Monday, 16 December 2013

Skin Saviours: The Acne Edit



Recently, I have had serious issues with my skin. You all know I am on the slightly oiler side and prone to breakouts but now I keep developing really painful lumps under the skin across my jaw and chin. It was definitely time to call an SOS and have on overhaul on my skincare routine...again. In fact this has been the perfect time to revisit old favourites and shop through my stash and discover just how good they are.

This team of 4 have most definitely been keeping any disasters at bay. Call them the A Team of skincare!

The CleanserLiz Earle Cleanse & Polish a cult classic, which has made an appearance in my skincare kit on more than several occasions has been a creamy, delicious dream heaven for my stressed out skin. Still such a simple but genius concept, packed full of natural ingredients like cocoa butter and eucalyptus provide and nourishing and cleansing effect on the skin. The beauty of this HG product is that it works. I have strayed from this and the past but whenever I go back to it, it works beautifully. Simply slater on to dry skin, wet a muslin cloth to remove. Simples. It provides a hydrating punch for harsh winter weather but is completely balancing and cleansing for even the oilier of folk. Not to mention it smells DIVINE. (Psst, now also available in larger Boots stores for us to collect even more advantage points, yessss)

The Serum- I love a treatment/serum before moisturiser. I just feel like it kinda holds my face together. If you suffer from scarring or redness you need to be looking at something with repairing and soothing properties. Which is where I discovered HealGel Intensive. This was designed by cosmetic surgeons intended to be used after surgery for scarring etc. It promises to ease any scars, stretch marks, acne, eczema...you get the drift. Now this hasn't been a miracle worker like I thought it would be, however it definitely soothes redness and has shortened the life of my spots and the scars that go with them. HealGel has also helped fade the oldest of scars on my face too. I'm hoping with a little more use I'll see even better results.

The MoisturiserLa Roche Posay Effaclar Duo another bandwagon we all jumped on in the Blogosphere. When I originally bought this, it really did not agree with me. It made me breakout and I admitted defeat and left it sat unused and sad on my bathroom shelf. I only recently reached for this out of sheer deperation and I'm bloomin' glad I did. It shrinks my pores, reduces shine and keeps my make up looking fresh for the most part of the working day. I've been applying this AM and PM and this has really helped any spots rearing their ugly heads, pardon the pun. Some people use this as a treatment but I find it works beautifully as a moisturiser too and good base for foundation. In addition, it's on offer in Boots at the moment, GO GET 'EM.

The Mask- A facial mask is essential to get my skin through the week. I tend to chop and change masks depending what my skin is in need for but another rediscovery has left me baffled as to why I never used this in the first place. Clinique Anti-Blemish Solutions Oil Control Cleansing Mask (and breathe) is a clay based mask which we all know is brilliant for a deep pore cleanse. Now this is medicated and you only need to leave this for 5 minutes which means it is ideal before you need to go out. This is another gem that has been left unloved in my bathroom. I'd been poking and prodding my poor skin, leaving it red and sore and decided to slap this on before I had to leave the house. After 5 little minutes and Chris getting awoken to a scary white faced woman my skin had cleared of any redness and felt so soft...and not sore! Kudos to Clinique, this will definitely be a repurchase.

So now, I'm less spotty, sore and red. Maybe those Mince Pies aren't doing a great deal for a glowing complexion. There's always 2014, right?
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Thursday, 10 October 2013

A USA Beauty Haul


If it is one place beauty dreams are made of it's the US of A. The choice is extensive and let's face it, a hell of a lot cheaper than good ol' Blighty. I was lucky enough to jet off for a little VaCa in Florida last week and in between sprinting around Universal Studios away from zombies (see Instagram) and eating my bodyweight in Peanut Butter Cheesecake, I got to spend a few $$$.

Now, whilst I didn't go as crazy as wanted as I do need to eat still, I picked up a few gems on my travels. Quality verses quantity, right? So whip out your notepads and scribble down these must have imports from 'murrrica.

Origins Make A Difference Plus + Rejuvenating Treatment- After this making an appearence on my dashboard numerous times I spotted this in a Cosmetic Company Store, I had to grab it. It is aimed for oily/combo skins (that's moi) and injects hydration deep into the skin via gel form. It's a clever little product and I am holding off to write a full review to tell you just how good this is. In a nutshell, slather this on AM/PM and watch that skin glow. 

Origins Never A Dull Moment Cleanser- If I told you I didn't buy this purely on the name, I'd be lying. I was running low on my current cleanser and at $17.00 in CCS why wouldn't I buy it? It's claims are to melt away make up, unclog pores and brighten skin using fruit extracts. It's doesn't strip the skin, foams up nicely but as for results the jury is still out on this one, it's early days. Maybe my love is made for oil cleansers instead?

Ojon Rare Blend Oil- As a chemically treated blonde lady, I am a sucker for an intensive treatment. I've always wanted this but found it hard to justify spending that much money on a hair product. Am I the worst Beauty Blogger ever? Anyway, I tripped and fell and ended up with it in my possession. It looks and smells like a cocktail and does boast of it's hair restoring properties. It aims to tame frizz, protect from heat, boots moisture and repair. I do like this product, however I really haven't got the whole applying of it down yet. I'm a little cack handed and have been applying too much, I can't feel it in my hair but I can see it, weird. So if anyone has a trick to popping this on, help a sister out.

