Friday, 23 June 2017

HAIR: L'OREAL PARIS CASTING CREME GLOSS IN 'CHILLI CHOCOLATE' - BEFORE + AFTER


I really like the L'oreal Paris 'Casting Creme Gloss' range of semi-permanent hair dyes. They are easy to use, effective in delivering an even, true to description colour pay off and pretty good at fading evenly. Chilli chocolate is my current favourite shade from the range as I have been flitting between chocolate brown and auburn hair for some time now. The shade is warm and sits at a light 5.0 light brown base with .54 mahogany and copper tones.

You can find the Castings dyes in Boots and Superdrug for £5-£6 - sometimes they are on offer whereby you can get 2 for £10. In the past I have blogged about the: 'Glossy Blondes in 'Light Iced Blonde' 'Rich Honey' and 'Chocolate.' 

Before dying my hair with 'Chilli Chocolate'

My hair has a lot of red tones within it all thanks to the 'Caca Rouge' and 'Caca Marron' henna bricks from Lush. The henna dye doesn't, however, cover roots, especially when your hair is as naturally dark as mine. I believe (and I have it on good authority) that it is perfectly fine to colour your hair with semi-permanent colours after using henna, as it simply acts as a gloss without opening the hair shaft in the way a permanent colour dye does.

This why I called upon 'Chilli Chocolate' to even out my roots and colour. The dye is super simple to use, just apply, wait 25-30 mins and rinse. The rose scented conditioner that is supplied is also lovely, very nourishing - especially following a colour job whereby chemicals are being applied to your strands and scalp.

Immediately after dying my hair with 'Chilli Chocolate'
As you can see, directly after the application, the colour is much darker than I was looking for. Though it has warm tones, it is very dark brown in base. This is completely normal and by the next few washes the colour will gradually lift and fade. Don't forget, the colour and condition of your hair pre-dye job always indicate a different colour to the box indicator which is applied to virgin hair.

After two washes...

After two washes, the true colour starts to seep through and as you can see above, I am back to a shade close to where I started with all the right warm tones and a mahogany brown base. My colour tends to last around 3 weeks having washed my hair twice a week. My roots tend to start poking out around this time also, so depending on how i'm feeling - I dye my hair with this shade every 5 weeks or so and henna in between. This just seems to work for me currently.

What is your favourite Casting Creme Gloss shade?

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Tuesday, 20 June 2017

BEAUTY: MUA UNDRESS YOUR SKIN HIGHLIGHTER + UNDER EYE CONCEALER


You're probably not surprised to see me talking about highlighter. It's everywhere at the moment and has been on the beauty roster for last few years. I must admit, I am rather impartial to a lil' glow on a daily basis. My favourite highlighter of all time being the iconic Mineralise Skin Finish in 'Soft 'n' Gentle' from MAC.

It's no secret that a candlelit glow is what we're all aiming to achieve and good highlighters don't have to break the bank. Today I am talking about two highlighting/brightening products from MUA that I have really enjoyed using over the last couple of weeks.


The MUA 'Undress your skin' highlighter in 'Iridescent Gold'  is a beautiful pale gold highlight that you can buy from Superdrug priced £3 for 7.5g of product. This has been my highlight of choice every day now as the powder makes your skin look super radiant. Immediately lifting the complexion, I apply the powder with a domed fluffy brush to the tops of my cheekbones. Never under my brow as this can look a little bizarre for a day in the office. There are also other shades in the range: 'Pearlescent Sheen' and 'Peach Diamond' for varied tones that suit different skin tones.


I've dabbled with under eye 'brighteners' and 'correctors' for a while and have never quite noticed a difference, or simply couldn't be bothered with such a step in my routine. When I spotted the MUA Undress Your Skin Under Eye Concealer I decided to give it a whirl, at £3 figuring it was worth the punt.

And the general feeling is that I really like it. I chose the shade 'Luminous' a pale-yellowy salmon shade. It aims to banish dark circles and fatigue through a lightweight formula that is reasonably thick in consistency. Containing light-diffusing particles the formula is intended to awaken dull skin. I apply it over foundation, perhaps the Illamasqua Skin Base and the pigmentation around my eye sockets, (of which I have tone's of blue and yellow) simply disappear. There are two other shades in the range: 'Radiance' and 'brilliance' which have different undertones.


What are your favourite MUA products?

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Friday, 16 June 2017

BEAUTY: MY DERMAPLAINING EXPERIENCE AT WOODLANDS BEAUTY CLINIC BALTIC TRIANGLE


"I'm so proud of you!" Exclaimed Antonia, the beauty therapist I see regularly at Woodlands Beauty Clinic. Coming from somebody who was particularly nervous about simply having her eyebrows waxed, my next beauty endeavour dermaplaning was quite a step up. Woodlands are now offering a dermaplaining treatment* for £55 and I was very kindly invited by the team to give it a try.

