Sunday, 30 October 2016

The Most Luxurious Primer I Have Ever Used

Clarins Instant Smooth Perfecting Touch Primer Review

Before I started blogging way back in 2012, I'd never used a primer. Actually, I  don't think I even knew primers were a thing! But they were/are and this discovery has changed my make-up routine forever. For the better I may add. Since that fateful day I've tried countless formulas and brands, testing out everything from high street to high end, but this may be the most luxurious. 

The Clarins Instant Smooth Perfecting Touch is an award-winning primer that aims to smooth and moisturise your skin, giving you an even-toned canvas for your makeup application. As always, Clarins knocks it out of the park when it comes to packaging. You just know your holding high end when you see the iconic red packaging. The glass jar is also perfect because you get get every last bit of primer without the bottom of a tube bursting. Hands up if that's happened; it's ruined a good few of my makeup bags. Moving on to the contents, the primer is quite a thick formula but don't let it fool you. Despite being a little hard to blend in (try mixing it with foundation on your hand to make it easier), it's super lightweight and doesn't have that silicone feeling that so many Primers have. Not only does it do everything it claims to do, it also helps to keep your makeup looking flawless all day. Thanks to the slight pink-tinge, skin looks radiant whilst I managed to go an entire day shine-free without applying any powder at all.

But like everything, there's positives and negatives. One downside is that it is on the pricey side for a primer, with it hitting £26.50 at Boots. Also, because it's quite thick, you end up using a little more product than you would usually use meaning it's finished quicker than you would like. Saying this, you could focus the primer on your t-zone to make a jar last longer. For me, if it was a little easier to blend into the skin I'd completely recommend it, but the thickness of the formula, the speed I could go through this and the price make me think twice about re-purchasing. It's nice to have a bit of luxury though, while it lasts. 

Have you tried this primer? Any recommendations for my next primer?
xoxo
J
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Thursday, 27 October 2016

OOTD || Checks by the Windmill

ASOS OOTD check dress

Lytham Windmill



In a recent #TheGirlGang twitter chat, I said I wanted to do more Outfit of the Day posts, but was a bit scared. Seems I'm not alone in being a little nervous of putting yourself actually on your own blog, which now I sit and type it, sounds a bit daft. The general consensus was that I should push myself out of my comfort zone and just do it. So I have. 

As usual we head up to Lytham to our favourite restaurant (check my review) on Tuesday to celebrate my Mum's birthday. Despite a chest infection and a a light autumn breeze I had to take advantage of the pretty windmill for an OOTD background. Poorly-looking face aside, I don't think I turned out bad at all. Of course it helped that I was wearing the shirt dress of dreams! From ASOS, this mixed check print skater dress screams A/W, and the fluted sleeves just makes its even better. Paired with the staple black leggings and my handbag choice of the moment from LAMODA (no longer available, but this one by super blogger babe Sarah Ashcroft is a similar shape), and it's a great cosy fall outfit.

I'm going to push myself to do more OOTD so stay tuned!

xoxo
J
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Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Exploring the Virginia Creeper Trail


Virginia Creeper Trail

Virginia Creeper Trail

Virginia Creeper Trail

Virginia Creeper Trail

Virginia Creeper Trail



After staying at the Budget Host Inn in Wytheville, Virginia, we headed out to the Creeper Trial for a quick hike before our journey to Nashville. Just a quick side note, if you are ever in the East in the States, make it your mission to eat at a Cracker Barrel. They're a chain of restaurants that have the most traditional, delicious American food.  We all got a little bit addicted to a peg game whilst waiting for our food, but we could only get down to three pegs. Whilst there, make sure you order a strawberry lemonade. It's super sweet but I'm still dreaming of a glass.

Anyway, back to the walk. The Virginia Creeper Trail is set on a disused railway track in the Appalachian Mountain area. We did part of the Abingdon-Damascus section and the scenery was amazing. Cooler than in the city, we walked over some of the old wooden bridges and down the pathways where the trees have formed a protective barrier from the sun. We stopped to look at little streams and said hello to every person that past. That's another thing that was different from the cities, every single person stopped to smile and say Good Morning, rather than keep their heads down and earphones in. After walking for 30 minutes, we turned around and headed back to the van, ready for a long drive to Nashville, Tennessee. 

