Alpha H Liquid Gold

Thursday, 31 January 2013
Alpha H Liquid Gold - £36.76 via QVC

My skin has never been the best. I've probably said it a million times before on this blog, but I have really bad oily skin, acne scars, spots, enlarged pores and just generally unhappy skin. Over the past few months however, I've seen a drastic improvement in it. Some products I definitely have to thank are from the Simple Oil Balancing range I reviewed a bit ago, but another complete and utter skin saviour I've recently discovered is the Alpha H Liquid Gold.

I'll be honest, the main reason for me purchasing the Liquid Gold was definitely down to all the hype surrounding it. I'd heard a plethora of outstanding reviews for it, seen the popularity in the blogosphere and completely bought into it. But I'm so glad I did.

I bit the bullet and purchased the 200ml version via QVC after doing some shopping around and finding this to be the cheapest - considering some shops are selling the 100ml version for £30 I think I found a pretty good buy! To be honest, I wasn't entirely sure what I was getting - was it a foam, a lotion? To my delight I found it is simply a clear liquid, rather like Clean and Clear in appearance (but that's definitely where the similarities end - I cannot STAND Clean and Clear) which you simply pop onto a cotton pad and apply to a (clean) 'face, neck and d├ęcolletage'. It recommends doing this 'each alternate evening', following with moisturiser/serum, or, for an 'intensive treatment' to leave the skin as is.

After using the Liquid Gold for several months I have to say, I'm suitably impressed. I wanted to try the product as I'd heard it was brilliant at exfoliating the skin, getting rid of blackheads, improving the skin's overall texture and getting rid of spots and acne scars. It definitely ticks all of these boxes. Over the past few months my skin has most definitely improved - I know for a fact the Liquid Gold has been a major contributor to this. The morning after applying it I always see an improvement - my skin looks clearer, feels MUCH smoother, blackheads are reduced twofold and any spots I have are also reduced. Since using it all the blackheads in my T-zone seem to have started disappearing, and any scarring I had is also vanishing.

Now, I'm not saying this is a miracle product, and it is by no means a 'quick fix' for bad skin, but it is most definitely a product that works. I am so much happier with the texture and overall feel of my skin now - yes, I still have spots, blackheads and scarring, but it is greatly reduced and I feel a lot happier about how my skin now looks. A key ingredient in the Liquid Gold is Glycolic Acid - which helps speed up exfoliation and get rid of dead skin cells, with it improving wrinkles/skin's texture/any scarring. I have heard mixed things about Glycolic Acid so it's probably best to do a little research into it before buying the product, but I have nothing but good things to say about it.

I think if you are looking for something to improve the texture of your skin, this is definitely the product for you. I have looked into Chemical Peels and Microdermabrasion, but for a snippet of the price I would definitely give this baby a try first. One thing I will say, however, is that if you have sensitive skin I'd be a bit wary about using this product - as it can feel a tad 'harsh' on the skin. It doesn't bother me at all though, and is nothing compared to products like aforementioned Clean and Clear - which completely BURNS my skin and I will never, ever use again! I am so happy with this product and will definitely be repurchasing once my bottle is all used up!

Have you tried Alpha H Liquid Gold before? What did you think to it? 

Hair Removal Woes

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Today I thought I'd take some time to discuss hair removal. It's something I've wanted to talk about on here for absolutely ages but it's not exactly the prettiest of subjects. However, it IS very much a huge part of the beauty world we live in and thus I felt I had to share my hair removal woes with you. 

Hair removal is a massive pain; it's awkward, it takes up too much time, it's expensive, it hurts. I think I have tried every single hair removal product on the go on my quest for silky smooth pins, but I am never satisfied. As summer is just over the horizon, it's got me thinking about what my hair removal regime will be once the summer months arrive. 

