Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Wise Wednesday #10

Hello everyone! I really hope you're having a good week and well, if you're not, don't worry, because we're half way there to the weekend! - Sound familiar? Recently I've been doing nothing more than dreaming of how great life will be once I've finished all my final year exams in a months time, so much so that I haven't been making the most out of the days I am leading now. Whilst I actually find revision an enjoyable, invigorating experience, to re-go over what I've learned and explore wider debates in the vast literature, it can prove extremely draining, tiresome, and most of the time presents itself as almost never-ending. I think that the constant pressure of upcoming exams and crossing off yet another day on your calendar is enough to get anyone at least a little down, so that's why I decided to choose this quote today, as I know a lot of you are in the same position as I am at the moment all stressed during this lead up to exams, but I also thought that it would also prove truthful for those of you who aren't as well. 

Whilst it's desirable and encouraging to think about all the things I'll have the time to do once I finish my exams, I decided to stop a few days ago now. I decided that, this is the moment, this is my time to really knuckle down and make sure I approach this last hurdle of my degree as best I can so that I can safely look back with no regrets, no matter what the results may be. Although, I felt that in order to stay motivated, I needed to stop perceiving the now as so miserable and daunting, and try to make something good and enjoyable out of each day. Since doing this I've had a much better time and I've found it so much easier to sit down and revise, because it is no longer the dominant, negative focus of my mind. Because I'm making sure to fill my day with other enjoyable tasks, when I actually come to revision, it now feels a lot less daunting, and I'm only experiencing the more positive aspects of it.

"Don't wish away your days, waiting for better ones ahead" can speak wisdom to us all that sometimes wish the day was over and done with, often before it's even started in some cases. I've really enjoyed adopting this new mindset and ensuring that I'm making the most out of my day, and to enjoy it, rather than pushing today and the foreseeable future to the side whilst I dreamingly think about the freedom of the post-exam period. Hopefully this quote will remind you to try and do this too! 

Good luck to everyone who does have exams and/or deadlines near-approaching!

Hannah x


Friday, 24 April 2015

Gemporia: Ratanakiri Zircon 9K Gold Ring* Review | Jewellery

Hello everyone! I hope you had a lovely week! Today I'm very excited to be reviewing this beautiful 0.29ct Ratanakiri Zircon 9k Gold Ring* that was very kindly sent to be by the lovely team at Gemporia. Until recently, I had never heard of Gemporia, however I was soon sold by their wide array of styles, gemstones, metals and designs, as well as the encouraging brand ethics behind the sourcing of those materials. Not only does the brand work closely with the communities where the gemstones are sourced, (the stone of this ring being from Cambodia - how cool is that?!), getting actively involved in localized charities that support the health and education of those sourcing the materials, the brands ethos stresses that "beautiful jewellery shouldn't cost the earth", which I think is a wonderful attitude to have (and is quite a clever slogan!). The prices are absolutely amazing for the carat weighting and precious metals used, yet the quality doesn't at all suffer which I think is absolutely admirable as it makes the luxury of fine jewellery a lot more accessible to those of us who would like to treat ourselves to something special, but can't afford to fork out serious dollar. Unfortunately, I'm not able to wear high-street jewellery as the high acidity in my skin means that I'm prone to getting green fingers (eww!), so I'm always on the hunt for good quality precious metals that are budget friendly, which is why I'm so excited that I've now discovered Gemporia and their fabulous range!

What I love most about this ring is that it's small, delicate, and discrete, but it shines so brightly making it appear a lot more expensive than it is - some of my friends even thought they were diamonds! As soon as I unveiled it from it's little velvet pouch I just squealed with joy as it's exactly what I've been looking for and I think it'll make a lovely addition to anyone's ring collection. 

Whilst some might not like the thinness of the metal band, I personally love this, and I think it ties in perfectly with the ring stacking trend that everyone seems to be loving right now! I've worn this on it's own, and stacked with the other gold rings that I own; which is great because most of the time I don't have the patience or minutes in the morning to fiddle around trying to see what jewellery pieces will go together and with what I'm wearing. I just love how universal it's design has proved, and it just goes with everything which is fabulous! Again, I think that it's universal nature would make it a great gift for someone as I can't see anyone not liking or at least not finding use out of this ring!

