My Go To Hair Products

Monday, 27 February 2017

While I’m amazing at hoarding skincare products and doing my very best to ensure my skin stays in tip top condition, I’m awful when it comes to maintaining my hair. It pains me to say that I can’t do a thing with my hair other than straighten it and messily curl it. I can’t do cute hairstyles and I refrain from visiting the hairdressers out of fear they’ll shave my head (why do hairdressers not understand what “just a trim please” means?). That being said, when my hair does reach the stage where it’s drier than the Sahara and probably could do with being shaved off, there are a few products I use to sort the abomination on my head out.

Hair essentials

Let’s start with the thing I use multiple times a day and can no longer imagine my life without. I live in the hills of Scotland so naturally, I deal with constant rainy and windy days and my hair is usually a massive knot as a result. Conventional hairbrushes cause my hair to snap and clumps are often pulled out but thanks to the Tangle Teezer, I can brush through the bird’s nest that is my hair with total ease. It has actually made my hair that little bit healthier as I’m no longer destroying it every single time I try to brush it.

Raise your hands if you’re prone to drying your hair as quickly and as lazily as possible! I’m with you on that one. If there’s a hair dryer that can eliminate the damage I do to my hair with my lazy drying ways then I’m all for it. Fortunately, the Panasonic hair dryer was meant for all the people who resent drying their hair as much as I do. It has a “healthy mode” which allows for quick drying while also leaving the hair shiny and manageable. The quick dry nozzle also assists in drying the hair rapidly by separating the hair strands using strong and weak airflows. It also contains a slight acidity which is a similar PH to the human scalp making it perfect for people with sensitive skin.

Hair essentials

I usually don’t have the patience for a hair mask but when my hair needs one, I’ll use the Garnier Ultimate Blends The Strength Restorer. This was actually bought as a last minute purchase before going to Iceland since I was aware the Blue Lagoon was probably going to destroy my hair (spoiler: it did). Garnier hair products and I aren’t the best of friends so I was rather apprehensive about this hair mask doing anything for me but what do you know, it completely saved my hair from looking and feeling absolutely disgusting. I don’t use it as often as I probably should but when I do, there’s a huge difference in my hair.

Hair essentials

I have a habit of switching up my conditioner a lot but there’s one I keep going back to and that’s the Alberto Balsam Coconut and Lychee conditioner. Coconut scented shampoos and conditioners are my thing and I adore the way this one smells. It also does a great job at keeping my hair in check and at £1 per bottle, it’s a total steal!

Finally, we have the only Lush product to feature in this entire post. I know, me with just one Lush product, it’s madness! R&B isn’t exactly designed for my hair type but I use it anyway as it’s such a great product. My hair can be a little frizzy from time to time but R&B helps fight that frizz and it leaves my hair smelling incredible. I do tend to favour the Garnier Ultimate Blends The Strength Restorer Balm over R&B as R&B is a little bit too heavy for my fine hair.

So there you have my go to hair essentials. I really need to implement a haircare routine to rival my skincare routine but that will probably never happen. Maybe one day I’ll learn how to make my hair look as sleek and as healthy as possible but until then, I’ll just keep trying to maintain the current health of my hair with as little effort as possible.

Disclaimer: This post features sponsored products. All opinions are my own and are not affiliated with any company.

Lush Empties

Friday, 24 February 2017

I am extremely good at hoarding all of my empty products but I’m dreadful at getting round to writing posts on them. There’s a whole drawer full of empty bottles waiting to be photographed and recycled but, so long as I don’t open the drawer, I forget all about them. It’s reached the stage where I’m breaking my empty products down into 2 categories: Lush and non-Lush. There are a lot of Lush empties lying around but, to avoid gushing about every single product and sounding like an overly sponsored moo, I’ve picked some I love and some I hate to show off in this post. It’s all about balance people!

Best Lush products

Lush Ice Blue: This was an impulse purchase after I noticed it was available in the Lush Kitchen. Any shampoo that’s blue and minty belongs on my head! Ice Blue smells like mint and hardware stores when you’re applying it to your hair which I resented but it left behind an amazing, subtle mint scent once rinsed. If this was a permanent product, my bank account would be in serious danger.

