Wednesday, 18 October 2017

My Guide to The Ordinary-Hits and Misses

I've written about The Ordinary before and how much I have embraced this ridiculously affordable, results driven, scientific, skincare range which has really kicked the higher end beauty market up the backside. And about time too. Why should looking after your skin and treating it to quality ingredients that actually work only be for the rich?

I've been using lots of different products from The Ordinary for a while now and so can give you my honest thoughts. I have to say my thoughts on some items have changed and maybe I got swept up in the hype of this range, and the long waiting lists but overall, for your and my money, I still love the concept and range and will continue to try out new serums and acids.
(I've included information from The Ordinary website on the individual skincare products in italics below).
Coverage Foundation and Serum Foundation
I've tried both the lighter coverage (more like a BB cream) Serum Foundation and the Coverage Foundation, which is a thicker medium coverage. The Serum was great in the summer and when I still had a bit of tan on my face, it doesn't feel heavy and doesn't sit in a lines or crevices.
The Coverage Foundation is a slightly thicker consistency and gives a fuller coverage. Although it sits nicely on my skin, this is the second shade I've tried (this one after being colour matched in store) and it definitely oxidates on me as the day goes on. Oxidation is when a product reacts with oxygen and with foundations, when oxidation happens, the shade goes darker, almost orangey. And this is what has happened with the Coverage foundation for me. So although everyone has raved about this, particular because of its bargain price, and I loved it at first, it's now a miss.
Alpha Lipoic Acid
Alpha Lipoic Acid is a highly potent antioxidant and can restore a renewed skin appearance, improving visible skin texture and tone when applied topically. This formulation uses an exceptionally high 5% concentration of high-purity Alpha Lipoic Acid. 
This is a serum to "brighten and target signs of age". As this is highly concentrated, you should only use it 2-3 times a week. Well firstly, I keep forgetting to apply it. I'm not very good with 2-3 times a week things. All or nothing or it falls off my radar. Can't say I've seen any significant difference to my skin. But maybe I need to use it consistently. Can't justify as a miss but I personally won't be repurchasing.

AHA + BHA Peeling Solution
Alpha hydroxyl acids (AHA) exfoliate the skin's topmost surface for a brighter and more even appearance. Beta hydroxyl acids (BHA) also exfoliate the skin with an extended function to help clear pore congestion. This combined 32% AHA/BHA solution offers deeper exfoliation to help fight visible blemishes and for improved skin radiance. The formula also improves the appearance of skin texture and reduces the look of fine lines with continued use. 
I've already written about this acid mask in my recent Making and Faking Glowing Skin post. It works, I love it, I will not be without it. 

Glycolic Acid Toning Solution
I really like this. I've been using glycolic as a toner step and to exfoliate for a while now. I used a couple of different brands but this affordable and large sized bottle is my favourite by far and I kid you not, on first use I could see my skin glowing.
Glycolic Acid is an alpha hydroxyl acid that exfoliates the skin. This 7% toning solution offers mild exfoliation for improved skin radiance and visible clarity. The formula also improves the appearance of skin texture with continued use. 
Azelaic Acid Suspension
This is another acid but in a cream solution. It's easy to use - twice a day under moisturiser. The aim of the Azelaic Acid is to brighten and improve skin texture and help to clear spots and blemishes. This is a nice to have/princess product. I like how it feels, it's not heavy or tacky on my skin but again I'm not sure it brings anything extra to the table. It's one of those products I like using but I'm not sure why. So it's a hit but not an essential hit.
Found in grains, Azelaic Acid is produced naturally by yeast that lives on normal skin. It brightens the skin tone while visibly improving the evenness of skin texture and reducing the look of blemishes. It is a multi-functional support ingredient for all skin types and also acts as an effective antioxidant. This formula offers a very high 10% concentration of high-purity Azelaic Acid in a lightweight cream-gel system.