Mac x RiRi Liptick in Who's That Chick- This collection has been on my mind since working for MAC. I already have RiRi Woo and desperately wanted Talk That Talk lipstick to no avail. This really was one of those "it has Rihanna on, I need to buy it" sort of situations in the middle of Duty Free. But, as not many impulse buys turn out, this is bloomin' wonderful. A beautiful, burnt orange with a gold frost running through, blue eyes ladies, you NEED this. Buff it out with fingers and add a soft gloss for an extreme pout.

NARS Creamy Concealer in Custard- I finally discovered a Sephora in Mall at Millennia and quite frankly, it was a euphoric experience. Make Up Mavens everywhere, go to one in your lifetime, it will not disappoint. After I finally regulated my breathing, I grabbed this sought after product. Luckily, this Sephora had just opened and had plenty in stock. This concealer is the holy grail. Amazing coverage, no caking and luminous without your mascara sliding against it. The hype is real, this stuff is magic.

Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer- If it's good enough for Vivianna Does Makeup it's good enough for VLB. This stuff is seriously luxe, $52 worth of luxe. I played it safe a bought the teeny 10ml travel size at $18 and I am wowed. Containing a broad spectrum SPF 15, it's water-resistant and smoothes the skin out perfectly. This held up in the Floridian humidity and shrunk those crater size pores on my cheeks. I want to use this every day, but it's sacred and is being kept for weekends/special occasions. I may have to claim insanity and buy the eye watering full size version.

Real Techniques Powder Brush- This is avaliable all over the UK but I had to buy it anyway. I'm loving this brand of brushes and needed to add to my collection. This brush is huge, but picks up the perfect amount of product. This brush is ideal for bronzer, absolutely no streaks and definitely no caked patches.

Arm & Hammer Advanced Whitening/Extreme Whitening Toothpaste- So not the most glamorous of buys but this toothpaste kicks ass. Arm & Hammer is the best brand when it comes to toothpaste in my opinion and this tube of goodness is not exception. Ok, so it contains peroxide, I don't know how good that is for your teeth but if it was going to kill you, we would've heard by now. Peroxide and Baking Soda are known for brightening and whitening teeth effectively and after a couple of uses my teeth and noticeably whiter and stains are reduced. I wouldn't recommend substituting a trip to your dentist for it but if it is going to give me that Ross-from-Friends smile, I'll give it a go. Not quite, but you get my drift...


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Friday, 20 September 2013

John Frieda Sheer Blonde



I love being a blonde, I do. I am a born natural blonde but definitely a chemical blonde at the moment and it is bloomin' hard work. I get bored so easily which leads me to start messing with shades when not under close watch of my amazing colourist. I haven't been able to see her recently which has lead me to try a golden, natural blonde. It's just not working for me though. It has faded to a dull, gingery colour that just looks so strange and a far cry from my gorgeous, multi-tone highlights I much adored. 

However, I may have a little saviour in my hands. John Frieda Sheer Blonde; Highlighting Activating Shampoo and Conditioner* is a smart little duo that brings out all of those highlights that get buried in our manes over a period of time. I have used this in the past and I always go back to John Frieda products as they just really agree with my hair. And Mama VLB has used JF from the dawn of time so it MUST be good. 

After using this for about a fortnight straight without straying, my hair is certainly stronger and that little bit blonder and shinier than before. The reason why I really like this so much is that my hair doesn't feel weighted down and actually lasts an extra day before I need to wash my hair again. If you're a blonde then you understand how much maintenance and care goes into your hair as it's prone to damage and this just really nourishes it and gives that little bit of sumthin' sumthin' back into those locks. I was actually drawn to the Blonde Hair Repair Mask and you know what? Pretty darn good too, makes my hair feel super soft yet again, not heavy. I've noticed a difference in those rough ends and it is light enough to use daily if your hair is in deperado need. Now I completely forgot to take a snap of it but you can find that here so you know what you're looking for.

If you're a blondie, then give it a try. I've also spotted they do other products in the Sheer Blonde range for every concern. I recently bought the Go Lighter Shampoo & Conditioner and interested to see whether it meets it's claims or not over the next few weeks. Blondes have more fun so I've heard...


*PR Sample



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Monday, 16 September 2013

Amsterdam



On the 23rd August, I was lucky enough to jet off to my favourite city in the world, Amsterdam. Me and Chris decided to celebrate my 20th birthday in this gorgeous place. Amsterdam is just a beautiful place and there is literally something for everyone. Now I didn't plan on blogging about my trip so my pictures are few and far between. Nevertheless, I'll show you the highlights.

We arrived the Friday evening and stayed in the CitizenM Hotel Amsterdam City. Located just 20 minutes away via tram from the centre. The hotel itself was amazing, ultra modern but perfect for a short trip. I would really recommend this to couples as it's just a complete unique experience to other hotels. The shower and toilet are situated in glass tubes in the room with changeable mood lighting (now you see why I say for couples...), and the bed was wall to wall. So comfy.

We got up early and I was craving one thing only, crepes. We weaved in and out of the cobbled streets and jumped into the first place that we could find. Suitable enough, the place was called Crepes en Waffles. We both opted for the "Old Dutch" Crepes. Apples oozing with sugar and cheesecake sauce along with crunchy waffle pieces and whipped cream. Sadly, I inhaled this so fast, a picture didn't even get a look in. But trust me, it was delicious.




After walking around and taking in the some of the sights, me and Chris needed coffee. It is a scientific fact that European coffee is the nicest. This cafe delivered on that fact. Quartier Putain is actually hidden on The Red Light District, it was extremely cheap and a gorgeous place to people watch. We sat here for quite some time people watching and Instagramming away. There is a definite theme to this trip, food and drink. Can you blame us? I think not.