What I also love about Gemporia is that they have a very generous 30 day money back guarantee, alongside frequent sales and live auctions where you can watch the prices of some seriously fine quality rings plummet during those temporary periods. What I love about this is, not only do the live auctions teach you a little info behind the value of gemstones in general, but you can treat yourself, without feeling at all guilty, with the reassurance that you can return if you decide you don't like it (Although, I somehow can't see that happening!).

Despite being an avid ring and general jewellery lover (more so than make-up - EEK, I know), I've never featured or talked about any of my pieces before and I'm not really sure why. Nonetheless, I was especially thrilled to work with Gemporia because, as stated above, I totally admire their positive nature towards providing good quality materials, and their inspiring attitude towards aiding the communities where they source their materials which I feel is especially important when working in developing nations, and something that I wish all companies would do. Also, I think that it's great that after all that, they still manage to keep their pricing affordable so I think it will appeal to many of you guys who are perhaps on a tighter budget or might be looking to treat yourself but don't want to splash out a serious sum of money!

Overall, I really love this ring and am so happy that it is now part of my collection, and I hope you enjoyed this entry too! I'd love to hear your thoughts on the ring I chose, or any others that you are eyeing up for yourself (I think it's safe to say that I'll definitely be making quite a few purchases from Gemporia in the future!) I really hope you all have a great weekend 
[ where there is currently 20% off everything at: (yaaaaay!!!) ].
Hannah x


Friday, 17 April 2015

Product Empties #1

I've said time and time again that 'Product Empties' have o be some of, if not my favourite posts to read. I love hearing what people generally think about a product after having had enough time to really test it out and use it in a range of scenarios - so I thought it only made sense that I blog one myself! I actually found I had quite a lot of empties so expect more in the near future, but for today I have the following to talk about!: 

1. Oral B Pro-expert mouthwash - I thought I'd include this because I have been going through these at the speed of lightning recently! I am obsessed with having a clean mouth, and trust me, I have tried a LOT of mouthwashes and this is just the best (for me anyway). I 100% recommend you pick this up if your mouthwash isn't quite doing it for you!

2. Sainsbury's eye make-up remover pads - I've had such bad hay fever recently and I accidently left the house the other day after forgetting to take any tablets and guess what? my mascara went everywhereeeee so I picked these up in a time of emergency. I'll certainly not be buying these again as you need at least a couple on each eye for them to get anything off and even then I still struggle! My 'Ultrabland' cleanser (by LUSH) and 'Camomile' eye make-up remover (by The Body Shop) are a billion times more efficient and you only need a few drops to get the job done with those!

3. Lush Ultrabland facial cleanser - I'm already digging deep into my second pot of this because it is absolutely wonderful and I have no idea what I'd do without it! You can read about why I love this little beauty so much here.

4. The Body Shop seaweed mattifying day cream - I really don't know how I feel about this moisturiser! It possesses a sort of gel-like consistency which I have to admit isn't really my cup of tea. Whilst I felt it did keep my face matte throughout the majority of the day, if I went to work and worked up a bit of a sweat the shine would still come through so I can't say I'll be repurchasing this!

5. The Body Shop skin clearing foaming cleanser - Once again, this is an absolute lifesaver for me and you can read about why here. In short, I hardly ever get spots, but when I do, they come deadly and strong and this is always what I'll turn to to get rid of the little rascals!

& there you have it! Have you tried out any of the above before? If so, what were your thoughts?
Hannah x

Monday, 13 April 2015

My Handbag Essentials

I was aaaaaalways that person to carry around a bag bigger than the sun, always. I have no idea why when I look back because it gave me nothing but sore shoulders and a bad back. Since having sorted my back out after multiple (painful) sessions at physiotherapy, I've really tried to make sure that I carry around smaller bags, packing only what I feel I 'need' to have on me. I think the bag pictured above has to be the smallest bag I own and actually use, so I thought it would be a fun idea to show you what I carry around in it, and what I consider to be my handbag 'essentials'.

1. My phone. - I could quite happily go without a phone in all honesty but I always like to have it on me when I'm out the house just in case something happens. Sounds grim I know but when you grew up fainting every time you walked for longer than five minutes, you'd understand!

2. A pen. - It was uni that did this to me I swear. I can not leave the house without a pen anymore. I just always end up needing one whenever I don't have one in my bag, and never do when I do carry one on me, but at least I have it there just in case! It's the biro curse. 

