Current Haircare - Shampoo/Conditioner

Friday, 21 November 2014

Dealing with hair that's greasy at the roots and dry at the ends has become a bit of a pain in the neck to be quite honest; finding shampoo/conditioner to sort out both problems has proved quite difficult! I know Lee Stafford do one for 'oily roots, dry ends' but I'm sorry, I'm not prepared to spend £8.99 each just yet... However, Schwarzkopf Essence Ultime is usually £4.99 a bottle but it's on offer at £2.49 at the moment so I thought I'd give it a go. Sucker for a bargain, I know.

Schwarzkopf Essence Ultime Omega Repair £2.49 (usually £4.99 each)

Developed by Claudia Schiffer, the Omega repair shampoo and conditioner contains rich omega oil to repair damaged hair cells and prevent split ends by up to 90% (oop, there we go again with the big claims). Omega Repair is supposed to be most suitable for damaged, depleted hair; words which I would usually avoid when it comes to choosing shampoo and conditioner because it usually means they're quite heavy which can weigh down my hair but I'm so desperate to make my hair look less like straw I'm willing to put up with a certain degree of product weight...

The first thing I noticed about these were the smell, they smell luxurious. You know that kind of 'salon fresh' smell, well this is what this shampoo and conditioner leaves on your hair which I absolutely love! Both products are nice and thick so you don't need to use loads to get the results and I find that even just after the shampoo my hair feels really soft; some shampoos can clarify a little too much and make my hair feel really dry and strawy even though it's wet... if that makes sense? But it's clear that these products contain oils because after shampooing/conditioning my hair feels really soft and manageable. 

One thing I will say about these is although I love the feeling of my hair being soft, you have to be really careful that you wash out ALL the product because I've got out of the shower a couple of times now and realised that my hair still has conditioner in it even though I think I've rinsed thoroughly (I've even got half way through drying my hair and discovered it still had conditioner in it... that was annoying). But if you use the conditioner sparingly and rinse thoroughly you shouldn't have this problem. 

I've found that my hair is far more manageable than it's been for a long time and even though it hasn't sorted out my oily roots (not that I expected it to) and it hasn't worked miracles on my hair I would definitely recommend this to anyone with normal to thick dry hair. I wouldn't say it's suitable for anyone with thin hair because I do think it'd weigh it down far too much but if you're looking for something to soften up your hair, this could be for you!

While it's on offer I think I'm going to try the Crystal Shine range for when I've finished these two bottles as that sounds quite good as well. Saying that, I still don't think I'd pay £4.99, I still think that's a bit steep for a high street shampoo but while it's on offer at £2.49 you can't go wrong really.

What's your fave shampoo/conditioner at the moment?

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It's Beginning to Smell a Lot Like Christmas...

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

The Coca Cola advert has been on tele so it's now the official countdown... right? OK so maybe it's a little early for some of us to be thinking about Christmas but I'll tell you now that it's never too early for your house to be smelling a bit festive! I love the smell of cinnamon and other sweet scents so lots of the Christmas candles are right up my street! But if sickly sweet isn't your thing there are a great range of other Yankee Candle scents which might tickle your fancy...


Yankee Candle Wax Tarts* £1.20 each Yankee Direct

There are 4 brand new Christmas scents from Yankee Candle this year along with some of the old favourites (Christmas Eve, Christmas Cookie, etc. ) which are Candy Cane Lane, Angel's Wings, Christmas Garland and Icicles. I have the new scents in wax tart form but they do of course come in all forms; jars, tealights and votives. There's something for everyone in the Yankee Candle range; if you're a fresh and clean kind of person then Angel's Wings would be perfect for you, if you're into leafy, pine scents then Bay Leaf Wreath or Christmas Garland would be a good choice and if like me you're into sweet, cinnamon kinds of Christmassy scents then Candy Cane Lane would be right up your street.

When it comes to trying new fragrances I always like to get them in either wax tarts or votives just so I'm not committing to a massive jar... they're both cheaper and they don't last as long so if you're not so keen on one you haven't really lost out. Obviously, with the wax tarts you need something to burn them in which is where a tart burner* comes in.


Petal Bowl Tart Burner* £4.96 Yankee Direct

There are some more Christmassy burners available but this is one which you can have out all year and it's really reasonably priced at under £5, it'd make a perfect Christmas present along with a few wax tarts and tea lights. If you didn't already know, the tart burners are really simple to use: just light your tea light and place underneath then crumble a little wax tart into the bowl on top. I like to let the bowl warm up a little so that the tart melts as soon as it hits the bowl and you can also mix up a few tarts together to get your own unique scent. 

Are you in the mood for Christmas yet? What's your favourite Christmas scent?

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How to buy perfume without smelling it first

Friday, 17 October 2014



Some of us don't live in big cities and our nearest beauty hall is a decent car drive away so buying things like perfume, which is a very personal and individual thing, can be difficult without making that trip out in the car. I've bought a few perfumes online now without trying them first but it can be quite worrying at first, especially if you're spending over £20 on something which you've never smelt in your life!

