Friday, 20 April 2018

What It's Really Like To Live With IBS


what it's like to live with ibs
(Image Credit - Pinterest)

Earlier in the year I spoke about potentially getting more personal on here regarding my daily health struggles, what it's like to be a forever alone twenty-something, etc. and today I'm going to be talking about the health issue that has the biggest impact on my day to day life; IBS.

I specifically wanted to share this post this month to celebrate the fact that it's IBS Awareness Month. Even though I wouldn't wish IBS on my worst enemy, it's weirdly comforting and nice to know that I'm not going through this struggle on my own. If you or someone you know suffers from IBS or other digestive issues, I would definitely recommend checking out the #IBSAwarenessMonth hashtag on Twitter and across social media to engage with a community of others suffering from the same horrible condition.

But here's what it's really like to live with IBS and the impact that it has on all aspects of my life;

Forever the flaky friend

Cancelling plans, having to rearrange at the very last minute and opting to stay home instead going out to eat and socialise with friends and family, feel like a never ending cycle for me. It's meant that I've lived a pretty lonely existence as a result.

Friends from school, from Uni and even from blogging have all drifted away from since I first started experiencing symptoms. There's only so many times that you can stand someone up or cancel at the last minute before they inevitably no longer check in or suggest meeting up again. To be honest, if I didn't still live at home, I don't know how many people I could count on for everyday physical interaction which is really pretty sad. I often think about all of the memories and special moments that I've missed out on from Uni nights out to holidays and even just simple catch ups with friends, all because of my IBS. It's led to me having more acquaintances than true friends and besties as over the years I've grown apart from so many people.

I need a lie down

Everyday I have to take a myriad of medications for my IBS and even then they don't work half of the time. From soluble laxatives (oh yeah, we're really getting to know one another now) to antispasmodic and antidepressant tablets (for my out of control gut), to diarrhea treatment tablets, I still end up doubled over in pain or glued to the toilet seat for hours at least once a week.

One of the symptoms that I deal with on a daily basis is trapped wind. Sometimes it's just a bit of a sore niggle in my side or stomach, other times it gets trapped under my rib cage, mimicking the pain of a heart attack or in my flank where it's so unbearable that I struggle to breathe.

One of the only things that does help to alleviate some of the terrible trapped wind and in turn allow for movement to actually happen, is to lie down on my side and to take a few Senocalm tablets (honestly the best tablets that I've found for helping me to alleviate trapped wind!), basically in the foetal position. Sometimes the trapped wind will pop internally in as little as 30 minutes, other times I spend hours writhing about in pain trying to find the sweet spot that releases it.

Desperately needing to lie down whenever and wherever a bad bought strikes means that I have to abandon whatever I'm doing whether that's work, blogging, shopping or just generally being out and about. I honestly never thought that I would ever see myself draped over a bench in a shopping centre or lying down on the pavement at Universal Studios (yup, both have happened to me at the worst of times) but that's just how painful it is.

Working from home

For as long as I can remember I've been working towards that dream job or dream career. I studied hard in my last year of school to get into the University of my choice at the age of 17, spent four years at said University aiming for a 2:1, which I got, only for my health to throw a real spanner in the works.

I'm not going to lie, I struggled with undiagnosed gallstones when in my final year of school and in the first 2 years of my degree, eventually having to have surgery to remove my gallbladder in the Summer between my second and third year but it wasn't all encompassing and something that affected my life every day like IBS does.

I eventually had to give up the job that I had had when I was at Uni when the symptoms got really bad and found myself feeling totally lost as to what to do next. It was about that time that I started this very blog, solely to give me something to do during the day when I was in on my own whilst everyone else was at work. As the years went on I started making the odd amount from my blog and ever since realising that I could really make something of my blog, even if I wasn't the next Zoella, I've thrown myself into treating what I do on the internet from my blog to my freelance work as a 'proper' job, even though it's not what I had initially planned career-wise.

It upsets me from time to time that I don't have a traditional 9-5 job but then I take a second to appreciate the fact that I get to do something that I absolutely love from the comfort of my home. There are days when I wish that I had a steady, reliable income coming in every month and the security of 'proper' job. If I didn't have IBS I would have most likely moved out of the family home and be stepping out on my own. My dream job even came up at the end of last month and it broke my heart that I certainly wasn't in the position to be able to work 35 hours in an office. Maybe one day my health will even out a bit and I'll be able to pursue that dream but until then, I work on my own from home which certainly has it's pluses and minuses.

Getting nowhere medically

Despite having every test and scan under the sun done (I'm talking MRIs, colonoscopies, endoscopies, stool samples and blood tests), all they can tell me is that I've got IBS, which is honestly one of the most frustrating things about the condition. After they've ruled everything else out what you're left with is IBS and unlike other conditions which have specific treatment plans and medication, you're just kind of left in the dark when it comes to it.

Even if you follow everything recommended to you such as a low FODMAP diet, regular exercise and avoiding stress or triggers, it's no guarantee that you'll be symptom free, as I can regularly attest to. I just wish that there was more that could be done medically or that there were medication that really did cure me of all the horrible symptoms of IBS but I won't be holding my breath anytime soon.

It was good to get some of this off my chest and to air my frustrations to someone other than my family and GP and I hope that by me talking openly about my struggle with IBS that it will inspire others to feel comfortable enough to share their IBS or other health struggle stories.

Sadly IBS is just one of the chronic illnesses that I've been unlucky to develop in my lifetime.

Do you know anyone with IBS? Are you a fan of more personal blog posts? And would you like to see my share more of my health journey and struggles on here?

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Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Charlotte Tilbury At Your Lip Service


Charlotte Tilbury Your Lip Service Lipstick Trio

You'll have heard me rave about Charlotte Tilbury's lipsticks on more than a couple of occasions already and once again, she's hit it out of the park when it comes to the shades and formulations that I'm going to be discussing today.

You might remember my review of the Lip Archive and since then Charlotte has created another lipstick trio, this time called Your Lip Service*.