Every year, I try a new product in the hope it will finally answer my hair removal prayers. I always used to be an electric shave and go kind of girl, but it was annoying and never left me with the 'silky smooth' feeling I so craved. Then I moved on to razors and shave gel, but my god, talk about upkeep!? I had to shave several times a week if I wanted to keep that really nice, smooth feeling, which couldn't be doing much for my skin - and to be perfectly honest was a complete and utter pain when you just want to jump in the shower quickly. Yes, my legs mightn't look hairy, but I cannot STAND that god-awful prickly feeling - blegh! I tried hair removal creams, but the smell was far from pleasant, and I seemed to always end up burning my skin and ending up with red-raw legs - not exactly the look I was going for! 

Then I thought I would try epilating - it sounded like all my prayers would be answered with this illusive 'epilator' device. I never knew they even existed until a couple of years ago, and my god, I wish I'd never looked into them. Although they sound amazing - they pluck your hair from the root and therefore over time your hair will supposedly stop growing altogether - they are the MOST painful thing I have EVER had to experience. Hair removal hurts, we all know that. But the pain I got whilst epilating?!?!? No. Never again. Plus, although epilating got rid of any unwanted hair, it didn't get rid of that prickly feeling. My legs NEVER felt smooth when I epilated. So. Very. Disappointing. And oh, the pain. 

As a last resort I thought I would give waxing a go. Now, I'd tried wax strips before and was highly unsuccessful (I didn't realise your hair has to be a certain length for the wax to 'grab') so I thought I would look into sugar waxing. It sounded simple enough - you warmed the wax up in the microwave, slapped some on and then used a strip to whip it off. It was not simple. The wax was sticky, got everywhere, and I spent a good ten minutes trying to work out which way I actually had to pull the strip in order to pull the hair out. It was ridiculously messy and I ended up not really removing any hair - it just wouldn't seem to work. 

Now, I am (quite obviously) not an expert when it comes to hair removal, but I really thought there would be a simpler and easier way of getting rid of unwanted hair, that wouldn't require having to shave every other day. So far, I've found, there isn't. I'm yet to try laser hair removal (although this is definitely something I would give a go) and just can't bring myself to go down the 'getting a wax at a salon route' (I just can't stand having to wait for my hair to grow a certain length before waxing - the feeling of hairy legs just grosses me out!). Therefore, I am stuck with my disposal razors and my shave gel. It's not fun, it's time-consuming, I am the biggest klutz ever, and 99.9% of the time I end up slicing my skin when shaving, but it seems to be the only thing (for me) that works.

I would absolutely love to know if anyone has a miracle solution for my hair removal woes, or if there really is nothing better than good, old-fashioned shaving. For now, it seems, I'll have to stick with my trusty disposal razor. Harumpth. 

*This is a sponsored post*

Enrapture Encode Totem Styler

Friday, 25 January 2013
Enrapture Encode Totem Styler* - £74.99 - currently £59.99 via Argos
My natural hair and hair styled using the styler on the setting 1-1-3, brushed through and back-combed

Absolutely ages ago I was sent the Enrapture Encode Totem Styler to review - after previously reviewing and LOVING the heated rollers, I relished the opportunity to give this multi-styling device a whirl. 

Although I love the effect my rollers give, sometimes I prefer a different look, or just to quickly wave my hair a bit. The Encode Totem Styler is perfect for this - it heats up so quickly, is ridiculously easy to use, and you literally only have to wrap each piece of hair around the styler for a few seconds for the curl to take hold. What is brilliant about the Encode Totem Styler is that it can be used to create multiple styles. Using the dial on the styler, you can change the intensity of the three heat settings; 1, 2 and 3, so there are so many different styles you can try out - 1 being the coolest, 3 being the hottest. I tend to stick with 1-1-2 or 1-1-3 but I would like to experiment with all the different variations. The variation I used above was 1-1-3, and I really like the effect it gave. 

