Saturday, 23 July 2016

Super Facialist Anti Blemish Purifying Cleansing Wash

My skin at the minute, in basic terms, is a load of crap and so when I was out and spotted Super Facialist By Una Brennan had an Anti Blemish Purifying Cleansing Wash I was willing to throw my money at it in the hopes that the skincare goddess could pull through for me. This stuff is really affordable, it usually retails for around £7.99 although I actually managed to get it for a fiver in Boots on offer - but is it worth all of the hype? Well, I won't spoil it or you'll stop reading my post so, don't be lazy and just read the next four paragraphs to see what I decided.

First things first - let's talk the smell and look of this product. I absolutely love the packaging for Una Brennan's Super Facialist range as a whole, it's clean and neat looking and each range is colour coded for ease of use. Now truthfully, I don't have much to compare this to and so I can't vouch for whether it stands up to the rest of the offerings that Una Brennan has; but I have tried a hell of a lot of spot treatments and so I feel like I can have a pretty good shot at pitting this up against them, at least. First up; this isn't that gross tea tree/witch hazel smell that I think pretty much all teenagers and beyond have come to associate with clearing up our skin - this is a soft, elderflower smell. Although this shouldn't sway my opinion, I felt as though this was the first hint that I was onto something a little different and special when I bought this.

Does this work? Well actually I think it does. It's hard to tell as it's not that stripping, drying sort of spot treatment - instead, it leaves skin feeling soft, hydrated and clean and yet it does really seem to clean it up. It isn't as immediate an effect as sticking some tea tree onto spots at night, but it does seem to keep my skin clearer for longer than anything than I've used before, or at least I can really notice a difference if I stop using it for a few days.

Now granted, it could just be that adding in a second cleanse to my skincare routine has cleared up my skin - but I really rate this product anyway and for a fiver, I'm willing to keep shelling out on it if it keeps working the way it is. A good, budget price point for a product that could so easily be retailed at a high end price. You go Una Brennan, and thanks for giving me slightly less shit skin - you the best.

Have you used any Super Facialist products? What should I pick up next?

Sammy xo.

Friday, 22 July 2016

Hylamide Glow Radiance Booster

I am many things naturally - graceful, hilarious, humble - but sadly tanned just isn’t one of those things. Normally I’m okay with that; you’re talking to the girl who rocked the transparent skin look for her prom, but the fact is every now and again (usually when I’m looking at the lightest foundation shades that high street brands offer) I wish my skin was just that slightly darker, that bit more naturally tanned in order to manage to actually get a porcelain foundation to work for me. So, when I saw that Deciem had sent one (actually two, over the last few months) Hylamide Glow Radiance Booster to try out, I was intrigued. A serum that will help me to appear more glowy, healthy and tanned without any actual fake tan chemicals in? Colour me intrigued. And a little more tanned, if everything works out the way that it should.

Firstly, we have to talk about the Hylamide packaging. I have a few  of their products and I really like the way this looks - bright coloured, clean looking and generally just well made. This bottle is no exception - bright yellow label to match the bright yellow oil/serum inside? Check. Basic facts on the outside of the bottle? Check. This also has a pipette dispenser which I like a lot more than the average “tip through this tiny hole and hope for the best” system that a lot of liquid/oily products have going on. So far, so good - but what about the actual product?

Now, if you can get over the fact this could essentially be crisp and dry shoved into a cosmetics bottle, this stuff actually does work. It’s oily and greasy though, so I suggest that the best way to use it is as a serum - after toner, but before moisturiser - and I tended to only use it at night because, as fond as I was of introducing my face to some colour, I wasn't willing to risk full on Wotsit at any point in the near future. Under your moisturiser, you wouldn’t even really be able to tell that you had this on, it loses all of that greasy feeling that it has when you first put it onto your skin - but I would say that if your skin doesn’t really get on with oils, this one might be one to skip.

So does it colour your skin? Well, for the longest time I thought no - but then I noticed quite a solid line of discolouration around my hairline where my face had tanned but (for obvious reasons) my hairline had not and so yes - this actually does work. Is it worth shelling out £20 for it? Well that depends, this isn’t going to make you look like you’ve just done three months and a particularly good Summer Season in Malia, but if you’re just looking for that little bit of brightness to get you through then this might be a good choice.