You can buy the three lipsticks individually or save £12 by buying the trio together in this set and with three stunning and wow worthy shades, I would definitely recommend doing that if you like the look of this royal trio. If you are interested in one particular shade, however and not the others, I have linked to each of the lipsticks individually below. That way you can also see what they look like on different skin tones and hair colours, something I love about the Charlotte Tilbury site.

So let's see what the At Your Lip Service set comprises of;

Charlotte Tilbury Your Lip Service Review

Much like the limited edition Lip Archive trio, the set comprises of two Matte Revolution lipsticks and one K.I.S.S.I.N.G lipstick, with two of the shades in particular, The Duchess and Legendary Queen, being online exclusives. The set itself is also an online exclusive so you won't find it at CT counters or on other online stockists such as Feel Unique etc.

The Duchess

The Duchess is easily the prettiest pink in my collection and the formula is absolutely gorgeous on the lips. It's creamy yet long lasting and it leaves your lips with the most beautiful sheen to them. I might need to stray away from the Matte Revolution lipstick section when I'm next at the Charlotte Tilbury counter, to try out some more of the range.

If you ever find that your lipstick clings to dry patches or ridges, then you seriously need to check out Charlotte's K.I.S.S.I.N.G range!

Charlotte Tilbury Lipstick Trio
(From left to right: The Queen - The Duchess - Legendary Queen)

The Queen

I had originally seen this lipstick shade when it was first released and I mentally added it to my ever-growing CT wishlist. It's honestly the most beautfiul colour and it really is unlike any other pink in my collection, which is quite the feat when you have the kind of collection that I do. It's a hot pink but with a deeper berry note at the same time, making it something to truly behold.

I've mentioned before that the Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution lipsticks are my very favourite matte lipstick formula and both this one and the one which follows do not disappoint in terms of being one of the most comfortable mattes to wear on the lips.

Legendary Queen

When I first saw this in the bullet I was a little bit worried that it could be a tad too dark for me and my fair complexion but as soon as I applied it, I was instantly proved wrong. I never know why I ever doubt Charlotte in catering for my skintone and hair colour, especially when her colouring is so similar.

Much like The Queen, this is such a unique shade in the fact that it's more of a brick or terracotta red instead of a traditional red. I've got a feeling that this could be a go-to shade for many, particularly in the months of Autumn. I mean, how good would that look when the crispy and crunchy orange and red leaves begin to fall at your feet?

Charlotte Tilbury At Your Lip Service Review

So there you have it, the Charlotte Tilbury At Your Lip Service set.

Have you ever tried one of Charlotte Tilbury's lipsticks? If so, which one did you go for? What do you think of this set? And do you have any of Charlotte's products on your beauty wishlist?

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Sunday, 15 April 2018

How To Deal With Fluffy & Frizzy Hair


best products for frizzy hair

When it comes to my hair, there are two issues that continue to blight me and that is frizz and fluffiness. If left to it's own devices my hair literally looks like it, and I, have been dragged through a hedge backwards. Seriously, I'm not over exaggerating here! Practically every hair is out of place and it somehow manages to look even fluffier and frizzier after I brush it. Occasionally I'll stumble across a product which helps to tame the frizz and fluffiness at one stage of the styling process but I've never had a full routine where from start to finish I've been tackling those issues, that is until now.

So let's see what my new frizz battling routine comprises of;

shea moisture smooth and tame review

Shea Moisture Argan Oil & Almond Milk Smooth & Tame Shampoo* - Shea Moisture Argan Oil & Almond Milk Smooth & Tame Conditioner*

I tend to switch out my shampoos and conditioners every few months as I find that after a set amount of time it's almost like my hair gets so used to it that none of it's magic continue to work. Having never tried Shea Moisture before, I was very happy to be sent a shampoo and conditioner from them last month, ones that were specifically designed to smooth and tame hair.

I've really enjoyed using these, particularly because of the pump applicator on the conditioner (why doesn't every body moisturiser, shampoo, etc. come with a pump applicator?!) and the smell of these. It's also 100% tailored to my hair instead of only slightly. I normally find that products designed to battle frizz are often tailored to those with colour treated or damaged hair, which mine isn't. And for that reason, they often don't do everything that they claim to on the bottle.

I normally just pick up whatever shampoo (since I don't think I've ever finished a full bottle of conditioner) is on offer at the likes of Boots or Superdrug, to try something new but I think I might need to start putting a bit more thought into what I buy and even invest in some really good products, such as these. I mean, I only have to live with and look at my hair everyday so surely that warrants treating it with a bit more R-E-S-P-E-C-T (try not to sing that word out loud)!

You'll find Shea Moisture at Boots, Superdrug, Look Fantastic and Feel Unique here in the UK.

how to fix frizzy hair

Paul Mitchell Lavender Mint Conditioning Leave-In Spray*

After I've towel dried my hair (should I potentially look at investing in a good microfibre towel for said hair drying?) this is the first thing that I apply. A little goes a long way with this and I can see a noticeable difference in the way in which my hair dries naturally when using this product.

I'm seriously tempted to try more from the Lavender Mint range and as I always say when I use Paul Mitchell, 'why have I been using drugstore products that leave my hair looking lacklustre when I should have just put my hair into the hands of a professional?!' If you haven't tried the Paul Mitchell Dry Wash Dry Shampoo, for example, you are seriously missing out! Nothing from the drugstore or the High Street really competes or compares.

Umberto Giannini Frizz Control Miracle Styling Milk*

In contrast to the Paul Mitchell Leave-In Spray, I use this Styling Milk from Umberto Giannini when I'm blow drying my hair. Again, I apply it to towel dried hair and style as I would usually do. If you're looking to recreate that just out of the salon blow dry at a fraction of the price, you've simply got to try this out! It's what I now use when I'm looking for a sleek and frizz free, straight style. It's also a pretty adorable bottle, if like me, aesthetics and product packaging often sway you into trying something new.

