Shaving Tips + Wilkinson Sword HydroSilk

Sunday, July 31, 2016
Shaving Tips + Wilkinson Sword HydroSilk
I have mixed feelings about summer, on the one hand, it's sunny so blog photos look great and my birthday is in August but summer also means that I have to get my pasty pale legs out *cries*. If there is one beauty routine that I hate, it's shaving but the lovely people at Wilkinson Sword might have changed my mind.

I was sent the new *Wilkinson Sword HydroSilk Bikini 2 in 1 Razor (RRP £14.99, currently half price at Boots) to test out as well as the *Hawaiian Tropic Protective Dry Oil Spray (£9.99, 180ml). The razor has five curved blades designed specifically for curves, a disguised, waterproof and compact bikini trimmer on the opposite end and a water activated moisturising serum.

I haven't tried many razors from Wilkinson Sword and with any new razor, I aways end up cutting myself with it especially around my knees and ankles (so attractive) but even from the first use, I didn't get any cuts! It's so quick and easy to use, although it does feel bulkier than my usual razors as it is a 2 in 1 product. The moisturising serum in the strips is fantastic, I didn't even need to use my shaving soap as it was so smoothing and moisturising. Overall, I'm really happy with it and I'd definitely recommend it! I've also been challenged by Wilkinson Sword to show off my best 'lelfie', I wish I had been on a gorgeous summer cruise for this 'lelfie' but sadly no, Manchester will have to do!

I also haven't tried many products from Hawaiian Tropic before but I'm always intrigued. I'm not a fan of dry oils as they usually leave my skin feeling and looking greasy but this oil absorbs so quickly and it doesn't leave my skin greasy at all which is amazing! It also smells incredible!

Even though I hate shaving, I have found some useful tips:

  • Exfoliate before hand, it will make for a much closer shave - I always use sugar scrubs as they can be the most abrasive, in my opinion 
  • Use a shaving soap, I didn't have to with this razor but with others I have to and I love the John Masters shaving soap (it lasts forever)
  • Shaving in the bath (sorry if any of this grosses you out!) causes less irritation and dryness 
  • I always body brush the days after shaving to help prevent ingrown hairs, although they always happen *cries*
  • Moisturise, moisturise, moisturise! 

Shaving Tips + Wilkinson Sword HydroSilk
I'm definitely on Voldemort levels of paleness!

Have you tried this razor? Do you have any shaving tips? 

July Book Review Roundup

Friday, July 29, 2016
July Book Review Roundup
July hasn't been an amazing reading month for me as I've been focusing on driving (and Pokemon Go...) and for the past week or so, I haven't been very well because of a massive eczema flareup on my hands which has been causing to wake up a lot in the night and I've also had awful hayfever; additionally it's been too hot (31 to 26 degrees celsius in Manchester this month) so I haven't been reading then either...oops. But I have managed to read four books in July, three of which I loved!

*Hero Born and Hero Grown by Andy Livingstone - available now!
I received all four of these books as e-books via Netgalley which if you aren't aware, is a website where you can request upcoming books to review as e-books from the publishers for free! I didn't think Netgalley was available to UK bloggers but it is although some of the opportunities aren't for UK bloggers.

I already have reviews of both of these books on my blog and on my Goodreads as well as under my Amazon username so you can check those out if you want. Both books follow Brann, a shy teen with undiscovered talents who goes on an epic adventure. To me they are both extremely entertaining, fun and easy reads and are pure action and adventure books which I love. I ended up loving most of the main characters as well as the writing style and I cannot wait for the third book! Highly recommend! Overall rating: ★★★★★, 5/5.

*The Witches Kiss by Katherine and Elizabeth Corr - available now!
There are certain trigger words for me when looking for books and one of them is 'witches' so I had to request to read this book and thankfully I was accepted. I read this e-book and the previous two on the Kindle app on my iPad mini. The story follows an entertaining cast of characters including Merry and her family as well as an evil villain, a tortured and handsome boy, royalty and a coven of sounds amazing and overall I did really like the story of Merry discovering and developing her witch powers and the tasks she has to undertake, her relationship with her brother which is so sweet and the magic. However, I hated the mother and grandmother as they were so disinterested in Merry and it was just an annoying point of the story as well as some of the typical YA tropes the book had. It felt like an episode of Once Upon a Time aka. unoriginal, predictable and a teeny bit cheesy. Also Leo, Merry's brother, is gay which seemed like it was a point just added to make it seem like a well rounded book. I would recommend it as it was entertaining (even though I was constantly just waiting for something to happen) and it was a VERY quick read for me but I think it could have been SO much better and more mysterious/dark but sadly it wasn't. Overall rating: ★★★☆☆, 3/5.

*The Trouble With Women by Jacky Fleming - available from 20th September 2016
This book wasn't available as a kindle copy so I had to download Abobe Digital Editions which is AWFUL as it takes ages to be able to turn each page and it's a bit of a pain to download. Anyway, rant over, the book itself is so interesting, entertaining and a very quick read. I love the little facts throughout and the illustrations. It demonstrates how women have been held back over the past few hundred years and the ridiculous excuses men have come up with as to why women are inferior/stupid/incapable. Men thought that women should stay at home and embroider and that women were incapable of doing things men could because their hands were too small, their brains were too small, their dresses were too big and women who were intelligent were viewed as manly. I would definitely recommend this little book! Overall rating: ★★★★★, 5/5.

