The Lockdown Tag – How I’ve spent my time.

I was doing some Sunday morning blog spotting (as you do) and came across this tag created by LuxuryBlush and just had to take part! When I do my long weeks at work I struggle to find time to really get stuck into blog writing which is a shame so going forward i’m going to write more on my short weeks (my long and short weeks alternate so it isn’t too bad!) and schedule them so i’m not missing out. But I think tags are a great way to get to know someone!

So lets jump right into it…

1 . Come On, Own up… Did You Stock Pile Anything?

I don’t even go shopping regularly outside of quarantine so no, I didn’t have the foresight to prepare even a week in advance nevermind for quarantine. I managed to save a lot during lockdown but these past few weeks I have splurged on a few clothing and beauty treats.

2. Have You Discovered a New Hobby?

I have rediscovered a hobby of gaming! I’ve always loved gaming but over the past year when it has taken up so much of my work life it was the last thing I wanted to do when I went home but now I have that seperation I have gone back to it and am finally playing some games I’ve had sitting on my shelf for years! I started with Animal Crossing and I’m currently addicted to The Last of Us and have been playing GTA5 with friends.

3. Where is the First Place You Will Go Once the Restrictions are 100% Lifted? 

To see all of my family and friends back home! I don’t live close to them at all and cannot wait to see them. It sucks that I started my 101 in 1001 list late last year because I really started to push myself out there and discover new places, people and activities and then this happened. So I will probably pick something random off of that and do that as soon as I can.

4. Loungewear or Normal Clothes For A Day of Isolating?

Leggings and a tee. I have found though that if i’m in pyjama type clothes or don’t do my hair and makeup for a while I start to feel worse mentally so I try to have just one or two fully relaxed days a week.

5. Have You Been Wearing Makeup Whilst Staying at Home?

Luckily I’ve been working throughout June so have been doing makeup for work. When I’ve been at home I’ve been polar opposite of either keeping it off completely or trying out hidden gems i’ve had stuck on my makeup desk for a while and not gotten around to.

6. How Many Zoom Quizzes Have You Done? And Importantly, Did You Enjoy Them?

No Zoom quizzes for me! Me and my friends did try houseparty but quickly moved to Skype and did online Cards against Humanity. We also managed to hook up JackBox and played everyones favourite Quiplash (CAH but you make your own answers up basically)

7. Did You Give into the Hype and Bake Your Own Banana Bread?

Due to my lack of general supplies no, I wanted to do a post on trying all of the Lockdown trends in one day but I moved jobs then and that took priority and I think I’ve missed the boat on that one now?

8. Were You Still Ordering Takeaways? If You Did, What Was Your First One?

Yes! I actually did this out of support for local businesses and got a few takeaways from GoEatClean who do healthy but delicious food! I also had a curry for my birthday meal.

9. Has Your Blog/ Instagram Content Had to Change Since Lockdown?

Yes, My instagram was a lot more travel/experience related before and rather than adapting I kind of neglected it which is a shame but I think i’m still trying to find my unique style for it.

10. Are You Waiting Until the Hairdressers Re-Open or Have you Cut/ Dyed your Own Hair?

Literally the first day I was sent home from work I dyed my hair teal to test out Shrine After that I bleached the ends again and frankly did an awful job for someone who regularly dyes their hair. My next is either candyfloss pink or peach ends. I also caved and cut my hair along with a friends in my “bubble” but I usually cut my fringe myself so I don’t think it was too bad.

11. Who Have You Missed Seeing The Most?

Easily my mum! She works in the NHS and has had a tough time, she’s alone and has also had to work with covid positive patients and it’s been a scary time for her. She is amazing and I cannot wait to see her and surprise her with a spa day to say thank you.

So there we go! Lockdown tag is complete! How did you cope throughout lockdown? Let me know the one thing you missed and the first thing you’ll be doing in the comments below!

Becoming an A-Lister – Latest in Beauty

Latest in beauty are for sure one of my favourite collection boxes to keep an eye on. I don’t subscribe to their monthly boxes but do keep an eye on their collections. I have reviewed The Vegan edit box before so check that out if you haven’t already! Their value for money is incredible and it’s a great way to discover new products. The only thing that stops me buying literally every box that comes out from them is that amongst the amazing products there are also ones that are not cruelty free which is a big no from me!

Their latest box I found myself able to get was their collaboration with Hello magazine which was The A-List Edit. Featuring 11 products for only £30 plus £3 p&p. Coming out at less than £3 a product with a lot of full sized products! I just couldn’t pass it up.

So let’s have a look shall we….

Their signature seller of this box is the Perricone MD foundation. I was left to just one shade as the rest had sold out. There are 5 shades listed on the leaflet which aren’t the most diverse. I got beige which is probably a couple of shades too dark for me, usually as I like to start with a lighter base and then build it up, but as it’s coming to summer I can probably get away with this or even just add a few lightening drops into it. It is branded as a ‘no makeup foundation’ so instantly I’m thinking light and weightless formula, it claims to create a dewy look which honestly isn’t a look I personally enjoy for foundation but it does have SPF20 which is so important in this heatwave.

