Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Soap & Glory 'Off Your Face' Cleansing Cloths* | Review


Until a few weeks ago, I had never tried out any Soap & Glory products that fall outside of their body range. I absolutely love the shower gels, butters and scrubs that I've tried thus far, but for some reason I had never ventured too far outside this comfort zone and tried any of the well known, highly-raved-about skincare or make-up items... cue Soap & Glory's 'Off Your Face' cleansing cloths*. I was very fortunate as to receive 'The Next Big Thing' box gift set from Boots just before Christmas day which not only was an absolutely wonderful surprise, but also a Godsend because I had missed out on the sale myself. Although, as one of my New Years Resolutions (which you can read all about here) is to get through all my body care before buying/trying anything new, I haven't been able to fully delve into the treat filled box as I would like, because I need to finish up what I'm already using first! Nonetheless, I had ran out of face wipes so I saw that as the perfect opportunity to give these little beauties a try and I am very happy that I did!

The 'Off Your Face' wipes are said to be a 3-1 product and I'd have to agree. Not only do they cleanse my face well (well, good enough for a wipe), but they also help to lightly exfoliate my dry cheeks and tone my face beautifully, leaving me fresh faced and ready for the day! I always double cleanse my face in the evenings, only sleep on a fresh pillowcase, and most often or not I don't even wear make-up so I don't really find it necessary to do an in-depth cleanse of my face each morning. I tend to just use the Clean & Clear blackhead clearing oil-free daily scrub followed by one of these so that any dry patches are smoothed out, and any morning 'grease' (eww) is wiped away. For me personally, I've found that using both of these products together just leaves my face feeling so refreshed and perky, which really is a great way to start off the morning! I love how clean the 'Off Your Face' cleansing cloths manage to make my skin feel actually, particularly for a wipe - & so for this reason I wouldn't and haven't used them to remove any make-up as 1) you shouldn't be relying on a wipe to get your make-up off anyway and 2) I just love the zing it gives my bare skin. Plus, they're filled with peach and goji berry extracts, which contain a lot of vitamin A and C, as well as lots of antioxidants which are all lovely and super beneficial for the condition of the surface of your skin!

I have been suffering quite a few breakouts recently as I've integrated a new treatment into my routine to help purge any clogged pores (and I had a lot of them), but I've also been under a lot of stress lately now that my dissertation is due in only a week away now! (ahhhhh! help!) - both of which I think are the sole causes for my sudden outbreak. I don't feel as though these wipes have helped calm my skin or have helped in ridding my face of any spots, but I definitely know that these haven't caused any (which is always a blessing when you're already having skin troubles!). Therefore, I wouldn't recommend the 'Off Your Face' cleansing cloths if you're looking for something to help with spot-prone skin (for that I'd always recommend using a tea-tree based product). The 'Off Your Face' cleansing cloths do smell quite 'chemically', which is strange because they don't contain any alcohol, but because of this inclination that there might be something a little stronger in there than what you'd normally find in a wipe, I wouldn't recommend these to those of you that suffer sensitive skin either. I am able to use the cloths to clean around my eye area most mornings, however, I have found that my face is left stinging a bit on the particularly sensitive/red areas of my face which obviously isn't all that enjoyable! That being said, they're not harsh enough as to cause redness or breakouts, or to strip the skin of any moisture, so I think that these would be safe to use on any type of skin, from oily to dry, as long as it's not already irritated or sensitive.

Overall, I like these wipes, & they're certainly different to the gentler wipes that I would usually opt for. Because of this I have found them to be very practical on those mornings where I'm in a rush and don't have the time and/or don't want to 'properly' cleanse my face. I'd never recommend using wipes solely to cleanse because you need something with a bit more oomph, especially to get rid of the make-up and dirt that has built up over the day... but for the mornings? I just don't see the point. So, all in all, if you're in the market for some new wipes - I'd say give these a go! They're good at what they're designed to do and probably one of the best that I've ever tried from the highstreet/drugstore and I love them (as long as I stay away from my sensitive patches), PLUS they're currently on sale now which is always a bonus! 