 Make sure you follow me on bloglovin so you don't miss a single Trek Tuesday! 

xoxo
J



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Sunday, 23 October 2016

Tea or Coffee? || Brew-tiful Bath Time Treats

Zoella bath Latte Bubble t t-bags


If it's in cute packaging, I'll buy it. I'm basically a marketers dream. And I'm doing a Masters degree in Marketing. I think the beauty products that tend to have some of the nicest packaging are bath products. Brands tend to go to town on the concept and theme and that's probably the reason I will never be rich. Well, one of them. 

Two products I've been enjoying in recent baths are the Zoella Bath Latte and Bubble T Bath Infusion T-bags. I think you will all agree, the packaging is just divine on both. Part of the Sweet Inspirations collection, the Bath Latte Bath is an incredibly creamy bath and shower milk that leaves your skin super soft. A mixture of Sweet Almond, Cacao and Honey, the milk has a beautiful sweet scent which filled my bathroom and made using it a pure joy. Although it can also be used in the shower, I poured about half the bottle (big bath problems) into my bath whilst the water was running, creating a froth of bubbles. If sugar-coated scents aren't your thing, give Bubble T T-Bags a try. Amazingly cute packaging aside, these infusion T-bags are filled with bath salts which slowly dissolve when placed under warm running water.  Once the salts have dissolved, the bag will float to the top and then you're good to go. Available in fragrances ranging from Moroccan mint to Hibiscus & Acai Berry, each subtle scent has different therapeutic benefits letting you tailor your pamper session to your specific needs. Now you have everything you need for a deliciously smelling dip.

What products have you bought because of the packaging?
xoxo
J
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Thursday, 20 October 2016

A/W '16 Fashion trends & Where to Buy Them || Part 4

A/W 2016 Womens Fashion


They've been around all Summer but Chokers are set to be bigger and  better than ever this season. Forget dainty and delicate and make like Lanvin and Balamin with pieces that cover your entire next. If you're after a statement piece, Missguided is the place to go, with this chain version and my favourite diagonal piece catching my eye. Topshop and Forever 21 are are also coming out with some beauties so it's worth having a shop around. Not convinced? Try styles that cover the majority of your neck, but still show some skin. This ASOS mesh circle one still lets your neck show whilst giving a nod to the trend, whilst the lace River Island Choker isn't too different from this summers slim bands.



A/W 2016 Womens Fashion



Maybe I've been watching a bit too much Strictly Come Dancing (Daisy or Claudia to win FYI), but sequins are everywhere at the moment. From full on maxi dresses, to super shiny bomber jackets, finding something that suits your taste is not a problem. But what makes me that happiest is that sequins are now becoming acceptable to wear during the day thanks to Christmas quickly approaching. Cute unicorn jeans and dinosaur jumpers give subtle nods, whilst blinged out slip dresses and skirts make a statement. Not ready to fully commit? Try a bedazzled clutch to break yourself in!

With a short neck I think I'll be dodging chokers and sticking to sequins, but what will you be wearing?

xoxo
J
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Tuesday, 18 October 2016

5 Books in 5 Words #5: Adult Colouring


The 5th instalment of five books in five words and I thought it would be nice to round up on some adult colouring books that I've bought recently. I'm a massive fan of art therapy and find it so relaxing, to have time out from all technology, focusing on something with no stress or worry. If you're unsure of how this series works, its five book reviews, all done in 5 words. No need to worry about any spoilers ....

The Liberty Colouring Book
Full of intricate pretty prints.

Millie Marotta's Animal Kingdom
The most popular is best.

The Great British Cake Off
A bit basic but fun.

Vogue Colouring Book
Fashion Wheel without the drawing.

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland 
The most limited in designs.

Have you tried any of these? Any recommendations?

xoxo
J
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Sunday, 16 October 2016

Borghese Fango

Borghese fango mud mask


If there was one beauty product I spend the most money on it's face masks. I can't resist a good pamper and anything that promises results whilst I just lie there is going to spark my interest. Like most people with combination skin, mine changes so rapidly it's sometimes hard to decide what is my main concern. Well, if like me you want a fix-it-all miracle mask that doesn't cost the earth, you might want to have a look at the Borghese Fango Active Mud for Face & Body.

