The skincare duo that does everything right


Skincare products are 100% one of my favourite things to buy. Although I love browsing the MAC counter and swatching lipsticks all the way up my forearm in Boots, there’s something I find far more satisfying in buying skincare. My skin is very prone to spots and at some points I have experienced acne leaving SO MUCH SCARRING. I’ve mentioned La Roche-Posay as a brand many many times in reference to the wonder product that is Effaclar Duo but having recently tried a moisturiser from them, a post featuring the two was inevitable. 

Effaclar Duo is THE best spot / anti blemish treatment I have tried. Ever. I've mentioned it so so many times but I feel like talking about it again is completely justified because it really is the dream product if you suffer with acne or particularly oily skin like myself (sigh). Effaclar Duo is the perfect product for reducing the size and redness of spots and really helps with the healing process too; I've counted on this product so many times around the time of important events and it has never let me down. The directions on the product mention that it can be used in the morning and/or evening but I've been more inclined to use it in the evening as an overnight treatment for my spots as I could never make it work as nicely if applied under make up but that might just be me! I would 100% recommend trying this product if you're struggling with spots or acne because it is completely non drying unlike a lot of other spot treatments I've tested and just really does work. It might sound like I'm over exaggerating to say I'd be lost without this in my skincare stash but I know how much the condition of your skin can affect confidence levels and now I just couldn't be without lil beauty.

Having moaned a lot about my oily skin and constant need for powdering my make up every half an hour in the past I did experience extremely dry skin this year and let me tell you that was just as horrible. I never thought I would say this but I was actually v glad when my oily skin returned because I was finding it so so hard to apply my foundation to my dry and peeling skin (sorry for that gross image but this is a skincare post after all so I feel like honesty is really important). I had never really been interested in trialling a lot of moisturisers before and had just been using a random simple one that I had somehow acquired but when the dry skin was really really getting me down I looked into those that La Roche-Posay offered. I picked up the Effaclar H Multi Compensating Smoothing Moisturiser which is specifically targeted at oily skin and I think this is possibly my best purchase of 2015 (other than my macbook) (and maybe my AA playsuit) (it really is great though). I apply this morning and evening after cleansing and it has reduced the redness in my skin so amazingly!! Because the product is aimed at adding moisture back into oily skin that has been stripped or overly treated with drying products it worked so well at getting the perfect balance back in my skin. My skin no longer felt dry and painful (it had dried out so much because of some medication I was taking that my acne was painful, again sorry for that image) but this moisturiser truly was a life saver! The only slight issue I have with this product is that it does take a while to sink into my skin which is fine in the evenings but a little more tricky in the morning if I'm applying it before make up. I try to cleanse and moisturise my face as early on as possible to give the product enough time to sink properly in because otherwise it doesn't sit quite as nicely under my foundation but other than that I really cannot fault it. 

I couldn't be without either of these products now and using the combination of the two together in my skincare routine has improved the condition of my skin so much!! I really do understand how much the condition of your skin can impact your confidence levels but La Roche-Posay as a brand in general has helped tonnes with that. I will definitely be trying more from them. I hope this post was somewhat helpful to anyone who has problematic skin too, I really hope you give these products a go and they help you too!!!! 




tips for surviving a levels ft THE PERFECT DESK PADS

// desk pads available from www.sighh.co from 20th July, sold separately, £4.50 each //

I’m slightly scared that this blog post might be a little premature seeing as results day is still a little while away and potentially this advice could be no use to you at all. Can you tell I haven’t written in a while because I’m not really selling this v well at all. Sigh. ANYWAY, regardless of my exam results (*prays I’m going to university in september*) I did in fact survive my A levels. Something I was a little dubious about at a number of points throughout the two years but it seems I actually made it to the end so hopefully this advice will be of some use to peeps who are maybe about to start sixth form in September or year 12s about to transition into year 13. Even if you’re not from the UK and have a different schooling system entirely or are older/younger and are at a different point in your education, I hope these tips and tricks that I’ve picked up along the way are even somewhat helpful. 