The bottle doesn’t have a lid which I find bizarre and unhygenic for travel so this will firmly be staying on my makeup shelf. It does have a removable cap that stops it pressing and leaking in your bag but that doesn’t stop things going in the nozzle. This foundation retails for £45 generally but can be found in sales from £25-£35 dependant on how hard you look. Perricone MD are strong believers in cruelty free beauty and even state they will never test on animals.

Overall I think the foundation is a really nice lightweight foundation and lasts throughout the day but it is definitely not full coverage and really tough to build on. I tried to add highlighter onto it but it stuck in place rather than being blend-able. You can see from the yellow cheeks above… I’ll be using this throughout summer days where I’m going for a lightweight foundation and brows only look, but I don’t think I’ll be reaching for it for the more extravagant make-up looks

The Anastasia Beverly Hills Dipbrow gel was one of my most looked forward to products as I’ve never had anything from ABH before despite it being so popular! Plus during lockdown I haven’t been able to get my usual brow pomade and my brows have severely suffered with this. Using a wand to apply brows is something i’m going to have to get used to! I ended up smearing it pretty badly and couldn’t taper them towards the ends as much as I usually do but with a bit of practice I think this is going to become a staple for me!

Time to cleanse

Time for the end of the day! So lets use the Balance Me micellar water to cleanse my face and remove all of this! I usually use a deep cleanser as most micellar water just seems to rinse your face but this uses natural peptides to plump and hylauronic acid to plump, more than your usual cleanser! The results are impressive too! The REN clean skincare Dark Spot Sleeping Cream, it has high promises of reducing the appearance of dark spots in just 7 days! The texture is thick and immediately feels super hydrating, if its bold claims of results in 7 days are to be believed then the size may be enough for a true test and then repurchase, but we shall see.

The Hask hair conditioner has 2 variants for the boxes, I received charcoal. It boasts strengthening, smoothing and boosting shine. I am a major frizzhead in humidity! So will take anything to smooth my hair. The product is huge! It will definitely last more than 1 use so I’ll probably end up decanting it and getting a few uses out of it.

Now onto the battle of booster oils.

BYBI Strawberry Booster Oil

The trilogy booster oil boosts skin recovery and radiance using an organic blend of super seeds. The bottle may be tiny but you need only 2-3 drops for a use. The Bybi strawberry booster is absolutely what I need for this weather! Its cold pressed strawberry seed oil isn’t boosted with false scent, it’s packaging is cute, the product is real. It’s scent is not incredible, not what you expect from strawberries, but you can tell from that it is authentic, it is also a slightly off-putting green colour and feels quite oily, but oil is not a bad thing! People tend to get worried about using oil but it actually helps our skin.

The tan maximiser aftersun will be super useful during this massive heatwave, I can’t yet comment on if it does prolong your tan, I assume it is just super hydrating to the point your skin doesn’t peel as quickly which in turn prolongs your tan. Either way anytime I’m in the sun or even if it’s overcast I always use an SPF to protect my skin and usually forget about a super hydrating after sun! I feel like i’m always neglecting this part of the process so to get this product is super exciting.

Two of the products I was *a little* disappointed in were the 2 samples by GlamGlow and Bumble & Bumble. Emphasis on the little as the products actually work really well but there was just a bit of confusion here so I may be being a little unfair. I think my disappointment simply stems from my last @LIB box containing full sized products so I didn’t pay much attention in sizes here, it’s probably unreasonable given the size for me to expect a full size thirsty mud pack from GlamGlow.

I am disappointed in myself for not realising their parent company is Estée Lauder meaning they are not a cruelty free brand. This was an honest mistake though and really lets future purchasing of the product down as I’d probably have this as a staple if it wasn’t for that. I found this out after the box came so will make use of it so it doesn’t go to waste but won’t be purchasing another box if it comes with this brand which is a shame as they’re featured in a fair few LIB boxes and would probably be a brand I’d purchase regularly otherwise.

Finally the Bumble and bumble dry shampoo came to me as another sample size, you can see results immediately with dry shampoo which makes me feel like a smaller size of this would be ok in this box, if it wasn’t for the ‘not for sale’ plastered on the front which ruins the illusion of this being handpicked for the box and, just being honest here, seems like LIB managed to get their hands on a lot of samples and picked this just for filler. It’s good, it works, but the thought that went into this going in here just lets it down personally.

Overall thoughts on the box

Love these products! There’s a nice range, I’m usually pretty set on my skincare but being forced to try new things is good because I may find something that works even better! This box has saved me in quarantine as I’ve ran out of eyebrow, aftersun and foundation and it’s not like I can just nip out to get these things as I’m still thankfully working. I’m super excited that this box finally gave me the opportunity to try brands I’ve wanted to for a while.

