Direct Cosmetics Haul

Monday, 30 March 2015

Products from Direct Cosmetics*

I've been blogging about beauty products for almost three years now, and so when it comes to beauty websites it's fair to say that I've probably shopped at or at least heard of most of them from other blogs. So when I find somewhere new it's always a refreshing change, and I was excited to be introduced to Direct Cosmetics- a beauty bargain website selling everything from haircare and skincare to makeup, perfumes and bath/bodycare. Basically a beauty lovers dream, with a nice selection of products with discounts making them a fraction of what you'd pay in shops. Here are the things that caught my eye and what I thought of them!

Elizabeth Arden Hydrating Mask (£6.99)
First of all, what a bargain! This has an RRP of £22 so at under £7 this is an amazing discount, especially when cheap highstreet masks can cost up to this. You know with a brand like Elizabeth Arden that you're always going to get quality products and this is no exception, it's the most beautiful rich mask that leaves your skin feeling so soft and supple. I'm really enjoying using this at the moment and would go as far to say it's one of the best face masks I've ever tried.

Roc Complete Lift Volume Restorer (£9.99) // Roc Hydra+ Nutrition (£7.90)
Roc is a brand I've heard so many great things about, but aside from a couple of samples I've never properly tried them out myself. I'm currently working my way through other day and night creams at the moment but go through them so fast these were definitely a wise choice. First impressions are that I absolutely love both of these, the Hydra+ cream especially is one of the most hydrating skincare products I've ever tried. It's designed for very dry skin which I've been suffering with a bit lately, I think my cleanser is to blame so it might be time for a re-jig of the routine some time soon.

Nicole by OPI Back in my Gloria Days // Great Minds Pink Alike
Again something I've always heard good things about but never tried are the Nicole by OPI polishes, I've only ever tried their regular line. You can see how beautiful both of these are, the swatch shows both with two coats which build up perfectly to an opaque finish. I thought the gorgeous 'Great Minds Pink Alike' would be ideal for the spring and summer, despite the name it's much more of a coral colour. I'm quite boring with my nail polish choices these days but something about the purple sparkle 'Back in my Gloria Days' caught my eye and I'm obsessed with it. This arrived with a 'Modern Family' printed cellophane on the lid, a quick search told me this was from a 2012 collection. It's so pretty, I have it on my nails right now and can't stop staring at them!

Have you heard of Direct Cosmetics?




Five Products That Rescued My Bleached Hair

Wednesday, 25 March 2015


Suffering with very dry, brittle or damaged hair? I feel your pain- after bleaching my hair from black to blonde a few months ago, mine was most definitely not looking or feeling it's best (pretty damn annoying considering my hair was previously in really good condition!) As a bit of a back story, before Christmas I had the 'bright' idea of dying my blonde hair black; I've had it dark before and looking back on pictures I thought it looked quite nice and would be a good chance to let my hair recover. A massive fail that turned out to be as, a few weeks on I just couldn't get used to it and so began the stressful process of lightening it again. Which means my hair is now pretty much the same colour it was but not in as good condition- not my proudest moment! Luckily for me I'm really happy with the colour now, and thanks to some amazing products it's up to about 80% of it's previous condition and feeling healthier and stronger by the week. Lets just chalk it up to a lesson learned (I know not to mess around with dark dyes again for the sake of my hair and my sanity!) and I got to discover some amazing products that might work for you too if you're in a similar situation.

The thing that sold this for me and made me want to try it was the 'redensifying' property. After you've bleached your hair and it's left feeling tangly and brittle, it's as though the weak strands literally need redensifying and so I thought this would be just the thing for the job. It's a rich balmy mask that delivers a huge amount of moisture to the hair, after a few uses of this my hair was left feeling significantly stronger and more hydrated. Unfortunately there aren't any directions on the packaging and there's not much information on how to use it on the Yves Rocher site either, but I apply it after shampooing leaving it on for five to ten minutes. When I first bleached my hair I used this after every wash, but as time has gone on and my hair has began feeling healthy again I've been saving the last bit to use once a week. I honestly can't recommend this enough, while each of the products I've used have contributed to rescuing my dry hair I reckon it's probably this one that made the most difference. 