If you follow me on Instagram you might already know that I'm now one of the Umberto Giannini #UGGirls. This means that I'll be trying out some of their latest launches and best sellers and sharing them with you both on here and on my social channels. I'm already looking forward to sharing a dry shampoo foam (yup, you heard me right; FOAM!) with you very soon. All I can say now is; it might just be a real haircare gamechanger!

igk laid back defrizz and anti-static spray review

IGK Hair Laid Back De-Frizz & Anti-Static Spray

Ever since IGK Hair launched in the US, I have been seriously swooning over the brand and every product that they have released. My prayers were thankfully answered as IGK Hair is now available from Space NK here in the UK, both in-store and online. As someone who's spent what feels like hours stalking the Sephora website only to find out that they don't ship aerosols (aka. all the products that I really wanted to try) overseas, this is an incredibly exciting beauty moment.

I may or may not have bought three of my most wanted products from them, so expect a blog post on those other two IGK Hair buys sometime soon but until then, I just had to share how much I've been loving the Laid Back Spray. Not only does it deal with frizz like you'd hope and expect it to but it also leaves my hair looking incredibly shiny and smelling great. If your hair often looks like candyfloss on day one after washing it, this is definitely one to try.

best products for frizzy hair uk

So there's how I've been dealing with my frizzy and fluffy hair recently. If you saw my What's New In My Wardrobe For Spring post (be sure to check it out as it contains a Ray-Ban sunglasses giveaway too!), you will have also seen that my hair is a lot shorter and less frizzy than it was earlier in the year. It's altogether more manageable and easier and quicker to style.

What's your hair dilemma? And what do you use to sort it out? Have you tried any of the brands in today's post? If so, what do you think of them? And is anyone else as excited as I am about Space NK stocking cult US brands such as IGK Hair, Herbivore and hopefully very soon, Drunk Elephant?

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Wednesday, 11 April 2018

What's New In My Wardrobe For Spring (+ A Ray-Ban Giveaway)


scottish fashion bloggers

I'm back today with the third of my Spring transitional blog posts (see my Spring scents and Spring skincare posts here) and today we're talking fashion. Even though it was snowing here in Scotland just last week, there's something about seeing all of the new Spring/Summer pieces trickle into stores and online that just gets me excited. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that we've been wrapped up in big coats, scarves and boots for months and months but it's nice to look forward to the handful of sunny and warm days that we have here in the UK and any holidays booked for later in the year (this year I'm going back to Orlando in September!)

So here's what I've added to my wardrobe so far for Spring this year;

topshop plisse trousers

Topshop Spot Plisse Trousers

You might have already spotted (oh how I love a good pun!) these snazzy trousers in my sidebar, to the right but if you haven't, these brilliant monochromatic trousers were always going to end up in my wardrobe. After buying my first pair of plisse trousers from Topshop back in the Summer of 2016 (as seen here), I've since added another two pairs to my wardrobe and this pair will now make four in total.

Unlike the original ones, these don't have pockets but they do look a lot more sleeker as a result and are made from a slightly heavier material than the originals too. As it's still pretty chilly here in the UK, I am definitely appreciating that fact.

They look great with a simple t-shirt or cami tucked in and instantly make you look like you've put a lot of thought into your outfit, which for me, is a major win as I'd much rather have an extra fifteen minutes in bed than worrying about putting together a look in the morning. I've also loved pairing them with the next item in my Spring wardrobe.

Hotter Daisy Shoes in Aqua*

Since my last health update on here, which was some time ago now, my health and the different conditions that I suffer from, have been up and down to say the least. I have a pretty rare condition in my feet due to lack of circulation and hyper sensitive nerves, which means that I now have to be really careful when it comes to my choice of footwear. Gone are the days of just buying what were essentially throwaway shoes from Primark.

hotter daisy shoes

Around the toe area in particular is the worst for me and there are only three pairs of shoes, from the thirty or so that I used to own, that don't irritate or aggravate the area. One are a pair of sock trainers in the form of the Nike Juvenates, the others are a pair of boots (see them here) and a pair of sandals (see them here) from Hotter.

I was, however, sorely missing a pair of in between shoes for those days when it's not cold enough for boots but not warm enough for sandals, from my wardrobe and that's where this new pair fit in perfectly. I fell in love with the colour as soon as I saw them. I mean, don't they just scream Spring to you?! And the best thing; they are so incredibly comfortable!

For a while now I've loved the look of these kind of slip on shoes but normally the back of them, where they would rub your heel, are so stiff or indented that I just can't even think about trying them on. So I'm over the moon to now own a great pair of transitional shoes, ones that honestly feel like I'm wearing nothing on my feet, which is quite the feat.

auree jewellery review

Auree Jewellery Rose Gold Engraved Disc Necklace

At the start of the year I was the lucky winner of won Hayley's (aka. Frock Me I'm Famous) Instagram giveaway. I won the most stunning rose gold disc necklace, which was engraved with my initial and it hasn't been off my neck pretty much ever since it arrived with me.

I hadn't heard of the brand before but I've now got more than a few of their pieces on my wishlist as a result of owning this beautiful and rather dainty necklace. Over the past year or so I've definitely found myself more drawn to smaller and more intricate pieces of jewellery. Compare this to my teenage years when I would literally wear the kinds of earrings that you'd expect to see on the dancers of Strictly Come Dancing, to school everyday.

kate spade small hartley backpack

Kate Spade Small Hartley Backpack

One of the biggest changes that I've made when it comes to my Spring wardrobe has been switching out my previous mini backpack for my new Kate Spade one. If you saw my What I Got For My Birthday blog post, you will have already seen this make an appearance but here it is in it's full glory.

It really is the perfect size for what I need to carry with me day to day and even has enough space for me to carry my mini S'well water bottle with me too. Let me know if you'd like to see a full What's In My Bag post and what I carry around with me in one of my little Glossier pouches.

ray ban aviator

Ray-Ban Aviator Sunglasses in Gold With Crystal Brown Gradient*

Since the weather can often change at the drop of a hat, it's better to be over prepared come rain or shine. You honestly never know when the clouds are going to disappear and temporarily blind you with light or when, what looks like a sunny day, will inevitably get windy, rainy and/or freezing cold. Surely I can't be the only one who has an emergency umbrella and pair of sunglasses in their bag or on their person at all times?

