New Year Resolutions

With Christmas, well and truly over, thoughts have moved towards the New year. A new you, a new healthy lifestyle and possible, new career prospects.

Over the past four years, I have built and grown my own business. Countless, sleepless nights, working more than 60 hours a week, spending far too much time on my laptop and phone; each and every day pushing myself that little more 'I will work harder, I will succeed'.
But, succeed at what?

For me, Christmas is a time where I can spend quality time with family and friends, but also a time for reflection.
I am lucky that with my business, I can pick and choose if I want a busy Jan/Feb. So with that in mind, I decided to take a well deserved, three weeks off to recuperate and recharge.

Easier said than done.

I am all for women building their empires; young, rising entrepreneurs, and for most doing all this while they are also bringing up children and running a home. Superwomen.

But have we reached a time where it is now acceptable, that if we don't kill ourselves trying to succeed in all we do, we are not trying hard enough?
To feel guilty to want or need to take a day off? To want to spend some of that hard earnt, cash on yourself?

Why do I feel guilty If I want some time off? Why do I feel like I'm letting myself down if I don't try each and every day, to further progress my business or improve myself in some way?
Why do I struggle to relax and switch off, during my time off - to then come back into the business feeling just as exhausted as when I left it?

In all honesty, once the Christmas chaos is over, I wait in dreaded anticipation for all the NY resolutions (yawn) to start. Posts about, 'New year, new you', This year do this, this year be better.... *rolls eyes*

Why do we need to make changes, only in January?
During my time off, I decided a few things needed to change, but they would be lifestyle changes. Small adjustments to help me through the next few months, not just the year.

Here are a few of my 'lifestyle changes'. Changes that don't involve you getting a gym member card, going on the soup diet or overloading your instagram feed with, what are deemed, inspirational, NY posts. I avoid the word 'resolution', it may bring me out in hives.

Does that thing, really need doing now? Today? Can it wait?
I don't know about you, but I can become a little OCD once I get an idea in my head. I need to do it now, it must get one, if I don't the world might end, and I will die, sort of OCD. That's not healthy, and I'm slowly learning to chill. If I know I will be having a particularly busy week, I now make a list of things I need to do, to stop me from feeling overwhelmed. It's also a great feeling to know I don't spend the whole of my work life procrastinating, as I tick the odd thing off the list.

How much of your life so you spend working/stressing/worrying/spending time with loved ones/doing things you enjoy.
I Spend most of my time working, with the second largest part worrying about things I cannot change. How is that healthy or beneficial?
We must work to live, and if you are building/running a business you will feel like it takes over your entire life, but you are allowed a break.
I try to find a little time each day, where I do something I enjoy. I love reading, and alot can be said for just sitting down with a cuppa and a slice of cake.

Put that bloody phone down
I am the worst for this. In all fairness, I could not do my job without my phone or laptop. But I have now developed the habit of checking my phone every few minutes. Proof again, I have a relationship with my business/work life/ Not good.
Yes, you may need to have your phone with you at all times, but does it need checking every five minutes? Do you have to reply to an enquiry 8pm at night? Answer - No.
I now, either turn my phone off or leave it in a different room. This 'new change' is still in, baby steps mode, so will take me a while to break!

TREAT yourself
When was the last time you treated yourself? I love a little time to myself. Pop out for a quiet coffee, or catch up with a friend, have a long soak in the bath. Buy yourself that pair of shoes you have been eyeing up for the past few weeks. Again, nothing too elaborate, just a small treat here and there - why not?

Be KINDER to yourself.
This is a big one for me, and many other women I know.
There are days, where nothing seems to go right, and I mean nothing. From the minute I wake up, I seem to be a walking disaster. Inevitably, from that, I then blame myself for everything, and before I know it I have created a whole host of new problems, I never had to begin with!
I'm very good at pointing out all the things I have yet to succeed in, all the things I haven't done and all the things I've messed up on. It's amazing when you share these thoughts with a close friend/family member and they remind you what you have actually acheived in the past year. If you are doing your best, what more can you do? Stop beating yourself up, and keep going.

Implement a few of these things, in your life - and I'm pretty sure after a few weeks they will become new, positive habits in your life too!
What positive changes have you made this year, so far?


Dermalogica - Daily Superfoliant

'Daily Superfoliant resurfaces skin and helps prevent premature signs of pollution-related aging'
Diana Howard - Vice president of research and development for Dermalogica

Hands up, who else loves how their skin feels after a good, exfoliation?
I love all things skin care, but if I had to choose just two skincare essentials that I couldn't live without ( please don't ask me to pick just the one! ) it would be a worth while exfoliator and a good, quality face oil!

