Friday, 18 May 2018

Dry & Eczema-Prone Skin? Here's How Hyaluronic Acid Could Benefit You

hyaluronic acid products

Ever since I was a baby, the main problem with my skin has been eczema. I would scratch my skin raw until my mum bought me some hand mitts, but even now I still get flare-ups. I get it in the normal places, like behind my knees and in the crease of my elbows, but when it hits my face, then the struggle really begins. 

With my body I know I can just reach for my trusty Aveeno or Bioderma SOS Spray (the only products that soothe the itching while moisturising it), but with my face I feel like I need more than just those, seeing as I'm applying skincare products and makeup to it every day. Eczema on my face can get really itchy and irritated if I use the wrong products on it, so I've now started to look more into the products and ingredients I put on my face. One of those ingredients that have been helping me battle eczema a treat is hyaluronic acid.

Unless you've been living under a rock or a huge pile of eyeshadow palettes, hyaluronic acid is one of the latest skincare wonders that has been taking over the market and after using products containing the molecule for the past five months, I can see why. 

Hyaluronic acid is a molecule that is actually already in our skin and helps make up the framework of our skin cells. This product is so fantastic at containing moisture as it can hold up to 1000 times its weight in water all while creating a protective barrier, meaning you'll be locking in moisture for longer. 

Let me give you an example of how it worked for me!

At the start of the year, my skin was going a bit bonkers- it hadn't really experienced a proper winter last year seeing as I spent most of it halfway across the world, so the eczema was quite literally slapping me in the face for it. I started to develop a random patch of eczema on forehead out of nowhere and I struggled for weeks trying to figure out how it had come about. However, all that while that I had been worrying, I should have spent thinking how I could treat the problem.

Out of curiosity, I started researching hyaluronic acid after receiving some products containing it, and thought 'hey, this could work'. Once I started introducing it into my skincare routine, the patch of eczema vanished in a week. 

Now, hyaluronic acids are a part of my morning and evening skincare routines, and I've started to see the long-term benefits as well as the short term ones. My skin has been plumper and more alive in the mornings and has meant my foundation has been going on like a dream. 

So how can you incorporate hyaluronic acid into your skincare routine? Here are some of the products I've been trying out over the past few months that have been changing my skin for the better:



One of the miracle-workers in this new range from L'Occitane, this cleanser is so refreshing to apply and leaves your skin silky smooth. You really feel you're adding moisture to your skin without clogging your pores, and that's thanks to the minerals and calcium in the cleanser from the Réotier spring in Provence. If you're looking to take a break from oil-based products, this could be the product to try out! 



I've always enjoyed using mists and sprays to keep my skin hydrated, and this plumping mist from Balance Me is one of my new favourites. Containing a natural alternative to HA, this helps soothe while encouraging the production of the HA in the skin. As well as using this as an on-the-go top up of moisture when travelling, I've also been using this sometimes as a toner to close my pores on days when I've had a flare-up of bad skin and it's done a great job of soothing it.  


Another moisturising mist that I know I'll be popping in my carry on for flights is this one from L'Occitane. Again from the Réotier range, this is not only refreshing to put on in the mornings and on the go, but also as a finishing spray for your makeup! As this is such a multitasker, this would be perfect for helping you travel light on skincare products. 



Moving onto serums- when it comes to skincare I know I can always rely on Bioderma to look after my sensitive skin, and the hydrabio serum has been amazing to use in the mornings to soothe and refresh my skin. The formula starts off as a gel and then melts into your skin like water, smoothing it out. I've really noticed a difference when applying my base products after using this, as I find it goes on a lot easier and blends well even if I have a few imperfections. 


This serum may be more on the pricier side, but it is honestly worth every penny. Aimed at fighting the signs of ageing, it combines both oil and gel formulas together to help increase collagen fibres and the skin's water content. One pump is all you need, and I found it sunk in really well without making my skin too oily like some oil serums can. This would be perfect if you feel like you need a moisture injection during the warmer months without having excess on the skin. 


Probably one of my fave new finds out of all of these is this gel serum from L'Occitane. This looks and feels like good old hair gel, but as soon as it touches your skin it sinks in without a trace! Much like the rest of the range I've talked about so far, this is super refreshing and cooling thanks to the little micro-bubbles which give your skin a fresh injection of moisture. Like some of these other serums, I was really surprised with how little you need- a tiny pea-sized blob will cover your whole face and neck! 


