Monday, 30 June 2014

Nicky Clarke Pro 2000 Hairdryer

Drying my hair is one of the things I hate doing the most, especially when I own a tiny rubbish dryer with only one heat and speed setting. I was asked if I wanted to try something from Nicky Clarke and I jumped at the chance to try the Pro 2000 Hairdryer, it comes with a diffuser and has three heat settings and two speed settings so it is SO much better than my previous dryer! The diffuser is perfect if you have wavy or curly hair as it doesn't cause any frizz and it maintains your natural curls/waves. The different heat and speed settings are really useful as if you want to use the diffuser, it works better on a low heat and speed. The dryer is also very light, the one problem I've had with hairdryers in the past is that they're ridiculously heavy and as someone who has the upper body strength of soggy lettuce; they were so difficult to use. However this one is so lightweight and easy to use! It retails for £29.99 which I think is really affordable, especially as you get the three heat settings, two speed settings and the diffuser as well!


Monday, 23 June 2014

Book Club: The Fault In Our Stars

"Despite the timor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel's Story is about to be completely rewritten."

This is probably one of the most hyped books of the moment, the film came out last week (I'm desperate to see it!) and there has been so much hype for it! I do think that it is slightly overrated, I'm not saying I don't love the book, I'm just saying that the amount of commotion over the book is slightly crazy! Saying that, I did really enjoy this book and finished it in a few days. (which is lightening speed for me as it usually takes me about a year to finish a book) 

The Good
I really love how the book is written, it is very charming and I think John Green is very clever in capturing each character perfectly. I think it's very difficult for a thirty six year old man to realistically create and write for a teenage girl but he manages to do it, I find Hazel a likeable and relatable character, she is intelligent and witty. I like the fact that the romance in the book isn't completely 'lovey dovey.' It's not overly cheesy or soppy. For a book about two teenagers with terminal cancer, it is surprisingly lighthearted at times which I think is mainly due to the characters dry humour.
Before you read it, you must be warned, you will probably cry. I did, of course I did, I cry at everything but there are a lot of sad moments throughout the book which is to be expected because of the theme. I think the reason I found it so sad is because I became quite attached to the characters. 

The Bad
There's nothing that I would say is "bad" about the book, well except for the ending but that's just because I was an emotional wreck. The only part I wasn't a huge fan of was Van Houten and the scenes with him in Amsterdam (I loved all the other parts in Amsterdam) however I did warm to his character more right at the end of the book. I guess I just didn't see the point of him at the beginning of the book but it makes more sense towards the end.

Overall I would recommend this book to everyone as I think it is a good read, it is charming and I love the humour between Hazel and Gus. As I said, I do think it has been over-hyped quite a lot but that doesn't mean I didn't enjoy it! After writing this review, I actually want to read it all over again!

Overall I would give The Fault in Our Stars, four stars out of five. You can buy it here!


Friday, 20 June 2014

Wishlist: Things I Can't Afford

Mulberry Lily Bag
I already own the Mulberry Bayswater bag but lately I've been getting withdrawal symptoms and would love another one (in my dreams!) I have been drooling over the Lily bag and I think the magenta colour is just beautiful! 
Kate Spade Thermal Mug
This isn't technically a "thing I can't afford" it's more of a "thing that is slightly overpriced" at £19.95, I'm not sure whether it's worth it just for a thermal mug but I love green tea and think it would come in so handy when I'm back at uni so it *may* end up being purchased!
Charlotte Tilbury Full Fat Lashes Mascara
I'm lusting after the whole Charlotte Tilbury makeup range, the packaging is just beautiful and all the products look freaking amazing! I saw a video on youtube where someone used this mascara and their lashes looked phenomenal!
Kate Spade Lemon Bag
Who doesn't need a handbag in the shape of a lemon? I saw this in the Covent Garden store and pretty much fell in love, I just think it's adorable. I've pretty much convinced myself that I *need* this, I need it don't I?
Smythson Travel Wallet
The other day I found out that I had won two return flights, two nights accommodation and £200 spending money for a trip to Amsterdam in a competition at work! I have wanted to go to Amsterdam for ages so I am ridiculously excited! I have been looking at travel wallets, and this Smythson one is beautiful and exactly what I'm after, (shame about the price tag!) if anyone know where I can get an affordable one, please let me know!

