Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Multi-taskers



With space limited in our bathroom cabinets, products that claim to have multiple benefits can not only save precious space but gain you time too. I'm not usually a massive fan of multi-tasking products, more often than not feeling like they haven't fully delivered on any of their claims, let alone all of them! Here are some of  my favorite, and a couple of my least favorite, multi-tasking products.

The only multi-functional product for my hair that I have ever stuck with is my raved about V05 Blow Drying Lotion. Whilst I don't notice the effects as intensely as others may due to having extremely thick hair, it does make a difference. One thing I hate about hair products that aim to achieve a 'sleek' effect' is that they often leave hair flat. This helps smooth hair but still inject some volume so you get the perfect blow dry without damaging your hair through using heated styling tools.

It's no secret that I love Soap & Glory's Clean On Me, a shower gel and body lotion all-in-one that helps me get out the door that little bit faster. However, I'm less than impressed with Scrub Your Nose In It. This is apparently a scrub and mask in one but not up to the usual Soap & Glory standard. As a scrub, its average, its abrasive enough to work but nothing special. If you use scrub's often like I do, the quantity you get for its normal retail price will really hit your purse hard too if you plan to make this your go-to. As a mask I don't think this works at all. I saw no improvements whatever in pore size or the general appearance of my skin. Even the next day there was nothing different. I don't know if I'm somehow using it wrong, but for my skin, their are most certainly better alternatives. One product that really does deliver though is This Works In Transit Camera Close-Up(*), perfect for festivals, holidays and those who just want everything in one bottle. Its a really hydrating moisturiser, a primer and a mask in one and a good one at that. The way I use this is instead of my usual moisturiser, and then skip my primer for a lovely hydrating base, I wouldn't use a moisturiser in addition to it because it would just be a waste of product. Once I take my make-up of my skin is magically soft and smooth, like I've had a hydrating mask on. I know you can use this in the conventional 5-10 minute face mask style, but you might as well get all the benefits at the same time! 

Lip products are probably one of the most known about multi-tasking products, with many offering to hydrate and add a pop of colour at the same time. Unlike the majority, Korres Lip Butter has a good level of pigmentation that's lasts and really melts into your lips. Arbonne's Lip Moisturiser(*) is such an effective lip balm with the added bonus on sunscreen! Now I personally never think about protecting my lips when I'm working on my tan lines, but it really does make sense to look after them too! 

I'm always dubious of make-up products that can have dual usages, some things I wouldn't want to even try putting anywhere else than their specified area. Benefit's Benetint(*) is probably the most well known for this, being both a cheek and lip stain. With a small brush akin to nail varnish, its consistency is similar to a liquid highlighter or lipgloss and works well as both! So pigmented and long-lasting this is perfect for making office make-up ready for the evening. Collection 2000 Shimmer Shades in Way To Glow is also a great one to have in your make up bag. Use the top left shade as a highlighter, each shade individually as a bronzer, or all together for a healthy glow! I use this when my skin is looking a bit dull mid-afternoon, and it just gives me a more fresh look. A lot beauty bloggers rave about e.l.f's tone correcting powder in warm but I'm not a fan. I find it doesn't do anything to make my skin look more flawless. I'd try a different shade if it were just that but it isn't a very good powder either, clinging to dry patches and often looking a bit cakey around the nose. Lastly a relatively recent addition to me is my Ilah Brows Travel Kit(*) and I really couldn't live without it! Containing 3 powders that could be used for brows or as eyeshadows, a lip balm and a brow balm all in a sleek package, its perfect for slipping into your travel make-up bag! The powders are unbelievably long lasting (completely gym and heat-wave proof) and highly pigmented, you can touch up your brows and create a nice smokey eye at the same time!

Do you use any of the products I've mentioned? Have you got any multi-tasking must-haves?

xoxo
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Friday, 14 June 2013

Diet-friendly Carbs



Carbs are a beautiful thing. They fill you up, give you energy and are generally pretty tasty. But rather evily (word? Is now) they tend to be calorie heavy, salt ridden and full of other nastiness you should try and limit. Now as a massive carb lover, I will happily bulk buy anything claiming to be on the healthy side that allows me to indulge without then feeling annoyed later on. Recently I've been trying out some new vitamins and what not to help with my headaches as recommended by the hospital, and stumbled upon Slim Pasta Spaghetti, and Zero Noodles in Holland & Barretts. Easily swayed, I got one of each and  have been loving them ever since. 