I was fortunate enought to be gifted the new Dermalogica, Daily Superfoliant to trial. From the first try - I was in no doubt, that this product was a game changer.

I don't know about you, but I always struggle to find a facial exfoliator that's just right.
I find many, too harsh as I'm left feeling my skin has been stripped of any known moisture.
Others, I find too wishy-washy, as I hopelessly add more to my face, willing it to be more 'exfoliator worthy'.

The Daily Superfoliant, doesn't look at all impressive when you pop it into the palm of your hand. Infact, it looks like a handful of soot. But, bear with me.
I had been re-assured by a Dermalogica, skin specialist that this stuff, was amazing. So, with that in mind I bypassed the fact it looked like my face was covered in ash.

After cleansing, Carefully, tip a little into the palm of you hand ( around a teaspoon size is recommended. You can always add more ) then add a little water to the exfoliator. This activates the product. Once the water is added, the product turns into a very, lighty foamy paste. At this stage, you apply to the skin.
The feel on the skin, is comfortable. It doesn't feel harsh, but leaves the skin feeling revitalised and fresh.

Once you have washed it off, effects are immediate. My skin looked brighter, clearer and more refined.
Your skin will feel 'clean' like you've just stepped out from having a professional facial.
I was impressed.

As with all exfoliators, the more often you use it, you will begin to see a more long-term effect to the complexion. I have been using it, every other day for the past few weeks and I can already see a huge improvement to the clarity and texture of my complexion.

Activated Binchotan Charcoal Powder to extract dirt and oil
Rice bran, which gives the powder it's grit
Niacinamide, which has anti-inflammatory properties
Lactic acid to remove dead skin cells

One thing to bear in mind with this product.
It can be used daily, but for myself, I found this too much. I do have sensitive skin, so reduced use to every other day.
This is also recommended on the Dermalogica website.

Priced at £55.00 for 57g


Dermalogica Face Mapping

In my 20s, I used my fair share of Dermalogica, skincare products. At this time I had greasy skin,  daily breakouts and consequently, low self esteem.
Fast forward 15 years ( where did the time go? ) my skin craves plenty of TLC in the form of face oils, and rich moisturisers, alas still with the same monthly breakouts.
Therefore, I couldn't contain my excitment when Dermalogica and Preen Me contacted me, inviting me to take part in their #Myfacemystory campaign.

You may have already heard of Dermalogicas Face Mapping, service and like myself passed it off as another fad *slaps wrist*
If you, like so many men and women in this UK, spend hours looking at new skincare products, buying them, trying them and discarding them (and let's be honest, leaving them to fester in the bathroom cupboard) this service was put together with you in mind, and you need to read on.

'During a Face Mapping® skin analysis, the therapist will divide your face into fourteen different zones. Each zone is examined inch-by-inch through touch and sight, and the findings are outlined on a prescription sheet, where conditions including congestion, breakouts, dehydration, and/or hyperpigmentation are illustrated. Basically, Dermalogica Skin Therapists know how to read your skin!'

My Dermalogica Face Mapping experience consisted of several steps.

Step one:
Filling out a questionnaire in regards to my current skin care regime/skin concerns and so forth. This was then handed to the Skin expert, who was carrying out the face mapping service.

Step Two:
Having my skin analysed by the Dermalogica Skin expert through the means of a skin scanner. Alot less terrifying than it sounds, I assure you.

I actually loved this part of the whole experience. This nifty piece of machinery detects UV damage,
oil production, cell renewal and comedones ( blackheads )
You sit in front of the machine, with your skin expert on the opposite side. She can then evaluate your skin, through the findings. The best bit? You can actually see what she is seeing.
I have pigmentation, as I have freckles - these were shown as black specks/darker areas on the face.
I had a red/pink area around my eyes, which showed dehydration.
I also has small white 'flecks' visible - which showed my skin was renewing itself.
The findings will be different for everyone, and it's amazing to see it first hand.

Step Three:
Having my skin analysed through touch and sight.

The final part was having the Analyst observe my skin through a magnifying device, through touch and sight.
Your Dermalogica skin expert will access your skin, and it's all to do with 14 different zones.
The face mapping idea is that the skin on your face is indictive of the bodies internal health. The face landscape being divided into 14, different areas.
For example: Areas 13-14 are the jaw line. The area here is linked to the ovaries, hence why many women break out here, before or during menstruation. 
The areas and descriptions are far too indepth to breakdown here, so do go to the Official Dermalogica Webpage, to see the full explanation of all 14 areas. It's fascinating, and may help give you some insight into your own skin health.
Dermalogica Skin Mapping

Step Four:
Having a personalised, Skin Prescription put together from the results of the above findings.