If you really want to dedicate yourself to your skincare, then splash out on this rather luxurious serum from Korres. If you hadn't guessed, the reason this is a bit more expensive than some of the other products here is that it contains fresh handpicked saffron extract from Northern Greece. Saffron is one of the most precious plants in the world and is known for its brilliant antioxidant power. This elixir is ideal for all skin types as it helps to add radiance (thanks to the little gold particles in it), strengthen the skin on the inside and outside, as well as fighting the signs of ageing. On the days I had this on my skin, I think I had some of my 'best skin days', and actually made me more excited than normal to do my daily skin routine. 



Helping to battle skin dehydration brought on by temperature and pollution, this Clarins moisturiser is a smooth cream that melts into the skin while protecting from the outside with SPF 15. According to research that Clarins did last year, our skin suffers up to 17 thermal shocks a day as we go from indoors to outdoors and from varying levels of humidity and temperatures. This actually affects our skins levels of hydration, hence why our skin may look dull and tired during the colder months after constantly going from freezing temperatures to heated buildings. This cream helps you get your skin hydration back on track and works really well with those who have normal to dry skin. 


This is a product that was probably my first introduction to hyaluronic acid, as I started using this last year during the winter months. It even made it into my regular winter skincare routine as it is a cream I always go back to if I'm having problems with my skin. Along with HA, it also has wheat proteins, which are great at soothing, as well as almond oil and beeswax to help protect the skin.  


This Filorga moisturiser is all about hydration. The high-end cream is suitable for all skin types but it also prioritises mattifying the skin and reducing pores as well as giving it hydration. I'm currently trying this out long-term so will keep you updated as to whether this mattifies my skin more than normal as I can be prone to getting a little shiny. This really works hard for your money and is super light in consistency so it would be perfect to pop into your travel bag if you're going anywhere warm this summer. 


Much more than a mask or night cream, this sleeping facial from Korres uses wild rose which contains nine times more Vitamin C than an orange! The vitamin C along with the oil from the wild rose helps enhance natural cell renewal overnight while improving the texture of the skin. After applying this the night before, I would find myself waking up with ultra-soft skin with a silky protective barrier that had formed over the top layer. This again is a product that needs some long-term commitment from me, but one that I truly enjoy applying. P.S. it smells just like Turkish Delight!



This last product is one of those products that seems like a bit of a novelty but turns out to work pretty well. I mean, I've tried everything from sheet face masks to hand masks, but never thought I'd see the day where I came across a neck and chest mask! However, it makes total sense to create something like this, as our neck area is one place we seem to forget about when it comes to ageing. I've started to make sure I bring my skincare products down past my neck to ensure this area is getting properly looked after, and this mask from Skin Laundry is certainly helping with this. As well as hydrating the skin it also helps to preserve the firmness and elasticity of this area. This may be a product that I need to repurchase!

I was introduced to this mask and the Clarins moisturiser through Indulge Beauty, which is almost like a mix between Sephora and Boots but for the UK market. Launched by the CEO of The Fragrance Shop, they have opened a new store in Westfield Stratford City as well as being online and stock over 120 brands. I've been really impressed so far with the brands and selection of products that they have, so I'm really looking forward to shopping more with them! 


I know this was a pretty hefty post but I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed creating it! Beauty is one of my first loves so when I came up with the idea to write this post I was super excited to delve into it. 

I just want to say a huge thank you to all the brands I mentioned in this post. They very kindly sent me these products to try out, which has meant I've been able to discover some new brands I may not have thought to try before and new products that I'll definitely be repurchasing in the future. 

What are your thoughts on hyaluronic acid? Have you tried any products with it in, and how has it affected your skin? 


Friday, 27 April 2018

5 Things to Do in Malaysia You May Not Know About

Sapi Island, Kota Kinabalu, Borneo, Malaysia

If anyone asked me to try and choose between any of the places I visited in Malaysia, I know I wouldn't be able to decide as aside from one or two places, our time in Malaysia was pretty perfect. 

Along with friendly people and cheap food, this country is also overflowing with a variety of different cultures and is truly unlike any country I've visited before. It's a destination that is so underrated, so try and get there now before everyone else realises how beautiful it is. 

This huge country is split over two land masses but I've picked out 5 things to do in Malaysia that you may not have heard of or know about. If you're visiting Malaysia soon or looking at adding some places to visit to your travel bucket list, these 5 will hopefully inspire you. 