I know people have mixed opinions on Aussie's Three Minute Miracle, but as far as I'm concerned it's one of the most underrated haircare products on the highstreet. I used to use this before I started blogging, but kind of forgot about it until recently when I decided to pick up a bottle again. The effects are like a high end conditioner, even after the first time using it I could feel how soft my hair felt as soon as I washed it off. Even though my hair is healthy again now, I'm definitely going to continue to repurchase this to give my hair a weekly moisture boost. While both of the masks deliver excellent hydration I believe it's the Yves Rocher mask which has added the most nourishment and condition to the strands, and the Aussie conditoner that's responsible for making it smooth and shiny. It's a great, inexpensive treatment that you can pick up from the supermarket which actually does work.

 I currently use three different hair oils in my routine. This might seem like overkill but they're all very different and have a specific function, so I feel as though while I'm still improving the condition of my hair I do need all three. The 100% argan oil and the Yves Rocher oil are my choice when I'm not going anywhere and don't mind looking like a greasy mess, I use them as a treatment/ mask rather than a typical post-wash oil. I apply the Yves Rocher oil to the scalp and mid lengths of my hair, and then use the 100% argan oil (which is the heaviest and most repairing) on the ends which tend to be the driest and in most need of some TLC. If your hair is thicker then you'd probably be able to get away with using these directly after washing your hair, but that's not an option for me. So instead I completely saturate my hair, shove it up into a greasy bun and pray no-one knocks the door! A few hours later or the next day I wash it out, and can definitely feel the difference once it's dry.

Finally, after washing my hair I apply a small amount of the John Freida's Oil Elixr through the ends. This is a really light oil which is especially perfect for fine hair as it doesn't leave it looking greasy or weighed down. Unlike the other two oils I don't think this one has contributed for improving the condition of my hair as it's not nearly as hydrating, but applying it after washing helps to protect the strands from things like brushing damage. I'm really not sold on the 'brightening' properties this is meant to have, but am glad to have an oil I can use freely after washing my hair without having to worry about it making it greasy.

Do you have any product recommendations for dry hair?

How to Be Happier and Reduce Stress

Monday, 23 March 2015

Stress is an awful feeling but we've all experienced it at one time or another; pressures from work, school, money, or made up reasons in your head (guilty) can sometimes get a bit overwhelming. Stress can affect every aspect of your life from your mood, appetite, sleep and concentration- so it's important to have ways of coping with and dealing with it that work for you. I have what you could probably describe as an 'over active imagination'- it lead to a lot of nightmares and terrifying myself senseless as a child (especially after reading too many Goosebumps books!) but isn't something I really grew out of. Unfortunately the over active imagination is still alive and well, and is what accounts for the majority of the stress that I feel. As an adult I've found that it usually manifests itself as 'worst case scenario' complex where my mind will conjure up terrible outcomes to pretty normal problems, which is not only frustrating but at times can leave me feeling anxious and stressed. Rather than talk about generic, cliche things that have been shown to reduce stress (like exercise.. seriously if you feel like exercising when you're stressed out you're a better person than me that's for sure!) but rather things that I find help me personally whenever I start feeling a bit jittery and stressed.

Have a Relaxing Bath
Never underestimate the power of a nice, hot bath. Whenever I'm feeling stressed a long soak in a Carron Bath is always my first port of call, and I find it makes me feel a million times better. As well the hot water helping to physically soothe tense muscles, it's a calm and quiet place where you can completely unwind. Making the bathroom inviting with some low lighting or scented candles definitely helps too, and after a relaxing bath I always come out with a clearer head. Follow up with some pampering beauty products and spend an hour or two just taking time for yourself.

