Natural and Clean Skincare: Does It Work?

Happy Sunday everyone! I hope the weekend is treating you well and you are giving yourself a bit of time off from the craziness that is life.

I wanted to write a post on a topic that has been intriguing me for some time, and that is, the world of natural and clean skincare. I’m not sure whether I am just stressed from uni work or something, but my skin has been quite dry recently, so I have been vigorously applying moisturisers and all manner of body lotions (I got a couple of new ones for Christmas, I haven’t just gone out and bought a load).

Cut a long story short, I have discovered, along with my mum, that the amount of chemicals in most skincare is ridiculous, and these can be the lower cost brands that we would normally be desperate to get, under the impression that it is a brilliant bargain.

We then started looking very carefully at trying to find skincare brands with little or no chemicals, that were ‘clean’ and ‘natural’. During this process, we discovered that ‘clean’ and ‘natural’ are in fact two different things.

‘Natural’ skincare is when the ingredients are as pure as they can possibly be, whereas ‘clean’ skincare focuses more on the safety of the product, as well as being eco-friendly. An article I found on shape.com gives a much better explanation that I can!

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It turns out that brands such as Aveeno, Burt’s Bees, Sukin, and Ren deem themselves to be ‘natural’ or ‘clean’, so my mum and I have been putting them to the test. However, despite the labelling, the products do still have a few ingredients that are very much chemical-based, yet they are certainly a lot better than most. The question is, are these skincare products any good?

After an informative explanation in M&S about the REN brand, my mum has since purchased face creams by this brand, and from natural skincare company Sukin. She has since told me that whilst the products feel nice when first applied, they have left her skin feeling quite tight, rather than moisturised. This is interesting as she used to use Olay, containing far more chemicals, and said her skin felt nicer then.

As for me, I ordered some free samples of Aveeno moisturiser a few weeks ago, as I had never tried it before, and I have to say that I went out and bought myself a bottle yesterday as it is working wonders for my skin. Whilst not completely chemical free, the ingredient list is noticeably shorter and one of the main natural ingredients is oatmeal.

I was also fortunate enough to receive a Burt’s Bees gift set for Christmas. Branded as a ‘natural’ skincare brand, the lip balms, I have to say, are beautiful. As for the moisturiser, hand and foot creams though, they are very thick, good for very dry skin, but they are so thick that you can hardly get any to come out of the tubes!! The scents are a bit odd too, whereas the Aveeno moisturiser is refreshing and applies nicely.

Wow, this has turned out to be quite a long post, so I will sign off now. All in all, if you would much rather have as much chemical-free products as possible, then definitely look in the direction of natural and clean skincare. Are they worth it in terms of price (which is more expensive) and quality though? I’m personally not yet convinced. The hunt for a natural product that does the trick remains open. Of course, if you think you have discovered some great natural products, then do let me know!

Megan x

P.S. None of this is sponsored, all of my own opinions (well, my mum’s as well) !

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Primark Silicone Sponge Review

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What are these 2 weird, transparent, pebble-looking objects you may wonder? Well, given that I am seriously behind on the latest makeup trends, you will know more than I do!

Yes, they are the silicone sponges, one of the more recent trends to hit the beauty market, known for their minimal waste of foundation and smooth application.

I’m usually a bit hesitant when it comes to buying makeup brushes etc. as I don’t like to spend too much money on them. I’d rather splash out on a good quality foundation or concealer than a brush.

The same principle applied when sponges became the next big thing in the cosmetic world. I decided to buy my sponges (normal, not silicone) from Primark as they were cheap, but that turned out to be a mistake as they were quite hard and to blend the foundation in, you actually had to hit yourself with force!

Nevertheless, when I saw a pack of 2 silicone sponges reduced from £2 to 50p in Primark, I took the chance straight away, and this time, it has paid off.

I have tested the silicone sponges with a number of foundations already over the weekend, and they seem to do the trick, no matter the consistency of the foundation or whether they give a matte or a dewy finish. Definitely a key role of any foundation applicator.