I am currently reading Ink and Bone (book 39 of 50 for 2016) and I'm really liking it so far! I'm also reading Caribbean Vegan and loving it too.

What are you currently reading? Have you read any of these? 

Essence Festival Makeup + Looks

Thursday, July 28, 2016
Essence Festival Makeup + Looks
Essence is one of my favourite makeup brands ever so I'm always excited when I'm sent more of their fantastic products! As summer is here (all at once in the UK) then it's time for some summer festival ready makeup looks using Essence products!

I was sent a range of their eyeshadows, liners and long lasting products. I've tried their waterproof mascaras and long lasting lip products already and love them. I recently published a post about the new Essence blogger secrets range which you can check out.
Essence Festival Makeup + Looks
I have three looks for you today, all of which were created using Essence products and they are so easy to create! I love Essence liners and shadows so these were quick and easy to create. Also all of the products are so inexpensive. PS. please excuse the dark circles and I don't know why my brows are showing up as really red in the photos! #BloggerProblems

Look One:

This first look uses the following products: *2 in 1 eyeshadow and liner waterproof in the shade 01 Go Bro'nze which is a creamy bronze eyeshadow crayon that can be used as a liner and that is how I used it. I also used the *Long Lasting Eye Pencil in 05 C'est La Vie; it's a luminous silver liner that looks so nice in contrast with the warm toned bronze shade. Lastly, I used the *All Eyes On Me Mascara. This look would be great for a festival as you don't need brushes, the products are long lasting and the look only uses three products!

Look Two:

A bit more of a colourful look now, which really isn't like me as I don't do colour but I like this one! I used another *Essence Long Lasting Eye Pencil but I used the shade 12 I Have A Green which is such a pretty, deep emerald green. I applied the liner and smudged it slightly then in a 90's twist, I added a few nail stickers to the corner of my eyes - who knew you could use nail stickers like this...well probably everyone but me until now. For all three looks I created I used Eylure brow products as I don't own any Essence brow products as well as the *All Eyes On Me Mascara in Black.

Look Three:

This final look is definitely my favourite as I just love classic black winged liner! I used the *Essence Liquid Ink which is an amazing liquid liner and it doesn't dry out! For some colour I added the *Essence The Velvets Shadow in 09 Bahama-Mama which is a pretty summery pastel blue shade - even though I don't really like colourful makeup, I do love the combination of black winged liner and pastel shadows on the lower lash line.

What do you think of my festival looks? Have you tried anything from Essence, if so which products do you love?

New In: Eylure Brow Products

Tuesday, July 26, 2016
New In: Eylure Brow Products
Before I started blogging, I had no notion of brow pencils, brow gel or brow pomades - how naive I was back then and I imagine my brows looked awful but thankfully I never over plucked my brows like some of the girls in my high school (a single line of brow hairs was the trend and I'm so glad I didn't try that horrendous 00's trend).

Brows are an essential part of my makeup routine now and I'm always searching for the best brow products as there are so many out there to choose from and brow products can be very hit and miss. I was very kindly sent a range of new brow products from the lovely people at Eylure.

*Eylure Brow Contour (£8.99, No. 20 Mid Brown) 
I haven't tried any Eylure products before these but I always hear amazing things about all of their products so I was excited to give these a go. I chose the shade 'No. 20 Mid Brown' as my hair is a chestnut brown shade and when I'm in the sun, my hair looks very red so this warm/red tones brown is perfect for my current hair colour. The pencil has the brow shade on one end and a highlighter on the other so it's great for travelling. It's quick and easy to use, it is creamy but not overly so and it can be brush out/blended easily.  The longevity is great although not as amazing as the other two products. Overall rating: ★★★★☆, 4.5.
New In: Eylure Brow Products
*Eylure Brow Pomade (£8.99, No.20 Mid Brown)
This is the product I was most excited to try as I haven't tried a brow pomade from any brand before. It looks and applies like a brown eyeliner and it takes a while to get used to how much you need to use! The first time I used this pomade I forgot the golden rule of brow products, use lightly, as I ended up with massive drawn on, full on caterpillar brows (not a good look, in my opinion). A tiny amount goes a very long way and once it's on, it's on - the longevity is fantastic as is the precision you can get with this and the *Eylure Brow Duo Brush and Wand (£6.50) which is the perfect brow tool/applicator.  Overall rating: ★★★★☆, 4.5.

*Eylure Brow Amplifier (£9.99, No.20 Mid Brown)
Last but not least is my favourite product of the ones I've tried so far. I love tinted brow gels/brow mascaras as they're so quick and easy for filling in my brows within seconds. As with the pomade, I made the same mistake with this gel and ended up with massive and I mean MASSIVE brows so use a light hand with these products. The gel when used lightly adds a good amount of colour and hold without leaving my brows too filled in or crunchy! I might get another shade for when I dye my hair a more ashy shade.  Overall rating: ★★★★★, 5/5.

Have you tried anything from Eylure? What do you think of these products? 

Sherbet Lane Stationery Subscription Box

Monday, July 25, 2016
Sherbet Lane Stationery Subscription Box
If there are a group of products that I love to buy and own the most, that list for me would include: beauty products, candles, books, food...any food and stationery. I have a stationery obsession which boarders on addiction which I think is a common problem amongst bloggers and my weakness has to be notebooks, cards and sticky notes. So a stationery subscription box...hell yes!