I've gotten so much wear out of my original pair of Ray-Ban sunglasses that I couldn't quite believe my luck when the fantastic team at Eye Wear These (what a good name!) got in touch to ask if I'd like to review a pair of Ray-Ban Aviators.

ray-ban aviators

I definitely get into a bit of a funk when it comes to sunglasses and have about six or seven different pairs, mostly from Primark and Accessorize, all of which are really similar when it comes to their shape and colour so I'm more than happy to step out of my comfort zone with this pair. What do we think?

ray-ban aviator gradient sunglasses

Much like my other pair of Ray-Bans, I've got a feeling that because these are such a classic and iconic shape, they'll never not be in style and will last me a lifetime. I was also really impressed with the quick shipping and selection of different styles and finishes that Eye Wear These had to offer. So much so that Eye Wear These and I have teamed up to give you the chance to win your very own pair of Ray-Ban Aviators. All you have to do is complete the Rafflecopter entry form below;

a Rafflecopter giveaway There will be ONE winner picked at random - Prize provided by Eye Wear These - UK only

glasgow bloggers
T-Shirt - H&M
Necklace - Auree Jewellery
Trousers - Topshop
Jacket - Primark (similar
Backpack - Kate Spade New York 
Shoes - Hotter 
Sunglasses - Ray-Ban via Eye Wear These

So there's what I've added to my wardrobe so far for Spring.

Have you bought anything recently for the hopefully better weather? What do you think of my Spring tranistional outfit? And will you be entering the giveaway?

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Sunday, 8 April 2018

The Spring Skincare Switch Up


new skincare 2018

Carrying on with my Spring transitional blog posts (my new scents for Spring 2018 blog post went live last weekend), I'm back with some of the latest skincare releases for 2018 as well as some of the new products that I've added into my skincare routine recently. If you're looking to switch your skincare routine up for Spring/Summer or are just looking for some new products to try out, then this is the blog post for you!

This blog post was originally spurred on by Escentual, who very kindly sent me out the newly launched Nuxe Aquabella range which is currently exclusive to them, so let's start with that great new collection of products.

glamglow galactic cleanse review

Despite having dehydrated skin on my forehead and other patches of my face, in other areas my skin is combination and that's exactly what the Nuxe Aquabella range is tasked with targeting. Unlike some other ranges which claim to help with combination skin, this range focuses on hydrating the skin, something which is often overlooked especially if you have oilier skin. I had a great facial at my local Kiehl's counter in House Of Fraser Glasgow at the start of February and it was there that I found out that what I thought was oily was actually just my skin overproducing oils solely because of how dehydrated it was and not that I have inherently oily skin.

The Nuxe Aquabella Micro-Exfoliating Purifying Gel* is a combined cleanser and physical exfoliator, something I'd not personally tried or seen on the market before. It's surprisingly gentle on the skin, doesn't leave it looking red or inflamed, like many other physical exfoliators often do and is a great first step in my routine.

This month I also discovered a fabulous new cleanser in the form of the GLAMGLOW Galactic Cleanser Jelly Balm, which I've been using to do a second cleanse and to remove every last drop of makeup. I absolutely adore the consistency of this and it's got me excited to try more from GLAMGLOW, especially when all I'd tried previous to this was one of their masks. They definitely drew me in with the whole galactic and glitter element of their new range but I'm so happy that it stood out on the shelf for me to stumble across it.

nuxe aquabella review

The product that I was the most interested in trying from the Aquabella range was actually the Beauty-Revealing Essence-Lotion* and it did not disappoint. It isn't a toner, as many might assume but it's actually an essence, which means that it's all about hydrating and leaving the skin feeling softer, which I can definitely attest to.

The entire Nuxe range, including all three of the Aquabella products, as well as the rest of the French Pharmacy brands available on Escentual, all have up to 1/3 off this April, so if you've been considering making a purchase or stocking up on some firm French Pharmacy favourites, now is the time.

One of the biggest beauty buzzwords of the moments has to be Vitmain C so I was very curious when a bottle of the Diego Dalla Palma Vitamin C Radiance Serum* appeared at my doorstep. I've been meaning to add a serum into my routine for a while now so I was more than happy to put this to the test. It works on all skin types and is meant to brighten the skin. I'm not sure if it's this product alone or the fact that we've actually seen some sunlight, even if rather fleetingly here in Scotland, recently but I feel like my skin doesn't look as dull as it has over the Winter months, which I'm certainly glad to see. I'll definitely be continuing to use this to see if it is what is really making the difference and will be sure to share more of my thoughts then. And if you didn't already know, you'll find Diego Dalla Palma at Marks & Spencer, both in their beauty halls and online.

Fresh Rose Deep Hydration Face Cream review

Back to the Nuxe Aquabella range again, now the Nuxe Aquabella Beauty-Revealing Moisturising Emulsion* really is perfect for the T-zone, which is the one area of my face that I struggle to keep at bay. It's either ridiculously greasy and shiny looking or bone dry. There really is no in between, well, until now. This treads the fine line of dealing with combination skin or a combination area so well by moisturising it without leaving it feeling really oily or greasy. I love how the product sinks in and leaves no residue and totally understand why this range is designed for combination skin solely by using this one product.

I was also beyond overjoyed to finally be able to try some skincare bits from Fresh after the amazing team at World Duty Free sent them over to coincide with the fact that Fresh are now available online and at London Heathrow Terminal 3 at World Duty Free. I'd been keen to try Fresh's hydrating rose range for as long as I can remember but didn't really have an easy way of doing so here in the UK until now. Expect a full blog post with my thoughts on more of the rose range but until then, I just had to share how good the Fresh Rose Deep Hydration Face Cream* is!