Christingle: Why is this only a Christmas product? It is one of the best moisturisers I’ve ever used. Christingle is really a body conditioner but I always forget to use it in such a way because who actually remembers to rub blue gunk on themselves while in the shower? This did such an amazing job as a moisturiser but a warning to all the females in the world, if you get this in the wrong place, it burns like hell!

Best Lush products

Pot O’Gold: Who keeps letting me buy Lush shower jellies? I can’t stand them but I keep buying them because I think they’re a good idea. I didn’t really like Pot O’Gold, the smell just wasn’t really my thing and the majority of it went down the shower drain without actually washing me beforehand.

The Comforter: – The Comforter is the best bubble bar Lush has ever created (I am willing to fight anyone who disagrees) so to have it in shower cream form makes me so happy on so many levels. I used to be a Dirty Springwash kind of girl but now I’m all about this gorgeous blackcurrant scent.

Best Lush products

Dirty: This wasn’t used by me but I’m going to keep going on about it because every male should use it for shaving. My fiancé loves Dirty and I like how his face smells after he’s used it. Everyone should get to smell a man’s face after they’ve used Dirty (don’t smell a stranger’s face though as that weirds people out).

Don’t Rain on my Parade: – Why oh why did I buy this? Some people love it, some people hate and I fall into the “this makes me want to throw up” category. The description checks the right boxes for me but the actual product, well, let’s not even go there.

There are a lot more empty Lush products lying around (I’ve built a rather impressive tower out of them) but at the risk of this turning into an essay on Lush products, I think I’ll stop at 6. Now please excuse me while I resist the urge to buy far too many things from Lush while simultaneously campaigning for Christingle to be added to the permanent collection.

10 Things to Know Before Going to Iceland

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Up until last year, my holidays have consisted of sweating it out in a hot country so when my brain made the decision to book my fiancé and I a holiday to Iceland I assumed I’d lost my mind. It turns out, Iceland is an incredible place and I can completely understand why it’s become an extremely popular holiday destination lately.

Hallgrímskirkja view

Due to my desire to be in a warm country over a cold one, I wasn’t exactly sure what Iceland would be like and when you throw in the fact this was my first holiday without my parents, I was a little lost. I did a lot of research on Iceland before going but the things I learnt were useless. There are only a few things you need to know before going to Iceland and luckily for you, they’re all right below this sentence.

1. Things in Iceland are significantly more expensive than you originally thought:

You know how people say Iceland is expensive? Well, take the price you think things are going to be and times it by 3. My fiancé and I were fully aware that we would be spending a good bit of money on food and drink but we didn’t anticipate how much it would actually be. A meal at an average restaurant in the UK would cost around £40 for my other half and I but in Iceland, expect to pay well over £100.

2. America made it before you:

I assumed Iceland would be this cute, quirky place that was a little behind on the times but oh boy was I wrong. My assumption was completely squashed around 15 minutes after leaving Keflavik airport when I spotted American fast food chains had beaten me here; we even had a Dominos across the road from our hotel. Don’t get me wrong I love America (and I’m happy to have pizza in close range) but the Americanisation of Iceland grated on me after a few days.

Thingvellir waterfall

3. Venture further afield to get away from the tourists:

The Golden Circle tour is one of the many things Iceland has to offer but you have to really fight your way through the crowds if you want to see any of it. Our first stop was to the Thingvellir and while most tourists looked over at the area the Vikings held the first parliament, we walked a mile down the hill towards a rather impressive waterfall. There were around 7 other people with us and it was so nice to be able to experience an awesome piece of nature without hearing the click of 50 cameras at once. The area my fiancé proposed to me at was actually only a few miles away from Thingvellir and it was totally deserted because it’s not part of the Golden Circle.

4. Iceland does cater to vegetarians

As a vegetarian, my biggest worry about going to Iceland was whether I’d be able to eat proper meals or not. I had a look at quite a few restaurants before we went and I was rather concerned when I noticed very few had vegetarian options but it turned out, I was being an idiot. You may not find the things you’re accustomed to but the majority of restaurants will have a vegetarian option. I’d highly recommend the falafel salad from Meze (42,, Laugavegur 32, 101 Reykjavík) but would advise you to stay clear of the Lava restaurant in the Blue Lagoon if you’re not keen on celery root.