Would I buy it again? Probably. This is more my mum’s style than mine, but I do like it - I like the subtle colour that it gives to my skin and whereas a fake tan often looks too much on me, this just looks like I managed to get to Cornwall for their one weekend of Sun this Summer. I will say though, because this reacts with your skin and then develops, if you drop it onto the back of your hand and then don’t wash them once you’ve applied it, you’ll almost definitely dye your skin orange, and so that’s something to think about.

So, for a subtle summer glow when St Tropez (both the place and the product) are too expensive, it’s definitely worth giving Deciem a go - they haven’t let me down yet!

Sammy xo.
Contains PR samples/items gifted to me by companies however all opinions are my own - please view my disclaimer for more information.

Thursday, 21 July 2016

Jamie's Italian Covent Garden

I don't really eat meat - but before I made this decision earlier this year; we made a plan to go to Jamie's Italian for steaks. This meant to happen around the same time but we just never got around to going, however when we were in London last weekend, we decided that now was as good a time as any and so we rung up, booked into Jamie's Italian Covent Garden and a few hours before catching our train back to Liverpool; we traipsed right through London from Southbank to Covent Garden (okay, we totally got a Tube, but...) and head down for a long awaited steak date.

Now straight up I'm going to be honest; I just didn't expect much from Jamie's Italian. It might be celebrity opened and endorsed but the fact is that it's still a glorified chain restaurant - but I was pleasantly surprised. This isn't just a chain restaurant with Jamie's face printed on the front, it truly is reminiscent of his brand - the stripped down but modern interiors, his books and equipment for sale. As soon as you walk in, it feels like an experience and in itself I find that strange because it's very affordable and it's not like Jamie himself is cooking for you - but it truly feels different from walking into a Pizza Express or a Carluccio's.

Although our table was booked for half five, we managed to just get the Super Lunch Menu and so we opted for three courses for £14.95 (because when in London...) and although I didn't choose to eat vegetarian or vegan, these are both options even on this limited menu. I opted for the Truffle Tagliatelle (which I forgot to photograph prior to eating) and we also had Pate Bruschetta and Fritto Misto (fried seafood) on the table, neither of which were my jam but I'm told they were very pleasant. I also got in a mocktail (I was getting the train home and didn't want to have to go to the toilet to vom or otherwise) that tasted exactly like refresher sweets and so to be honest, I was sold on Jamie's at the first horrendously sweet sip of my drink and the first amazingly (truffle) buttery mouthful of pasta. I was so sold on my starter that I forgot to take a picture and I had a mouthful before he even offered me parmesan for the top, so...

For main, three of us opted for steak and chips whilst one of us chose a chicken club. Considering the whole point of going out for this meal was to have steak, I was pleased with how good it was (especially as it hadn't cost the earth). Thin, crispy, skin on fries alongside buttery, tender steak meant that there was no talking for a solid seven minutes as we scarfed down our food. Not something I'd be likely to pick out again on a menu, but the steak was affordable, tasty - and the chips have no real competition from any other high street restaurant in my humble, chip-loving opinion.

I thought I'd never eat again, but I managed to share half of the epic brownie (soft and fudgy with amazing salty caramel ice cream) and half of the polenta cake (orange flavoured, moist and crumbly in all the best ways) and so it really was the best of both worlds. All in all - the food and atmosphere was amazing in Jamie's Italian Covent Garden, and it came to a really reasonable price even after we'd thrown a bottle of wine between us all in. I'd definitely recommend, and try and get there before six on a weekday for a good deal on three courses.

Sammy xo.

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Lightweight Foundation Favourites

I'm all about a full coverage foundation - but I realised the night before I left for Spain last week that forty degree heat and Doublewear foundation probably weren't going to be the best of friends and so I dug out some old offerings that I haven't always gotten along with - however they were thin, natural looking and had an SPF in them. So, the two foundations that made the cut were ones I wouldn't normally opt for; the Garnier BB Cream in light and the Jane Iredale Glow Time Mineral BB Cream in BB1. 