Whether you're someone who struggles with dry or dehydrated skin or you have combination skin, you need to check this out! It's nourishing and intensive but somehow manages to be so lightweight at the same time. It also feels lovely on my sensitive skin and didn't cause any breakouts or eruptions, which I'm pretty surprised about, especially as I normally have to break in a moisturiser by letting my skin adjust to it. I now totally understand where all those 5 star ratings come from. It also smells amazing!

kiehl's ultra facial mask review

After my Kiehl's facial, which if you didn't already know is completely free to book or pop in for, I treated myself to one of the products that was applied on me that day and that was the Ultra Facial Overnight Hydrating Masque. Now this stuff is SO good! I'd only ever dabbled with the Ultra Facial Cream from Kiehl's as a result of trying a little sachet of the stuff but I'm now incredibly tempted to try out more from the Ultra Facial range as a result of trying this, that and the full size of the Calendula & Aloe Soothing Hydration Masque. I received a little sample pot of it, as you can see, after my facial and my god, is it good! If your skin is severely dehydrated or in need of some serious TLC you simply have to give this fantastically gloopy face mask a try or at least pop along to your local Kiehl's counter to try it out.

And who wouldn't want to cover their face in rose gold? I'm always keen to try out new sheet masks and have been impressed with Masquebar's offerings in the past so I was very happy to receive one of their new Rose Gold Foil Moisturizing Sheet Masks* this month, to coincide with their launch. Expect to find me with one of these on tonight whilst I catch up with some guilty pleasure TV with at least half an Easter egg. Who else still has some left?

So there you have it, what I've switched into my skincare routine for Spring and some of the new products that I've been over the moon to try recently.

Have you tried any of the products mentioned in today's blog post? If so, what are your thoughts on them? Do you switch up your skincare routine in the warmer months? And which product from today's blog post sounds like it could work for you and your skin type?

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Wednesday, 4 April 2018

How To Plan A Trip To New York Without Spending £££


new york on a budget blog

One of the things I get asked most often about my solo trip to New York is how did I manage to make it a reality without spending an arm and a leg and how on earth did I manage to afford to go for ten nights. Today I'm going to be showing you exactly how I saved money when initially booking it and how I kept my spending to a manageable amount when I got there;

Fly indirect

One of the easiest ways to save some serious money is to fly indirect. If you don't mind adding a few extra hours to your travels, you can often knock hundreds of pounds off of your trip. Personally one stop would be more than enough for me but you can save even more by making several stops on your way across the pond.

If you're travelling from the UK you have a couple of different options but the most popular and affordable would have to be via Dublin with Aer Lingus and via Keflavik with Icelandair.

new york iceland stopover
Next time I visit New York I'm planning on flying using Icelandair and to sweeten the deal even more, I'm going to spend a night or maybe even a few in Iceland on my way there. Iceland has always been on my list of places to visit and it really makes sense to combine the two trips and therefore save myself from spending however much, just to visit Iceland on it's own. I'm really keen to take a dip in the Blue Lagoon, see the epic geysirs and hot springs and maybe even go on one of the snowmobile tours. I mean, how amazing does it look?

If you've visited Iceland before, be sure to leave any hints or tips or links to blog posts below in the comments, as I'd love to see what others would recommend.

Look out for hotel deals

The reason that I was able to afford to stay for ten nights at the incredible CitizenM Times Square was solely because of the time of year that I visited. July and especially the days leading up to and just after the 4th of July were almost as cheap as visiting in the freezing minus degree temperatures of Winter. This is due to the fact that most of Manhattan becomes a bit of a ghost town that week as native New Yorkers flock elsewhere to celebrate the July 4th weekend. That and the fact that it is incredibly hot and humid in July, something that may put some people off visiting. I had absolutely no problem with either and actually loved how quiet it was (in New York terms, anyway). You could definitely notice a difference when everyone had arrived back in the city the following week! It was also a nice change weather wise from what I'm used to in the UK when it comes our 'Summer'.

There's also lots of deals to take advantage of in the Winter months, particularly January and February for the opposite reason and around big US holidays like Thanksgiving.

TOP TIP: The best way to find out about specific hotel deals; sign up for their newsletters. CitizenM, who I could not recommend enough, have a special rate for members regardless of the time of year and several special deals throughout the year as well.

Think about where you'll want to eat when you're there

Obviously there's nothing wrong with treating yourself, especially when you're in one of the greatest cities in the world when it comes to food but that doesn't mean splurging on every meal when you're there. Pick one or two restaurants that you really want to visit and even mark down which nights you'd like to visit. As for the rest of your trip, you've got to try one of New York's world famous pizza slices, grab a pretzel and there are so many incredible sweet treats to indulge in too, from the likes of Dough, Milk bar and even Magnolia Bakery.

At lunchtime, see which food truck has the biggest line of office workers behind it and get in line. There's no better way to eat like the locals at lunch time. As for dinner, you'll also find lots of happy hours and special deals to take advantage of.

TOP TIP: Avoid the big Times Square chain restaurants as much as you can. Some do have the 'novelty of being in the US' factor but there are so many better and often significantly more affordable eateries to be discovered in NYC. Do a little bit of research before you get there.

new york citypass reviews
Pay for activities and excursions at least a month before you leave

Not only will you have more spending money when you actually get there but this seriously lightens the load and can often allow you to spread out payments to make it less of a hit to your bank balance. I used the CityPASS on my trip and found it incredibly useful both when it came to visiting the attractions and often skipping the queue, to knowing that I had budgeted for all the tourist attractions that I would need to pay for well in advance of my trip. It also saved me from having to pay for tickets at the door at the likes of Top Of The Rock, the American Museum of Natural History and the 9/11 Museum. Let me know if you'd like to read a full blog post on the pros and cons of such a ticket package as I really do have plenty to say on the matter, so much so that it would totally take over this blog post if I were to write it here.

If you plan on using a credit card (I honestly can't recommend the Halifax Clarity credit card enough for travelling with - thanks Martin Lewis for the recommendation!), make sure to have it paid off in full before you go so that you have your full credit limit to use whilst you're there, just in case you do need it.

Take advantage of what Manhattan (and the outer boroughs) has to offer for free

Whilst I've just mentioned some of the attractions that you will have to pay for, there are so many things to do in NYC that are completely free and I've got a feeling that basically all of them will be on your list of places to see/visit. For example, I bet you'll want to visit Grand Central Station, see the Flatiron building and check out Central Park during your trip. And there is no admission price for any of these iconic New York attractions. Neither is there for the High Line, the New York Public Library, the Coney Island boardwalk, the 9/11 memorial fountains or the Brooklyn Bridge. You can also see Carrie Bradshaw's apartment, the Friends apartment and lots of other locations from film and TV just by tracking them down.

