Last week, I made good use of a day off work by taking a much-needed visit to the hairdressers. The semi-permanent colour in my hair had very much faded, leaving a mish-mash of shades which just looked a bit naff. Coupled with my split ends that desperately needed chopping off, I popped into town to Shine Hair & Beauty in the centre of Brighton town to have a little bit of a pamper. My hair was done by the lovely Courtney, a developing stylist at the Aveda salon, and I opted for a balayage. I have had this done before but the colour didn't go very blonde and was very warm toned but it's such a low maintenance hair style that I thought I'd try it again. Courtney was absolutely incredible and gave me exactly what I wanted; a lovely blonde colour, natural and subtle look and a style that is so easy to keep up.
If you regularly read the recipes on this blog you will quickly notice that not only do I love baking, but I'm a bit of a chocoholic (understatement of the year). There are a good few brownie recipes in these archives, all from Slimming World friendly bites, naughty gooey bakes and healthy alternative using sweet potato which I think derives from a Deliciously Ella concoction. I've been training at the gym since January this year and have loved seeing the change in my body shape, however thought that it was time to lose a few pounds to help the definition come through (plus my weight had crept up ever so slightly and I want to get back 'into shape'). Strict dieting and restricting your calories is tough, but when you have a sweet tooth and love snacking things get even tougher! I found this recipe on Amy's Healthy Baking and, after a couple of tries, seem to have it perfected. 108 calories per brownie and they're not full of 'crap'... they're the perfect little treat!
Back when I started this blog, I was obsessed with lipsticks. Anything bright and bold was adored, and I loved the way a sassy colour on my lips could make me feel instantly confident. Pinks and reds were my main choice, however, fast forward a few years and (although I do love a red lip from time to time- who doesn't!?) it's mainly understated nude tones that I wear more in my day to day life, if I wear any at all! When Sophie Ebeling, founder of Gobsmacked, emailed me regarding her new lipstick brand I was so intrigued. I'm very fussy about the quality of lipsticks that I wear- anything other than nourishing, long-lasting, true-to-colour and comfortable and it's chucked aside. On my first try of this stunning new product I knew this was going to be a brand to watch.
You may have seen pictures and some reviews recently of another new Rimmel launch. The folk at Rimmel have been very busy indeed recently- you may remember that they also launched these shake brow powders not long ago, and it seems they're keeping with the shaky theme. This Volume Shake mascara is quite an innovative product, the main feature being quite a heavy tube which sits within the mascara. The sole purpose of this addition is to shake things up- quite literally, as when the formula seems to be drying up, a quick shake of the mascara will refresh the product and keep it as good as new. Although I haven't had the mascara long enough to test if this actually works, I do have a few things to say about the mascara in general.
There are certain beauty tools that, although aren't necessarily the most glamourous thing to discuss, are essential to our everyday routines. Whether that be an amazing toothbrush, the blending tool you can't live without or the hair brush that leaves your hair feeling amazing, there are some things that are just worth mentioning. What's great about this Alfa Italia brush is not only is it practical and seamlessly been integrated into my beauty routine but it looks gorgeous too. My photos don't really do it, or the colour, justice (the reflective coating is so tricky to capture without my gormless face being shown staring back!), but the rose gold de-tangling brush is just such a fab alternative to the Tangle Teezer that everybody knows and loves.
I love experimenting with recipes- although (as you can probably tell from this site), it's usually baking. However, once in a while I will try a new savoury recipe. Although not many make it on to this site (apart from stand-out creations like these puff pastry twists), some things are just too clever/ convenient/ tasty not to share. These mini tortilla wrap pizzas are one of those things. Whenever we have meals like fajitas, there is always a wrap or two left over and we never know what to do with them. After googling some recipes, I found this ingenious way to use up these spare wraps that would otherwise be thrown away or go off. These yummy pizzas make for a super quick and easy lunch and are so incredibly more-ish. Plus they are great as party food snacks that will leave your guests happy without creating cooking stress for you!
I have quite a strict skin care routine. Cleansing, applying serum then moisturising is just part of my evening- but there is one extra step that I never fail to add. Applying lash serum is something I have done religiously over the past few years. Going through periods of time having no lashes at all after a trichotillomania splurge means I'm always desperate for them to grow back and will do anything to speed up the process. Lash serums are almost a motivator for me as I look forward to them growing back. Not only that, they help to repair some of the damage I have done to my poor lashes over the years; when they do reappear, they are often weak, short and flimsy. Using a serum is my daily way of saying sorry to my lashes and trying to inject some health back into them. The only problem is that the serum I swear by (RapidLash) is quite pricey- the cheapest I can find it for is £30-odd for a little tube. So when No7 launched their own affordable version in December last year, I knew I had to try it out.
