Search This Blog


The Beauty Box Worth Buying...

It's pretty clear that I love all things beauty, yet never have I ever purchased or really been interested in a beauty subscription box... Until now! When I noticed the contents of the Latest in Beauty Harpers Bazaar Beauty Box it just seemed like too much of a good opportunity to miss.

I honestly don't know where to start with this as I'm truly amazed by what the box contains for the price. First of all it retails at £45 with £3.95 delivery, me being me I had a quick google to see if there were any discount codes floating around - it was my lucky day... The code HB10 saved me £10, it just confirmed that I really needed to get it ordered! Also this is a one off beauty box, no subscription or monthly box turning up at my door, although Latest in Beauty do offer that aswel if you like the element of surprise.
I'll start with what got me interested in this box in the first place, the Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray £20. It's certainly done it's rounds in the blogosphere, but splashing out £40 on a texturising spray just didn't feel right to me. If you read my recent 4 to try post you'll know I've been loving the Ouai Texturizing Spray, and that just made me even more curious to try the Oribe spray. I have my fingers crossed that this will be just as impressive as the other sprays I've tried. Another haircare item in the box is the Moroccan Oil, I remember back in the day when everyone raved about this but I always thought that my hair is too fine, nether the less I'm excited to try it.
Onto skincare, the box contains a 15ml tester of the Zelens Essential Anti-Aging Cream, although sold as an anti aging product it contains Ursolic Acid to increase skin elasticity and one of my favourite skincare ingredients Hyaluronic Acid to improve moisture levels - it retails at £95 so I'm interested to see how I get on with it. There is also an impressive full sized version of The Origins Drink Up Intensive Overnight Mask, this is one of my all time favourite masks to combat dehydrated skin so I'm glad to have a back up.

The two skincare bits that I'm most excited about is the Tan-Luxe Illuminating Self-Tan Drops and the Omorovicza Queen of Hungry Mist. If you read my recent fake tanning post you'll know that I haven't been tanning my face, I'm trying to have more makeup free days so I'm hoping this will come in handy for that. As for the skin mist, there is nothing I love more than trying luxury skincare so I'm looking forward to giving it a go.
Lastly are three makeup bits, honestly I'm not overly fussed with the Nailberry nail polish so I'll probably pass that onto my mum. There is a travel sized Laura Mericer Radiance Primer that I'm really excited to try, I've heard so many amazing things so I'm hoping I love it just as much as a I love the Too Faced Hangover Primer. Finally there is also a mini Lancome Hypnose mascara, I rarely splurge on mascara so it's always nice to get a small sample size.

This box really is a mix of amazing haircare, skincare and makeup that suits so many different people, it's definitely got me curious about beauty boxes and I'll be keeping my eye out for others in the future!

Have you ever tried a Latest in Beauty box?

FacebookInstagramTwitter/ Pinterest


Current Lifestyle Favourites

No lipsticks or face masks today, instead I'm going through the other non beauty related things I've been loving recently... 

Although I do agree that it's kind of crazy to spend £44 on a candle, there is something about Jo Malone I just love. I have the Peony and Blush Suede cologne and now the candle to match. My lovely mum actually surprised me with this which makes it all the more special. I really recommend Jo Malone candles if you're after something a little fancy! Talking of peonies, I was very kindly sent this beautiful bunch from Like the weather flowers really lift my mood and peonies are definitely one of my faves. I'm seriously impressed with the service offered by BlossimingGifts, definitely a company to check out if you're looking for beautiful blooms.

Rewind back a couple of years ago I never thought this would be a favourite, but I've been really enjoying a fitness class called Body Pump. It's a barbell workout that targets every area of the body. I love seeing improvements in how much I can lift and just going to the class has been an amazing way to have some down time recently.

Podcasts are a reletively new thing for me but I've really been enjoying listening to them while I do my evening skincare routine. Two that I've found I love so far are Emma Gannon and of-course AtHomeWith... It was the Ctrl, Alt, Delete podcast with Liv Purvis that got me interested in podcasts in the first place - I highly recommend having a listen, she's seriously inspiring and gave me so much motivation!

