My M&S Holiday Essentials

Saturday, 22 August 2015

We're currently in peak holiday season - there's not a day that goes by when I don't see another Facebook friend heading away somewhere, or a million Instagram shots of people having fun on the beach. Holidays are one of my favourite things about summer (I think almost everyone can agree on that, right!?) and so I thought I'd put together a little 'Holiday Essentials' post about all the must have products you just need to take on holiday with you - including that one 'must pack' piece of clothing. 

M&S kindly sent me a selection of holiday must haves and after trying them all out, I thought I'd run down why everyone needs them in their suitcase this summer... 

First up, after having a look on M&S and all the gorgeous dresses and holiday-appropriate pieces, I opted for this gorgeous floral dress*. I thought it looked really light and breezy (perfect for hot weather) and would look fab during the day with flip flops or dressed up with heels at night. It's in the sale too - yippee! 

So, once you've got your holiday clothes sorted, it's time to get those all-important beauty bits in your suitcase to ensure you look your beautiful best throughout the holiday. Something I find really important both before and during a holiday is fake tan. I know, I know, for a lot of people the point of going on holiday is to get a tan, but being EXTREMELY pale myself, I have to get a bit of tannage on the go before I jet set off to some tropical island somewhere (I wish!). Gradual tan is great for this because it's really quick and easy to do and gives really great results, whilst keeping your skin moisturised. Fake Bake's Amplify Daily Gradual Tan* is  fab for this - it isn't sticky like a lot of gradual tans (sticky is never fun in the heat!) and doesn't smell too bad either. It's not streaky at all, unlike some gradual tans I've tried, and it's also said to prolong your tan too. I'm not sure on that as I haven't been doing much sunbathing of late, but as a gradual tan it's really good. 

Sticking with tan, I'm not overly keen on tanning with the same product on my body and my face these days, so the James Read Overnight Tan* is a perfect as it's especially for your face. It's a tanning gel which is not like anything I've tried before, and despite one incident where I didn't rub it in properly, I think this facial tan is great and if you can afford the £25 it costs (for a big 50ml pot) then it's totally worth it. 

Of course, one of the most important things we take with us on our holidays is suncream - and M&S have that covered too. The Anti-ageing Ultrasun Face for Sensitive Skin* is amazing - it's packed full of antioxidants and contains no nasties, is vegetarian and only needs applying ONCE a day to keep you protected. Need I say any more?! For once you're out of the sun and need a bit of skin calming, the M&S SunSmart After Sun* is fab - it's a cooling gel that really calms skin whilst keeping it moisturised and hydrated - ideal if you're guilty of sitting out in the sun a little too long. 

Of course, holiday hair is always high on my agenda when packing my suitcase, and top of the list hair-wise has got to be Philip Kingsley's Swimcap* - it's basically an all-singing, all-dancing hair protector that ensures your hair is kept safe from the sun, chlorine, salt water and wind, while working as a conditioning treatment for your hair. I love it, and it will always be top of my list when going away on holiday. 

To keep your skin radiant and glowing when the joys of travelling suck all the life out of it, REN's Glycolactic Radiance Renewal Mask* is the product. I've raved about it previously on here, so if you'd like to see a full review, click here

Finally, holidays wouldn't be holidays without pretty colourful nails, and Leighton Denny's High Performance Nail Colour* delivers just that. I always like to take a couple of nail polishes with me on holiday in case I fancy a change whilst I'm away, and these are great because they're really quick and easy to apply and are chip-resistant too. They are so glossy as well - perfect for holidays. 

What are your holiday essentials? I'd love to know! 

My Current Favourite Hair Tools

Monday, 17 August 2015

As much as I love talking about the hair serums, shampoos, deep conditioners and leave-in sprays that make my hair happy, I never really tend to talk too much about the tools that I use regularly to change up my hair style. Particularly during the summer, I find it really fun to try different styles - braids, curls, up-dos... I could go on. So, I thought it made perfect sense to run through my all-time favourite electrical hair tools for you! 

First up - my trusty Alter Ego hairdryer* from Ego Professional. I wash my hair pretty much every day and as it's so long and thick, it can be a massive pain to dry. As I wash it so often I have always worried about the damage the heat of a hairdryer might do to my hair, but with the Alter Ego dryer I don't worry as much because it encourages moisture to be absorbed into the hair shaft, leaving my usually frazzled hair a bit more glossy and hydrated. It's not cheap, but it's a fab hairdryer and the sleek red and black design is pretty snazzy too. 