3. Lipstick. - I'm not a huge lipstick wearer I'll have to admit. I do go through my phases, but I included it because if I am wearing something on my lips I feel as though I'd just be doomed if I leave the house without it! Recently I've been absolutely loving MAC's 'Capricious' lipstick.

4. Tissues & hand wipes. - Ok these are quite fancily packaged aha. Usually I'll have a pack of kleenex and a KFC hand wipe stashed somewhere at the bottom of my bag but I got these in a little Tumi 'flight bag' when I last went travelling and just rediscovered them in the side pocket so I thought I might as well picture them in this post! Anyway, I don't see how anyone can feel prepared leaving the house without these essentials. I think it's worth noting here too that I seem to always be the one to supply my friends with tissues/wipes/sanitiser when they're in need so I feel as though I have a duty to carry some with me haha.

5. Hand cream. - I never thought I'd see hand cream as a handbag essential but for the first time in my life, I've been suffering from pretty dry hands which NO. NO THANK YOU. So I like to carry a hand cream around with me to remember to reapply it throughout the day otherwise I'll just forget to and lets face it, nobody want to be getting dry hands now do they?

& that's it! I suppose I'd usually carry around some pain killers on me too, but other than that, I'm set to go!
What are your handbag must-haves?

Hannah x

Saturday, 11 April 2015

Cougar Beauty Products: Perfect Pout Lip Plumper* | Review

Hello everyone! I hope you've had a lovely week thus far! Today I have another product review for you, this time focusing on the 'Perfect Pout Volume and Shape Definition Lip Plumper'* by Cougar Beauty Products. Since Kylie Jenner came on the scene I feel as though it's become almost 'trendy' to plump up your lips at least a little. I have to admit, I am definitely not one for lip plumping as it's all too much fuss for me, and I haven't had much success in the past. I always used to hate liquid/gloss methods of lip plumping as I could never deal with the way that type of product would make my lips feel - y'know, all tingly and like they're on fire? Nevertheless, when Cougar Beauty Products contacted me to see how I'd like their lip plumper, I thought I'd give it a try - and oh am I so glad that I did! 

The 'Perfect Pout Volume and Shape Definition Lip Plumper' comes in a small tube packaging which means it's brilliant for carrying around when you're on the go. What I also like about the packaging is the applicator isn't the typical 'smear your lips all over this' type which usually makes this type of product disgusting after only a few of uses. Rather, this lip plumper possesses quite a precise applicator. I put a few dots of the clear liquid formula along my lips and just rubbed my lips together to disperse it evenly - no sticky packaging or fingers necessary thank you! 

Firstly, the best thing about this product for me is that the blood vessels in my lips don't feel as though they're exploding like a million suns as other products of a similar type have done in the past. It's soothing, and tastes a little like peppermint which is just lovely and actually feels quite refreshing when applied to the lips. I find that my lips did enlarge slightly, only slightly though, but to be honest I like that. My lips are already big enough for my liking, and I only really wanted a bit of omphh to the sides of my top lip which I feel this lip plumper achieved beautifully. I was left with plumper, fuller lips - but the effects were subtle. I like a natural look, which is why this worked for me so well. However, if you're wanting something that makes your lips ten times bigger then this isn't the one for you. 

Not only did it add subtle volume to my lips, my lips were left feeling soft and 'plump', as in the healthy kind of hydrated 'plump' which made it a pleasure to use. I felt as though I was wearing a gloss that just made my lips look simply better. On the product description, Cougar Beauty Products states that the Volume and Shape Definition Lip Plumper contains: "Vitamin E for antioxidant and moisturising properties, Corum and Pepper mint for heating and cooling sensation – creates a tingling effect." Whilst my lips did indeed feel moisturised, and I did experience a unique, soothing sensation, I didn't experience much tingling - which, as stated above is why I liked this product so much.

After a few minutes, it's glossy texture sinks into your lips ridding the lips of any shine, however, what I don't like about this product is the residue it leaves is a little too sticky for my matte lipsticks. I could still apply creamier lipsticks perfectly, but the mattes were just a big no no. That's my only tiff, and the price. I wouldn't pay £25.00 for this product. As mentioned earlier, it isn't really in my direct interests to try and plump up my lips because I do have prominent-enough lips for my liking anyway. In saying that though, this is the only lip plumper I've ever tried and liked, and it comes in efficient packaging which means that it will last a long time. You only need the tiniest blob and there's 10ml of product there so if you're in the market to try a new lip plumper that's both volumising and moisturising, I would say that this is worth the money when considering the amount you get. However, if lip plumpers are something that you're new to, and/or something you're just wanting to experiment with, I'd opt for a cheaper one! 