Finally, I have started a YouTube channel! It's been something I've wanted to do since I discovered it existed way back in 2008, I already regret not starting sooner. I absolutely love the whole filming and editing process and it's just nice to give myself a new challenge.

What have been your current lifestyle favourites?

FacebookInstagramTwitter/ Pinterest


4 To Try

You know the drill, rather than the traditional monthly favourites that are few and far between, I'm going through 4 things that I've been loving recently that you may just want to try out...
Never did I think I would be forking out this much on a hair styling spray, but with my new do giving me all kinds of inspo I decided to cave and purchase the Ouai Dry Texturizing Spray (admittedly when ASOS had a discount code to make it a little less painful). I went for the travel size version to give it a try, and I'll definitely be repurchasing. I love the texture and grip this gives to my hair adding volume and a more messy look. This doesn't leave my hair feeling knotty or dry either like some texturising sprays.  

Another haircare favourite that I never thought I would love so much is the Grow Gorgeous Scalp Detox. I use quite a lot of dry shampoo, texturising sprays and all sorts really when I style my hair, so giving my scalp a good detox is something my haircare routine has probably been missing. It leaves the roots of my hair looking extra shiny and more voluminous.
Onto makeup - shocker, but I've actually found another foundation I like! The Nars Velvet Matte Skin Tint has been on my radar ever since it was released so it was about time I caved. I have the shade Alaska which is a light shade with a yellow undertone. This is the perfect summer foundation as it feels lightweight yet manages to cover imperfections and even out my skin tone. It lasts incredibly well on my oily-combination skin, it doesn't settle into pores and almost blurs them. I'm seriously impressed with this! Oh, and it has an SPF of 30, winning!
Lastly is a new nail polish love, as I've been trying to cut back on costs I had to give up my monthly Bio-Sculpture appointments - sad times! However, it's kind of made me rekindle a love for nail polish, Rimmel sent over a couple of their new Super Gel nail polishes, the shade Purple Splash hasn't left my nails since. It lasts well, barely chipping even after 3/4 days of wear. It does take 2/3 coats for an opaque finish, but it's definitely worth it.

What product's have you been loving lately?

FacebookInstagramTwitter/ Pinterest


The Nars Soft Matte Complete Concealer vs Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer

When it comes to high end concealers there seems to be a fair few on everyone's radar. Concealer is a product that I don't mind splurging on, disguising imperfections is one of the main aims of my makeup routine so finding a concealer that ticks all the boxes is important to me. I thought I would compare the two most hyped about Nars concealers to save you the hassle of picking up both...
I use the shade Vanilla in both concealers. It's the 2nd lightest shade and has a fairly neutral tone, it matches my face well. I just wish there was a shade in-between Chantilly (the lightest shade) and Vanilla so it would be more brightening for under the eyes. The Nars Soft Matte Complete Concealer comes out slightly darker when swatched on the skin, but once blended I found the two concealers to be pretty much identical in shade. There are 16 shades in total for both concealers, a plus compared to more affordable brands that usually have anything between 3-6 shades.

The Radiant Creamy concealer provides a full coverage with a matte finish. Although it does provide a good coverage I have pretty bad dark blue around my eyes so I could do with a little more coverage once it has been blended. I find it to make the skin look quite flat rather than illuminated, possibly using a lighter shade that would change?! The Soft Matte Complete concealer is almost how I expected the radiant creamy concealer to look in the first place, it's brightening and super full coverage without looking cakey. The lightweight, creamy texture blends in with the skin seamlessly creating a flawless finish. I've found using my finger then a damp Beauty Blender the best way to blend both of these concealers.

In terms of the coverage and finish I much prefer the Soft Matte Complete concealer, although matte it doesn't look cakey and it's incredibly pigmented so it covers really well. It's surprising because I like it for both concealing blemishes and around the eyes, it works really well for both.

Both concealers do last well on me, after an 8 hour shift in work the concealer around my eyes will still be there for both, however the Radiant Creamy concealer definitely doesn't look radiant, after a while it starts to look quite dry around my under eyes which I don't experience with the soft matte complete concealer. Even though I use the same shade for both the soft matte complete concealer seems to look brighter around the eyes.