A hair tool that I couldn't be without has got to be my trusty ghd IV Styler*. Perfect for straightening and curling my hair, this heats up super quickly and always delivers fantastic results. I've tried a lot of different straighteners in the past and ghd has always been by far the best brand for straightening, or indeed using a straightener to curl. I find using these always makes my style last longer than when I use anything else too - absolutely love this styler. 

A recent addition to my favourite hair tool collection is the Scunci Insta Twist*, which I reviewed not so long ago here. It takes a bit of getting used to, but once you've mastered how to use this nifty little tool, you can create tonnes of gorgeous braids and plaits - perfect for over the summer months. 

For curling my hair, there are a couple of tools that I like to use, depending on the type of curls I'm going for. If I want effortless looking, loose waves then I opt for the Enrapture Totem Styler*, which is so quick and easy to use and leaves you with really loose, natural-looking waves. For tighter curls (or if you want your curls to hold better once they've dropped a bit) the Babyliss Conical Wand is great. It gets super hot really quickly and leaves you with tight curls which look great when brushed out. Just make sure you wear the glove that's supplied, otherwise you'll end up with burnt fingers! 

What are your favourite hair tools? Let me know! 

Peaches and Dreams

Friday, 14 August 2015
 
Dress*: F&F at Tesco
Shoes*: F&F at Tesco
Bag*: F&F at Tesco
Headband: Primark

My favourite thing about summer fashion has got to be the 'going out' clothes. Summer is filled with weddings, parties, BBQs, events and summer evenings out, and I just can't resist all the pretty dresses and cute heels that go along with it. As much as I love autumnal fashion, the 'going out' clothes you get to wear in the summer are always so much prettier - brights, pastels, coral hues and gold tones - all of which look amazing with a summer tan. 

I was recently contacted by F&F at Tesco to put together an 'occasionwear' outfit for summer, and after hours of trawling through all their amazing clothes, I decided to go for this gorgeous floral dress. I love everything about it - the peachy corals look incredible with a tan and scream summer to me. The bardot neckline is so flattering, as is the A-line skirt. It's so comfortable on too and I feel really confident wearing it. 

I paired the dress with some simple yellow heels, which I think complement it really well, and the most gorgeous sequin clutch bag with some sweet little hummingbirds on it which I think finishes the outfit off beautifully. I love how well everything works together and I think this would make the perfect wedding outfit! 

Do you love dressing up over the summer months too? Let me know what you think to my outfit! 

My Favourite Home Technology for Blogging

Monday, 10 August 2015

I've said it before and I'll say it again - I blimmin' love me a good gadget. As much as makeup, skincare and fashion get me excited, I have to admit that gadgets have always been a lifelong love of mine and they probably always will be. If it was a choice between ditching all my MAC makeup or getting rid of my ACTUAL iMac, I think I know which I'd choose. 

Since moving house I've acquired an extra room which I'm calling my office, purely for blogging purposes (I think we all know blogging requires at least one room of its own) so I thought it was about time I showed you my set-up and also let you know about my favourite home gadgets for making blogging and everything that goes with it a little bit easier (and fun!) 

First up, my iMac. As expensive as these are, they are totally, completely and utterly worth it. I'd been a Windows girl for years (not really through choice - I was always lusting after a Mac), and so when I finally got my hands on an iMac of my very own it was a momentous occasion indeed. Mine is the lowest spec but it works amazingly well. The screen looks incredible - it's so bright and clear, something that Windows computers have just never been able to achieve. It loads up so quickly and although I do sometimes find the filing system on Macs a bit odd, I love everything else about it. It makes editing pictures, typing up posts and uploading videos a total dream. It's also great for watching Netflix (but of course I don't do this, I'm always busy working away... ahem). 

Next, my iPad and my iPhone. Apologies to any Apple haters out there, but I'm just a sucker for it. My Iphone 6 is the best phone I've ever had, and makes doing my social media updates so easy and fuss-free. I'm obsessed with Instagram on this phone thanks to its amazing camera, and I'm forever checking Twitter on it. It's also great for checking emails on the go and Snapchatting to your heart's content (or just looking at everyone else's Snapchats and living vicariously through them). My iPad Mini is my go-to for browsing Pinterest and watching YouTube videos - the bigger screen makes it a much more pleasurable viewing experience. I also really like using it for viewing posts on Bloglovin' - again, the bigger screen is so much better than viewing on your phone and Bloglovin' works really well on it. 