Iceland proposal sites

5. It’s not as cold as you thought it would be:

We went to Iceland in November and figured it would be colder there than in Scotland but actually, it was warmer in Iceland. Of course, this isn’t going to happen for everyone but the chances are, you’ve over-packed and you won’t need the majority of clothes you’ve brought. So long as you have a waterproof jacket, a couple of cosy jumpers, sensible shoes, a hat, gloves and a scarf you should be totally fine. After all, you’ll probably be wandering around Iceland so the exercise is going to keep you warm (seriously, I was sweating profusely after walking up a slight hill as I was wearing so many layers).

6. The Blue Lagoon really is a tourist trap:

We had a great time at the Blue Lagoon. We rented the exclusive lounge, experienced the 2 hours of wonder (which includes an in-water massage) and had lunch at the Lava restaurant but we were almost hit in the face by 20 different selfie sticks while in the water. The Blue Lagoon is one of the main attractions of Iceland and there are regular tour buses coming straight from the airport so expect there to be people everywhere. I knew it would be busy but I didn’t think I’d end up in the background of 100 different videos during our time there.

Blue Lagoon

7. A Northern Lights tour is a must if you want to see them:

Guided tours irritate me but I booked a Northern Lights tour regardless as my other half really wanted to see them. The tour guides really know their stuff when it comes to the Northern Lights and they’ll take you to spots where you’re more likely to see them. The Northern Lights forecast was on 3 when we were standing in the freezing cold waiting for them so we were extremely lucky when the lights made their appearance.

Our tour was booked as a package with our flight and hotel through Reykjavik Excursions. They’ll send a bus to your hotel that will then take you to the bus station. If you book through Reykjavik Excursions and your tour is cancelled, you can email to book the tour for the following night.

8. The Northern Lights aren’t always what you expect them to be:

Hands up if you thought the Northern Lights looked exactly like they do in pictures to the naked eye? I feel you! I totally thought the sky would flash with green but in reality, the lights actually looked like fog moving quickly. The lights weren’t very strong the night we saw them but don’t be disappointed if the sky doesn’t light up with flashes of colour.

Iceland road

9. Renting a car is the way forward but be careful about what insurance you get:

We rented a car through Avis as we didn’t want to be stuck in just Reykjavik and, like I said earlier, I hate guided tours. Driving around Iceland ourselves was incredible as it meant we could venture away from the tourists and do our own thing but Iceland doesn’t exactly have a lot of roads. We ended up on a few questionable surfaces that made us thankful we opted in for the gravel insurance but, if you plan on sticking to just the ring road, don’t bother getting the full insurance package. It’s atrociously expensive and completely unnecessary if you don’t get lost like we did.

10. You’ll never have enough time to see it all:

We only had 3 full days in Iceland and, although I planned our days out to the minute, we just didn’t have enough time to do everything. Our Wednesday was derailed by the Reykjavik Art Museum which we didn’t mean to go into (if you have even the tiniest interest in art you need to go here), we spent the whole day in the Blue Lagoon on Thursday and each bit of the Golden Circle took a lot longer to take in than we originally thought (plus we drove off course and ended up in the middle of nowhere). The good thing about not doing it all in one holiday means you have an excuse to return.

We had an incredible time in Iceland and I really want to go back in the summer now. I’ve done a good chunk of the things I wanted to while there so next time, I can spend a bit more time relaxing and not worrying about the time. If you're heading to Iceland, I hope you have an amazing time (and if you’re thinking about proposing soon, Iceland is a memorable place to do it).

Lush Skin Drink Review

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Winter wreaks havoc on my skin and when you throw in how often I sneeze and blow my nose, you can pretty much guarantee that my skin is forever red and flaky. A good moisturiser is required throughout the colder months and Lush is the only brand I trust to do the job. Celestial is usually my go to moisturiser when it comes to my face but then I stumbled upon Skin Drink on my fiance’s side of the bathroom. Relationships are for sharing Lush products right?