High-Adherence Silicone Primer
This primer is targeted at those of us with oily/combination skin. But I don't rate it, for my skin anyway. And for the past few days, I've stopped using it and my skin has been less shiny and looks slightly better, even at the end of the day, without it. Maybe this is due to the time of the year/change in weather or that I'm consciously trying not to overload my skin. Miss.
This formula uses advanced adaptive silicones to act as a matte, hydrating, blurring primer for makeup that looks higher in definition and adheres for longer. The formula can also be used alone as a non-greasy hydrator that reduces the looks of pores and of imperfections. 

Vitamin C Suspension
I've read so many articles about how Vitamin C is a proven ingredient in reversing/slowing down signs of anti-ageing. But I really didn't get on with this. The texture is very gritty and oily and then I got quite a few spots each time I used it. So for me, it's a miss as my skin just didn't like it.
Vitamin C is an effective antioxidant and its pure form of L-Ascorbic Acid has been shown to reverse multiple signs of skin ageing while brightening the skin when applied topically. This water-free, silicone-free formula provides 23% pure L-Ascorbic Acid which remains completely stable due to the absence of water. The system is supported with addition of dehydrated spheres of Hyaluronic Acid to offer visible surface smoothing alongside the benefits of Vitamin C. This treatment is ideally applied at bedtime.
Hyaluronic Acid
Hyaluronic Acid (HA) can attract up to 1,000 times its weight in water. The molecular size of HA determines its depth of delivery in the skin. This formulation combines low-, medium- and high-molecular weight HA, as well as a next-generation HA crosspolymer at a combined concentration of 2% for multi-depth hydration. This system is supported with the addition of Vitamin B5 which also enhances surface hydration.
Says it all really doesn't it? Why would you not want to use hyaluronic acid, twice a day, every day. This formula is light, non sticky and soaks in quickly. Hit.

Salicylic Acid
Salicylic Acid is a beta hydroxyl acid that exfoliates the skin. This 2% treatment solution helps exfoliate the inside walls of pores to fight the appearance of blemishes and for better visible skin clarity with continued use. 
I've been using Sudocrem on spots for years and it works - put some on at bedtime, wake up the next morning and no spot. Salicyclic acid is the ingredient for spots and blemishes and this clear serum can be applied for day wear, and without the tell tale white thick cream you get with Sudocrem. This works well, clears spots and now and then I will apply all over for a pore clearing treatment. Hit.

Niacinamide (Vitamin B3) is indicated to reduce the appearance of skin blemishes and congestion. A high 10% concentration of this vitamin is supported in the formula by zinc salt of pyrrolidone carboxylic acid to balance visible aspects of sebum activity.
This sounds like a wonder product and I've read a few rave reviews from people who have seen great results with this. For me, not so much. No adverse reaction but just not enough of a significant improvement to my skin to want to re-purchase.
Advanced Retinoid
This water-free solution contains 0.2% pure Retinol, an ingredient that can reduce the appearances of fine lines, of photo damage and of general skin ageing. While Retinol has been studied extensively, it is irritating to the skin and newer technologies exist that mimic the visible effects of Retinol without causing skin irritation.

Organic Cold Pressed Rose Hip Seed Oil
This formulation uses 100% pure Rosehip Seed Oil that is both cold-pressed and organic. Rosehip Seed Oil is rich in linoleic acid, linolenic acid and pro-vitamin A, all of which degrade when the oil extraction process involves heat. While cold-pressed extraction is complex, it preserves all of the quality of this important oil which has been shown to reduce signs of photo-ageing and many other skin conditions

These two are my dream duo. Most nights I will apply the Retinoid (does not irritate or peel like some Retinoids you may have read about) and then follow by patting on the Rose Hip oil. I wake up with clear, hydrated and fresher looking skin. This Advanced Retinoid solution is a great entry level product if you want something to specifically target ageing skin.

So those are the products I've been using from The Ordinary. These reviews are for my skin so you may find something that doesn't work for me, is a wonder serum for you. Do enjoy The Ordinary, it's a brand that is bringing scientific skincare to us mere mortals.

