Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Winter Hair Saviours

With the recent cold snap and snow (did you get any?) I thought it was probably a good time to run through my winter haircare saviours. Having (faux) blonde hair that is very damaged, my locks are never particularly luscious, even at the best of times, let alone during the winter. Moving from my nice warm centrally-heated home to out in the crisp and cold air, and then back inside again, can't be doing my barnet much good. However, using a few helpful little products, I keep my hair frizz-free and looking a little bit healthier over the winter months.

The conditioner - I think investing in a good conditioner is so important at this time of year. With shampoos I'm never really very choosy, but a good conditioner can really be the difference between good and bad hair during wintertime. At the minute I've been loving the PROVOKE Touch of Silver Intensive Conditioner* because it's ideal for blonde hair. I sometimes think my hair can start to look a bit brassy after a while, so this purple conditioner helps to tone it down whilst giving my locks the intensive treatment they need.

The deep conditioner - Whilst having a good, nourishing conditioner is crucial for daily use, I also think, particularly at this time of year, a weekly intensive conditioner is really important. You can work it in with your weekly pampering routine or time it for just before the weekend so your hair looks its best for your favourite two days of the week. My favourite deep treatment conditioner for the cooler months has got to be the Aussie 3 Minute Miracle Winter Remedy* because obviously it is specially formulated for this time of year and in my opinion Aussie have some of the best affordable deep conditioners you can get. They smell incredible and leave your hair looking and feeling so much softer, smoother and stronger.

The intensive shot - If your damaged hair is in need of a big boost against the harsh wintry elements, I can't recommend PROVOKE's Touch of Silver Intensive Keratin Treatment Shots* enough. Available in a pack of three, these little babies help breathe life into lacklustre locks with a concentrated keratin formula that honestly makes your hair look and feel amazing after using. I tend to use one if I've got a big event coming up but I'd suggest using one a month over the winter period to keep your tresses in check.

The oil - Obviously, a haircare post wouldn't be complete without mentioning the all-important oil. Whilst I love a liquid oil, I don't think you can beat Vita Coco Coconut Oil* - this uh-mazing multi-tasking oil smells incredible, leaves your hair feeling amazing and a little bit really goes a long way. You can even use it when cooking your meals! I love it and totally recommend it for year-round use, especially during the seasons when your hair needs a little extra love.

Sunday, 8 January 2017

8 ways to stay positive in January

Let's face it - January is a pretty sucky month. It's ridiculously cold and miserable outside, Christmas is well and truly over, we're all feeling the slump of going back to work, and we know longer have the festive season as an excuse to eat everything in sight.

If you're like me, you'll be feeling the pressure of the whole 'new year, new me' mantra. You've probably broken some resolutions already, or are appalled that after two whole gym sessions you've not dropped a dress size. Never fear, because I've got some tips for keeping positive in what is, quite frankly, the most depressing month of the year...

1. Set achievable goals

If you're going to set goals for 2017, make them achievable! Whilst it's always good to aim high, if you set yourself too many ridiculously unachievable goals, you'll end up feeling rubbish every time you have even the slightest set back. And, when you do get set backs, learn to take them in your stride and use them as motivation to get yourself to where you want to be - not as an excuse to give up.

2. Delve into a new TV series

If there's one thing that never fails at cheering me up, it's watching Netflix. Over Christmas we got stuck into the new show The OA, and I absolutely loved it. It's very "out there" and possibly even stranger than Stranger Things, but it had me hooked the whole way through. Why not have a look at some new shows to watch and if you're feeling low, stick an episode on. I promise it will be the perfect escapism you need!

3. Catch-up with friends

After the parties and meet-ups of Christmas, it can be easy to get back into old habits and end up not speaking to your closest friends for weeks on end. Especially in January, when everyone is feeling a little bit lonely and low in general, I think it's more important than ever to make time in your week to meet up with friends for some quality time. Money might be tight at this time of year, so why not invite your friends over for a movie night or coffee and a catch-up?

4. Start a positivity jar

I've been meaning to do one of these for a few years now - and it's never too late to start. Basically, get yourself a jar, and every time something good happens, write it down on a little piece of paper and place it in the jar. Then, at the end of the year, or simply when you're feeling low, you can open up the jar and look at all the good things that have happened. I think it's such a cute and easy thing to do and is guaranteed to make you feel more positive.

5. Have some cosy 'me' time

Getting snuggled up in a warm blanket, grabbing myself a hot chocolate and curling up with a good book is quite possibly my favourite thing to do - and it always makes me feel so much better. I recommend investing in a nice thick blanket (Primark have some amazing ones in at the moment) and taking some much-deserved 'me' time as and when you can, as an escape from what can be one hell of a hectic daily life.

6. Get out of the house

As nice as it is to curl up at home, I also think getting out the house can be exactly what's needed at this time of year. I feel like I spent the whole of December cooped up inside, and so I've been trying to make more of an effort to get out of the house this month. Why not get up early on a Sunday morning, wrap up super warm and venture out into the crisp winter air for a lovely long walk? You can reward yourself with a yummy roast dinner afterwards!