Derived from Tuscany, this green mask is Borghese's signature product and it's easy to see why. Combining Aloe Vera Gel, Oat Protein, Mango Butter, Japanese Green tea and Olive and Chamomile extracts, it cleanses, exfoliates, moisturises, firms and increases radiance. Smelling subtly of Sweet Almond, it's recommended that you leave the treatment on for up to 5 minutes on your face, or up to 20 minutes on your body to get the full benefits. And it really does work! I was having the breakout of all breakouts, with congested dry skin that just wouldn't go away. But it did go away, after just one use. Despite acting a deep pore cleanser, it wasn't to harsh on my skin and actually injected moisture into it instead of stripping it.  Although I haven't tested it yet on my body, I think this would be perfect for getting rid of those pesky little bumps you get on the tops of your shoulders and arms. This is defeniately my new go-to do all mask.

Have you got a favourite do-it all mask? I'd love to hear your recommendations.

xoxo
J
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Thursday, 13 October 2016

USA Haul || Walmart, Walgreens, Universal, Nashville & Graceland


USA Haul
USA Haul
I couldn't go to America without nipping into a couple of drugstores but I must say I was very restrained. That's what being ill does to me. I stop shopping. Anyway I'm pretty happy with the few bits I did manage to pick up. The first products that caught my eye were these pretty funky looking nail polishes. I say nail polishes, but only one actually is a nail polish! These Nonie Creme Colour Prevails products are supposed to be easy to apply thanks to that handy butterfly wing handle. I picked up two nude shades, the lighter one (which actually is the polish) in Wardrobe Staple, and an Eye Shimmer in Teddy Bear. I was also in desperate need of a red lipstick, so picked up this Milani Matte Lipstick in Confident which gives my favourite MAC red's a run for their money. 

Although we can get Sally Hansen in the UK, it's so much cheaper and easier to get hold of in the US, After meaning to pick up this Instant Cuticle Remover for a while, I'm glad I've finally tracked it down. The next two products were complete impulse buys. I'm in love with Maybelline Age Rewind under-eye concealer so when I saw this bigger version I have to grab it. I also wanted to get something from Physicians Formula but couldn't decide what. In the end I thought this liner set was so handy, contained a felt tip, a pencil and a kajal liner in a red case! Perfect for my travels. 

USA Haul



USA Haul
USA Haul
These bits were all picked up during typical touristy activities in Nashville and Memphis.  With it being so hot I decided to get a water bottle so I could refill it at fountains. I loved this one because it actually has a gel in it that you can freeze to keep your water cool. I also got this giant metal sign for my room along with a few other little Souvenirs. I've got to admit, Graceland was one of my trip highlights, and I'm so glad I managed to find this Uke sheet music. As you might know, I've been teaching myself how to play and it's only right I give a couple of Elvis songs a go to remind me of my trip.

USA Haul
USA Haul
USA Haul
USA Haul
Now for my favourite purchases, all made at Universal Orlando. Apart from a Fluffy the Unicorn keyring for my car keys I got a little bit giddy in the Harry Potter areas. Most people who know me will know that anything pink, fluffy and cute has my name on it. So it was no surprise when I got this little plush (which purrs), and the matching slippers. Yes I did buy slippers on a stupidly hot and humid day in Orlando. Of course no trip to Diagon Alley is complete without a trip to Olivanders. I grew up with Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire ignited my love for Robert Pattinson. In tribute to R-Patz, I searched high and low for Cedric's wand, and oh my is it a beaut. I will now forever be practicing my swish and flick.  

What do you think of my purchases? Do you want to see any reviews?

xoxo
J
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Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Philly Pitstop

The rocky steps

The rocky steps

The rocky steps
 After a 7.30 a.m. meet-up time and a few brief introductions, the first stop on the Atlantic BLT tour with Trek America was Philadelphia. Singing along to the Fresh Prince of Bel Air theme tune as we rolled into the city, I wasn't really sure what to expect, but that was soon to be solved. 

Everyone's seen a Rocky film right? It's a classic, right? One thing you should know about me is that I've somehow managed to miss seeing quite a few of the cult films.  My bad. Anyway despite my lack of cinema knowledge, even I had seen that photograph of Sylvester Stallone at the top of what is commonly known as the "Rocky Steps". Well, when in Rome. In stifling heat, we made our way to the top of the 72 stone steps whilst Ellie, our Trek leader, blasted "Eye of the Tiger" from the van; aptly named Vanna White. Was it worth it? Yes. There is a reason why that view is a classic. Whilst appreciating the skyline, I did feel a little sorry from the Museum of Art. We had no time to pop in and take a look round, but the actual building itself was beautiful. If I'm lucky enough to make a return visit, I think I'll give it a bit more attention. 