I genuinely didn’t dislike even one of the products! Even the two I was a little disappointed by were down to me expecting something it was not rather than judging it blind and I get that. I’d be wanting more full coverage and buildability from the foundation for the hefty price tag but I think their demographic could be for slightly older women who want something lightweight and invisible. 5 shades isn’t the most diverse either but i’m lucky enough to be able to use this. Frankly it’s another fantastic box from LIB and i’m excited for them to release more cruelty free ones for me to try!

Too Hot to Handle? Summer Heatwave Edition.

This week has definitely been one for the books. The heatwave we’re currently in is frankly unbearable for the majority of us British people who are used to brisk winds and constant rain. Although it’s welcome for me I forsee lobster season for my skin! Factor 50 come at me!

For those of you who don’t follow my instagram @ohsoviki I started a new job at the beginning of the month. I am absolutely loving the variety of it and it’s definitely playing to my strengths. It’s great to meet new people, especially as I don’t know too many people down south yet, it’s also fun to hear lots of stories from people in my industry and get to learn from them.

This week I was asked to work on a remote broadcast for a some garden equipment promotion and guess what day they picked? Of course, the hottest day of the year! It made us incredibly busy testing out all of the equipment alongside dismantling a studio, but I guess it’s more productive than sitting in said studio watching ancient aliens at 6am which was how we spent the previous day.

It was a sweltering 36 degrees and we had 3 hours of solid shooting (with an hour off for myself personally directing from the gallery which I was so happy for as it’s constantly cool in there). The crew were hiding under umbrellas and we had to set some equipment up next to a fan and if still overheated! Overall it was really fun to work on though and I can’t wait to do more!

My nights are usually spent relaxing now. I’ve been decluttering my flat (it no longer looks like the tip from my first picture on this post! Promise!) and also got back into gaming. I am addicted to The Last of Us! It has been on my shelf for years and I just never got around to it despite how good everyone says it is. It’s not what I expected at all but has not failed to disappoint, and with the second one finally releasing recently I felt like it was time to finally get my ass into gear and play it.

This weekend is my weekend off so today I ventured out to prepare for a bbq I am having. As well as my first time in a shopping centre in months! I weirdly found my favourite purchase in lidl which was this adorable cactus llama. The weekend will be filled with testing out all of my new products that I have received so keep an eye out here for more reviews!

How are you all coping with this heat? Especially during lockdown? Let me know in the comments!

Lockdown Adventures – An unexpected journey.

An 11 duckling rescue mission.

Despite being in lockdown the weather last weekend was too good to pass up, I grabbed a book and decided to sit out in the garden with a glass of pink gin and lemonade. I live in a house with 4 flats, 1 of which is currently unoccupied, so we have a front and back communal garden that we can take advantage of and still be socially distant.

I was beckoned over by my neighbours to the corner of the garden where they hold a small vegetable patch. As I was walking over I noticed some scurrying within the patch then all of a sudden a small duckling fell 10ft from the laylandii above. My neighbour told me she had been in the garden when all of a sudden the mother duck fell from the tree and the other 11 babies followed. One even fell on her head! This wasn’t the first time this happened either, she informed me this had happened every summer for the past 3 years! I have a feeling that a neighbour owns a pond and the mother leaves the nearby park to nest then gets lost finding her way home!

THE RESCUE MISSION BEGINS!

We were very cautious trying to round up the ducklings, they escaped the patch twice but found their way back in and then we blocked them into there whilst we prepared transport. Due to my neighbours being very vunerable to the current co-vid situation I offered to take the ducklings to the park and was lucky they had experience with this situation.

They prepared their dog cage and a bucket as in previous years putting the ducklings in the cage allowed them to squeeze through the gaps and escape whilst in the car. The plan was simple, wear gloves so we do not scent them so they are not disowned, put the mother in the dog cage then the ducklings in the bucket so they cannot escape, then put them in the cage with the mother duck, drive them to the pond and release them. Simple. Right?

Simple in thought. As soon as we’d got the mother into the cage the babies had no one to follow, they all started running everywhere and managed to get out of the patch. Good thing I thought to count them before as I had to run across the garden to get to the one behind the shed! Four of us managed to wrangle them all and reunite them with their mother.

Then came the transfer to the pond. I was so worried the bucket would tip over in the car so was driving as gently as I possibly could, especially as I had multiple speedbumps to manouveur.

Releasing them had to be quick so that none were left behind. The pond they now live in is very populated and it did cross my mind that it may cause some issues. One male duck tried to fight the mother as soon as we released them but she fought back, defended her ducklings and they all swam away to their forever home.

It certainly wasn’t how I was expecting to spend the majority of my day but it was a welcome change in lockdown. How are you coping with lockdown? Let me know your bizarre encounters in the comments!

Clean, conscious beauty. – Vegan Edit box review

After my The Vegan edit – Latest in Beauty box review – initial impressions post where I stated I would spend 2 weeks testing the products in the box I have to admit…. It’s been the entirety of Quarantine that I have been testing these.

