Despite the weather being all over the place in the UK right now, I have still been prepping for the bare skin season. Summer is fast approaching and it's time to get your pins prepped and polished. I tend to neglect my body in the colder months, so now it's time for some extra TLC.
Exfoliating my face and body is one of my favourite things to do and one that I try to maintain in a routine throughout the year. To pamper and polish my limbs, I always reach for my loyal Soap and Glory Flake Away Body Scrub as it has a sweet scent which lingers on the skin after use. If I'm after something a little more heavy duty then the Lush Rub Rub Rub is my go-to. With added sea salt and mimosa, this scrub is packed full of ingredients which rejuvenate the skin, stimulate circulation and prepare the body for moisturising.
Throughout the year I always suffer with dehydrated skin, so its vital that I concentrate on hydrating on a regular basis. For me, moisturising is a chore I like to avoid, but ever since I started using the L'Occitane Almond Shower Oil and Lush Ro's Argan Body Conditioner duo I have started to enjoy it. Both products enable you to moisturise in the shower, transforming parched, lacklustre skin in an instant - Perfect for those in a rush.
My legs have barely seen the light of day since last Summer, so I've started applying fake tan regularly. The Benefit Hoola Zero Tan Lines* has bee my port of call lately as it gives off a light wash of colour with little fuss. With a light, floral fragrance this is a go-to if I need a bronzed body quickly. If you're looking for something that will last longer than 12 hours then I thoroughly recommend trying the He-Shi Gold Foaming Mousse*; an easy to apply, fool proof tan that develops without streaks and can easily be removed.
What are your bare skin essentials?
I've suffered from severe insomnia on and off for over 5 years now. I've put many techniques to the test, but only a handful have ever successfully worked. Today I have constructed a list of my most favoured ways to help me drift off. No counting sheep involved.
GET UP | The first thing I do when I have been trying to catch some zzz's for some time is get up. Walking to the bathroom or grabbing a glass of water can help me re-settle better and has been the technique I use whenever I am struggling.
JOT IT DOWN | One of main reasons why I toss and turn at night is due to an over-active mind. Making lists and jotting thoughts down into a notepad can help you prioritise your workload, relieve stress and ultimately make you worry less.
CREATE A ROUTINE | Going to bed and getting up at a similar time each day can be a huge contributing factor to how well you sleep at night, but that can't always be achieved throughout the week so I like to create a routine in other ways too. Every night I like to make sure I switch off in one way or another; whether that's colouring in, listening to a podcast or watching a light hearted episode of my favourite series. Then, I follow this with a night skincare routine; a time when I can take a few minutes to myself before hopping into bed.
TURN ON AIRPLANE MODE | Airplane mode switches turns of anything that requires data connection, meaning texting, Twitter and the Internet is off the cards. I like to do this an hour before I go to sleep just to ensure I am thoroughly relaxed and ready to sleep as soon as my head hits the pillow.
SELECT A SMELL | Lavender is the scent that helps me to relax the most as it helps to aid sleep and relieve tension. The This Works Deep Sleep Pillow Spray has been a must have product of mine for many years as you only need a couple of spritzes for it to work. If I need to up the ante then I like to apply a thin layer of the Aesop Resurrection Hand Balm* to my hands and a generous amount of the This Works Stress Less Rollerball to my wrists to release the aromas.
How do you get a better nights sleep?
Although my lipstick taste very rarely differs, I tend to sway towards the lighter shades when the seasons start to warm up. From nourishing nudes to subtle corals, this post has the run down of all of my favourite Spring lipsticks.
Every now and again I like to don a strong coral lip to compliment my complexion when tanned. The Clinique Pop Lip Colour in Melon Pop has been a go-to since it's release last year, as the hydrating formula and wearable finish make it a great product to throw on whenever you're in limbo over what shade to wear. Similarly, the Nars Satin Lip Pencil in Lodhi is a great staple to have in your collection as this bold, coral hue sits comfortably on the lips without lacking in colour pay off.