The best part for me is that they don’t soak up any foundation, and they are so easy to clean. You would have been horrified to see the state of my foundation brushes and sponges, as no matter how hard I cleaned them, there still was foundation on them! Now that I have discovered silicone sponges though, I did not wait a second longer before throwing my other sponges and brushes away. This may seem like a rather rash thing to do, but they were quite old anyway, and if you need an extra applicator, fingers do a pretty good job!

What I liked about the Primark pack is that there are 2 of them, so you can always cut one up if you need a smaller sponge for blending in concealer under the eyes. Let’s face it, even if the silicone sponges are taken off the sale, £2 for 2 sponges won’t break the bank!

Good value, good quality and easy to clean. Silicone sponges are winner for me!

Megan x

Clifford Day Spa Review

*Just to say this is not an affiliated post, I just decided I wanted to review the spa of my own accord.

Hello weekend! Here’s to spending some time relaxing and doing something different from the usual week of study/work. That certainly was what Friday afternoon was for me, as my mum and I took a trip to Long Eaton to the Clifford Day Spa. Back in August, I received a voucher for a spa treatment and afternoon tea at Clifford, and yesterday, we finally got around to going.

Given that my only previous spa experience had been at Ragdale Hall, which must be one of the most amazing spas in the country, I couldn’t really go along thinking Clifford would be the same, as it is a much more budget friendly spa experience, in a converted industrial building in the centre of Long Eaton. Not in a sprawling country estate like Ragdale.

First off, you don’t get complimentary robes and towels. You can bring your own, along with a pair of flip flops, but you can rent them for a small fee, which is what we did, as it means you have one less thing to bring.

The spa is on the ground floor when you enter the building, and the upper floors are solely gym rooms, not included in a spa afternoon (3pm-8pm). Nevertheless, we were guided through to the changing rooms by a helpful receptionist and once we had deposited our bags in the lockers (phone as well, hence no photos), it was time to explore the spa.

In terms of the quality of the facilities, I would say it is fantastic. There was a beautiful pool with lights in the ceiling above it, which really gave a calming atmosphere as it got darker and quieter in the evening. There are heated loungers surrounding the pool area, as well as more dotted around the rest of the spa, so you can have a lie down, but still keep nice and toasty despite the wet swimming costumes.
(YouTube video showing the facilities => click here)

The Fire and Ice Spa, as it is known, also includes 2 hydrotherapy pools, a variety of saunas and steam rooms, foot spas, a salt inhalation room, an aromatherapy room, an ice room, monsoon showers and a saunarium. A pretty extensive list of things to enjoy! So far, so good!

With all these spa experiences to soak up, it seemed like a very relaxing time was going to be had.

However, when we first arrived, there was a bit of an issue. Given that the spa was on one floor (except the treatment rooms which were upstairs), the facilities are in a very small space, fine if you go at a quiet time, but when we got there, it was heaving! There were no loungers free and all the various sauna rooms were occupied.

For this reason, we decided to go for a swim first. We had our afternoon tea booked for 4 anyway, so we managed to avoid the busy time. After we finished our tea, the mid-afternoon rush had died down. I think as gym members get to use the spa, this contributed to the volume of people there.

The afternoon tea was good. We had the typical array of sandwiches, scones and cakes, and you could go and get a refill of tea, or any other hot drink, at any time from the little café area.

Our treatment was at 6, and in the meantime, we were able to have some relaxation time, checking out the various rooms. My favourite was the saunarium as it was not too hot, like some of the other ones.

The treatment included in the package was 50 minutes, and you got to choose what kind of treatment you wanted there and then, ideal if you are a bit indecisive like me. The treatments take place upstairs, away from the hustle and bustle of the spa downstairs. My mum and I had a shared room, and there was relaxing music playing throughout. We both had a split treatment, both of us starting with a 25-minute back massage. I then went on to have a 25-minute facial, and my mum a head massage.

We had to sign a consultation form beforehand and we could specify our skin type and if we wanted a particular area massaging (shoulders for me), so the products used were tailored to you.

So, yes, there were some bits of the spa that could be improved. If I was to give some advice to Clifford Day Spa on how to improve, it would be to reduce the number of people allowed in the spa at any one time, as it was very busy when we arrived and hard to relax. It soon quietened down though, and we came away feeling thoroughly relaxed. In terms of value for money though, you can’t go wrong. I’d just pick the time you visit very carefully to avoid the busy period!