I’ve been so wrapped up in everything else that I hadn’t even gotten around to clicking ‘publish’ on that post till the other day. I have, however, given these products stringent testing now, a lot more than the 2 weeks i’d expected. The good thing about this is that lots of beauty products take time to see effects, so I’ve been able to test that. The bad thing, the box is now long out of stock. But Latest in Beauty cycle through boxes frequently, in fact, I may have accidentally made a 1am purchase of their latest one recently.

So let’s get onto my findings

Yellow and White Class Photo Collage

The amount of products in this box for the price was frankly phenomenal. I found 8 products I was seriously impressed with! Some were a shock like the sleep oil, I wasn’t exactly looking forward to the lavender scent but it was so soothing at night, and overall was probably my favourite item in the entire box!

  • The Sacura activ gel serum was incredible, a great replacement for freederm. The scent was my favourite part of this!
  • I was not massively looking forward to moving away from my Ordinary skincare regime but the own brand hylauronic acid was also a great find! A little goes a long way and it’s still got a tonne left even after using it AM and PM
  • I cannot get over the size of the Faith in Nature Dragonfruit bodywash! It smelt incredible, lathered up great and the branding was on point.
  • The deodorant crystal was one I highlighted in my initial impressions post. I was excited to try this zero waste alternative. It definitely has the longevity you need, even on these hot summer days!
  • The natural toothbrush got a deep clean without irritation that some brushes give me. The stand that comes with it is great too because I’m really, really funny about my toothbrush being on the side or touching anything.
  • Sukin are a great brand regardless, although I’m not a personal fan of a lot of oils their cleansing oil works wonders. I’m not sure i’d personally buy it again but I can see the benefits for a different skin-type so thought it only fair to place in this category.
  • Ok, this may be my fault for not reading accurately but I thought the seaweed scalp mud was a lot more of an intensive treatment than leave it on for 3 minutes then wash off. Regardless it left my hair clean and smooth. The spreadability of it is probably the only thing I wasn’t too fond of.

Yellow and White Class Photo Collage (2)

Next we will look at the products I didn’t love, but didn’t hate enough to say I’d never buy them. Maybe they just aren’t for me…

  • Fruu’s shape for their lipbalm is adorable and glides on effortlessly. However both that and the Naturline are standard lipbalms, of which I have so many.
  • Northern Soap deep cleanser seems quite drying, this could be a skin type issue, doesn’t work wonders on me, but could for someone else, which is why it’s here rather than in products I outright did not like. This would probably be something that just sits on my shelf for too long and is just wasted.
  • The push up buttocks moisturiser is, of course, gimmicky. It’s definitely moisturising, smells great and is a decent size, but I think the way it promotes you getting in a routine of massaging that area naturally does more of a firming job than the moisturiser.
  • EcoDenta mouthwash fills your mouth and immediately dissolves down, it doesn’t massively feel like it’s doing anything miraculous but it’s a lot less harsh that its counterparts so great for people with sensitive mouths like myself.
  • The welleda body lotion is thoroughly moisturising and citrus is one of my favourite scents, but the amount of body lotion I get in gift sets that do the exact same thing means I’ve never found a brand i’ve been loyal to in a body moisturiser.
  • I don’t use hairspray, so it’s not really fair for me to review this. I love that it’s not compressed air, and it seemed ok from a girl who has no previous experience in this area.

Yellow and White Class Photo Collage (3)

Out of ALL the products in this box there are only four I flat out didn’t like, honestly I wanted to stop using these part way through but thought it only fair to give them a fair shot.

  • Urban Veda facial scrub had tiny microbeads in, these can tear your skin so I was already put off by that. I think the product isn’t strong enough to thoroughly cleanse without these though. The moisturiser did not sit well with me at all, the scent was so overpowering I felt like I was getting hayfever from using it! It was lightweight but I could not get over the scent.
  • 2 in 1 shampoo and conditioner has no place in this world I’m just going to say it. Maybe if you’re travelling it’s acceptable but this hemp product did not scrub up well, it left my hair feeling stringy and frankly awful.
  • Aloe toothpaste is disgusting! It tastes awful, it leaves your mouth feeling awful and not fresh and if you use it before bed by the time you wake up your mouth feels like you went to bed without brushing in the first place!

OVERALL 

Despite having some harsh words on the last products they were such a small percentage that I’m astounded by this box! I found some products I truly loved and some I loved trying out despite probably not reaching for on the shelves again. I love the Latest in Beauty boxes! They’re a great way to discover new products and brands and I absolutely cannot fault their value for money. I am looking forward to trying new collections in the future!

The Vegan edit – Latest in Beauty box review

One thing i’m always up for is a good beauty product.

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On my mission to discover new vegan and cruelty-free brands as well as trying new products I was sent a link to Latest in Beauty – a site i’d never heard of before, but my friends know me too well and their Vegan Beauty Edit box in collaboration with Holland and Barrett was an instant referral.