For everyday wear I like to use the Korres Lip Butter in Mango; a tinted lip balm that leaves the lips looking glossy, smooth and plumped. However, for a soft coral look that can be worn daily, the Fresh Coral Sugar Lip Treatment is the one I reach for the most. Enriched with a range of precious oils and moisture-preserving sugar, it's no wonder this is a must-have for the changing weather. It can provide either a soft or rich hue depending on how much you build it up, making it a perfect combination of a lip balm and stain.
As for nudes, the Nars Bahama Matte Lip Pencil and YSL Nude In Private Rouge Volupte Shine lipsticks are two of my favourites this season. Although they have different formulas as one is matte and the other has a gloss-like finish, they both still remain go-to nudes in the Spring time.
What lipsticks have you been wearing this Spring?
We've had contouring, strobing and baking, but now we have sun stripping; an old technique whereby bronzer is applied from cheek to cheek and across the nose to create a natural faux glow. Typically, sun stripping is all about using a matte bronzer, no highlight and accentuating where the sun would naturally hit your face - Across the cheeks and nose. For me, I like to apply a light sweep of bronzer across my temples to add an overall sun-kissed finish which is something that the technique doesn't include.
Over the past couple of weeks I have been trying out different bronzers that are most suited to sun stripping and I have a handful of products that get the job done.
First up is the Benefit Dew The Hoola*; a new release that has me smitten. This offering is a great option if you want a subtle, dewy look that will compliment any natural make up day. I like to apply the Clarins Treasures Summer Bronzing Compact* on top if I'm after a stronger finish, as it is made up of four matte bronzers that can be tailored to your complexion and gives off an effortless wash of colour.
The Topshop Contour Cream in Sweep is one that should be use lightly and for me, I prefer to only use it on my temples to add definition to my face when using the sun stripping technique.
The Benefit Hoola Bronzer* is the crème de la crème of sun stripping bronzers, as it has a matte formula that looks natural when applied to the skin. When applied straight to the cheeks and nose it can be easily blended out to create a sun-kissed, glowing complexion.
Have you tried sun stripping?
As someone whose hair is dry, damaged and has been dyed more times than they like to admit, having a hair care routine that suits all of my needs is vital for getting my hair in tip top condition. I often have an overhaul every couple of months to avoid any build up and to make sure that my hair is getting the most out of the products I use.
I'm a bit of a shampoo and conditioner fanatic as I find my hair needs different formulas and treatments depending on the day. If my hair is looking lacklustre and feeling flat, then I always reach for the Lush Big Shampoo to add volume and lift. With a concoction of softening sea salt, refreshing lemon infusion and strengthening seaweed, this product lathers up leaving the hair feeling nourished, cleansed and tousled. As someone who dyes their hair red often, I try and stay clear of the shampoos that will strip my hair faster, however cleansing shampoos are some of my favourites on offer. The Bumble and Bumble Sunday Shampoo works in a similar way to Big, but it delivers much more hydration so my hair remains feeling fresh without the dry feeling.
Although I go in with a nourishing conditioner after shampooing, I like to concentrate most of my attention on treatments and hair masks to heal my quenched hair. The Sachajuan Hair Repair has been my go-to throughout the Winter as it transforms my dehydrated locks, making them appear smooth and healthy again. However, I recently rediscovered an old favourite of mine; the Lee Stafford Hair Growth Treatment* and I haven't put it down. It claims to reduce hair loss and promote hair growth, which from my experience, the latter is definitely true. It smooths, shines and locks in moisture, all contributing to the overall health of my hair. I like to use this with the Lee Stafford De-Stress The Mess Comb*, a wide tooth comb which de-tangles quickly and distributes my product evenly throughout my hair.
For styling I have a range of dry shampoos, hair sprays and oils that I like to use on a regular basis. The Schwarzkopf got2b Glue Freeze Spray is my go-to hair spray for when I want long lasting curls, whilst the Sachajuan Ocean Mist is the one I reach for when I want tousled, loose waves. If I'm after a little more volume and texture, the I spritz in a little of the O&M Atonic Thickening Spritz in my hair before blow drying to combat frizz and lock in moisture. I'm quite particular when it comes to dry shampoo as I like to add texture to my hair, without drying the ends out. The Colab Dry Shampoo and Bed Head Oh Bee Hive are two brands I have stayed faithful to throughout the years as they minimise grease and prolong how long a hair wash lasts - bonus!