Sam Poh Temple, Cameron Highlands, Malaysia


Situated in the middle of mainland Malaysia, Cameron Highlands is an incredible place to visit. Set in the rolling mountains and tea plantations, the best way to see this area is by booking a tour. If this place is a stop on your tour, you're in for a big treat.

Sam Poh Temple is a stunning Buddhist complex situated in Brinchang which is a 5-minute drive from the Cameron Highlands centre. Welcomed by the colourful ornate gates as you arrive, this temple boasts everything from huge gold statues to tiny intricate details on tiles and in ornaments. 

This temple is spread over a few inner temples where you have to remove your shoes, but once inside you can spend as long as you like walking around. If you have a good tour guide, they will normally take you at the start of the day so you can enjoy the peace and tranquillity of the place with only a few people around you. When we went there was only one other group there, and sometimes Chris and I found ourselves alone in one of the inner temples. 

TOUR PRICE- shop around for this, but we went through the one that our hotel was offering as it was the cheapest one around with the most packed in and it worked out at just under £15 per person for the day. 

Rainforest Discovery Centre, Sepilok, Malaysia


Sepilok may be a bit trickier to get to than other locations on Borneo but once you're there, it is seriously worth the trip. As well as going to see the orangutans and sun bears (more on those in a future post), the Rainforest Discovery Centre is one place that shouldn't be overlooked. 

This forest reserve was located just down the road from our hostel and is a little rainforest paradise that you can explore to your heart's content. Walk along the many trails and take in the beautiful tropical fauna around you, or if you feel like getting a look from higher up, climb up one of the canopy towers to some of the treetop walkways for a unique view of the rainforest. 

We loved the peace and quiet of this place after the busy orangutan and sun bear sanctuaries, and with it being a little later in the day when we visited, it was much cooler than it would have been in the midday sun (trust me when I say you should avoid that at all costs). You definitely won't see as much wildlife here as the reserve is huge, but it's definitely worth exploring.

A little tip- try and find the Sepilok Giant, a huge tree that is over 65 metres tall and around 800 years old.

ENTRANCE FEE- around £1.40

Pinang Peranakan Mansion, George Town, Malaysia


If culture's your thing, then George Town should already be on your list to visit in Malaysia. You can walk around any corner and be presented with so many different buildings and temples from so many different cultures and religions all in one place, including the Pinang Peranakan Mansion. 

This museum is dedicated to the Peranakans, a Chinese community that mixed with the many other cultures in Penang. They left behind many thousands of antiques that are now on display at the mansion, and visitors can take a free guided tour to discover what life was like and how they lived. The guides speak many languages, are engaging and extremely knowledgeable so definitely don't be shy to ask any questions. 

The architecture and artifacts are all absolutely stunning, with every piece having a story behind it. As well as the main house, you'll also be taken to the family temple and the jewellery exhibition to look at the many intricate pieces including one set of earrings that has individual kingfisher feather strands set in them. 


Sapi Island, Kota Kinabalu, Borneo, Malaysia


Kota Kinabalu turned out to be one of our favourite places in Malaysia, mainly because of the beautiful Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park. These stunning cluster of islands make the perfect day trip from the city and are some of the most stunning islands I've ever visited. 

Sapi Island was one of our favourites, mainly because of the crystal clear waters that are perfect for snorkelling and swimming. As well as this, the islands feature the worlds longest island to island zip line for the adventure junkies out there!

The islands can get busy very quickly during the day, so heading to an island early means you'll get a great spot on the beach. You have to pay a conservation fee when you arrive along with your speedboat return ticket and you can hire out snorkelling gear if you don't have any with you. This was the place that we saw our first ever clownfish in the wild along with other amazing fish so definitely give it a go.

There are toilets and a cafe on the island, but I recommend bringing your own picnic from the mainland as it can be a little expensive if you're traveling on a budget. 

BOAT TRANSPORT- again, definitely shop around for the right boat company but they are normally all the same price on the jetty. Return for the day is normally around £3.60.

CONSERVATION FEE- around £1.80

Batu Caves, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia


Although there are many amazing things to do in the capital, visiting the Batu Caves was definitely a highlight for lots of reasons. Firstly when we visited it poured with rain, resulting with us having to buy some plastic rain ponchos for a couple of pounds so we could make the long trek up the many stairs to the temples within the caves. 

Although this wasn't the grandest temple we'd been to, it was pretty amazing to see inside the caves when it was quiet (the rain seemed to have scared away any big tourist groups). On a clear day, you get a pretty awesome view of the city from the top of the steps, and the huge gold statue that guards the entrance is pretty spectacular to see in person. 

