There's nothing I love more than hopping on a plane and flying somewhere marginally more exotic than a rainy London Town, but sometimes it's just not feasible to escape to somewhere far away - be it time, financial or family restraints that hold you back. I may have traveled quite a lot over the last few years and been lucky enough to experience life on the other side of the pond, it's also important that I discover all there is to know about my own habitat and make a concerted effort to explore the British Isles. If you need a mini break or are planning on taking a Staycation this summer, but don't know where to start, then I've pulled together a list of great places (in my humble opinion!) to check out if you're in need of inspiration. From classic beach holidays to cultural escapes, there's something for your every desire.
The difference between how a golden glow and a pasty pale complexion makes you feel is almost tangible. Although I fully embrace my natural tone, sometimes a little colour is all I need to boost my confidence and ensure that summer dress looks totally fabulous. Tanning isn't an enjoyable pastime, but we have to put up with it if we want to embrace the golden glow; the smelly formulas, streaky finish, sticky skin and dodgy fade is just the tip of the iceberg. With a huge number of tans within my repertoire you'd expect me to be on it every other day, but realistically I usually leave tanning until there's a big occasion or event - filling in my pale legs with a touch of wash-off colour to tide me over. However, there's one game changing tan that I'm currently obsessed with and have barely been able to peel myself away from since I first started using it. Bondi Sands may have taken the blogging world by storm with their Liquid Gold, but in my opinion their Gradual Tanning Foam is far more worthy of a frenzy.
Whether you can afford or justify £64.00 on a makeup palette is neither here nor there, because this post has been purely created to offer a moment of lust on an otherwise dull day. If you don't know much about By Terry as a brand, then you may be interested to know that the founder (Terry De Gunzburg) actually created the world's best selling beauty product: YSL Touche Eclat. That alone cements her as a woman who knows what she's talking about, but it's also worth noting that her products are created with the utmost care, attention and passion. She uses groundbreaking ingredients and creates products born from a genuine need or desire, even if they do command an eye-watering price tag. I personally haven't tried a huge amount from the brand, but these stunning summer palettes instantly appealed to my inner makeup maven and had me lusting from the very first peek. Designed to offer a combination of blush, highlight and bronzing shades that can be used individually or in unison, the palettes offer something truly unique and incredibly covetable.
I may have perfected the art of packing minimal clothes for a long weekend away (I've learned the hard way I don't need four pairs of shoes for three days,) but the same couldn't always be said when it comes to my beauty products. Having become accustomed to using about thirty different lotions and potions every morning, editing them down into a tiny case is somewhat of a challenge. However, after many hand-luggage-only trips away, I've finally perfected packing for a holiday or mini break without having to scrimp on essentials. If your next trip is dependent upon getting all you need into a cabin-sized bag, or you simply want to save time or money by not checking in any luggage, you may welcome some of my tips for making the most of the space you do have.
For quite some time thoughts have been brewing in my mind, but I've just not been able to construct them in such a way that they're suitable for documenting. So let's just cut to the chase: blogging in the UK has evolved into something very white. One of the reasons our mediums originally became so game-changingly popular is because they were democratic, free from air brushing and representative of 'real women' in all their shapes, forms, colours and sizes. However, increasingly I've noticed that women of colour just aren't getting the recognition they deserve and it's tricky to even discover new talent that doesn't have a Caucasian skin tone. With the launch of every new brand campaign the same faces fill up my feeds, reflecting only one part of the makeup of this country and proving we're still some way off equality. In the 2011 census 1.9 million (3%) of the population identified themselves as Black British, an increase from 1.15 million ten years prior; with more and more diversity on our streets should come the diversity available online, but that just doesn't seem to be happening. With the recent #BlackLivesMatter campaign bringing ethnicity to the forefront of our minds, it's made me question why there aren't that many commercial and traditionally 'successful' influencers outside of the creamy coffee colour spectrum.
Natural Volume, Subtle Texture, Effortless Style: Redken Beach Envy Hair Range Is Perfect For Summer
Love it or hate it, 'holiday hair' volume that's often the result of a long walk along a tropical beach is somewhat tricky to recreate at home. Although the first few days of a getaway I struggle to get to grips with my new found texture and embrace the corresponding volume, after a while I realise it actually looks far better than super sleek hair and adds a touch of youthfulness to my holiday look. As someone with incredibly thin hair that looks straggly if I let it get too long, I'm always seeking products to add volume to the root without causing my frizz to go into overdrive; a lot of frizz-fighting conditioners weigh hair down and leave it looking limp, so it's an ongoing struggle to balance all of my requirements without spending hours preening. Redken's Beach Envy shampoo and conditioner landed on my desk some time ago, but it's not been until very recently that I've started to use it as an alternative to my usual 'shine enhancing products. Having recently removed my hair extensions (it's a constant battle between loving the length and hating the maintenance) I wanted to create volume, style and effortless waves without having to battle with electrical styling tools for an hour. Step in these translucent formulas that hold a secret technology that helps to plump up hair from within.
