Friday, 9 March 2018

A Skincare Reshuffle

A skincare reshuffle
After devouring countless amounts of sweet pastries in Paris and Quality Streets over the Christmas, it's fair to say my skin has broken out on/off these last few months. It's no secret that I like to spend my monthly pay checks on new skincare, but since I had a major room declutter ~post here~ I decided to strip back to basics and stop spending my wages on new products, until my skincare cabinet is near-on empty and ready to rent some newbie's.

Here in the UK, the weather has been awfully cold and snowy, which has had a huge impact on my skin needing an extra bit of TLC. I've been reshuffling my routine up a lot as well as upping my knowledge on skincare ingredients ~post here~ and, I think, *touch wood* I've managed to keep my skin at sort-of bay.

Here are a few products I have been using religiously lately that have made a bit of a difference to my skin.

Caudalie Makeup Removing Cleansing Oil
From a lazy girl's perspective, I've always used a cheap micellar water to remove my makeup, which is great for quick getaways, but my skin always felt unsatisfied and occasionally dry. I do love the Liz Earle Cleanse&Polish, but I found it quite rich on my skin so I popped into Space NK and decided to try a brand I would never think of trying out. The Caudalie Cleansing Oil has been amazing on my skin and removes all traces of makeup within a couple of minutes, it even removes harsh makeup. This is my second bottle now, which speaks for itself as it really is just so nourishing for my skin, I feel as though it has brightened my complexion and doesn't dry my skin out at all.

Dermalogica Breakout Kit
Only recently have I rediscovered this and have been using it all the time. I love all the products in the kit, but the ones that have really made a difference to my skin are the Cleansing Wash and their SPF15 Matte Moisturizer. Dermalogica is a bit on the pricey side, but I think it's worth it, if it has the key ingredients that your skin craves. 

The Cleansing Wash contains salicylic acid, which is obviously great for spot prone skin. I use this cleanser once a day as a double cleanser after I have used the Caudalie Cleansing Oil as my makeup remover. I then pop on the moisturizer and my skin is all prepped and ready for the next day. They've both been amazing for keeping my oiliness at bay and drying up any pesky breakouts, I am definitely considering buying the full size bottles once I've ran out.

Sunday Riley UFO (Ultra Clarifying Facial Oil)
I have had my eye on this product on Cult Beauty for ages, but it's either never in stock or I just can't justify spending £60 on a facial oil. Until I found myself in Edinburgh in Harvey Nichols on my birthday splurging on  this, in desperate need of a skin update. Honestly, this is probably one of the best products I have ever splurged on and I will be heartbroken when I run out. It contains so much goodness for the skin, ingredients like salicylic acid, tea tree oil, chamomile, black cumin seed oil - just so much good stuff! I only use this once or twice a week as a fancy-ass treatment, but when I do use it the next day my skin feels brand new. This has helped so much with redness, breakouts, blackheads, hydration and adding radiance back into my skin. I mean it doesn't smell the nicest, but the results I've had from this are incredible.

The Ordinary Niacinamide
A cult favourite of mine that I just cannot ditch from my skincare stash. This little beauty has changed my skin the most in terms of clearing up my pesky spots and redness. Containing zinc to help balance the aspects of sebum and Niacinamide to help reduce the appearance of blemishes and congestion. Both ingredients have done exactly what they've said to my skin, I pop a little bit of this on every other night when I don't use the UFO and wake up the next morning with healthier looking skin. I would go as far to say this is a game changer that will remain in my skincare regime for a very long time, yep shocker!

Kiehls Avocado Eye Cream
Yep, I use eye cream and have done for a couple of years now, I heard if you start when you're young you're in a better position to avoid wrinkles as early, so I mean of course I am going to do this! I love this eye cream it is so moisturizing under my eyes and really absorbs into my skin. I pop this on every evening before bed and wake up as though I have slept for 12 hours and have drank litres of water. Bit pricey, but out of all the eye creams I have tried this one has been a favourite, followed by Origins.

Elizabeth Arden 8 Hour Cream
I have definitely mentioned this on my blog before, it is such a staple piece in my skincare routine and it tends to come everywhere with me. It is amazing for not just moisturizing your lips, but for hands, elbows anywhere that gets dry. I would be lost without this stuff and god knows what the state my lips would be without it.