Visiting New York can be crazy expensive but it certainly doesn't have to be.

what to see in new york for free
TOP TIP: Take the Staten Island Ferry for free to see the Statue of Liberty and the Manhattan skyline

So there you have it, how I managed to plan and book a trip to New York without spending £££.

Do you have any money saving tips when it comes to booking holidays and for when you actually get there? If so, what has been your biggest money saver? What do you think of my top tips? And is NYC on your list of places to one day see?
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how to plan a trip to new york on a budget

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Sunday, 1 April 2018

New Scents For Spring 2018


new perfumes 2018

Now that the clocks have gone forward and the evenings are starting to get that bit lighter, it's officially time to start thinking about transitioning from Autumn/Winter to Spring/Summer. This month I'll be sharing what I've been transitioning in when it comes to my wardrobe, my haircare, my makeup bag and my skincare routine but today we're talking all things fragrance related.

So here are some of the new scents for Spring 2018 that you simply have to check out;

Marc Jacobs Daisy Love

Marc Jacobs Daisy Love*

First up we have the latest release from Marc Jacobs. Marc Jacobs and his Daisy range will always be incredibly special to me, not only because I own several of the Daisy iterations but mainly because the original Daisy perfume was the first 'grown up' fragrance that I ever owned. As a result, whenever I wear or smell that OG Daisy perfume it instantly transports me back in time to when I first wore it. I have to say, that's easily why I try out and purchase as many fragrances as I do. There's something so fantastic about being taken back to a special day, holiday or experience just by smelling a specific scent.

Over the years there have been many new and exciting additions to the Daisy range, many of which have been limited edition but I'm happy to report that this will be a permanent fixture to the range. You can tell that it's part of the Daisy family but what I love about Daisy Love (I can see why they named it that) is the sweet berry twist that it has to it. I can easily see this becoming a lifelong favourite of mine much like Daisy Dream and of course, the original Daisy.

Daisy Love is exclusive to World Duty Free until the 11th of April. So if you're jetting off somewhere exciting soon, be sure to pick up a bottle before you board your flight. Trust me, you won't regret it!

Guerlain Mon Guerlain Florale

Guerlain Mon Guerlain Eau De Parfum Florale

If you've been reading Ellis Tuesday for a while now, you'll already know how much of a fan I am of the original Mon Guerlain fragrance. And now we have a new twist on that classic scent with the release of Mon Guerlain Florale. 

If you liked or loved the original Mon Guerlain you simply have to give Mon Guerlain Florale a sniff the next time you're out shopping! It's got many of the same notes but is a lot fresher and even more vibrant than the original, making it the perfect Spring scent. But it doesn't lose any of it's longevity with this tying with the original Mon Guerlain fragrance for the perfume that really does last all day on me, something that can't be said about every perfume I've ever tried.

Having never tried any of Guerlain's fine fragrances until last year, I'm happy to see them expand the Mon Guerlain range, especially when it was such a hit. If you thought Guerlain was a bit too premium or fancy for you, honestly give the Mon Guerlain range a try as I have a feeling it will win you over too almost instantly. You'll find Mon Guerlain Florale at the likes of Boots, Debenhams and John Lewis, as well as online from Escentual, where I got mine.

Accessorize Happy Daisy*

Accessorize is a shop that I regularly frequent and if you do too, you'll probably already know that they brought out their own fragrance LoveLily and now they're adding to their range with Happy Daisy. It's floral but also fruity, with notes of orange and raspberry and then it dries down to let you smell some of my favourite notes in a fragrance such as sandalwood and caramel vanilla.

At under £20 you really can't go wrong with this. The bottle is brilliant too and fits in really well with what I would deem the Accessorize aesthetic.

You'll find Happy Daisy at Accessorize, both online and in-store, as well as at The Perfume Shop.

Tory Burch Bel Azur Eau De Parfum

Tory Burch Bel Azur Eau De Parfum*

Apart from when I've been in the US, namely the fancy shopping malls such as Mall at Millenia in Orlando, I haven't really dabbled much in all things Tory Burch but after smelling this particular perfume, I have a feeling that it won't be my last. First of all, the packaging of this perfume, both the bottle and the box is simply stunning and has made it really stand out from the crowd of other fragrances on top of my chest of drawers.

Inspired by one of Tory's favourite places in the world, the Côte d'Azur, I absolutely adore how fruity and warm this smells. It just smells of holidays and vacations, if that makes sense and immediately makes me want to book a holiday somewhere fabulous, making it a great Summer scent too. Part of me wants to keep this for the Summer and for my holiday to Orlando later in the year but there's no way that I will be able to wait that long. I have seen that they do a rollerball version of this scent as well, which I'll definitely be buying to take away with me as it's just such a gorgeous scent!

You'll find this exclusively at House Of Fraser here in the UK and in Tory Burch stores/online.

Michael Kors Sheer*

Back in 2015 I had the pleasure of trying out the newly launched Michael Kors Gold Fragrance Collection and it was then that I discovered that Michael was as good at coming up with and releasing perfumes as he was with the rest of his line. I'm in the position where I get to try out lots of new beauty releases and products so I haven't found myself actively seeking out Michael's latest fragrances but I'm very glad that I was given the opportunity to try this one out.

My Mum has already bagsied this for herself as she loves how delicate this is. She, like many, isn't a big fan of strong or particularly pungent fragrances in the warmer months and this really is light and airy but still lasts throughout the day.

Michael Kors Sheer is limited edition and will be available exclusively from Debenhams, starting this month.

spring perfumes 2018

I have a feeling that even if we have different tastes when it comes to our favourite fragrance notes, we'll all be able to agree that these are housed in some of the most beautiful bottles. I mean, just look at the bottle toppers and lids from above! And the boxes are ones that you'll most probably find it difficult to part with, or at least I will anyway. Why is it that I find it so difficult to throw away such pretty packaging?