To conclude the whole experience, Judy then gave me a breakdown of my skin health, and products I should maybe try to give me the best complexion possible!
I loved that skincare was being 'prescribed' for my individual needs, just the same as if you were to go to the doctors. You are assessed and prescribed the correct medication, to heal your ailments.
This is just the same, but for skin!

How much easier ( and relaxing ) does this sound, then stressing yourself out in a department store or local chemist, trying to find yet another skin care regime, you won't use.

Book in!
Dermalogicas Face Mapping is a FREE service, yes you heard me correctly, FREE.
I had mine done at Burleigh Springs in Loughborough and was told that the use of the skin scanner costs a mere £5.00. If you then buy any of the products recommended to you, this £5.00 is minused off your bill.

There is no commitment to buy the products recommended to you. You are given your prescription sheet, and can buy them whenever you wish.
The products are higher priced, but that's because they work! They are pure products, scientifically proven to work if professionally recommended. You only need the smallest amount - and you won't be leaving these in the bathroom cupboard to fester!
The best bit? If you are not happy with the product after trying it, you can have it/them exchanged.

I was gifted the four products that were recommended for me, and I will be sharing these with you during the following weeks. I'm already in love with them.

Click below to find your nearest Dermalogica expert, and get booked in. You won't regret it
Find my nearest Dermalogica expert

*This entire experience and and Products were gifted by compliments of Dermalogica, as part of the Preen Me VIP programme.

Crown Brush

If you are a regular client of mine, then you will know - I love my Crown Brushes.
Whether I am working on a Photoshoot, doing a lovely Brides makeup, or even a one to one Makeup lesson - you will always find me using my trusty Crown brushes.
Now, I own ALOT of makeup brushes - Although my excuse is, I have been buying them for the past 13 years!
Having worked for some of the biggest brand's in makeup, I know a good makeup brush when I see and use one - and you can't go far wrong with brushes from these guys.
If you already use their brushes, you will know that the quality is second to none - but you will also know that their prices are amazing.
Yes, you can buy two or three brushes from Crown, and not have to take out a second mortgage to pay for them.
Here I have listed a few of my favourite brushes from Crown. Let's start with a few of my favourite base brushes.

Love, love love this brush. I always reach for this brush when I want more of a natural finish to the foundation I am using. Being a larger brush, less product is distributed - leaving the skin looking deceptively flawless. The popular duo brush - buffs the product onto the skin. I also love to use this brush if applying makeup to the body.
This is my FAVOURITE Crown, Face brush. This is catergorised under their bronzer brushes section - but I also use it with cream foundation. The bristles are so tightly packed it buffs whatever makeup product you have on them so effortlessley onto the skin - it's fab for anyone with larger pores as it smooths makeup over them. It is also great for powders, and bronzers - as it leaves a natural, subtle look - helping mimick a natural tan.
A relatively new purchase, the brush hairs are tightly packed into the furrell and softly angled.
This brush is great is you are a fan of contouring your cheeks - and buffs whatever makeup medium, whether it be powder or cream beautifully into the skin.
Another new purchase, great brush for more controlled, contour work and more precise placement of product.
Love this duo brush, in smaller form. You have to feel the brush hairs, to believe how fine, and delicate they are. Absolutely love this brush at buffing concealer onto problem areas. It's so soft, it  distributes just enough product - so you get no build up. Heaven.
I use this brush for concealer under the eye - the shape makes it easy to 'pat' and 'place' the product just where you need it - you can then use the same brush to pat until evenly distributed.