Some of these items were kindly gifted to me from The Ordinary. xx


Sunday, 15 October 2017

Who I Love watching on YouTube

YouTube - your one stop shop for viewing funny cat videos, people falling over and how to unblock a washing machine filter. I didn't watch Youtube for many years because I don't find cat videos funny or entertaining but then I discovered the joy of make up tutorials, shopping hauls and unboxing videos. Youtube has taught me how to contour, apply more than one eye shadow and what I need to buy from the high street. I can spend many happy hours catching up with my favourite vloggers whilst they walk to the tube, wait for the tube and then go up the escalator after getting off the tube. I also really enjoy a cleaning my house time lapse.

I've seen the Youtubers I subscribe to increase in followers and the quality of their videos get more professional. Some even now have someone to film their videos for them and no doubt edit them as well. But I don't care or begrudge them that, I still enjoy watching them. I myself have toyed with the idea of trying my hand at Youtube for a while now and I'm still thinking it through but I know it requires much more than sitting down to review a product - there's the filming set up, right lighting and then editing. I don't know if I have the patience or know how for all that, although of course Youtube can teach me all that!

If, like me, you like to lose an hour or two watching other people's lives, you might be interested in who I subscribe to.

I Covet Thee and Hello October
Two girls who are friends and have their own separate channels but often film together. They do big hauls from Top Shop and Zara. I Covet Thee posted a recent video where she explained that her mum had recently lost her battle to cancer and she and her boyfriend had split up. The raw emotion of her heartfelt video made me cry. 

Real Technique brushes and make up artist sisters, Sam and Nic film easy to follow make up tutorials. They are down to earth and friendly and are youtube veterans.

Nikkie Tutorials
This girl is hilarious. She makes me laugh out loud and comes across as unaffected by her fame. Her use of make up is too heavy for me but I enjoy watching her all the same.

Fleur DeForce
I actually bumped in to Fleur leaving a press event a couple of years ago. She was very sweet to me even though I must have come across as a slightly fan obsessed Mum on a day out (I was!). Her videos are slick, well put together and are a mix between fashion hauls and try ons and beauty.

Megan Ellaby
I've only recently discovered Megan's channel and I've binge watched her fashion videos. She films hauls and wish lists and wears a reassuring mix between high street and designer. Megan has made me want to embrace colour more.

Lizzy Hadfield
Another young fashion blogger/vlogger, Lizzy's easy, slightly masculine style is attainable and so stylish. I've enjoyed watching her move from Manchester, where she shared a stylish apartment with her boyfriend to London after her relationship ended. Lizzy has been filming the furnishing of her new home and she's made me think twice about home ware and spending extra on really special pieces.

Helen Anderson
Helen is another Youtuber who makes me laugh out loud. Her infectious humour and style of filming is more down to earth and like watching a really funny friend. Helen films mostly fashion hauls.

Patricia Bright
What I love about Patricia is she's not afraid to film herself without make up on and then to see the transformation once she's fully made up is like art. She's also funny to watch.

A Model Recommends
Ruth Crilly is a Model Recommends and is also behind my much beloved CoLab dry shampoo. Ruth does mainly beauty videos as well as vlogs about her life.

Zoella and Tanya Burr
I know both of these girls are really aiming more at the teen audience but I really love watching their longer videos. They show their lives and adventures which have been possible because of their Youtube fame. It's what anyone who blogs or films aspires to be.. in our dreams.

Kaushal Beauty
This girl has the prettiest face and flawless skin, so watching her make up tutorials are educational and goals.

Nadine Baggot
The Hello Magazine Beauty Editor films information and honest reviews of all things beauty, focusing more on products to help those of us with maturing skin.

What Olivia Did, The Anna Edit and Lily Pebbles
All long time Youtubers, their videos are stylish and gorgeously lit. Olivia is a fashion channel whilst Lily and Anna feature vlogs, beauty and fashion. Lily and Anna's fashion style is not to my taste, although they have both got me interested in investing in quality items like cashmere jumpers and silk shirts. Anna is a champion of the capsule wardrobe which I wish I could subscribe to but I don't think I could be that disciplined.