SPONSORED FEATUREHands up if you unpack the same summer fashion every year, adorning a dress you bought five trips to Spain ago in the hope you'd see more than a few days of sun? Although there's nothing wrong with recycling your summer wardrobe year after year (it fundamentally doesn't change that much - and we never get more than a few wears out of it before it gets retired back to the cupboard,) it's nice to change things up a little and feel like you're keeping up with the latest trends; beauty provides a quick, affordable and effective way of doing just that. This summer our favourite high street store is once again encouraging us to try something new and experiment with beauty, even in the smallest of ways, in order to inject a bit of life back into your look; Boots are known to bring the latest launches to every high street, but they're also at the forefront of encouraging women to embrace bright colours and bold-yet-wearable looks. Because I'm all about trying something new, we teamed up to film some little videos to help provide inspiration and get you in the mood for a little experimentation. With five different options to choose from, each provides a super simple way to update your summer wardrobe and try out a new look; which one has got your vote?
One of the favourite parts of my day is when I stand in front of the bathroom mirror, massage a little oil or balm into my face and wipe away the makeup that previously helped me look ten times more awake than I actually was. There's something incredibly cathartic and ritualistic about cleansing away the day's dirt and grime, leaving a raw and fresh complexion beneath. Cleansers haven't always been the guilty pleasure they are now, previously taking the form or a milk or wipe that wouldn't really do more than removing the product visible on the surface; with the growth of new textures, effective formulas and the societal pressure to 'do it properly', it's no surprise we're all a little bit obsessed with our cleansing routines. I'm always up for trying a new cleanser or investing in a new way of removing the day's grime, but right now there seem to be a flurry of launches proving we're all looking for the best way to remove our makeup. I've been putting these three to the test and definitely think they're worth a try if you've come to the end of your usual pot and want to give something new a go... So here are my thoughts on each.
Just as a music producer would be expected to have a back catalogue of all the most influencial artists of our time, and you would make the assumption that a fitness instructor would follow his own regime of healthy living, as beauty bloggers we're often elevated as individuals with a flawless self-care routine. But the truth is we're only human; most of us have the same naughty habits as you do and frequently become disappointed in ourselves on your behalf, the only difference being we know what we're doing wrong and are often too ashamed to admit it publicly! So many times I look at my messy dressing table with a feeling of doom, or skip over a step because I'm in a rush, and wonder if I'm a bit of a fraud - but this site is all about providing advice, insight and support for you to use at your will, rather than preaching about what's right or wrong. So here are ten things I'm guilty of doing (or not doing) in the interests of transparency. Don't judge me.
Pixi has long been one of the most respected brands in the business, their Glow Tonic cementing their place as a beauty expert with credentials that can ensure their products are in hot demand. But did you know Pixi has a funkier, edgier and more colourful little sister that’s set to make a comeback this year? Pop Beauty was launched way back in 2002 and over the years it’s fallen by the wayside a little as we turned to more affordable alternatives to give us the hit of colour and creativity we desired. Under the Pixi brand remit, it’s historically provided a more youthful and fun approach to makeup versus Pixi’s lighthearted but hardworking products; however, Pop has found itself pushed to one side for the last time as it's sure to take centre stage once again and prove that bright and retro concoctions aren’t just for teens. I can remember the flouro nail polishes that were popular ten years ago as a signal of my clubbing youth, but there’s much more to this brand than may first meet the eye. With a range of beautiful blush, bronzer and highlighting quads to keep complexions looking fresh and natural, as well as six shades of long-wearing liquid lipsticks, please welcome Pop back into the field as a brand you’ll be hearing more about from now on.
A few years ago I would have overlooked Clarins as a brand that wasn't really relevant to me. I had a perception that it was all about old school makeup, skincare targeted at my mum and suffered from a severe lack of innovation - but recently I've thrown all that in the air and started afresh. So many great new products have landed on my desk to challenge those preconceptions and prove that Clarins is really moving forward as an in-touch-with-the-needs-of-modern-women brand. From their skincare boosting serums and long lasting creamy foundations, to the delicious lip oils and lip perfectors I can't get enough of, it definitely seems that they're competing with the likes of Bobbi Brown and Clinique once again. This Summer (through to Autumn) there's a huge portfolio of products hitting counters nationwide, and I can confirm you're going to want all of them. If you want hardworking, beautifully crafted and pleasurable makeup that's a joy to apply, let me introduce you to some future favourites...