Get an Early Night
Tiredness is pretty much the route of all evil. It can make the nicest person into a horrible grump (I'll admit I'm the worst person in the world when I'm tired!) and can play absolute havoc on your mood and emotions. If you're in a habit of never getting enough sleep and spend your days drinking gallons of cups of coffee to combat it, you might not even be aware than you're sleep deprived. Make a point of getting an early night- and if you're able to, try and make sure one night a week you're sleeping completely uninterrupted until you wake naturally. Everything always seems worse when you're tired or sleep deprived, so it's no wonder that a good nights sleep can do wonders for stress levels.

Talk Through it With Friends
A problem shared really is a problem halved, if you're feeling worried or stressed sometimes just the act of talking through it with someone who understands you can make everything so much better. I know that whenever I'm feeling a stressed or anxious often all I need is a bit of reassurance, most of the time worries aren't half as bad as they seem in your own mind. So tell a friend who might be able to put everything in perspective and you're bound to feel much better.

Do Something You Enjoy
This isn't to say you should go on a massive spending spree or order a family sized Dominos whenever you're feeling a bit stressed, but now and again it's nice to treat yourself. Whether it's induging in a bit of retail therapy, booking a weekend away or visiting somewhere nice. A break from the mundane and doing something enjoyable might just be what you need to break the cycle of stress, and leave you feeling much happier and more level headed afterwards.

Come Up With a Plan
A bit more difficult if like me a lot of your stresses are made up nonsense, however if I'm ever stressing about something realistic I'll always come up with a plan for how I'm going to tackle the situation. For example if money is the issue, you could go through all of your finances and draw up a new payment schedule or budget plan. If you're stressing about something like an upcoming job interview you could write out some of the questions they're likely to ask and revise your answers, or begin planning what you're going to wear and exactly how you're going to get there. The act of writing things out and creating a clear plan of action (rather than just going over things in my head) always leaves me feeling much better and much more in control of the situation, and is something I always recommend to friends who come to me feeling stressed.

Do you have any tips for dealing with stress?

Cohorted Beauty Box: March Box Review

Saturday, 21 March 2015


Cohorted have been the talk of bloggers since appearing this time last year; they're a website which offers thousands of high end beauty products and deals every day of the week (often at discounted prices!) With the popularity of their products and sales they released their own beauty box- but this is no regular subscription box. Every month a limited amount of boxes are available to buy and once they're gone they're gone, and with such amazing savings to be had you can bet they sell out quick! I was lucky enough to get my hands on March's box to review- containing four gorgeous products with a value of £75 when you pay just £19.99 for the box. Here's what was inside and what I thought of the products.

BareMinerals Pure Transformation Night Treatment (worth £45.00)
This might sound a bit vain but hear me out. Sometimes after I've had a bath in the evening or am just having a no-makeup day around the house, I'll look in the mirror at my bright pink cheeks and think ughh what a mess. It's pointless putting on foundation seeing as I'm not going anywhere, but without it I'm aware that I look awful. Well this stuff is a night treatment that's also like a mineral foundation, it's designed to be good for the skin but you do get a bit of coverage from it as well. Great for days when you don't want to wear makeup and want to let your skin breathe, but want a little bit of coverage too in case someone knocks the door or you have to quickly run out. The benefits of this include increasing cell turnover helping to renew the skin, antioxidant protection and reduced pores and wrinkles both instantly and over time. I really like this and am interested to see what kind of longer term benefits I notice from it. This is a full size treatment worth a whopping £45- it costs over twice the amount that you pay for the box, so you can see what amazing value for money the Cohorted box is.

Urban Decay Perversion Mascara (sample size worth £5)

Urban Decay's Perversion eyeliner is one of my Holy Grail, all time favourite products. And so I was more than happy to spot it's counterpart- Perversion mascara in the box. As with their liner this is super black, and as you'd probably expect from an Urban Decay mascara it's just amazing. One coat of this leaves my lashes looking fuller and longer than multiple coats from other brands, it's not clumpy and all in all probably one of the best mascaras I've ever tried. Admittedly I don't tend to use high end mascaras because I don't want to spend £20+ for something that's going to last for three months, however I do like this a lot and will definitely use up this sample. If I was going to buy a high end mascara, after trying this, this is the one I'd go for.