As always, I definitely recommend heading to your local fragrance counter or in some cases, the exclusive retailer, to experience the scents for yourself, particularly if one or more than that, sound right up your street.

new perfumes 2018 for her

Do you have a favourite scent for the Spring or Summer months? What do you think of these new releases? Have you given any of them a sniff yet? And which one sounds like it could be your favourite?

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Wednesday, 28 March 2018

The Best Foundations For Someone Who Hates Wearing Foundation


Charlotte Tilbury Foundation Review

Growing up I was never the biggest fan of wearing foundation. I have a feeling that it might have something to do with my slightly traumatic teenage experience with Maybelline's Dream Matte Mousse Foundation. Does anyone else know what I'm talking about? I still can't bring myself to look at some of the photos taken back in those days, when I was so clearly wearing a foundation about five shades too dark for my ghostly pale skin, without cringing.


As a result I spent most of the years that followed relying on concealer to mask a multitude of issues, mainly dark circles, pigmentation and the odd blemish or three but in recent years I've found myself looking for more coverage. That and as I was only relying on concealer, it meant that I was getting through a tube or stick of it quite quickly. That's when I started looking for bases that would cover me in every eventuality and I am so happy to say that I've finally found three foundations, of different coverage, that work for me, my skin and my ridiculously pale colouring.

And here they are;

Charlotte Tilbury Light Wonder Foundation Review

Charlotte Tilbury Light Wonder Foundation in 1 Fair (£32)

Having always struggled to find a foundation that was light enough for me/didn't make me look orange, both in the drugstore and in the likes of House Of Fraser, Debenhams and John Lewis, you can imagine how excited I was when my local House Of Fraser got it's very own Charlotte Tilbury counter. You might even remember my blog post on that very trip (if not, here it is). It was my first time having a Tilbury Transformation and being able to actually try out the products and shades and test them out on my skin, after years of admiring them online, was incredible.

I'm lucky that I only really get breakouts and spots in the run up to my period so in general, a lighter coverage foundation is ideal for everyday wear. I also have dehydrated skin which can look a little bit patchy under certain products and I'm happy to report that none of these bases do that. I'm also a big fan of the consistency of this foundation and the way in which it blends in seamlessly.

It does have SPF 15 built in but I am trying to get into the habit of applying a separate facial SPF product prior to doing my makeup these days anyway and especially if I'm going barefaced. Expect a blog post on just that in the coming weeks.

it Cosmetics CC Cream Review

it Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC Cream with SPF 50+ in Fair (£30)

Only a handful of beauty products ever truly reach holy grail/cult status but that's exactly what's happened with this particular base product and it's no wonder why when you give it a try.

For that in between coverage nothing beats this CC Cream! It's buildable, not at all cakey and truly does look like your skin but better. I feel so confident wearing this and have had many people mention how healthy my skin looks when wearing this. As someone who's had people ask if I'm not feeling well when they see my sans makeup, this has certainly done wonders for my self esteem, especially when it's so quick and easy to apply.

They also now finally do it in the lightest shade, fair, here in the UK after a while of only being available in the US. Seriously, there's a reason why everyone has been raving about this! It may be the first product that I've tried from it Cosmetics but it certainly won't be my last.

Charlotte Tilbury Magic Foundation Review

Charlotte Tilbury Magic Foundation in 1 Fair* (£30)

For fuller coverage I absolutely adore Charlotte's Magic Foundation. It's full coverage without feeling like you're wearing a mask or a tonne of product on your face and again, much like the Light Wonder foundation, it matches my fair complexion perfectly. Seriously, if you're incredibly pale or fair and haven't yet found the right foundation match for you, get yourself down to a Charlotte Tilbury counter ASAP!

I completely get why Charlotte dubbed it as magic as it really does have a magical airbrushing effect on the skin. Your complexion honestly looks flawless as a result of using this and it's perfect for those special occasions or when you're looking for more coverage from your foundation. It, like Light Wonder, also has SPF 15 built in which is a great bonus.

As someone who was once foundation phobic, these three foundations have completely changed my mindset when it comes to base products.

What are your favourite foundations? Have you tried any of the ones mentioned in today's blog post? If so, what do you think of them? And do you also have fond or not so fond memories of Dream Matte Mousse?

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Sunday, 25 March 2018

What I've Been Watching: In March


what to watch on tv netflix amazon prime uk

Much like my TV and movie watching habits in general, there's a real mix of stuff in this month's What I've Been Watching post and I really do urge you to watch as many of these as you can as I have a feeling your outlook will be changed as a result of each and every one of them, even Happy Death Day.

Active Shooter: America Under Fire

I technically started watching this show in February when it first premiered here in the UK but the series actually concluded this month and really, there was no better time to discuss this documentary series than now. It still absolutely blows my mind that we even have to have a discussion regarding gun control. Why the average American, the one that they always use as the example of why they should have guns, would need a semi automatic assault rifle to defend his land or home in the event of a robbery? I mean, it's honestly laughable. It really is unreal that nothing has and nothing probably ever will change and yet thousands upon thousands are killed every year.

Active Shooter chronicles several of the most prolific and deadliest mass shootings in recent US history including the likes of Pulse nightclub in Orlando, San Bernardino, the Aurora movie theater shooting and Columbine. Through both archival footage and the accounts of victims, their family members and first responders, we get some kind of sense of what happened on that fateful day but not only that, we also the see the aftermath of the shootings and what little change has been made since. We see what we take for granted living somewhere like the UK and it's completely devastating and heartbreaking to see children taught active shooter drills in the same way that we're taught fire drills. It makes me angry even typing up this review, which only makes me want to share it with you all the more. Hopefully what we've seen in recent weeks following the Parkland shooting is only the beginning and change is actually on it's way but I won't be holding my breath anytime soon, sadly.

Life and Death Row: The Mass Execution

I'm not entirely sure why but I find documentaries about true crime truly fascinating and I'm always drawn to those kinds of TV shows, even when the likes of Piers Morgan are hosting them (which really does say something about my urge to watch them). I've watched a good number of these types of documentaries and TV shows on Netflix but I actually stumbled across Life and Death Row on the BBC iPlayer at the end of last month. It seems that there have been previous Life and Death Row series to this one, which I've already started but this most recent one, is currently or has just finished airing on BBC. I actually binge watched the entire series over the course of a few nights instead of waiting each week for it to air as there was the option to do so on iPlayer.