Twelve months ago you may have thought someone crazy for covering their body in ground coffee and instagramming the whole process, but right now that seems to be the norm for a high proportion of my feed. Coffee scrubs have taken the world by storm, proving that when you're on to a good thing you can never have enough. But why are these ground bags of coffee proving to be so popular and what's the reason behind this current scrub craze? Although we're programmed to naturally shed away old skin, sometimes we need a little helping hand in the form of manual exfoliation. As we get older the 'cement' holding our cells together becomes thicker, resulting in a build-up of skin cells that makes the sloughing process more difficult to accomplish; this results in a dry, uneven, dull and less-toned appearance. By eliminating the build up of dead skin cells on the surface, the regeneration of new skin cells is stimulated which results in an improved appearance, tone, and feel of the skin. Consistent exfoliation can not only ensure our skin is healthy looking and refreshed, but it also helps to prevent clogged pores, acne, ingrown hairs, scarring, blemishes and all kinds of infections.
Beauty can be a fickle and superficial business, so it's heartwarming to know that many brands actually commit to making the world a better place while helping women to feel good. We're used to the standard breast cancer collaborations every October, but those companies that are standing up and trying to make a change throughout the year (however small) should also be celebrated for investing in our futures. Increasingly our world seems to be falling apart and suffering immeasurably, but there are many small things you can do to help make a difference and ensure the legacy we leave behind is a positive one. From helping to create community spaces and restoring areas of the rainforest, to preventing discrimination and feeding hungry children, there are so many great campaigns running throughout the year that make supporting charity even more beautiful. Although it's by no means an all inclusive list, here are five beauty brands that are giving back to communities in positive ways and helping to make a difference.
For over three years I've been blogging 'full time' in the sense that I rely on it for a source of income. I was one of the first to successfully evolve a passionate hobby into a full blown career, but the journey hasn't necessarily been an easy one. For three years prior I'd used this site as a platform for my passions and interests, to connect with like-minded individuals and have something outside of my normal 'nine-to-five' to keep my juices flowing even when my to-do list didn't. I never dreamed that I would be able to turn something so embedded in me as a person into a 'job' in the traditional sense, but I worked hard enough to make that possible. (Note how I didn't say I was 'lucky' or 'fortunate'? More on that later.) As blogs provide an increasing way to connect with individuals and allow us to digest information in a more relatable fashion, more and more homegrown talents are turning their sites into a way of achieving their dreams. Never has the mantra of the Spice Girls been more apparent, but 'Girl Power' is still sweeping the nation as women (and men) are carving out their own way, breaking down barriers and proving that you can achieve anything if you put your mind to it. It's amazing to see brands embrace blogs and social media influencers as a more effective way of getting their message across, and with that has seen the growth of the 'professional blogger' who no longer needs to rely on a regular job to pay the bills. However, increasingly I'm seeing more and more bloggers feeling the pressure of having to turn to the dark (full time) side when it may not be for them. If you're thinking about making the move, or have recently made the jump and need some words of advice, here's a realistic account of why professional blogging isn't necessarily for everybody.
What To Look For When Shopping For Makeup Brushes (And Introducing QVS: The Affordable Beauty Destination)
SPONSORED FEATUREAsk any makeup artist what the secret to a flawless look is, and undoubtedly they'll tell you it's all in the tools. The products we use will get us only so far, as the tools used to apply them have the ability to make or break the application process. Whether you're a brush fiend or a complete novice, knowing what to look for when making those all important purchasing decisions is incredibly important. Like with anything, you don't necessarily have to spend a fortune to get a great product - it's about understanding what you need and knowing what to look for when presented with a wall of brushes that all look the same from a distance. If shopping for brushes fills you with as much dread as shopping for a new pair of jeans, then I've pulled together some top tips (and expert insight from makeup artist Daniel Sandler) to help you through the process and ensure your toolkit makes you feel like a pro.
