Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Jaclyn Hill x Becca - Champagne Pop Review

When Jacklyn announced her collab with Becca cosmetics, I just KNEW we were in for a highlighter of dreams. Her Shimmering Skin Perfector in ‘Champagne Pop’ certainly did not disappoint. 

However, this little darling has been a buggar to get hold of! It completely sold out on release and I’ve had it saved on my bookmarks for daily refreshing ever since. You can just imagine how delighted I was opening it as a birthday present from my bestie, what a babe!

First impression was that compared to my usual gold toned highlighters, this looked very warm and peachy. Even though I'm using it sparingly at the thought of it being limited edition, it's quickly become my go-to highlight. This is NOT a highlighter for a natural make up look, this packs some serious shimmer and glow. The pigmentation is incredible, with an almost creamy formulation considering it’s a pressed powder product. A quick, light sweep across cheekbones will take your make up from flat to fabulous in seconds.

‘Champagne Pop’ is quickly becoming one of my all time favourite highlighters and I’ve already got my eye on the other Becca Shimmering Skin Perfectors.
£32Cult Beauty.

Sunday, 17 April 2016

So, you want to be more organised?

If you know me, you know I love a good ‘ol list. I think I get it from my Mum, she has always had lists of jobs to do, lists of what to pack, what’s needed on the next shop. I thought I would share with you just a few of the basic things I do to keep myself feeling organised.

Keep your surroundings tidy!
When your desk is cluttered and messy, so is your mind set! I can’t concentrate until my workspace is minimised to just the items I need for that particular task. A quick five minute tidy up can really boost your productivity and reduces distraction. I also do this before leaving the house and before bed. It never feels good getting up or going home to mess. I always try to clean as I go where possible, it saves time in the long run and creates a better environment for concentrating.

Make lists!
Don’t leave it until five minutes before going to the supermarket to write a quick ‘make do’ list, or even worse – not write one at all! You’ll over spend and won’t come back with anything you needed. I write a weekly meal plan for the week ahead, so I know exactly what I need to buy. I add cupboard/cleaning bits to this list as they run out. I keep it on my iPhone notes, as it is quick and easy to grab. I also have a ‘to do this week’ list on there, which includes posting birthday cards, personal things I need to buy, errands I need to run etc. A ‘wish list’, this gives me something to work for and by the time it’s my birthday or Christmas, I’ve got plenty of ideas for when family ask. You might think my list includes designer handbags and shoes, but the first two most desired purchases on there at the moment is a cordless Dyson hoover and a ‘decent umbrella’… Oh, adult life.

One thing at a time!
I’m still working on this one. I’m terrible at delegating and always seem to overload myself with tasks because I like them done my way. More recently I've learnt to step back sometimes and just take on one task at a time. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by a big list and not actually complete anything, as all you’ve done is ‘bits’ here and there. I’m going to do a separate blog post on my tips and tricks around the house (don’t get me started on storage and filing), but it is important where possible to delegate some of the workload to your house mate/partner or you will simply burn yourself out. Saying that, my Mum has always said to me “If you want something done, do it yourself!”. But really, do take support where you can.

Prioritise your day and plan your week!
On a Sunday, I make sure everything is ready for my week ahead. The house is clean, the washing is done, the beds are changed, uniforms are ready and my bag is packed. I get my diary out and plan out my week. Knowing what you’re having for dinner, what night you’re seeing a friend or going on a date night, what shifts you’re on, what events you have coming up, when the dog needs worming... It will keep your mind focused, save time deciding what to cook/do, you won’t double book and you’ll fit everything in. I always take a glance at the weeks ahead too, if someone has an upcoming birthday, I know to get a gift in time or an outfit for a special occasion. Whether you prefer digital or old school pen and paper, I couldn’t live without my diary. If you keep it up to date and pay attention to it, you can’t go too wrong. 

When I have my breakfast each morning, I make a note of everything I need to personally do that day. When I get to work, I then write a separate list. I then prioritise the list of what is most important and work my way through. Where possible, I try to get the most mundane or time consuming tasks done first. That way, you won’t put them off all day and once the worst is over and done with, your day will just flow and you’ll feel so much better for it. I get SO much satisfaction from ticking off a list! Gosh, am I really admitting all of this?!

De-clutter and be more mindful!
I can’t stand clutter and mess. I don’t get ‘hoarders’ and the thought of not knowing what I have or where it is makes me feel stressed. If you don’t use it or need it, why are you storing it in your home? Be mindful of new item’s you purchase. Do you really need another one of those? How much are you going to use it? Where are you going to actually wear that? Not only will you save money by having this mind set, but it’s satisfying just having what you love and need. Having a good clear out does wonders for my mind, whether it’s my purse, the cupboard under the stairs or my e-mail inbox. You'll stop losing things too!

Stop procrastinating!
I find it frustrating when people say “Well, I don’t have time to do that” whilst sat on their phone, mindlessly scrolling through Facebook. I love social media, but it’s so easy to get sucked into it and waste HOURS of your week being unproductive! No, you don’t need to take that Buzzfeed quiz to find out what Harry Potter character you are. If you are still struggling to ‘find the time’, get up earlier! You can avoid stress by planning ahead and not leaving everything last minute. Fail to prepare, prepare to fail!

