Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Boots Tea Tree & Witch Hazel Exfoliating Pads

I've always been quite OCD about taking good care of my skin. I never ever suffered with any sort of spots when I was younger but as soon as I hit 20 I broke out in cystic acne and that's when it hit me that I had to really try and prevent any further breakouts. Fast forward a little and I still bear the slightly red battle scars of quite a serious skin ailment and one that actually affected me quite profoundly. I will never forget how horrible it feels to not want to go on a night out with friends or go without make up in front of the boy you fancy just because your face has decided that it doesn't want to behave itself. 

At the moment I wear far less make up and do a full cleanse, tone and moisturize skin routine both morning and night. I'd say I'm getting there in terms of how I feel about my scars now. I'm a pretty confident person when it comes to my looks because lets be honest they don't last forever do they so you gotta work with what you got. I used to actually wear a full face of make up to the gym and genuinely get so worked up about it but as I've got older I've realized there are far more important things to life than how you look. That said I definitely think everyone could use a bit of confidence from time to time.

I've been using these Tea Tree and Witch Hazel Exfoliating Pads to help me feel more confident about baring everything and I'm absolutely a fan. I used to use pure witch hazel as a toner until I realized that using it over my whole face was drying out my skin. These on the other hand work so well. I apply them to affected areas and they dry out blemishes so quickly. I like that they can also be used on other parts of the body too like the back and chest or anywhere you suffer from spots. I can't believe how well these actually work and they are super affordable too. Well done Boots!

Has anyone else ever suffered from acne or scarring? What do you use?

Friday, 17 June 2016

Its Nearly My Birthday Wishlist

From left to right: Pandora Birthstone Ring £45.00, Olivia Burton Rose Gold Watch £85, Emma Hardie Amazing Face Cleansing Balm £36.00, Nike Pro Hypercool Capri Leggings £40.00, Topshop Jersey Plunge Playsuit £24.00, Victorias Secrets Mayfair Pyjamas £35.00, Kate Spade Saffiano Purse £160, Jo Malone Lime Basil and Mandarin Candle £40

I'm not a materialistic person. At least not anymore. I like to have nice things but I also prefer experiences and things like going on holiday and travelling to actual materialistic things like designer bags and shoes and clothes. I like technology. Things like having a nice camera and a laptop, editing software  and that kind of thing. I like being able to pay for my own car. There are times, however, when I do like to think about all of the materialistic things I am currently lusting over and obviously my birthday is one of these times. I don't make a big deal about my birthday because I hate unecessary attention. Even on my 18th and 21st I made very little fuss. So no this isn't a list of all the things to buy me its just some of the things I'm currently drooling over!

Whats on your current wishlist?

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

How to use your Blog to Answer Interview Questions

I'm finally at that stage of my life now (at bloody long last) where I'm no longer applying for jobs as a source of income, rather trying to find work related to both my degree and volunteering and other activities I have done outwith university. I'm not going to lie I actually panic at the thought of attending interviews. I hate being put on the spot and I hate that everything about me is being judged from the shoes I wear down to how I smile or act. I've always been someone who prepares quite thoroughly for interviews and because of this I've rarely been turned down for a job. However, after a few years at university most people applying to entry level jobs have very little if any experience in a job role similar to the one they are applying for and today I wanted to discuss how talking about your blog during the interview can help. 

1. Generating Interest. You are face to face with the interviewer who turns round and asks 'tell me about yourself' I have always and will always hate this question. I'm forever stuck between wanting to make it quite personal and informal and making it formal and professional. I normally answer with a bit about my academic life and a few of the jobs I have worked in along with any particular achievements I've made. I also almost always mention my blog. I feel it can be a good talking point and also shows any perspective employer that you are self-motivated and ambitious. This can be especially important for entry level jobs which require you to learn new skills. I normally talk about how my blog has helped me to improve my social media skills, or communication skills since I've had to pitch myself to brands and promote posts. By mentioning this at the start of the interview you are helping yourself stand out against other candidates by showing that you not only have interesting hobbies but that they (hopefully) fit in with the job role in some way. In other words you are telling the employer that if money wasn't a factor you would probably still do this job and you would enjoy it too!