The Mikalaks
Whilst I've found their recent videos a bit dull, the filming is beautiful. They use a lot of drone footage and obscure angles of their daily lives, which involve married couple Stef and Hannah and their two children. You need to watch a video or two just for the filming quality.

Wayne Goss
A well known make up artist who also has his own line of expensive make up brushes. Wayne does short and to the point make up tip style videos. He also reviews new ranges and products with a refreshing honesty. Although one of his recent videos did recommend wearing no moisturiser or primer before foundation, for a longer lasting base. He's wrong. I tried it and my skin felt like it was going to crack off all day!

If there's anyone you enjoy watching, let me know in the comments as I'm all up for spending even more hours watching the Youtube.



Thursday, 12 October 2017

Making (and Faking) Glowing Skin in Winter

It's so much easier to maintain glowy skin in Summer isn't it? Skin has either a sun kissed hue from days in the sun, you wear less make up and being outdoors more all adds up to fresher, clearer looking skin.
And then winter comes - being indoors most of the time, with central heating, or when you do venture outside, biting winds and cold temperatures can dull and dry out our complexions. To make sure my skin is rid of dead skin cells (which cause dullness) and to give my skin a deep cleanse to help reveal fresher, younger looking skin these are my go to products for making, and one for faking, glowing skin.
The Ordinary AHA + BHA Peeling Solution
The Ordinary AHA + BHA Peeling Solution
The Ordinary AHA + BHA Peeling Solution
Don't be put off that this is a "peeling solution". Yes, it is an acid face mask but don't let the word acid put you off either. My skin doesn't dissolve from the acid or peel off. What it does do, after 10 minutes of putting this blood coloured mask on, is reveal gloriously bright and clear skin. £6.30 gets you this little bottle, which is lasting me ages. Only use 2-3 times a week maximum but try it, seeing is believing.
Botanicals Nourish Face Polish
Botanicals Nourish Face Polish
Botanicals Nourish Face Polish*
If you have sensitive skin, or just don't fancy using an acid mask, then this has to be the most gentle face polish I've used. Botanicals Nourish Face Polish smells lovely, soothing and comforting. The texture is a balm with organic rosehip kernels that ever so gently lift away dead skin cells, revealing brighter, smoother skin. And because of the balm consistency, this polish also leaves skin hydrated and soft. Available to order here. 
Sand & Sky Pink Clay Mask
Sand & Sky Pink Clay Mask
Sand & Sky Pink Clay Mask*
This pink clay mask is all over social media and you've probably seen the ads for it on Facebook. It's pricey - £39.90 for a 58ml pot (not large!) but it is really good. Firstly it's the only clay mask I've used that, after drying down, doesn't have to be removed by intense scrubbing. And it does leave skin glowing and feeling completely cleansed.
Kiehl's Deep Pore Cleansing Masque
Kiehl's Deep Pore Cleansing Masque
Kiehl's Deep Pore Cleansing Masque*
Another clay mask which works really well at deep cleansing pores and leaving skin bright and clear. This is a great one if you are struggling with dull looking skin.
Kiko Scrub & Peel wipes
Kiko Scrub & Peel wipes
Kiko Scrub & Peel wipes
Used by Kim Kardashian, these wipes are quick and easy to use. One side is textured, that's the exfoliating side which I use in circular motions all over my face. The other side is smooth to cool and refresh. These wipes are effective and great for travel.
Pixi Glow Tonic
Pixi Glow Tonic
Pixi Glow Tonic (or any Glycolic Acid)
I'm not so loyal to Pixi Glow Tonic itself but I do love Glycolic Acid, which is a toner that dissolves skin cells, revealing glowing skin. Glycolic Acid is gentle enough to use every day, after cleansing and before moisturiser or serums.
Tanya Burr Illuminating Powder
Tanya Burr Illuminating Powder
Tanya Burr Illuminating Powder in warm bronze
I've got my fair share of highlighters and illuminating powders but this budget friendly powder does both. If you want intense highlighter-this does it. If you want to wake up your complexion-this does it. If you want a glowy, illuminated tone to either your cheeks or eyes-this does it. If don't have glowing skin, this will fake it for you! £7.49 from Superdrug.