Here are a few Crown brushes I have, that not many people own - and many ask about when they see them in my brush belt.
  I like to call this a 'bigger blending brush' - bigger than your average blending brush.
It's great at softening down any harsh edges in re to eyeshadows and using transition colours ( lighter, complimenting colours ) to soften. A great brush to have to really 'blow' shadow out - resulting in a soft fusion and gruduation of colour.
  My all time favourite angle brush for eyeliner, whether it be powder or gel - and also for applying product to your brows. I find the brush handle, longer than other brands - therefore giving greater ease of use.
  Finally! A brush to use with cosmetic glitter! Any Makeup artist will know the pain of trying to apply eye glitters/glues with your average makeup brush - and also trying to clean them after!
This silicon 'brush'  means you can pat the glitter onto the eye/face, avoiding a lot less product fall down. Cleaning of this brush is also so easy - wash in warm water!
Love this brush - for so many reasons. It's a true multi-purpose brush.
Use it to smudge eyeliners, shadows, create a cut crease, crease work, applying highlighter to inner corners of the eye/brown bone - the list is endless.
Tiny smudge brush. Feels softer on the eyes than a larger brush, great for more detailed eye makeup - I've even used this as a lip brush on more than one occasion.
BK41 Bought this over Christmas - love using this to 'clean' up eyeliner - making it look sharper and more defined. It's also great if you are a fan of the sharp, clean brow - great for applying concealer with.
Check out the official Crown Brushes website here - for lots of other fab brushes and also makeup and accessories.

For an exclusive 15% off all brushes and accessories, Using the link below type 'Blush' in at checkout. 

You are welcome!
Crown Brush

Vichy Dermablend Setting Powder

I can spend, literally hours scouting department stores and the internet on the hunt for new makeup to fill my bridal, makeup kit.
One product I found to be a lifesaver for bridal makeup, is Vichy - Dermablend Setting powder.

A good 25 mins can be spent hydrating, priming, blending and perfecting the desired, Bridal base makeup. But if all this work is going to slide off in August temperatures, ( well, maybe not in England ) and the hustle and bustle of busy wedding morning preperations - what's the point?

I have been using this product on my brides for the past two years, and they love it!
It's a finely milled powder, with a translucent finish. I use the powder puff included, to 'press' the powder onto the skin, using a soft powder brush to brush away excess.
The skin is left velvety matte with a lovely High-Definition finish. It diminishes shine and helps to disguise large pores.

It's a fabulous product for helping to keep makeup, intact. For excessively oily skin, I do find it hard to find a product that will keep faces, shine-free pretty much all day.

This powder is perfect for use in conjuction with their fabulous foundations and concealers.
See my previous post on their 16hr Corrective Foundation here

I use this powder to set various foundations, or to get rid of unwanted shine.

As with all translucent powders, I still find they work best on fairer skins - although I did use this on a bride the weekend who was around a NC35 in MAC foundation. I applied using only a large powder brush, ommiting the powder puff usage and it didn't alter the colour of the foundation or give her skin an ashey tone.

Now a staple in my professional makeup kit - It's a must for bridal makeup, perfection and for everyday wear.
Prices at £17.00 on Feel Unique for 28g. Pricing correct on January 9th 2017.
Grab yourself a bargain.


* Powder sent by Vichy

W7 Butter Kiss Lipstick

Over a year ago, I was sent a bundle of W7 makeup. I remember being that excited I completely demolished the box, like a kid at Christmas. It was jam packed with so many gorgeous things I didn't know what to experiment with first!

I initially popped together a blog post, praising their eyeshadow palettes whilst the rest of the makeup got nealty placed in my makeup storage room. Yes, I have a room soley dedicated to my makeup hoard.

I moved last year, and slowly buy surely I am getting my own office space and studio, put together.
It's painstackingly, boring. But, it must be done.
Whilst having a 'sort out ' I came across these lippies from W7. Still in their original sealed state, never been opened. So in true procrastinating fashion, I digressed from the tidying and instead started unwrapping the rest of my W7 stash.

Oh how I wish I had opened them sooner. 
These lipsticks are without doubt, up there with some of the best I have ever tried. I have tried near enough, every brand available, so in turn I am fussy with what I deem a good quailty lipstick.

The name 'butter kiss' is so apt. The consistency and texture are to die for. Rich and buttery, they leave a comforting application and a full pop of colour.
The pigment is so strong that even when it wears off, a stain of colour still remains.

With only one application, a full coverage of colour is given.
I've always been a fan of higher pigment lipsticks. They are so much more versatile in terms of adapdability. If you prefer a 'stained' effect to the lips, apply with the finger - just patting them lightly.
Alternatively, mix with a gloss, for a richly coloured, glossy lip. I've even been known to use fuller pigment lipsticks such as these, as cream blushers. The choices are endless!

I've already ordered a few more colours from the W7 website, I wait in anticipation for their arrival!

The important stuff and what you really want to know.

Price: £4.95 each Official W7 Website

High Pigment
Creamy texture
Comforting feel on lips
Doesn't leave the lips dry after a few hours
Great price


I've already put an order in for the rest of the colours!
Find the full range at the official W7 Website

Artdeco - Rich Treatment Foundation

A brand I feel doesn't receive, near enough recognition. Artdeco.