*Sherbet Lane Stationery Subscription Box - July (£15 per month)
Enter Sherbet Lane, a gorgeous stationery online store who recently launched their own stationery subscription box packed with lots of interesting and themed goodies. The box easily managed to fit through our letter box so you don't have to worry about not being home for the delivery. The theme for July is At The Seaside which is the perfect summer theme! The seaside summer theme is really nostalgic for me as every summer we used to go camping around the UK with friends and eating rock on the beach was a common occurrence! This months box features summery greetings cards with envelopes, prints, candy, a pencil, gift tag and my favourite item, a cute tin containing stripy paperclips, stickers and magnets.
Sherbet Lane Stationery Subscription Box
I love all of the items in the box, which is rare for a subscription box, as there are usually one or two items that I'm not a massive fan of but I will use everything in the box. The paperclips, magnets, stickers and prints are adorable and I love the tin too - I'm a stationery addict so I will find a use for everything. I think the box is fantastic value in terms of not just the quality of the items include or the range but the amount of products too. 

I cannot recommend this stationery subscription box enough! Sadly this July box has sold out now but the next box will be released on the 1st August and you can order a one off box or a longer subscription. I think this box would make a lovely and unique gift too. Overall rating: ★★★★★, 5/5. 

Have you tried any stationery subscription boxes? Are you a stationery addict like me? 

Eye Of Horus Metal Liner

Sunday, July 24, 2016
Eye Of Horus Metal Liner
Firstly, excuse the state of my face above, I was dying in the heat (it reached 31 degrees celsius in Manchester last week and it is still hot) and hayfever has been awful over the past couple of months too. Anyway, I was very kindly sent a new product from the brand Eye of Horus which I've tried products from before and loved so I was excited to give it a go.

*Eye of Horus Metal Liquid Liner (£16.50, Ancient Pewter)
I've tried a few of their pencil and liquid liners before which I really liked so I definitely want to try their products again, especially because the new four liners all have a gorgeous metallic finish. I have the 'ancient pewter' shade which is beautiful metallic silver. It's a freakin' gorgeous shade, it almost looks luminous on the skin and it would be the perfect liner for christmas and new year parties...yes, I'm already thinking about the C word! #SorryNotSorry
Eye Of Horus Metal Liner
The liner applies smoothly, it's so pretty and best of all, it is SO pigmented! I have tried a few glitter and metallic liners, mainly in the 90's because...90's, and they have always been so patchy and poorly pigmented but this one isn't. It's so quick, easy and fuss free to apply and it lasts ALL day in 26 degrees celsius with no smudging or flaking on me. I can't wait for the autumn and winter months, not just because it won't be so damn hot, but also as I will be able to wear this liner more!

Have you tried anything from Eye of Horus? What do you think of this liner? 

New In Beauty Wish List

Friday, July 22, 2016
New In Beauty Wish List
Images from Google
There seem to be so many amazing products being released recently and I want pretty much all of them! There are drool worthy fragrances, skincare, gorgeous foundations and so much more being released for the summer months, here's my new in beauty wish list:

Michael Kors Midnight Shimmer EDP  -  Caudalie Jason Wu Beauty Elixir  -  Roger and Gallet Relaxing Green Tea Shower Gel  -  Tom Ford Orchid Soleil EDP  -  Jurlique Revitalising Blend Aromatherapy Mist  -  Estee Lauder Cushion Stick Foundation  -  Clinique Nude Foundation Stick  -  Rodial Stem Cell Magic Gel

Are any of these products on your wish list? Have you tried any of these products? 

Essence Blogger's Beauty Secrets Range

Thursday, July 21, 2016
Essence Blogger's Beauty Secrets Range
Essence is one of my favourite makeup brands, I went to their UK launch event back in 2014 and I was blown away by the generosity of the PR company as well as all of the amazing, innovative and unique products all of which are so inexpensive! Anyway, enough gushing and onto the new Blogger's Beauty Secrets range!

Essence have collaborated with four bloggers to create a super cute range of products and I was kindly sent a few products to review. I have the *Essence Touch Up To Go Palette designed by Youtuber Diana (to be completely honest I haven't heard of most of these bloggers, oops!). The palette features two blush shades, three eyeshadows, a multipurpose balm and applicator. You can see from the photographs below that the palette is very much in the Essence theme of colourful and cute and I love the eyeshadows! I created the look below a couple of days ago when it was the hottest day of the year in England with temperatures in Manchester reaching 31 degrees celsius which is unheard of in Manchester! The eyeshadows, I used 'coffee to go' and 'shine on' stayed in place all day in the sun/humidity without creasing on me and the best part...I didn't use an eyeshadow primer! So impressed! I'd have to give the palette an overall rating of ★★★★★, 5/5!
Essence Blogger's Beauty Secrets Range
There are also a range of nail polishes in the Blogger's Beauty Secrets collaboration, one for each blogger and they are all perfect for summer. I have the *Palmira's shade in 02 Hello Beautiful which is a gorgeous metallic rose pink shade and *Mary's shade in 03 All Eyes On Me which is a definite Heather colour as it's a cool tone neutral beige. Essence polishes are not the most long lasting but they apply smoothly and they dry really quickly! Overall rating: ★★★★★, 5/5!

What do you think of the Essence Blogger's Beauty Secrets range? Have you tried any products from Essence? 