Blimey... I didn't know a person could talk so much about a pack of wipes haha! After trying these out I'm really excited to explore more of the Soap & Glory skincare range, so please do let me know in the comments if you have any recommendations!
Hannah x
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Sunday, 18 January 2015

Portobello Road


I had never been to Portobello Road before, but had certainly always wanted to ever since I saw 'Bed Knobs and Broomsticks' for the first time. That tune never gets old! I'm not really sure why I hadn't till now because it's well under half an hour away from where I live... but anyways, I decided to take the plunge when my parents said that they wanted to go too and boy oh boy did we choose the wrong day for it! It was freezing cold, raining all afternoon and it was a Friday so there were pretty much only Antique stalls out. Although, I'm not complaining! I love searching through individual, unique items and I did pick up a few pieces, but there were some gorgeous gorgeous telephones and teapots that were to die for, but just way out of my budget! *weeps*. Oh well... perhaps I'll treat myself when I move? :P Overall, despite the rain and the cold, I absolutely loved getting to explore the area, the little stalls and shops, as well as the beautifully coloured houses that line the streets of Notting Hill. I think I'll definitely have to go for a little wonder around next time there's a sunny Saturday! If you haven't visited the area already, I'd highly recommend it! I felt it had a completely different, really laid-back vibe which I absolutely loved and am looking forward to exploring further in the future. 

If you like these little London 'snippet' posts please do let me know and I'll try to get my camera out more often! :)
Hannah x

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Tuesday, 13 January 2015

My 2015 Resolutions.


- Join the gym. Yes I know I know everyone ALWAYS puts this at the top of the list, well... either that or to simply 'exercise more', but I really am going for it this year. There's a new gym opening close to where soon so I'm looking forward to joining and integrating at least a few weekly gym session as part of the new, healthier lifestyle that I aspire to attain. 

- Continue to integrate new things into my diet. Another health one I know, but since the second half of 2014 I really have seen a difference in my body, mind and skin and I honestly think its due to the little healthy pieces that I've slowly introduced into my diet. I currently have a big pot of coconut oil and a box of organic green tea bags staring at me as the next step towards that healthier diet!

- Have acupuncture more often. I was only introduced to the magical practise that is acupuncture last year and it helped relieve years worth of pain and stiffness in my upper back. For a long while I have felt so much freer in my movements and for the first time in a long time I have been able to go about normal day to day tasks without being tormented by excruciating pain by time I go to bed. My back has only just started to get a bit stiff and painful again so I see it as an important resolution to make sure that I go to my physiotherapist to have regular (around once every few months I'm guessing) sessions to help maintain a less strained, pain free back.

- Read the books that I haven't yet read. No I don't mean every book in the universe that I haven't yet laid my eyes upon, but rather, I aim to read those clean, uncreased spine'd books looking down at me from my shelves as I load more on. I have a terrible habit to buy books before I've finished what I already own, almost an obsession really. I bought the most amount of books I've ever purchased in my life last year and I look forward to hopefully getting through the majority of them before this time next year!

- Get through all my body products. I have a shameful amount of large Soap & Glory body lotions, butters, body wash's and the rest - and I've been really struggling to get through them. They're just SO big, which is obviously a bonus because you're getting good value for your money, but it can also prove a little frustrating when you are lusting to try out something new. I'm looking forward to finishing everything up so that I can start to explore some more natural options.

- Graduate with 2:1 Honours. This isn't really a 'resolution', but I suppose my key resolution until graduation is to work as hard as I can to ensure I do achieve the result that I want. I personally see a 2:1 as a huge triumph and I will be absolutely over the moon if I achieve it. Obviously there's always a cheeky part of our minds that would love to attain a first, but I've decided it wise to save myself any extra pressure so that my anxiety doesn't go off the rails. What will be will be,  and I can only do my best... and with just 5 months to go now, that is certainly what I aim to do!