Saturday, 7 October 2017

Can Charcoal Toothpaste Actually Whiten Teeth?

So five years ago I finally discovered the absolute joy and comfort of drinking tea. And I mean strong tea, proper builder's tea. And then shortly after I noticed my teeth were yellowing and so started what feels like a long journey to find a teeth whitening toothpaste that actually works.

Now I am well aware that if you want to really whiten your teeth, the only thing to do is have professional laser teeth whitening. But a course of treatment is very, very costly and of course the fear that you'll end up looking like Ryland!

I must be knocking on for having tried six different brands and promises of whitening toothpastes and honestly, they haven't delivered on their promises. At best, I have noticed a slight reduction in staining but nothing to get excited about. So when I was recently sent the Twin Lotus Activated Herbaliste Charcoal Toothpaste*, I wasn't expecting too much.  My last toothpaste had been a charcoal one from a well known toothpaste brand but I hadn't noticed any difference.

Twin Lotus is a leading oral care brand from Thailand and is available for £10.99 a tube at and you can follow them on Twitter and Instagram using #twinlotus or 

So activated charcoal? Is it black, like charcoal. Yes, absolutely.
Twin Lotus Active Charcoal Toothpaste
Twin Lotus Active Charcoal Toothpaste
Activated charcoal is a natural magnet for bacteria, toxins, plaque and stains. It says it also helps reduce bad breath, and is a natural way to whiten and brighten teeth. Twin Lotus is different to other charcoal toothpastes, as their formula includes ingredients such as clove and guva which also helps promote healthy gums.

I know the thought of brushing your teeth with black paste rather than white feels alien and so I've been trying this out for three weeks to answer your questions.

Does it stain your teeth black?
No. Although it is comical brushing your teeth as they will be covered in black paste but it completely rinses away and leaves no staining.

Is it messy?
Well yes and no. Don't use this wearing a white shirt. I was a bit messy because I use an electric toothbrush and so the paste does flick all over the sink, which I then have to make a point of rinsing away. And because of my electric toothbrush I can now see that the toothpaste gets everywhere. But it does easily rinse away with no staining to the sink.

Does it remove bad breath?
I hope my breath isn't too stinky Pete but this toothpaste doesn't have the usual minty freshness of other pastes, so it doesn't leave my mouth feeling as fresh but that said, it doesn't leave an after taste and the taste it does have is not unpleasant, it's just a bit different.

Does it work - as in whitening teeth?
I was dubious and hopeful in equal measures but I can definitely say that the staining to my teeth has lightened by about 2 shades. I didn't take before and after photos because 1. I detest my wonky teeth and 2. I didn't think this would make a difference. I was wrong though, it has, ever so slightly. I'm sure with continued use this will continue, as long as I can continue to keep wiping down the toothpaste from my sink and surround. (But that's messy me).



Wednesday, 4 October 2017

September 2017 Favourites

Another late favourites post, because the time is flying by and it's catching me out. Anyway I hope everyone's back to school was ok and you're now back in to the swing of things. I see Christmas Chocolates are taking over the supermarket shelves - look out for boxes of Cadbury's Festive Friends to be featured in my favourites.

Make up - Living Nature Thickening Mascara* 
If you have sensitive skin or eyes, this natural, fragrance free mascara might be the one for you. I was sent the blackened brown shade of the thickening mascara and have enjoyed wearing this for a natural look to my lashes. I really like the shade, which is more black than brown and great for a day time look. Non clumpy and easy to remove, you can get this from Botanical Brands for £21.50.