When it comes to shopping in Amsterdam it does offer a pretty mainstream offering for the most part. All the brands you would expect to see on the high street but with some really nice unique shops thrown in for good measure. My favourite store however was located on Dam Square. A large department store/mall filled to the brim of every designer brand you can imagine. I spent my time lurking and lusting over Hermes bags and Louis Vuitton shoes which Chris politely reminded me to put them down and walk away. It is worth a look regardless of what you have in your pocket, one day we can dream.

After many pitstops for more coffee and blackcurrant Fanta we headed back to the hotel to get ready for my birthday meal. Chris had researched the best places to eat before we left for Amsterdam. He had booked a reservation for a place called, Castell. Castell is a BBQ restaurant located around the Mueseum District of Lijnbaansgracht. After rushing in from the rain we were sat down on a leather sofa around an open fire. The place had a informal atmosphere around it, everyone sat next to each other and there isn't a table in sight. Instead, you're served your dinner on a thick slab of wood on your lap which could be a little challenging at times but a brilliant experience. We opted for Indonesian Style Kebab for starter which was beautifully cooked beef in a rich Indonesian sauce. I think I groaned the most of the way through it but it was just a teaser for what was to come next.





I opted for the Lady Filet Steak cooked rare which came with the creamiest baked potato that has passed my mouth with lashing of garlic sauce on top. I cleared my slab of wood without a second thought, the meat was cooked to perfection and melted in your mouth. Whereas Chris chose the rack of ribs. The ribs that came were huge and he was determined to eat every last drop, with a little help from myself of course. Chris didn't even need to use a knife, the meat fell away with ease and was packed with the smokey flavour from the barbecue. With food babies we jumped into a cab and headed for somewhere rather secret.


Door 74. That's as much as I can tell you. An exclusive, secret cocktail bar that you will never find unless given specific instructions on how to find it. You have to try to make the reservation on the day and if you're lucky enough to get in, only then will they give you the address and instructions on how to get in via text. We were greeted by a suited gentleman and shown to our booth. They spend time chatting to you and recommending the drinks suited for your tastes. I opted for a One Eyed Snake, an Advocaat concoction complete with gummy worm and Chris went something more rocket fuel based. The bar itself was gorgeous and cosy and something everyone should experience. After getting a little too merry and racking up an eye popping bill we decided to head home for the night.




We also found the nicest spot to have lunch right on the main street. We wolfed down the biggest paninis and the biggest side of fries I could stomach. Amsterdam comes up trumps in the food department. You will always find somewhere great to eat no matter what you're craving. I seemed to crave everything in sight. On the Sunday night we headed back into the Mueseum district and indulged in what seemed another small cow. With no lack of Argentinian Steak houses, it is perfect to find a steak to sink your teeth into. 






So coming back carrying some extra baggage I was sad to say goodbye to the Dam but I'll be back soon. Where else am I going to find waffles that good?
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Tuesday, 3 September 2013

STYLIGHT



Today's post is slightly different to my usual ramblings. I've been dipping my toes into the fashion blogging world and I feel I need to share this with you all...

Meet STYLIGHT. This website is Street Style HEAVEN. I consider myself a bit of a fashion noob, I have a basic sense of style but find it hard to find inspirations amongst the ever changing trends. Social media is for me, the greatest source of inspo when it comes to all things fashion and Stylight is a brilliant site to get your daily fix.

Stylight is completely user friendly, which is a big sell for me. you are able to view and like different looks and there is something for everybody. Their site also comes complete with a "shop", so if you spy someone sporting that that dream piece then you may be able to snap it up there. Stylight have their own app too, which I was pleasantly surprised about. Again, really easily used and perfect if you're on the go like me. I'm a sucker for good app.

Best thing is, anyone can sign up and join the community. Sign up if you want inspiration or just fancy being the inspiration! Bloggers, they also offer their own platform specifically for you guys too which is a brilliant way to network and to get your work out there for others to see. I've been lucky enough to work and collaborate with such an accessible site and can't wait to hear your thoughts on it too.

For fan's and fiends on Pinterest, Tumblr and Instagram, you need to give this a look.

Visit STYLIGHT here
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Saturday, 13 July 2013

Bedtime Luxe



I love bedtimes. I am a 90 year old in a 20 year old's body. I look forward to my bedtime ritual and these little pots of luxury help me get settled into my jimjam's in a flash. I believe bedtime should be a ritual so we can wind down, otherwise, I'm just not happy.

After quite literally melting off my make up with cleanser my skin needs a little TLC. I've been using Indeed Labs Pepta Bright before moisturising. The purpose of Pepta Bright is to diminish any darker pigmentation and age spots, creating a more luminous, flawless complexion. I've been using this for a while and it does make a huge difference to acne scarring-old and new. It is also quite moisturising so could be quite nice on it's own for very oily girlies. I do like adding an extra layer of moisture just for good measure. Clarins Lotus Face Treatment Oil (for oily/combo skins) is a dream. This oil sinks into the skin, isn't heavy and doesn't cause breakouts. Wake up in the AM, super growly, clearer skin. Winner winner chicken dinner.