Overall, I really enjoyed using this product. I love that it didn't make my lips go all crazy and feel weird, and I love that the results were very natural looking, yet, there was a noticeable difference to the shape of my lips.
What do you use to achieve that 'plumper' shaped lip?
Hannah x

Monday, 6 April 2015

Notebook Haul

Hello everyoooone! Now I really wasn't sure about this one but I asked you guys on twitter if you would like to see a notebook haul and a lot of you said yes so this one's for you! I have to admit, I absolutely love looking, having, admiring (aka squealing over) new notebooks. There's something so fresh about an uncreased spine and a bed of gorgeous smelling paper to explore ahead of you. I absolutely love notebooks (if you couldn't already tell), and have a bit of an obsession with them so I had been on a notebook purchasing ban for over a year now... but I just felt that the time was right to pick up some new babies when I stumbled across a lovely selection when I was out having a wonder around town!

Firstly, I've decided to use the gorgeous polka-dotted Emma Bridgewater as my 'Blog Ideas' book, and it's actually proved very helpful thus far because I was previously only using a tiny little thing which didn't really accommodate for my vast amounts of big writing haha. I feel a LOT more organised now and it's so refreshing to have the next few month's of posts planned! Secondly, I picked up a little green notebook with lovely little flowers all over it, purely because it was a sunny day and the pattern is so bright and cheerful! It also feels really great, and the paper quality is amazing too so, bonuses! It doesn't actually look all that pretty in these photos but I promise you its a lot brighter in person! Finally, the travel book. I was going to pick this up but couldn't justify buying three notebooks, so my mum very sneakily bought it for me as a little treat and eeeeeeeep! I absolutely love it. I haven't started using it yet, but I think that I'm going to treat it as a sort of diary and/or scrapbook type of thing for when I'm on my future travels!

Sometimes, when you have so much to do and think about; and you're driving yourself mad whilst those thoughts are all up in the air, the best thing to do is get a new little notebook and just jot everything down. I feel so much better having done so and I definitely a lot more organised! 

Are there any other notebook addicts out there like me? 
Wishing you all a fabulous start to the week,
Hannah x


Friday, 3 April 2015

Lush 'Ultrabland' Cleanser | Review

As promised, today I'll be reviewing the all famous, yet vastly overlooked 'Ultrabland' (< link) from Lush - described as an 'Ultra-simple and ultra-effective' cleanser, which I have to say, is totally spot on. As stated on Lush's website, 'Ultrabland' is based on an ancient Greek formula for cold cream, which doesn't really sound all that enticing, but I really do feel that the simplicity of this cleanser is what I love most about it. Ultrabland is an emulsifying cleanser, giving it a thick, butter-like consistency. It includes a variety of natural oils such as rosewater, alongside beeswax and honey which grip onto any dirt and make-up on your face, breaking down even the most stubborn of mascaras (Benefit 'They're Real' I'm looking at you!) giving you an intense, satisfying cleanse. However, what's special about Ultrabland is that unlike a lot of other powerful make-up removers, it doesn't leave your skin feeling at all tight or stripped. Instead, you're left with smoother, plumper and healthier looking skin. 

This cleanser only has ten ingredients in it, which I have to admit made me doubt it a little at first. I think the main three ingredients that I feel have had the greatest effect on improving the condition of my skin are: almond oil - which hydrates the skin; honey - which acts as a natural antiseptic and exfoliator; and rose water - which I found helped calm any irritation and smooth any rough areas on my face. Not only does this cleanser deep clean, as well as lightly moisturise and exfoliate, it also claims to rebalance problematic skin within just four weeks of use and I'd definitely agree with that statement.

My skin has never looked this good (or at least, since I was a little girl). Whilst some redness still lingers around my nose, chin and cheeks, the level or redness has gone down considerably, and the general condition of my skin has moved from what used to be very oily, highly contrasting combination skin, to what I'd now consider normal most of the time. I do still suffer the odd dry cheeks and shiny nose, but they are no where NEAR as bad as it used to get. I really do feel that the moisture in my skin has become a lot more balanced over the past few months and there is no doubt in my mind that Ultrabland has played the greatest part in this transformation. I've had so many compliments on my complexion since I've integrated this cleanser as part of my daily morning and evening routine, and people have noted that I now have much brighter, 'glowing' skin which is just lovely as a dull complexion is always something that I've struggled with.