Make up - Rimmel Match Perfection Concealer £6.49
You may already know I am a big fan of Maybelline Age Rewind under eye concealer and have gone through tubes and tubes. I fancied a bit of a change and Rimmel Match Perfection has also been raved about. It's quirky - its a tube with a brush on the end and I like the applicator and I do also like the formulation and texture. I really can't call it on whether this beats the Maybelline, which I would say is slightly creamier and I do prefer the sponge applicator but it's a close call. The shade I have is 040 Soft Beige and does a great job at concealing and brightening under the eyes.

Hair care - Creightons Frizz no More Miracle Serum £1.00
Yep £1.00 (from Home Bargains but you can also get it in Pound Stretcher etc) for this fab little bottle of non greasy/oily serum. I picked this up as this time of the year my frizzy/static hair is crazy and for £1.00 it was worth a punt. And it is worth it. I put two drops either on wet hair before drying and/or on to dry hair to smooth down the frizz and leave a nice shine.

Fashion - H&M Leather Boots £49.99
After last year's Topshop sale bargain sock boots, which I literally wore to death, I knew I wanted another sock boot this year. But not suede material, which are everywhere. I wanted a sturdier material and I was stunned to find these H&M leather, yes leather, boots for £50. I also joined the H&M club and got 10% off as these were my first order.
They are a great length to wear with shorter length jeans, ankle grazers, skirts, everything. They are a great heel height and comfortable. The leather is soft, especially the ankle section which is buttery soft. I am beyond pleased with these, here's the link.


Friday, 29 September 2017

In the changing room at H&M (Autumn Finds)

I love Autumn - the vibrant rusty colours, the chill in the air, talk of Christmas and a new season of fashion in the shops. And whilst in the UK our "Summer" can be very hit and miss and result in a lot of unworn light wispy summer dresses due to the lack of summer, Autumn can be fairly relied upon clothes wise.

I popped in to H&M last weekend and was excited to see all the colourful jumpers, dresses, tops, bags.. And so I decided to try on a few pieces that I wouldn't normally go for but I was drawn to by their very autumn-y hues.
I just love the houndstooth pattern of this simple classic, slim fitting shift dress. It's very 60's and I adore the simplicity of it. I wish it had pockets. And look at the cute embellished swan. And the split sleeves. £29.99.
Here are two dresses which scream Autumn. I really like the idea of a midi dress but like a maxi, they do scare me a bit. But this dress with tights and boots and either a leather jacket or chunky cardi.. cosy lushness. £59.99.
I'm not keen on short dresses on me with bare legs but there's something so boho chic about this dress that I was drawn to it, and again with cosy tights and boots and a long cardigan over..yes. £29.99.
Look at the pattern..
Shirts scare me too and I have bought many over the years, only for them to sit unworn in my wardrobe. This brushed cotton shirt with sequinned bird just fitted so nicely that I will be going back for it. And I didn't feel like a cowboy in it. A bargain at £12.99.
I hope these pieces get you feeling all cozy and excited for walking through crunchy fallen leaves, blankets on the sofa, hearty casseroles and lots of puddings.



Saturday, 23 September 2017

Check out my top picks of Checked Blazers

You cannot fail to have noticed that blazers, and in particular, checked blazers have taken over as the new leather jacket. And the versatile blazer not only adds structure and smartens up any outfit, it keeps you warm enough for this transitional time of the year. To me a blazer is like a suit of armor, there's not much you can't tackle when you have a blazer on. You'll look pulled together, super on trend and just really cool. 

I picked up a bargain £17.00 Primark blazer and even though it is two sizes too big, that's the style you're aiming for - oversized. Like you've been snooping in your Dad's wardrobe. And actually I bet you could find some great blazers in your local charity shop.

Here's my Primark blazer:
I really like the ruched sleeves on this blazer, it does the job for you and I like wearing it with a longer sleeve underneath.
Here are some great blazers from the high street which have also caught my eye.

I really hope blazers are here for a long time yet and, personally, I wouldn't be too upset if matching pencil skirts and Princess Diana blouses also came back in.. I mean she is after all the epitome of checked blazers.

(thanks Google Images for the Princess Di pics).

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