Now for the first few days of the holiday I opted for the Jane Iredale, purely because it's the lighter of the two foundations. This really is full coverage though; it's really light and blends well, but it's definitely not the sheer foundation you'd expect when you hear that it's a BB Cream. I have mixed feelings about this - it smells like peaches, which I love, and it blends down well and sits comfortably; but it also has it's downfalls. It stays pretty shiny which wouldn't be an issue, only it doesn't dry down quite the extent that I'd like it to and so it stays looking wet on top of the dewy look which generally just makes me look sweaty, especially in the heat.

As this is so thick, it inevitably creases - especially under the rims and nose piece of my glasses and so in Spring in England I might be able to get away with this one, but even sheered out with a beauty blender this one isn't quite right and definitely isn't one I feel comfortable getting away with wearing out in such extreme heat. The SPF in this one is killer though, I've been using it with no other SPF on my face and I have the tiniest bit of sunburn around my forehead where I haven't blended this completely out but on someone as pale as me that's still a pretty good end result in my eyes. Not the best foundation, but it did protect my skin so I'll give it that. Also, to give it it's dues it does really cover up blemishes

(Left is Garnier, Right is Jane Iredale and for the record - I'm Siberia in NARS)

Next up is an old favourite that just fell out of favour when my skin went to crap - and that's the Garnier BB cream. In the tube this looks considerably darker than it's Jane Iredale counterpart; however, this is by far the superior foundation in my eyes. This blends down to a really sheer foundation and so, although it needs a fair bit of concealer, I always feel as though this is the least heavy foundation of the two, and it just seems to look more natural. Beyond that, this is considerably cheaper than it's Jane Iredale counterpart and so that works in it's favour because this plus a collection lasting perfection still wouldn't come close to the price of the Glow Time (Garnier is £9.99 in comparison to Jane Iredale's $48). The Garnier dries right down and although it's not my favourite foundation in the world - it definitely is the best wearing, least creasing, best lightweight BB Cream that I own by a mile. It does look a lot darker in my swatches, but doesn't look too dark on by any means.

The Garnier one is definitely my favourite out of the two, but both deserve a notable mention - especially if you're only holidaying within the UK - for heavier foundation (although still lightweight compared to full coverage full coverage foundation) opt for the Jane Iredale but be aware of the price tag, and be aware that if you just need a wash of colour with a good SPF - the Garnier is definitely just as good.

What's your favourite lightweight foundation?

Sammy xo.
Contains PR samples/items gifted to me by companies however all opinions are my own - please view my disclaimer for more information.

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Somewhere Inside Of Happy Book Review

I can count on my hands the amount of books that have changed my life - they range from The Da Vinci Code right through to Paper Towns; but it's been awhile since I've stumbled upon one that changed me so much I had to take a break because I was sobbing too hard to read the ending. Somewhere Inside Of Happy by Anna McPartlin was the book that had me reading through my tears, and it's firmly secured it's place in my life of books that changed my life. Beautiful, heart-breaking and so sad in equal measures - don't let the cutesy title fool you into thinking this is going to be an easy read.

Somewhere Inside Of Happy follows the life of Jeremy Bean - a missing boy - and his mother; an ex domestic violence victim who has only just gotten her family back together in time for it to be torn apart. It tackles love, domestic abuse, alzheimer's, religion and so much more. It's not only well written, but it's thought provoking, tackles difficult topics with ease and shows how minor things within life can snowball out until you can't possibly stop the chain of events that they've caused.

McPartlin has written a book with loveable characters that you truly are rooting for; she creates anti-heroes in people we traditionally think to be weak, it shows the love of a family and how the attitudes around a person can have such a positive, or such a detrimental, impact on their life. It's a book about teenage love, and yet it's a book about learning to live again after a catastrophic event, and in this McPartlin has managed to create a book that will appeal to a huge amount of people, and whilst providing them with a beautiful, inspiring story - it's also teaching an underlying message.