To some, this may seem extreme (this is only the basics of what I do, yes I’m aware I’m a complete nerd) but the smallest changes could make a huge difference to your daily mind set and well–being. Remember to be realistic, don’t set yourself huge tasks to do in short time frames. Once you have noted your thoughts and to-do’s onto your phone or on paper, you can clear them from your busy mind and focus more on the moment. Most importantly, never forget to schedule in some time for YOU.

Saturday, 9 April 2016

Brand review: Urban Veda

If you look at the ingredients of your current skincare products, how many of the words can you actually pronounce? I’ve learnt from working in beauty over the years that marketing is clever and brands such as Simple (sorry to name drop), really aren't that... simple. I wanted to simplify my beauty routine with less harsh chemicals to see if it made a difference to the overall appearance of my skin. I came across Urban Veda when researching natural skincare brands and I’ve been lucky enough to trial both the soothing and radiance collections over the past few months.

Urban Veda’s products are uniquely formulated to help maintain the skin's natural balance. Using only natural and pure ingredients, the award winning brand is based on the therapeutic properties of plants. These plants are rich in vitamins, antioxidants, essential fatty acids and phytonutrients. The range has been formulated using natural ingredients and claims to ‘pollution proof’ skin, leaving it less vulnerable to the environment. Not to mention they are also free of SLS, nasty parabens and GM ingredients. Not impressed yet? Well, Urban Veda is also a vegan and cruelty free brand and all of the packaging is completely recyclable too!

The skincare is split into four ranges aimed at different skin types:
Purifying (neem +botanics) – Aimed at congested/oil prone skin types.
Soothing (sandalwood +botanics) – Targeted towards sensitive skin types.
Radiance (turmeric +botanics) – Great for revitalising dull skin to restore a natural glow.
Reviving (rose +botanics) – Gives a plumping effect to tired and mature skin.

 The first range I tried was the soothing (sandalwood + botanics) range. Suitable for even the most sensitive of skins. To read a breakdown of the impressive ingredients list, click here

The first thing I noticed with about this collection was the smell, ugh. I love sandalwood and the plant scent that comes from these products is so relaxing and uplifting. I treat myself to a pamper night weekly, so I lined up all my new products on the side of the bath. I started off with the facial wash which is a gel type consistency. It left my skin feeling deeply cleansed, but refreshed rather than stripped. However, I have still been opting for a separate oil-based eye make up remover and keeping this for my second cleanse. I then got into the shower and moved onto my body products. You can really feel the scrub taking off all those nasty dead skin cells, but it doesn’t feel harsh like other scrubs I’m used to. I think the key ingredients of aloe vera and ylang ylang are to thank for that. I used the facial polish for my face and neck area, again this isn’t abrasive at all but the tiny grains really buff away at the skin. By the time I was lathering up the body wash, my bathroom smelt like a spa retreat! Patting my skin dry with a warm fluffy towel, I then massaged in the body lotion using circular motions (always in the direction of the heart). I usually stick to a body butter, but for a more light weight option, I found the lotion really nourishing and quick absorbing. Lastly, I swept a generous amount of the hydrating toner to my face on a cotton pad, following up with the night cream. I honestly felt completely pampered and renewed, my skin felt like silk. I think this is the first time I've ever used the same brand and line of products all together and it was so refreshing. By layering the products, the scent really lingered through until the morning.

 The other range I was lucky enough to trial was the radiance (turmeric +botanics) collection. Great for revitalising a dull complexion or a skin lacking in moisture to restore that ‘Victoria’s Secret’ glow. For another powerful list of plant ingredients, click here.

I tried this line a week later later, in exactly the same order. Because I enjoyed the soothing line so much, I was really looking forward to my pamper night to test the radiance line. Once again, from the minute I got into these products, I was overwhelmed by the scent. To be honest, I do love a strong scent, especially when it comes to body products. You get a really good hit of patchouli with this collection, and Urban Veda… If you’re reading this, PLEASE add some kind of body spray/fragrance to this line! If you’re near a Holland and Barrett, you need to pop in and get a wiff of this to really appreciate it. Half way through my pamper routine, I’m back in at my little at home retreat. Texture wise, all the products feel practically identical to the soothing range. My skin felt equally revitalised and radiant. Even though I really enjoyed both lines, I have nearly used up all of my radiance collection and have already re-purchased the body products I’ve run out of. I have also found when I have used the radiance body products in the morning, I haven't felt the need to follow up with a perfume.

The day and night creams are nourishing and rich, yet easily absorbed and have kept my skin glowing. Admittedly, I do prefer my facial skin care to be a little more active and results driven. I also prefer the night cream, over the day. I think this is because the scents give me that feeling of wanting to ‘wind down’. I also find myself avoiding the day cream on make up days as I just find it a little heavy for under foundation.

I love the brands philosophy and I’m really impressed with the quality of the products. I think they are fantastic value for money and I really do now look forward to my pamper routine. If you would like to see more of a breakdown and detailed review of any particular products from the brand, I’d be more than happy to do so. 

The website also includes a short questionnaire to find out which range is most suitable for you. Top marks from me (& George)! http://www.urbanveda.co.uk

© Katie Louise

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