ENTRANCE FEE- the smaller caves and temples have different entrance fees but the main cave, which is what we decided to visit, is free!


Those are just some of the fantastic things that you can get up to in Malaysia! Let me know if you've visited any of these or what other amazing places there are in Malaysia in the comments below. 


Wednesday, 11 April 2018

How Travel Taught Me What I'm Thankful For

Cameron Highlands, Malaysia
Cameron Highlands, Malaysia

We all go about our lives at 100mph busying ourselves with working, socialising and family all while being constantly connected to what's going on in the world through our phones. It can get so easy in this day and age to keep ticking over in our routine without really stopping and taking a breath. Even when we're on holiday and supposed to be relaxing, you'll normally be snapping away while thinking about which photo to post on social media later.

It wasn't until I went backpacking last year for 5 months that I fully stopped and looked at my life. It's funny how sometimes you need to take yourself to a desert island to fully open your eyes to what your life is like. We can get so blinkered with our daily life, but after I found myself sitting on a plane heading to the other side of the world, the veil was lifted and I really started to realise how incredible my life really is. 

There are many factors that I've realised I'm so thankful for in my life, but I handpicked the top 5 to talk about today. If you've found yourself feeling down and uninspired lately, maybe it's time to take a trip stripped back to the basics? You'll be surprised how much travelling can affect you and make you realise what you're thankful for.


This is probably the top thing that people take for granted the most. We may complain about getting a cold or an annoying spot, but that really doesn't compare to what some people have to live with. When you travel to places that are outside the resorts, you'll meet people who are may not necessarily have access to healthcare meaning they can't work. In some countries, there is not the support for helping people with disabilities so you may come across people begging on the street or walking into restaurants asking for money. This really broke my heart seeing this, and it made me realise how lucky we are to have free healthcare and our health in general. 


The support network of those who care about you is something we all should be thankful for. These are the people who cheer you on when you succeed and become a shoulder to cry on when you don't as well as giving you unconditional love in some cases. There's nothing like 5 months away from your loved ones to make you realise how much you love them, and even spending 5 months with Chris has made us closer than ever. Make the most of the time you have with these people- as sad as it is there may be a time when they are no longer in your life so making the most of the time you spend with them now is so vital. 


Yes really, travel taught me to be thankful for travel! I now well and truly have the travel bug, and planning my next trip brings me immense happiness. Even for those who holiday once a year, this can start to become just another routine that loses spontaneity. One thing that stuck in my mind while travelling in Asia especially, is the number of wonderful people that we met that don't have the opportunity to travel. In Asia, the currency is so weak against the British pound or US dollar that a flight could have them saving for years. Even though I'm not exactly a billionaire, I've realised that I'm so thankful that I can afford to travel, regardless of whether it's a staycation here in the UK or flying long haul. 


This kind of contradicts what I was saying at the beginning of this post, but I've come to realise that the internet has done so much for me. It is a wonderful thing when used in moderation, and after spending time on islands that had little to no WIFI, I found I'm now able to switch off from the world a lot easier than before I went away. Nothing is so important that it can't wait a couple of hours or even until the next day, and even though I spend so much of my day on the internet, I can now happily leave my phone at home or turn it off and not have a meltdown that people might be trying to get in touch with me. 

I also found when I was backpacking that I could talk to my parent's every day thanks to the internet. We would Whatsapp and call each other frequently, and they would say it was like I was in the next room as I could speak to them so easily. 


Sometimes all you want to do is let the floor swallow you up because of something you did, and you'd rather shove it into a box in the back of your mind never to be opened again. However, while travelling I've found I've been faced with some unknown situations that I've ended up making mistakes in...and that it's totally okay that they happened. They say we learn from our mistakes, and I couldn't agree more. Sure, no one's perfect and there has been some things I've done that I do regret and wish I would have handled differently, but how are we supposed to flourish and grow without bumps along the way? You can't know everything, and no one is perfect, so stop beating yourself up for what you said to your ex BFF 5 years ago. Life is too short. 


What things are you thankful for, and what made you realise them? Let me know in the comments below and have a great day!


Thursday, 5 April 2018

New Spring Makeup Releases: What's Worth Buying

New Spring Makeup Releases: What's Worth Buying

As the days get lighter and slowly start to get warmer, I normally find myself reaching for different makeup products than I did during the winter. My skin completely changes from season to season, and I have to tailor my skincare towards it- you can see how I treat my skin during the winter here.