Both of the concealers are £23, so they are on the pricey side. I know of a couple of people that agree with me that the Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer seems to run out really quick, which isn't surprisingly when the tube only contains 6ml. I'm hoping the Soft Matte concealer will last longer, a little goes a long way compared to the Radiant Creamy so fingers crossed.

I thought that the Nars Radiant Creamy concealer was always going to be a holy grail *must repurchase* product for me, but the Soft Matte concealer has quickly taken its place!

What's your favourite high end concealer?

FacebookInstagramTwitter/ Pinterest


Our Airbnb In Barcelona

After looking at hotels in Barcelona and being disheartened by how expensive they were, we decided to turn to Airbnb. I'll be honest, my initial reaction was that it would just be a little too strange to stay in someone elses home, but I had it all wrong! Staying in an Airbnb gave our 48 hours in Barcelona more excitement...
We stayed in an apartment in the Gothic Quarter, so central to a lot of the main attractions (just off of La Rambla). The property owner Joan uses the money he makes from using Airbnb to further renovate his apartment, how amazing is that?! He has had over 200 guests stay at his place from a whole host of different countries and backgrounds. I think his apartment is already pretty amazing with so many stunning features, it's incredibly open plan and a quite, peaceful place to escape the hustle and bustle of the busy Barcelona streets. 

There's a living/ diner area and kitchen all in one space, yet it works so well. On the same floor was a bathroom and bedroom. Joan didn't stay there over night and we barely saw him in the day so we pretty much had the whole apartment to ourselves.

Having a whole terrace to ourselves was definitely another bonus of using Airbnb. One afternoon we were able to just relax in the sun above all of the city noise before heading back out again later for dinner. Joan was able to give us valuable recommendations so we used our time wisely, something else we probably wouldn't experience in a hotel.

Above is the little spot I found myself getting ready in everyday, the morning sun would beam in and lets just say it's something I could get used to! This trip has definitely opened my eyes to Airbnb - We're now actually considering trying to find one for our honeymoon rather than a hotel...

Have you ever used Airbnb?

FacebookInstagramTwitter/ Pinterest


48 Hours In Barcelona

City breaks have become my favourite kind of holidays, so of-course it was about time I ticked Barcelona of my long list. In Barcelona there's something for everyone, you have the beach, the beautiful weather (most of the time) and of-course the city to explore/ shop in! Here's what I got up to in the 48 hours I had...

First of all, get the metro after your flight to your accommodation rather than a taxi/ bus - fees are pretty high and the metro is quick and easy to use. For that you'll need a separate airport ticket that costs around 5 euros. If you plan on doing a lot of sight seeing I would also recommend getting the T-10 metro ticket aswel, this will allow you 10 metro journeys for €10, we walked a lot but there were a few occasions it came in handy.

SANDALS (old - River Island)
We started off at Park Guell, an absolute must to walk around. We went early in the morning which I would recommend otherwise it can get pretty crowded. There is an area that you can pay to go into but we decided against that, although I have heard that it is worth it. Next stop was Barceloneta beach, if we were staying for longer perhaps we would have spent half a day there, but we did a quick pitstop then walked along. We went back to the beach on our last night to watch the sunset with a take out pizza, a lovely way to finish our short break!

After the beach we spotted a cable car which went from Barceloneta Beach up to Montjuic Castle, there is a mid way point that we decided to stop off at and have lunch and missed going up to the castle. The issue with the cable car is the waiting times, we waited over an hour and it wasn't at it's busiest! We purchased a return ticket but the que to get back would have meant a 2 hour wait so we walked down to Maremagnum shopping centre, there was a Mango that I could have easily spent a fortune in. 

That evening we dined at El Cercle (The Circle). I'll be honest, the service wasn't quite up to the standard we hoped (but it seemed to be similar in a lot of places in Barcelona) but the food and terrace setting definitely made up for it. Perfect if you like seafood or Japanese dishes. 