I can't say a bad word about the book - it's written in some Irish slang, it's down to Earth and not pretentious in the slightest, and I've fallen in love with it; I want to lend it to anyone who is willing to take it from me, I want people to read it, I want to talk about it with every person possible. It's a book I stayed up until after midnight to read, it's a book that's broken me and yet I sit here wanting to open the first page and read it all over again from the start.

If there's one Summer read I reccomend this year, it has to be this. I read a lot of good books, and probably even more mediocre books, but I don't often come across books that genuinely change my life, that leave me sobbing to myself as I'm writing up their review. Somewhere Inside Of Happy has become a fast favourite, and I can't wait to pick up more books from Anna McPartlin because I think she might just have changed my life.

Sammy xo. 

Monday, 18 July 2016

Personality Perfect

If you're in a group chat with me you'll know that I love a good personality test. These usually range from the old school "what gossip girl character are you?" to, "what colour would you be on a Tuesday morning" - but the one personality test that my group chat have been obsessed with is the one that shows your actual personality type. So, when Personality Perfect asked if I'd like to review their personality test and match my result against my friends to see how alike the personality match app says that we really are - I dived at the chance to give it a go (after checking it was a no holds barred type situation - after all, I need to be able to be fully honest!)

So, first up I tried the personality test online and I have to say this one is the kind that would come up in a Facebook ad. I went through all the questions and got to the end but it wouldn't let me view my result and I'd tried about six different steps and so I gave up in the end and decided that if I was going to get anywhere, it would be with the app. So I downloaded it and I was much more pleased with the app - it's generally cleaner, a lot less glitchy and generally just the same as the online version in terms of questions etc. just a lot more smoothed out.

The app only takes a couple of minutes, you flick through some questions and give your gut answers and then you get a personality type - once this is done you can read the nature of your personality type (INFJ - The Counselor; in my case) and, if you have friends on the app - you can compare personalities. Now, I had no friends on the app so if you aren't the kind of person willing to send out invites to an app and beg people to join in - this probably isn't for you; however, I have no shame and so most of my closest friends got a link and a begging text.

It really is interesting to see if you're as alike with your friends as you might think - and I really enjoyed discussing the results of the test with them; however, I have to say that as fun as the app is when you get your friends on it, it's short lived. All you can do on the app is take the test (although you can do this multiple times if you wish), compare with friends and view your personality - so pretty much once you've taken the test and compared with a few mates, it's an app that will fall to the back burner.

It's not a bad app, by any means, but it is one that you will likely realise four months on that you haven't used it since the first week you downloaded it and so you're likely to delete it. As fun as it is, it could do with some long term potential - maybe daily tasks of some kind dependent on your personality type, or some sort of idea of job prospects most suited to your personality, or even maybe the possibility to take further tests of a different nature. I enjoyed the app overall - I just wish there was more to it (but it's free, so if you want to download it you can find it in the app store and on the play store).

Sammy xo.
Post written in Collaboration with Personality Perfect, however all words and opinions are my own and based on my own experiences.

Sunday, 17 July 2016

100 Days Clean (TW; Self Harm)

(TW: Self Harm)

100 days is a long time. It's nearly half of a pregnancy, over a third of a year, 2400 hours, 144,000 minutes, more seconds than I'll ever be bothered to write down. As of today, it's also the amount of days that I've been clean of self harm. 100 days is nothing compared to the last 11 years - and yet it's everything. It's a promise of recovery and I've never been this close before, never been clean this long since my early teenage years. 100 days is no time at all, but in this case - it's long enough to make me confident that I can build a future on it's foundations.

Kicking self harm has meant more than just getting clean - it's meant learning to speak about my feelings, it's meant crying uncontrollably over the smallest things, kicking and yelling and throwing tantrums when it's all I want to do and I know that I can't. It's also meant being a better friend, being less selfish, having better skin because my body isn't try to heal a million other things. It's meant learning to cope properly emotionally, it's meant learning, a lot - in a small amount of time.

This isn't a full post, just a marker. A marker because I made it 100 days, and I want to look back on this and remember congratulating myself for getting this far, it's a marker because I want to know when I've made it 200 days, and 300 days, until it gets so much easier that I don't need to count any more. This isn't a full post, just a pat on the back.

Happy 100 days clean.

Sammy xo.