Clarins GWP at Debenhams

Wednesday, July 20, 2016
Clarins GWP at Debenhams
When it comes to beauty shopping, especially higher end beauty shopping, it's always nice (and an extra incentive) to receive a gift with purchase. I'm definitely guilty of buying products because of a cute or great value gift with purchase...oops. Debenhams always have so many GWP options and I've taken advantage of their Clinique and fragrance gifts a few times.

As of tomorrow, until the 8th August, Debenhams have a fantastic gift with purchase option with Clarins. If you purchase any two Clarins products, one of which has to be skincare, you will receive a fantastic gift with purchase worth £40!

The gift with purchase contains:

- Clarins Moisture Rich Body Lotion (100ml): I've tried a mini of this already and I really love it as a hand cream and foot cream. It's really moisturising and leaves even very dry skin, smooth and soft. Also it's 100ml which is a fantastic size to be included which a gift with purchase!

- Clarins HydraQuench Cream (15ml): Another good size sample, especially if you are going on holiday this summer as it would be a great travel size. I have tried this product as well and sadly it isn't for me as my skin can sometimes be very sensitive but it would be great for those with normal -dry skin.

- Clarins Clarins One Step Gentle Exfoliating Cleanser (50ml): I have tried a few Clarins skincare products and this is one of my new favourites. I love the packaging of all the products and how on the whole, they are simple but effective.

- Clarins Instant Light Lip Comfort Oil (Honey, 2.8ml): Out of all the products included, this is the one I was most excited to try. I thought it would have an oily or greasy feel but it doesn't, it's almost like a thick lipgloss. I have the shade 'honey' which is clear on the lips and it makes my lips feel so smooth, soft and moisturised - I love it!

- Clarins Makeup Bag: Lastly, you also receive an adorable and very spacious makeup bag which easily fits makeup, skincare and even full sized brushes. It has a cute floral and bird print so it's perfect for summer and it would be great for travelling.

What do you think of this gift with purchase? Have you tried any of these products? 

Book Reviews: Hero Born + Hero Grown

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

First up, I just want to say that to any UK based book reviewers or book bloggers, you can assess NetGalley! I thought that NetGalley was only available to American/Canadian bloggers but it's not so both of these books were very kindly sent to me from the Publisher/Author via NetGalley. NetGalley, if you didn't know, is a site were reviewers/bloggers can browse upcoming book releases and request to review them for free from a wide range of publishers such as Penguin Random House, Harper Collins UK, Pushkin Press, Pan Macmillan and many many more - it's amazing!

Hero Born by Andy Livingstone 
I have both books as e-books on my Kindle app on my iPad which I don't really prefer but I'm so glad and grateful that I've been able to read these books as I don't know if I would have come across them otherwise. I love the covers, they're simple but striking! I instantly loved the writing style, it's so incredibly quick and easy to follow and I also immediately loved most of the characters in this first book, especially Brann, Gerens, Grakk, Einarr and Konall. I think as a basic description, it's a traditional adventure novel with coming of age elements; it features bandits, pirates, kings, fighting and not so nice themes of murder, human mutilation, cults (of a sorts) and slavery. I love the relationships between the main characters, although not Boar! The pace of the book was enough to keep me wanting to read on and on and on; it's such an entertaining and fun read! The friendships and adventures in the novel are a refreshingly positive and I found myself really hoping the main characters would survive. The only minor points I wasn't a massive fan of was the term 'maggot' which I think is a bit cliche; additionally this last negative point is something I really hate and it is when the same character is referenced to by numerous terms/names - for example, Konall is termed, 'the tall boy', then 'the noble boy', then 'the white haired boy' - why can't the characters just be referred to by their names? I find it difficult to know when how much information about a book is too much but I just want to say that this book is one of my favourites of the year so far as well as it's sequel. Overall rating: ★★★★★, 5/5.

Hero Grown by Andy Livingstone
This second book follows directly on from where the first book ended and again it has an amazingly assessable and easy to follow writing style that makes the book quick and enjoyable to read on a  hot summers day - which today definitely is as it is the hottest day of the year at 31 degrees celsius which is unheard of in Manchester! The story follows the same cast of characters as well as some new and memorable ones. The locations in the first book reminded me of nordic/Scandinavian countries as well as england and in this book the main city seems to definitely be inspired heavily by Rome and the Roman Empire which I love. This story seemed to have more twists, turns and description compared to the previous book which I loved but I hated what happened to the lovely main character about 40% through the book which made me not want to pick it up as much but I finished the book yesterday and I loved the ending now I cannot wait for the third book which I presume is Hero Rises?Overall rating: ★★★★★, 5/5.

If you haven't read these then definitely buy them, they are so entertaining and quick to read - I love the worlds/locations as well as the main cast of characters in both books and I ended up rooting for them all throughout both books so much so that I wanted to be part of their gang of misfits and fighters!

The e-book Hero Born is also £1.99 on amazon which is incredible and the second book Hero Grown is also £1.99 and it will be available on the 28th July but you can pre-order now...which you definitely should ASAP!

Have you read either of these? Do you like action and adventure novels? What are you reading? 

You Beauty Box Membership Options

Monday, July 18, 2016
Latest In Beauty Membership Options
You Beauty have an amazingly good value beauty subscription box but now they have various options for that subscription. There are bronze, silver and gold subscription/membership options to choose from, all at fantastic prices.
Latest In Beauty Membership Options
Bronze Subscription 
In the Bronze level subscription/membership option you can choose two products from a monthly shortlist for only £6.95 per month and other treats such as free postage/packaging, brand offers and email previews.

