Made U Look Photography
I love nothing more than a trip to Boots. It’s my idea of heaven. All those tempting lotions and potions, beautifully packaged, promising to transform our skin to its baby soft and blemish free best. It’s no wonder the average woman allegedly spends £100,000 on cosmetics in her lifetime!
I’ve been experimenting with my skincare routine a lot lately. I used to be very much a face wipe and whatever moisturiser I happened to grab at the supermarket kinda gal, but since hitting the big 3-0 I started to notice that my skin wasn’t looking its best. It was a bit dull, a bit flaky and prone to breakouts. In short, it was very unloved and completely neglected. So I made a promise to myself to do something about it.
Of course, these products might not be right for you. For the record I have normal to dry skin, and I’m super duper pale. Although I don’t really get that many spots, I occasionally have the odd break out, time of the month depending. My goal with my skin is to keep it as hydrated and luminous as possible. Since starting all this experimentation I’ve discovered that the more hydrated my skin is, the better my make up goes on and the longer it stays put – win win!
Mariah, founder of organic skincare company Acquacures, came to The Blogcademy in San Francisco. At the end of day one, she came up to me and handed me a box of her products as a gift. Now that’s my idea of a good student!
I’ve been using the sulphate free gel cleanser almost exclusively since and I love it. It’s gentle and smells naturally delicious. I also keep my bottle of seawater cooling mist next to me on my desk. It’s perfect for a mid-afternoon refresh and lovely and cooling to boot which is an added bonus in this sweltering weather!
One of my favourite treats in our San Francisco Blogcademy goodie bags was an adorable little perfume sample set from Olivine Atelier. With it’s sublime packaging and branding (done by none other than Ms Shauna Haider!) I instantly gravitated towards it… but that was only the beginning!
I tested each and every one of the seven perfumes we were treated to and when I came across Amongst The Waves I knew I’d found my new signature scent.
Imagine walking down a sandy beach, with your toes in the ocean. Imagine a cooling breeze with a sea salt lingering in the air. Imagine staring up at the sky at sunset, coconut-based cocktail in hand!
I promised myself that 2014 would be the year that I finally started taking better care of my body. I don’t know if it’s hitting 30 that’s done it, or the fact that I’m going to be on the road so much, but I desperately feel the need to give myself some TLC as often as possible. I’m eating better, I’m trying (but failing) to drink less, and I’m investing in some really great beauty products and treats. But taking good care of yourself doesn’t have to be an expensive exercise.
My newest obsession is coconut oil. In fact so enamoured am I with my latest discovery that I’m dedicating a whole blog post to it. You totally need to jump on the coconut train with me! Not only is this one stupidly cheap product (I bought a massive 800g tub of Biona Organic Raw Virgin Coconut Oil on Amazon for less than £15) but it has so many amazing uses!
Here are ten genius ways you can incorporate coconut oil into your daily routine:
1. Eat it! In smoothies, fry with it in instead of other oils, spread it on your toast, blend it into a milkshake… there are so many yummy ways you can eat this stuff. The possibilities are quite literally endless.
2. As the best make up remover you’ll ever own. Fact. Plus it makes your face smell delicious.
3. As a pre-wash hair conditioner. This is my favourite use and I can’t believe it took me so long to discover it. Rub it into your hair (mostly the ends) and leave in for an hour – or overnight if you’re feeling extra indulgent – and simply wash out with shampoo in the morning.
You know me, I’m no wallflower, so when Claire’s asked me if I’d like to play dress up using some of their brightest of the bright brand new hair adornments, I really couldn’t say no. When that trademark lilac packaging landed on my doorstep and I tore into it, I was greeted with so many pretty florals and bright colours that it instantly lifted my hump day mood. I immediately started thinking of ways I could dress them up, bridesmaid’s style!
So, on a slightly damp Tuesday afternoon, Shell and Elbie jumped on a train bound for Reading and we brought our own kind of sunshine to the proceedings! This was such a fun project, and from Shell’s amazing photographs you’d never tell we shot these in my (definitely not very glamorous) kitchen and back garden!
Neon Pop Flower Princess
This was probably my favourite look of the entire shoot. As Elbie was doing my hair and make up, my long-suffering ASOS delivery man (I swear he judges me more and more each time he hands something over) showed up with my latest purchase. I hadn’t planned it but it just happened to perfectly match the coral and pink version of this flower crown. Talk about photo shoot serendipity!
Claire’s actually sent me two of these crowns so I thought it would be fun to double them up and create an all-over flower look. It reminds me of a vintage swimming hat or something!
‘Bloom’ flower crown – £12, Claire’s | Neon skater dress – £65, ASOS
I’ve been bleaching my hair on and off since I was 16. I started doing it myself at home, and then progressed to getting it done at a salon every six to eight weeks. Not really knowing any better, I was going to a well known chain (one that rhymes with ‘phoney and pie’… ahem) for around three years, and unwittingly allowing them to ravage my fuchsia tresses more and more with each visit!
I’m not really sure if it was just inexperience with unnatural colouring or what, but when I became friends with Elbie and decided to go to her for my hair preening instead, she informed me that my hair was… to put it bluntly… completely fucked.
Obviously we can’t know for sure, but she suggested that it looked like the bleach had been applied really carelessly. My hair is naturally very dark so perhaps it was just left on for too long, under too much heat. She said it also looked like the bleached areas had overlapped each time, again, most likely in an attempt to get it as light as possible.
When I started to see Elbie, my hair resembled chewing gum when it was wet (stretchy and thin!) and was like crunchy straw when it was dry. It was also THIN AS HELL. What a cacophony of delights!
You can see how awful it used to be in these photos. Look at the ends especially – frazzled! My hair also wouldn’t grow any longer than this, it would just snap off. Sad times…
Still don’t believe how bad it was? How about an extreeeeeme close-up?!
I’m not gonna lie, when I first had this realisation I cried. A lot. I was actually very near just chopping the whole lot off and starting again, or at least going back to my natural colour. Luckily my fairy hairmother pulled me back from the brink and promised that we could fix it. That was probably about two years ago, and now my hair has never looked better!
When my Mum asked me what I wanted for my birthday this year, there was only one thing on my mind – some rest and relaxation! So, after quickly tearing into my other presents on Monday morning (I was totally spoilt by my friends, I love you guys!) Gareth and I hopped into the car and headed to the tranquil oasis that is the Nirvana Spa, located just outside of Reading.
We were booked in for a Time Out Package which gave us access to everything the spa had to offer for three blissful hours. There’s outdoor jacuzzis, six pools filled with pure spring water, a sauna, steam rooms, the new Tepidarium suite which has heated ceramic loungers, and my personal favourite – the bubbly hydrotherapy surf pool!