You may have seen photos of this gorgeous product over my social media or had a glimpse of it's beautifulness in my post about some beauty bits I received for my birthday. I've taken a very short (week) break from blogging just to regain my mojo for writing and all the inevitable admin that comes with the hobby, but I couldn't resist opening my laptop and writing about this palette which I have fallen so head over heels for. Although I've tried liquid and stick form highlighters, I never get the look I want from them- I've always preferred powder formulas. When my usual highlight powder block ran out, I knew exactly what I wanted to try next. I've seen photos of Sleek's 'Solstice' highlight palette all over Instagram (probably because it is so photogenic) and completely adore the range of shades available. So, when my birthday came around, this was first on my wishlist!
If there's one thing I love, it's a good multi-functional beauty product. Not only do they give you an extra 10 minutes in bed, but can save oodles of space in your make-up bag (not to mention saving you money!). Dr Pawpaw is one of these products that have many uses; the balm can help temporarily soothe dry patches of skin, provide some glossy moisture to lips, be used as a makeshift cuticle oil and also provide a hint of tint to cheeks (and this isn't the end to its uses!). Their multi purpose soothing balms are something I have heard a lot about but never tried out for myself. Although they aren't a product I find myself constantly turning to, I have found they are a good beauty item to keep in your handbag for when emergency chapped lips strike.
For the past 8 years, I've been wearing false eyelashes to cover up signs of the fact that I have no real ones of my own. Trichotillomania has left me bald for pretty much all of my life, so when I discovered false lashes, it gave me a glimpse of hope that I could perhaps, for the first time, look normal again. As with all new beauty techniques, it takes a long time to perfect a skill- and after all this time I'm still far from being a pro at applying the falsies! However, practise makes perfect, as they say, and over time you will try new things and new ways of applying which will eventually lead to you finding styles and methods you are most comfortable with. In all beauty tutorials, the gurus always use tweezers to apply their lashes. This was a foreign concept for me, as I grew comfortable with applying them with my fingers. So which method really is better for applying them to bald lids?
Primark isn't your usual place to go beauty shopping. It's great for picking up a bargainous outfit, but when it comes to make-up, it's not the first place you think of. However, I have tried a few bits and pieces over the years and have come to love some of it (namely their false nails, false eyelashes- which are surprisingly good- and nail varnish remover pots). Although they have their standard PS Love beauty range, Primark have just released a new collection which is oh so instagrammable...the Insta Girl range. Although I'm unsure about the concept for this (I for one hate the Instagram / blogger cliches that the range capitalises on), the makeup pieces that it has produced are pretty darn cute.
Thursday 9th March marked my 23rd birthday. I don't want this post to come across as braggy in any way, like a 'look at all of these wonderful gifts, I'm so spoilt' type of post. However, I received a few beauty-related gifts that I am so excited about, and whilst I throw myself into trying each and every one of them out, I wanted to give you guys an insight into what will probably be making its way onto this site in more detail soon. Kind of like a 'these are super pretty, here's a glimpse into what's to come' post, rather than a brag as to how many gifts I received. Anyway, my friends and family clearly know me far too well, as most things I got were beauty items that I've been lusting over for a while. Here are a few things the beauty addict in me is jumping up and down about...
When I moved house back in December, I had a huge clear out of all of the rubbish I have accumulated in Brighton over the past four years. Old uni fancy dress wear was chucked, outdated accessories left behind, and an overhaul of my make-up collection ensued. Having a make-up addiction, a mum that hands everything down and a beauty blogger cousin means that my collection of beauty goodies can get quite large and needs clearing out regularly; most things don't see light as I stick to my tried and tested favourites, meaning I often miss some absolute gems that are hidden in my stash. One of these gems is the Neutrogena Visibly Clear CC Cream. I would not think of this brand if I wanted a base product, as it's definitely a company better known for their face washes! However, my judgement was wrong and I've now been wearing this almost every day for the past month!
Having had no eyelashes for pretty much all of my life, I like to think that by now I'm a bit of a connoisseur of false lashes. Although I have given up wearing them on a day to day basis (let's face it, in an office no-one cares if you have eyelashes or not), I still think they are a great way of not only covering up signs of hair loss but also preventing pulling; if you go to pull your eyelashes you'll end up taking the whole false lash strip off so it works quite well as a deterrent! One of the first brands I dabbled in when I initially discovered the beauty of false lashes was Kiss. Their lashes transformed how I saw trichotillomania and how the disorder made me feel- for the first time I actually felt like a normal human being with natural-looking eyelashes. Their (relatively) new 'Blooming Lash' collection could be another life-changing range for those with hair loss. Here's why...