- Continue blogging. I would love to write about a million different ways in which I could improve my blog, but in all honesty, I'm not happy listing something as a resolution if I'm not totally sure if I'll be able to keep to it. I definitely intend to continue blogging - I have sooo many ideas all listed up and I'm excited to get those up and see how my blog develops before this time next year. Even though I absolutely love blogging and getting to chat to so many new people through it, I do know when breaks need to be taken and I would much prefer to take a break if things in my life get a bit too hectic than to let my content suffer. So whilst one of my main blogging resolutions (link) is to blog more often, I am expecting to take a months break leading up to and surrounding my final year exams! (which I hope is understandable!)

So there you have it! A few of my key resolutions for the fresh new year! What are some of yours?
Hannah 



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Monday, 12 January 2015

The Body Shop 'Tea Tree: Skin Clearing Foaming Cleanser' | Review


I'll be honest, this is my go-to lazy day cleanser and it has been for probably the past year now, and whilst it might not be the most invigorating cleanser, it really does help freshen up the skin both quickly and efficiently which is perfect for those rushed early morning bathroom sprees and of course, for keeping those blemishes at bay! Now, I don't have particularly spotty skin, but I recently stopped using this cleanser (for some bizarre reason I'm not exactly aware of) and I have definitely noticed a downhill change in the condition of my skin. All be it, I am on my time of the month and so a few are expected which is normal, but I've found it a lot more difficult than usual to get them to budge and go away. I started using this again and within a few days my skin had mostly cleared up once again; and it's only then that I realised how much this otherwise tossed aside product has benefited my skin for the past year. As the name suggests, the bottle possesses a pump which foams the liquid product up, so it is a little unusual to your typical cleanser - whether its necessary? I'm not too sure. It makes it a little lighter on the face and therefore easier to spread though which I think is important when using basically what can be classed as a treatment product. All I do each morning is rub one pump of this around my face, paying particular attention to my chin and nose where I'm more inclined to get little menaces, and quickly rince it away with a damp flannel and my skin is left feeling clean, plump and awake which sparks a brilliant start to the morning. I'd recommend this to anyone really, but particularly to those whom are suffering a little congestion or spots and are searching for something that's affective, but not too abrasive or harsh.

Will I be repurchasing this? Absolutely. It really is wonderful and I have no idea why I never noticed until now just how brilliant it is at helping keep my skin calm and refreshed!

What's your favourite cleanser by The Body Shop?
Hannah
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Saturday, 10 January 2015

LUSH 'Luxury Lush Pud' Bath Bomb | Review


Woooo! Believe it or not, I haven't ever tried any items from LUSH's Christmas range before - something which many people often claim as hosting the best LUSH products out of the entire year; so as you can imagine I was very excited to take a trip in store and try out some limited edition goodies! Whilst the beautiful colours and heavy glitters where gorgeously overwhelming, I actually ended up straying towards some of the permanent range, purchasing some new cleansers and well loved bubble bars... oops? The first time I visited my local LUSH, all the Christmas-y things were pretty much out of stock or seriously battered up and crumbled, so I left disappointed after being told I had to wait another 3 days before anything new came back in stock. As it happens, I needed to go back to town to pick up some last minute Christmas goodies and voila! They had pretty much nearly sold out of everything again so I made an extra effort to smell and check the ingredients of the Christmas items left as clearly they're bloody popular! 

I don't know if its because they had been on display for a while and left to air (being the last few left) but I honestly couldn't pick up on any scents apart from the 'Luxury Lush Pud' and 'Cinders' bath bombs. I'm not a keen cinnamon lover, and mostly found 'Cinders' to be a little overpowering, so I decided to stray away from the latter and rather opted for probably the most fun looking, and strongest smelling Christmas product they had - The Luxury Lush Pud Bath Bomb. The style and design of this bomb actually reminded me a little of Dragons Egg, which all be it wasn't one of my favourites, it was definitely one of the more colourful and interesting bath bombs to use! I absolutely love the little holly piece on top, adding a little festive touch amongst the overwhelmingly bright pink and multicoloured spots that encase this product. It's strong lavender scent encased me in a beautifully relaxing, room-filling essence and it really helped sooth my achy bones (ah I know, such an old lady!). 

