Wednesday, 30 September 2015

My Evening Skin Care Routine

Hi guys, today I have my evening skin care routine for you. This is what I do to my skin when I've been wearing makeup - otherwise, I would do nearly the same as my morning routine, which you can also find on my blog. Hope you enjoy reading!

Firstly, I take a generous amount of the Simple Kind to Skin Purifying cleansing lotion, and rub that into my skin, starting with my face and then moving to my eyes. I find that this removes my face makeup easily without too much effort, however it does take two goes for me to get off my eye makeup. I also struggle a bit to take off dark lipstick with this. I do enjoy this product for the most part though, as it does feel gentle to my skin and does the job, and hasn't broken me out so far.

Next, I use my St Ives naturally clear apricot scrub, which 'lifts away surface dirt that can lead to blemishes'. I really, really enjoy this and have repurchased it at least three times. I had quite bad acne at around 14 years old, and this really helped me out. It is quite scrubby, so it might be too harsh for people with sensitive skin, however I don't suffer with too much sensitivity. I use this once a week, as I can find it's too much any more often than that. This really smooths out my skin, making it a more effective base for makeup, and I also find that it allows my serum and moisturiser to sink in more and do a better job. I only really use this on my T-zone, because my skin issues are mostly blackheads on my nose and hormonal acne on my chin and jawline - I have no issues with my cheeks or forehead.

Now that my face has been scrubbed, I'll use one to two pumps of my The Body Shop tea tree skin cleaning foaming cleanser. I use this to remove any last traces of my makeup remover and my face scrub. It feels really refreshing after having scrubbed my skin, and it has been helping control my acne. I've written about this more in my morning skin care routine, if you want to check that out.

Once I've toned my skin with my Organic Surge toner (covered in my morning skin care routine), I use my T-Zone rapid action spot zapping gel (middle) on any spots I currently have. I then follow with my No7 Protect and Perfect intense eye cream (right) and this rehydrates my eye area and is lasting me ages. Finally, I use my Vaseline with aloe vera on my lips, which softens and plumps them and combats the dry, chapped awfulness that I can suffer from in winter.

Next, I'll apply my No7 Protect and Perfect intense serum. I love this - it sinks into my skin wonderfully and makes me feel super hydrated but not weighed down. It actually makes a difference to my skin unlike other serums I've tried, and I've had 2 tubes of this so far - I'm fairly certain I'll repurchase it again. I don't use it every night, in honesty - I use it every other night - but that means the tubes last me twice as long, which is kinder on my bank account! I apply this before my moisturiser as it has a smaller molecular structure and sinks deeper into the skin, repairing it more effectively than a moisturiser can.

My last step in my routine is my moisturiser, and currently I'm using Superdrug's vitamin E nourishing night cream. This is alright, and I enjoy Superdrug's own brand as they're cruelty free, however if you want luxury, this isn't it. It isn't a joy to your senses, but it does the job, and my skin when I wake up isn't an oil slick or a dry desert - it looks plump and healthy. I probably won't repurchase it as I like to try things out, but I won't be throwing it away as it serves it's purpose in my opinion.

That's all I do on my night time skin care routine, I hope you enjoyed reading. Leave me a comment about your favourite skin care products, as I'm always looking for new ones to try out!
- Amelia

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

My Morning Skin Care Routine

Hi guys! Today I have a post telling you my morning skin care routine. My morning skin care routine is quite basic, as I do the brunt of the work in my night-time routine, which I will definitely post, too. 

Okay, so I start my morning skin care with washing my hands. This is extremely important and I find it's helped my skin a lot - after all, there's not much point in washing your face if you're going to wash it with unclean hands. Once I've washed my hands, I wet my face with lukewarm water that opens up my pores but won't scald my skin. I then get one pump of my Tea Tree foaming facial wash by The Body Shop and apply that all over my face, washing in circular motions, for about one minute. I rinse that off really well, and I dry with a clean towel which I use only for my face. This is also another way that you can minimise the spreading of bacteria onto your face.

Next, I grab a cotton round and soak it with my Organic Surge orange flower toner, which is very gentle for your skin, as it contains no colourants, parabens, SLS and synthetic fragrances, and is 98.8% naturally derived. I sweep this over my face and it removes any residue from my facial wash and also any makeup from the night before that may still be lingering on my skin.

Lastly, I reach for my Superdrug Vitamin E Day cream which has SPF 15 (perfect for autumn and winter as we have less sun exposure) and apply a fairly generous amount to my skin. I quite like this stuff, as it's cheap and cheerful and doesn't make my T-zone too oily throughout the day. It is also quite a good base for makeup as it smooths down my flaky dry areas around my nose.