THE STATIONERY MUST HAVES:

Pretty stationary is a must for effective revision and class notes. Always. It may seem silly but I know I was always a little more inclined to make revision notes if I had a colour coding system with some funky pens (heads up: Muji is THE place to go for revision pens) or if I had pretty notebooks to fill with essay plans or glossaries and hints and reminders I thought of along the way. Treat yourself at the beginning of term to some notebooks, pens, highlighters and colouring pencils if you wanna get really fancy with the colour coding because I promise they make revision and note taking all the more enjoyable!! The gorgeous desk pads shown in the photographs at the beginning of this post are from the fabulous site Sighh Designs which, if you’re a long time reader, you will deffo be familiar with!! Polly (the wonder woman behind the beautiful products) is releasing a tonne of new things on the 20th July including these desk pads which are a must have for organising everything in your school life and will set you up perfectly for organisational success from the start! They are sold separately for £4.50 each so if you’re interested head over to www.sighh.co from Monday to see them and all the other fab-u-lous products also coming to the store. (Also realistically who can resist a spending spree on the Sighh Designs site people). 

THE PREP:

One thing that I think is absolutely key to A level (or as I said, any other education system) success is the preparation. It can be very easy with GCSE’s to just revise during exam season for each up coming exam and not necessarily put in a lot of work throughout the rest of the year but I really would try and avoid this technique as much as possible in sixth form. I know the idea of A levels is terrifying and trust me I was a little terrified whilst doing them but if you prepare from the start and put in a consistent amount of effort then you really really will be fine !! Of course there will be days where your class notes aren’t the best or when you can’t be bothered to go over what you’ve done that day but that’s normal; you’re only human! The main piece of advice that I’ve told my sister (hey katie if you’re reading) for when she starts sixth form in September is to make sure you understand what’s happened and what’s been taught before leaving every lesson. Ask questions about things you’re not sure on, make notes that will be easy to understand when you look back at them and highlight or write in colour the important bits of info. The worst thing you could do which I am COMPLETELY guilty of is leaving a lesson without understanding something and then coming round to it during exam season and panicking. It’s so common to put off working on a concept or something that you don’t understand but if you try to make sure you understand as much as possible as you go along then you can avoid the exam season mental breakdowns as much as possible!! I BELIEVE IN U GUYS. 

EARLY BIRD REVISION IS YOUR BEST FRIEND:

It might seem ridiculous to revise for months before your exams for someone who is used to a little more last minute planning but organisation and revising early on is the best decision you could make. I started building up revision material from January onwards and obvs I wasn’t working as intensely and pushing myself as much as in the actual weeks approaching exams but I think it’s important to not leave anything until the last minute. Make flash cards that can quickly be looked over when you’re on the bus or for quick reading before bed, put mind maps and posters up in your room and ask your family to test you regularly to make sure info stays in your brain !! Practice papers can be useful but don’t over stress yourself when looking at them. I found them to be really valuable for making sure I knew the format of the exam well so like timings, the number of questions, the style they were written in etc but don’t freak yourself out with them! Practice answering some past questions in non timed conditions at first and then keep reducing time limits until you’ve cracked it !! I’ll be honest and say I never really practiced essays in timed conditions; I did a couple that way but found it far more useful to try and write the best essay I could at home despite the time limit and it then gave me a perfect model to revise from! ALSO, another tip would be looking at patterns of past exam questions as this can also be super helpful but never completely rely on them; always prepare thoroughly for every type of question.

SLEEP AND STAYING CALM:

Stress can make it super hard to sleep but I can’t stress ((oh the irony)) how important it is during exam season. I spent far too many mornings waking up frantically to my alarm and feeling like I hadn't slept at all that night. Make time for bubble baths, fresh air and early nights; they’re important for your revision and class work to stay in your brain but for your health and mental well being too which are equally as important !! Try and get as much sleep as possible on week nights and allow yourself a lie in every once in a while to rest your body and brain. Also try not to feel too guilty for allowing yourself breaks and time out of the house. This is something I majorly struggled with and my work vs rest balance was COMPLETELY wrong but now from a retrospective point I can see just how important it was. 