What items are on your wish list?


Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Origins Drink Up Intensive Overnight Mask

It's a well known fact that I love Origins skincare products, about 90% of my skincare routine is purely Origins products, they are a brand a really trust and is one of the only ones that doesn't react with my skin or cause a breakout. I picked up the Drink Up Intensive Mask a few months ago as I was having trouble with incredible dry skin, my skin gets dry normally but the past few months have been so bad! Every review I read was positive and said this was amazing so I was excited to try it out. At £22 it is slightly pricey, but I believe it is worth every single penny. I apply this about twenty minutes before I go to bed, it is very thick so this just gives it time to sink into the skin. Straight away my skin feels so nourished and I wake up in the morning with glowing skin that doesn't feel tight and rough, like it usually does!  This has a very fruity and fresh scent which I personally love but maybe not great if you don't like scented products! I use this about twice a week and the tube still has a lot of product left in it despite using it for a good few months, so you definitely get your moneys worth. I would definitely recommend this if you have dry skin or if your skin often feels dehydrated! 


Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Tangle Teaser

I'd briefly mentioned the Tangle Teaser in a favourites post but I thought I would do a full post on it. I had heard a lot of things about how good the Tangle Teasers were but always thought "how good could it actually be?" As it turns out, very. I was in Boots when I saw it and after all the good things I had heard I thought I would just try it out. I had always thought it was a bit pricey for what it was, it retails for £10.99 but I headed to the till and purchased. I am absolutely in love with this! Although I never thought my hair was that knotty or tangly, this comes in so useful, especially after I have washed and towel dried my hair, it can be quite knotty and now that I'm growing it out and it's getting a lot longer. The great thing about the Tangle Teaser is that you can use it on wet hair, I used to avoid bruising or combing my hair when it was wet as whenever I did, it would cause a lot of breakage, however this just made it even more knotty. On wet or dry hair this is so gentle and even when I have a huge knot, it doesn't tug or cause any pain, I always found that when I brushed my hair when it was dry, it would go so frizzy but this brush totally gets rid of that and just smooths out the hair perfectly! I think this is perfect if you have children, whenever I was a child I would complain so much when having my hair brushed as it was so painful. My 22 month old niece absolutely loves it and always picks it up when she's in my room and insists on brushing her hair! It comes in a few different colours, patterns and there is even a "Magic Flowerpot" version!

Have you tried the Tangle Teaser?


Monday, 9 June 2014

Combating Bad Skin

I've been consciously trying to take better care of my skin lately, for about six years I have really struggled with my skin and have had so many doctors appointments for it, as well as two creams and four different antibiotics. Recently it has been so much better so I thought I would share some of the skincare products I've been using as well as some other things I've been doing.
After I remove my makeup, I use the Origins A Perfect World Cleanser. For ages I used the Origins Mega Mushroom Cleanser but fancied a change so picked this up, the consistency of this is more "soapy" than the Mega Mushroom one so I think it would work better on oilier skin. But this has been working well for me! Once or twice a week I use the Origins Clear Improvement Charcoal Mask, this is a great product and probably one of my favourite masks, I genuinely think this has helped my skin and blemishes so much! Another mask I love is the Origins Drink Up Intensive Overnight Mask, I apply this about once a week before I go to bed. This is amazing if you have dry or dehydrated skin, you wake up in the morning to beautiful feeling skin! I promise I'm not sponsored by Origins haha! I love their products and just find that they work for me and don't irritate my skin or cause breakouts. Another great product is the Pixi Glow Tonic, I don't use this everyday but maybe every few days. This is a god sent for acne scars which I have a lot of, any scarring or marks on my skin fade away with this product, I just apply it with a cotton pad. Whenever I have a spot I use the Lush Grease Lightening, I generally use this at night and by the morning, the spot has either gone or significantly reduced in size. Finally is Duac Cream, this is something that I was given by the doctor for my skin however I believe you can find it online, this works wonders! It can make your skin quite dry for the first few weeks but after that, it's fine! 