Silver Subscription
For the silver option, you get the option of choosing three products from a monthly shortlist for £8.95 per month, again with the addition of email reviews, free postage/packaging and brand offers. Also the option to cancel the subscription at any time is applicable to all.

Gold Subscription
The gold subscription option gives you the choice of up to four items on a monthly shortlist to choose from - according to availability for £10.95 per month. The items are available on a first come first served basis. With this subscription option you will also receive exclusive brand offers on occasion as well as monthly treats/offers.

The products available for July are shown above and they look fantastic, especially the Alpha H liquid gold which is a cult product! The M&S perfume, Illamasqua liner and Hawaiian tropic SPF look great too!

Will you be subscribing to the You Beauty Box? If so, which subscription option? 

*Guest Post: Student Lifestyle

Saturday, July 16, 2016
Guest Post: Student Lifestyle
Having been through University and come out the other end successfully, I think back to my days as a student and often realise how I could have made my life easier during those times. Perspective is a strange thing; we often realise something when it’s way too late, yet these lessons and experiences can still help us later in life.
The next best thing we can do is pass along our knowledge, in an effort to make someone else’s student life easier. That’s almost the whole purpose of this guest blog post, sharing my life in an effort to help others, but as a graduate I’m in a very good position to assist others in achieving that awesome student lifestyle, as well as avoid the common mistakes myself and many others have made.
So what steps can you take to achieve your dream student situation?
One lesson I’ve learnt here is not to get down about your digs. Most student homes are built for purpose; housing a large number of supposedly rowdy youths with minimal effect. This is why they may feel a bit more clinical than you’d like, but it’s nothing that a bit of interior design can’t solve. Get together with your housemates and work to create a better environment, whether you pool money to invest in essential homewares or simply contribute from personal effects.
Either way, you’re all living together, so it’s up to you to ensure your accommodation is the best it can be. With proper coordination with your housemates, there’s also plenty of ways improve your living conditions whilst also saving money. The increasing popularity of rental furniture has resulted in tailor made student furniture packages being available from several outlets; not only is this more cost effective than buying new furniture outright, but the ownership is retained by the company itself, so you don’t have to worry about complicated moving sessions or contended ownership.
An awesome student house is a combination of everybody’s efforts, so get all your housemates on board moving forward. As a student, take pragmatic steps to keep everyone on the same page. Invest in a whiteboard for making notes, so you and your housemates can keep up to speed on what you’re running low on, or what needs to be done around the house.
Another big mistake many students make is indifference to the opportunities which could further their careers in the future. As such, all opportunities should be considered in terms of what kind of experience you’ll get and whether it’ll help you achieve your career goals years from now. It may be hard to see in the moment, but anything within your desired industry, whether it’s part-time or weekend work, or even an internship are all highly viable ways to boost your professional credentials whilst studying.
In most student cities, there are a wealth of these opportunities available, but you need to make an effort and look for them. Contact outlets and businesses that are relevant to your studies and enquire about work experience opportunities. The fact that you’ve made an effort will register with them, putting you in a good position to further the exchange and turn it into an opportunity. Whilst taking advantage of these opportunities is key to success, make sure you aren’t committing to something that will distract from your studies, or with little or no value to your ongoing learning.
Social Life
A balance of work and play is a recipe for the perfect student lifestyle. Party too much, and it’ll most likely interfere with your studies. Party too little, and you could end up regretting not having a full University experience. Only an appropriate combination will ensure you can enjoy the student lifestyle fully without damaging your grades.
Hiding away if you’re not comfortable socially may seem appealing, but for the good of your studies, get involved with the social student scene and give yourself access to as many resources possible. Just be confident!
This guest post was created by Tara Dulake at ThoughtShift - this is not a sponsored post! Also here's a fun little fact, today marks three years for me since I graduated from university with a first class BSc Hons degree in psychology *crazy*.

A'Kin Shampoo + Conditioner ft. My Pure

Thursday, July 14, 2016
A'Kin Shampoo + Conditioner ft. My Pure
I'm always on the look out for natural shampoo and conditioners as I obviously want to keep my hair as healthy as it can be and natural products seem to be the way go to. I love the Lush solid shampoo bars which I really need to buy again but I haven't tried many others; so when I had the opportunity to pick a couple of items from the My Pure website I thought I'd try some natural haircare.

*A'kin Ylang Ylang Shampoo (£10, 225ml)
I haven't tried anything from this brand before but I have seen it on various natural beauty blogs and websites so I thought I'd give it a go. The shampoo contains pure active botanics, it's sulphate free and it's also paraben free. It's for coloured treated hair which mine is and so far so good. Natural shampoos tend to be a little disappointing and they don't tend to lather well, from my experience anyway but this one lathers pretty well. It smells so nice, very earthy and natural but subtle. I've been using the combo for the past couple of weeks and they have been working really well! Overall rating:  ★★★★☆, 4/5.

*A'kin Avocado & Calendula Conditioner (£10, 225ml)
My obsession with avocados has obviously extended to beauty products now too! I have heard great things about avocado oil in beauty products, especially skincare and haircare so I was excited to give this a go. The conditioner is also natural, paraben free, sulphate free and cruelty free which is amazing. The smell, again, is so nice, natural and floral. Out of the two products, I do like the conditioner more as it leaves my hair so smooth, tangle free and soft! Overall rating: ★★★★★, 5/5.

