REVIEW: Benefit Roller Lash

It's no big secret how much I love Benefit as a brand. They're quirky and pretty and most of their products are holy grail for me. I absoloutely love the 'They're Real!' mascara, my favourite product from Benefit. Elle magazine's free gift this month is a sample size of Benefit's new masacra 'Roller Lash' and I have never been so excited about a mascara launch ever. 

I was expecting a lot as a huge 'They're Real!' fangirl. And luckily, I was pleased with the mini tester I tried from Elle. My lashes look fuller, separated and surprisingly longer too. I'm impressed by the colour difference too and just how much more awake I look with this mascara applied. The curl it claims to give is subtle but feminine and fluttery nonetheless.

As always with Benefit, the packaging is adorable yet sophisticated and very girly. It certainly looks high end anyway. The brush itself is plastic and this pleases me as I dislike bristled brushes a majority of the time. It's also slightly curved, allowing you to reach all your eyelashes for an even coat. The formula is really nice and feels very natural. 

However, I'm in two minds about the longevity of this product. It kept it's place well and my eyelashes didn't sag throughout a 9 hour work shift. However, it was a little smudgy in the corners of my eyes at around the 4 hour mark and I was starting to wish I'd bought a cotton bud with me. 

Overall, I'm really impressed with this new release and will be saving my pennies for when the product hits the counters. 

A Trip To Radio 1!

I'll spare you the long winded version of how I had the opportunity to go behind the scenes of the BBC, I'll keep it short. We entered a competition, we danced to 'Shake It Off', we got invited to London. I have always wanted to work in the media. I am in love with the idea of creating something to make people feel something and visiting the BBC was a literal dream come true.

The day included a tour of the buildings and visiting places the general public couldn't such as the actual studios and the news room. Our lovely tour guide/ mentor was James Clark, a producer at Radio 1.

We sat on the One Show sofa and it was very interesting to see how small the set actually was compared to how it looks on the screen. We saw Fearne Cotton, Scott Mills, Chris Stark, Fiona, Ian and many other famous faces and we spoke to Dev, Matt Fincham and wait-for-it Nick Grimshaw. It was all very surreal. Having a go on the radio (not live of course) was terrifying but so amazing at the same time. 

It was all incredibly exciting, especially as working for a company like the BBC on film and television sets is my dream and ultimate goal. I'm so grateful for this opportunity and was so overwhelmed by the brilliance of it all. I was really in my element and pushed myself out of my comfort zone a lot for this once in a lifetime opportunity. Me 1, anxiety 0.

5 Valentine's Lipsticks

Ah, it's Valentine's again. That time of year women dread to be alone for and men leave till last minute. I work part-time in retail and the amount of people who will hope to find good flowers and chocolates at last minute, is rediculous. Anyway, if I were going out on Valentine's day I'd choose one of these from my collection.

Mac 'Patisserie'
Topshop Lips 'Macaroon'
Rimmel Kate Moss 'Kiss of Life/ 111'
Mac 'Russian Red'
Charlotte Tilbury 'Glastonberry'

Remember, as brilliant as it can be, it's not always just about red lippy! I'm still clinging onto the autumn/winter berry lip and even experimenting with slightly nuder shades too. Matte products prove easier to work with because of the staying power, especially with all the smooching going on but if you're not sure you can pull it off go for a creamier finish. 

This year (like every year) I will be alone but it really doesn't bother me too much. So, even if you don't have a Valentine this year, treat yourself to a brand new lipstick.

Let's Talk About Acne... My Skin Story

I want to talk about a sensitive subject. I want to share my story and have a general rant about something I have learnt to dealt with that many others can relate to.

On the 23rd of July 2014, this was the state of my skin. I had taken these pictures hoping that I would see some progress in the future but, I had never really thought about it until I found them on my computer a few weeks ago and decided to do a comparison. Looking at these pictures side by side makes me feel speechless. 