Aside from the set back from Storm Doris last week, the sun seems to be finally making an appearance, it is actually light when I wake up and get home from work and the temperature seems to be warming up slightly. Does this mean spring is finally creeping upon us?! I've been stocking up on daffodils to brighten the home (although it still seems to early) and starting to get into the spring mood, including the things I'm cooking. Although hearty, stodgy bakes are great comfort foods for those cold weekends when you're stuck indoors, I think you can't go wrong with citrus-flavoured cakes when we edge into the brighter seasons. I tried this twist on an old, zingy lemon recipe (found here) recently by chucking in some blueberries- I think this is my way of trying to trick myself into thinking it could be slightly healthy. Obviously, lemon and blueberries are a well-known match made in heaven, so this is a fool-proof recipe that will work every time.
Since officially moving in with Stewart a couple of months ago, I've become obsessed with decorating our flat with lovely things. Having only previously had pre-furnished student accommodation, there wasn't too much I could really do to make give the houses those warm, personal touches and make it truly feel like 'my own'. Since getting our flat, we've been able to start from scratch, buying our own furniture which reflects our personal tastes and those finishing decorative touches you can only really get once you're settled. We keep adding little things bit by bit and we are slowly getting there- it definitely feels like 'ours' now, but we still have further to go in really putting our stamp on the place. As we continue this home-decorating journey, I thought I'd share some of my favourite places to by those cosy homeware pieces on a budget- let's face it, after the cost of moving, those decorations need to be as money-saving as possible!
You may have seen the latest launch from Rimmel all over social media recently. Their new range of powders claim to be the latest innovation in brow make-up, offering a 3-in-1 service that allegedly gives you 'brows like Cara'. Now, Ms Delevingne is famous for her thick brows, possibly single-handedly kick-starting our obsession with having the perfect brows, so that is a bold claim! Available in four shades, the clever little pots of powder blend in with your natural hairs to help sculpt, fill and define. Whilst this sounds great and I'm sure work wonders for those with hairs for the powder to blend with, how do they fare for people with no brows?
There are two beauty-related moments in my life that have completely changed my 19 year relationship with trichotillomania. The first was the discovery of false eyelashes aged 15; the second was having my eyebrows tattooed in January 2016 by Sian Dellar. It sounds sad, but these beauty epiphanies have completely changed my life for the better. Those of you who have trichotillomania might understand this; those moments that make you feel as though there is light within the murkiness of the disorder, that provides a glimpse of hope, that makes your life with hair loss tons easier. For me, microblading was one of these profound moments. I finally had brows. Not only that, but they were brows that looked completely natural and that I didn't have to worry about. One year down the line, they are still there (although much more faded) and as I look to my top up appointment, I've been thinking about the impact this procedure has had on my life.
For a while now, I've been experimenting with differing recipes using protein powder. I absolutely adore baking (as you might have guessed), but with a gym-obsessed boyfriend with a sweet-tooth who moans about the amount of sugar and fat I'm tempting him with, I decided to try and find alternative 'healthier' recipes. Switching up ingredients for healthier versions is fine, but when it comes to baking with protein powder, everything just goes wrong. There's something about it which just makes the texture take a turn for the worse, not to mention the taste of chocolate flavoured powders within baking! After having a search around online, I found this recipe which I have made the tiniest tweaks to. The results? Finally a baking recipe including protein powder which doesn't make me look like the world's worst chef! With Valentine's Day coming up, I put a romantic twist on these and cut them into heart shapes (heads up- these make a great thoughtful little gift for any gym-loving partners in your life!), but any other time of the year, just cut into squares and enjoy.
Whether you are looking forward to it, dreading it or couldn't care less, there's no avoiding the fact that Valentine's Day is just around the corner. Corny cards are on shelves, roses are being fully stocked and beauty launches are aligning themselves with the most romantic day of the year. Although I love the thought of putting some time aside for your loved one and having the excuse to have a proper date night (you can check out my top date ideas here), Valentine's Day itself is a bit of a commercial gimmick. That said, I can't help buying into this trend; the pretty, pink, sweet beauty ranges are right up my street and too irresistible to walk by. So, why not use it as an excuse to show yourself some love. You're amazing and we all need treats every now and again! Here's my pick of the lovely Valentine's themed beauty launches that are all under £6; there's no reason not to treat yourself with these!