And lastly, the creme de la creme of body cremes. Laura Mercier Almond Coconut Milk souffle body creme. Mouthful. This is just divine, delightful, happiness in a jar. This should come with a warning, because once you slather this on, you're pretty much irresistible. The fragrance lasts brilliantly and smells like holiday. Now all you need is fresh sheets and a good duvet TOG. Sleep tight!
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Sunday, 23 June 2013

Chorizo and Chilli Pasta and Homemade Garlic Bread



There's nothing much more comforting than a big, hot bowl of pasta along side some warm crusty bread. Pasta is a brilliant dish any day of the week and so simple to make. This recipe was given to me by my mum. We used to make a veggie version years ago but she's stumbled across something even more delicious.  This is perfect to rustle up any time of the week. I made it last night in attempt to show the boy I do acquire some culinary skills. It worked. 

Ingredients 
Serves 2-3

Pasta
1 Chorizo Sausage Link (Hungarian is the nicest but Spanish is fine)
1 Red Bell Pepper
5-6 Button Mushroom
1/2 Courgette
1 Onion
1 Garlic Clove
1 Jar of Lloyd Grossman Tomato and Chilli Sauce
Pasta (Usually1 cup per serving)

Homemade Garlic Butter
Butter (as much as you need)
1 Large Garlic Clove


Slice and then half Chorizo and begin to fry in a small amount of oil on MEDIUM heat. There will be a lot of orange coloured oil, so go easy on cooking oil. Once your chorizo has soften add diced pepper, mushroom, courgette and onion into the pan along with crushed garlic. Keep on medium heat and once browned, add the sauce.


Now, leave to simmer on medium/low heat for 20 minutes. Time to get cracking on that Garlic Butter.
You'll need as much butter as you want and and a crushed garlic clove. Mix together in a bowl and decant into a ramekin. Pop into the refrigarator so the flavour infuse. 

10 minutes before your sauce is ready, cook your pasta. Pan full of boiling water and a pinch of salt. Cook longer for softer pasta if you're not keen on Al Dente. At this point you should warm up your baguette in the oven so the butter melts beautifully into the bread. Once your pasta is to your liking, strain and mix in to the pasta sauce and serve on warmed plates. Take out your bread and slice into big chunky slabs. Slather as much butter you can handle and dip, mmmmm.
C even got up for second, and thirds...maybe even fourths.







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Monday, 17 June 2013

Xen-tan Moroccan Tan



Ashamed to say but i cannot rock the "English Rose" chic. I burn in the sun and struggle to build those golden hues on my pasty, milk bottle skin. This is where my love of bottles of that brown stuff come in to play. You name it, I've tried it. From the St Tropez to the St Moriz I've slathered the stuff on and caked my white sheets in the process.

After hearing only amazing things about Xen Tan Absolute Dark Luxe I rushed out and bought it only to be left deflated and really not that dark and about £30 lighter. It was hard to work in, had a suspicious green tinge and patched on me and that is just not a look. However, I walked into Space NK with a gift card burning a hole in my pocket and this little gem ended up in my hands.

This is the ever-hyped Xen Tan Moroccan Tan. With promises to provide me with a deep, moisturising, sweet smelling tan I slapped this on as soon as I got home. It did what it said on the tin. It glided on like a dream, smelling beautiful and looking even. This stuff is bloomin' dark, like really dark. You can probably get away with whacking it on and leaving it for a night out for an uber, sexy glow. Or if you want to tone it down for the office, develop over night and shower off in the morning. This tan wears really well, it fades evenly and I have to apply it only once or twice a week. Moroccan Tan is pretty liquidy so a little covers a lot. It also dries quickly so cold, naked dances round the bedroom are no longer required.

Moroccan tan is reasonably priced at £25 and it is worth every penny. Just stay away from those white sheets...

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Saturday, 6 April 2013

Clarins Extra-Comfort Cleansing Cream



Uh-oh. ANOTHER cleanser I'm about to rave about. Alas, this is bloomin' good stuff. I've fallen out of love with my Clarisonic and stopped using it, my skin then began to clear up but became slightly drier. I then saw this little beauty on Caroline Hirons' blog and if she says something is good then you go out and buy it. BIBLE.

Clarins Extra Comfort Cleansing Cream is aimed for drier/sensitive skins but is absolutely fine for oilier skinned ladies. It is a gorgeous creamy consistency as apposed to a thicker balm like Emma Hardie and Eve Lom. Best part? THE PRICE. The 200ml tub which is HUGE is only £25 (Eve Lom around £40 for 50ml... say no more). This product is packed full of plant extracts including Bio-Ecolia which is a lovely, natural skin balancing complex. I apply this AM and PM, you can follow the Clarins Cleansing Method which is included but I literally slap it on dry skin, work it into every nook and cranny then wash off with a flannel. At night I use it twice, once to remove all my slap the next to fully cleanse my skin.

It removes all my make up with ease and calms my skin down beautifully. I've also noticed a balance in how much oil my skin produces, it has been significantly reduced. I do still get the odd little blocked pore and spot but such a huge improvement, even the boy noticed so it must be good. I really think Clarins is going to be making more of an appearance into my daily routines and I'm excited to find other little gems from this great brand.

The Verdict? Brilliant cleanser for most skins types which need a little "pick me up". It's a no nonsense product with great value for money. You really don't need to bankrupt yourself when you have products like this available. Who doesn't want comfortable, glowing skin after all?
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Sunday, 31 March 2013

Anxiety and Me



Today, I'm not posting about expensive bronzers and foundations. Instead I'm posting something quite personal, a topic I feel passionately about. Anxiety.  I don't think there's enough awareness about this condition and as its affected me I wanted to write a personal account on how I deal with it as there are so many people who suffer with anxiety. You are not alone.