Slim Pasta Spaghetti has 15.4 calories in the entire pack. That right, one entire squishy pouch has just over 6 times less calories than a low-calorie pack of crisps. Err what? I'm not saying eat the entire pack but its nice to know if you fancy getting into a carb coma, you can. I am no food/nutrition expert but even I knew this could be because there could be other things making it not so good. However after reading the nutritional table, its rather promising. Free from saturated fat, sugar and gluten and cooking amazingly fast in around 2 minutes. I'm sold.

Nutritional Values for Slim Pasta Spaghetti - A bag is 200g.

Zero Noodles is a similar story. This boasts 8 calories in the entire pack, is free from saturated fat, sugar, salt and gluten and is wheat free! It takes a little bit longer to cook, around 10 minutes, but come on! 10 minutes for guilt free yumminess!

Zero Noodles Nutritional Value - A bag is 200g
I can hear the cogs in everyone's head turning. Your all thinking what's the catch? Well nutrition wise their pretty much empty calories. They don't contain much so obviously you wont get a lot out of them. Similarly they don't taste of much without some sort of sauce or flavoring and I definitely would not eat them without adding something to them. What they are good for though is for using up anything you having lying around the kitchen waiting to be used up.


The other night I made tea for the family with them and it went down a storm with everyone. I used some prawns, sweetcorn, peas, mushrooms, anchovies, a small pot of stir-in Dolmio Sauce. Served with salad it was really lovely. You could literally pair it with anything though if like a lot of people fish and mushrooms freak you out; chopped up chicken pieces, vegetables, fish, whatever's in your cupboard really! So while they need something adding to them, and are pretty much empty calories, for carb lovers they are perfect to get your pretend carb fix whilst eating healthy.

They are pretty hard to get hold of, and expensive online. Your best bet is trying at Holland and Barrets where I think a packet was around the £1.50 mark. Expensive for 1-2 meals but when you consider just how low in calories and other nasties they are, may be worth it if you love to tuck into a bowl of pasta or noodles.

xoxo
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Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Packing Light

Its that time of year again when most of us try and get half our wardrobe into a reasonably sized case without facing extra charges which eat into our duty free shopping money. I'll hold my hands up, Nelly the Elephant probably packed lighter than I usually do when she went off to join the circus. My friends at Uni take great pleasure in the fact that I moved into halls, with a hired van. In my defense we have one small car and literally could only get my bedding in, but you get the point. Since then I've tried to see the error of my ways and now I can at least give advice on how to pack light. OK, so I still don't practice what I preach, but as they say if you can't do it, teach it (I don't entirely believe that saying, but that's beside the point)! I'm not jetting away this summer but to try and take the stress out of you, I've done some outfit planning. Enjoy!

7 nights away = 20 items
-the items






Making use of a plain body con by throwing a denim shirt over it and pairing it with plimsolls can give you an extra outfit. Similarly, varsity t-shirt dresses can be put with heels at evening, as a beach cover-up or loosely tucked into shorts for sightseeing. Using simple items and dressing them up with accessories, everything gets worn more than once, with you never in the same outfit twice and plenty of space for those holiday hauls!



Top tips

  1. Treat one-piece swimwear like bodies and pair them with shorts, skater and maxi skirts for a streamlined, relaxed look. Fringing, cut-outs and mesh sections are especially good!
  2. Heels take up a lot of room, and are usually the main culprits when your case is too heavy. Try limit yourself to two plain pairs that, although won't have the entire hotel gasping in approval, will go with everything in your case.
  3. Think about what your likely to be doing, and what your likely going to want to wear. There's no point packing lots of flowing skirts and dresses if your going to be doing lots of hiking. If you hate your arms/shoulders, only packing vest tops or strapless dresses will leave you frustrated. Similarly, if you rarely stray away from the poolside, packing one bikini and 3 pairs of jeans isn't going to cut it. It's wasting precious space.
  4. Simple separates may be less than inspiring but will help you use your limited wardrobe to its full advantage. Having tops that go with all your skirts/shorts etc. means you can create a handful of different outfits. 
  5. Lightweight accessories will help to transform otherwise plain outfits. If your a bit unsure about having plain separates, go on a accessories spree to places like Primark & H&M that do lots of cheap, light-weight jewelry which take up hardly any room in your case. Just be sure that collectively they remain light, otherwise it'll add up on the scales. 
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Monday, 10 June 2013

Perfume 101

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Perfume reviews are something I love to read. Like most areas in beauty industry, the market is constantly overflowing with new products, and choosing a new fragrance can be a bit of a daunting thing. Despite most females wearing perfume daily, very few can discuss or describe them confidently. If I had a pound for every time I saw in a review 'I'm not very good at describing fragrances', (a crime I'm also guilty of) I wouldn't be using my student discount like my life depended on it. As bottles appear to have become more embellished, so have fragrance descriptions, and they can leave us pondering what the actual scent is! In a bid to understand this myself, I've done some research on commonly used terms and thought I'd put together a little guide. Hopefully it will be of some help.