7. Treat yourself

If you are feeling a little lacklustre this month, why not treat yourself? Okay, so money is tight, but it's always worth setting aside some cash if it means you'll feel a bit better in yourself. Get your nails done, invest in a new lipstick or simply treat yourself to a new top in the sales. Afterall, it's called retail therapy for a reason!

8. Make your home more 'hygge'

If you don't know what hygge is, then where have you been all winter? Simply put, hygge is the art of taking pleasure in the simple things, such as cosiness and comfort. I always feel like my home is so cosy and nice at Christmas time, and then January comes, the decorations are hidden away for another year and my house just feels, well, bare. This month I'm going to make an effort to make it feel all cosy again - by buying multiple textured blankets, draping fairylights wherever I can and finally lighting my favourite candle. Bliss!

Do you have any tips for staying positive in January?

Sunday, 1 January 2017

Happy 2017!

If there's one thing I love, it's new beginnings. You can't really get more of a 'new beginning' than the start of a new year, so I am ridiculously excited for what 2017 has to hold.

I'm currently writing this snuggled up on the sofa with my dog, tree lights twinkling (no I've not taken the decorations down yet, that's tomorrow's job) with a belly full of roast dinner and mini Toblerones, and I thought I'd share my thoughts and hopes for the new year with you, as it's become something of a habit over the past few years.

I know some people are very anti-New Year's resolutions, but I think they're a great way of setting goals and ultimately, as long as they're realistic, they're a brilliant way of trying to better yourself. Here's what I'm aiming for in 2017...

Learn to love myself

If you know me well, you'll know that I'm rarely happy with myself and I am also my own worst critic. I spend a lot of my time beating myself up about things or pulling myself apart over my appearance, and I know this is more often than not the main source of my unhappiness. So, for 2017 I'm going to learn to love myself more. No, I'm not perfect, but I'm me and I have a lot more going for me than I probably realise - I just need to start believing it. I'm also putting 'looking after myself more' in this category as it's part of the same thing - I know I need to focus on a better diet, exercising more and ultimately shifting some weight - but I'm not going to give myself a hard time if it doesn't happen over night. 

Be more organised 

I'm pretty sure this was a resolution last year but it's going to be this year too, and I'm actually going to stick to it this time! I'm going to keep a diary from now on and make sure everything goes in it, as well as using one on my computer. I'm also going to start using spreadsheets (ooer) to keep myself organised as sometimes good old-fashioned pens and paper don't really cut it. I'm working from home now (another exciting aspect of 2017!) and so keeping my office as organised as possible will be key. I've already kitted it out with a new desk and storage, and copper stationery aplenty, so I can't wait to get started and work my butt off this year. 

Make time for friends

Oh my god, 2016 was definitely the year I became a really bad friend when it comes to keeping in touch! I don't quite know what happened - I just seem to have lost the ability to stay in contact with people this year. I find it such an effort to text back and always put it off, leaving it far too late to meet up so that I don't end up seeing my friends for months at a time. It's sad, but as you get older you really stop making such an effort and life kind of gets in the way of taking time out to see the people you care about. I'm going to make sure I see my friends much more often this year, with no big gaps of silence in between! 

Travel often

Another resolution I'm pretty sure I had last year, and one I stuck too as well - seeing more of the world. Last year I visited Amsterdam, Rhodes and Berlin, and I have high hopes of visiting more countries in 2017 too. One thing I really want to make sure I do is document it more for you guys - I realise I never actually posted about Amsterdam or Berlin, so I'm going to ensure wherever I go I blog about it, as travel is always something I've wanted to feature much more of on this blog. So watch this space!

Be more mindful 

We live in a world full of social media and smartphones and whilst it's a world I love, I do think it's healthy to take time out every now and again and be a bit more mindful about the world around us. I sometimes feel like I have my phone glued to my hand, and I actually really relish the freedom of being away from it sometimes. Whether it's taking a weekend break in the countryside with no wifi signal, or simply going for dinner without having to Instagram it, I think it's good to escape the digital world occasionally. 

Create, create and create some more

My main goal for 2017 is to create. I want to write as much as I can, blog as much as I can, work on my YouTube much more and basically just work on creating as much quality content as I can for you guys. I want 2017 to be a year I don't sit back in the sidelines but really give my blog, my YouTube and my writing in general as much attention as I can. I'm excited to get to work!

Have you made any resolutions for 2017? Let me know what your goals are for the new year - I'd love to hear!

Thursday, 29 December 2016

New Year's Eve: Your Hangover Survival Kit

The biggest night of the year is just around the corner - New Year's Eve. It's the one night where many of us go all-out - it's all about the most gorgeous outfit, the big hair, sparkly makeup and of course - enjoying a drink (or three, or four...!)