JEANS (cut off the bottoms)
After all the walking on day one I needed to start day two with a decent coffee, after a quick google I discovered a little spot tucked away out of the hustle and bustle - Onna Cafe. Filled with locals and incredible coffee it made the perfect spot for breakfast (surprisingly affordable too). We had really nice weather so walked down to Sagrada Familia and sat in the park over looking it, another typical tourist attraction but it really is a beautiful church that you would be crazy to miss! 
From there we headed to La Ramblas, definitely worth a visit but we had some advice not to eat there and to keep an eye on our belongings. I couldn't resist picking up a flower ice cream from Amorino Gelato, tasted and looked amazing. We also wandered into the Boqueria indoor market. I didn't really enjoy seeing all of the meat hung up, that was pretty disturbing. However they had lots of lovely fresh juices which were only €1.50, based on this we thought the chocolates would be affordable too, oh how wrong we were! We picked 1 one small chocolate each and it came to €7, lets just say I felt robbed! 

Our last stop of the day before our last evening at the beach was Ciutadella Park next to Barcelona Zoo. Again another great spot to escape the hustle and bustle, we found ourselves having a little pit stop and enjoying the view of the lake. The next morning it was straight to the airport. we crammed quite a lot in, but I'm already itching to go back, it was perfect! We decided to use Airbnb for our stay, so my next post will be all about our fabulous apartment...

What's your favourite city break location?

FacebookInstagramTwitter/ Pinterest


Leaving My Comfort Zone

You may have noticed that over the past month or so my blog has started to take a slightly different direction, still the same beauty content but an injection of fashion and more lifestyle too. This is exactly what I love about blogging, there are no boundaries - if I want to write about something, I can!

It may sound cringey, but there are two quotes I stand by when it comes to leaving my comfort zone, the first is 'leave your comfort zone atleast once a day'. I remember during my time at uni I went through a stage of being nervous to walk to campus on my own, it was that anxious feeling that made me realise I needed to make a change. I started walking on my own more and more and pretty soon I noticed the anxious feeling I experience before stopped - I felt confident to walk to all these places and be alone, I'm sure it was because I stepped out of my comfort zone and pushed myself.

In terms of my blog the exact same thing happened, as my following grew creating fashion content was always off limits because I hated the idea of posting a full length picture of myself. My comfort zone was very much flatlays, product shots and pretty much anything that didn't feature my face. This leads me onto my second favourite quote 'fake it till you make it', I think people that know me would describe me as confident, but at first I'm pretty shy. I'm slowly learning to fake confidence in situations I don't feel myself, and it's definitely starting to come more naturally. I'm starting to 'make it' rather than 'fake it',  I've proved to myself that I can do it, and it is taking that first step which is crucial.
Just know that as I publish this post I'm still a little scared, but, stepping out of my comfort zone is always a step in the right direction. I think getting older, having supportive family and friends and experiencing new things are just some of the things that have helped me reach this point in my life. Also remembering that if someone has something negative to say, then that's absolutely fine, after all someone else's opinion of me isn't really my business! I'm finally leaving my comfort zone, and hopefully it's for good this time.

Dress* - Next
Bag - Dune (old)
FacebookInstagramTwitter/ Pinterest


Taking Time Out and Managing Stress

I'm the type of person that always likes to keep busy, there's no such thing as having too many things on my to-do list... Well, atleast I thought so anyway! Since Christmas my blog has grown, more and more opportunities have come around and I've just wanted to put as much effort into everything as possible - but last week I realised that I just needed to take a minute to relax, take a step back and stop being so busy.

Without even realising things got on top of me. I was pushing myself too hard and before I knew it I was stressed out when I really didn't need to be. As a student at uni I was always pretty good at stress management, the constant reminders from tutors to relax and take care of my mental health really stuck with me, and I managed pretty well. I never imagined that I would experience the same feelings after leaving, so I guess I was unprepared. Since then I've made a promise to myself that I'm going to put my well being first, no late nights doing emails or cramming in photo sessions after work.
Managing Stress

During the health module of my Psychology degree we learnt about stress and the impact it has on health, and that's something that's always stuck with me and I'm consciously aware of. A study found that wounds of people with higher levels of stress took longer to heal than those with lower levels of stress - How crazy?! It has an impact on physical and mental health. I've decided to revisit some of the things I did during my time as a student and try to implement them into my day to day adult life (adult in italics because I'm still incapable of making toast without burning it)

1) Mindfulness
I don't think I've ever mentioned this on my blog but I actually took part in an 8 week mindfulness course this time two years ago. I learnt so much from it and really tried to inject mindfulness into my day to day routine in a less formal way, basically by focusing and being in the moment during mundane every day tasks like brushing my tea or eating breakfast. Mindfulness really makes me relax and just live in the moment which definitely puts everything into perspective for me.