What hair care products have you been loving?
I know I say this about every season, but I think that Spring is my favourite time of the year. The sky is blue, the flowers are blossoming and the layers of coats are starting to come off. Today I thought I'd share with you some of the things I like to do in the Springtime and I hope it gives you a few ideas.
1. Go to a lambing weekend | My lamb obsession this year has been a bit OTT and although the lambing season is nearly over where I come from, you can still visit several farms to feed and hold the lambs. I think it's safe to say that most of my recent photographs that I have been snapping have involved a lamb.
2. Watch the sunset in the countryside | I'm quite lucky as the Chiltern Hills are right on my doorstep meaning I get to see stunning sunsets on a regular basis. Lately, I have been exploring the countryside much more, finding hidden gems in my county and the surrounding areas. If you don't have any wide open spaces near you, then just go out to a park, explore and snap away!
3. Find a cherry blossom tree | Nothing says Spring like a cherry blossom tree on a crisp, bright morning. Some of the best are situated in the most unlikely places, but all the trees have bloomed now so they're hard to miss.
4. Eat seasonal fruit and vegetables | Cauliflower, asparagus and purple sprouting broccoli are some of the many foods that are in season in Spring. Although I tend to eat a lot of fruit and veg throughout the year, I like to explore and add a wide variety of in season produce to my meals. Farmers markets are a great way to source your own veggies, but I can't wait until the pick-your-own farms are back open.
5. Pick up a bunch of flowers for indoors | Although peony season isn't quite here yet, I have been enjoying having a few bunches of flowers dotted around the flat to add colour and bring a bit of nature into the home. Asda and Morrisons are two of my go-to places for flowers are they are cheap, yet cheerful and last very well.
What have you been up to this Spring?
Sometimes you can't beat a trip to the high street to see all the new releases and to pick up some of your old favourites. Although I tend to spend more time than I intended every trip, I can still manage to pick up a few high street gems without breaking the bank. I thought it was about time that I did a round up of my favourite budget friendly picks.
The Bourjois Healthy Mix Serum is my go-to budget base. With a lightweight, dewy formula and fresh, medium coverage this has cult status in my makeup bag. Although the Bourjois foundation heals all my dull skin woes, for a quick blemish and dark circle fix I have been loving the LA Girl Pro Concealers. With a trio of green, red and a neutral corrector these help to banish redness and disguise discolouration - Perfect for those days when you need a little extra coverage.
For contour, I have been loving the Topshop Cream Contour in Sweep to sculpt and define my cheekbones, whilst adding overall warmth to the face. Cream contours are hard to come by on the high street, but as Topshop is one of my favourite budget brands it's no wonder this one is a gem. For highlighter, the Sleek Solstice Palette ticks all the right boxes. This versatile quad adds an overall glow, whilst emphasising and defining many areas of the face. To finish, the Milani Powder Blush in Tea Rose adds a quick pop of pink colour to the cheeks which lasts all day and brightens up the complexion.
For eyes, I can't get enough of the Accessorize Eye Lover Eyeliner and Maybelline Lash Sensational duo. They add definition to the eyes, plus they add volume and length to the lashes; all whilst being extremely affordable. As for brows, I have been smitten with the Soap and Glory Brow Archery Pencil for many years now, as you can create fuller looking brows in a few, defined strokes in a matter of seconds.
To finish of the whole look, I can only reach for either the NYX Soft Matte Lip Creams or the NYX Lip Lingerie's. If my lips are feeling rather parched then I always reach for the lip creams, but if I'm after a long wearing, immaculate nude lip then the latter never lets me down.
What's your favourite high street makeup find?
Peach iced tea is one of my favourite drinks to consume all year around, but during the hotter months you can't beat it paired with a handful of ice and a few sprigs of mint. I recently came across the Minimalistic Baker's recipe online, so after a few trials and adaptations I think I've finally made the perfect homemade Summer beverage.
