mental health issues

opinion piece

In a world where we compete to look like we are living our best life on social media, how many of us can honestly say we are truly happy?

Putting on a false smile in front of the camera, teeth gleaming, hair blowing in the wind – all whilst having a panic attack, intense palpitations, sweats of bead building on your palms. Look at you. You’re a walking contradiction. Your 10k followers on Instagram believe you lead the perfect life, but behind closed doors you often have dark intrusive thoughts. Penetrating thoughts that lead you to believe that you are worthless, lazy and a failure.

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Whilst social media may heighten the pressure young people feel to portray a perfect life style, it is far from the only issue contributing to mental health declination. Just imagine being trapped at your parental home until the ripe age of at least 28, working the most tedious job because employers won’t employ you in the sector you desire to work in; due to lack of ‘’experience’’- yet no one will give you a chance to gain experience. £40,000 worth of debt just to educate yourself, which in turn seems pointless as no one will give you a break? Brexit talks heighten the air of uncertainty. Political misdemeanour’s (corporate manslaughter at Grenfell Tower) and austerity push everyone to the limit both financially and socially. Young males being stabbed all around you on a daily basis. This is just the tip of the iceberg, I could go on.

Would you want to live like this? Choosing between having children or a stable career? Working full time and still not being able to afford decent food?

Sounds like a really messed up Hollywood film right? Because this is the reality of how most millennials are living right now.

I believe that our generation are struggling. It is not entirely impossible to succeed in the current climate; it just takes a lot of determination and discipline. But naturally we mustn’t forget that all these factors can contribute to a person’s mental state and well-being.  Life in your twenties is naturally a time of self-discovery, finding yourself and who you truly want to be. With these added societal pressures, both off-line and online, it can become overwhelmingly destructive for some people. Individuals will always have personal issues, and these need to be reviewed individually. However, at a time in your life where you yearn to progress and the system keeps beating you down, it is completely de-motivating for young people.

Unfortunately we cannot change politics, or at least the negative trickling effects it can have on us. But what we can change is our attitudes towards mental health. If you see someone updating a Facebook status stating how depressed they are, instead of calling them an attention seeker learn to see it as a cry for help. There have already been so many suicides this year committed by young people. Simple gestures and listening can have the power to help mental health sufferers. We have to keep pushing for change, more recognition, more funding for mental health services.

As fucked up as this system is, it is never going to beat me.  

Yours Sincerely,

Michelle (A struggling journalist pushing for a break)

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The definitive list of Skincare Ingredients

skincare, top tips

Suffering from a myriad of skincare ailments during my 25 years of life thus far has given me a natural interest in skincare, and ingredients used within skincare products.

Over the years I have experimentally tried various homemade concoctions and shop bought products in the search for perfect skin; ranging from grinding green tea leaves with Manuka honey and smothering the sticky mixture onto my face in a clumpy manner, all the way to using a £130 Chanel face cream, and actually being naïve enough to believe it would make me look ten years younger. I believe I have researched, reviewed, tried and tested so many skincare products that I have now become somewhat of a skincare connoisseur. What I have reluctantly realised is that informing yourself on ingredients is paramount to choosing the right skincare for your skins needs. Below I have compiled a list of what I have found to be the most popular and effective ingredients presently being used in skincare.

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A – Amino Acids – Formed to build Creatine, Amino Acids will support natural skin functions. Cells are stimulated to produce more collagen and elastin. This helps to maintain younger looking skin.

[Recommended for Anti-Aging / All Skin Types]

Vitamin A – Topical Vitamin A used in creams and serums is proven by dermatologists as anti-aging. UV Exposure and other environmental factors cause the production of collagen to slow down, consequently causing early signs of ageing. Vitamin A (and Retinol / Retinoid which are derivatives of Vitamin A) ‘’turn on cells’’ that are responsible for producing new collagen, actively fighting signs of ageing and blitzing fine lines (Canyon Ranch, 2018).

[Recommended for Anti-Aging / All Skin Types – Vitamin A can be drying, use sparingly on sensitive & dry skin types]

B – BHA – BHA is an acronym for Beta Hydroxy Acid. This is the structural name for Salicylic acid that can be used to fight signs of acne. Salicylic Acid gets through oil and helps to normalize pores, reducing the production of blackheads and spots. Don’t let the word ‘’acid’’ put you off (skincare acids are not the type that burn through your skin, thank goodness because that would be worrying!), BHA contains naturally calming and exfoliating properties, giving skin a rejuvenating glow.

[Recommended for Oily skin & Acne sufferers]

C – Caffeine – Being a stimulant, caffeine can offer anti-oxidant benefits to skin. It penetrates skin and is ultra-soothing.

[Recommended for those with non-sensitive skin as Caffeine can potentially be an irritant]

Collagen – Perhaps one of the ingredients we are more familiar with, but what does Collagen actually do for our skin? Collagen is a protein found throughout our body. It is produced naturally within our skin, and one of its fundamental functions is to provide elasticity. However, with factors such as stress, ageing, pollutants and UV damage affecting skin over time – collagen production can slow down. Using skincare products with added collagen will help to maintain the skins elasticity and firmness that we associate with youthful skin.