2) Exercising
I would say that I exercise on a regular occasion but I want to get into a really specific schedule and try to do some form of exercise 5 days a week. I'm sat down most days at work so getting away from a desk and being active has actually become something I enjoy. I feel more motivated and having that time away from a laptop screen helps me think creatively and I can focus on getting things done.

3) Getting organised
I picked up the beautiful blush pink diary pictured from Kikki.k last week and I've found it so helpful to organise everything and make sure everything I need to do is noted down. When I'm organised and have everything I need to do laid out in front of me it definitely makes life easier, then I don't have the added stress of forgetting to do something (which has happened on one or two occasions). I think being organised is so important, without it I'm never as productive.

4) Taking Time Out
There's hardly ever any time during the day when I'm not looking at a screen, I always give myself a little tech free time before I go to sleep but I don't feel like it's enough. As well as going to the gym, after work and before work I'm going to make sure I just have a little time to myself doing absolutely nothing - no phone, laptop or even a book, just relaxing!

What's your top tip for managing stress?
FacebookInstagramTwitter/ Pinterest


My City Break Makeup Bag

As you can see from the rather busy flatlay above, whittling down makeup picks and deciding what to take with me for my tip to Barcelona wasn't easy. I thought I would go through the bits that have made it into my makeup bag... P.s. I'm only taking hand luggage, so I had to be pretty brutal! 
To save space I always take a tester pot of the Estee Lauder Double Wear, I don't think I've ever left the country without that foundation. My lighter base pick is the Avene Hydrating Skin Tone Perfector*, it's a light - medium coverage with a natural looking finish, it keeps my skin feeling hydrated throughout the day and feels weightless on the skin. For concealer I'm taking the SEVENTEEN Phwoarr Paint to cancel out any darkness around my eyes, and for any blemishes and to further brighten up the eye area I'm taking my Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer.

To highlight of-course I'm taking the Becca Opal Glow on the go kit, not only is it my favourite highlighter at the minute but it's travel sized too! To powder I'm taking the Rimmel Stay Matte, as much as I love my Laura Mercier Translucent setting powder it's far too bulky to travel with and the stay matte does a pretty good job at setting my makeup and keeping me shine free throughout the day! Finally for the base products, a bronzer. I've decided to pack the Clinique Chubby Contour stick, it's easy to blend and when I have a tan it works well to bronze up my complexsion a little more.

A holiday must have for me is the Charlotte Tilbury Eyes to Mesmerise in Bette, a quick blend and I'm good to go with this and Bette is a beautiful golden brown/ bronze shade perfect for a summer trip. I've decided to take the High Impact Brow Palette* this is perfect for me because I can use it as both eyeshadow, eyeliner and to fill in my brows, I kind of forgot about it and let it fall to the bottom of my collection but it's actually a really handy palette. To set my brows into place I'm taking the Charlotte Tilbury Legendary Brows, ridiculously priced at £18.50 but it's the only product that not only sets my brows into place but actually makes them look thicker and fuller. Since taking this picture I've decided that I'm going to buy the Urban Decay Perversion mascara at the airport, so I'll be ditching the Tarte mascara for that (hand luggage problems).
Considering I usually have about 6 different lip options in the bottom of my bag it's pretty difficult to narrow. This time I've decided to step out of my comfort zone and take MAC's Morange with me, it's a beautiful bright orange that I feel like I can only get away with in warmer climates. The rest of my choices are some of my holy grail lip options, MAC Patisserie, Clarins Instant Light Lip Perfector, and the Charlotte Tilbury Pillowtalk Lip Cheat dupe I just can't top using - GOSH Nougat Crisp. With it being a city break I like to still make a bit of an effort without it being too high maintenance, so these are perfect for that.

What are your makeup essentials for a city break?