Finally, the newest addition to my little collection of gadgets - my Chromebook. I had originally been saving up for a MacBook, but after moving house my fund got used up and it was back to the drawing board. I've really missed having a decent laptop for blogging on the go though, so I decided to go for a cheaper option and picked a Chromebook. Unlike traditional laptops, a Chromebook is basically just the internet - so you can't pop a disk in this and play The Sims, nor can you edit videos or pictures (unless you're using online software). This doesn't bother me at all though as the majority of things I do are on the internet, and this is perfect for that. I use it to check and reply to emails, blog, update my social media, go on Pinterest and it does also have apps for word-processing etc, so you can do those too. It doesn't always need to be connected to the internet either - many of the apps work fine offline. 

So there you have it - my favourite bits of blogging technology in the home. What technology do you love using to blog on? Let me know in the comments! Also - if you're a total gadget geek like me and want to read about more innovative technology, check out this post here

Nip+Fab Glycolic Fix Review

Thursday, 30 July 2015

I'm always on the lookout for new skincare to try, so a few months back when the Nip + Fab Glycolic Fix range started edging its way into the limelight, I just couldn't resist seeing if it lived up to the hype. That, and there was a Boots 'get a third' off deal on.

Because of the deal, I decided to have a little splurge and bought about 90% of the collection - the scrub, the cleanser, the serum, the treatment pads AND the cleansing balm. I've been using them a lot over the past few months and I thought it was about time I gave you guys a little run down on what I think to (supposedly) the favourite products of Kylie Jenner.

First up - I'd like to say that although the 'hype' surrounding these products got my attention, it was the fact that they contain glycolic acid that really drew me in. When it comes to skincare, I am all about the ingredients, and glycolic acid is one of those that my skin loves. Having oily, blemish-prone, blackhead-ridden, uneven skin with enlarged pores (I sound like such a beauty don't I?!) glycolic acid is one of my favourite ingredients. I first discovered it when trying Alpha H's Liquid Gold, and I haven't looked back since.

Why do I love glycolic acid so much? Well, it's an amazing exfoliator, and works miracles at buffing off dead skin cells, regenerating skin and so helps to banish acne scars, renew the skin and leaves it smooth and soft. It's probably not for those with dry skin, but if you have oily skin like me, it's an amazing product.

So, a range focused around glycolic acid is bound to get my seal of approval, right? Well, the majority of products in the range are fantastic - but there are a couple I probably wouldn't buy again. The Cleanser, Serum and Scrub are really brilliant products - they're not harsh at all and through using them I've seen a real noticeable difference in my skin. A product I wouldn't buy again is the Deep Cleansing Fix - as far as balm cleansers go, this is probably the worst I've tried - I found it really heavy and not as oily as I'd like, and just generally I found it didn't really agree with my skin.

A product I'm really on the fence about are the Exfoliating Facial Pads - as much as I want to love them, I haven't seen a noticeable difference through using them yet and they seem like a bit of an odd product to me. However, I am going to keep persevering with them and if things change I will keep you guys updated!

Have you tried any products from the Glycolic Fix range from Nip + Fab? I'd love to hear your thoughts. The collection is currently on offer at Boots if you're interested in giving any of the products a try for yourself!

Magazine Freebies I'm Currently Loving

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

I've always been a fan of picking up magazines when there's a freebie on offer (I mean, who isn't!?) so I thought I'd share a couple of gems I came across recently, just in case you missed them. I have a feeling these won't be on the shelf for much longer though, so if you're going to try and get them - be quick! 

First up, In Style. A magazine I always tend to leave sitting on the shelf, which is odd because it's actually a really good read. This month (August) they're offering a free mini bottle of the new St Tropez In Shower Tan, so getting hold of the magazine is a great way to give it a test before purchasing the full-size bottle. I had a little try of it the other night and wasn't too impressed, but if anyone else has tried it I'd be really keen to hear how you got on! 

Another really fab freebie this month comes from Marie Claire - a personal favourite of mine after interning there a few years back. This month they're giving away a free Ciate nail set, complete with top coat and colour, in a range of different shades. I picked up the bright orange shade (it is supposedly summer so I thought it kind of apt) and I was really impressed. Again, it's a good way of testing out a brand before investing, and you actually get a fair amount of product in these. The top coat is AMAZING as well, so it's worth buying the mag for that alone. 

Have you picked up either of these this month? Let me know if there are any other freebies in magazines you're currently loving!