When shopping for LUSH products, it's mainly the ingredients that are the selling point in my eyes. I think its incredibly easy to get carried away by the fabulous shapes, novelty animals, all alongside the blinding glitters which, if you've shopped in LUSH before, you'll know can quickly swallow up your money, all on things that well, lets face it, are pretty much totally a leisure purchase and aren't realllly needed. I was quite impressed by the oils included in this one, another reason why I bought it and it definitely did have a slightly noticeable beneficial effect on my skin, but I found that it's main benefits laid in helping me to unwind and relax.

When this beauty starts to fizz away in the bath, it's little multicoloured spots break off and disperse across the bath, dissolving at a much slower rate than the main pink segment which just goes crazy emitting a bright pink swish of colour throughout the water in no time at all. After a few minutes it was all over though, and I was left sitting in a bright, bubblegum coloured bath that smelt soooo relaxing - perfect for a night time treat! After about half an hour though I did feel that the majority of the lavender scent had worn off which was a tad disappointing. Nonetheless, I'm not really one to sit for hours in the bath anyway so it was probably good timing for me so that I didn't feel like I was wasting the bath bomb by getting out too soon as to not enjoy the product enough. For the rest of the evening I really struggled to stay awake. This thing really has super powers and helped me to get to sleep in no time at all which was pure bliss as it really helped relieve a lot of stress that had built up surrounding my dissertation write up!

In my opinion, this wasn't worth £3.50. Whilst I thought the colours were amazing and its strong lavender scent was relaxing, I didn't really notice much else. When it comes to LUSH I guess I just prefer the bath melt type because they just leave your skin beautifully smooth and scrumptious, which this one didn't. Would I buy again? Probably not, but given the right mood I'm a sucker for anything bright and colourful in LUSH so I might pick this up again next year to give it another go. I am a little disappointed I didn't get to try more from the limited edition range though! Overall I must have nipped into my local (which isn't all that local) LUSH store five times over the Christmas break and I was forever met with the few crumbly left overs and told to "come back in a few days". Surely if they know the Christmas items are popular enough to repeatedly sell out they should have ordered more stock? Oh well, hopefully next year I'll manage to get my hands on something more!

What Christmas LUSH products did you try out?
Hannah

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Friday, 9 January 2015

The Body Shop 'Satsuma Shower Gel' | Review


The 'Satsuma' shower gel is the first shower gel I have ever purchased and used from The Body Shop. I suppose I've always been a little put off by (what I feel is) it's hefty price tag, £4 for 250ml of product, which is a lot more expensive than my long loved Radox shower gel in 'Coconut' which costs £1.50 for the same amount. Nonetheless, it is the month of Christmas (I do like to milk it haha), so I decided to take the plunge and treat myself and I am so happy that I did! As a major lover of the all-famous 'Satsuma' scent, this item definitely does not disappoint and almost overwhelms you with a burst of bright, citrus orange as soon as you click the lid open in the shower. I don't find that this lathers up so well, which I was a little dismayed by at first, but I learned that this is a lot more oily than to what I'm used to, and with patience and rapid circular motions, this spreads so easily over the body and rinses off lovely leaving such soft, nourished skin in its wake. 

I always find it a little weird that people only ever talk about the smells of shower gels rather than their actual ability to clean (which of course is its purpose!), so I just wanted to state that in terms of cleanliness, this thing is amazing. I have a shower each and every morning and I wake up still feeling fresh and clean the following day which, clearly is ideal, and so I'd recommend this to anyone looking for a shower gel that not only smells great, but actually keeps you feeling lovely and clean throughout the day!