So what exactly is dermaplaining?

According to Woodlands: "Dermaplaning is an exfoliating treatment that uses a scalpel to gently remove the fine vellus hair (or "peach fuzz") from the face, along with the dead skin cells that can build up on the skin over time. The scalpel is held at an angle, and the therapist makes short strokes across the surface of the skin, essentially "scraping" away everything that's sitting on top of it."

Why should we have a dermaplaining treatment?

Woodlands say: "Dermaplaning will leave your skin feeling incredibly smooth and looking radiant. Once the dead skin cells and hair have been removed, many people find that their skin is a lot more absorbent when they apply their skincare products, such as serums and moisturisers, PLUS makeup will apply better than ever before!"

Antonia informed me that dermaplaining is much more suited to a wider range of people as other exfoliating treatments such as microdermabrasion is not suitable for more mature skin which tends to be thinner, as well as people like myself, with a lot of vascular redness.

Before the dermaplaining treatment...


So as you can see, my skin is quite clear at the moment however, I do have a little bit of pigmentation by the way of freckles. Antonia began by getting my hair out of my face and cleansing my skin, firstly with a gentle, gel-like formula and secondly with a more chemically scented wipe to remove any excess dirt and oil.


The dermaplaining treatment...


The treatment itself is carried out whilst you are laying down with your eyes closed. It involves both sides of the face being treated one after the other and with a different scalpel blade.

The sensation of the blade running over your face is not painful at all and feels like somebody smoothing the edge of a credit card over your skin. It is actually quite relaxing, and when you trust your trained therapist, as I do - you know you are in safe and capable hands.


As Antonia scraped away the dead skin, she continually wiped off the excess debris on a cotton pad, Antonia is a bit like me and finds extracting gory skin stuff super satisfying. All of the impurities buried underneath the layers of your skin rise up, so yep, there are a few blackheads that pop up. Seriously gross, yet seriously satisfying.



In the Insta vids i've included, you can see the sheer amount of hair that has also come off my face. I must say, it was quite a good thought to know the ole' tash and beard were going and don't worry, they don't grow back darker, coarser or thicker as it is not the same kind of hormonally active hair like the kind you get on your legs.

The pro-c peel...
I also opted to include a Vitamin C, salicylic acid peel within my treatment, though I think this is optional and you can swap it out for a more gentle mask, if you prefer. 

As you can see in the picture above, my skin following the scalpel is radiant and crazy bright and glowy. The Pro-C mask is painted on with a brush and when applied, it feels like nettle stings. Antonia asked me to rate the stinging sensation out of 10 with 10 being: "get this off my face NOW."

On my forehead and chin the sensation was around a 4 and completely bearable, on my cheeks (which always tend to be more sensitive) the sensation was around a 7, but not completely unbearable. The best way to describe it, is like tattoo pain - uncomfortable at times but not unbearable and you get used to it.
After around 1 minute, when the peel had gone tacky, Antonia applied a gauze material coated in cold water to soothe the prickly sensation and remove the peel formula. This was very cooling and satisfying and kind of made me look a little like a Mummy. lol.

Following this, Antonia applied a a recovery serum which contained an SPF and vitamins to encourage my skin to 'recover.' I was also instructed to lay off the make-up for the following day and maintain my skincare routine with the absolute MUST of using an SPF (at least 30) while my skin was more vulnerable and susceptible to the UVA/UVB rays.

Immediate and following results...


In the left picture is my skin following the treatment which took around one hour in total, just to give you an idea of redness and reassure you that my skin didn't fall off, or resemble something out of Saw.

The image on the right shows my skin, make-up free, a few hours after the treatment. I cannot get over how radiant and glowy it looks, as well as being insanely bright and soft to the touch! The results speak for themselves. Even Adam who isn't usually hot on noticing treatments said that my face looked brighter and clearer.

Should you try dermaplaining?

For anybody wanting to try an active exfoliation treatment I really recommend dermaplaining and should money be no object for me, I would continue to have it done regularly. Many people get the treatment confused with 'face shaving' which it is not, as the main focus of the exfoliation is not hair removal -That is just a sassy benefit of the treatment.

It is not at all painful and the results are insane. As the skin renews itself every 21 days or so, you can have this treatment monthly should you wish to in order for the skin to continue it's renewal cycle.
Also note that you must have this treatment done by a professional that is qualified and trained in this particular treatment. At the end of the day, a very sharp blade is being applied to the skin!