What skincare products are you enjoying atm??

Wednesday, 7 March 2018

5 Days in Iceland, Reykjavik

Iceland has been on my bucket list for what seems like forever and I am so over the moon to say I've been and saw the Northern Lights and swam in the unwinding hot springs. Reykjavik is such a beautiful, scenic city, especially with the snow that it almost doesn't feel real. I can imagine Iceland is stunning all year round, but for me the snow made it feel that little bit more magical and special.

Myself and three of my good friends travelled up to Reykjavik for four nights in the middle of February, potentially when Iceland was at its thickest with snow, although it felt anyways. We stayed in a lovely, cosy Air BnB in the centre of Reykjavik, where everything was pretty much walking distance from us.

We were lucky enough to go on all of the Icelandic tours we had booked despite the snowy conditions, we did however not get to see any whales when out in the sea. But that is what Iceland is all about, it's a hit and miss, you can't always predict it.
All the streets in Reykjavik were so picturesque with the colourful houses against the clean white snow, especially on top of the Hallgrimskirkju Church at the top of this little city. I'd definitely recommend making a trip up on top of this church to get an amazing panoramic view of Iceland from all angles. Although it is absolutely freezing on top of this 74.5 metre high church, it is such an illusory view to take in.

1.) Maybe book in advance if you can to avoid the long ques
2.) Wrap up extra warm it can get chilly on the top
3.) Go visit the church at night time and take a photo of it lit up
the harbour
Reykjavik harbour
Harbour concert hall
Reykjavik Old Harbour
Now this is the perfect place to come if you want that view of the mountains in the distance. This area again was quite chilly, but you tend not to care when you are taking in the beauty of the snowy mountains. We took a little stroll along to the Harpa Concert Hall, which is a stunning building with amazing architecture. This building in the evening is even more magical when lit up.
The golden circle
Gulfoss waterfall
The Geysir
The Golden Circle Tour
Probably my favourite tour of them all was The Golden Circle, a popular tourist route in the southern part of Iceland. The three primary stops on the route are the National park, the Gullfoss waterfall and the geothermal which contains geysers. This tour for me was the key to what Iceland is all about, which is why I enjoyed it so much. The geysers were incredible to see, especially when they erupted. I loved the Gullfoss waterfall despite the busy crowds of people trying to take photos. I would definitely recommend doing this tour if you want to see what Iceland has to offer away from the centre.

1.) Try and go as early as possible to avoid all the tourists
2.) Be patient when trying to view the sites, I had no patience when I was stuck in a crowd of people trying to escape.
3.) Try the lamb soup in the cafe next to the Gullfoss waterfall
The Northern Lights
The Northern Lights
Unfortunately my camera wasn't equipped to take decent photographs of the Northern Lights therefore I saved the ones that were taken on the evening we went off Super Jeeps page. I didn't have high hopes for the Northern Lights if I'm honest, our first night was cancelled due to bad weather which just set the mood for me. However, my mood sharp changed when I was in the back of an off the road jeep bumping around in the middle of nowhere looking out for stars in the clear sky. The Northern Lights weren't anything like I imagined, but it was such an incredible, out of this world moment being able to see the green light in the sky whilst drinking a hot chocolate. I would 100% recommend this, I mean you can't not see the lights if you are in Iceland!

1.) Wrap up warm, my feet were absolutely freezing standing outside in the middle of nowhere.
2.) Book with an off the road tour, you get more of a chance to see the lights if you go with a private company that take you to great areas to see them.
3.) Be mindful that there's always a chance you don't see them
The blue lagoon
The blue lagoon
The blue lagoon
The Blue Lagoon
Our last stop before heading back to the airport home was of course the Blue Lagoon hot springs. Another experience you just cannot skip out of your itinerary here in Iceland, what better way to end your trip than to soak up all the hot air and relax in the Blue Lagoon with a snowy view of the mountains. Me and my friends spent pretty much our entire time here taking photographs of the beautiful view. This was definitely the best way to end our stay in Iceland and something I'd love to be able to do again!

1.) Go early to avoid ques and crowds
2.) Go either on your way or from the airport as it's not that far away
3.) Invest in a waterproof phone case if you are wanting to take photos, I got mine off Amazon.