Ingredients wise, nothing really jumps out at me apart from its very small dose of salicylic acid. I had noticed that my mild chest acne had practically disappeared around a week ago, something which I just thought had happened on its own as I hadn't introduced anything new into my body care and I didn't think that a shower gel would make a difference. Whether the salicylic acid in this product has helped get rid of it, I really don't know - but it certainly did clear up around two weeks after I started using this so it most probably did contribute in some way! (Woop!) I know that a lot of people stay away from salicylic acid as, over time it can have a detrimental effect on the long term quality of your skin (if used in large quantities); however, on the ingredients page on The Body Shop's website, this is labelled very far down the list which means it isn't a main ingredient and therefore there is only a little dose integrated into the product. So I wouldn't be too afraid, however I'm not sure if it would be enough as to aggravate someone with sensitive skin hence why I thought I'd mention it!

 I reckon I'm about half way through this little gem now, and the big question is: will I be repurchasing it? I'd like to think so. I might perhaps try another scent to get more of a feel for The Body Shop's shower gels in general, but I have to admit, satsuma is probably my favourite so I can definitely see myself turning back to this one in the future!!

What's your favourite shower gel from The Body Shop?
Hannah
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Thursday, 8 January 2015

The Body Shop 'Africa Honey & Beeswax Hands and Foot Butter' | Review


# Holy Grail alert!!! #
Wowee. I must have had this sat around for the longest time now, and I am so annoyed at myself for having pushed this little beauty to the back of my drawers time and time again. The Body Shop 'Africa Honey & Beeswax Hands and Foot Butter' now hosts centre stage on my bedside table and I don't think I'll be changing it around until it runs out. Now, I don't have particularly dry hands, so when it comes to hand creams I often find it difficult to find something that isn't too thick or greasy - yet still proves hydrating, which is where this bad boy totally hits the nail on the head. I had been suffering dry palms (and I mean really dry) which is quite unusual for me and well, my hands were in need of a pamper anyway, so I decided to give this a go in the hope that it would sort out the problem quickly and get my hands back to tip top condition. After having used this for a mere two nights in a row, all my hand troubles had melted away, and with the occasional application since, my hands have been in pretty much perfect condition! Yaaay!

I'd like to say that I use this butter each night, but realistically - I'm just a bit too lazy and forgetful for all that. Although, I have to say that personally I've found using this butter around three times a week has actually proved more than enough as to leave my hands feeling deliciously smooth and healthy, and I haven't seen a dry patch in sight since I've integrated this into my (occasional) 'before-bed routine'. I can't vouch for the power this has in helping out with dry feet, because I have a bit of a thing with my feet and I just can't fathom the prospect of possibly lathering them in cream (bleugh!); however, I do believe that this stuff could combat any degree of dry skin you might suffer, and it's gentle nature means that it can be confidently used on sore, chapped hands (or feet) without causing any irritation (which is always a bonus!). The only ingredient that I think perhaps you might want to consider when using this hand butter is 'Myristyl Myristate', which is an emollient (i.e. something which is used as a moisturising treatment to treat quite severe skin conditions such as eczema for example). Whilst emollients are perfectly fine to use on your skin and are not harmful to your body, I just thought I'd mention that 'Myristyl Myristate' is one of those ingredients that, whilst it has very beneficial effects to the skin on your hands, it is also very high up on the comedogenicity scale, meaning that it can very easily clog up pores so don't go touching your face too much after applying this (hence why I use it before bed)!

Overall, I love everything about the 'Africa Honey & Beeswax Hand and Foot Butter' from The Body Shop and would highly recommend it for anyone on the lookout for a deeply hydrating hand cream that sinks in quickly and does the job, all whilst requiring minimal effort and time from you. The only thing I possibly don't like about this product is its packaging - which does look very fancy on my bedside and makes it look a lot more expensive than it actually is (making this a great idea for a gift), but it can be quite difficult to close the metal clasp when you're hands are a little bit slippery after use, which has led to some snapping on the fingers at times! Nonetheless, after seeing the wonders this butter has had on my hands, I'll just have to let that go and be less impatient trying to close it I suppose! :P

What has been your holy grail hand cream this winter?
Hannah x


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