Once I've sorted my skin out - because ya know, it can be a tad annoying trying to put beautiful makeup products on your face if your skin is running riot - I start looking in my makeup collection and at new releases for different coverage and colour schemes. I transition from wearing heavy foundations to lighter ones, my blushers and bronzer become warmer in colour, and I start to play around with coloured shadows and eyeliners a bit more. The lipsticks usually stay the same throughout the year but I end up pushing my darker berry tones to the back of the draw while bringing the lighter pops of colour to the front. 

Seeing as I've been trying out a lot of makeup recently, I thought I'd showcase some new spring makeup releases that have been brought out, how I'm getting on with them and whether you should be popping them into your basket. I'm always on the hunt for new products, especially ones that I can take travelling with me, so I'll also be giving some of these a go in different climates as I go on my travels this year.

avon anew perfect skin instant blurring treatment


I always have an on-off relationship with primers, and use them when I'm in the mood but when I find one I love I stick with it until it's run out. Avon's Anew Perfect Skin Instant Blurring Treatment* is a fab mattifying primer with a consistency that reminds me of Benefit's Porefessional. This is currently in my makeup bag and blurs my pores but doesn't mask them completely, so if you want more of a natural look then this primer is for you. I always find when I apply this, my foundation blends in a lot quicker than without it, and I've found I don't get as oily throughout the day when wearing this. 

it cosmetics your skin but better cc cream, and The Ordinary Serum Foundation


Depending on whether my skin is behaving itself, some foundations can work really well with my skin while others flake off like little snowflakes. My skin has been loving these two new foundations in my collection so if you're an eczema sufferer like myself these might be worth your money. Let's talk about the It Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC Cream in Medium* first- the more expensive out of the two, this is in my opinion worth every penny. My skin really loves this: any spots that are starting to rear their ugly heads start to fade after a couple of days of using this, as the added serum in the formula is full of antioxidants and vitamins that treat my skin while I wear it. I would say this is more of a medium coverage rather than full coverage that the packaging states, as I find I can blend this in to match my skin tone perfectly while still looking natural. Also, the added SPF 50 means that this will probably become a staple product for me throughout the summer and for holidays.

The second foundation was one that I got on a whim, mainly through Albertine (from AlbertineSarah)'s recommendation. The Ordinary Serum Foundation in Fair 1.1P is one product that has received a lot of popularity since it's release, and after using it I can see why. This is super lightweight to apply and leaves you with a natural finish that looks like your own skin. If you have problematic skin I would maybe suggest getting the It Cosmetics CC Cream as the coverage is a little better than this while still looking natural, but if you've got blemish-free skin then this will become your best friend. I always enjoy applying this and it lasts so well throughout the day. The shade range with this is fantastic (21 shades don't ya know) and even though I felt I picked pretty well with my shade I do wish I had waited and popped into the Covent Garden store to get properly matched just to make sure. 

 I'm really intrigued to see how these two work during the summer when it comes to longevity, but I know for sure that I will be repurchasing these. 

it cosmetics bye bye under eye concealer


Another one from It Cosmetics, the Bye Bye Under Eye Concealer in Medium* is a beast of a concealer in the fact that this covers everything. Bad under eye circle? Gone. Angry red spot? Don't know what you're talking about! Being so full coverage means that it can stick to any dry skin you may have, but if you don't then this is easily blendable with a beauty blender or your fingers. Like the CC cream, this is packed with lot's of ingredients your skin will love, like hyaluronic acid and vitamins to treat the skin while you wear your makeup. I've even seen a slight improvement in my dark circles which is impressing me so far. I have found that if my mascara falls, it can stick to the concealer but then that just shows how amazing it's staying power is. 

lola makeup brow pencil


I have been a Benefit worshiper since their big brow launch a couple of years ago, and I can still say my heart is with the Goofproof brow pencil and the Ka-brow pomade. However I'm always looking for new products to join my little brow dream team, and when this Lola Makeup Brow Pencil in Dark* came skipping into my life I was so excited to try it out. This was a product I had to work at and play around with to discover how amazing it is- I haven't used a traditional brow pencil in years to my first few goes were a bit ahem 'heavy-handed'. But I stuck with it and now can happily do my brows with this, brush them out with the brush on the lid and be left with beautiful full brows that last all day. Let's just say it's nearly rivalling my Ka-brow, and that's saying something...