I absolutely loved my time in Iceland, Reykjavik, especially with the snow it made it feel more realistic and in some ways festive with all the fairy lights sprinkled outside peoples homes. I would love to go back and be able to see the whales and discover secret hot springs in the future, but for now I am happy to say I've seen The Northern Lights and swam in the Blue Lagoon.

Have you been to Iceland??

Sunday, 4 February 2018

51 Things To Declutter

51 things to declutter
When the word minimalism started popping up online I thought it was a trend that I'd start and probably give up within a day. And now here I am ten lipsticks down, one currently in-use mascara and only three out of like a million un-used, pretty notebooks kept. Man, it was tough saying goodbye to a lot of things, especially some of my 'worn once dresses' but once I detached myself to things it became easier and was worth it in the end.

Decluttering your home is such a good way to not only give your mind, clarity and balance, but to kick start the year and give you the motivation you need. 

Tidy house, tidy mind, right?
Here is a list of 51 things worth tossing out now!

1. Out of date makeup
There is usually a little tub on the back of products with a '12m' sign.

2. Out of date skin products

3. Products only used once or dried up
See ya later St Moritz Mousse

4. Makeup that isn't your shade
I said goodbye to so many Barbie pink lipsticks that don't suit me!

5. Old, dirty muslin cloths

6. Perfume bottles that have a drop left

7. Nail polish that has gone a funny colour

8. Clothes that have stains or holes in them
Soooo many pairs of socks and tights

9. Clothes that have been worn once and never again in more than 6 months

10. Clothes that don't fit anymore
More excuses to buy new ones right?

11. Clothes that make you go: what the f**k??
Yeah, I am talking about you T-shirt with a smiley pizza face

12. Bras that have wiring sticking out

13. Bras that have passed their sell by date
I'm talking ones that have lost their colour, shape etc.

14. Old bedding

15. Towels with holes in them

16. Books you've never read before

17. Books you won't read again
Bye my teenage favourite Twilight Saga books

18. Old magazines

19. Old letters, appointments
I managed to find my acceptance letter to university, flashback or what.

20. Letters with important details on that you can find elsewhere

21. Old Christmas, birthday cards
Found a Valentines card from my ex from like 11 years ago, Christ.

22. Old receipts, plastic bags

23. Out of date food
You'd think I was preparing for an apocalypse with the amount of tinned soups I had

24. Out of date tea or coffee

25. Cracked, chipped mugs

26. Dead house plants
I tossed a couple of succulents that refused to live...

27. Notebooks that have been used once and replaced

28. Pens that don't work

29. Notebooks that have/will never get used
So many marble notebooks

30. Earrings without a partner

31. Jewellery that has lost its colour

32. Watches that don't work anymore

33. Chargers for old phones

34. Old phones
I managed to sell my old Samsung Galaxy online and made a bit of money from it!

35. DVDs that haven't been watched

36. DVDs you can watch on Netflix

37. Games that never get touched

38. Boxes from electronics

39. Excess coat hangers

40. Wrapping paper scraps

41. Candles that have burnt out

42. Worn out hair bobbles
I am still working on this one.

43. Social media that you never use

44. Unsubscribe to emails you don't ever read

45. Spam/junk folder
So many emails offering me Viagra...

46. Blurred photos

47. Reward/store cards you never use
A library card? Really, Katie?

48. Old apps from your phone, you never open

49. Delete old contacts or texts

50. People who make you feel unhappy, anxious or doubtful

51. Negativity

What things on this list are you going to declutter??

Tuesday, 30 January 2018

101 Skincare Ingredients Guide

101 Skincare Ingredients Guide
Despite not writing as much beauty content last year, my skincare addiction is still intact and thirsty as ever to try more. I am a bit of a geek when it comes to skincare, therefore I have spent a great deal of time with my head buried in beauty dictionaries and upping my skincare-ingredients knowledge.

Skincare is evolving and brands are beginning to offer more honest, stripped-back unnecessary packaging and misleading ingredients. The Ordinary is a prime example of this, when this brand first came about I honestly didn't have a clue what terms such as 'Niacinamide' or 'Matrixyl' meant. It was because of this brand that I decided to properly get into skincare.

I decided to share the knowledge I discovered, some of which you may be familiar with, on what certain skincare ingredients do for your skin. I am also considering making this into like a 'skincare guide series' of what I've learnt, the dos + don'ts.