Megan x

All About Eyewear: Glasses vs Contacts

It has been a while since I have done a fashion post, although this is also crossing over the border into beauty, but I thought I would write about something I do not tend to read about, but that is a big part of my everyday life. The whole glasses and contact lenses dilemma.

I have been asked quite a few times over the years if I will ever wear contact lenses. Honestly, I have never felt the need to wear contact lenses, but that does not mean that I do not think about the pros and cons of both.

I have had glasses since I was around three, so glasses have always been a part of who I am. People are often shocked by how different I look when I take them off and I have got to a stage when I would find it weird not wearing them. I don’t even notice my glasses anymore. You wouldn’t believe the number of times I have panicked because I couldn’t find my glasses, only to realise I am wearing them!

For some people, glasses can have an effect on self-esteem and confidence. They may not like the way they look in glasses and opt to wear contacts all the time. I have never felt this way, partly because I think glasses suit my face, but also all my family wears glasses, so I have not had the issue of feeling like the odd one out, which a few people can feel.

This is where the fashion and beauty element comes in for me. Glasses tend to go in and out of fashion, usually the connotations associated with them a deciding role. Glasses at one point may have seemed ‘nerdy’ or ‘geeky’, but at the moment, they seem stylish and sophisticated, especially some of the bigger frames. I have fortunately never been affected by any negative views.

A major complaint I have heard about glasses is about makeup. If you are one who thinks wearing glasses means that there is no point wearing any eye makeup, then you are wrong. Just the other day, I was reading a section in Boots Health & Beauty magazine about how to do your makeup if you wear glasses. Recently, I have started trying out more makeup looks and eyeshadow has turned out to be one of my favourite products.

Having contacts can be useful if you like sport. Running around and playing whatever sport it is that you like can be annoying if you having to push up your glasses every five minutes. Definitely do not wear them for swimming though! One of the reasons I do not wear them is from hearing horror stories of contact lenses moving out of place or getting infected and swimming can cause this. It’s a good job I am not sporty!

However, using for them for sport does not mean you need to wear them full time. For one thing, if you get disposable contacts, it becomes very expensive, whereas a good pair of glasses has the potential to last you a few years unless your eyesight changes dramatically for some reason.

That’s another thing! Occasionally, your vision might not be ideal for contacts. I have never had a proper consultation for contact lenses, but my eyesight is not the best and I already have pay to have my glasses thinned out because otherwise the glass would be so thick! Not sure how this situation would work for contact lenses.

These are just some of my thoughts with regard to eyewear and what works best for you. Let me know what your opinion is on the whole glasses vs contacts debate!

Megan x


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The Body Shop Make-Up Review

**This post is not a collaboration. All opinions are my own.

If you follow me on Twitter and/or Instagram, you will have seen that a week ago today, I went to a beauty masterclass at The Body Shop concept store in Leeds. The masterclass was with beauty bloggers Becky and Holly Sheeran, along with their mum Gill and international makeup artist Abby Ireland. We got to see some of The Body Shop’s makeup products being used, whilst sipping on prosecco or sparkling elderflower for a non-alcoholic version. Afterwards, we got an opportunity to have makeup consultations using the products displayed and a chance to shop. If you spent £15, you got a lovely giftbox full of goodies worth over £40. It’s save to say the event was a success!

In my opinion, you can never go wrong with Body Shop skincare. Give me their body butter anyday, it’s second to none! It was this reason that I was more interested in the makeup, so here comes my review of the products I obtained, some of which I bought, some of which came free in the box.

Shimmer Waves: 

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The Shimmer Waves compact was one of the free products. It comes in three shades: Bronze, Coral and Blush. I got the bronze shades in my gift and I’m really glad because the colours are ideal for me.

I think The Body Shop had a brilliant idea when they came up with this product. If you use a brush and mix all the colours together, you can create a beautiful bronzer and blusher, but the individual colours make lovely eyeshadows or highlight and contour. This is perfect if you are going away and don’t want to take a lot of stuff because you have about 4 products all-in-one.

The Body Shop is also against animal testing and uses natural ingredients in all their products, so you know that the origins of your beauty and skincare is cruelty free.