2. Selling Your Skill Set. I have never once attended an interview where I have not been asked in some roundabout way anything related to my blog. I currently work with a charity as a social media officer and during my telephone interview I was pretty much hired on the basis that I'd already used social media to promote my own content-my blog! In fact blogging can be used to prove that you have put many of the required transferable skills into practice. To take one example I recently used was when I was asked about my communication skills and in response I was able to talk about how through blogging I had learned how to network and make friends via social networks and yet I could still maintain professional etiquette via an email pitch to a brand or PR. To blog you also have to be able to write fairly clearly and in a way that appeals to a large audience and so I was able to use specific examples of how I was a good communicator rather than just implying that it was the case.

3. Revealing Your Creativity. Blogging can also be a great way of showing any potential employer that you have a creative side. As competition in the current job market increases more and more employers are seeking candidates that not only match the person specification but that go above and beyond it. As a blogger you are much more likely to have been able to express certain parts of your personality through your writing style or the way you take pictures or perhaps you design beautiful blog headers for people. All of these things show that you have the ability to generate ideas and at some stage this could be extremely valuable to a business or an organisation. For instance, if you are ever asked a question along the lines of 'Can you think of a time when you have used your own initiative?' or 'Have you ever created something from scratch?' a personal blog is a great place to start.

4. Working to Deadlines. This might not apply to all bloggers but for those of us who have ever written a sponsored post or worked with a brand on a product review there are a whole host of things that can come in handy for interviews. Firstly you may be asked at an interview for just about any job to describe a stressful situation and telling them about a particular product which you had X amount of time to write content which had to be a certain length or include certain imagery can be a perfect example. I once worked with a brand (no names here) who emailed me once a day for a week asking me when my post would be up. Not only is this good evidence of being able to work to deadlines but it can also be a good way of reflecting on how you worked with a particular company or person. For example, did you email them when any issues came up? Or perhaps you scheduled the post in advance so they were able to check it for themselves. Either way it definitely shows that you can do what is required in a limited amount of time and can withstand pressure in a professional environment.

5. Personality. I often feel like this last point is something that is very important when attending job interviews and yet overlooked by so many people. YES you might have all the qualifications and skills necessary to doing the job well but if you have bagged yourself an interview then the interviewer likely already knows that. Personality can make you stand out against other candidates or show how you would fit into a particular working environment. I've been asked about my blog during various interviews and in all honestly its actually refreshing to have something to talk about aside from my professional life. I can get quite passionate when talking about my experiences and its good to show a perspective employer that  you actually have something in your life you really care about and have spent a lot of time on. I've never ever had a negative experience in all the interviews I've mentioned it in and I've even been asked follow up questions!

Would you ever mention your blog at interviews? Do you think its important in getting you that dream job?

Monday, 13 June 2016

Products That Get the Thumbs Down

If there is any type of blog post that really captures my interest its normally one along the lines of 'disappointing products' or 'beauty buys I regret'. This isn't because I'm a negative Nelly or because I thrive when I see people spending their hard earned cash on things that turn out to be pretty useless to them but because I actually find these posts the most genuine. I really do love bloggers who have no issue with expressing products which didn't quite work for them. I see a lot of bloggers claim that they don't do negative reviews but I'm of the opinion that sometimes it just really has to be done! I have a growing collection of things that have gathered dust in my make up and skin care drawers and not always because they are really bad products. Some just didn't work for my particular skin type and others just don't excite me all that much...

No7 Beautiful Skin Melting Gel Cleanser
I wanted to like this so badly but it just doesn't do much for my skin type. I found it to be quite drying and left me with patches of flaky skin (ew) which was confusing for me because it's marketed as a product for 'normal/dry' skin. In my opinion this actually seems like something that would be much better suited to oily skin as the formala does leave my skin feeling super clean its just that it also strips it of a lot of moisture. Its not the worst cleanser in the world and it smells pretty good and I'm quite dissappointed as I normally really like No7 skincare but this just wasn't for me.

Vita Liberta Nkd Skn Self Tan
I bought this in a rush before a big night out as I hadn't tanned and needed some instant colour, however, this was a really underwhelming product. First of all for a product that markets itself as being odour free it absolutely reeks, which isn't ever something I want in an instant tanning product. Secondly I bought the darkest shade and it was barely noticeable on me at all. I understand that natural looking tan is much nicer, but I pretty much felt like I shouldn't have even bothered to apply it. Wouldn't repurchase this ever tbh.

Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer
For a product that gets so much hype in the beauty blogger world I was so disappointed in this. I couldn't stand the texture, the colours were all much too yellow for my skin tone and it oxidised a lot throughout the day. I felt as though it was too thick to use on my under eye area and yet when I tried applying it to blemishes it just made them more noticeable and went really orange. I love Nars foundations so much but the concealer just didn't cut the mustard.