too faced matte chocolate chip palette


This next product is not exactly new-in, as I've had it since before Christmas, but I felt like I had to talk more about this fab palette in case it's new to any of you. The Too Faced Matte Chocolate Chip Palette* takes 11 of the best shades from the original Chocolate Bar palette and puts them into matte form, all while still smelling super yummy and applying with the same amazing pigmentation. I can hands down say this has become a staple in my makeup routine, and a palette I enjoy reaching for time and time again. This was one of the first bits of blogger mail in my career that I couldn't quite believe had been gifted to me- believe me, I had imposter syndrome vibes for a good week. If you want a palette you'll use every shade in it, this one is for you. 

l'oreal perfect slim superliner and lola makeup duo jamal and eyeliner


After returning from travelling I was desperate to get back into my trademark cat eyeliner flick that I had not sported for so long. I went on the hunt for a suitable liquid eyeliner that wouldn't break the bank and settled on the L'Oreal Superliner Perfect Slim Eyeliner. For me, this was a great starter liner to get me back into doing my flicks, with the nib being small enough to be precise without too many mistakes. 

However, when I moved onto the Lola Makeup Duo Kajal and Eyeliner* I quickly forgot about the other liner. The staying power of this is one of the best I've tried, with the intense black lasting right into the evening with only the flicks fading a little. I'm loving the kajal liner on the other side too- its creamy consistency means this glides on like a dream with one layer being more than enough to make your eyes stand out. 

max factor voluptuous false lash mascara and it cosmetics superhero mascara


I try to regularly clear out my ever-growing makeup collection and after my latest session, I realised I was left with one lonely mascara to get me through my days. Over the next month, I soon accumulated a few more, the first being the Max Factor Voluptuous False Lash Effect Mascara which is definitely a new favourite. I prefer big wands on my mascaras, and this spiral one is perfect for getting every lash and building volume and length without clumping. It's super buildable, and even though I do get a little fallout with this my lashes don't drop as much as they do with other mascaras.

Another one that I've been playing around with is the It Cosmetics Superhero Mascara* which has proved to be quite a little gem. The staying power is fantastic- once this is on, this ain't budging until bedtime! Even though again there is some fallout, this mascara keeps my lashes as lifted as when I applied it. I do find though, that this is one you have to have a go at to really get the best out of it. The wand isn't as big as I normally like, and that leads to a lot of product building up on it. I soon realised after a few goes that you need to take as much excess off as possible before you apply this unless you want to end up looking like some spiders have decided to have a party on your lashline...however once I remove any excess, I don't get any clumps and I can apply this with precision. 

Lola makeup long lasting lip gloss and kat von d studded kiss lipstick


 These past few months have been all about the lip products for me. I've been mainly wearing nudes but I've also added a few more colours and consistencies to my collection too. Let's start off with the Kat Von D Studded Kiss Lipstick in Lolita II*. After working with Kat Von D in the past, I was really excited when I found this beautiful satin matte dark pink nude. The consistency is one of my faves as it applies so creamy and stays matte without drying the lips. It also lasts well even through drinks, food and gigs (really put this to the test through one evening) and if you partner it with the Everlasting lip liner in the same shade, it can last right through the night. 

I haven't used lip gloss for a while but I've currently had the Lola Makeup Long Lasting Lip Gloss in Rose Pink* in my handbag. This gloss has become my everyday nude lip product of choice, with its nude pink colour complimenting the gold glitter particles in a formula that isn't sticky unless you apply too much. These last a good 4 hours even while drinking, but a little less if you throw eating into the mix understandably. The hyaluronic acid (see a running theme in products yet?) slightly plumps the lips while not drying them out too much. 

elegant touch chrome collection false nails and leighton denny nail serums


I'm throwing this category in as more of an addition as I've been trying out some really awesome colours and treatments that I had to talk about. I only wear false nails on special occasions and when I do I have always worn Elegant Touch. Their chrome collection is one of my favourites so far, and means you don't have to commit to sitting in a chair for ages getting gels of these done when you can apply them in 10 mins tops! I'm so excited to wear Molten Madame* and Mirror Mermaid* for a night out. 

Leighton Denny has some lovely nail shades, but they've also brought out their cuticle serums that are perfect for treating any nail problems you may have. The hydra flex serum* hydrates the skin around the nail while treating dry and thick nails by building a protective film over the surface. I started using this as my nails had become quite unflexible making them hard to cut. However, due to the infrequent cold spells we've been having, my skin has been having a field day which has led to my nails splitting. Because of this, I decided to move on to the Bio-build Serum* to give an injection of moisture into them while bonding the nails together to create stronger nails. 