Have you tried anything from this brand? Have you tried any natural shampoo/conditioners? 

Favourite Books Of 2016 So Far

Wednesday, July 13, 2016
I cannot believe that the year is half way through already, how did that even happen! I swear it was January like last month *looks around for time turner*. My reading goal for 2016 was 30 books but as now onto my 36th book I've upped my reading goal to 50 books, go me! Here are my favourite books of the year so far:

Terry Pratchett Discworld Series - Magical, Whimsical, Comforting
I have wanted to read Terry Pratchett's books for ages as I have loved the TV shows based on his books but the Discworld series is massive and I didn't know where to start but I started with the death series and the book Mort which I loved but then I moved onto the witches series, the first book of which is Equal Rites. I loved both books, they are so comforting to read, like J.K. Rowling's books are to me. I cannot wait to carry on with the Discworld series and hopefully I can read all 40 books over the next few years.

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard - Fairytale-Like, Action, Angsty Romance
One genre that I haven't ever read until this year is YA or young adult which is aimed at readers within the rough age range of 17 to 25 which I'm only just fitting into but I've been loving the YA books I've read so far this year including: Truthwitch, Dorothy Must Die, The Shadow Queen and Red Queen. I love the two main characters in Red Queen as well as the angsty romance, dragons, magic and the fairytale like story.

Harry Potter Series - Comforting, Nostalgic, Magically Amazing 
I have been hesitant to read the Harry Potter books as I'm so familiar to the stories from the amazing films and I didn't know if it is was worth reading the series I already know so well but I was SO wrong! The books are quite different to the films and from the first two books I've read, the films have missed some major and or interesting parts out. Reading the books is so comforting and almost therapeutic, I am trying to pace myself through the series as I don't want them to end!

The Cuckoo's Calling by J.K. Rowling - Crime, Mystery, Quick
As with the Harry Potter series, I bought this because I love her writing style and even though this book and genre is very different to the Harry Potter series, it still has her original, easy to read and comforting writing style that I adore. I love the two main characters, it was an entertaining story and even though I read it a few months ago, I can still remember the full story vividly, unlike quite a few books I've read this year.

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern - Magical, Fantastical, Mysterious 
I was putting off buying this book for months but I finally bought it and I'm SO glad I did as it is one of the best books I've read so far this year. I love the cover, the magical and mysterious circus setting, most of the unique and intriguing characters as well as the gloriously magical and victorian atmosphere and setting. I cannot recommend this book enough, just buy it! Also if you have any circus or magical book recommendations then let me know in the comments.

The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon - Supernatural, Action, Survival 
I think this book, tied with the Harry Potter series and The Night Circus, is at the top of my list of the best books I've ever read. The Bone Season world, the magic system, terminology and vast cast of characters is quite complex and I didn't know if I would get through it in the beginning but I did and it's amazing - buy it now! The supernatural abilities, the relationships and the settings are fantastic and it's surprisingly easy to read - I couldn't put it down!!

The First Fifteen Lives Of Harry August by Claire North - Unusual, Memorable, Thought Provoking 
So far this year I've read so many unique books and this is probably the most unique, thought provoking and unusual books out there as well as being quite dark and complex in places. It features Harry August, a special kind of individual who his life over and over again and that's just the start of the weirdness. Definitely check it out!

Have you read any of these books? What are you currently reading? Any book recommendations? 

Dragonfly Tea: Green Tea

Tuesday, July 12, 2016
I used to hate tea but since discovering herbal tea and green tea last year, I cannot get enough! I've tried so many variations of green, herbal and mint tea so when this package arrived from Dragonfly Tea, I was so excited!

Dragonfly Tea have just created a range of gorgeous green teas which are all natural and contain super high quality green tea leaves. There are twenty tea bags per box and I have all three of the new flavours including: citrus green, pure green and berry green.

Dragonfly Tea: Citrus Green (£1.60)
Citrus Green was the flavour I was most excited to try as I love the combinations of citrus fruits and lemon in particular and tea. This flavour features zesty lemon and bergamot citrus. Just a little tip: to make your green tea a lot less bitter, add a couple of tablespoons of cold water to soak the teabag before you add the boiling water so that the boiling water doesn't scald the tea. The tea is citrusy but not overly so and it is sweet but again not overly so. It's a perfect breakfast tea and it isn't bitter. Overall rating: ★★★★★, 5/5.

Dragonfly Tea: Pure Green (£1.60)
I haven't tried any 'pure' green tea that doesn't contain added sweeteners or flavourings so I didn't know if I would like this one and to be honest, it wasn't my favourite. It is just green tea which I do love the flavour of but I definitely prefer it with added flavourings or sweetness as it is a little bitter. Overall rating: ★★★☆☆, 3/5.

Dragonfly Tea: Berry Green (£1.60)
When the package arrived, I thought this one would be my favourite but actually the Citrus Green flavour wins out by a very close margin. While brewing this tea smells so nice! It definitely has a predominant berry flavour which I do like and it is the sweetest flavour out of the three, in my opinion but I did prefer the Citrus Green tea.  Overall rating: ★★★★★, 5/5.

Overall, I'm really happy with the Citrus Green and Berry Green flavours! I know I will go through the Citrus Green tea so quickly, as it's so refreshing but comforting. I am definitely going to try them as iced tea soon as it's been really quite muggy and humid here in the UK recently. I'd definitely recommend all three, even if you are unsure if you like green tea as these are definitely the least bitter green tea options I've tried; also the price is fantastic! Although if you don't like the sound of these then check out their website as they have so many other variations.