So, that's my quick 5-minute three-step routine for the morning. It's very simple, but it's all I can bring myself to do at 07:30 a.m., really! I like to treat my skin with a more complex routine at night-time, which I'll tell you about in a later post. Hope you enjoyed reading today's post - this routine, when used daily, keeps my skin clean and looking fresh.
- Amelia

Saturday, 19 September 2015

The Love-Hate Tag

Hi lovelies, today I've got the Love-Hate tag for you, which I was nominated for by the gorgeous Rachel from Bright Lights (click her name to see her answers to the tag). In this post, I'll be answering 10 things that I love and 10 things that I hate. This was actually much harder to answer than I thought it would be! Hope you enjoy.

10 things I love:

1. Germany. I love everything about it - the language, the food, the cities. I've always felt such a connection there, as if it was my home in a past life.

2. History. I adore all aspects of history and aspire to write historical fiction.

3. LUSH. Ugh, I'm just obsessed. I hoard the stuff! I love their ethics and their products themselves, and all of the lovely people who work there - they're always really helpful if you're unsure about something. Unfortunately, I don't get to visit much because my closest one is Birmingham, which I only go to a few times a year.

4. Polar bears. I don't know why I developed an obsession with polar bears. It started when I was about 12 and I was reading about them and was just fascinated by them. Now my bedroom is covered with polar bear posters, toys and bedding - which visitors love!

5. Friends. And I mean the TV show, not my actual friends (but I do love them too). I watch Friends every day, and because of this I have a huge woman crush on Jennifer Aniston - she's so, so gorgeous and she was the cutest thing ever in those first few seasons. *sigh*

6. The Studio Ghibli films. I've always loved these films - my top favourites are Howl's Moving Castle, Spirited Away, My Neighbour Totoro and Kiki's Delivery Service. I always watch these when I'm sick or feeling down as they just cheer me up.

7. Lasagne. It's my favourite food. If I could have it every day, I would. My mom always makes it for me on my birthday, which is part of the birthday excitement for me.

8. Candles and tarts. I like having either a candle or a wax tart on the go whilst I'm in my bedroom, as it just sets the mood of the season for me. In Autumn, my favourite candles and tarts to burn are the Season of Peace, Christmas Cookie, Cappuccino Truffle, and Frankincense. In the spring and summer I've enjoyed the Aloe Water, Black Coconut, and Midnight Jasmine.

9. Dyeing my hair. Though I hate to admit it, I have gone crazy with changing my hair this year. I started getting highlights 2 years ago, and built those up til I got to very, very blonde hair. Then I realised the blonde was super stark on my pale skin and it just looked unnatural, so I dyed it to a medium reddish brown. Then I missed my blonde hair. 

10. Bleak Expectations. This was a BBC Radio 4 series, and it was a spin of Great Expectations. It's very, very funny and I listen to it most nights as it helps me get to sleep.

10 things I hate:

1. Spiders. I've had many experiences where I've woken up to very large, very curious spiders crawling across my pillow towards my face, and I don't appreciate it.

2. Being stuck in the same place for long periods of time. I have serious wanderlust and it physically bores me to be stuck in the same country for too long.

3. Xenophobes and homophobes. I don't think I need to justify why I dislike close-minded people.

4. My anxiety. It's gotten much worse over the last 2 years, and it always puts me in uncomfortable situations.

5. Being unemployed. I left my old job last May so that I could really knuckle down and get the grades I needed for uni, but since I've finished A-Levels I have seriously struggled to find a job. My anxiety holds me back there, too, as I'm not very good at interviews.

6. Ungrateful people. In particular, people who have it really good and moan about their petty problems. It is okay to be sad about an argument with a loved one, but appreciate the fact that they're still around.

7. Getting sick. I always have a cold, year round, but I'm quite unlucky when it comes to motion sickness - I feel like I'm going to pass out if I'm in the car for more than half an hour. I also get land sickness a lot, which really freaks me out.

8. Having an untidy bedroom. I went mad this year getting rid of everything I didn't need from books to clothes to CDs, so now I have much less in my room - that means everything has a place. I like everything to stay in its place.

9. Perverted men. I live in a village, so I feel it's relatively safe for me to walk somewhere on my own. Unfortunately, whenever I am on my own, some men driving past in their cars like to shout profane language at me - I just despair at this, it feels like I can't wear the jeans and skirts and dresses that I like.

10. Ill-mannered children. I didn't utter a swear word until I was 13 years old, so the fact that the 6-year-old boy down my street calls me the C word, makes me extremely angry. I've spoken to his parents, but they are the reason why he is the way he is. His family once grouped together and swarmed me in the street whilst I was walking alone, and shouted all sorts of vile language at me. They triggered my anxiety to be as bad as it is today - but as far as the law goes, I am powerless against them.