As soon as I saw the price-tag I’d whipped out my card and put in an order. For only £30 you get an astonishing amount of products – worth £120/140 – but even without the RRP being a clear steal this boxes contents is clearly worthwhile.

Boxes like these are a great way to discover new brands as well as products you probably wouldn’t even spot on a shelf, never mind buy for yourself anyway, and it’s a great way to find new beauty musts.

What struck me about this is that it’s not a subscription box in any form. It’s a one off price so the offer isn’t some form of new customer bonus or lure.

You get 19 products in the box, and for ease i’ll categorise them and my initial thoughts here. After that i’ll test the products and in about 2-3 weeks (to give them enough time to get to work) i’ll do a ‘buy it or bin it’ review so stay tuned! For now though, let’s get into the products…

BATHROOM ESSENTIALS

Dr Organic Shampoo and Conditioner  – As this is a 2 in 1 it’s not something i’d usually use. Maybe for travel, but I can’t see something being able to fully wash out and also super condition on just one bottle. They seem opposite. Hemp is usually quite moisturising so lets see

Faith in Nature shower gel – dragonfruit smells incredible, I never buy myself showergel, I get so many beauty sets at christmas so not something ill buy as a treat but this is a good size and I love the branding.

The Toothpaste Collection -Coming in with 3 products here. Aloe whitening toothpase, black foaming mouthwash and charcoal toothbrush and holder. The zero-waste feature of the toothbrush is great. Black foaming mouthwash has come out of nowhere and taken the world by storm so i’m ready to see if the hype is worth it.

Seamagik Seaweed Scalp Mud – I love scalp muds and any kind of hair mask so i’m excited to try this out!

FACIAL COLLECTION

Hylauronic Acid – My entire skincare routine is made up of The Ordinary, and i’m pretty set with that, but I’ve heard a lot about hylauronic acid, I just never wanted to add too much into my routine but interested to give it a go.

Salcura activ gel serum – I used to use Freederm religiously as a teen, this seems to be a cruelty free alternative. It has a lot of organic, fresh ingredients and smells great. The only thing I didn’t like about Freederm was you couldn’t put it on then go out as it would turn into a visible white paste on your skin. Let’s see if this omits that.

Northern Soap Deep Facial Cleanser – Deceptive packaging, I feel like you don’t get a lot here, but maybe a little goes a long way. Usually this type of product is effective but quite drying.

Sukin Cleansing Oil – friend massively recommended this brand recently, lets see if she was right.

New Tries

Tisserand Sleep Better Night Oil – Despite being Lavendar, a scent I’m really not fond of, I’ve been sleeping awfully lately so adding this into my night time routine may work wonders.

push up buttocks – This moisturiser seems incredibly gimmicky, nothing gives you a ‘push up effect’ other than working out. I’ll go in with an open mind though.

Salt of the Earth natural deodorant – I’ve been thinking about this type of product for years, looking at lush versions etc. I love that you don’t hurt the environment with aerosols and also zero waste but really interested to see if it works. I will also be looking at the hygiene of the product after it’s been used but has to be stored.

Hairspray – Hairspray? In ‘new’? Well yes. I really don’t use hairspray. Usually if I do it’s in a compressed can as these types of bottles seem ineffective, I used to use salt sprays when doing loose curls but honestly just for me I hate the way hairspray makes your hair feel. I get a tonne of flyaways and frizz so I’m not sure this will work for me, but that’s my first impression, and even if it doesn’t work it doesn’t mean it’s a bad product.

Samples

Soothing day cream and facial polish from Urban Veda–  not big enough to test long enough to see effects really and probably best to use together. Lets see if a little goes a long way

Welleda body moisturiser – citrus smells AMAZING, seems like a handy moisturiser to just keep in your handbag.

Battle of the Balms

Natruline – vaseline like, this brand has different versions but this is the vegan version. Seems like your standard petroleum jelly though.

Fruu – watermelon flavour – As much as I like watermelon this must be a heightened smell as watermelon is …well….90% water.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS

Variety – 8/10 lots of basics, replacements of essentials with a few new things thrown in. would love to be challenged by new innovations like the natural deodorant

Value for money – 10/10, just cant compare, it’s less than £2 a product and all are full size barring 3 which make great travel essentials regardless. Even if some are generally bad or circumstancially bad for me it will still be a great percentage. Plus there were a small amount of samples compared to full size products

Brands – 9/10, learning new vegan and cruelty free brands whilst also seeing some fan favourites, great way to introduce new brands to loyal customers whilst introducing staples to anyone interested in more ethical living.

Check back soon for a more in-depth review, safe to say i’m really excited about trialling this box!

SHRINE on – Feeling Aquatic in isolation

Day one of social isolation – dying my hair like i’m 10 years younger.

Screenshot (14)Today, after a weekend up North I arrived at work and found it an abandoned ghost town, it seemed I was left out of the loop that everyone is now working from home. So whilst waiting for my work brief to come through I decided to test out a brand new product recommended to me by my best friend at home – Shrine Drop It Hair Drops. I chose something I’d always wanted – aqua, and Sarah chose pink. I always wanted dark hair with aqua at the bottom for winter then pink hair for summer, and even though today feels like the sunniest day in a long time I just had to try it.

