Beauty: Real Techniques Sponge & How to Clean!

Last year was the year of the beauty blender. It was mentioned in so many blogger and YouTuber favourites and I knew I had to give it a whirl, however was reluctant to part with £16 for the classic incase I didn't get on with it.

After seeing rave reviews, I bought the Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge which is a far more reasonable £5.99. The sponge has 3 different surfaces which give you 3 ways to apply liquid foundation - the rounded sides can be used to blend large areas of the face, the precision tip is for blemishes and marks and the flat edge is for the contours around the eyes and nose.

I'll be honest, at first I wasn't a fan but I've really come to love it as I've found the way to use it that works for me. I started off by using it to apply all of my foundation - so I applied the liquid to my face and then worked it in with the sponge. This took forever and I found it too much of an effort so I abandoned it for a while and went back to using a brush.

After doing a little research I discovered that using a dampened sponge was far more effective so now I apply my foundation with my usual brush and then spritz the sponge with one of my face mists before using it to work the foundation into my skin. It leaves it with a really natural finish. I also use it to blend in my concealer and this works a treat and gives the same natural result.

I wasn't sure how to clean the sponge but found this video which explains a good 'at home' way of doing it. It's probably easiest to watch the video but all you do is mix equal parts of olive oil and washing up liquid in a bowl and use this mixture to wash the sponge. It got all of the make-up out of my sponge (the picture above shows it straight after I cleaned it) and I also used the mix to clean the rest of my make-up brushes which worked just as well as my usual shampoo method. 


Beauty: Bleach London Silver Shampoo & Conditioner

I am a big fan of purple shampoos and use them regularly to keep my hair looking bright and not brassy. I had previously been using the Pro:Voke Touch of Silver range and had been happy with these products, but I tried the offering from Bleach London as my sister had them in her bathroom and was impressed straightaway. Just one use made such a difference!

I tracked them down in Boots (not an easy feat, actually) and have been loving them. They make a huge difference to my hair and keep it looking ashy. I use them every other time I wash my hair and whenever I use them I seem to get a comment on how my hair looks blonder - always a good thing!

I do find that they dry my hair out a little so every other wash I make sure to use a moisturising hair mask (this L'Oreal SuperSmooth mask is my current favourite) which seems to keep my hair soft and healthy. I also don't really like the scent of these products- they remind me of boy aftershave!

Despite these two little niggles, I really love this range and they are the best purple shampoo and conditioner that I've tried. 

You can buy the Bleach London shampoo and conditioner for £5 each from Boots and they are currently doing a 3 for 2 offer online is so a good time to stock up!


Life: 5 Good Things in January

My Instagram username: daisyelizabeth87

I've been really enjoying writing my monthly summaries but have decided to change it up a little for 2016 and focus on 5 good things that have happened each month. I always love reading Victoria's 5 Good Things posts as they are always positive and feel very personal. 

1) We started off the New Year in the Cotswolds and it was a wonderful way to bring in 2016. We spent our four days there playing games, going on walks, watching films and eating lots of pub lunches. We stayed in a village called Blockley and it was a lovely area.

2) I've managed to watch quite a bit of TV this month (typical January!) and have discovered some brilliant series. I've started The Affair and am loving it so far - it has Joshua Jackson in so basically worth watching just for him. I have also raced through Happy Valley which is a police drama featuring Sarah Lancashire (who is incredible in it) - it's a tense watch but so so good. We are also really into Game of Thrones and are now onto series 2. 

3) Hanging out with my family has been lovely this month. We spent last weekend up in Lincoln and it was a really relaxing weekend. We did some shopping, enjoyed fish & chips and watched Game of Thrones. My Dad also came down to London for a work meeting and treated my brother and I to a yummy Pizza Express - can always rely on Pizza Express!

4) Having a quiet month. December was very busy so it's been nice to have a quieter January - especially as my job is so busy at the moment. I've been heading straight home and getting snuggly under blankets on the sofa.

5) Chris and I went to Jamie's Italian in Greenwich yesterday. We haven't been in a while and I'd forgotten how much I enjoy the food there. I had the pumpkin ravioli with squash and it was so delicious - highly recommend!