When using this cleanser, you only need to apply a small dollop to dry skin, then massaging it in in circular motions. Soon, the warmth of your fingers builds and it's butter-like texture turns into a clear oil that starts to break down and grip onto your make-up and any other dirt on/in your skin. When I feel that all of my make-up has been broken down, I simply grab a warm soaked flannel to wipe off the product and voila! All gone. I tend to go in with a second massage of Ultrabland after having removed my make-up, and leave it on for ten minutes whilst I brush my teeth and get read for bed to enable my skin to really benefit from the goodness of the natural ingredients inside. Since I've started doing this, the positive effects of this cleanser have vastly increased. I think just using something that requires you to massage it into the skin alone has had a beneficial effect on my skin because it really ensures that you're using a cleanser that is penetrating into the surface of, and clearing out your pores. Once again, I'll then lightly rub off the cleanser using a warm flannel, and most often or not I won't use another product on my face before bed apart from moisturiser and/or a serum. Even then, because this cleanser is so hydrating, I often find that if I leave it on a little longer than ten minutes that I don't even need to use a moisturiser afterwards as it's just so hydrating.

I just thought I'd mention here - the reason why I'll only use a flannel when removing this particular cleanser is because I've found that the rough surface of a flannel is far superior at picking up Ultrabland's thick consistency. A lot of people have in the past complained that this cleanser leaves a thick 'grease' like residue on their face but I honestly just think that's where they're using something much less abrasive to remove the cleanser such as a cotton pad or muslin cloth. Even though Lush themselves recommend that you remove Ultrabland with a cotton pad, I really wouldn't because it just doesn't take the product off your face (or I found that it didn't at least). 

Even though the smell can be off putting at first, I'd whole heartedly recommend that you at least try a sample of this cleanser. It really is 'ultra-simple and ultra-effective'. My skin is clearer, more balanced, brighter, and more hydrated. Whilst is hasn't fully got rid of any acne, blackheads or redness, it has vastly helped in controlling those impurities on my face and even though something so thick can appear nothing but daunting to fellow sufferers of clogged pored, do NOT be afraid of this. It really doesn't clog the skin at all and that is coming from someone who usually finds that as a real problem. I have been using this cleanser once-a-day at the very least since mid December, and it is by far the most effective cleanser I have ever used, despite its soft, gentle nature. I can confidently rub this into my eye area without worrying about potential irritation, and the simplicity of it's base, consisting of mostly natural ingredients is just amazing considering it has had far greater effects over other cleansers I've tried that rely a lot on chemical ingredients. Overall, I'd say this is an extremely underrated cleanser and one that deserves a LOT more attention - especially seeing as it's extremely affordable at £11.50 per 100g, which lasted me three months despite using it averagely two, sometimes three times a day during that period.

I'm sorry this was such a long review, but I honestly can't stress enough how much I'd recommend that you try out this cleanser. Even though I only picked it up during mid-December last year, I'd go as far as to say that this was definitely one of, if not my best skincare discovery of 2014.
PLEASE go and pick up a sample to try - I promise you won't regret it! (Access product here)

Hannah x


Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Wise Wednesday #9

This is the first week of revision for me. The first week of five before BOOM, exams. I have to admit... at this point, five weeks does seem a long way away, well, four and a half weeks now. But when I think back to how quickly the past few months have gone... well it's actually a scarily short time away from knocking on my door. The worst problem I have concerning university work and my anxiety is the stress, worry and anxiety just thinking about starting to do something. I suppose I'm standing at the start line, and the mountain of work I need to do just seems atrociously frightening right now; but then I realised that I can't get to that point where I need and want to be until I get over this stress and fear and just start. So yesterday I decided to get through everything on my 'To-Do-List', reply to all my e-mails, send off all the paperwork I needed to complete, organised any appointments and meetings all so that today I can just sit down with my brain, notes, library books, note cards (and apparently my cat), and hopefully spark what will be a successful week of revision! 
Wish me luck! 
Hannah x
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