Since being a little girl I have always been a worrier. I come from a family of worriers. I used to panic about getting dirty, getting lost, being late etc. it's just who I am and I accepted that. However, in the past 2 years it became a lot more apparent and started to hinder my life. In late 2011 I had an extremely stressful and traumatic week. It may seem trivial now but at the time it was horrific.  I went through my first proper break up, which made me feel like my world was ending ( naive 18 year old me). One of my old, good friends lost his battle with cancer and I begun working at MAC. This all happened in a space of a week or so. Typically, I was left alone for that week whilst my family holidayed and I was struck down by an horrendous flu.

I was coping okay until one particular night. I locked up the house and set myself up for bed. I was exhausted yet every time I started to fall asleep this wave of panic set over me. I can only describe it as being not being able to breathe woot thinking. My heart raced, my mind raced, everything was going at 100mph. I tried settling myself down by turning on the tv, by sitting up right yet nothing could stop this force. It neared on 3am when I decided to call NHS direct as I couldn't fathom what was happening. I was simply told to go to my doctors the next day. After such a traumatic night, I got in my car and sped off to see my GP. Teary eyed with shaking hands I pleaded my doctor to help me. Without much explanation of what was going on I was prescribed beta blockers to slow my heart rate down.

I felt a little at ease that I had something to help me at the time. The medication did work momentarily but I found myself back at square one. I found I couldn't move with everything in my body in agony, I would cry uncontrollably. I couldn't deal with things I used to enjoy. It used to spoil my nights out with my friends, cloud over me at work, stop me from sleeping and my weight plummeted. I was enveloped in just a big black bubble, I felt like my life was ending and my body was giving up. It seems dramatic but that's exactly how it felt.

I decided to take a break for a week to go visit my mum in Northern Ireland. I felt fine, I was safe and happy. Until one night I took a turn for the worst. I started having a really sharp pain in my chest. I began to freak out. My left arm started tingling followed by the rest of my body. My eyes started rolling and I started being sick. My parents called an ambulance and they were round in a matter of minutes. They checked me out and everything was fine, my heart and lungs showed to be completely normal. I simply had bad reflux and due to my nature, it threw me into a serious panic attack.

I later returned to my GP and was referred to a therapist which I was then diagnosed with severe anxiety and low mood. I begun Cognitive Behavioural therapy where I was sent out workbooks in order to help me understand and control my anxiety. It worked wonders. It taught me nothing is as bad as it seems and that anxiety/palpitations weren't going to kill me. I started to get Shannon back. My family and friends showed me amazing support and I got through it.

I was discharged from CBT and my medication. I felt normal and happy again. I do still live with anxiety, but it doesn't control my life anymore, I control it. Later on, I met my now boyfriend Chris. I was a little afraid to tell him about my condition in case he'd laugh or not believe me. He completely accepted it and has witnessed me having milder attacks. Chris knows exactly how to calm me down and help me breathe through it. Over time, that big black bubble disappeared. He is one of my main support networks and he has definitely helped me battle the bitch that is anxiety.

I want everyone to understand that it is not a condition that can simply be shrugged off. It consumes people's lives and if you are a sufferer, YOU'RE NOT ALONE. You can get through it, it isn't going to kill you. Speak to your GP, your friends and family, you're gonna be ok kid. If you know someone who suffers from anxiety, support them, listen to them as that is the biggest cure of all. I hope everyone can appreciate this and be more open about mental health issues in the future. It's nothing to be ashamed of and it's so common. Thank you guys for reading and if you want any advice please feel free to send me an email.

Shannon x
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Monday, 25 March 2013

The "Shannon" face


From time to time we all get stuck in that "rut", whether it be clothes or what's for dinner. For me, it's usually my make up. As a make up artist you would think this wouldn't be an issue for me, it really is. I know what I like and what I don't so I tend to don the same sorta thing. The girlies at work protest I suit a lot on my eyes or suit a bold lip, which I get but for me it's all about being simplistic. I love the fresh, barely there look. I'm completely set in my ways and I'm happy with it.

If, like me, you want a fuss-free face, you need these products in your life. I will be posting about my new, simple skincare routine at a later date but this has most definitely helped my skin ten fold. On a bad skin day I would reach for Laura Mercier Silk Creme foundation (obviously) but I've totally ran out so I've discovered mixing their Oil Free Tinted Moisturiser with Chantecaille Just Skin gives a beautiful glowy finish to the skin. This doesn't offer a huge amount of coverage so I would usually use a little concealer where needed. Yet, I do get that "want to keep looking at my skin" feeling, winner. I use my now staple bronzer Soleil Tan De Chanel to give me those cheekbones I was sadly born without. Can't have it all can we? Full review on that little gem here.

When it comes to eyes I am a fussy bugger. Lips, I can go crazy with when I fancy, eyes... just no. Big, dark eyes do not bode well on me so I like to keep them pretty neutral when I can. Super lazy arse/chocolate in hand days are made for MAC Coffee pencil liner in the UPPER waterline. Kinda crazy, but the gorgeous Katie at work told me this little secret. Completely thickens my lashline for doll like eyes. It may make your eyes water a little at first but give it a go. Coffee pencil is such a beautiful colour as I find black can be too harsh so this is a fab alternative. Deep brown...coffee colour funnily enough. I then follow with LASHINGS of mascara. If I'm feeling a little wild, I go for soft brown, mustardy colours on my eyes really blended along the crease. Or just the usual eyeliner flick.