[Recommended for Anti-Aging / All Skin Types]

D – Vitamin D – When we talk about Vitamin D we generally think about UV Rays, However, Vitamin D oils and serums can be hugely beneficial to skin. Vitamin D helps to minimise acne, retain skins elasticity and lessen fine lines. UV Rays from the sun help the body to naturally produce Vitamin D; moreover if you live in a northern climate it is possible to develop a deficiency. You can orally take Vitamin D supplements, or search for skincare that contains Vitamin D.

[Recommended for Oily / Combination skin]

G – Glycolic Acid – Glycolic Acid exfoliates the skin, it is often used in toners / toning solutions. It helps to shed dead skin, giving a natural glow and radiance.

[Recommended for Oily / Combination skin]

H – Hyaluronic Acid – Ah yes the wonder ingredient that is absolutely everywhere at the moment! Hyaluronic acid is a humectant, which means that it is a moisture binding ingredient. It helps to keep skin plump, firm and younger looking. FYI – it is a naturally found compound in the body, which is also used (completely safely may I add) in lip fillers, hence the ‘’plumping’’ affect.

[Recommended for Anti-Aging / All Skin Types]

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M – Marula Oil – Marula Oil is essentially made up of many fatty acids. Because of this it has the potential to deeply hydrate skin, healing skin and improving elasticity. If used regularly it can improve skin softness.

[Recommended for Anti-Aging / All Skin Types / Particularly Dry Skin]

P – Peptides – When collagen breaks down, short segments of amino acids are formed. These are the tiny proteins and active molecules known as peptides. Peptides in skin care can provide significant anti-aging benefits (Mango Madness Skincare, 2018).

[Recommended for Anti-Aging / All Skin Types]

R – Retinol – Retinol is essentially a large dose of Vitamin A, used for anti-aging in skincare. Retinol, like Vitamin A, will boost collagen production – banishing fine lines and wrinkles. It is important to remember to only use one Retinol treatment at a time, and to use sun protection – Retinol can thin the skin layers by gently scrubbing away at dead skin cells. This can leave skin open to sun damage if you use Retinol daily for longer durations.

[Recommended for Anti-Aging / All Skin Types – Vitamin A can be drying, use sparingly on sensitive & dry skin types /Also recommended for Acne & Hyperpigmentation]

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S – Squalane – Often named as the replacement for Argan and Coconut oil, Squalane oil offers many benefits for skin. It is derived from plants, and the same oil is naturally produced in our bodies. Using it topically helps to main Squalane oil levels as we age. It is also noncomedegenic, which means it is one of the oils least likely to clog pores (Popsugar, 2017).

[Recommended for Anti-Aging / All Skin Types]

V – Vitamin C – We all aware of the health benefits of Vitamin C, as it is often recommended to fight to common cold. But did you know this Vitamin is also a powerhouse for skincare? Due to its anti-oxidant properties Vitamin C helps skin to fight off any oxidative stress. Results show that over time Vitamin C will help your skin to enhance its natural defence system.  Vitamin C is also great for anti-aging.

[Recommended for Anti-Aging / All Skin Types] 

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Rodin Mermaid Collection Luxury Lip Oil review

product review

What could be more enchanting than an entire beauty collection dedicated to a mythical creature? Linda Rodin (creator of Rodin Olio Lusso), always felt she was a mermaid in a previous life. She enlisted the help of her artist friend Donald Robertson to collaborate and design this simply magical mermaid collection. Donald’s artwork on the packaging of the entire collection makes the ever classy Rodin products even more alluring.

I have been reviewing the Mermaid Luxury Lip Oil. The mermaid collection has a running theme of illumination and fantasy. Each product designed to shine and glow gloriously. The Luxury lip oil is a gold based lip oil that universally suits all. It provides an incandescent shine reminiscent of, well, mermaids.

How does the Luxury Lip Oil perform?

Once you have got over the sheer excitement of the packaging and concept of potentially looking like a mermaid; using the product gives the exact same feeling!

The Luxury Lip Oil glides seamlessly onto bare lips, or alternatively on top of lipstick. Glossy, but not sticky, metallic lips are the outcome. What I really love is the lip oil not only looks aesthetically fantastic, it contains an array of nourishing ingredients including Vitamin E, Sunflower Oil and Olive Fruit Oil. These moisturising ingredients are particularly helpful at protecting sensitive lips, and even more relevant in the recent blistering heat we’ve been experiencing the UK. Excessive heat and sun ray exposure not only dries skin, but lips too.

A lip oil is one of those products that you wouldn’t necessarily fall into a shop rushing to buy, but once you have it you cannot imagine life without it. I believe this lip oil is great for summer, to enhance a naturally radiant look.

I think this product could be used to create an eye catching lip look, that can be worn both casually or dressed up. I’m excited to attempt to create some stunning looks with this by the time I jet off this year so stay tuned!

Follow me on Instagram to stay up to date with my make up looks; @versaceblonde

Rodin Olio Lusso’s Mermaid Collection is available at Liberty London. The Mermaid Luxury Lip Oil retails at £25 and is available here.