Yes, my skin wasn't terrible in the first place but I was 15/16 at the time and it depressed me and meant my confidence was at an all time low. I wouldn't do anything without makeup on or even have a lazy day in fear of someone seeing my face the way it was. The spots I had were mainly whiteheads that didn't want to shift. The majority of my acne was on the lower half of my face with the few pimples in between my brows. As helpful as it would have been, the quality of these photos means that the damage isn't clear. My skin was red and irritant and pretty much impossible to cover. Saying that, my friends who have seen this photo don't recall my skin ever looking this bad. I think that proves something. I think it shows you that no matter how bad you think your skin is, or anything else about you for that matter, the people who love and appreciate you will not notice it. Looking at the current photos I feel such a sense of accomplishment. Yes, the scars are visible. Yes, they take forever to fade. Yes, I still look terribly flared up in the mornings. But, that is absolutely nothing compared to the original photos. 

Acne is okay. It's okay to have little buddies all over your face. We need to accept that it's okay because under makeup and a showy personality we all have insecurities and flaws. I have accepted that I am flawed. Don't get me wrong, I'm not happy about it but I know there is little I can do to change all of those things that make me uncomfortable. Sure, you can take small steps but nothing happens over night. Dealing with acne or any skin problem is not a quick or particularly easy process. Everyone's skin is different. Your acne could be stress related, a result of your diet or lifestyle choices or hereditary. It could be a reaction to a product, teenage changes or medically stimulated. Either way, you need to accept that it will take time.

I cannot tell you how to clear your acne but I can tell you what I did. Remember everyone is different when it comes to things like this. Firstly, get some sun. It doesn't work for everyone but my holiday last summer definitely improved the way my skin looked. I'm not suggesting you book up a holiday in the hope of some skin miracle but after two weeks in Spanish sun, my skin was cleaner and looked a lot more radiant. This also certainly does not mean you should bake your face in mid-day heat especially without suncream/screen/block. The hours of 11-2 are very dangerous for the skin in hot countries and if your body is not used to it, there is dangers of burning and various skin conditions. Be safe. 

Secondly, talk to your doctor. If you're seriously worried about your acne, your doctor should help you. I knew from the beginning that I did not want to go on medication if there was another option especially seeing as I had to take medication anyway but again this is up to you. I was instead prescribed a soloution called 'Zineryt'. This was the real beginning of my skin clearance. 'Zineryt' contains two medicines, erythromycin and zinc acetate. The erythromycin stops the growth of bacteria associated with acne whilst zinc helps with healing. I applied this twice a day and after about a week I had begun to see results. After a month the change was more drastic. I kept using this for a few months until my skin settled down a little.

After this, I tried adding few non-medicated acne products but, I was sensible. If you try too hard and use too much you'll probably complicate things. Simple advice here. Don't overload your skin with products. They'll most likely counteract each other and clog your pores more. It's just likely to stimulate bacteria growth and create more spots. However, I kept it as simple as possible. Literally. I used 'Simple Kind To Skin Protecting Light Moisturiser' because it is natural and has few chemicals. I also tried a few 'Freederm' products and I saw effective results with the products in a short time period. However, I have not repurchased as I am now more aware of overloading my face with chemicals. I kept to my old faithful 'Neutrogena Pink Grapefruit' range because it smells incredible and does the job without being too harsh on the skin. Trying to keep it simple suddenly turned to expensive and I fell in love with 'La Roche-Possay Effaclar Duo' which literally was a miracle product. It seemed to help more with scaring than any other product I'd tried. (I am onto repurchasing this as I type). More recently though, I am attached to 'Garnier Pure 3in1 Wash Scrub & Mask' as it is impressively clarifying and mattifying. I think I use this nearly everyday and get through a tube so easily. I am in no way suggesting you try all or any of these products especially not all at the same time. Read blogs, read reviews, visit specialist websites, find what works for you. I also wrote about my favourite natural treatments such as home made face masks and tea tree oil here.

As I said, currently I'm just keeping it simple and am using less damaging products. I've started using 'Zineryt' again to see if it helps my scarring and still use tea tree oil everyday. I'm also trialing 'Lush Grease Lightning' and 'The Body Shop Vitamin E Moisture Serum' but in moderation and both products are pretty great. I won't stop trying products no matter how bad I know it is. Make sure you give your skin time to adjust before you throw away a half full bottle of product that 'doesn't work'. Just don't create more problems in the long run. Don't squeeze a spot, don't plaster it in toothpaste, stop touching it, don't pick at it. I drink more water now too, that definitely helps. I also have quite a few makeup less days to give my skin a break and now that I feel more content with my face, I've even realised I don't need to go to school or be around my friends with a face full of makeup. I enjoy using and experimenting with makeup, I like the idea of enhancing beauty. But, I've stopped hiding behind it.