Fashion: A couple of OOTDs

If you follow me on Instagram you may have seen these outfits but I thought I'd post them on here too - classic mirror outfit of the days!

I have been wearing lots of different variations of the outfit on the left over the colder months- I'm loving the skirt, jumper, black tights and boots combo. It's warm and comfortable but looks smart. The jumper here is from H&M (I have it in about five different colours!) and the skirt is from New Look (yes, the zip is meant to be on the front!).

The second outfit is one I have also been enjoying as I'm loving all over black at the moment. The black turtle neck is from New Look, the jeans are from H&M and the boots are from Primark.


Beauty: Olaplex No3

Olaplex is a big name in the haircare world at the moment. I heard of it a few months ago when my colleague (who has a friend in the hair business) started raving about it and saying how much of a game-changer it was. And when Caroline Hirons mentioned the difference it had made to her hair in a vlog I knew I had to try the at-home treatment.

The treatment is especially beneficial for chemically coloured hair and can restore the health of damaged hair types - it repairs broken hair bonds which are damaged during thermal, mechanical and chemical services. So it's not just a treatment for coloured hair- if you use any kind of heat on your hair it can be used.

There are three steps to Olaplex. Steps 1 and 2 are used in the salon as a treatment and then step 3 is a hair protector which you use at home once a week to boost the strength of the hair. I haven't actually had the treatment in a salon so have only used the at home treatment. 

To use this treatment, you apply a generous amount to towel-dried hair, comb through and leave on for a minimum of 10 minutes (I usually leave it for half an hour) and then rinse, shampoo and condition. You can use it more than once a week if you wish. So what are my thoughts? Well, I can't review the whole treatment but the at home one seems to be working a treat. The best part is rinsing it out of your hair because your hair feels like it's made out of silk and it's pretty incredible!

I wouldn't say the look of my hair has drastically changed but it feels stronger and I feel like it's doing my hair good. I imagine it's even more effective if you use it conjuction with the in-salon treatments.

You can buy Olaplex No 3 from Amazon here. Have you tried this treatment?


Beauty: Sabai Soaps

I was contacted recently by a new company called Sabai Soaps. They are a small family run business (something I am always keen to support) and sell luxury handmade soaps which are made in Northern Thailand.

All of the soaps are made using locally sourced pure essential oils such as coconut oil and olive oil- these all combine to help moisturise and smooth skin. They are also suitable for vegans to use.

Something else which I think is lovely is that believe that their profits should be shared amongst the community so they donate 20% of all profits they make to their partner charities in an around Thailand - a great thing for a small business to be doing.

As you can see, the soaps are beautifully packaged. The set above is their Unwind gift pack* which gives you a selection of Lemongrass, Green Seaweed and Sesame Scrub - the Lemongrass is my favourite. The scents are all beautiful and filled the room with scent when I opened the box - you can tell that they are great quality!

Their soaps are priced from £5.25 and you can buy them from their website here


Life: 5 Things to do in January

January is not my favourite month - I like the start of a new year and feeling excited for what lies ahead, but it's also quite a quiet few weeks after the fun of Christmas and I am usually pretty poor after being paid early and spending money on presents! Here are 5 suggestions of things to get up to in January to welcome the new year.

1. Plan the exciting things you want to do in 2016 - whether it be places you want to visit or people you want to make time to see. Even if you don't do them all, it's fun to think about all of the possibilities for the year. 

2. Have a spring clean and clear out. I am always full of motivation to get cleaning and sorting in January. Dedicate a day to spring cleaning and sorting out the cupboards you usually avoid! 

3. Start a 'Good Things Jar' - I love this idea from Charlotte. Every time something good happened in 2015 she'd write what happened on a post it note and pop it in the jar. At the end of the year she read all of the notes and reflected on the best moments.

4. Celebrate Burns Night on the 25th January - cook a traditional Burns Night supper (Haggis is the tradition but if you don't fancy it the BBC have lots of inspiration!) or go to one of the many bars and pubs who will be celebrating the day.

5. Go to the cinema. There are lots of great films out at the moment as it's the award season time of year- I want to see The Danish Girl and Room.

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