Green tea 
 Green tea has lots of health benefits for weight loss, health and skin! There are also so many different flavours to choose from, I personally love Green Tea with Lemon, Green Tea with Apple and Pear and Green Tea with Salted Caramel. (yes, I'm aware that sounds so strange but it's SO good!)

Cows Milk 
A while ago I stopped drinking cows milk, I had heard that it wasn't great for you and I had also heard that a lot of people had given it up and found that their skin improved. Milk often has different chemicals added to it which can react with your skin, I drink Almond Milk instead, it also has a lot less calories than cows milk!

Fruit and Vegetables
Making sure you eat plenty of fruit and vegetables is also important for your skin and avoiding too much junk food and oily food. Apples are great to help tone and firm the skin due to the Vitamin C, Spinach contains antioxidants and Sweet Potatoes contain Vitamin A which helps fight off acne-causing bacteria! 


Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Picking the right University + my experience of first year

I asked on twitter a while ago is anyone wanted a post about my first year at university and people seemed keen, I thought I would also combine it with my advice on how to pick the right university for you as I feel like I've learnt a lot along the way and while I've been at university. Obviously my experience of first year is going to be quite specific to the course I'm doing so if you're doing a Degree in Medicine or English Literature, my experience will be very different to the one you will have.

 Firstly I'll explain the degree I chose and the university I chose. I study Media Production at the University of Winchester, I've always been interested in Media and have always been a creative person however I've never been very good at drawing or art so I had to find other outlets for my creativity and for me, that's exactly what Media was. I took it as a GCSE option at school and then took it as an A Level at College, it was the subject I was best at at school and college so it seemed like a good route to take. When applying for university I also liked the thought of studying Makeup and Prosthetics so as well as Media Courses, I also applied for two makeup courses (which I didn't actually get in to) at the London College of Fashion and The Arts University College Bournemouth. For the Media Courses I applied for Bournemouth, Winchester and Bath Spa. Now, I do feel like my choice of university was perhaps not something I thought through properly, when I applied, my niece was a few months old and the thought of not seeing her for months on end really worried me and this was one of the reasons I chose not to go away for university. In hindsight I wish I had thought more about myself and what I wanted to get out of university and what the best option was for me. So I quickly decided that I wanted to go to the University of Winchester, which is my hometown. A few people said things whenever I mentioned this, almost judging me for not moving away, I think so long as it's the right decision for you, do it. So for my first year I stayed at home which is great as I am lucky enough to have food cooked for me, a nice room and a nice house to live it but in some ways I began to regret the fact that I hadn't explored a new city and challenged myself to living by myself, I think it would have been good for my confidence to move away and have to deal with things that I don't necessarily deal with when I live at home. The fact I live at home also meant commuting to university, this is fine, apart from the fact that finding a car parking space in a uni of thousands of students and hardly any parking spaces in the car park is practically impossible and getting to university at 10.45 for a 12.00 lecture in the hope of getting a space.

Onto the course, as I said, if you study an essay based course this probably won't apply to you. I study Media Production, a very practical course. Over the first year I wrote four essays, two of which were more evaluations of my work with only one being theory based. The rest of my work was practical, I made six short films, two documentaries, one radio drama, one photo journal, two websites and produced three live news programmes. The amount of work we had to do was more than I've ever had to do, I have friends on Facebook who constantly post status's about how they would never go back to college because of the amount of work they had. Personally college was fine for me and I would go back in a heartbeat, on my course we are treated as we would be in the industry which is good as we are used to tough guidelines and deadlines but again, very hard work. The course is made up of about 80% group work, this is great if you get on with groups and can organise them well, for me, it was awful. I hate relying on other people, knowing that they can let you down, I much prefer working on my own knowing that if I mess up, it's my fault. Group work means you will probably have to work with lazy people who think they can do nothing and take other peoples credit, which I experienced quite a few times! 