Lush Skin Drink Facial Moisturiser

Skin Drink is what I would describe as a typical Lush product. It has a very subtle and very natural scent, it’s thick and luxurious and it will last for absolutely ages. I say this a lot when talking about Lush products but a little really goes a long way with Skin Drink.

You can probably guess based on the aforementioned sneezing that the skin on my nose is the place that requires the most TLC and Skin Drink really delivers the goods. It keeps the majority of the flakiness at bay and it really helps calm down the redness of my nose after a solid 5 hours of blowing it. Skin Drink also does a wonderful job on the other dry areas of my face.

Lush Skin Drink Facial Moisturiser

I do prefer to use Skin Drink at night as it leaves behind a slightly greasy feel (or a protective layer if you want to style it up like Lush) so trying to put on makeup shortly after using it is no easy task. I do have a slight worry that the heaviness of Skin Drink will eventually clog my pores if I fail to keep up my skincare routine so, for that reason, I would not recommend this to anyone who suffers from oily skin.

Skin Drink will be added to the repurchase list when we manage to get through this tub but I think it will be kept solely for winter. It feels a little too heavy for summer especially with the worry of it clogging my pores and causing my skin to go into meltdown. For as long as winter dries out my skin, Skin Drink will be applied to my face at night and I will continue to wake up free of any sign of a major sneezing session the night before.

The Social Media Detox

Saturday, 11 February 2017

social media detox

While having access to an abundant of information at the drop of a hat should be greatly enriching my life, I’m spending far too much time on Buzzfeed doing stupid quizzes and aimlessly scrolling through meme after meme on Facebook. Being one of the many millions of people who owns a smartphone and a tablet has resulted in me wasting valuable time doing absolutely nothing.

Social media used to be a great way to spend my time as a teenager. I would constantly design new skins on Bebo, chat with friends I’d seen all day at school on MSN and sometimes I would occasionally try to understand MySpace. Back then, I don’t think any of us viewed it as a waste of time but now that I’m an adult with a large amount of adult-like tasks to do, scrolling through Twitter isn’t exactly the best use of my evenings.

Lurking on social media so often makes me feel obligated to update regularly so I’ve noticed I’m posting more and more stupid things. Twitter is the platform I use consistently but when I scroll through my own tweets I’m often left wondering what compelled me to tweet such random thoughts. I’m not exactly trying to provide any beneficial information via my tweets but I also don’t think it’s necessary for people to know the mundane moments of my life.

I’m not one of those people who feel the need to check in everywhere they go or insist on taking pictures and uploading them to Instagram straight away but I do worry about my need to be on social media. I do my best to ensure I’m not looking at my phone when having dinner or engaged in a conversation with someone but if I hear a notification, I have the overwhelming urge to look at it. Even if I’m in the middle of doing something genuinely worthwhile, I’ll still stop to look.

Due to my growing worry over my aimless use of social media as well as the thumb injury I’ve sustained from excessive scrolling, I’m putting limits on my usage. Once 9 pm rolls around, I have to put my phone down and be productive. Usually, I pick up a book and demolish 100 pages each night or I’ll do a task that I’ve been meaning to do for ages but have never found the time for because of social media.

It’s not been easy but so long as I don’t look at my phone, I can pretty much make it from 9 pm to bedtime without scrolling through various social media platforms. I’ve slipped up a few times and if there is any excuse to go on my phone (i.e. setting the alarm for the next morning) then chances are, I’ll let myself go on Twitter.

Despite the challenge of avoiding the internet, I’ve started to really appreciate the benefits of not wasting my time staring at a screen. I can fall asleep faster and my quality of sleep is so much better, I don’t feel the need to check my phone as soon as I wake up and I’m whizzing through my latest reading challenge (just ignore my lack of reading for the last few days).

I’m a little disheartened by how much time I have wasted on social media and I’m also disappointed in myself for feeling like I need to be present on it at all times but I’m doing my best to fix that. I love social media and I love how it goes hand in hand with blogging but I don’t really need to know if someone is having a “cheeky” Nandos or what they thought of a film I have zero interest in seeing. I’m still around on the internet but for limited times only because this thumb injury seriously sucks.