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What’s in the box?

20ml Hair Drops – 200 drops per bottle

1 X silicone bowl

1X silicone mixer and brush

1 X instruction manual

 

 

The only things not included are gloves (due to the fact they advertise no single use plastic I presume) this should probably not be taken lightly as I now look like I’ve got permanent pneumonia in my left hand, but as it’s semi-permanent it should come out quickly.

The main selling points of this brand is the lifestyle associated with it. They rave about being vegan and cruelty free and I’m all for that! They also have a wide range of vibrant colours. Regardless of if I’m testing or not I never usually go for semi-permanent as I see it as a bit of a waste. The RRP of this product is £16.99 and I got it half price, it states it lasts 3-12 washes, I doubt I’d spend the full amount for that short amount of time usually, but it seems good for a night out or event.

 

So let’s get into the review.

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Initial impressions 

I knew straight away I wanted an ombre effect, so as instructed I took any white conditioner and filled the bowl, as I didn’t want a whole head of hair I filled it halfway and proceeded to add what I thought was 20 drops of the product. It’s quite goopy so it’s tough to tell what a whole drop is. Halving the quantity of conditioner I probably should’ve halved the amount of drops but I wanted it to be very vibrant even though it was already on pre-lightened hair. The box states there is 200 drops which can be up to 30 applications. It’s hard to tell but I feel like i’ve gone through half the bottle already. Hopefully that’s not the case!

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The Application

After mixing I very soon got rid of the mixing brush and went straight to hands to get a thorough application. This is where I realised not taking their advice of using gloves was a bad decision. Other than that it was incredibly smooth and easy to apply.

I decided to mix it with an intensive colour conditioner from a previous hairdye kit in hopes it negates any dryness or damage from the dye (my hair is renowned for being dry and strawlike at the best of times so I don’t need any help there)

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The Results

Ok, so firstly, I feel like I need to disclaim that it’s a bit patchy because I forgot to brush it through, but in saying that, it doesn’t clearly state that on the leaflet, my friends who regularly dye their hair told me to when I said about it being patchy. Overall I love the colour! It’s pretty phenomenal, I kind of want to just do my whole head now so it goes from dark to light, so watch this space.

The one problem with my application is (and this happens everytime I dye my hair and I never learn) I ALWAYS go heavy with application underneath and not on top, so from behind the colour is quite low and you can still see parts of the blonde. Nothing a good top-up won’t fix but that’s my mistake.

For dying, my hair feels incredibly smooth after, I love that you can just mix this with any white conditioner. Like I said, I used an intensive care one from a superdrug hairdye kit and I dont know if it was that or just the lack of harshness in the dye that resulted in such smooth results but i’m very impressed

I really hope it lasts towards the 12 washes, and with the amount of drops I used i’m hoping that helps. I think this is a great way to test colours before making a permanent plunge or even for a special occassion. I’m so tempted by a peach next, but I don’t know when that will be as i’ve pretty much immediately fallen in love with this colour, and for a girl that’s not really into commitment I see myself spending the forseeable future with this colour.

 

Pros                                                                                        Cons

Vegan and cruelty free                                                        Price-tag £16.99 RRP

No single use plastic                                                            Consistency is hard to tell drop ratio

Easy to use                                                                             Possibility of it leaving in 3 washes

Mix with any white conditioner

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Final thoughts

I’d definitely buy this again! I love the colour, I love the concept and brand, and i’m all for supporting anything cruelty free and vegan!

The pricetag is a big higher than i’d usually pay for at home dye (especially semi-permanent). I’d look more towards the £10 mark, but in saying that, I got it half price, it was well worth the £8.50, and hopefully to reduce waste I’ll be able to just buy the drops next time and not the bowl and brush, therefore making it both cost-efficient and incredibly effective.

God knows what else I will resort to to keep myself occupied over the coming weeks if I couldn’t even stand one day alone but I hope everyone is staying safe and focusing on their health in these times ❤

I like that Boulder, That is a nice boulder – 101 in 1001 [5]

Time to tick another off the list.

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I’d been ready to tick another thing off my 101 in 1001  list for a while. In fact, I think I massively need to up my game with this. Bouldering is something I’ve wanted to try for a long time, and a work friend had recently started going and saturating his snapchat with videos on his days off, so I just had to try it!

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I booked a boulder induction for 8.15pm on a Monday evening, perfect timing for most people who shy away from crowded places right? Wrong. It was insanely busy for the first half hour, they had just had their wall re-set, so there were lots of new climbing routes available and the place was packed. The session instructor – Sarah, was incredible though. She first took us on a tour of the facility and did the usual ‘common sense’ training. Finding a quiet spot we each took it in turns to climb up a Slab, Match and then work our way back down. The group took to it quickly so we soon moved on to overhanging walls and a few more complex places. Everyone in the group was either much taller than me or had climbed before so there was one route that I couldn’t quite reach but Sarah was so supportive, she told me bouldering isn’t about reaching the top, its about perfecting technique and progressing, so I may have been three holds off of completing it this time, but next time I should try one more, and i’d soon be at the top.