I think most people are aware that fragrance comes in 4 categories. Perfume is the highest concentration, and so needs the least amount, Eau de Parfum lasts longer than Eau de Toilette and aftershave often has antiseptic properties for after shaving (funny enough). This is also usually reflected in the price, with eau de toilette being the cheaper often, but needing far more to get the same effect as two drops of Perfume. Whatever the strength, do not rub your wrists together! It will bruise the scent and waste your money. 

The confusion generally starts when notes are discussed. Top notes generally describe the most prominent ingredients in the scent when it is first smelt. Middle, sometimes known as heart notes, dictate what category, or family, the fragrance falls into whilst base notes linger the longest.

Leading right into families, there are 5 main ones used to describe fragrances; Citrus, floral, fruity, oriental and woody. Citrus scents are those reminiscent of lemons, oranges etc. whilst floral scents can be either of one individual flower, or a blend of a combination. I tend to get floral and citrus scents confused with fruity fragrances. These tend to have hints similar to berries and apple blossoms. I don't really go for woody fragrances being more of a girly girl but these are those that smell like freshly cut dry wood and include significant quantities of sandlewood or vetiver. Similarly, oriental fragrances are another family not in my collection. These are those mainly stated to be evening or winter appropriate and focus on spices.

So there's my overview of fragrance descriptions. I hope its helped in some way. What's your favorite fragrance? Do you stick to certain families?
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Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Summer Feet



I hope its not just me who feels awkward talking about feet? Something about them really does freak me out, but with Summer, its something that needs to be dealt with. My feet get a complete battering, and I will hold my hands up, I don't look after them. It seems daft really, I must use hand cream twice a day, so not to moisturize my feet seems silly. I play hockey so they are never going to be the prettiest things, but I'm definitely trying to get them in tip-top condition for flip-flops. Yes I am going to wear them despite not going on holiday, it summer and I am going to make use of them in Manchester, even in the rain. I thought I'd talk about some of the products I use, and if they work on me, they will one you.

Heels first.
Flexitol Heel Balm is a really intensive cream. If your feet are really dry, and dare I say it, you suffer from cracked skin, this will do the job. Its really good as a quick fix if you've left it to the week before you jet off and are dreading getting your toes out (haha I'm easily amused). You will see a clear difference after 3 days, perfect if your like me and have neglected your feet since you last put your flip flops away.

Boots Gorgeous Feet Rapid Cracked Heel Repair is one of my favorite own brand products. Its less intensive than Flexitol, but still great at adding some hydration to your feet. My heels seem to always be the driest part of my feet, and this really gets them up to an acceptable standard. A tube of this lasts absolutely ages too.

Now on to feet.
Soap & Glory Heel Genius is quite deceiving  Although it says heel in the title, it is actually a moisturizing cream for the entire foot. I find this is good to use when your feet are already in a good condition, just to keep them moisturized and soft. I will admit its more as a pamper for you, rather than a preparation treatment as it doesn't make any dramatic difference but, like all Soap & Glory products this smells lovely, quite fruity, but nothing too overpowering. I'd recommend letting it soak in over night too because it does take its time.

I haven't got this product at the moment because I've not had time to pop to Lush  but I can't do this post without mentioning my all time favorite foot cream, Lush's Fair Trade Foot Lotion. Whilst Soap & Glory's was more psychological, with this you can see a clear difference from the first application. Not only is this pink (I know my priorities), but it is so refreshing and hydrating, ideal for summer. It actually discovered this in Florida years ago, when I went to a mall with my mum and just needed something for my feet after all the walking at Disney. If its possible to relax your feet(?), this did it. I cannot recommend it enough.

Has anyone else got any foot prepping tips? Let me know
xoxo

P.S. There's still time to enter my giveaway to win an OCC Lip Tar! Click here to enter!
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