Eyebrows, kept it super simple with the incredible Tom Ford Brow Sculptor in Taupe. Super easy to use, beautiful finish and I've just discovered it has a sharpener inside?! WOW. I create a line across the bottom of the brow for shape the brush up to fill in any gaps. Perfect for a structure, natural power brow. When it does come to lips I reach for pink/peaches/nude lippies and glosses usually from the MAC variety as I cannot fault the colour pay off. But since Spring has certainly not sprung yet I have been using more balms. Clarins Natural Light Lip Perfecter in 02 needs no introduction, it is great for a hint of colour and a heck load of hydration.

The finishing touch? Red nail polish, a classic.


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Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Soleil Tan De Chanel



Oh la la, there's a French revolution going on in my make up bag right now and I am feeling très chic. This is my first dabble into Chanel cosmetics and I love it. After receiving an email that I had amounted quite a lot on my Debenhams card I decided this product needed to be in my life, Soleil Tan De Chanel.

I love a bronzer, my favourites being NARS Laguna Bronzer and MAC Give Me Sun. With being relatively pale I struggle to find a bronzer that gives the right golden, olive tone and not a muddy pink-ish tone. I've picked this up at the Chanel counter and swatched it on my hands a few times in attempt to convince myself I don't need it but obviously, I did NEED it. It's a cult buy which meant I was either gonna love it or hate it.  What separates this from other bronzers I own is that it's a cream which I was slightly wary of but I think this is what make it THE HOLY GRAIL of bronzers, I kid you not.

I use a MAC #109 Contour Brush, swirl it around and apply like any other bronzer. It is completely buildable and such a beautiful, natural shade. It offers a really good coverage too, which is fantastic for me as my other bronzers tend to stick to my imperfections and a patchy face is never hot. Soleil Tan De Chanel is a semi matte, natural finish and gives you that glow that we all want during this chilly weather. Who needs to know we haven't been holidaying in Cannes? I won't tell if you don't.

Au Revoir x


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Tuesday, 26 February 2013

The Edit: The Skin




It was just over a week ago that I was rambling away about my Sunday make up choices. This isn't dissimilar however, I think I may have cracked this über dewy skin malarkey. After having a little "Shopping my stash" session I found myself mixing and applying all sorts of goodies in hope I'd find the trick to flawless, fresh skin. I may be controversial when I say this but I have not being getting along with Chantecaille Just Skin at all, purely down to wrong shade and my troublesome skin. I decided to mix it in with my Laura Mercier Silk Creme Foundation and wow. It added the glowiness (?) Laura lacks but the kick ass coverage Chantecaille doesn't give. The shades combined also compliment me really well. It fooled me into thinking I had Rosie Huntington Whiteley skin, yes, that good.

After feeling smug with myself I whacked on the good ol' NARS Laguna Bronzer, if you haven't got this right now have a word with yourself please because it is a STAPLE. Contour or bronzing our pale little British faces up? This bad boy does it all. If you are blessed with exotic skin or you actually contain melanin unlike me then this gives a beautiful warmth anyway. I have been using NARS Multiple in Maldives religiously and yes, it's super pretty and golden but I had forgotten a certain gem in my stash. NARS Multiple in Orgasm, or Multiple Orgasm if you want to be naughty. I'm not a huge fan of the cult blusher Orgasm, I find it too pink and I prefer Deep Throat any day (I know you're giggling). But the multiple looks pretty sensational, it gives me colour and fresh sheen onto my cheekbones. With this, I ditch powder blush and embrace the glow. It is usually said this shade with Laguna Bronzer are the perfect partners, I agree.

The round everything up. Lashings of mascara  my favourite combo being MAC In Extreme Dimension followed by MAC Extended Play Lash. Pop's those peepers right up. And a slathering of gloss my boyfriend  aims to avoid. It may not be summer yet and I most definitely haven't packed away those snoods but with beach-ready skin like that, who needs to know? I won't tell if you don't.
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Sunday, 17 February 2013

The Sunday Complexion





Sunday's for me, usually mean working. Not lying in bed till stupid o'clock and watching Sunday Brunch. So, when the luxury of having a Sunday off arises, the last thing on my mind is an elaborate make up routine. I want to be able to have a dewy, fresh complexion with minimum hassle required. This isn't what I would call a "capsule" face but the products I do use are easily slapped on as bleary eyed as you like. I obviously pump my skin full of skincare (more on my routine here). Then massage in the NARS Pro Prime into my skin until it feels soft as cashmere. I then take a dollop of the Chantecaille Just Skin Tinted Moisturiser in Glow, I do like this now as we kinda got off on the wrong foot. The colour is a little too dark for my taste but I can make it work. This offers a nice coverage and a heap load of radiance. Obviously, I need that extra bit of help and that's where concealer comes in. My beloved By Terry Touche Veloutee hides those bad ass dark circles, where MAC Pro Longwear Concealer covers those pesky blemishes and smooths out any extra bits on my skin.

When it comes to the rest of my face, it's simple. Contour and highlight. I use the Kevyn Aucoin Sculpting powder in Medium and a dab of the NARS Multiple in Maldives around the top of my cheekbones. I really like the Multiple in the shade Maldives, it's a super pretty pale peachy, goldy, pinky glow. 10 points for my description. It's absolutely brilliant for blue eyes and gives that sun kissed look. Poiiifect. I do like to add a pretty blusher in to the mix, at the moment I am loving MAC Blush in Easy Manner which was available last Christmas.

Then the lips. My favourite part. I have stumbled on the most perfect lip combination this morning. After applying my all time fave lippy, MAC A Perfect Day, which sadly was limited edition, I then slapped on MAC Pink Lemonade Lipglass. Holy cow. Why have I not tried this before? It created the most beautiful soft nude with just that hint of coral. Again, fabulous for those blue eyed gals. You can most definitely recreate this with any nude lipstick but if anyone knows a dupe for this lipstick, let me know! There you have it, lashings of mascara and I'm ready for a day of eating and slouching around.

