Thursday, 27 November 2014

SKINCARE: Surviving the Colder Months

I don't know about you but my skin is starting to fall apart. The cooler days and heating on always send my skin into panic mode, it starts peeling away and no amount of exfoliation seems to help. This year my skin seems to be the worst its ever been, my forehead, chin and apples of my cheeks are all beginning their peeling marathon of the winter months. But this year WILL be the year I manage these problems and sort my skin out.

I began prepping my skin, ready for the colder months, at the end of summer with finding/trying/buying a range of moisture rich products. During the summer my skin is so resilient, if I forget to moisturise (due to the relaxed holiday vibe of the summer) my skin isn't fazed. It just gets on with it. The autumn/winter is another story all together, my skin is so sensitive to any changes - whether that be weather, my skincare routine or make up I use.

I've come up with a collection of products that I've been using to try to combat the whole 'autumn peeling look'. I'm really happy with how they are all working together to help keep my skin moisturised and more resilient to temperature changes.

My 'Surviving the Colder Months' Kit:

Garnier Fresh Essentials 24hr Hydrating Day Cream - Normal + Combination Skin
This is a great daily moisturiser, which helps to hydrate those dry areas and it does keep my skin feeling moisturised all day.
Sanctuary Spa 5 Minute Thermal Detox Mask
I have noticed such a difference since using this twice weekly. When I don't have time to use it twice during a week I can really tell the difference with my skin. It has a slight warming feel as you apply it, which is always welcomed during these colder months. I don't find this mask helps with hydrating my skin but it is perfect for targeting the t-zone and doesn't dry my skin out at all.
Aromatherapy Associates Hydrating Rose Face Mask
I got this sample size free with a magazine a while ago and I've been really enjoying using this mask alongside the Sanctuary Spa 5 Minutes Thermal Detox Mask. I apply the Sanctuary Mask over my t-zone and this mask over the rest of my face. It's a light, clear gel so it's easy to use and feels really hydrating.
Nivea Daily Essentials Sensitive Cleansing Milk
In the past I have found some cleansers quite drying, an attribute no one wants during the colder months. This cleansing milk is really gentle yet effective, removing all of my make up (except waterproof mascara). It never leaves my skin feeling tight or dry, consequently making it the perfect daily cleanser.
St. Ives Fresh Skin Apricot Scrub
I think this must be one of those skincare products that has been in my weekly routine since I started a skincare routine as a teenager. It's a well loved staple by many, due to its fresh scent, fantastic ability to gently scrub away dry skin and the fact it seems to last forever. I've had this mini tube for what feels like a very long time, despite using it weekly.
Sudocream Antiseptic Healing Cream
This product is usually associated with nappy rash and babies but it's actually an excellent moisturiser for those especially dry areas. I use this on target areas that are really playing up, which at the moment is around my nose (thanks to all that nose blowing) and just in the centre of my forehead. I like to layer it on at night and allow it to soak in throughout the night. Easy, fuss free and very hydrating.

Which products do you use to get your skin through these colder months?

Helen x

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

MATERNITY: My Staple Style Top during the 2nd Trimester

As my bump gradually grows bigger and bigger (though I know it's still small compared to how big it's going to get) I've been struggling to find anything to wear. At the start of the second trimester I was very much in a middle phase, not big enough for maternity clothes but much too big for my 'normal' clothes. I've grown out of a lot of my clothes now, especially my extensive dress collection that go in at the waist - a no no for pregnancy. As I've been having a lot of back and muscle ache I've definitely been going for comfort over style. Trust me, when you're pregnant being comfortable becomes more important than anything else because, lets be honest, comfort isn't something that occurs very often.
I've been living in those black tube skirts from H&M, they are £3.99 and so comfortable. But I've been struggling with tops that don't require any thought processes - you can just chuck them on and go out. At 6am, when I get up for work, I don't have much time/energy/concentration to be searching through my wardrobe for a top. Hence the mass purchase of Primark long sleeved tops. They are comfortable, a good length and their sleeves are long enough for my monkey arms!

At only £4 each for the patterned ones and £3.50 for the plain ones, they are a bargain and such hassle free. I wear them with the black H&M skirts I have and that's pretty much my recent maternity style. Comfortable and easy.

^All except one have a scoop neckline - perfect for those days of nausea.^

^This is the only one with a higher neckline.^
What did/do you wear during the second trimester?

Feel free to leave me a comment :)

Helen x

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

CHRISTMAS: Advent Calendars without chocolate?

Every year there seems to be more and more 'alternative' advent calendars to choose from. Forget chocolate or pictures, you can now get advent calendars filled with beauty products, alcohol, candles, puzzles, jewellery etc. This concept excites me greatly, I'm a massive Christmas fan and anyway of extending that excitement across the whole of December is ok with me. Generally the downside of these advent calendars is the price, too often they are very expensive for an 'advent calendar'. After searching the internet it's clear that the options are almost endless, so here's my quick guide to some of the choices. Starting with the cheapest...

Best beauty advent calendars 2014 - No7
Ciaté's Mini Mani Manor - best beauty advent calendars for 2014

The Body Shop beauty advent calendar 2014

Jo Malone beauty advent calendar 2014

Jo Malone Advent Calendar - Harrods - £250

What would you want in an advent calendar?

I love the idea of having a new candle each day, especially when they are festive scents. I'd also love to have an advent calendar that had a different vouchers/gift cards in each day, so you can treat yourself when money is tight!