What do you think of dermaplaining?
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Tuesday, 13 June 2017

BEAUTY: MAX FACTOR CREME BRONZER '05 LIGHT GOLD' FOR PALE SKIN


In more recent times, I have pared back everything in the beauty department. Don't get me wrong, when it comes to clothing - the louder the better, but my skincare and make-up routines have shifted towards a more minimal nature. 

When I was 17, actually around the time I started Good Golly Miss Hollie, the more 'tan' *orange* my skin looked, the better. For a few years now I have ditched fake tan which has in turn made me reassess my make-up. The super dark bronzer that once matched my body no longer services me and I was interested in finding an alternative for pale skin.
The bronzer photographed with flash and without flash


Max Factor is a brand that I have never really dabbled with, my Mum swears by it but it was always marketed towards a more mature user and the price point is on the higher end of the drugstore price scale. Whilst perusing the stand in Superdrug one lunch time, I came across the 'Max Factor Creme Bronzer' pretty satisfyingly packaged.

At £9.99 it isn't the cheapest option but upon closer inspection I was blown away with the consistency of the formula which swings between a cream and a finely milled, baked mineral powder. It is made up of a number of pigments that are neither muddy or orange - the application outcome is sandy, which I like.

I have the shade '05 Light Gold' which creates a really natural, matte bronze look. It is also super blend-able and streak free meaning you can't over-do the application. I apply it on an angled ECO Tools brush which I talked about in my: 'Favourite cruelty free brushes for base' post.


What is your favourite bronzer?

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Friday, 9 June 2017

BEAUTY: THE SPA AT SUITES HOTEL - A REVIEW


To say that the last few weeks have been intense would be an understatement. Everything from a nasty kidney infection, to a new job, have been on the roster and I have definitely felt a little frazzled keeping up with it all.  When I was very kindly invited to discover The Spa at Suites Hotel, based just outside of Liverpool, I was extremely grateful and of course, jumped at the opportunity.

When I arrived, I was welcomed by the lovely host Sue who offered me a detox water before showing me around all of the facilities. The Spa has achieved an award winning '5 bubble spa' rating which is the equivalent of a 5-star hotel in the spa world and the luxury setting really does shine through.


The facilities include a thermal suite for a heat and ice journey, a double Rasul chamber and a relaxation suite which really is a sanctuary in itself. There is also a nail suite for mani's and pedi's which can be booked as individual treatments. Whilst at The Spa, I also had access to the gym and pool area which is pretty cool too, especially if you are making a day of it.

I really like the serenity of the dark decor which calls upon a purple and gold colour palette - both my favourite colours. The Spa is filled with the sound of relaxing piano music for extra ambience. Once I had been given my tour, I was invited to change into a robe and flip-flops which I layered over a swimsuit. There are 7 single and 1 double treatment room at The Spa and each is named after a gem or jewel, I was in the Crystal Suite which you can see below.

The treatment...
The Spa uses Declor and Carita products and there are many different spa packages and bespoke treatments to choose from - I was booked in for the Suites Seventh Heaven* treatment. For £69, the treatment lasts 1hr 25 mins and involves a body brush, prescriptive tea tree and willow leaf peel off mask, coconut oil scalp massage, mini facial, and body moisturiser. Also included in the brochure is a peppermint foot ritual which I didn't receive. I am not sure if this is because I had a broken toe or not, though it is worth mentioning that my facial treatment seemed to feel like it was extended, which may or may not have made up for that.

Believe it or not, I've never had a spa treatment before, and I must say that at first, I did feel quite self-conscious.  I think the most uneasy part for me was when the therapist leaves the room for you to de-robe and you're face down on the treatment bed covered in just a towel. It's kind of like: "soooooo then" I think this is due to my own insecurities though and my therapist Aimee was welcoming to set me at ease. It took around 15 minutes for this feeling to wear off and once it did, my favourite part of the treatment was the scalp massage. I was really impressed with how glowy my face looked post treatment also, as well as the rest of my body which felt really nourished and supple. It was a really blissful treatment. 

The thermal suite...

I didn't spend too much time in the thermal suite, but just enough to have a little nosey at all its components. The thermal suite is compromised of both heat and ice experiences. I particularly enjoyed the Sinnan Foot Baths which are pictured above, one side of the foot bath is heated and the other is cold...I really enjoyed switching between the two which is supposed to help with circulation. There is also an ice room for toning and refreshing, as well as rainforest shower which alternates between warm and cool water. A sauna, a Himalayan steam room and heated loungers complete the suite which is very clean and well presented.