Do you like green tea? Have you tried any of the Dragonfly Tea flavours? 

Merumaya Makeup Bag #BeautyHasNoAge

Friday, July 08, 2016
I've been lucky enough to work with the brand Merumaya already on my blog, I reviewed their cleansing balm which I loved so when they got in touch about their latest campaign, I couldn't say no especially as it's such an important campaign.

The #BeautyHasNoAge campaign has been created to celebrate the uniqueness and beauty of everyone, no what your age! Their aim is that no-one should feel self conscious or insecure about their appearance whether that insecurity is because of media pressure, social 'standards' of beauty or self imposed ideas of the ideal appearance.

To go along with the campaign, they have created a chic and simple collectable makeup bag (£20) which is a fantastic free gift with purchase when you spend £50 on the Merumaya website - there's limited availability so go, go, go! Also £5 from the sale of each bag goes to the charity Look Good, Feel Better!

I think positive appearance and body image messages are always important and should be shared as much as possible so I love this campaign and I'd love for you to share positive body image messages using the hashtag on social media. You can watch Meruamaya's founder talk about the campaign. here.

Have you tried anything from Merumaya? What do you think of their #BeautyHasNoAge campaign? 

Book Review: The Lament For The Fallen

Thursday, July 07, 2016
Book Review: The Lament For The Fallen
I've been in a little bit of a reading slump for the past couple of weeks as I've been focusing on driving practice and trying to get another test date, which has been so stressful so I haven't been reading as much as I usually do. However, I have been able to finish six books last month and most of this book in June too. You can check out my June Roundup post for my thoughts on more books!

I was very kindly sent *The Lament For The Fallen by Gavin Chait (£14.99, hardcover) from Transworld Books which is a division of Penguin Random House. Firstly, let's just take a moment to appreciate the gorgeous and super striking cover - I love it but it's maybe a little scary, according to some commenters on my social media. On Amazon it's categorised as contemporary fiction, it's 384 pages and it will be available to purchase as a hardcover edition on the 28th July 2016.

The book follows Joshua and his family, friends and a more than unusual stranger...that fell from the sky! If that sentence alone doesn't make you want to check out this book then I don't know what will! The story follows a wide cast of characters including warlords, the president of the US, militia, space people and more...Oh and space cities, super human people and a prison called Tartarus *which in ancient greek myths was an area of underworld*. It has action, adventure, mystery and sci-fi elements, the latter isn't a genre I usually go for but I'm pleasantly surprised by this book.

I found the main characters of Joshua and Samara surprisingly endearing as were many of the others, I cared about what happened to them all, even though there wasn't that much description of them or that much backstory to some of the characters. The story not just follows the repercussions and effect of this new stranger and his life, backstory and his adventure to return home but also the relationships of the characters and how the relationships change and grows over time. I loved the emphasis on the important of family, story telling, home, music and community in this novel.

For the most part I loved the writing style as it is SO quick and easy to read but it's quite blunt in places and as I've never read a book set in Africa and I'm not used to certain terms, I did have to google a few terms while reading. Also the structure of the book was easy to follow but throughout the book you get mini stories which I really enjoyed but it was a little jarring while reading, if I'm honest.

Overall, I think the book is very entertaining, unique and engaging throughout! The cast of characters was interesting and some of the main characters were really memorable and endearing. The unique element of the orbiteers, their world and especially the character Samara were so interesting to read about particularly the symbionts and Achenia. However, I found the mini stories a little jarring and the writing is a little blunt but it is a debut novel which is so impressive. Warnings for violence, murder, human sacrifice and rape, the latter two made me quite uncomfortable reading about! I think this book is well worth reading though as it's so unique and entertaining! Overall rating: ★★★★☆, 4/5.

Will you be picking up this book? What have you been reading currently? 

New Moroccan Oil Dry Shampoo

Wednesday, July 06, 2016
New Moroccan Oil Dry Shampoo
I used to hate dry shampoo, they just never worked for my hair which is dark, dry at the ends and prone to greasy roots *attractive, I know*. However, I'm always happy to try them as I might come across one that actually works well for my hair and...I think I have!

I have been sent the *Moroccan Oil Dry Shampoo (£14.85, 205ml) in the Dark Tones shade from the lovely people at Bath and Unwind. I have reviewed a few Moroccan Oil products on my blog already and I've loved pretty much all of them especially the extra volume conditioner which is one of the best conditioners I've ever used so I was excited to give this dry shampoo a go!
New Moroccan Oil Dry Shampoo
The dry shampoo claims to have a soft, silky finish with no dull residue while leaving the hair refreshed and volumised; it also provides UV protection. The first time I tried the dry shampoo I didn't like it at all but after shaking VERY well and using a couple of times, I loved it! It doesn't add a lot of colour but it also doesn't leave a white or grey cast on my dark hair which is fantastic. It leaves my second and third day hair looking a lot less greasy, slightly volumised and soft - it's true that it doesn't feel like it leaves a residue in my hair which is what I hate about the other dry shampoos I've tried.

Overall, I love the packaging, I don't seem to need to use as much as I do with the Colab dry shampoo and it absorbs oil while leaving my hair soft! It doesn't leave a tacky or heavy residue and it also doesn't leave a white or grey tint to my dark brown hair. I was disappointed at first but now I cannot recommend it enough - it's probably the best dry shampoo I've ever tried. Overall rating: ★★★★★, 5/5.