Bourjois Limited Edition Shine Lipstick
This isn't a particularly horrible product its just that for me its a bit 'meh'. I bought this fully expecting it to be a good dupe for the YSL Volupte Shine Lipsticks and it came nowhere near to the quality of those. It is a lot more sheer than I thought it would be and I find the packaging quite cheap looking. I can't say too much about this other than its just an okay product, but there are much better lipsticks available in the drugstore with a lower price point than this one.

Elf Nail Polish
I cannot say enough how much I actually hated this product. It literally just flaked off of my nails and even my toenails. It was too gloopy to apply properly and it took quite a few coats to get a nice opaque shade. Definitely not a nail polish brand I will be going back to anytime soon. 

Bourjois Paris Delice De Poudre Duo
My main problem with this product was the pigmentation. It pretty much has no pigment to it at all and takes a lot of product to build up to the desired colour which I don't have the time for. It also goes quite patchy over the top of foundation which I didn't like. Also you might notice that this contains a highlighting and bronzing product. The highlighter was far too chalky in consistency fot me to use on my face and looked as though I'd just used a really light face powder instead of an actual highlight. It definitely isn't something I would use again and I'm starting to feel as though Bourjois in general might be quite hit and miss as they have some lovely products this just wasn't one of them. 

What products had you disappointed? Do you use any of these?

Saturday, 11 June 2016

A Catch Up in the Glasgow Sunshine

I'm sat here writing this while bathing in the warm 25 degree heat , sipping on an iced latte and nibbling at some freshly chopped fruits. I don't know why but for some reason my creativity is always at its prime in the summer months. I have no idea whether that is due to the fact I have no university and don't need to feel guilty about every blog post I write while I'm procrastinating about my assignments and revision or just because everything seems much more exciting like being able to go on endless road trips, or drinking prossecco outside in the sun.  Up until last month I'd become quite disheartened with my blog as the content and photography wasn't exactly what I wanted and I wasn't receiving as many page views as I used to. I've always been a bit hard on myself...

Anyways, as the sunshine has taken over our normally grey and rainy city I've definitely seen a change in my mood and motivation. I've been inspired over trips to the park with my boyfriend, BBQ's and brunches with friends, new recipes and beautiful holiday pictures I've drooled over on other peoples Instagram accounts. I feel as though its making me want to up my blogging game and get better and better. At the minute I've been getting back into three of my most favourite activities; working out, cooking and reading and its definitely given me some new ideas for content. I always laugh when I think about how when I started this blog I literally thought it would just be a couple of product reviews every week as if that was the only thing I was interested in. Nope blogging has definitely captured much more important parts of my life although beauty products are still up there! 

I'm currently waiting to start a new job. I have accepted one job offer and am currently waiting on my references/disclosure/credit check and all the other usual boring stuff being checked by two perspective employers before I make my final decision, but all I am going to say is that I've been quite picky with choosing which jobs to apply for and such. I'm completely not knocking jobs I've worked in before but normally the hours have sucked. Money really isn't an issue for me as I can live on hardly anything if I have to and spend ridiculous amounts of money when I have it just for the sake of it, but the main thing is being able to spend time with my friends and boyfriend this year. I was quite pleasantly surprised by some of the interviews I was invited to in the last few months as I genuinely never even thought I had a chance, but rather wishful thinking got the better of me and made me apply. 

As the situation stands I'm obviously really trying to make the very most of my time off at the moment as I don't know when I'm going to be swept up into the world of work and end up with a really busy schedule again. I've always been a bit ridiculous when it comes to the amount of things I take on. For around 6 years I have studied, worked part time and kept time aside for my hobbies and social life so its really nice to have some time off just to be able to re-organize my thoughts and try to relax a little bit as being super busy all the time is not great for the old stress levels and  I cannot tell you how nice it feels doing yoga in the back garden, drinking iced tea with my mum and being able to lose myself in a really good book. Peace at last! 

How do you make the most of your time off? Is there anything you do in particular that helps you to relax? 


Sunday, 5 June 2016

My summer skincare routine

During the summer I always keep my skincare fairly simple. Since I wear very little make up in the warmer months I always feel the need to go back to basics and a few old favourites to keep my skin clear and radiant and get the best possible base for any make up products. My skin care routine in the summer is pretty basic but I've found that this is what really works for me...