So, that's all for my tag. I've touched on some really serious stuff here - I'm sorry if it's a bit heavy, but my blog is really helping me deal with my anxiety because I like to tell you guys about what's bothering me. I love you all so much, though, as you're all extremely supportive and understanding of anxiety and take it more seriously than all of the people around me. For that, I really thank you from the bottom of my heart.

I want to tag a couple of lovely ladies to do this tag, as I'd love to see their answers:
Lucy at Dimpled Brunette
Katie at Sincere Blonde Fashion

Friday, 18 September 2015

Presents Haul

Hi lovelies, so I went shopping a few days ago and went to TK Maxx and Boots to pick up some presents for looming birthdays. In this post, I'm going to show you what I picked up.

 This is the Wild Sugarcane candle by LAB. This is for my mum as she loves sweet-scented candles - it was only £6! A really good price for a three-wick candle

These are some socks that my boyfriend's mum picked up for me from New Look as she knows I love animal printed socks. They're so cute and soft!

 This was another gift for my mum from TK Maxx. It's the Gwen Stefani OPI Mini Holiday Stars. It was £10 - great for 4 really pretty nail polishes!

 These are the Chesapeake Bay Candle cinnamon spice tea lights (pack of 24) and they are a little gift for my boyfriend's mum as she loves this scent. They were £5 from TK Maxx

This is a gift for my boyfriend's sister's birthday, as she loves cooking and this was a lovely hard-back recipe book that was also quite funny. It was only £3 from TK Maxx!

This is a gift for my boyfriend's birthday, and I got it on a great offer from Boots- £28 and it came with the bag below for free. It smells gorgeous and I think he'll love it

This lovely bag came with the Only The Brave Wild aftershave, and it's really nice quality with a great, simple design that would really appeal to my boyfriend

That's all I got that day! I hope you enjoyed reading this little haul - I love buying gifts for people. Do you have any birthdays coming up?

- Amelia

Thursday, 17 September 2015

LUSH Collection: Shower Gels and Body Washes

Hello my little pumpkins, today I have a continuation of my LUSH collection. This one is going to have a few reviews on the shower gels in my LUSH collection.

 These are two bottles of the Christmas exclusive shower gels Snow Fairy. I bought the 500g bottle on it's own for around £7 in the Boxing Day Sale and the other 100g bottle came in a Christmas gift box. They are very very sweet and candy scented, and I have to be in the right mood to use it. However, it's perfect for use as bubble bath as I can't smell it so strongly that way. I've also used it as shampoo before, which was quite nice as it has tiny blue sparkles in it which stayed in my hair and made it glimmer when the light hit it.

This is Sweetie Pie, one of LUSH's shower jellies. This has been discontinued now. It's interesting as it is a jelly that you can use as bubble bath, shower gel or shampoo. It smells really great,  of cherries, and it has some sparkles in it but they don't show up too much. It is really hard to work with though so I recommend that you freeze it in pieces.

This is the Flying Fox shower gel (now sadly discontinued). Ir's a beautiful honey and jasmine scented shower gel which is great for me as it's a combination of two of my favourite scents. I love this for use as shower gel, bubble bath and shampoo, as it's very softening to the skin and honey is strengthening for the hair. This provides an awesome lather, and I feel that it would be suitable as a unisex product as both me and my boyfriend love the scent - the jasmine balances out the sweetness of the honey and the honey ensures that it isn't too floral from the jasmine. I instantly fell in love with this and am so sad it's been discontinued in order to make way for new products - fortunately I have a full 250g bottle of it left.

This is Hot Toddy shower gel and it was a Christmas 2014 exclusive product that I received in a gift box. I feel that this would impress many lovers of Christmas spices, as it contains ginger, cloves, and cinnamon. However, I don't enjoy the scent much as it is incredibly spicy and heady - I get a bit of a headache when I smell this. What I do like about it, however, is the beautiful red colour it has and the gorgeous gold lustre. I haven't used mine so all of the lustre has fallen to the bottom. I think I will be using this as bubble bath for the winter season this year, as I can't see myself fancying it as shampoo.

This is Prince Charming, my favourite LUSH shower gel. It was an exclusive product in the Valentine's 2014 and 2015 collections, and I'm praying it comes back in 2016 so I can very cheekily use my student loan for a bottle of this. I love the name of this as you can imagine a cheesy fairytale prince smelling like this - marshmallow root, vanilla and pomegranate. I'm obsessed with the smell. It's also fun to tease your other half by bragging that you're going to take a bath with Prince Charming.

Last but certainly not least, we have the beautiful Rose Jam. This is packed with Turkish rose absolute, geranium and a bit of lemon which comforts and uplifts you simultaneously. I adore this as it is not an 'old lady' rose scent which I'm not really struck on, but it is not too lemon-y either. This is a limited edition scent for Christmas, and it's been around for years so it's pretty famous in the LUSH community. This is really softening on the skin, and it's gently cleansing for the hair. Use this in your hair and on your body for ultimate scent pay-off.
That's all I have for now. I hope you enjoyed reading about my shower gel collection from LUSH! Have you tried any of their shower gels?
- Amelia

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes Recipe

Hi lovelies, today I have a a quick post with a recipe for my pumpkin spice cupcakes. If you love pumpkin, these moist, spongey cakes are really worth a try. I highly rate them!