During one of my, scouring the internet, hunting down makeup - sort of days, I stumbled across several reviews about this lesser known brand and the following, gorgeous product. So decided to invest in a few for my professional kit.
Introducing, Artdeco Rich Treatment Foundation.

I'm a sucker for foundations and base makeup. I have tried a ridiculous number of brands and numerous formulas. Some failed, and very few passed with flying colours.

Artdecos' Rich Treatment Foundation, didn't fail to leave a lasting impression.

I tend to reach for this foundation if my skin is a little drier, and in need of some serious TLC.
It provides a gorgeous, comforting layer of medium/full coverage goodness - leaving a radiant glow which is perfect for a more dry/dehydrated skin.

As I get further into my 30s, Matte foundations/base products are much less forgiving. For me, they leave me looking tired, flat and dull - and if that isn't enough, by the end of the day my skin looks like it's in dire need of a good drink as fine lines look all the more obvious.

At £18.50 a bottle, ( Pricing correct on Beauty bay as of January 2017 ) it's at the higher end of the foundation prices. The bottle contains 20g of product, which compared to other brands, is somewhat smaller. But in all fairness - with such a rich, quality product you need only use a tiny amount to get the desired effect.
The bottle comes with a handy applicator, which is a great idea as the product is a thick consistency.

The important stuff and what you really want to know.

£18.50 for 20ml - Pricing correct on Beauty Bay as of 4th January 2017.

Rich, comforting texture.
Great for dry/dehydrated skins.
Gives a luminous, healthy glow to the skin.
Works well on more mature skins.
Wears well - without dulling or oxidising.
Handy applicator, to ensure you use the desired amount and finish, every last drop before re-purchasing.

Higher price range
May not work as well on oilier skins. Always check your skin type before purchasing a foundation.
Not so much a con, BUT from the colours I have tried this foundation seems more pink based, so may not be ideal for those of you with an olive/golden undertone. Hunt out samples on Ebay, before purchasing.

Overall impression
Gorgeous, glowy skin with a fabulous coverage. I always get compliments when wearing this foundation. A dusting of powder is all I need to help set it and it still looks great after a days wear.

Buy again?
Yes. A lovely find, perfect for drier/more mature skins. 

All in all, a big thumbs up for this foundation. It's perfect for my drier skin during these winter months.
Have you tried any other Artdeco products? What would you recommend?

NIP+FAB Glycolic Fix Serum

With alot of my skincare products, I am always on the look out for that perfect serum or moisturiser.
It doesn't bear thinking about, the amount of money I have spent in the pursuit of ( possibly unattainable ) skin perfection.

Having heard so many glowing reviews about NIP + FAB products I decided to take the plunge, reveling at the prospect of a new product to try and fingers crossed, hopefully; fall in love with.

Debating prices and scouring various reviews, I eventually decided upon the Glycolic Fix Serum.
This particular ingredient, I know suits my skin - so I was already anticipating beyond, amazing results.
This overnight serum contains 4% Glycolic Acid and also Soothing Aloe Vera. Another staple favourite in many skincare products.
Glycolic Acid is a favourite among skincare enthusiasts. Helping to exfoliate, reduce fine lines and over time, reduce the appearance of dark spots and uneven skin tone. What's not to love?

The serum is a gel like, texture and I find one pump is enough for the whole face, working the remaining product, down the neck.

It dries pretty quick upon contact without leaving a sticky residue, feel or tackiness.
Like most serums, it leaves no shine or texture to the skin, just sinking in ready for your next skincare, step.

The important stuff and what you really want to know.

£14.95 for 30ml. Pricing at Superdrug. Correct as of the 4th January 2017.

I have sensitive skin, but this stuff seems to suit my temperamental epidermis, pretty well.
Not overly scented.
A gel like texture, unlike some serums which are more of a liquid/watery consistency.
Great, pump dispenser. I love packaging that is designed like this. I find one pump provides just the perfect amount for the whole face and neck.

None. If I was to be picky... As with all cosmetic/skincare packaging that conceals the actual product thats contained inside, ( Either due to the material or colour ) you never know when it will actually run out, until, it runs out.

After 4 weeks of use
With regular use, my skin looks more refined, clearer, brighter AND smoother.
I suffer with dry patches on my face during the colder months and this has really helped.
Makeup sits so much better after using this for several weeks.
No breakouts, and improved skin texture.

Buy again?
100% Yes. 

I would love to try more from this seemingly, fabulous range.
Have you tried any NIP+FAB products?