Embracing The Multi-Masking Trend: What's It All About? (Plus Introducing The NEW L'Oreal Pure Clay Masks)
Many beauty trends may look great on an Instagram feed, but practically speaking they offer very little actual benefit above and beyond something non-Instagrammable. However, with the latest craze of multi-masking taking over social media and being embraced by celebrities, beauty editors and skincare experts alike, it's time to sit up and take notice. Multi-masking is essentially the use of multiple different face masks at one time, whether that's mixed together or applied to specific areas of the face in order to achieve more targeted results. Although we're often told we're a certain 'skin type', realistically we often have multiple skin types across our faces that all require specific treatment; whether that's blocked or enlarged pores around your nose, congested skin on your chin, blemish prone areas on your forehead, a greasy t-zone or cheeks that lack radiance, it's tricky to target your concern areas with only one product. The multi-masking concept isn't a complicated one and (rather refreshingly) it's not limited to a new product or specific brand: the beauty of it is that you can get involved with what you have lying around your bathroom already. We've all got secret stashes of products we never really use, so this trend provides the perfect excuse to rummage around and discover old favourites - just check they're still safe to be used first! However, if you're in the market for something new then L'Oreal have launched three affordable and incredibly pleasurable face masks that have been developed specifically for multi-masking.
A picture may be worth a thousand words, but is an Instagram account worth a thousand blog posts? Social media used to provide a way to share moments or snippets of news - but as we become increasingly obsessed with scrolling through a feed rather than concentrating on digesting information, the uses of our favourite platforms have evolved. Digital influencers no longer necessarily have to have a blog or a YouTube channel, as their Instagram or Snapchat following reaches a significant proportion of the population in one hit. More and more bloggers are focusing on growing their social media following rather than creating blog content, while brands are seeking to collaborate in increasingly more visual ways. My main blog regret has always been not jumping on the Instagram bandwagon earlier, paying the price years down the line when it's increasingly difficult to establish yourself and grow a significant following. This visual medium is a quick, fun and easy way to get across a message or provide insight into your life, so it's no surprise it's overtaking all other platforms in terms of popularity. Having really focused on improving my presence over the last six months, recently I hit a 25,000 follower milestone - so I thought I would take the opportunity to share what I've learned and let you in on my top tips for securing a great Instagram following, without having to dedicate hours every day to doing so.
SPONSORED FEATUREAs we start to metaphorically and literally strip off the layers of the previous season, it becomes ever more important to look after our skin and ensure it's ready for the warmer weather. We all want to feel our best when it's time to slip into something slinkier, but more often than not it's not until we're heading out the door that we realise our limbs have seen better days. Whether you're a lover of short shorts, a fan of the strapless dress, or prefer to cover up in a flowing maxi or on-trend kaftan, there are lots of simple things you can do to ensure your legs and arms are in tip top condition when the weather holds out for long enough for them to be finally set free. One of the products I'm relying on this summer is the super lightweight, nourishing and deliciously scented Firming Butter from Palmer's. Made from pure Cocoa Butter and enriched with Vitamin E, Collagen, Elastin and Shea Butter, this non greasy lotion helps to tighten, firm and tone skin. Not only does it help to improve skin’s elasticity and texture (even more important as we age,) but the addition of Ginseng and Vitamin E helps to nourish and rejuvenate tired skin, while Co Enzyme Q10 (a powerful antioxidant) helps stimulate skin cells for a more toned and smoother appearance. The pump action bottle makes it mess free and great value for money, while the texture of the lotion melts into skin to leave a comforting sensation with no residue whatsoever. It's the first step towards getting an irresistible summer body, but there are a few other things you can do to boost your skin and leave you feeling fab. Here are some of my top tips that can be implemented with only five minutes spare a day!
Mastering the perfect cat flick is akin to completing a black belt in judo. It's a skill we'd all love to have, but somehow it's always too complex for us to manage without an expert on hand to adjust our technique. Over the years I've upgraded from a khol pencil, to gel liners and later a liquid pen in the hope that my liner flicks would be perfectly on-trend; I've adjusted my process and pushed the boundaries of what I thought possible with my own hands, but until now the perfect flick has been just out of reach. If you're one of the millions of people who genuinely struggle to replicate the timeless look, then the newest launch from Lancôme could be the saviour you're looking for: their innovative Grandiôse liner includes a unique 'swan neck' design to ensure you can get as close to the base of lashes as possible, without getting your arms in a tangle.
Five years ago a concept launched into the UK that would change the face of beauty forever. The Glossybox subscription service was heralded as the most innovative idea in years, delivering thousands of monthly teasers and samples to women across the country - all with the aim of encouraging discovery and injecting passion back into beauty. Women signed up in their droves and the copycats soon followed, but when this all started did we really understand the significance it would play for years to come? Although the beauty box market has had its ups and downs, there's no denying that Glossybox have been leading the way and pushing the boundaries of what's possible with one little pink box. Their focus is very much on providing a platform for women to discover fabulous products that they may never have known about otherwise, but over the years this has evolved into much more than that; Glossybox is a brand in its own right and it's not shying away anywhere soon. Looking back, here are the five ways I think they've impacted the beauty industry since their inception.