I'm really, really impressed with the Enrapture Encode Totem Styler. It is so simple to use (I find the fact it swizzles around as you curl REALLY handy), takes hardly any time at all (and I have a LOT of hair) and the curls last. I found they lasted even better than my rollers, and even when I hardly use any hairspray they still stay put. Lately I've been trying to cut back on washing my hair so much, so curling it is a great way of changing things up if I get bored of my usual beehive look. I also think curly hair looks really cute with bowler hats - which are everywhere at the minute and great for hiding greasy/dark roots! The styler retails at £74.99 (although there are always offers on - it's £59.99 at Argos at the minute) and it comes with case and detachable stand. Overall, I love it, and will definitely be using it a lot more - especially with Spring/Summer just around the corner! 

Have you tried any of Enrapture's stylers? What did you think?

Nails Inc. Bling It On Leather & Skulls

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Back in November I attended the Nails Inc. event, and was completely astounded by all the amazing launches they had coming up. One launch that particularly caught my eye was the Bling It On: Leather & Skulls kit. As you know, I am a massive fan of nail art and I relish any opportunity to give my nails a bit of bling - but add some leather-look polish into the mix and I am completely sold. I actually had my nails done using this polish and the gold skulls at the event - and went away seriously impressed. I got loads of compliments on them and they looked pretty awesome the following weekend when I donned a faux-leather dress for a night out.

I love how simple and easy-to-achieve this nail look is. The leather-effect polish works a treat - just apply two coats (although I found one to be more than efficient), sit back and watch as it dries to a gorgeous, leather-like finish. There's no need to use a top-coat here, as it will ruin the effect - perfect for lazy nail-arters like myself! Once dry, it's pretty easy to dab some of the glue (included in the kit) on to your nail and the back of the skull, place on the nail you want blinging up, and press down using the tool provided. Make sure you use the tool - and probably some tweezers as well, as the Nails Inc. glue is seriously strong and will stick your fingers together in no time - not a good look! It does mean that your skulls will stay in place for ages however - so don't worry about them falling off - if you press down hard enough when applying them I can almost guarantee they will stay put for at least a week. 

I absolutely LOVE this kit and I already have my eye on the other tan version - although I am particularly excited about the mulberry leather effect kit, 'Rebel', which includes skulls, studs and swarovski crystals,  launching in March. Most definitely will be needing that in my life! What do you think to Nails Inc.'s Leather & Skulls kits?

Oh Mickey!

Tuesday, 22 January 2013
Shirt: Primark
Pinafore Playsuit: Topshop Sale
Mickey Mouse Tights: Primark
Moustache Shoes: Primark
Watch: Michael Kors
Earrings: Miss Selfridge

'Another outfit post?!' I hear you cry. Well I've been getting thoroughly into them at the minute, and the fact I'm finding outfits so easy to photograph right now makes me want to do them even more. Don't worry, I will be getting back to lots of beauty-related posts soon, as I have lots of things I want to talk about on here. 

I mentioned in a post a little while ago that I'd been craving a pinafore playsuit/dress, and then I managed to snap the one I wanted from Topshop for a mere £18. Here it is! I absolutely love it. It's black velvet, with a gold zip and cross-over strap thing going on at the back. It's so comfy and easy-to-wear, I'm seriously in love with it. I thought I would pair it with my trusty Primark scallop-detail shirt, and my new favourite Mickey Mouse-patterned tights, also from good ol' Primark. These are SO incredibly cute - I had to buy two pairs as I knew they'd ladder, and now I'm wishing I bought a few more as yes, they ladder. Heartbreaking, but so cute! Speaking of cute, I just couldn't resist purchasing the adorable moustache shoes from Primark, that everyone and their mother seems to have. I was debating getting them or some silver skull patterned ones, but I much prefer gold so I went for these. I'm so glad I did - I think they scream Topshop but without the hefty price-tag - hooray! 