I always start to use a moisturizer with SPF around April to re-balance and protect my skin from any harmful sun damage and this Simple Light Protecting Moisturizer is what I am currently using. Its quite watery in texture but sinks straight into the skin with very little residue left over and gives my face a nice healthy glow.Regular SPF use is also pretty crucial if you want to keep skin looking young as it protects it from the environment. I've also been using the Simple Micellar Water as a toner in the mornings which is as gentle as water and leaves my skin feeling extremely clean. I actually really love Simple products and I'd recommend most of them to anyone who is on a budget as they are also extremely affordable!

It wouldn't be possible to chat through my skin care routine without including the Liz Earle Hot Cloth Cleanser which is a real 'all year round' product for me. I use this morning and night and I really see a difference in my skin when I use it regularly. It exfoliates as well as cleanses and leaves my skin so soft and refreshed. Its also really gentle and takes eye make off easily and smells lovely too! Speaking of cleansing I tend to use a mask weekly to help prevent breakouts and unclog my pores and my recent mask of choice has been the Origins Out of Trouble 10 Minute Mask which is just a standard clay mask but contain salicylic acid it really works and helps to dry out pimples and minimize and refine pores, It also smells like peppermint which is an added bonus!

In the evening I normally just use my Liz Earle Cleanser again and apply the La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo + (currently on offer) to any breakouts or particularly troublesome areas. This really does help to minimize the appearance of red spots and reduce over all scarring and as a former acne sufferer I am quite on the ball with things like this. I then use the Dr Andrew Weil For Origins Mega-Mushroom Relief Advanced Face Serum (post here) which is extra soothing and perfect for sensitive skin. This really helps with anti-ageing as well as calming any redness or irritation and waking up the morning after using this I always notice that my skin appears less fatigued and more radiant. If there is one bad thing I would say about this product however its that it is quite expensive and I HATE the smell of it! Still a great product though really!

What is your skin care routine like in the summer months? Have you ever used any of these products? 


Wednesday, 1 June 2016

A 'Cheer Me Up' Lush Haul

Before the weather recently took a drastic turn for the better I'd been feeling really down. I'd just come home from holiday to a string of job interviews (all of which were quite stressful, challenging and exhausting) and playing the waiting game is not a fun time let me tell you. I have to be careful with money for the time being which is depressing as during the summer all I want to do is go on adventures! My boyfriend obviously being as lovely as he is bought me some gorgeous goodies from Lush and I thought I'd share them.

The first thing he bought for me was this 'omg so cute!' Lady Bug Bubble Bar which smells incredible! It must be a limited edition of some kind because I cannot find it anywhere on the Lush website. I have no idea what is in it either but it makes beautiful pink bubbles and smells really sweet. It isn't the same scent as Snow Fairy but its the same sickly sweet candy like smell. Its also remarkably nostalgic as it must smell like some kind of candy I had as a child.

Next I got my all time favourite Avobath! I probably eat Avocado on toast for breakfast about 70 percent of the time so its a smell I am very familiar with! The scent of this bath bomb is so fresh and fruity and a little bit zesty. This is definitely the perfect bath bomb to use in the morning as the scent is quite revitalizing with bergamont oils and lemongrass to really set you up for the day. Avocado and olive oil are also pretty much perfect for softening dry skin; I actually shave my legs in the bath so its good for that purpose too! It turns the water bright green and sparkly although I can't say I'm the biggest fan of having to clear up a load of shimmer that's been left on my bathtub!

Also I got the Monsters and Aliens Fun which I'm so happy about because I actually use this stuff for everything. I know your supposed to make things with it but I'm not the most arty person in the world so I just use it more practically for now. Honestly, aside from being a body cleanser in the shower and making loads of bubbles in my bath my main use for this is for hand washing my clothes - yes! I find this so mild and gentle so I tend to use it to wash anything delicate rather than normal soap powder.

Last on the list is the Tisty Tosty Bathbomb which looks just adorable. It contains real rose buds (which look super cute but are actually quite annoying) and scented with lemon and rose giving it a subtle floral scent which is fresher than most as I love this and I'm normally not a floral scent fan. It also smells a little of jasmine which is extremely calming and surprisingly it actually turns bathwater bright green! This is such a nice relaxing bath bomb for the evenings or for a little pamper.

What are your favourite Lush products? Is there anything you buy over and over again? 
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