This most recent series, titled The Mass Execution, centres on the state of Arkansas where eight executions are due to be carried out within the course of a fortnight. It follows both the death row inmates, examining their crimes, as well as the families of the victims and the powers at be who have scheduled for the executions to take place. 99% of me has always thought that the death penalty should be completely abolished but in some cases, it really does make you think, well maybe they should die for what they did. Each of the eight cases are so different that you'll no doubt feel different about and towards each of the death row inmates and again, like with the previous show, it's crazy to see how different the US is to the UK for example, on some major issues and yet we all probably have the US on our list of places to travel. I mean, I've already got holidays to Florida and New York booked!

Arrival

Arrival is one of those movies that has been on my 'to watch' list for a while now and thankfully I was able to check it off that list this month. If you or someone you know has Amazon Prime Video, you'll find it there, as I did. I'm a big fan of Amy Adams but not necessarily of sci-fi films however, don't let that put you off if you're considering giving Arrival a watch. What really had me wanting to watch it, in addition to being a fan of Amy's, was the fact that it was directed by Denis Villeneuve who directed the brilliant Sicario and Prisoners, both of which are movies that I absolutely loved.

It's not your typical alien or alien invasion movie in the slightest and actually the characters interactions with the aliens is really just a sub plot in a way, as we begin to find out more about Dr Banks, played by Adams and humanity and the way in which it would react, as a whole. The twist at the end (I promise I won't give anything away) was also a real shock and something that I certainly wasn't expecting plus it makes you look back on what you've just watched in an entirely different way. There really is a reason why this is as highly rated and award nominated as it is and is well worth a watch.

Happy Death Day

Dubbed Groundhog Day meets Scream, I had some idea what to expect from Happy Death Day but I am so happy to say that it actually far surpassed my expectations and didn't take the route that I originally thought that it would. Essentially, what happens is that the main character relives the same day over and over again but instead of just going to sleep and waking up again for it to be that same day, each night Tree (yes, her name is Tree!) is killed by a masked killer. As she attempts to work out who the killer is whist simultaneously trying not to get killed again, we find out more about Tree and the people in her life and I have a feeling that you'll change your mind on who the killer really is more than once, at least I did anyway.

There are some jumpy bits and classic horror movie scenes but they actually feel fresh, given that it has been some time since we last saw this kind of slasher movie. You also genuinely go from thinking isn't Tree just the worst person ever, to actually rooting for her to finally beat her killer and survive until the next morning. If you're looking for a movie to watch this weekend, I would definitely recommend giving Happy Death Day a go.

A Streetcat Named Bob

As mentioned in my What I Got For My Birthday This Year blog post, I received both this movie and Happy Death Day, for my birthday this year. It was another one of those movies that I'd had on my 'to watch' list for a while but hadn't actually gotten around to seeing, so when I saw it, with the book as well, for just £5 on a food shopping trip to Sainsbury's, I just had to add it to my trolley. My Mum then very kindly asked if I'd like it for my birthday, which I happily accepted.

If you haven't seen the trailer for this movie or read the book, it's about a homeless man who's struggled with heroin addition and the ways in which his life changes when Bob, a ginger moggy who also seems to be down on his luck, comes into his life. It's honestly one of the nicest movies that I've seen in a long time and it taught me quite a bit about both the life of a recovering addict and a street busker and how just one incident can change your life for the worse or in James and Bob's case, the better. I also couldn't help but smile whenever I saw Bob appear on screen. He really is such a special cat. I mean, not only is Bob the most adorable cat that I've ever seen, it's the real Bob not a trained cat that plays him in the movie, which just makes everything that he does even more impressive. Seriously, where can I find my own Bob?!

Have you seen any of the shows or movies that I included in this month's post? If so, what did you think of them? And what have you been watching this month?

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Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Glossier Lidstars Review & Swatches


glossier lid star review

Every time Glossier release a new product I promise myself that I won't buy it, at least straight away anyway but there I was on release day adding these two little tubes of cream eyeshadow goodness to my basket. The Glossier Lid Stars had been alluded to prior to their release after Beyonce wore them on her lids to the Grammys. And I have to say, I wasn't really too fussed when I saw them on Bey, even though they looked pretty enough. Then again, right before their launch, some of the biggest names wore them to the Oscars of all places. This certainly piqued my interest a little more but when I started to see the swatches on the internet/Insta, I knew that I had to break my promise to myself and try the two shades that spoke to me the most, Slip and Cub.

Thankfully, much like with their incredible Cloud Paints (check out my first impressions post to find out why they're so good), you can save £5 by buying two so I quickly added this duo to my basket and eagerly anticipated their arrival.

glossier lidstar

First of all, I am obsessed with the two shades that I picked. Slip is the most beautiful baby pink with golden highlight effect, whilst Cub is the dreamiest rose gold shade with a stunning shimmer to it. I love how quick and easy they are to apply and the fact that they do not crease, not even a little bit. I was really surprised by how long lasting they were and the fact that I don't feel the need to use a base product or primer underneath them.

glossier lid star swatches

If you're looking for crazy bold colours or pigmentation, you'll be extremely disappointed by these but that's not what I'm all about on an everyday basis anyway. It's more of a wash of colour on the lids than an intensely pigmented hue, which is exactly what you would think of when it comes to Glossier's aesthetic.

I'm so pleased with these, that pleased that I'm even thinking of stepping out of my comfort zone and trying some of the other shades such as Herb and Lily.

glossier lidstar review

Don't forget, if you're placing your first order or if you sign up with another email, that you can get 10% off and free shipping over £25 if you use my link: http://bff.glossier.com/hH1PN. It also means that I get a little bit of credit to put towards my next purchase, which will most likely be another Lidstar duo, unless they release another exciting product before then that is.

What do you think of these eyeshadows? Have you tried anything from Glossier? If so, what's been your favourite find thus far? And what do you think they'll bring out next?

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