Thank you so much for stopping by and reading this! I appreciate every single view or comment I get. Let me know if you liked this post or if you've tried any of these already. I'm sure I'll be sharing some more new-in stuff next season!


Sunday, 18 March 2018

What I've Been Reading Lately

books I've read, currently reading or want to read

I've kind of missed talking about books. As a self-confessed bookworm, there's nothing more I love doing than ranting on about a book I'm currently reading or want to read. I think this comes from the fact that I started reading from about the age of two so by the time I went to nursery aged 4 I was devouring books like I now devour Oreos (obsessively). This love of books remains a strong part of my life right up until today, and I find relaxing with a good book for a couple of hours the idea of bliss.

I've spoken a couple of times on here and on my Youtube channel about my love for books and reviews on what I'm currently reading, but it kind of petered out when I went travelling. I was (of course) reading while I was out there, and even brought a few more books back with me, but I had gotten out of the habit of discussing it with other people and on my different outlets.

I'm resolving that today by coming to you with an update on what I've been reading lately, including the books I've read over the past couple of months, what I'm currently reading now, and what I want to read in the next few months. I'm on a mission to read a book a month this year, and with this lot, I'm certainly on the way to achieving that.


books I've read


After seeing the film a few years ago, I knew I wanted to read this psychological thriller - I'm one of those weird people who will compare a book to its film adaptation and vice versus. This is certainly one rollercoaster ride and is thankfully pretty similar to the film (I just hate it when a film is nothing like the original book). I found I was displaying the same mixture of empathy and suspicion towards Nick as I did to Ben Affleck, and was still as shocked by the twists and turns when they occurred even though I knew what was coming.

In my mind, this shows how fantastic a writer Flynn is- she's able to create the suspense and shock that you might feel when watching a thriller but through written words. I also think the way she switches between Nick and Amy works perfectly to lay out this story as well as creating a timeline for us to follow. I feel this is a book I can always dive back into to lose myself in the strained and tense relationship of the Dunne's. 


I very rarely put down a book before finishing it and if I do, it's because I really don't like it. Unfortunately, this was the case with this book. I managed to last until just over halfway through but by that time I was well and truly finished with this mentally. 

I can't tell whether it's just my young fast-paced mind but this was so slow. This love story focuses on the relationship between a young awkward sales assistant and a soon to be divorced housewife in the 1950's, and the sexual tension between the two of them builds up very quickly from the start but seems far too drawn out. There is no pace or variety, and the whole 'will they, won't they' fiasco carries on without a single thing happening so by halfway through I started to get a bit bored. This is a long book too, and the events that were unfolding seemed to be having no impact on me whatsoever. 

I always feel guilty when I don't finish a book but I knew that I couldn't make it through the rest of the book without throwing my kindle at the wall in frustration. I even skipped through to the end (something I never do and do not recommend doing if you want to be a spoilsport to yourself) and for me, the ending was rather disappointing. 


I had read this before starting Carol and could be the reason why I didn't click with it. This moving love story is loosely based on the life of Lili Elbe, a pioneer in transgender history and her struggles with dealing with her feelings and transformation in the 20th Century. I immediately fell in love with Einar and Greta, and how their love blossoms into a close partnership as Einar realises he isn't in the body he should be in. 

His childlike innocence at the beginning soon turns into a burning confidence as Lili emerges from the inside out, and instead of being horrified by this change, Greta encourages and supports him through the whole process. It is a truly magical, remarkable and inspirational story, one that I hold very dear to my heart as it shows that life is full of happiness when you can be exactly who you want to be.


I took this away in my hand luggage when I went backpacking, mainly because it was light but also because I was super curious about the hype around this. It had been sitting in my 'to read' pile for a long time, but something made me reach for it when I was packing my bags. Maybe because this book would be as life-changing as the trip...

This coming-of-age story is one that will remain on my bookshelf for many years to come, as it's one of those stories that is so familiar but so new all at once. Even though I consider myself an extrovert, I found Charlie's introverted mannerisms charming and they transported me back to my own school days, trying to navigate the many twists and turns it presented to me. In an environment filled with first dates, making friends, drugs, and hormones, Charlie finds his own way to find his place in the world. 

After finishing the book, I immediately found the film and watched it during one of the many flights I ended up on and I can honestly say this has its place among some of my favourite books of all time. 


This was my first ever gifted book from a publishing house, and I am super grateful I had the chance to read this. I've just finished it and I feel like there's so much I want to talk about (please let me know if you want a long ranty post or video about it because that can certainly be done). 