Helen x

Sunday, 23 November 2014

BEAUTY: Let's Go Lashes

False eyelashes are becoming more and more popular, the designs and methods of application are constantly changing and improving. During my university years I would wore false eyelashes quite a lot, they were my more social years. When I hit the working world the number of 'nights out' dropped significantly and I found I had fewer and fewer opportunities to really get dressed up. You know the drill: a long soak in the bath, candles, planning that glamorous hairstyle and make up look, applying false eyelashes, putting on a new dress, donning a new pair of heels you can barely walk in, a final spritz of perfume and your out of the door. The whole process would take a good couple of hours and I'd enjoy every moment of getting ready! So instead of letting those 'getting ready' treats become a thing of my distant university days, I have made a conscious effort to organise/attend events that I could indulge in a good 'getting ready' session. Christmas is a staple 'I'm going to put extra effort into my Christmas Look' and so starts the make up, dress, shoes, hair product, false eyelash hunt.

This year I stumbled across a brand of false eyelashes I hadn't heard of before Let's Go Lashes. They say that their lashes are easy and quick to apply. 

The range is vast, with a lot of different styles that would suit any occasion. I tend to keep my false eyelashes looking as natural as possible. Think 'my eyelashes but better'. Let's Go Lashes do offer some less dramatic eyelashes, which are ideal for day to night events like Christmas Eve/Day/Boxing Day. 

Personally for the Flirt 3 were slightly too long for me, I found that they would tickle just below my eyebrow. This is completely personal preference though, as my friend loves having longer lashes and would have absolutely loved these! 

Regarding the ease of putting them on, I didn't find them as easy as applying individual false eyelashes but compared to other strip lashes I've tried they weren't too bad. As with all false eyelashes they are always a little bit fiddly but nothing a pair of tweezers couldn't sort out! These were also incredibly light, you can barely feel them. Gone have the days when it feels like you have butterflies hanging on to the end of your weighed down eyelashes!

What kind of style eyelashes do you like wearing?

Feel free to leave a comment :)

Helen x  

Friday, 21 November 2014

PREGNANCY: My Top 5 Tips for the First Trimester

Being pregnant isn't as easy, as I naively thought it would be, yet it's the most incredible time as well. I have relied heavily on a small range of tips and tricks that I've learnt along the way that I wanted to share with you. If only I had known about these earlier I would have probably had a slightly easier first trimester. 
first trimester ::: fruit of the womb, document pregnancy, bump, pregnant, week
(Photo Credit)

Tip #1
Once your sensitivity to smells increases, it will hit you like you wouldn't imagine! There's no questioning, 'Oh I wonder if I've got an increased sensitivity to smells?', you know, trust me. I couldn't stomach a lot of smells: fresh washing, Tom's aftershave, any food cooking, LUSH bath bombs, my own perfume etc. It was pretty hard to avoid these but I would try my very hardest! I found that wearing a light scarf that had a smell on it I could handle (a berry smell was ok for me) was a sickness saver. As soon as I could smell something I didn't like I'd smell the scarf and wouldn't end up gagging. A slightly extreme move but honestly, when I say smells will repulse you, I mean repulse and you'll do anything to get away from it. 

Tip #2 
Sitting up in bed before getting out of bed. Simple, easy to do and it would help my tummy settle before getting up for the day. I found getting up straight away at 6am would leave me feeling light headed, sick and generally not very well. For the last 2 months I've been sitting up when my alarm goes off and then getting up 10 minutes later when the snooze goes off again. I couldn't stomach eating anything at that time, so it really helped to settle my nausea and definitely worth a try if your suffering from morning sickness. 

Tip #3 
Having food with you at all times. I take a 'picnic' of cold toast, apples, bananas and crackers out everywhere I go. Even if you think your only going to be half an hour it's really worth taking food with you. For me, if I don't eat every 2ish hours then I feel so incredibly sick, eating does help to make the nausea more manageable. Sometimes I couldn't be bothered to make toast and bring it out with me but boy did I regret it an hour later when I was feeling so so sick. 

Tip #4 
Sleep with a pillow in between your legs. Very early on into my pregnancy I struggled with lower back pain, which made sleeping difficult. I found that sleeping with a normal (I say normal because it wasn't a pregnancy one) pillow in between my legs and using it to rest my tummy on really helped. It took some getting used to but it was personally certainly worth it. I do plan to get a pregnancy pillow, which offers even more support, at some point soon as my bump is getting bigger by the day!

Tip #5
At times during the first trimester I found it extremely hard to be positive, as I was feeling so sick and knew that I had at least a month and a half still left feeling like that. If only I had known how incredible the first scan would be, I would have found it so much easier. As this is our first pregnancy, it's very much the unknown, so we didn't know what to expect at the scan. We were of course mostly concerned about finding out if our baby was doing ok, which they were. It was just so special, amazing and magical seeing our baby for the first time. They were dancing around, it's just so incredible to think that they are only about 6cm but already look like a little baby! So if your struggling with your emotions during the first trimester, then I'd try to focus on the first scan because I found that it changed my outlook on my pregnancy. 

What helped you through your first trimester?

Feel free to leave a comment :) 

Helen x

Thursday, 20 November 2014

MATERNITY OUTFIT: Autumn Stripes (plus my bump at 13 weeks)

Since being pregnant and looking for maternity wear I've realised just how hard it is to find flattering, stylish outfits. Asos have a good maternity range but I didn't have a massive bump at 13 weeks. I was in that awkward stage where my normal clothes are too tight but maternity clothes are generally far too big. So I've settled on 'normal' clothes that have a bit of stretch in them.

Deer Scarf - Gift
Stripy Long Sleeved Top - Primark - £4
Tights - Primark - £3.50
Shoes - New Look - £8 in the sale
(Bump at 13 weeks)

Feel free to leave me a comment :)

Helen x