the liberty bell

Philadelphia Town Hall


My new Trek family & I then headed to see the Liberty Bell. I'm not fully up to speed on the history surrounding the bell, but I do known that it is  a very famous symbol for American independence and freedom. Oh and it has a huge crack in it.  Seeing as we were pushed for time, we didn't go into the actual museum in Independence National History Park, but we did catch a cheeky glimpse of it through a window. I've got to admit, I was pretty impressed with the mix of architecture in Philadelphia, with new skyscrapers mixing seamlessly into more traditional heavy-set buildings. The Town Hall really stole my heart. Nestled between high-risers on all sides, it seemed to be tucked away from everything,  peaking out between streets if you knew exactly where to look. 

Reading Terminal Market

Reading Terminal Market

Reading Terminal Market



After being told all about the Philadelphia curse thanks to Billy Penn, we headed down to the Reading Terminal Market to grab some lunch. Unfortunately, the curse seemed to linger around me, and I started to feel a bit iffy. Not sure whether it was due to the heat or something else, I decided to just take in the sights and smells of the market and stick to water.  If you're ever in Philly, go to the market. It's the most eclectic mix of stalls, from hand crafted chocolate and local art to lobsters and cookies. Make sure you grab a Philly Cheesesteak Sandwich but a word of warning; go hungry or go halves otherwise you'll be napping for days. 

Have you been to Philadelphia? Is it on your bucket list?

xoxo
J
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Sunday, 9 October 2016

(Nail) Art Attack

OPI Nail Colors


Despite doing Nail Art November ages ago, I suck at nail art. To be honest, I'm not that great at painting my nails full stop. I just get so frustrated when it doesn't look perfect and instagram worthy, giving up after smudging it for the umpteenth time. But, on a recent to TK Maxx, I spotted this little box, and it caught my attention instantly.

OPI Color Paints is a collection of 6 mini polishes, all of the usual high quality glossy chip resistant formula you would expect from OPI, with a hidden twist. Oh yes, these are blendable polishes. They are semi-transparent and allow you to layer the other shades over them to create new colours or effects. What attracted me the most to this collection was that it allows you to create nail art that has no wrong or right way, the more organic the work the better! I was sold.

OPI Nail Colors Swatches


OPI Nail Colors Swatches

The top swatches show 1 coat of the base colour, Silver Canvas Undercoat (which isn't bendable), with a swish of each blendable shade over. The second swatches show quick examples of nail art you can do by layering the shades over each other once the one below had dried. Although I'm someone who loves symmetrical or well planned designs, I really enjoyed being about the do whatever I wanted. It made doing nails actually enjoyable, rather than being stressed over making a mistake. After covering with a top coat, my work of art lasted around a week chip free! This has definitely encouraged me to relax when it comes to nail art and start having fun with it. Here's to the instagram worthy nails!

If you fancy grabbing this collection I'd recommend checking your local TK Maxx for any bargains. If you're not in look, try Nail Polish Direct here.

What do you think of this more abstract nail art? Any nail art tips?

xoxo
J
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Thursday, 6 October 2016

A/W '16 Fashion Trends & Where to Buy Them || Part 3




If there's one trend you can count on resurfacing during fall, it's shearling. Balenciaga, John Galliano and Hermes all featured it in their fashion week collections so it's no surprise that it's started to appear on the hughstreet. Matalan and River Island both have more traditional jackets, super warm and perfect for  the dropping temperatures. If you're looking for something different, have a look at a bomber jacket like this one from Missguided, or this biker from Glamourous. It's the two-toned grey jacket from Mango that I have my eye on though! If you're not sure on shearling, think about getting some accessories. These mules from Topshop aren't for the faint hearted, but a cute pair of mittens or clutch could be a subtle way in.





Pack those relaxed festival styles away, and get ready to smarten up with a pinstripe wardrobe.  It's all about workwear chic both in and out of the office this autumn, so stock up now to avoid the rush. I'm in love with this pinafore from Dorothy Perkins, Warehouse jumpsuit and H&M coat, but if this is all a bit too formal don't worry. Opt for a pair of super comfy leggings or a jumper if you want a more relaxed look. But, if you really want to leave your 'out-of-office' on, move away from navy and black completely and take a look at this Topshop cold-shoulder dress. 