INGREDIENTS (Serves 6)
For the peach syrup
270ml of Water
3-4 Ripe Peaches
2 Tea bags
800ml of water (Depending on the strength you want your tea flavour)
1. To make the syrup, place the sugar, water and peaches in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Once boiled, lower the temperature, crush the peaches slightly to infuse the flavour and let simmer for a minute. Stir throughout.
2. Once the sugar is thoroughly dissolved, cover and place the saucepan to once side, letting it sit for 30 minutes.
3. Whilst the peach syrup sits, brew your tea and let it steep for around 3 minutes. The longer you leave it, the stronger (and more bitter) it will taste.
4. Now the tea has brewed, remove your tea bags and let the tea sit until it's at room temperature before refrigerating.
5. Once the peach syrup has sat for 30 minutes, strain the peaches out of the liquid and pour into a container. Let it sit again until it's a room temperature and then refrigerate.
6. Once both mixtures are chilled, mix them together and stir. Serve the peach iced tea with a sprig of mint, ice and left over sliced peaches for a refreshing touch.
Will you be making this simple peach iced tea?
We are now officially in Spring which can only mean one thing; a wardrobe revamp. I try and bring new additions to my wardrobe every couple of months to suit the changing season; Pinterest and Instagram being the places I turn to for inspiration. Today I am talking about my new Spring style, stepping out of my comfort zone and steering away from grey.
It's still pretty chilly in the UK right now, so shorts are off the menu. Saying that, skirts and dresses have been my port of call recently. This ASOS A Line Mini Skirt is a perfect transitional piece as the scallop hem adds a girly edge to the outfit and the colour still gives an Autumnal feel - Perfect for those who still like darker colours in the hotter months. I have also been lusting after many dusty pinks, pastel mints and denim pieces -especially this ASOS Denim Smock Dress.
Ripped jeans are a failsafe option for the Spring. They can easily be dressed up or dressed down and can look either chic or casual. I can't get enough of the Topshop Jamie Mid Blue Ripped Jeans at the moment as they are slightly high waisted with enough stretch to make them suitable for everyday wear. I love pairing them with a simple grey tee and a pair of Adidas Superstar Black and White Trainers.
I pretty much wear stripes all year round, a monochrome horizontal style being my favourite. This classic t-shirt can be worn a variety of ways, so on hotter days I like to wear it with a light jacket or I have the option to layer up. The H&M Striped T-Shirt, Monki Stripe Crew Neck Tee and ASOS Boyfriend T-Shirt are three lustful tees that I can't get enough of lately.
ASOS has been my go-to online shop this season and I'm sure the obsession will carry on through to Summer. This ASOS Oversized T-Shirt in Spot Print is all that I've been wearing lately as it skims past all your lumps and bumps seamlessly. Another couple of favourites of mine are the ASOS Petite T-Shirt With Embroided Heart and ASOS Oversized T-Shirt, two grey offerings that look perfect paired with ripped jeans for an easy everyday look.
I have been lusting after a pair of lace up flats for the longest time, so when I set my eyes on the Faith Atomic Black Ghillie Flat Shoes I was smitten. They are easy to wear, comfortable and look divine paired with a wide variety of outfits. I recently picked up a pair of Dior So Real dupes from Primark which I have been wearing more often than not. I would definitely recommend popping down to your local store to see what they have in stock.
What clothes have you been wearing this Spring?
During the Spring and Summer months, I like to vary and switch up my makeup to suit the changing season. Dewy bases and glowy skin are all that I opt for during Spring and even though it's not warm yet I have all the products I need at the ready.
For primer I have been applying a generous layer of the Too Faced Hangover Primer whenever my skin is in need a extra moisture or if I need to make my makeup stay on all day. Enriched with nourishing coconut water, this primer helps to revive lacklustre skin and prolong makeup wear without compromising on hydration. One of my favourite bases this season has already been the Nars Velvet Matte Skin Tint; a medium coverage foundation which disguises blemishes and perfects the skin. If I'm after a base that's a little dewier then I always reach for my Bare Minerals Complexion Rescue as it quenches the skin, whilst producing a natural yet radiant coverage.