If any, what are you Sunday Complexion staples? Leave a comment below, would love to hear.



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Friday, 15 February 2013

NARS S/S'13 Collection Event







Whilst most of you are pottering around Somerset House amongst clear skinned, leggy, willowing models during LFW, I've been having my own little peak into something bang on trend. I was lucky enough to grab a space for the NARS S/S13 Event at my local Space NK. I have loved NARS for years and when I spied the new palettes, I was head over my little Urban Outfitter heels. Not only are the palettes to die for but the insanely ridiculous brights are gorgeous too. However, the biggest launch is their new Light Reflecting Powder, perfect for those I-don't-want-powder-on-gals. Me then.

I arrived at 10am and was greeted by the NARS National MUA, Becky. She sat me down straight away and asked what look I wanted. I felt in safe hands straight away which is unusual as I always have a slight fear when put out of my comfort zone. (My ladies at work ARE my comfort zone). I opted for my usual mega dewy skin and a soft, sexy smokey eye. Safe bet, I know. She prepped my skin with what I can only describe as the most magnificent primer I have ever felt in my life. No joke. NARS Oil Free Pro-Prime is a pore refining primer. I could not believe how it felt, Becky educated me that the more you work it in to the skin the better it feels. It contains a shed load of vitamins to protect the skin from free radical damage and calming properties. Completely silicone free, not only does it control oil with mineral powders but keeps the skin hydrated and feels like your skin but better. It smoothed out all my lumps and bumps and dry bits. Win.

Once my base was complete we got started on the eyes. I chose "And God Created The Woman" palette which is exclusive to Space NK for a limited time only. It has 6 best selling shades along with an eye primer and brush. The colours are perfect (Alhambra, Kalahari, Bellissima, Coconut Grove, Night Clubbing, Galapagos). These are just the most gorgeous combo or neutral shades, brilliant for day and night. My favourite part was blending the darker brown into the most beautiful kohl liner along my lash line, ah-maze. With a slick of gloss I was good to go, and looked pretty darn good too. There are no pictures of the finished product as shortly after I took the boy to the airport where he dashed to Amsterdam for the weekend, I cried. A lot. But he did say my eyelashes looked pretty?!

Becky gave me a lovely facechart at the end and popped in some cheeky samples. I was given the Gentle Oil-Free Eye make up Remover, which is a dream. Along with NARS Pure Radiant tinted Moisturiser and the Velvet Lip Gloss Pencil in New Lover, they are such a genius idea. A big thank you to NARS, Space NK and Becky for having me today. I would urge anyone to check the new collection out and grab up a palette whilst you can!

NARS And God Created Woman Palette £40.50
NARS The Happening Palette £45
NARS Pore Refining Primer £25

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Wednesday, 13 February 2013

What's In My Bag



Handbags are the way to my heart. Zara clearly knows the way to my heart.

I need a good bit of arm candy every now and again and this bag has actually made me fall in love a little. I'm a sucker for compartments and nice interior material, this baby has it all. I ain't gonna ramble, I do that in the video. Remember to watch in HD!


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Thursday, 7 February 2013

Erotic Brownies








First of all, apologies to anyone who is on a diet. Do not mistake these with diet bars, they're not. They mostly consist of sugar and saturated fat. The good stuff. I call them Erotic Brownies as they are quite erotic and a little bit dirty. Most definitely the most sinful thing you can do without taking your clothes off.

Me and my boyfriend stumbled upon making these a few weeks ago, they are divine. I've had a load of questions about the recipe so I thought I could stick everything into a post. These brownies do contain peanut butter so anyone with nut allergies...just don't go there. However, if you love Reese's peanut butter cups, make them now, your taste buds will thank me later.

With this recipe being American it is made using cup measurements, super easy.
ASDA tends to be the best place to get Reese's and Hershey's.

INGREDIENTS
1/2 Cup Butter/Margarine
2 Cups Sugar (2 Tablespoons for later)
2/3 Cup Hershey's Cocoa
3-4 Eggs (Beaten)
2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract
3/4 Flour (I used plain)
1/2 Teaspoon salt
1/4 Teaspoon Baking Powder
1 Bag of Reese's Minature Peanut Butter Cups; cut into halves
1/2 Cup of smooth Peanut Butter

DIRECTIONS

1. Heat oven Gas Mark 4, 180c, 350F. Grease a deep brownie pan.

2. Melt butter in a medium pan on a low heat. Add 2 cups of sugar and the cocoa. Then remove from heat and add eggs and vanilla extract. Stir flour, salt, baking powder; stir in chocolate mixture. Stir in 1 cup of Peanut Butter Cups, add more as desired. Pour mixture into pan.

3. Mix peanut butter with 2 tablespoons of sugar then dollop it into the mix. It can't be neat, just swirl it around in big chunks. Yum.

4. Bake for approx 30 mins, you don't want it to resemble a really firm texture. It needs to be gooey in the middle. Cool for a little, press in extra peanut butter cups on top. (which I forgot to do).

5. Done. Enjoy warmish with a beverage of your choice and some comfy pants.

If you want to enjoy these without piling on the pounds read The Londoner's Anti Diet .
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Bargain Beauty #1



You may have gathered by now that I am a bit of a fancy pants when it comes to beauty products. I love making an investment in skincare and make up, if you see my bank statements Space NK crop up repeatedly  However, I do love the excitement I get when snatching up a bargain. This isn't the most glamorous post or even the most glamorous products but these little beauties are fab for stashing in your bathroom.