PROCRASTINATION QUEEN:

I will admit, I am the queen of procrastination. I so wish I wasn’t but I think I have so far accepted it and fingers crossed can break the bad habit in the future. Despite this, I think the internet (my weakness) can be really great in small amounts; reward yourself with a youtube video or half an hour break for twitter when you’ve completed a set amount of work. Social media won’t make you fail your exams as long as you use it in moderation during exam period. I would never be able to stop using twitter and as you know if you follow me I tweeted about exams approximately 3492929 times ((it’s an addiction I just can’t stop)). Sometimes it’s nice to vent or get things off your chest on twitter and also to see how other people who are also going through exams are feeling. It might sound mean (really not intended) but I always found reassurance in the tweets of other people panicking for exams too because it really does help you from feeling so alone during a time when it’s easy to become very isolated. This doesn’t just apply to exam season though because I’m aware that it is currently July and next exam season is almost a year away but for school in general I think social media can be a really great way to relax and reward yourself for completing the things you need to. 

I hope these 5 (rather lengthy) pointers are kinda helpful and make the idea of tackling A levels or school in general a little more manageable, I BELIEVE IN YOU SO YOU SHOULD BELIEVE IN YOURSELF TOO <333

sighh designs insta : @sighh.co
polly's personal insta: @pollyvdsz 



london haul: AA, brandy melville and lush!

(also if you're ever on Carnaby Street you HAVE to check out Moosh Cafe which is on a little side street there. Best frozen yoghurt of my life (mine is the delicious looking granola, maple syrup and banana one mmm)

First thing's first, a three storey Lush store on Oxford Street ?? This is literally the stuff dreams are made of and I definitely didn't freak and want to buy the entire shop after a trip to London on Monday, nope definitely not. Ahem, anyway haul time woo !! I didn't go particularly crazy with the spending this time because with September and university approaching I really do need to be saving all the £££ that I can (which isn't actually very much anyway) but regardless I am really pleased with the purchases that I did make. 

If you're a long time reader then you will probably be aware of my love for anything from Lush so the idea of a three storey shop filled to the brim with bath bombs, face masks, hair and skincare galore made me slightly giddy. I did manage to refrain from purchasing every bath product in the shop and picked up three things that I'm super excited about!! First up, a pink flamingo on a stick. How could I resist?? This reminded me so much of Snow Fairy because of the way it's used that I had to put this one into my basket, it smells so fruity and summery that this one was a must. It also has a hint of roses which is for sure one of my favourite scents from Lush so this little guy was a winner for me (also just in case I haven't placed enough emphasis upon this already, it's a flamingo, SO CUTE). I also went for another Oxford Street exclusive which I feel can be justified because it is an exclusive to that store (that's what I'm telling myself anyway) and is called Intergalactic. From the outside it's the prettiest colours (turquoise with pink and yellow running through it too) and it smells SO SO GOOD !! I've seen some instagram posts of how this one looks in the water and let me tell you it looks a treat, so excited to give this one a go! Finally from Lush I picked up the Big Bang Bubble Bar (nice alliteration) and I'm super excited for this one because how much use and bubbles can come from one product. This lil beauty is filled with softening avocado butter and grapefruit oil which sound like the perfect scents for summer and will also help keep your skin perfectly moisturised for picnics and beach days in the sun. 

Next on to clothes and I managed to stay pretty calm in AA ((surprisingly)) and just picked up another stripy playsuit because I've worn my green striped version so much that I could justify the slightly bigger price tag! I went for the red, white and blue colouring which I think looks really cute and is lovely for this time of year. I find the American Apparel playsuits so versatile and they really are a great investment piece; cute and cool in summer and equally as adorable in winter layered with a jumper, wooly tights and boots. Love. (Also, because I agreed to have my receipt emailed to me rather than printed to save paper, I was given the cutest red head band which goes so well with my playsuit. Also pretty in love with headbands at the moment because I can feel slightly like Blair Waldorf. The resemble is uncanny (I wish)). After this little splurge I was so pleasantly surprised to find the cutest shorts in Brandy Melville for only £13 ??! I think I may be a little bit in love with that store and the clothes are the softest thing ever and so so affordable too!! I was a little worried that these shorts may resemble pyjamas but I wore them to the beach yesterday with trainers and my mustard jumper and they looked really cute! If you're passing a BM store I would 100% recommend taking a look it's so dreamy. I also pinked up a pink pen from Muji because I just cannot resist their pen selection, I've literally gone through about 6 of these pens I adore them so much; any pen / stationery lover will understand. 