As for powder, the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powders are always a winner as they set my base without taking away any of the glow. This powder trio treats all my dull skin woes as each individual powder can be used differently around the face. I am currently loving using Dim Light across my t-zone, Incandescent Light swept on my cheeks and Radiant Light along where I would usually contour.
At the moment I can't get enough of the Milani Rose Powder Blush in Tea Rose as it flatters and adds a bright pop of colour to the cheeks. My skin always looks fresh and brightened ready for highlighter application. If I'm after a stronger highlight than the Hourglass ambient lighting powders can offer me, then I reach for the Anastasia Beverly Hills Glow Kit in Gleam. This quad contains four finely milled, skin illuminating powders that freshen up the complexion and add an overall glow to the skin.
I usually opt for a strong eye and brow look, but recently I have only been reaching for mascara, a brow product and possibly an eyeliner if I'm feeling fancy. I like to keep my lids bare, but apply generous lashings of the Maybelline Lash Sensational Mascara to open the eyes, as well as adding volume and length to my lashes. To finish, the Anastasia Beverly Hills Dip Brow Pomade is my go-to brow product for when I want to create fuller, defined brow in several strokes.
Ever since their release last year, I have been obsessed with the Clinique Pop Lip Colours as their hydrating formulas and wearable hues make for a great addition to my makeup bag.
What makeup do you wear in the Springtime?
Every year I like to Spring-clean my skincare routine; throwing out all of my out of date or unused products in favour of ones that suit my skin type better or haven't seen the light of day for a while. For me, Spring is all about glowy bases and nourished skin, so it's important to inject just the right amount of hydration into my skincare to produce effective results. I've been streamlining my routine ready for the hotter months, so I thought I would share with you my current skincare switch up.
First up is cleanser; a vital step in any routine and one that I like to do at least twice every morning and night. I have been reaching for the Aesop Parsley Seed Cleansing Oil* when I need to melt away my makeup quickly without stripping my skin. I follow this up with the Zelens Z Detox Cleanser*; a foaming cleanser which removes impurities and calms the skin. If I just want to give my complexion a quick refreshment then the La Roche Posay Micellar Water Gel* sorts my skin right out. With a cooling formula that helps reduce redness and tackle problematic areas, this is a staple in my routine come Summer.
To give my complexion a boost of radiance I have been opting for a lightweight exfoliator and muslin cloth, followed by the Pixi Glow Tonic to get rid of dry patches and brighten the face ready for makeup application.
As for masks, I usually opt for a hydrating option as my skin gets dreadfully dry during the transitioning seasons. The Origins Drink Up Intensive Mask is an overnight moisture replacement treatment that keeps my dry skin at bay; perfect for those who's skin is in need of some extra TLC. The Antipodes Aura Manuka Honey Mask is another favourite of mine as the antibacterial properties help to prevent, treat and control any blemishes.
As a sufferer of dry skin, I like to use a thick moisturiser all year round, but during the Spring and Summer months I like to opt for something a little bit lighter. The Origins Ginzing Moisturiser helps to boost radiance, whilst the Kiehl's Ultra Facial Cream and the Aesop Mandarin Facial Cream* add extra hydration to the complexion, getting rid of dry, flaky patches. Eye cream is the last step in my routine and one that I rarely miss out. The Kiehl's Avocado Eye Cream has seen me through several seasons, but during the Spring I reach for it more often as it's soothing properties helps with dry eyes caused by hayfever. As for oils, I have been trialling the Zelens Vitamin A Treatment Drops*, a luxe serum that battles blemishes, clogged pores and quenches the skin's thirst. I have been smitten with oils recently, so I'm sure this will be a staple in my routine in the following months.
Which skincare products are you using this Spring?
Spring is now upon us and that means one thing; lighter bases. As a sufferer of dry skin, I like to adopt a 'less is more' approach when it comes to foundations and tinted moisturisers, as I find this avoids the dreaded dry patches. When the Nars Velvet Matte Skin Tint was released I was extremely excited, but as it had matte in the title I was sceptical that it would make my lacklustre skin appear duller. Despite this, I have been trialling it for several weeks and have been loving it, so today I thought I would share with you my thoughts.