The Relaxation Suite...


My favourite part of the spa had to be the relaxation suite, which I was must say was pretty hard to photograph as it is so dark and tranquil. These pictures don't do it justice, but this calm space is made up of chairs and days beds as well as a refreshment area serving herbal tea, coffee, water, Prosecco and more. I was treated to some moreish chocolate covered strawberries which were deliciously cold and juicy, as well as a glass of bubbles. It was pure bliss as I sank back into the bed and read a stack of my favourite magazines.


I had a wonderful experience at The Spa and would highly recommend you checked out their website for the various packages and treatment offerings which are excellent value for money. The staff are very friendly and attentive and the facilities are lovely, I hope just how luxe it comes across for you on the photos.


What is your favourite spa treament?

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Tuesday, 6 June 2017

BEAUTY: MAYBELLINE 'GREAT LASH' - WATERPROOF


When it comes to applying mascara, my eyes are quite small and the process is fiddly...and often messy. Having tried a number of mascaras over the years, to varying degrees of success, I read that Maybelline 'Great Lash' was not only a legend in the make-up universe - but also a great tool in any small eyed girls arsenal. 

Who created Great Lash?

Maybelline began in the early 1900s when T.L. Williams created a cakey formula from vaseline and darkly pigmented dyes, similar to what we now know as mascara. The formula, which was named; 'Lash-brow-ine' was conjured up for Williams' sister Maybel, the namesake of the best-selling drugstore brand, Maybelline.

'Great Lash' appeared on the consumer market in 1971 as the first water-based mascara. I believe that to this day, it remains America's top selling drugstore mascara. 


How does Great Lash perform?

A much loved favourite of make-up artists alike, Great Lash is packaged up in a relatively small, square tube that is of-course loud and gawdy all thanks to that lime green and pink colour palette.

For me, the effectiveness of a mascara is 50% formula, 50% brush. What I like about Great Lash is that the brush is small and angular - perfect for digging deep into the lashes of my small eyes. It is wonderful for definition and works a treat on the bottoms lashes too. 

The formula is opaque black in pigment - no wishy washy muddy water to be seen here, this particular variant of Great Lash is also waterproof and not too liquidy. The only slightly odd aspect of this formula is the scent...it smells like acetone which is pretty weird when applying it around your eye area. You know the smell of a nail salon? It smells exactly like that!


For me, the formula does not go crispy or flaky and my lashes stay put all day long, the formula also removes nicely with a warm cloth and cleanser.

For £4.99 you can't go wrong and whilst it is easy to overlook the humble Great Lash amongst it's more flashily marketing shelf-mates. Give it a go, you won't be disappointed.

What is your favourite mascara?
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Friday, 2 June 2017

BEAUTY: RIMMEL 'SUPER GEL BEACH READY' NAIL POLISH COLLECTION


A horrible fact about me is that I bite my nails down to a nub. Gross. For as long as I can remember, this has been a disgusting habit that I have used as crutch particularly when feeling nervous, stressed or anxious. I did manage to kick it back in 2012 when I had super strong and long talons that looked sassy. These days though, I am back to my old ways.

In recent weeks I've decided to make a conscious effort to stop...again. Not only does it look awful, but the notion of it is just...well, awful. When Rimmel sent me their new Super Gel Beach Ready Nail Polish Collection* for SS17 I decided that these pretty pops of colour would be the turning point.


The collection marks Rimmel's new 2-step gel polish formula that lasts up to 14 days, chip free without the need for a UV lamp. I like the concept as when I am on a beach holiday, the last thing I want to deal with is chipped nails and the constant reapplying of polish to keep my hands and feet looking sweet. The Super Gel formula includes patented gel colour that uses natural light to cure. Snazzy huh?

There are 5 shades in the new collection, as well as a 'super gel top coat' - My favourite shades, have to be 'Flamenco Beach' a gorgeous lively red and 'Dive right in' a beautiful hue of blue. The only disappointing shade in the collection for me is, 'Coral Queen' the orange shade which is very streaky to apply and doesn't dry nicely.


I love the brush on these new polishes, it's wide and precise and distributes a good amount of colour in one stroke. The polishes retail at £5.99 from Boots and Superdrug which is a seriously affordable price tag for a salon quality finish.

I found that on my toes, the formula was dynamite no chipping at all...even after 3 weeks of running at the gym, wearing sandals and everywhere else my feet have gone. On my fingers, I didn't nibble - they were mostly chip free for a week or so - even with tapping a thousand keys a day at work, washing up, washing my hair...and the rest. I'm really impressed!


Will you be trying the Rimmel Super Gel Beach Ready polishes this summer?

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