I never thought I'd see the day I'd be featuring a deodorant on my blog. I can't even call this a budget buy as it was a fiver (eek). Sure Women Maximum Protection is the best deodorant I've used. It's a "TRIsolid" cream formula so not sticky at all. The only downside with this is serious white marks and as a MAC girl who is ALWAYS in black, white marks are just not acceptable. So careful application of clothes is required! The smell is quite strange too, not unpleasant just not rose smelling either. This aside, this well and truly stops any Sweaty Betty moments and those dodge sweat patches in grey tops. You know the ones. If you do suffer with extra moisture under neath those arms or work in a hot environment then invest in this. You can pick this up in Boots for about £5 and I have seen this on offer before too (extra bargain!).

My next Bargain Beauty is the Bourjois Magic Nail Polish remover, which is featured in my January Favourites here. I am forever chipping nails, changing nail colours and getting bored. I detest the whole nail polish removal in general, hate the smell and hate all the cotton pad bits that get caught on the nail! This is such a simple solution  pop the finger in for a second, twist and voila. You now have a polish free, nourished nail that smells pretty darn good too. You can purchase it here for £4.99 and it is currently on buy one get one half price, so grab it while you can.

I've been feeling pretty pale lately, almost translucent but I refuse to use tanning beds, I really don't want to look like a leather handbag when I'm older. I've tried a load of gradual tanners and found the same problems again and again. They're either too sticky, go patchy fast and go streaky. Dove Summer Glove for example made me stick to everything in sight. St Tropez, nice but not as dark as I had hoped. Then my mum recommended me this, Palmer's Cocoa Butter Natural Bronze. It's a small 5 British Pounds and it is brilliant. I slapped it on once before bed, did take a little while to dry but wasn't sticky. I woke up the next morning with a gorgeous golden glow, not a mahogany tone in sight. However, I have has a couple of spots on my chest and shoulders since using it but I am prone to this when I use tanning products. It could also be due to the fact it contains Mineral Oil (Naughty Palmers!). The boy also stated I do "smell" like fake tan, I don't think it's too bad though and the colour alone is worth it. If your man complains about the fake tan smell, tell him to book a holiday for you to Cannes!

I am a fiend for washing hair. I could easily wash my hair once every day. This really isn't good for the hair as it needs natural oil and your hair does eventually clean itself, kind of. So I have been trying to ween myself off washing my hair so much and using dry shampoo instead. I've used Batiste before but never really appreciated it as much as I do now. It does the job and it's dirt cheap starting from about £2.99. I didn't want anything fancy or la de dah, just something that smells good, refreshes my hair and soaks up any grease. This does just that. I spritzed it on my roots this morning and I've now got a cute, clean looking ponytail. Winner.

My purse can breathe easy for now, at least until my next Space NK trip. Have you got any Bargain Beauties?

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Thursday, 31 January 2013

Winter Skincare Routine





I love having a skincare routine, especially at night time. There is nothing better than scrubbing off that hard day and being left with a fresh, blank canvas. It's a ritual for me, my skincare routine is therapeutic and I don't feel right if I skip it which is RARE. My AM cleansing routine is practically the same, give or take a product or two and I only use a flannel in the morning.

I've recently had a huge skincare overhaul and I'm pleasantly surprised. These products for me, work in beautiful harmony. First of all, I get the thick of it off with my Bioderma Crealine H2O, a product that needs no introduction. It dissolves the majority of my make up and eye make up really quickly, it's brilliant. I do have to get this off eBay, there are some good sellers out there so have a look. I then move on with my Origins Zero Oil Cleanser, the mint is so fresh and it lathers up a treat. I use this with my Clarisonic Mia or a warm flannel in the morning. It leaves your skin feeling so clean and fresh without the tightness, I've also noticed that it controls my shine throughout the day too. I then use the Aesop Parsley Seed Anti Oxidant Toner which I wrote a little review for, here.

Regardless of it being morning or evening I slather on Hydraluron before my moisturiser. This has made such a difference to my skin, it plumps up my skin from really deep down and locks in any other products I put on top. My skin texture is far smoother than before too. This product is my savior when I may have had one too many tipples the night before. In the morning, I've been reaching for Origins Vitazing moisturiser, I really like this. Once you begin to work it into the skin it leaves just a oh-so subtle glow to your skin which eases any redness you may have. Best of all? Not greasy. Feels really nourishing but far from heavy so great for my fellow oily skinned gals. If I'm a little more congested I go for the over hyped Effaclar Duo by La Roche-Posay. I don't know how to feel about this at all, I can't say I don't like it or like it, I'll get back to you on that one.

In the evening, I switch my Vitazing for Origins Night-a-mins. Can you see I'm having a love affair with Origins yet? Such fantastic products. Night-a-mins is basically an oil free mineral enriched  renewal cream. I've had products similar in the past like Clinique Turnaround but this one is just wowza. It smells delightful, like an orange yogurt. Not good news if you don't like oranges. It's really not sticky, sinks in almost immediately and when you wake up your skin just feels so balanced, smooth and a hell of less angry looking.
These products are by no means miracle workers and what works for me won't necessarily work for you, but they are worth a try. I can definitely see a difference in my skin and breakouts, I'm hoping within the next month it gets even better.

Now I am off to get the best thing for your skin- a good nights sleep.
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