Recipe makes 24 cakes

1.5 cups self-raising flour
1 tsp cinnamon (double if you want)
1 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp all-spice
1 tsp ground nutmeg
Pinch salt
1.5 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
4 large eggs
14 ounces pumpkin purée

Optional icing glaze:
3/4 cup icing sugar
1.5 tbsp milk (plus any extra if it's too thick)
1 tbsp maple syrup (add more syrup and less milk for more intense flavour)

1. Preheat your oven to 180C, and line a 12-hole cupcake tray
2. Add your flour, salt and spices into a bowl
3. In a separate bowl, beat together your sugar and oil
4. Beat your eggs into the oil and sugar mixture one at a time
5. Mix your pumpkin gently into your egg, sugar and oil mixture
6. Slowly add your pumpkin mixture into the flour mixture
7. Fill your cupcake cases and bake them for 12 minutes - to test that they're ready, gently press the top. If it springs back, it's ready
8. If using the icing glaze, wait til the cupcakes are cool and drizzle the icing on them using a fork. Leave for about 20 minutes for the icing to harden

That's all for today's post. I really hope that you try this recipe out if you get the chance - I absolutely adore pumpkin spice and these went down a treat. If you have any other recipe requests, be sure to leave them below and I'll happily post them!
- Amelia

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

LUSH Collection: Haircare

Hi lovelies, today I have my haircare selection from Lush. I'll have some mini-reviews below with how I've felt about each product. Hope you enjoy!

Left to right: Montalbano, Jason and the Argan Oil, Ultimate Shine. All of these are shampoo bars that I personally love. Montalbano is a lemon-scented olive-filled bar which lathers beautifully and is fairly clarifying but not drying to the hair. It adds a nice shine to the hair, and I think it would be particularly good for blonde hair and red hair. Secondly, Jason is a lovely and softening Rose Jam scented shampoo. It is infused with argan oil which is softening, strengthening and moisturising to the hair, and it is said to be good for fine hair - however, I have fairly thick hair so I can't really vouch for this. It left my hair smelling lovely, but I don't think there's anything that really sets it apart from other argan oil shampoos, other than it's weightlessness. And thirdly, Ultimate Shine supposedly smells like jasmine but I personally can't smell this - it is now a discontinued product. I find that it is good at infusing shine, however no better than Montalbano does for me. I'm not mad on the scent, but it is alright.

 Left to right: Jungle solid conditioner, American Cream conditioner, Retreat conditioner. Jungle is filled with fruit, butters and oils to moisturise and tame wild hair. Many people do not rate this, however I really quite like it and I would recommend this if you are trying to travel with just hand luggage as it would not have to be packed in your liquids bag. I've used it several times and it keeps my hair lightweight and shiny! Finally, Retread is a thick, deep conditioner which is intended to help mend your hair. I have used mine twice, only on the midlengths and ends which is why I haven't used much. At £10.75 a tub, I am not willing to use much at once! This is rather nice, and since I cut my hair shorter in April, I've wanted to keep it as healthy as possible so that I could grow it to be longer and healthier in the long haul. I'm not a huge fan of the scent (hated it when I first bought it but used to it now), I think it's the cantaloupe and a mixture of the oils that give it it's strange scent. However, you can just tell that it's going to be very restorative and luxurious for damaged hair.

Left to right: Big sea salt shampoo, I love Juicy shampoo. I am very much enamoured with my Big shampoo - it's the best shampoo I've used for making my hair shiny, and I love the orange blossom scent, very floral and lovely. This is one of Lush's most raved about products and I agree that it is very nice, however it is expensive (£12.25 for 330g) so I only use it for special occasions, when I want my hair to impress. I would recommend it as something to use now and then, but I think personally it is too costly to use every single hair wash. I love Juicy is a very clarifying shampoo filled with fruit enzymes which help to deep clean the hair. This is what I use when there's some serious build-up in my hair that I just can't budge with my normal shampoos. I'm not very keen on the smell personally, as it's a very very strong scent of lemon and papaya which just blows me away when I smell it. It doesn't linger so strongly on the hair, however, so I can bear to use it. It is nice, but probably would be too harshly clarifying for the hair to use often - maybe once a week or once every two weeks.

That's everything for this one, pumpkins. Hope you enjoyed reading about my Lush haircare collection, I do rate a couple of these and will repurchase when I run out. If you've got any further questions, leave them down below!
- Amelia