Seeing as my career gives me the perfect excuse to visit a spa frequently, you may be surprised to know I spent very little time actually relaxing in spa like surroundings. In all honesty a trip to the spa is usually more effort than it's worth, as my brain attempts to absorb everything around me to aid future descriptive blog posts. I turn down the majority of opportunities because I'd often just like to close my eyes and enjoy the moment (rather than worrying about what products are being applied when, and what the specialist vibrating bed felt like!) but some things are just too hard to resist. When Champney's Tring asked me to spend the day at their iconic hideaway, it was an opportunity too good to turn down. Having lived no more than thirty minutes away practically my whole life, it's somewhere I'd always wanted to visit but never quite had the right opportunity to do so. Although Champneys were pioneers of the concept of holistic wellbeing (having developed the first UK health spa chain and the first purpose-built health resort,) over the last decade or so their brand had become a little dusty and a little out of touch with the needs of the modern woman. Suffice to say they've spent the last few years getting their house in order and totally revolutionising the Champney's experience - and if you've been to one of their resorts previously, you won't recognise the new incarnation at all.
What's that peeping out from behind a cloud? My oh my, it appears to be the sun! Although our summer hasn't been off to the best start, there is light at the end of the tunnel and hopefully the opportunity to adorn our cream dresses yet. Many of us don't think twice about switching up our skincare or makeup routine with the dawn of a new season, but what about our scent? Somehow a heavy, musky and amber rich fragrance just doesn't seem appropriate when set against the backdrop of a pair of espadrilles and a floral summer dress; you need something lighter, fresher, more uplifting and a little bit calming during the sunny season - and I've got just the ticket. If you're after a refreshing signature scent for the warmer months but don't want to spend a fortune (after all, we'll be back to our darker scents come October) then I've handpicked five of my current favourites for your perusal. Which tickles your fancy?
It's easy to slip into a beauty routine and not really think about what you're doing, picking up bad habits and assuming your methods are best practice. Like driving a car and forgetting all the manoeuvres you needed to pass the exam, it's easy to forget all those good habits and find yourself slipping into beauty madness. Although I'd like to think of myself as a makeup angel, realistically I'm as bad as the rest of you and often have to check myself when I'm doing something naughty. But what about the blunders you don't even know you're making? Here are ten of the most common makeup mistakes we all make and how you can rectify them without having a meltdown.
I Feel #BetterThanEver: Celebrating Being Fabulous & Learning To Love My Skin (With L'Oreal Paris & Revitalist Filler Renew)
SPONSORED FEATUREOver the last decade the beauty world has undoubtedly become obsessed with the concept of 'anti-ageing', but when did ageing become such a bad thing? When did wrinkles and laughter lines become something to be ashamed of, rather than embraced and celebrated? When did a grey hair become the end of the world, rather than a badge of honour that you’ve made it that far in one piece? In other cultures age is associated with wisdom and wrinkles command respect. In the western world fine lines and grey hair are often met with apprehension and dread; it seems that past the age of 25 we lose our social equity entirely, because if we're not beautiful in the traditional 'Victoria Secret model sense' do we have value at all? With the launch of their new #BetterThanEver campaign, L'Oreal Paris aim to celebrate women in all their forms by saying you can look and feel better than you ever have done - no matter how many candles are on your cake.
Sometimes what seems a great idea in French really doesn't translate into English. You can just imagine the brainstorm session in Paris when they came up with the concept for these nourishing lip crayons, throwing around names and hoping for a little inspiration... When one perfectly dressed and perfectly coiffed Parisienne says in their evokative accent "appelons-les baume seeexzeeey!" Yep, it may sound cute, fun and playful in French, but with a hard English accent 'Sexy Balm' just feels a little bit like your dad dancing to the Macarena at a wedding reception. Cringeworthy name aside, these rather simple looking lip crayons are actually really rather fabulous - especially as they're only £4.99 each. The L'Oreal Sexy Balms are available in eight shades (five sheer for a delicate tint, and three 'bold' for a more intense hit of colour) and have been formulated to provide long-lasting moisture. Although there's nothing spectacular about these in terms of their benefit or formulation (at the end of the day, they're tinted lip balms in a bullet format,) they do provide an even and comfortable colour result that's great for on-the-go.