Eye Colour Stick:

Eyeshadow sticks are really popular at the moment and I’d say it’s because the application is so easy and the colour is strong and long-lasting. I’ve had my eye on The Body Shop ones for quite some time. Whenever I go to Leeds train station, I have a quick peep into The Body Shop store and often test them out. There are some beautiful darker colours in this range, but I decided to buy Nevada Gold, because it is really natural, so perfect for everyday wear, but also adds a bit of sparkle to any night out.

Now, onto the main event. Lips.

Lip Definer:

I’ve never been one to use lipliner. Whenever I use one, I can never blend it in with the lipstick and end up with a massive line around the edge of my lips. I love this liner from The Body Shop though. The pencil style means it’s really easy to apply, but unlike some pencils, the texture is not too dry and it blends well with lipstick. The shade I bought is ‘Hot Date’. I would not normally put these words and me together, but it works. The colour gives your lips a bold look, but at same time does not make you look like a clown, so it is wearable in all situations.

Matte Lip Liquid:

Yep, another beauty item that up until now I have been makeup virgin.  I was lucky that the liquid lipstick in the giftbox was the shade ‘Nairobi Camellia’ because it is the best one for my skintone, but it also blends well with the liner. It also acts as a good lip moisturiser and doesn’t dry out too much, even though it is a matte lipstick.

Lip Palette:

One of the most talked about products on the night, of course I had to buy it. This lip palette caters for all occasions, ranging from everyday pale pinks to bold red. The only thing I would say that could be improved is that the colours are not named, but that is not a big deal as there is only one type of palette. Again the colours blend well with the lip liner, and contain beeswax which means they are a good moisturiser and leave a nice gloss across the lips, but at the same time one that is still natural.

I hope you have enjoyed reading this post, and feel the need to head to your local Body Shop store. Let me know if you want to read more beauty posts on the blog.

Megan x


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My Top 3 Eyecreams

Wow this is impressive of me! By the time Thursday comes around I’m usually so unorganised and never get round to posting.

I have not reviewed anything in a while, but when I was putting my makeup on yesterday, I realised that I had 3 eyecreams that I swap between and thought why not review them?!

Considering how ridiculously pale I am and how dark my under eyes can look, I am surprised that I only started using eyecreams in the past few months.

I will admit that I did not buy any of these products. I got the Clinique Pep-Start way back in September at the Clinique pop-up event in Leeds, the Clarins one at the Clarins Beauty Bar opening at Leeds’ John Lewis and my lovely mum gave me the Simple eyecream in a little care package when I went back to university after Christmas. Nevertheless, if you are looking to buy an eyecream, then here are my opinions:

(Links to purchase the products are provided below each image)

Simple Soothing Eye Balm:

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Simple Kind To Eyes Soothing Eye Balm 15ml • Simple • £2.43

The Simple eyecream is by far the cheapest of the three. Clinique and Clarins would be very expensive on a student budget, so if it is good value and good quality you are looking for, I recommend Simple. I think this one is ideal for everyday use with your skincare routine. I also have Simple’s cleanser, toner and moisturiser, and I feel like the eyecream completes the set and provides a great start to the day and leaves your face and eyes feeling fresh. However, if it is a quick fix eyecream to keep in your handbag for emergencies, I would perhaps choose another one, as I think you see the results of the Simple eyecream over time.

Clarins Eye Contour Gel:

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Clarins Eye Contour Gel, 20ml • Clarins • £27.90

The Clarins Product is a gel, rather than a cream. Whilst it is on the pricier end of the 3 products, I find it really does work in an emergency. I use this gel when I have really bad under eyes for whatever reason, as the gel’s main function is to reduce puffiness and dark circles. I can definitely see the difference quite soon after use, so it is ideal if the area around your eyes needs a quick fix. As it is a gel, I also feel like it hydrates your skin more, which is very refreshing.

Clinique Pep-Start Eye Cream:

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Clinique Pep-Start Eye Cream, 15ml • Clinique • £19.80

Apart from this Clinique Pep-Start being free, I already had developed a good opinion of the product, as a lot of bloggers have praised it, and they were not wrong. The eyecream is a lot easier to apply than Simple or Clarins because of the applicator. All you need to do is swipe the cream underneath your eyes and massage in, whereas the others do not have this feature, which makes Pep-Start the ultimate on-the-go eyecream and handbag essential. The cream really brightens your eyes and leaves them feeling hydrated and vibrant. If you want an eyecream that is reliable, easy to use and portable, you cannot go wrong with the Clinique Pep-Start!