Have you tried anything from Moroccan Oil? What's your favourite dry shampoo? 

April, May + June Book Haul

Tuesday, July 05, 2016
April, May + June Book Haul
Now, I don't know how this happened but over the past three months I've managed to accumulate a lot of books...I may have a problem. I have been sent a few books and I have bought a lot of books, thankfully the majority were discounted in some way from The Works, Wordery, Book Depository and Amazon, all of which have become such a weakness for me this year!

I have over 45 books in this haul *hangs head in shame* and 10/11 of them were sent to me for review from the lovely publishers including: Nobrow, Titan Books, Pushkin Press and Transworld Books. Since I photographed the books and filmed the clips below, I have somehow acquired four more books including: Hero Born, With Malice, The Crowns Game and Hero Grown - review coming over the next two months.

The Works 
Now, I really wish we had assess to Book Outlet here in the UK but I guess our equivalent is The Works although it has a lot more than just books. I've made quite a few orders on The Works this year as the books are so cheap and I usually find a discount code too. The Works is best for non-fiction in my opinion and I've found a range of interesting and inexpensive non-fiction books from there recently, including: Brevertons Nautical Curiosities, The Time Travel Handbook (£4) and The Science of Everyday Life.

Amazon has also become a weakness for me especially earlier in the year when I had a Amazon Primer trial *don't get it, you will feel the need to buy constantly!*. I've bought so many used books from Amazon - most of the books in this haul are from Amazon including: Warm Bodies, Uprooted, The Night Circus, The Mime Order (which was a bargain at less than £3 for a like new hardback copy) and a range of gorgeous editions of Susan Hill books published by Profile Books. You can get so many cheap used hardcover covers on Amazon *I have no willpower when it comes to cheap hardcover books*.

I was kindly sent a £50 Tesco voucher recently and yes, I spend the majority of it on books! I finished my Harry Potter book collection with the voucher - I adore the Bloomsbury editions. I also bought To Kill A Mocking Bird, Revival by Stephen King, The Miniaturist, The Loney, Rouges by George R R Martin and others and A Shepherd's Life as well as one or two other books that I've forgotten to photograph.

Book Depository & Wordery
Both Book Depository and Wordery have great discounted books and very new releases and I cannot remember which books came from which site but I bought some new releases such as True Born and Riverkeep as well as the much raved about A Court of Thrones and Roses, Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children, The Master & Margarita, Night Walks by Charles Dickens and other books.

Now onto the video, sorry for the shakiness and lighting *clearly the English weather hasn't got the memo that it's now summer*!

Have you read any of these books? What have you been reading recently? Where do you buy books from? 

Book Review: The Pendragon Legend

Friday, July 01, 2016
Book Review: The Pendragon Legend
I've been reading so much this year, especially compared to last year and I've already surpassed my 30 book goal for 2016 so I've up my goal to 50 books which I think is easily achievable. I've read horror, graphic novels, fantasy and YA this year although I want to expand my reading range and classics are high on my list to read.

I was very kindly sent *The Pendragon Legend by Antal Szerb (£12.99, paperback) which is published by Pushkin Press. Firstly, let's take a moment to appreciate the bloody gorgeous cover; it has a unique shape, being quite petite and boxy which makes it really nice to read. The Pendragon Legend was first published in the 1930s, so I would categorise it as a classic.

The book follows a Hungarian intellectual on an adventure that takes him to the Welsh mountains and ancient castles. The book has so many themes that I adore such as myths, legends and folk tales, secret societies, gothic settings of abandoned castles, mysterious lakes and rural villages, the occult and black magic and mystery as well as ghostly beings, prophets, welsh mythical figures and a range of intriguing characters.

The only point I am always cautious about with classics is the writing style as usually it can be so different to what I'm used to, as it's normally formal, complex and more convoluted than non-classics; however the writing style on the whole was easy to read and follow although in some areas it was a little confusing as there are a fair few characters.

The storyline is interesting and entertaining throughout, the mystery is enticing and I was left wondering how the storylines would conclude throughout the book. The characters were so vivid and believable, if a little annoying at times. This next point might be a little spoiler so skip to the next paragraph - my one problem with the characters was the main character, Janos Batley, as some of his beliefs and remarks really got under my skin such as his insinuated belief that intelligent woman are masculine and aren't typically beautiful or feminine; this is most prominent with the character Lene who he seems to admire but as he would admire an intelligent man and she was portrayed as generically masculine. Although this may have just been the view at the time.

There are so many elements that I loved such as a mystery, occult and alchemy elements which I enjoyed so much! Parts of the book reminded me of The Woman in Black by Susan Hill in terms of ghostly apparitions and spooky atmosphere. I also think it had elements of frankenstein, in terms of raising the dead and scientific experimentation. Additionally, I thought that Mrs Roscoe was quite similar the Countess Narona in The Haunted Hotel by Wilkie Collins.

Overall, I cannot recommend this book enough! If you think you don't like classics then just give them a go and you might be surprised. I adored the themes in this book particularly all of the mystery, occult, mythic and atmospheric/gothic elements. I definitely want to check out more books from Antal Szerb even though there were a few points about The Pendragon Legend that I wasn't a fan of. Overall rating: ★★★★☆, 4/5.

What have you been reading recently? Have you read The Pendragon Legend? Any recommendations similar to this book?