With a soft focus finish, this offering disguises blemishes and uneven skin tone, whilst appearing natural and flawless on the skin. Although it's marketed as a tint, I would describe it more as a light foundation which delivers buildable coverage with minimal effort. I like to apply a thick layer of moisturiser followed by my Too Faced Hangover Primer to ensure that my base is nourished and hydrated as I find that it can be a little drying, though nothing that a little moisture can't fix.
I personally like applying this base with my fingers and then go in with my Beauty Blender to make sure that everything is blended. If you're after a lightweight, flawless base that will mattify, yet allow your skin's natural glow to come through then this is one to try.
Have you tried the Nars Velvet Matte Skin Tint?
Colour correcting is all over the internet right now so I knew it wouldn't be long until I jumped on the bandwagon. Each hue can camouflage and conceal different skin perfections. Green counteracts redness, purple transforms dull, lacklustre skin and peach brightens, whilst orange banishes discolouration and yellow evens out the skin tone. Over the past couple of weeks I have been putting a few colour correcting products to the test and today I am talking about the LA Girl Pro Conceal HD Concealers and Correctors.
Although just using concealer has always banished my dark circles effectively, when I watched the LA Girl Pro Orange Corrector being used on instagram I knew I had to get my hands on it. At first I was sceptical that the orange hue would be hard to disguise, but after mastering the concept and figuring out how much I needed to create a flawless coverage I was good to go. The orange helps to disguise dark circles or colouration as the orange warms up the skintone ready for concealer application.
After the success of the orange corrector, I went in to try the LA Girl Pro Green Corrector; a green-hued formula that promises to neutralise redness. Lately I have found that I am in need of little extra help when it comes to the overall redness on my face, especially around my nose and on my chin area. Although this green offering is slightly thicker than the other correctors it still blends into the skin well, perfecting as it goes.
Aside from the colour correctors, the La Girl Pro Concealer in Natural has been one of my go-to concealers lately. With a crease resistant, long wearing and easy to blend formula, this concealer provides higher coverage yet still gives a natural looking finish. I'm not overly keen on the brush tip applicators on all of these correctors and concealers, so I tend to apply them to a clean brush first to avoid any transferring of bacteria.
Have you tried colour correcting?
As someone who suffers from dry and lacklustre skin on a daily basis, my skin regularly craves a faux glow. Despite having more than enough highlighters in my collection, I knew when I set eyes on the Anastasia Beverly Hills Gleam Glow Kit that I would have to have it. I was initially drawn to Gleam due to it's diverse shades which I believe would suit my complexion.
This quad contains four finely filled, skin illuminating powders that freshen up the skin instantly. Crushed Pearl is the infamous shade of the four as this glimmering pink and silver shimmer highlights and gives the illusion of chiselled cheekbones. I use Crushed Pearl on my cheeks, cupids bows and brow bones for a soft, illuminated finish; whilst Starburst was the hue that I was initially disappointed by. I thought this cool pink highlighter didn't suit my complexion, but I soon realised that it complimented the other powders perfectly- especially when used on the cheeks.
The golden hues of Mimosa work perfectly as a bronzer to compliment my contour and highlight my cheekbones. Although I don't use this shade all over my face, I think this will look amazing in the Summer when I have more of a tan. Hard Candy is a golden peach pink which acts as an illuminating blusher. It flatters the cheeks and is perfect if you want to give a bit of life to your matte blushers.
I always opt for fresh, glowing skin all year around, so this quad is an amazing addition to my collection. Although the packaging is much heavier than I expected and it doesn't have a mirror, I still think that it will remain sturdy when travelling and keep all of my shades safe. These can be applied either dry or damp, but I prefer to use my Morphe M501 Pro Pointed Blender Brush as it can provide a natural finish or be built up to create a more intense look. I'm sure when the hotter months come rolling in that I will be lusting after the That Glow palette too.
Have you tried the Anastasia Beverly Hills Glow Kits?