WhatsApp Image 2020-02-25 at 13.41.43The induction gave me some good tips and we finished off with 40 minutes of free-climb after. I challenged myself to a lot of different routes, and there is one climb right in the middle where you climb onto the top of it, walk along and dismount the other side. This is where I thought I would struggle. It’s not particularly hard, but I get nervous at heights, and with bouldering you have no harness, just a foam floor beneath you. I managed it though, and even went back for more.

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I traversed many routes, and can’t wait to build up my strength to try more. I’ll definitely be returning and am so happy, even with the amount of people at the start being quite intimidating I managed to do it and progress well!

Short but sweet, time to move onto conquering number 6, but bouldering will definitely be something I’ll keep up.

 

 

 

The Beautiful South – 10 things a Northerner has learnt from a year down south

The great 2020 battle of Lincolnshire vs Hampshire

January 2019 I moved to Surrey/Hampshire. A 5 hour journey from home. Not the other side of the world and similar in many ways, but there are definitely some homely comforts I miss, and some new traditions I am totally here for. Here’s 10 things I’ve noticed from my move.

  1. People just ‘hang out’ at service stations

Ok. This is something I noticed when I spent my first few months living in a  hotel and finishing work at gone midnight. The only places open for food were service stations and on many, many, many drives ‘home’ I noticed so many people just chilling in their cars, meeting up with friends and generally just hanging out. Not stopping mid journey, flat out making the drive there and back for that purpose.

When I bought it up to my colleagues (18-24 year olds) they got so excited saying they often meet their friends there or stop off for food after a night out.

9 months later I found myself doing the same thing, because absolutely nothing else is open at 1am. But I only did it twice, and it’s still a foreign concept to me.

2. Kebab vans are perfectly viable and not a ploy to kidnap and murder you

Ok this one I noticed when I used to just visit occasionally. The odd van just perched up in a dark off-set of a roundabout. I always noticed the same one, but they became more prevalent, and are pretty popular. As there aren’t many clubs around here you have to travel to them, and if you’re wanting anything other than a McDonalds then a kebab van is the way to go, rent is incredibly high here too so the flexibility and low outgoings are actually a good business model, but damn, there will always be something dodgy to me about stopping at one of them.

3. People tend to settle less – want to achieve more.

My friends have always been high achievers, but that’s a small group of people I know up North that have genuinely sought out better things for themselves. Most settle down early in 9-5’s, and that’s perfectly ok, but I notice so much more fight and tenacity from southerners. After all – working is such a large percentage of your life, why do something you don’t enjoy or work yourself ill to line the pockets of someone else.

4. Northerners are a facade of friendliness, southerners have tougher skin but will help you out way more.

I think it’s safe to say I’ve encountered my fair share of tough calls down here. One thing I was late to realise though was the sincerity of friendliness between the North and South is vast. It is often remarked on how Northerners are more polite and friendly, you’d meet your new best friend in a toilet on a night out, help the lady struggling with bags at the bus stop, pick up a dropped belonging of a stranger in the street. I’ve noticed a lot of generic politeness in the North, and more understanding, however down south there is so much more sincerity when people are actually nice to you, albeit the percentage of times it happens is smaller it is met with genuine vibes of wanting to help and going above and beyond to do that.

5. Phone calls.

The south is helping me overcome my crippling anxiety around phone calls. Voice messages are now the norm for me, and although I still screen certain unknown calls, I’ll actively have 40 minute phone calls with friends and family. I don’t think this was due to being away from them as we still text a lot, southerners just ring for anything and that’s something I’ve adopted. In such a fast-paced way of life down here you don’t often have time to sit there writing (much to the demise of my frequent blog posts) so multitasking anything saves bundles of time.

6. Safety.

Walking around Grimsby is nothing, when I go on midnight runs here everyone freaks out but its perfectly safe and my northern attitude sees to that, on the other hand I wouldn’t even dare leave a penny on show in my car up north but down here people leave laptops, purses, handbags and so much just on show in their car without a second thought.

7. Repression.

Everyone hides their problems up north, it’s so tough to talk about things and only a handful of people from home know my battles, here everyone knows, i’m actively open about a lot more without the fear of hiding because confrontation is the only fix and I have a solid support structure here.

8. Distance.

Driving 45 minutes for a meal would definitely not be a regular occurrence back home, you get stuck in a rut, or at least a pattern, it can become quite tiring. Here I have a large circle from Basingstoke to Reading, Outer London to Guildford, Portsmouth to Southampton that genuinely doesn’t seem like a lot of distance. It opens up a world of possibilities for activities and choices of entertainment, but isn’t friendly to your wallet.