FacebookInstagramTwitter/ Pinterest


My Top Tips On Achieving Textured Beachy Waves

My go to hair style is loose, textured beachy waves - think that iconic Rosie Huntington-Whiteley hair shot, and a straightener has always been the easiest way for me to achieve it! I have relatively thin hair so it definitely looks its best with a wave rather than straight. When ghd got in touch to see if I wanted to try out their new platinum tropic styler, it was probably the easiest/ quickest yes I've ever made. If there is one tool that makes this kind of look easy, it's ghd's.
How to achieve textured beachy waves with straighteners 
This style probably takes me 7-10 minutes to achieve. I think my hair is at a good length to get the textured, beachy look, longer layers also makes this style easier to achieve too. I always work in sections, starting at the bottom and working my way up. I have been using the ghd heat protect spray, and it not only smells amazing but I feel like it really is protecting my hair against heat damage.

It's quite hard to describe the method, but I place the plates at a slight angle at the root and start turning whilst also pulling the hair down through the plates, so the heat isn't on one part of the hair for too long, I then stop around 5cm before the end.

Top tips
  • For the sections of hair near the face always curl away
  • When going around the rest of the hair don't curl in the same direction for every section, try and curl both ways for a more natural 'just stepped off a beach' look
  • Take sections of different sizes for a more natural finish
  • Start curling as close to the root as possible, but don't curl all the way to the end, leave a gap for a more effortless finish- picked up this tip from the lovely Karishma (hair goals)
  • As tempting as it may be, don't brush your hair for atleast 10 minutes after you've finished styling, wait for the style to cool down and set in place
  • Use a wide tooth comb or your fingers to loosen the curls instead of a thin comb which will break down the style more
  • Set the style with hairspray layer by layer to keep the style in place for longer

Why choose these over other straighteners? Are they really worth the £185 investment?

I've been using ghds for the last 9 years, I was just 13 when I received a pair for Christmas and they have been a staple ever since. During that time I've had no issues, replacement pair or difference in quality - the same amazing styling tool 9 years later. I know that they are worth the investment, especially because I do tend to style my hair quite often. This isn't just a straightener, it really is a styler as you can so many different finishes with it.

Honestly, without sounding big headed, I've never liked my hair as much as I do when I use this. It's such a lightweight styler which makes curling much easier and it manages to almost glide through the hair giving me a perfectly waved strand of hair every time. My hair never feels like it's been pulled or snagged at. Having thin hair I do try and be conscious of the tools I use, and I feel confident to use the ghd styler every time. The tropic styler features new technology which reduces hair breakage by up to 50%, which is just another reason why this has replaced my other styling tools.

Not only do you get the beautiful styler, how stunning is the design?! It also comes with a lovely heat resistant pouch and silicone sleeve to go over the plates making them travel friendly.

What are your top tips for textured beachy waves?

FacebookInstagramTwitter/ Pinterest


New From La Roche-Posay

Since discovering La Roche Posay it's been a brand I've turned to when my skin decides to play up. I've used quite a few of their products I'm yet to find something that I don't love! I was very kindly sent two new launches, and I think they are my favourite things yet...

First up is the La Roche-Posay Effaclar Sebo-Controlling Mask. As soon as I read up about this I knew I needed to try it, and I can confirm it's a definite must have for any oily skin girls! I've been using this 4 times a week for the past 3 weeks on my cheeks and chin, which is where I need the most help controlling oil. I've noticed such a difference in not only the appearance of my skin and how clear it is, but also how much oil my skin is producing throughout the day. This doesn't leave my skin feeling tight and dehydrated either which is something a lot of clay masks can do. This one is going straight on the repurchase list...

Possibly the most exciting launch from La Roche-Posay for anyone with acne/ oily skin is the infamous Effaclar DUO, with SPF 30! Now I'm using acids as part of my routine I always make sure to use an SPF daily, now I can have both an SPF and imperfection treatment in one. This sits so well under makeup, doesn't leave a white cast and more importantly doesn't break me out like so many other facial sun creams I've tried. I'm honestly so excited for this one, it's affordable and a great way for me to remember to wear SPF daily and to keep my skin looking young for as long as possible! If you're looking for a new SPF this summer I highly recommend this.

As you can tell I'm pretty excited about these two, what's your favourite product from La Roche- Posay?

FacebookInstagramTwitter/ Pinterest
Copyright @ Jodie Melissa. Blog Design by KotrynaBassDesign