Aside from all the excitement and glamour of the evening though, if there's one thing that New Year's Eve usually brings, it's tired eyes, sallow skin and one hell of a hangover the next day. And, because I think the best way to approach 2017 is feeling and looking bright-eyed and bushy-tailed (and because I won't let anything get in the way of my traditional New Year's Day roast dinner) I thought I'd put together a little 'Hangover Survival Kit' with some of my favourite products for getting over a night of partying, so we can all get 2017 off to the best start possible...

The Hangover Cure

First up, the worst thing about the aftermath of New Year's Eve has GOT to be the raging hangover. I don't tend to drink all that often, so when I do indulge in a few too many wines (and let's face it, that is more than likely to happen at NYE) I always feel incredibly rough the next day. Thankfully, I recently discovered HangDr* - a vitamin and mineral supplement that you can take before a big night out to help battle the after effects of a heavy night of drinking - and it's changed everything. It makes me feel SO much better and more energised when I'd usually be lolling around in bed until the early afternoon. Definitely a must if you enjoy a drink!

The Blissful Bath Bomb

I think the best thing to do after New Year's Eve, and the best way to kick off the new year, has got to be running yourself a long hot bath in the morning, complete with energising bath bomb. I love the Mad Hatter's Tea Party Blaster* from Bomb Cosmetics - it's a sweet orangey mix that will leave you feeling ready for the day ahead.

The Skin Energiser

If there's one thing that's guaranteed for me after a night of heavy makeup and drinking, it's dull, sallow skin. The best way to counteract this? Origins GinZing Refreshing Scrub Cleanser*. Not only does it leave my skin feeling super smooth and glowing, it also makes me feel so much more awake - plus, it smells incredible.

The Blemished Skin Fixer 

Another thing that comes with wearing heavy makeup, drinking too much and inevitably forgetting to remove said makeup is spots. I have them anyway, but they seem to get even worse after a night out. At the minute my go-to face mask for blemish-prone skin has got to be the Caudalie Purifying Mask* - it zaps spots and excess sebum, leaving your skin looking clearer and less oily. It also seems to really help the texture of my skin too - usually my skin is very bumpy and uneven thanks to having spots aplenty, but this really helps smooth things out.

The Radiance Booster

A shot of radiance is never more necessary than at this time of year, so Nip+Fab has come to the rescue with their new and ASOS-exclusive Glycolic Fix Radiance Shot*. Simply add a few drops of this bad boy to your usual moisturiser and you're good to go. It hydrates and protects the skin whilst leaving it looking and feeling smooth, radiant and shine-free. Glycolic Acid is one of my favourite skincare ingredients so this is definitely a big hit for me!

The Eye-brightening Essentials

Everyone knows it's all about the eyes when it comes to looking and feeling more awake, so eye-brightening skincare is an absolute must post-party. My current favourite eye cream is Antipodes Manuka Honey Skin-Brightening Eye Cream* - it smells gorgeous and helps to plump up and hydrate the eye area leaving it looking much brighter and awake. For an eye-lightener, which actually claims to help lighten those dark circles with prolonged use, Transformulas Eye-Lightening Serum* might be worth a whirl - it helps to get rid of dark circles and puffiness, improves firmness and "de-ages" the delicate eye area. Definitely one to try if you suffer with really bad dark circles or are worried about premature ageing!

The Brightening Concealer

A good, full-coverage, brightening concealer is obviously a must when it comes to getting rid of those dark circles, and my favourite all-year-round has to be the NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer. It's super full-coverage, blends beautifully and leaves the skin around my eyes looking much brighter. It's not the cheapest concealer out there, but for the results it gives it's totally worth it, and I always repurchase.

The 2-in-1 Skin Corrector

Although putting more makeup on is probably the last thing you want to do come New Year's Day, if you have any family gatherings to go to or just simply want to look a bit more alive, the La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo [+] Unifiant* contains a mineral tint to help give your skin some more colour and coverage, whilst containing the same master blemish-clearing formula of the original Effaclar Duo [+]. It's really lightweight on the skin and gives a decent coverage that is perfect for those days where you simply can't be bothered with a full face of slap but still want to look good, whilst giving your skin some TLC thanks to its spot-fighting ingredients.

The 'Wake Up' Mascara

Although I wear lashes pretty much every day, I rarely put them on on hangover days because, well, effort. Instead I'll slap a bit of Benefit's 'They're Real' Mascara on because it's honestly the best lengthening and volumising mascara I've ever tried - perfect for waking those bleary eyes up on New Year's Day!

The Quick Hair Fix

My hair is always a knotty, matted mess in need of some serious conditioning following the use of all the hot hair stylers and hairsprays prior to a night out, so I'll help bring it back to life with Batiste's Repair & Restore Instant Conditioner*. This strengthens and restores hair, leaving it looking and feeling much healthier and smoother. Ideal for smoothing all of that post-partying frizz out!

What are your must-have beauty products when it comes to a hangover? Let me know!
All images and content © Hannah Vickers for Away with the Fairies 2010- unless stated otherwise. All rights reserved.