Sleek Precious Metals Highlighter (worth £9.99)


This palette really is stunning, if I hadn't known it was from Sleek I'd have been convinced it was a luxury brand. Rather than their usual black plastic packaging this has been replaced with a cool looking metal case, everything about it looks very high end. There are four cream highlights and a shimmery bronze powder, I'll definitely be using this to achieve a nice glowy makeup look over the summer. It doesn't look overly sparkly or glittery on the face and instead gives a subtle shimmery highlight. The three highlight shades in this are all very light, I don't think it would be a good choice for medium or darker skin tones but is perfect if like me your complexion could give a bottle of milk a run for it's money.

Too Faced Eye Shadow Copper Peony (worth £15.00)
It's been a long time since I've even thought about single eyeshadows as I much prefer the convenience of a palette, but this little shadow from Too Faced is absolutely stunning. It's possibly the smoothest shadow I've ever used, it's so soft and the pigmentation is amazing- plus it's the loveliest bronzey gold shade which is always one of my first choices when it comes to eye makeup. I managed to depot this and put it into my Mac palette (it fits perfectly) and to be honest it puts all of my Mac eyeshadows to shame. At £15 this little shadow almost covers the cost of the box, so again such amazing value for money it's no wonder these Cohorted boxes sell out so quickly!

Have you heard of Cohorted beauty boxes? Will you be getting your hands on Aprils box?

Five Prom Hairstyle Ideas 2015

Friday, 20 March 2015

 After plenty of pondering, second guessing and repeatedly asking your friends for their opinions- you have finally chosen what you consider to be your dream dress. But when it comes to your prom look it definitely doesn't stop there, and your next step is probably going to be deciding on your hairstyle. Are you going to do it yourself with the help of a Youtube tutorial, or leave it in the hands of a stylist? Are you going to go simple or add an embellishment, headband or fascinator? Are you going to give the style a 'test run' to make sure it's comfortable, photographs well and lasts the entire night?

You've carefully chosen through beautiful prom dresses 2015, and so it only makes sense to give your hair and the rest of your look the same kind of thought. Here are some of the styles you might want to try

1. This 1970s inspired hairstyle pulls most of your hair off your face, and the bouffant half ‘do adds height. The soft tendrils around the face are flattering on any face shape, but will make a round face appear slimmer. This is a relatively no-worry style, as long as it's secured enough hairspray you’re good to go. This makes a particularly good prom hairstyle because your ears are exposed, meaning you can choose special or coordinating earrings. 

2. This is another variation of the half ‘do, but with more curls and a swooping low side part, as opposed to high bouffant. This is a soft and elegant style that brings in a bit of hollywood glam; the perfect choice if you have a pretty hair accessory that you plan on incorporating into your style.

3. Who says a ponytail has to be casual? This gorgeous long curled pony is pretty and sophisticated. You could leave it simple or add interest with a braid along the front, or pulled round to the side for a 'Taylor Swift' kind of look. A great option if you plan on doing you hair yourself as it's easy to do but still looks really put together.

4. This is a good choice for longer hair, or if you want to show off the back of your dress. This style is a variation on the infamous Princess Leia hairstyle. Part hair down the middle, and braid each side, starting at the base of your hairline, and then wind the braid into a swirl on each side. Be sure to use grips that are the same colour as your hair (you'll need lots of them!) so that they can't be seen.

5. Finally, a style to satisfy fans of “Toddlers & Tiaras,” the ultimate in pageant looks for the girl who really wants to be tiara-worthy. Think big, bouncy and/or intricate, this one is probably best left to a professional hairstylist but will definitely make a statement on prom day.

Are you going to prom this year? How will you be wearing your hair?
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