Megan x

Beauty on a Budget

Being a student is hard. Believe me. Having to save money as much as possible, yet living in a city full of shops, with no parents to control you, is no easy feat. Being a girl, the worst thing is having to overcome temptation when I see the words ‘sale’ or ‘reduction’. I have recently noticed how many offers the likes of Boots and Superdrug put on their makeup too. 3 for 2 or free gift signs are just cruel and I may have given into them a couple of times. However, this is all a big money making scheme to lure you in. As a student, I have come to realise that I must only buy makeup when I have run out of something, not because I can get a free makeup bag when you spend over £15.

With this in mind, I have a compiled a list of what I consider good quality makeup products that will not break the bank. If you are low on foundation or getting to the end of your eyeliner, then take a look at these and see what takes your fancy. P.S. Clicks on the links below each image to purchase your next makeup item.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rimmel Match Perfection Foundation • Rimmel • £5.27

No7 Essentially Natural Foundation • No7 • £9.95

Rimmel Hide The Blemish Natural Beige 4 • Rimmel • £3.99

 

Rimmel Scandaleyes Micro Liner • Rimmel • £3.95

Rimmel Kate Sculpting Highlighter Palette (18.5g) – 002 • Rimmel • £6.99

L’Oreal Paris L Oreal Paris Super Liner Eyeliner Ultra Precision Black • L’Oreal • £6.49

No7 Matte Lip Crayon • No7 • £9

Rimmel London Stay Matte Pressed Powder • Rimmel • £3.99

Nyx Cosmetics Intense Butter Lipgloss • NYX • £5.50

Makeup Revolution Ultra 32 Shade Palette Beyond Flawless • Makeup Revolution • £8

MUA Blusher – Candyfloss • £1

I have not included any specific eyebrow products in my list, as I think they are a waste of money, especially when you can use a natural brown shade of eyeshadow to fill in your brows just fine! In terms of mascara, there are many great Rimmel and L’Oreal ones, but I mainly love the Primark PS Pro mascaras, which you can see the full range in store. I would not recommend all of the PS Pro range. The concealers and foundations are not perfect. When it comes to mascara and makeup accessories though, Primark is the place to go.

I hope any students out there looking for good makeup on a budget like these products. They are certainly my favourites. Let me know if you have any products that you use as I am always interested to hear of new brands that are reasonably priced.

Megan x

My Winter Favourites

Apologies for blogging being so messed up as we approach Christmas. Schedules have gone out the window in favour of random blogging when I can.

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I have never done a ‘favourites’ post before, so thought I would get this one in before Christmas.

  1. L’Oreal Paris Ultra Precision Eyeliner

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Although I only got this eyeliner yesterday, I have had my eye on it for a while. I wanted an eyeliner where the colour was strong, like a liquid eyeliner, but the application was in a pen style, as I find that easier to apply. This is the perfect combination and it did not disappoint when I used it.

2. Rimmel London Kate Moss Contour Kit

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December has been a month of discovering new make up, especially the world of contouring. I love this Kate Moss palette by Rimmel as the shades match my skin tone, and depending what look you are after, you can apply as much or as little as you want.

3. Next Rouge Absolue Perfume

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I love this perfume, which is delicately fragranced with red berries. However, it is not summery, but more festive, ideal for this time of year. Think cranberries and redcurrants!

4. Hoop Earrings

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Believe it or not, I have never owned a pair of hoop earrings until now. With Christmas approaching and the excuse to dress up, bold statement earrings are essential for creating the ultimate party look.

5. Marble

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I blame the blogging community for getting me obsessed with marble. My Pinterest is filled with various marble creations, and I home in on anything with a marble print in the shops.

6. Christmas of course!

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How can anyone do a Winter Favourites post without including Christmas?! It is the best bit of the season! Family, food, presents, decorations and Christmas TV are all things to look forward to.

Megan x