Basically, you'll probably notice that there are some keywords which are used when describing perfume; 'fresh', 'floral', 'fruity' and 'oriental' are all common words used by brands and shops to describe scents. Generally people tend to favour certain types and I now know which keywords to look for when choosing perfume and which ones to avoid.

I really aren't keen on 'fresh' perfumes (Davidoff Coolwater) and I also don't tend to go for overly floral perfumes like Marc Jacobs Daisy and Chloe. I look for keywords like 'oriental' because it puts more of a musky, spicy spin on the perfume... it can also makes it a stronger scent which can be very easily recognised if you smell it on someone else. My number one perfume of all time is Jean Paul Gaultier which is a heavy floral-oriental perfume; so I look for those keywords in the descriptions of other fragrances. Perfumes with similar descriptions are Armani Code, Valentino Valentina*, Dolce & Gabbana The One and Gucci Guilty so it seems sensible for me to choose something which has a similar description.

To do this yourself you just need to do is look at the perfumes on your dressing table and have a quick google to see what the keywords are used when they're described then have a browse on some different perfume websites (as they all have their own ways of categorising perfumes) and you should find something that's perfect for you without leaving the comfort of your own home.

Do you prefer fresh or oriental scents?

Rhodes 2014

Sunday, 12 October 2014

So I lied a little in my previous blog post title and made out I was going to Jamaica, but this time I actually have been to Rhodes; Not as exotic or as far away as a Caribbean Island but every bit as enjoyable. We went at the end of the season (1st October - 8th October) so it was quieter than normal but most things were still open and the weather was still gorgeous (between 24 and 29 degrees all week!). We stayed in a hotel called Sentido Port Royal Villas and Spa which was in the small, lesser known resort of Kolymbia (also spelt Kolimbia); the hotel was like nothing I've ever seen before...




It had 2 pools, 3 restaurants and the rooms were arranged in blocks rather than just being one big block of balconies which really set it apart from other hotels. We had a standard pool view room but the view was still amazing (first photo is the view from the balcony) and the room was amazingly spacious with a massive bed, sofa, flatscreen TV and mini bar. 


View from the back balcony (was a tad windy that evening!)

The only thing about the hotel was that the evening entertainment wasn't great and drinks were very expensive if you weren't all inclusive (we were half board) so we tended to venture out every night or stay in our room and watch films (might sound sad but we don't really get to watch TV and films at home because we work a lot so it's a luxury to just be able to relax in front of the tele). We hired a car for 3 days which was a very reasonable 100 euros and used it to travel to neighbouring resorts. One night we went to a Greek night in at the 'Cannon Bar' in Falaraki; our friends stay there every time they go to Rhodes so we thought we'd pay a visit to see what all the fuss was about...




The owner, George, was grilling fresh octopus caught that morning served with garlic bread and there was lots of shouting and singing coming from his direction. As the night progressed (and the carafes of wine were flowing on my table!) the plate smashing and Greek dancing started which was really fun to watch and George really made an effort to try and get everyone involved. I'd highly recommend a visit to the Cannon Bar if you're around Falaraki; it happens every Saturday night at 9pm.

We also took a trip to Rhodes Town in the hire car (the driving there really does leave something to be desired; safety is not on their list of priorities!!!) and we explored the old walled town for a while and also paid a visit to Sephora (what I want to know is why Greece can have a Sephora and we can't?!)






Rhodes Town although busy, is a really beautiful place and the old walled town really does take you back in years to how life used to be there with the maze-like streets and old medieval buildings. If I was to go to Rhodes again I'd probably be quite tempted to stay in a Boutique hotel in Rhodes Town... it has the hustle and bustle of the city but with a Greek touch. 


And then of course, the main reason why I love any Greek island... the food! I love pitta breads and taramasalata and tzatziki dips, I could literally eat them until they come out of my ears! 

Have you visited a Greek island? 

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Woah, We're going to Jamaica

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Totally Tropical went to Barbados, the Vengaboys went to Ibiza and I'm going to Jamaica!!

Ok... I'm maybe not lucky enough to actually be going to Jamaica but I've been making some cocktails to get me into the holiday mood! Cocktails are known for being free flowing abroad, especially in the Caribbean and the taste always reminds me of being somewhere just a little warmer than the UK.

Every country seems to have their signature cocktails; Cuba has the Mojito (one of my favourites), in Barbados is the Rum Runner and one of the signature Jamaican cocktails is Planters Punch. Virgin Holidays have created these great cocktail masterclass videos and kindly sent me a cocktail kit, challenging me to make my very own Planters Punch with a few extra treats from the Caribbean Island to try...




I had a bit of a Jamaican themed night in the pub last saturday when I got out packets of plantain crisps and unleashed the cocktail shaker. Plantain is a traditional Jamaican snack which is similar to our crisps, it's similar to dried banana but in savoury form; it sounds a lot weirder than it tastes because I can tell you now they're very easy to just keep eating and eating... and it's the closest thing you're going to get to banana without being banana so it's a fruit... right??? Anyway I got on with making the Planters punch and actually made some so everyone could have a try, it was incredibly easy to make and doesn't include loads of expensive ingredients; here's how it's done...