Let me know if you'd like to see either of the clothing pieces in OOTD's soon, fingers crossed I can upload some outfit posts asap !! 



hair styling staples for shorter locks (and hello again)


WOAH hi hey hello there, you may be forgiven for thinking this is nothing short of a miracle because I have been a little MIA for, well almost the whole year. Last year I was able to post a lot more regularly but year 13 commitments made blogging in 2015 a little tricky. My revision and attempts at keeping my life together (mostly involving screaming, crying, lying on my bedroom floor and drowning my sorrows in strawberry milkshake) left little time for blog photography and post writing which sucked because I missed it so much !! Despite now being completely out of the habit of writing and taking photos for this little corner of the internet I am determined to put out as many posts as I can now that summer is under way *squeals*. I understand if you've completely forgotten what I look like and didn't even realise Charlotte's Web still existed BUT I promise I have tonnes of ideas for posts coming up in the not so near future so stay tuned for all that exciting stuff.

One of many changes that occurred since I last sat down and properly wrote for my blog was I got a hair cut. This seems v trivial now I'm writing it down however I did spend at least two weeks tweeting about how happy I was with it which probably means it was kinda a big deal. Since taking the plunge and getting a shorter and more swishy style I've got my hands on a few new products that have made life 128679 times easier and thought I would share them to ease myself back into this whole blogging thing (longest intro ever oh god can you tell I haven't done this in a while).

The Tony and Guy sea salt spray has been a long time favourite of mine for adding grit and texture to my hair and to prevent that horrible 'I've definitely just washed my hair it's so fluffy I'm gonna die' (name that film) stage of styling. I like to spray a little into my hair after washing and when it's still a little damp and then blow dry my hair so that the product works into it and adds texture from the start of the styling process. I also like to spray a little onto second day hair to stop it from looking flat and it works really well for that too! All round a winner with me and who doesn't love a sea salt spray in summer right ?? Another spray that I love to use on damp hair is the Bumble and Bumble thickening hairspray. Despite the name, this is nothing like a traditional hairspray and has a liquid consistency similar to the salt spray. Bumble and Bumble are a little more pricey but it smells SO GOOD it's actually pretty hard to resist. Combined with the amount of texture this adds to my hair in stopping it from falling flat throughout the day this is a must have in my routine.

Moving on to products I use on my hair once it's dry, I love love love a good texturising spray. I've had on and off love affairs with the Charles Worthington volume and bounce spray as well as VO5's 'give me texture' spray but currently I'm head over heels for Bumble and Bumble's dry spun finish spray. This seems to add instant texture and fullness to my hair which I love now that my locks are a lil bit shorter. I love how easy and quick it is to create a slightly messier finish with tonnes more volume with this product !! And finally, for the days when I'm feeling a little more lazy (read: every day) Batiste is my life saver. Dry shampoo is a staple for me not only for those days when I roll out of bed a little too late but also when I have freshly washed hair and to add texture making styling SO much easier. I particularly like the tropical scented dry shampoo for summer but they have so so many varieties that you will have more than enough to choose from !!

I hope this post was somewhat helpful and if you made it to the end (or even clicked on the post at all, again v sorry about my absence) then thank you! Hopefully there will be lots more posts up soon so bear with me *crosses fingers*. 

PS. LET ME KNOW WHAT YOU'VE ALL BEEN UP TO IN THE COMMENTS AND SEND ME TONNES OF LINKS BECAUSE I'VE MISSED READING BLOGS SO MUCH