In all honesty and I can say this with absolute certainty, acne does not make you a bad person. Some have it worse than others, sure. I still find myself muttering under my breath when a friend complains about the odd spot however, you need to remember that everyone's skin is different. Looking at the change and pictures, I am more confident. I still get the occasional breakout (binge eating and too much makeup) and the predictable hormonal spots in the least subtle of places but that's all expected. You need to stop caring about something so simple. I know it will eventually get better and there is always simple ways to cover/heal it. Make yourself feel good. So what if all these disgusting bumps pop up on your face? They just want to be part of the action and awesomeness of you. Embrace it. It's normal, it's totally normal. It's a unique part of you. Do not be embarrassed to pop to the shops bare faced or to spend the day makeup free. It might get gradually better but if it doesn't, it doesn't have to ruin your life. I'm happy and proud at how far I've come. I have further to go and a lot of scarring to fade but in the end your skin is just your skin. It doesn't matter if it's acne, scars, birth marks, eczema, freckles, blemishes or anything else you consider irregular. That's who you are. And your skin does not define you.

REVIEW: Garnier Ultimate Blends Sleek Perfector Oil

This product saved my hair. I am always trying to grow my hair out so that I can do more with it. After a harsh winter of damage and no trimming (oops), my hair and the ends particularly were lacking condition and nourishment. My hair was straw like and even more difficult to work with. But Garnier's 'Ultimate Blends Sleek Perfector Oil' has been a god send. 

I literally just apply this to the ends of my hair and run it through with my fingers. Seeing as I have taken to letting my hair dry naturally now (hair-dryer free for 6 months) this ensures it doesn't dry dull and damaged. I'm one of those unlucky girls who has to wash my hair everyday to avoid the slimed look. I have never really agreed with hair oils as they can unintentionally make my hair look greasy but, this oil doesn't add grease and I can even leave it in overnight for soft, shiny waves. It also has a very pleasant and subtle coconut scent.

I'd recommend picking this up if like me, the winter has left your hair a little damaged and unhappy.

My Mac Pro Palette

When I first discovered Mac, I knew little about the brand, despite it's hype and even less about it's 'pro' range. It was difficult for me to work out how you filled the palette and which parts you needed to buy to make it. But now I've started earning and I've finally finished my Mac Pro Palette which only took a few months. Eeek. It's not my fault their eyeshadows are so workable, pigmented and beeeeeautiful. Anyway this is my finished palette. As you can see I mostly stick to nudes however, many of the darker colours can be easily be worked for a night/occasion/party time look. It's a mixture of a few matte shades and most of the others have a subtle sparkle.

I would say my most used eyeshadows are 'Naked Lunch', 'Sable', 'Charcoal Brown' and 'Satin Taupe'. I use 'Naked Lunch' almost everyday all over the lid and add one of the darker shades in my crease and under my eye such as 'Satin Taupe', 'Sable', 'Embark' or 'Woodwinked'. 'Nylon' is amazing for a brow bone highlight and the inner corner whilst 'Smut' is great for lining your eyes. I love all of these shades so much and genuinely use them all regularly. If I'm wearing eyeshadow (I look dead without it), it's likely to be from this palette purely for the staying power, blend-ability and colour payoff.

Naked Lunch (Frost), 
Vanilla (Pearl), 
Nylon (Frost)

Era (Satin), 
All That Glitters (Veluxe Pearl), 
Jest (Frost)

Sable (Frost), 
Woodwinked (Veluxe Pearl), 
Patina (Frost)

Satin Taupe (Frost), 
Twinks (Veluxe Pearl),
Charcoal Brown (Matte)

Smut (Pearl),
Embark (Matte),
Cranberry (Frost)

Despite a ridiculous yet justified price tag, I am so in love with my complete palette. I'm still not 100% happy with the order of the eyeshadows but I'll get round to that one day. There are still plenty of shades on my hit-list ('Amber Lights', 'Expensive Pink', 'Omega', 'Mythology' and 'Sketch' to name a few) but I'll have to wait a long time before I start the next palette!