Ingredients: 
25ml Jamaican Overproof Rum
50ml fruit juice (I used orange)
Dash of cane syrup
Squeeze of lemon and lime

- Grab a tall glass and fill it with ice
- Pour the rum and fruit juice in (at the same time if you're feeling adventurous)
- Finish with a dash of cane syrup and a squeeze of lemon and lime
- Garnish with a slice of fruit (orange, pineapple... whatever you have)

So simple yet so tasty (and quite strong so be careful!) and you could use any fruit juice you have laying around in your fridge and I'm sure that regular rum would work just as well (and it wouldn't pack such a punch in the alcohol content department!).

If you fancy getting in the holiday mood then here you can find lots more cocktail recipes.

What are your favourite holiday cocktails?

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Hair Removal with Skin Doctors Hair No More

Friday, 3 October 2014

Hair removal: one of the aspects of a beauty regime which seems to be largely ignored by the beauty blogging community. Although it may not be glamorous it's something that most of us do, most women have a bit of a battle with unwanted hair in various different places on their body and for many of us a life without body hair would be SO much easier.

There's quite a few options for hair removal on the market from waxing and depilating to laser removal and then there's plain old shaving with a razor and we all have our own personal preferences.   Personally, I like to go for the free option which is shaving but the hair free results don't last long and shaving every other day has become one of the burdens in my life. I recently tried the Skin Doctors hair no more hair removal system which is a kit containing depilatory (hair removal) cream and an inhibitor spray which is supposed to stunt hair growth and give you smoother skin for longer. 

Skin Doctors hair no more hair removal system £11.99 Direct Cosmetics

The application is very much like any other hair removal cream in that you smooth a thick layer over the skin and leave it to work for around 6-8 minutes depending on how thick/coarse your hair is; my hair is naturally quite soft and fairly light on my legs so 6 minutes was enough for me. The process with hair removal creams can sometimes be a bit messy and smelly but I was pleasantly surprised by this one; I applied it with the spatula like it said in the instructions which made things SO much easier because there was no mess on my hands at all and although it does have a slight smell to it, it doesn't stink the whole house out so thumbs up so far!

When it came to taking it off after 6 minutes I used the spatula again to scrape it off going against the grain (it doesn't specify which way you should do it, I just found this was a cleaner finish) and rinsed it in a sink of water after every 'strip'. Yes it does make a mess of the sink and it does take some getting down the plug hole, in hindsight maybe it would be better to put it into a plastic bag and then into a bin. Overall it was totally painless and fairly easy to do but I was left with a bit of residue on my legs which felt weird so I had to go and shower of any remaining product and I could finally feel how smooth my calves were. I would say that the initial finish was better than shaving because I didn't miss any hairs which I sometimes do when shaving. 

The next step to this system is to spray the inhibitor in a fine mist over the area and massage it in until it has been absorbed by the skin. You then repeat this daily to help reduce hair growth. 

Results after a week: 
The hairs did grow back (as the packaging suggested they would after the first application) but they were noticeably softer and a lot less prickly. You know that spiky leg stage you go through, well I never went through that after using this. The hairs also seemed lighter and less coarse which is obviously a good thing. 

If you're willing to persevere with this over a period of several applications then I reckon it could be a really good product; nobody should expect miracles from a depilation product like this so to expect it to eradicate all signs of hair after one application is simply unreasonable. 

What's your favourite method of hair removal?

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A 'small change' purchase

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

The worst part about reading blogs is seeing products that I want but simply can't afford... talk about dangling a carrot! I know that lots of you are in the exact same position as me so today I'm bringing you something which you should be able to go buy without any guilt or real damage to your bank account, I like to call it a 'small change' purchase; one which you could probably buy with the money you find lying around your house/car/old coats and bags...

Powder Brush £4 Wilko

Wilkinsons (or 'Wilko') isn't a place you'd expect to find some decent beauty tools/products but since the recent launch of Essence and Wilko's very own tool line, things are looking up for the high street chain. It looks like they might have taken a little bit of design inspiration from another high street makeup brand launched by two very popular makeup artist turned Youtubers with the sleek black handle and bronze colour block handle and the quality of the brush is certainly one of the best I've ever seen, especially for the money. 

As you can see the brush is very dense, with hues of red running through the black bristles creating a kind of ombre effect. It is so incredibly soft, like so soft I could just sit and stroke it (at the risk of looking a little bit weird). The large surface area means that you get plenty of product on and it makes powder application an absolute doddle; I've only used this with a pressed powder but you could use it with a loose powder and I would imagine the results are just as good. I compared this to the Real Techniques powder brush and I do think the handle is slightly more ergonomic than this one but the bristles on the Wilko brush are much softer.

So what I'm basically trying to say is that you need to get yourself to a Wilko's store or have a look on their website. Even if you don't need a brush, you need to see how soft these are!
Have you seen Wilko brushes yet?

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