9. Pace.

It’s absolutely non-stop down here. Things are expected to be done, and be done quickly. At times it definitely is overwhelming but realistically (and generally speaking) the constant procrastination of the Northern attitude means you are working little and often and not achieving a whole lot whilst you’re at it. Being pushed to do things sees a more positive attitude as you can measure your success.

10. Expenses.

The most obvious and given. Everything is more expensive down south.

12 hours in Belgium – 101 in 1001 [4]

4AM.

PASSPORT IN HAND.

WHERE AM I HEADED?

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Well there is a big clue in the title for you all, but for my snapchat audience my last day off posed that very question to them.

I had finished work at 7pm last Tuesday with little in the way of plans for my day off the next day. Ticking something off my list seemed appropriate – drive in another country? That is when a very impromptu day trip on the eurotunnel showed up.

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£30 later tickets had been booked for a 6.30am crossing and 10.30pm departure back. Who says days off have to be dull?

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I frequented France regularly when I was younger, and I would never turn down a trip there as I feel so at home.

Wednesday called for something different, but driveable. Bruges was a college trip for me, but you don’t get to see the best parts of a city on a college trip, an hour and a half from the eurotunnel – done.

 

 

Screenshot (10).pngI’d done little research into what to do whilst there but I wanted to find the right balance of doing activities and not feeling rushed or feeling like I was missing out.

Driving into Belgium we stopped in a small town called Jabbekke – purely because it sounded like Jabberwocky and made us laugh for some peculiar reason. I donned my big boots and climbed into the drivers seat.

I’m lucky enough to adapt quickly to things, it’s a blessing and a curse but this time was lucky. Driving around Jabbekke did not seem too challenging so I found myself on the motorway headed to Brugges, before long we were actually there and I was driving around the city centre. Parking was my downfall and it wasn’t my car so we pulled up and swapped before exploring.

WhatsApp Image 2020-02-11 at 13.25.32 (2)Walking around Bruges central square was beautiful! Immediately I knew I wanted to climb the Belfry tower to see it from above, but it was quite cloudy and due to clear up soon so we headed to a 10am brewery tour – because why not!

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The Half-Moon Brewery

The half-moon brewery is Bruges longest standing family run brewery with a lot of history. It is famed in Bruges for having built a pipeline underneath the city when they opened their bottling factory outside the centre in 2016. Locals joked about tapping into the pipe for unlimited beer as well as them uncovering lots of historical artifacts when the project was going on.

WhatsApp Image 2020-02-11 at 13.25.32 (6)I’ve never been on a brewery tour before, the best fact I heard was one of their beers is brewed in different recycled kegs each year. These kegs have imprints of their past alcohol which transfers to the beer for a unique taste. It’s certainly one way to keep punters returning. Previous years have played host to spirits such as port and cognac.

WhatsApp Image 2020-02-11 at 13.24.21 (13)The views from the chimney were beautiful.

WhatsApp Image 2020-02-11 at 13.24.21 (4)Trialling unfiltered Zut Blond topped the tour off.

The Belfry Tower

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Next on the adventure was climbing 366 steps of the belfry tower. 366 does not seem like a lot at all but it must have been the way it was laid out that made it challenging. Nonetheless worth it to see the stunning views from the top.

A repeat watch of In Bruges is needed after this trip.

 

 

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We felt like we had seen the highlights of Bruges, 230 miles from London, we may as well make the most of it – so next headed to Gent.

 

 

 

Gent.

Gent isn’t one of the tourist hotspots of Belgium but definitely has some unique places to see. After a little bit of shopping (I couldn’t resist when I saw one of my favourite shops that does not retail in the UK) we headed to the Castle – Gravensteen.

Next was time for some famed Belgium waffles, weirdly we didn’t opt for this in Bruges but it was just too early there. I had a light waffle – there are two types, with nutella and banana. The highlight was a Gent specialty that came complimentary with my coffee – Cuberdons. It is a sugary triangle of violet and berries.

Finally we headed to Graffiti street for some incredibly vain but much needed photographs.

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Gent had a lot of hidden gems, it seemed like an eclectic blend of art deco in the off-track square, traditional architecture and modern shopping buzz.

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I need to return to visit the Shoe bar (a bar with over 500 beers and they serve them in glasses shaped of shoes that are so big they take a shoe as a deposit so you don’t steal it, they put it in a basket and raise it to the roof!) and see more of the sights that are less tourist driven.

Driving back we arrived in plenty of time to visit cite-europe, a shopping centre next to the eurotunnel. We took a detour into the largest beer and wine shop that I have ever see and realised it was very much a place wives leave their husbands when they want to go shopping as there was a bar inside. It offered tasters of beer but these patrons were certainly doing more than tasting. I had a unique fruity beer – not a favourite but I wanted something light for the journey.

There’s not much to say about the return journey, the crossing was bumpy and there was at least 6 diversions on the way home but climbing into bed for as much sleep as I could get before a day of work topped off a fantastic day trip to Bruges and another thing to tick off my list!