Just a heads up about the playsuit - if you manage to track one down in your local Topshop sale, don't worry if they don't have your size - I actually got mine in a size 10, whereas I'm usually a 12/14. The 12 was a bit on the baggy side so it's worth trying for smaller if you can!

Hope everyone is having a good week!

*This is a sponsored post*

Snowy Snaps

Monday, 21 January 2013
Owl Hat: Primark
Parka: Matalan
Scarf: New Look

Apologies for being a little bit MIA over the past week. My blogging regularly resolution had been going so well, but I hit a bit of a lull and was struggling to find the time to put posts together. I'm back now though!

A lot has gone on over the past week, including me quitting my job. I was completely miserable where I was working and, as much as I need the money, I think my happiness is more important right now. I'm glad I'm taking some time out to focus on writing and doing what I enjoy, in the hope a better job comes my way. Plus, I go to London in two weeks to intern for the beauty department at Marie Claire and I cannot wait. I'm pretty nervous too though; this will be the longest I've ever been from home before - eep! I'm really looking forward to working at a monthly magazine though and seeing what goes on behind the scenes. My internship also coincides with Fashion Week which is pretty exciting! I know I'll be busy with Marie Claire but I've registered for the week just in case I get a chance to see some evening/weekend shows. I can't guarantee much blogging for the month I'm away, but most probably lots of tweeting - I'm @hannahvickers on twitter by the way!

I thought I would share some snowy snaps with you from this weekend. I love snow - it makes everything look beautiful and I don't think there's anything better than curling up in bed after a long snowy walk, with a mug of hot chocolate and a good film to watch. Me, my boyfriend and Rory spent the weekend exploring in the snow, taking pictures and watching Harry Potter - the definition of a perfect weekend! Rory needed to wear his coat in this weather - he's only little and he was shivering on the way back, bless him. I think he had fun chasing all the dogs around in the snow though!

What did you get up to this weekend? I hope you're enjoying the snow and keeping warm/staying safe! 

Happy Feet

Monday, 14 January 2013
Playsuit: Primark
Cardigan: Primark

You can probably tell from these snow-less images that I took these outfit pictures a few days ago, when it was definitely a lot less chilly than it is now! However, I think my Penguin-patterned playsuit fits nicely in with the wintry weather we've been having! I got this playsuit from Primark a few months ago and I love it so much. Such a cute print and a peter pan collar with gold detailing - what more could you ask for?! I wore it with my snuggly cardigan (also from Primark) which I really love, and my b-e-a-utfil spiky shoes from I was sent these a few months ago and I haven't stopped wearing them since. They're embellished with diamantes all over, and fierce silver spikes. I'd been wanting some like these for absolutely ages and for £30 you can't really grumble! I always get compliments on them, and they're really comfy too, which is always a bonus! 

I had a lovely weekend with my boyfriend. On Saturday we went shopping for the first time this year, and after some serious saving, I treated myself to a few bits. I got a gorgeous jumper from Miss Selfridge, some bits from Primark, and THE pinafore playsuit I've been after for ages. I went to Topshop fully prepared to spend the full £38 on it, when I saw it on the sale rail for a mere £18. I couldn't believe it! I'm hopefully going to be blogging about it soon, but I'm working everyday until Thursday so it's just getting round to taking pictures - it's so dark at the minute! 

I also filmed my second YouTube video a few days ago - this time on my skincare routine. I would love it if you could have a watch and like/subscribe and let me know what you think! I apologise for the lack of editing in it - I am not good with video editing! If anyone can suggest a decent editor, please do! 

Hope everyone is having a good start to the week, and keep safe in the snow!

Sparkles and Studs

Saturday, 12 January 2013
Sparkles and Studs iPhone 4S Case* - £20

A fair few months back, I was contacted by the lovely Rosie of Sparkles and Studs to review one of her gorgeous sparkly phone cases. Sparkles and Studs is a bespoke customising service, that makes and customises a wide range of items, including phone cases, clothing items, shoes, and even headphones. 