The story revolves around Mary, who was given up for adoption at seven weeks old, and her birth mother Ruth, and how their lives play out over the years as they slowly make their way back to each other. Mary had a child of her own at a similar time to when Ruth had her, and we see how these two mothers are treated very differently during the early and late part of the 20th century. Out of the two, I felt like I was drawn to Ruth more as she holds her strength through so many horrific events. For some reason I just couldn't gel with Mary- I found it really hard to show empathy to her while she toyed with whether she should meet her birth mother or not. 

I really enjoyed this book and was always excited to sit down and read a bit more each evening, but sometimes I felt like it dragged a bit, especially when it came to the speech. I found there were times when a certain detail would be explained, only for the character to say exactly the same thing directly after. This was something I got used to and accepted as the writing style. For me as well, setting the era is always important, and I found sometimes when I read Mary's parts that I forgot when it was set altogether. I could have been reading a modern novel, which shows that this story does transgress time but I also feel more could have been made of the late 70's setting especially. 

This book, however, highlights the specifics of how women were treated after the war, with all young mothers who were unmarried being seen as 'easy' regardless of the how they got pregnant. This is worth a read if you want to see how women's rights and freedom have changed massively over the past seventy years. 


books I'm reading


I am a huge Agatha Christie fan and have always had a soft spot for a bit of Poirot or Miss Marple. I haven't, however, delved into any of her other novels but after watching the TV adaptation of this a couple of Christmas's ago, I immediately added it to my reading list. This mystery thriller centres itself around ten strangers who are brought together at Soldier Island by a mystery host. However, strange things start to happen as they are accused by their unknown host of crimes they have committed and soon they start dropping like flies. 

I adore Christie's style and so far she has set the scene beautifully, introducing each character with surprising ease, so much so that we already feel like we know them already. This is hard to do with ten protagonists but we soon are able to tell the difference between all of them without getting confused. 


I really have no idea why I left it so long to read this. I picked this up just before we went away, rediscovered it after returning and boy am I loving it so far! Knight is funny, witty, and just totally gets what we're all feeling about pleasing people and stressing ourselves out over the tiniest of things.

Her humour has allowed me to absorb her tips without even knowing I am, and so far I'm learning to not feel guilty about saying no to things and people. Knight explains how you should be caring about the things that make you happy and the rest you can just get rid of. This way of mentally decluttering my worries is extraordinary, and even though I've not read a book with so many swear words on one page alone, it lightens the mood when discussing subjects like dealing with work, friends, and family. 


books I want to read


I know, I know, I fell into the hype of this one. Sorry Not Sorry (I guess that Knight's book is helping already). I found recently that I've been drawn to self-help books as much as fiction, and I think we've all seen this as a common trend over the past couple of years. As someone who works part-time and freelances on the side, I've found myself reading blog posts on handling your working life and so thought this little handbook would be right up my street. 

As well as helping career-driven women working their way up the job ladder, this apparently works for freelancers too, meaning this will hopefully be relatable and helpful at the same time. 


I have always been intrigued by evolution (you can thank David Attenborough for that) and so when I saw people talking about this book pretty much everywhere, I thought I'd see what all the fuss was about. 

Sapiens journeys through our history from the Stone Age and talks about how we came to be the dominant species of today as well as where we're going to be going in the future. I'm so excited to get stuck into this, as learning about who we are is so fascinating to me and how we need to be so careful about our impact on this earth. 


After seeing a couple of people talking about this book, it caught my eye and so I took a chance and popped it into my basket. I read up a bit more about it and this sounds like a heartbreaking tale about a woman who has built up walls around herself to create this 'happy life' she thinks suits her. 

However she is rocked by a small act of kindness and soon her routine starts to unravel, showing how change can sometimes be the best thing we need. So many of us put on a brave face for the people around us to show that we're doing 'fine' but really we know that that isn't a way to live. 


I believe in supporting great women and this is one example. I'm over the time when I would buy every Youtuber's book even if it was a bit rubbish, but I bought this one because it seemed like a genuinely interesting read to me. 

Lily has decided to talk about something that has been a rollercoaster part of my life over these past few years: friendships. As someone who has lost a couple of close friends, I felt this book would be a good insight into female friendships in the modern day and how amazing or life-destroying they can be. 


I hope you've enjoyed getting back into the book convo as much as I have! Expect lot's more reviews and book hauls featuring on here over the next year. 

What have you been reading lately? Anything you'd recommend I read?


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