What is it? It took me a while to get my head around this, but to give you it straight AHA (alpha hydroxy acid) and BHA (beta hydroxy acid) have very similar benefits for different skin types. If you use the wrong one for your skin type you will realise it won't be doing much good. If you have normal to dry skin AHA exfoliants are best for you as these products love water and if you have combination/oily skin BHA exfoliants will work best as they love oil.

Glycolic Acid
What is it? So this little wonder worker is a form of AHA (alpha hydroxy acid) that exfoliates the skin, reduces pigmentation, uneven skin tone and dark spots. It is suitable for all skin types, but from personal experience it works best on normal to dry skin. 
The brands I like: Alpha H Liquid Gold or The Ordinary Glycolic Solution.

Salicylic Acid
What is it? This one I have been familiar with throughout my teenage years and it has come in handy over the years. Salicylic acid is a form of BHA (beta-hydroxy acid) aimed at oily, combination or acne prone skin types. Which basically helps with clearing pores, reducing breakouts and builds collagen (which is the main structural protein found in skin).
The brands I like: The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% or Origin Super Spot Remover.

Hyaluronic Acid
What is it? I had always heard of Hyaluronic, but never really knew what it did, until now. It hydrates and plumps skin by drawing in moisture. It is suitable for pretty much all skin types, but best for dry or acne-prone skin that needs an oil free option.
The brands I like: The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid.

What is it? Retin based skincare products are worth understanding because of their ability to reduce wrinkles, reduce acne and boost collagen. Retinoids work by correcting pigmentation and killing old cells in order to boost new ones Whereas, Retinol improves lines and discoloration issues. Both very similar products and can be used on all skin types, preferably aging skin. Best to start young right??
The brands I like: No surprise The Ordinary Retinol 1%.

What is it? This is a very effective skin-restoring ingredient that offers multiple benefits to help improve the appearance of enlarged pores, uneven skin tone, fine lines and weakened skin. I find this great for my skin, which is oily/combination/acne, but I can imagine this would be great for all skin types.
The brands I like: La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo or The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%.

Rosehip Oil
What is it? This oil is full of vitamins, antioxidants and fatty acids that are known to correct dark spots and hydrate dry, itchy skin. It also helps reducing scars, fine lines and is known to help with treating a cold. Can be used on all skin types, I like to use this maybe once a week.
The brands I like: Trilogy Rosehip Oil

What skincare advice have you learnt??

Friday, 26 January 2018

Beating the January Blues

How to beat the january blues
I think I speak for most of us when I say January is a sluggish month that needs to just hurry up and end. You've already broken your New Year resolutions, the Christmas decorations are tucked back in the attic, the days are short and gloomy, oh, and all the good Quality Streets are gone. Could this month get any worse? Oh, yeah, there is also a 5 week till payday, which will be spent on recovering from January.

Even though the end is nigh I still find this month ticking by very slow, so I've been making conscious efforts to try to ditch the 'January Blues' and decided to share what I've been doing.

Do Minimum
Even though January tends to be a month of organizing life, joining/getting back into fitness, eat healthy, clear-out, etc. I find January a much more of a productive month if I don't put pressure on myself to get everything done all at once. It just comes naturally. Take one goal at a time and the rest will follow suit.

One of the first things I have done this month was organise my room, I am all about that tidy house, tidy mind motto. Therefore, I gave lots of old clothes to charity, thrown out of date makeup out and revamped my room up. I've definitely had a more positive and productive attitude since doing this. I have a 51 Things To Declutter post going up soon also.

'Me' Time
One of the things I mentioned in my 13 Things I've Learnt in 2017 post was that self care is so important. Therefore, because January seems to be an intense and demanding month, I've made sure to give myself more time to myself. Things like reading more, skincare treats and having long baths, have made this month a lot more a little manageable.

Prioritize Your Money
Ha, it makes me laugh even writing this one down because money has definitely been the biggest stress this month. 5 week pays are the worst, especially when you are trying to recover from Christmas and have a trip to Iceland in February to buy for. I have however been checking my online banking every other day to see what payments come out on what days. I've also not been eating out as often this month, as that seems to be where all my money goes!

How are you surviving this dreary month??
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