I did have a "wobble" around January/February time, if you follow me on Twitter you will probably know this as I tweeted about it quite a lot. I decided that I wanted to leave and felt really unhappy at university, it was so much work and I was just really struggling. Over the next few months I made more friends which helped so much, I do think living at home meant that I wasn't meeting that many people as I didn't live on campus or have flatmates. This made the whole experience so much better and it just generally made me feel less unhappy, I now can't wait to go back in September!

Picking a University

 Don't pick a university that you haven't looked around, you can get to a university and instantly get a good or bad vibe from it, which is exactly what happened to me! The campus could just not be for you or the area could be somewhere that you just couldn't see yourself living. It's best to take a day to look round, rather than get there and hate where you live.

Visit twice 
 If it's a university you are considering applying to, perhaps look round again, I visited a university when I was having "lady issues" and was feeling rubbish and in such a bad mood, this really effected what I thought of the university and I came out saying I hated it. If I had gone back on another day, in a better mood, it could have been much better!

Don't just pick a university for the city
 Don't think "I love London, I'm going there." Yes you have to live there but you also have to live in halls, have lectures and meet people. The course could not be right and the modules could be different to other universities so don't assume that just because universities have courses with the same name that they are all going to be exactly the same. At the same time, do make sure that you like the city you're living in as it is important but make sure you consider all aspects on the university experience.

Don't follow your friends or boyfriend 
 I feel like this is such a key one, your boyfriend is planning on going to Edinburgh and you want to go to Cardiff but you can't stand to be apart. Don't pick a university based on a boyfriend or friends, just think of yourself and where is best for you, you never know how long your relationship is going to last, it would be awful to split up and be in a city and university you don't like.

Look at the accommodation and how far it is from the university
Remember that you're going to be living in halls for a year, you need to make sure it's somewhere you will feel comfortable. Some university halls are on campus, like at my university but most of the ones I looked at were further away and required a walk or bus ride so consider that when you're looking around.

Ask others what the course is really like, look on forums
Getting the views of students actually taking the course is important, there are Facebook groups around and lots of forums where people discuss the university and courses. When you look round a university, of course they are going to say "this course is great!" So looking at forums gives you a real insight into the positives and negatives of the course.

Don't go to university for the sake of it
If you aren't sure whether university is for you, there is the opportunity to take a year out. I would say, don't go to university just because you think you should, or because all your friends are. It's a ridiculous amount of debt to get into and I personally don't think university is suited to everyone.

Do you guys have any other advice for picking a university?
What was your first year like?


Monday, 2 June 2014

Elemis Fresh Skin Soothing Eye Rescue

Elemis have brought out a range of skincare specifically aimed for teens and young adults, they refer to it as the "ultimate study survival kit for an A+ complexion!" This is perfect for me as a student, especially when it's deadline time and stress and late nights can affect your skin. The Tired Eyes Soothing Eye Rescue aims to reduce puffiness and hydrate your eyes, I have been using this at night and then again in the morning, it is a clear gel that glides over the eye area and has an immediate cooling effect on my eye area. I can get very dry under and around my eyes which can be a pain when I come to apply concealer as it can often accentuate it, this is perfect to hydrate the area and makes applying concealer so much easier! The feeling is like when you put cucumbers over your eyes, it feels very cooling. It also works to reduce puffiness which is great if you've been up late studying for an exam or doing work! I like that a brand has come out with a skincare range aimed at teens and young adults as we see a lot of anti ageing products around but not much specifically formulated for younger skin.

You can buy the Soothing Eye Rescue here and you can also check out the other products in the range, here!



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