Although we're now in February and positively thinking that winter is nearly over, it seems as though it is still getting colder by the day! I'm currently wearing my thickest winter coat, big cosy scarf and gloves whenever I decide to venture outdoors; add to this the dreary rain and you've got yourself a recipe for awful British, cold weather. Whilst some of you may see this bleak temperature as an opportunity to snuggle up under a blanket with a mug of hot chocolate (cream and marshmallows on mine, thanks), I personally can't wait until it starts getting lighter, sunnier and warmer- not least because of the havoc this chilly weather is causing my skin! Not only do I need to reach for the extra nourishing night creams, but my lips get so sore, red and dry with the slightest drop in temperature. If you're anything like me, cold months call for heavy duty lip balms, so here are a few of my favourites.
Ever since I got to the age when I started discovering make-up and the world of beauty, I've grown up with Boots No7 skin care. My Mum was completely obsessed with it and used the infamous Protect & Perfect range from the brand religiously up until about a year or so ago when she branched out and started dabbling in other names. Growing up with this No7 influence, I first used (and still use) their Essential Moisture day and night creams for whenever my skin needed a hit of hydration and completed adored it. No7 have built their reputation around offering the cutting edge of skin care technology for half the price you would get elsewhere, and that is exactly why many of their products have become staples in beauty routines everywhere. Their Lift & Luminate Triple Action serum is one of these; what's even better is that the best-selling formula has now been extended into the full range which launched 18th January. Previously just Lift & Luminate, meet the revamped Lift & Luminate Triple Action range.
Whether you are looking forward to it or hiding from it, there is no denying that Valentine's Day is slowly creeping up on us. Even before Christmas was over, the red and pink romantic messages were shoved onto the shelves of every card shop. I'm a firm believer that Valentine's Day has just become a huge commercial opportunity rather than actually being about romance, so putting some time aside for your beau and spending some quality moments with them is, in my opinion, one hundred times better than buying a bunch of flowers and a box of chocolates (although don't get me wrong, I do love both of those things...). If, like me, you're based in Brighton, I've come up with a list of date ideas that are appropriate for all budgets, whether you've been with someone a while, on a first date, or on a friend date!
You come across things in the beauty world every now and then when you think 'why had I not heard of this before?!'. These products are the ones that instantly become staples in your beauty collection, things that your make-up routine could now not live without. This could be your holy grail foundation, the art of contouring, the way you blend your make-up, or a tool which just makes application a whole lot easier. Recently, I've been trying out Beauty Essentials' Shadow Switch, a dry brush cleaner that will revolutionise any make-up lover's routine, especially those who adore eyeshadow!
I created this blog as a way to help others who also suffer from trichotillomania. To help them see that they are not alone in their struggle, to create a place for open discussion about the disorder, a space to ask questions without judgement and as a way to offer the beauty advice I have accumulated over the years which can help cover or ease the disorder. On the whole, I want it to be a positive space on the internet that will help the progression of understanding the illness and help break down the stigma and ignorance of others. But that's the big aim. The small, everyday aim is centred around the person who may regularly read this site or stumble across it when searching for articles on trichotillomania. The ones who read this to find comfort in that there is someone out there like them- bald eyelids, struggling with the judgement of others, the fear of people knowing what you do. And whilst I try to keep this as a helpful, motivating site, it isn't sustainable. If I write about trichotillomania in a way which the everyday sufferer can relate, this cannot be wholly positive. Because it isn't a positive disorder- it is soul destroying.
Each year, my Mum seems to treat me to some Soap & Glory make-up bits and bobs for Christmas. Although some love their huge bath and body promotion that is on just before Christmas, I actually way prefer their make-up. I don't know if my Mum intended it, but it seems to have become a Christmas tradition now, ha! As you might be aware (from the amount I rave about it), I absolutely adore their brow pencil and also really rate their SuperCat eyeliner (both of which I also received for Christmas, thanks Mum!). But alongside these, I love trying out other bits and bobs from their make-up range. This year I received their BeautyFull House which provided me with some more exciting pieces to try out.
One thing that I have never really used is soap. Not in an 'I never wash' way (obviously), but I've always found them incredibly drying on my skin, opting for a moisturising shower lotion or nourishing cleansing cream instead to stop my skin feeling tight and dehydrated. The only way I would use them would be if I treated myself to one of Lush's glorious designs (although, let's face it, I only, ever go in there for bath bombs). When Sabai Soaps got in touch me asking me to review their artisan natural soaps, I thought this could be the perfect opportunity to see if I could replace my shower gels and creams once and for all.
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