Books of January

Thursday, 2 February 2017

Books to read

January has been my most productive month for reading since I started these “Books of” posts. I somehow managed to get through 5 books (my other half insisting on binging on a show that doesn’t interest me probably helped with that) and I’m feeling pretty pleased with myself. I managed to get through the remaining books in my latest book haul so now I have an excuse to buy more books. January, you were wonderful!

Ok, enough self-indulgence, let’s get into this.

Books to read

Lust by Roald Dahl was the first book I finished in January and I really struggled with it, to begin with. After enjoying Cruelty, a book that is made up of short stories focusing on human cruelty, I thought I would enjoy Lust just as much but I couldn’t get into it at first. The first few short stories didn’t really suggest Roald Dahl to me; I felt like they could have been written by anyone. It wasn’t until I reached The Visitor that I felt like Roald Dahl’s voice was present and I could begin to enjoy each story. The Visitor actually made me laugh out loud (a tough thing for any book to do) so it sort of made up for the shaky beginning.

Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult was probably the best book I read last year so I was eager to read more of her work. I ended up reading The Storyteller after finishing Lust and I am so happy I did as it is amazing. When it comes to emotion, I have very few so when a book almost leaves me in floods of tears, you know it has some power.

Books to read

The Storyteller is about a baker who hides from the world as she is ashamed of her facial scars. She befriends a man at a grief group but while the man is loved by the whole community, he hides a very dark secret and seeks the help of the baker to end his life. I won’t go into too much detail but the story of the Holocaust and Nazism is the main focus of The Storyteller and at points, it’s difficult to read. The Storyteller is beautifully told and is incredibly well researched. Jodi Picoult has just made me thirsty for more of her books.

The Whistler by John Grisham was picked up after The Storyteller was devoured. I was rather apprehensive about The Whistler as a story that follows a woman investigating potential judicial fraud isn’t my cup of tea and alas, I was right to be apprehensive. The only real twist in the book failed to shock me and the substantial amount of characters left me confused. The Whistler seems muddled and it’s rather lacklustre. I have heard that John Grisham’s other work is supposed to be fantastic so I’m happy to give another book of his a shot.

I followed The Whistler up with a book I was more excited about. The Beautiful Dead by Belinda Bauer sounds a little like Nightcrawler only it’s far more exciting (sorry Jake Gyllenhaal). It follows the story of a young TV news reporter who solely discusses murders in London. The book opens with another woman being murdered and, while there is no real shock value throughout, the beginning alone had me hooked and I struggled to put The Beautiful Dead down.

The only negative comment I have about The Beautiful Dead is the ending felt very rushed. I had predicted how it would end a hundred pages or so before so I was quite disappointed to find I was correct.

Books to read

The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton was the fifth and final book I read in January and I only just managed to squeeze it in. I had 6 days to read The Miniaturist which I thought was more than enough but the first 100 pages made me fall asleep 3 nights in a row so I was a little too optimistic.

The Miniaturist is set in Amsterdam in the 1600s and follows the story of Petronella, an 18-year-old girl who has married a wealthy merchant. Her life should now be perfect but her husband doesn’t go near her, her sister-in-law doesn’t seem to like her and there’s something very off about the entire situation. The story is beautifully written and is wonderfully descriptive but absolutely nothing happens and yet somehow, The Miniaturist is captivating.

Once I stopped falling asleep I found myself insisting on reading just one more chapter. I don’t understand how a book can be so dull yet so brilliant but somehow The Miniaturist is. The story leaves a lot to be desired and I felt like there was little explanation as to what was actually going on but I somehow still enjoyed it. This book has left me very confused!

Unlike December, I wasn’t overly disappointed with the books I read in January. I felt like The Whistler could have been significantly better and Lust didn’t always offer the best examples of Roald Dahl’s work but for the most part, I’m pleased with my reading choices. I have a few books in mind for February so I’m excited to get started and, judging by the weight of one of them, I’m going to have some serious muscles when I’m done.
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