Well, you know me, I can't resist a bit of bling and sparkle. I love gem-covered phone cases, and I think it's even better when you can choose your own design, as I did with this one. I simply stated the colours I liked, and which embellishments I would like and voila - a beautiful phone case was created. It's so pretty and I'm ridiculously happy with it. I've been using it constantly, and unlike some cheaper gem-stone phone cases I've had in the past (I'm looking at you ebay) this one hasn't fallen to bits on me. It's had a lot of wear and tear and is still going strong, so I'm really pleased!

Although blinged-up phone cases can be a bit on the bulky side, I actually prefer having a bit of a bulkier case on my phone, and it definitely gets noticed! I absolutely love this case and I think all of Sparkles and Studs creations are gorgeous - I would love to get some shoes customised with them one day - blingtastic! 

Wintry Florals

Friday, 11 January 2013
Jumper: Ebay (link here)
Dress: River Island
Shoes: Primark
Necklace: River Island
Headband: Topshop

You know I love florals, right?! I don't think there's anything better than brightening up a dull day with some pretty flowers - and today has been incredibly dull. It's absolutely FREEZING outside and I definitely believe the rumours that there might be some snow heading our way this weekend. Brrr! This outfit definitely helped add a little ray of sunshine to the gloomy day we've been having. I paired my gorgeous River Island dress (that I got for Christmas - see my post here) with a Wildfox-dupe jumper I've had kicking around in the back of my wardrobe for ages. It's probably more suited to summer, as it's incredibly thin and definitely doesn't give much warmth, but I really like how it looks with the dress. I couldn't resist adding my favourite Topshop headband to the mix either - you can never have too many florals, I don't think! 

Lately I've been trying incredibly hard to resist buying any new clothes. I'm desperately trying to save money, but there are just so many beautiful pieces online and in store at the minute I'm finding it very hard! Luckily I think I've saved enough so far to warrant a little treat, so I'm going to go shopping tomorrow and hopefully get my hands on a couple of new pieces. I've seen so many beautiful women's dresses lately online - I'm in love with pinafore dresses in particular, and definitely need to get my hands on one soon. Also loving the pinafore playsuits - remind me of being a little girl and I think that's a good enough excuse to get one! I'm such a big kid! 

I hope everyone has a fabulous weekend, and if it does snow, stay safe and keep warm! 

*This is a sponsored post*

My Marc B Bag

Thursday, 10 January 2013
Hudson Nouveau Black Tote* - Marc B

Can you remember, a million moons ago, when I was lusting after the ultimate 'classic' handbag? Well, finally, I've found it. It's pretty hard to believe that before this beauty came into my life, I didn't own a single black handbag. Nada. Okay, so I had a couple of cheapy clutches kicking about (Primark, I hail thee), but when it came to needing a proper, full-purpose black handbag, I was out of luck. Why? Well, perhaps because I was waiting for the 'dream' bag. I wanted a bag that was timeless, chic, durable, and one that would be big enough to fit all my belongings in (bearing in mind I have Mary Poppins-like tendencies). It had to be black, and it had to have gold detailing, as I always wear gold jewellery and I think gold just looks so much more, well, posh. 

When I was offered to review a bag from Marc B, I just couldn't say no. I've admired Marc B bags from afar for years, but I've never bit the bullet and got one. When I saw the Hudson Nouveau tote, with its quilted faux-leather (yay for polyurethane!), its stunning gold details, and beautiful black rope handles, I immediately fell head over heels. This baby hasn't left my side since. It's a brilliant size, enough to house my many belongings (as demonstrated in my what's in my bag video here) and is really fab quality. It goes with literally everything, has a sexy leopard-print lining (ooer) and some nifty little phone pockets inside too. I honestly don't think I'll ever need to buy another black bag. I love it that much. 

Do you own a Marc B bag? Are you on the hunt for the 'ultimate classic' handbag? Let me know! 