What trend do you prefer?
xoxo
J
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Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Happy Days with The Happiness Planner

mindfulness for beginners


"Anxiety is fashionable nowadays". Yes stranger on my morning commute to University, you would be correct in thinking that now, more than ever, people will admit to struggling with mental health illnesses. And strangely, Mr Stranger, I actually agree with you that it is fashionable to say you have said condition. As someone who has been crippled with anxiety, who has had their supposedly 'perfect' life ruined by that very demon, I feel like I'm perfectly informed to make that conclusion. 

Before you embark on a mass unfollow of all my social media platforms, hear me out. 

Not a day goes by when somebody isn't writing a blog post, just like this one, about their anxiety.  Thanks to greater social acceptance, suffers are no longer ashamed to become public with this dark shadow. Some critics have said this sudden lack of embarrassment is a way to become more relatable, and more popular on social platforms. It's essentially click bait. Like it or not, people are nosey and like to know that they are not alone. But why should this be a bad thing? Surely the more people who 'come forward', the more understanding society will have, and the fewer hurdles people will have to jump to get access to coping tools and treatment. So what if so-called 'popular' bloggers and youtubers, and even celebrities, mention their anxiety every day. To me they are simply raising awareness and tolerance for a condition that has so long be seen as taboo,  and showing the world that you can be a high-achieving, successful human being whilst suffering from a mental health illness. If it takes away even the smallest amount of fear or confusion from someone, then I'm glad and happy that anxiety is fashionable. 

It's thanks to anxiety's 'new' status that some rather helpful products are emerging, helping people to control and challenge their worries. One of those is The Happiness Planner. Available in both a dated, and undated version, the Happiness Planner is essentially a regular planner, with a special focus on mindfulness. Now, I've had a bit of experience with mindfulness. To date, I've had two courses of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), one with a more traditional mediative focus, the other focusing more on challenging. Neither approach is wrong, different ways work for different people and the second just happens to suit me better. Whatever method you prefer, this planner is the perfect way to practice the techniques and cement them into your lifestyle. It's the ideal companion. 

mindfulness for beginners
mindfulness for beginners 
mindfulness for beginners




With the aim of encouraging a healthy mindset and showing users that they have control over their attitude, you get out what you put in. This is the undated 100 day edition of the planner, perfect for giving as a gift at any time of the year.  Featuring a section focusing on your lifestyle at present (what makes you happy, unhappy, your goals etc), 100 daily planner pages, weekly reflections and goals, and a 100 day review at the end, the planner lets you look at the bigger picture, rather than small details (something I do when anxious). Although day by day, you focus on the here and now, the reflections are so useful to learn from. After a couple of weeks I'd found my long-hidden triggers and have been able to challenge them.  Anyone with anxiety will tell you that recovery is a slow learning curve but it's tools like this that make the entire process that bit easier. 

Do you have anxiety? What tools do you use to keep it at bay and learn from it? 

xoxo
J
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Sunday, 2 October 2016

Backpacking Beauty || What's in my travel make-up bag?

what's in my holiday make up bag


what's in my vacation make up bag
I'm a chronic over-packer. No matter how much I plan or cull choices down, I will inevitably overpack, and I'm ok with that. If an airline gives you a 22kg baggage allowance, why not make use? It's only on those trips where you are constantly on the go, never actually unpack, and have the lug round your suitcase day in day out that you think 5 bikinis, each with their own matching sandals and cover-ups, may be slightly excessive. 

As you're all probably aware, I'm back from my 2nd trip with Trek America, and it's safe to say, I'm missing life on the road. Being on the move constantly meant streamlining my collection was more important than ever and because I travelled through some of the hottest, more humid States, each product needed to pull it's weight. So this is what it came down to; my tried and tested, holiday make-up essentials. 

Make up bag Primark
L'Oreal Cushion Nude Magique Foundation
Maybelline Superstay 24h Setting Spray
No 7 Instant Radiance Highlighter
Maybelline SuperStay 10hr Tint Gloss in Ruby Red
SEVENTEEN Eyebrow Pencil
Rimmel Glam Eyes Liquid Eyeliner
L'Oreal Touche Magique Concealer
NYX Concealer Wand
Benefit Bad Gal Liner Waterproof
L'Oreal Miss Manga Waterproof Mascara Review here
L'Oreal Nude Magique Blur Cream

What are your vacation make-up must haves? Let me know in the comments below!

xoxo
J

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