Little Lady

Wednesday, 9 January 2013
Jumper: H&M
Sparkly Collar: Dollybowbow
Skirt: River Island
Shoes: Missguided 

Having a decidedly stressful day off today. One of those days when nothing decides to work, everything is getting on my nerves and nothing wants to go right. I attempted to upload a skincare video earlier, which then decided it didn't want to co-operate, so I made another, and then it was too long, so I've given up. I will hopefully try and film one on Friday, fingers crossed. Technology is well and truly getting on my nerves right now. Cameras don't work, my laptop is ridiculously slow and needs some serious organizing, and I'm just generally sick of computers/cameras/phones right now! I would love to be able to escape to the Lakes or somewhere and be totally cut off from it all, but alas, I have work and zilch money to go anywhere. Oh life!

On a brighter note, I love this outfit. As you know, I love Disney and I LOVE this Lady & the Tramp jumper. I got it for Christmas (you might have seen it in this post) and I've worn it about ten times already. I like pairing it with my collar from Dollybowbow for a little bit of sparkle, but it does look nice on its own too. This collar is awesome for jazzing up outfits though, so simple but makes a massive difference. I wore the jumper with a black and gold skirt I got for a tenner from River Island in the sale a while ago, it's so pretty and easy to wear. Also wore my beloved puddy cat pumps from Missguided, I definitely need to wear these more often!

After having such a stressful, difficult day I have decided I need to think positive. I've been doing really well lately; eating healthy and exercising, keeping up with blogging, embracing being pale and saving money. I think getting back to reality and going back to work has hit me hard, and I don't like it one little bit! I think sometimes we just get so bogged down with the things we don't have, that we forget to appreciate the things we do. One such thing I am SO grateful for is you guys - my beautiful readers. I passed the 3,000 followers mark this week and I am so thankful for it. You lot are amazing, thank you so much for reading my ramblings and sticking with me. I love you guys! 

MAC Tenderly Warm Crushed Metallics Pigment Set

Tuesday, 8 January 2013
L-R: Ever Elegant, Darling Coquette, Silk Stocking, Rose Light 

One of my favourite gifts over Christmas has to be this beautiful pigment giftset from MAC. I am a huge fan of MAC's pigments - whenever I am near a counter I just have to have a look at them - I love glitter, and they seriously pack a glittery punch. Unlike the pan eye shadows, pigments are loose and as they're pigments, they're SERIOUSLY pigmented. I have reviewed MAC's Rose pigment before on the blog, if you fancy a peek!

I adore sparkly eye shadow, so of course I was delighted when my sister got me this beautiful 'Tenderly Warm Crushed Metallics' pigment giftset from MAC for Christmas. I hadn't actually looked at the gift range from MAC this year - mainly due to having to cut down on spending - so I actually gasped when I saw how pretty these pigments are. I'm a huge sucker for gold/brown/pink eye shadows, so it definitely seems like this giftset was made for me! 

Although the pigments in the set are a bit messy (as pigments tend to be) they are seriously stunning. I honestly don't think you can go wrong with a MAC pigment - and these babies are no exception. Silk Stocking is my current favourite - it's a beautiful warm gold and looks gorgeous all over the lid. Darling Coquette is an understated pale beige, which is perfect for wearing with a big flick of eyeliner and some bold lips. Rose Light is the lighter version of my Rose pigment in the post I mentioned previously, and is super pretty. I think I might have to experiment with it and the darker Rose in the outer corner. Speaking of which, Ever Elegant looks stunning in the outer corner with both Silk Stocking and Darling Coquette, but I also love how those two look blended with Rose Light, for a more girly look. I am so impressed with this giftset and I love how all of the colours compliment each other perfectly. These beauties are currently my go-to when it comes to eye make up!

Are you a fan of MAC's pigments? Did you get any of MAC's giftsets for Christmas? 
- brand3 - brand5