Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Glossier: Top 5 Products



Glossier are a very well known brand at this point. Having launched in the UK almost a year ago, there's been some time to test out the brands products. I've primarily invested in their makeup, designed to work simultaneously as skincare - which makes a big difference as the products feel like they aren't just on your skin, but doing something whilst there.

So, I thought I'd let you know my top 5 Glossier products. Some are newer releases, and others were in the first order I made and I've since repurchased.

5. Solution

Of course the Solution was going to make the top 5, but even I'm surprised it wasn't higher up. This stuff is just great. It's effectively a gentle acid that helps to exfoliate the skin, keeping it clean and therefore helping rid the skin of blemishes and evening skin tone. This has worked well for me since I first used it at the beginning of the year and it's safe to say I can see myself using it for many years to come. I now use it every other day, instead of everyday as I did originally, as it's made such a difference to my skin that I don't feel the need for it everyday.


4. Super Bounce

The only qualm I ever had about the Solution was that my skin often felt rather dry the following morning. I saw someone online mention that they used Super Bounce the morning after they had used the Solution and it rehydrated there skin really nicely. Having started using it only recently, I'm glad to say that it's certainly worked the same for me. Super Bounce is a hyaluronic acid vitamin B5 serum - it brings back the softness and resultantly the 'bounce' to your skin, leaving it smooth and hydrated without any waiting around for it to sink in. Love this stuff.


3. Boy Brow

Next up is the Boy Brow. This has quickly become a cult classic in the brow world. To begin with I didn't love it, but I think as the product began to dry a little it became the perfect consistency for me. I am very much a lazy girl when it comes to brows: I've never bothered using a pencil or such to fill them in, opting for a brow gel to just add a bit of volume and fill the little areas that are on the sparse side. This is a great product for that. I use the brown shade and it blends in with my natural brow colour really nicely.


2. Lash Slick

As much as the Lash Slick is a very new release from Glossier, I can wholeheartedly say that it deserves the number 2 position. For, I kid you not, about eight months, I've avoided using mascara almost completely. And the reason for this was that I just hated every formula I had and that I came across, to the point that I couldn't bear the thought of using any of them. Nothing looked nice or went on how I wanted and I ended up so discontented every time I tried using mascara. Lash Slick was - not to be dramatic or anything - the last mascara product I was willing to try before I gave up on it forever, and I'm glad to say it was everything I could possibly want in a mascara. It separates and lengthens, giving your eyelashes amazing definition, yet still looking on the more natural side. It also comes off really easily - another major issue I have with every other mascara - with just a little micellar water. A dream.


1. Perfecting Skin Tint

And the product reaching the number 1 spot is, of course, the Perfecting Skin Tint. I am, through and through, a skin tint/tinted moisturiser kind of girl, so I certainly know what I like in this sort of product. The Glossier Skin Tint does not disappoint. One thing I often find difficult is to find a shade light enough for my complexion, as a lot of the time brands seem to struggle to get a super pale shade and even the lightest colour is too dark for me. But Glossier have gotten it just right and the shade combined with the formula gets 10/10. It is a weightless product that works to even out skin tone without losing sight of your natural features, whilst at the same time it effectively hydrates the skin. My skin feels nicer after I've taken the product off at the end of the day than before I put it on in the morning, which is definitely hard to come by. The best. A worthy winner.



Have you tried any Glossier products? What are your favourites?


Until next time.



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Email: abbielour18@gmail.com

Saturday, 30 June 2018

June Books



Again, a nice varied collection of books this month, going from recent fiction to a collection of journalism and back to short stories set in World War Two. Enjoyed, questioned and passed on to others for judgement, here's what I thought of this months reads.


Kill Your Friends by John Niven

Kill Your Friends was an angry book. But it was intriguing and it worked. I don't know how accurate Niven's representation of the music industry really is, but it was thoroughly convincing and certainly appeared authentic despite its extremities. I think none of us ever like the first person narrator as much as we're convinced we do. It's so easily to be led astray and made to believe that what they're doing is perfectly justified and valid simply because we're in their head. We're viewing the reality that they're creating for us and it's a complete trap. Ultimately Steven Stelfox is pretty much the devil incarnate. He's conniving and manipulative to the point that he'd kill to further his career, and yet is so drugged up you're made to consider whether he's wholly aware of what he's doing. He is. He obviously is - he makes plans requiring a lot of effort to execute and yet performs them seamlessly. It's a rather sickening novel, but nonetheless makes for a good, though slightly unpleasant read.


Lines in the Sand: Collected Journalism by A. A. Gill

As much as this collection is titled 'Collected Journalism', it does conclusively read as a memoir - a reflection of the author's life, particularly his final years. The collection focuses primarily on the theme and issue of migration. It moves from migration in Europe - looking at the Syrian crisis - to wider fields like Latin America. However there are a lot of other articles, which are often wholly unconnected that are also a part of this book. And it this sense it felt oddly fragmented, like the book didn't fit together very well as a whole. As much as I can appreciate that the migrate crisis is so poignant and of the moment, there were some really nice segments where Gill is talking about his children and taking them to different places or watching them learn; I feel like the book would have read better for me if parts like this weren't so out of the blue and essentially so few and far between. Individually the articles were all very intriguing and thought provoking, but ultimately I wasn't convinced by the way they have been formatted together.


Into the War by Italo Calvino

I also read a collection of three short stories by Italo Calvino this month. This is actually the first text I've read of his, despite If On a Winter's Night a Traveller having been sat on my bookshelf for upwards of three years. The stories are set in 1940 at the point of Italy joining World War Two. As much as we see the cusp of war in the stories, we also see the narrator - essentially Calvino, as the text is certainly autobiographical to a point - on the cusp of adulthood. I think it's certainly an interesting book to pick as a first Calvino text, as it's offered some biographical context in a way that I'm aware none of his other books do, and this could, perhaps, actually be beneficial in reading further works of his. Overall, the experience created in the stories feels very authentic and actually a bit emotional in the sense that you can see Calvino's character as someone with certain morals and ones which the other boys go against. It feels a lot like he's discovering the person he wants to grow into.


I'm also currently about two thirds of the way through the autobiography of Martin Luther King Jr, which I'm quickly devouring. I'll let you know what I thought of the whole thing this time next month.



Until next time.



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Email: abbielour18@gmail.com

Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Skincare 101



Trying to nail down a skincare routine is harder than organising a get together with my biggest group of friends.

I have been drafting and redrafting this post for, I kid you not, five months. Basically, since around the end of last year I started changing up single elements of my skincare routine one at a time. Certain things just weren't working for me anymore so it was time to introduce some new products. I'm a great advocate for slow progress and I think you should always only change one skincare product at a time, giving it a good month to check how it's working and see if you're happy with it before looking to change any other products. If you change everything at once you've got little hope in knowing, for example, which product is breaking you out or drying out your skin etc etc. So that's what I've been doing and I've finally gotten to a point where everything is working well and my skin is looking real nice.




First things first, Garnier Micellar Water is a staple in so many people's skincare routines and I am no different. It is my favourite formula for removing makeup and even just giving my face a quick refresh. There are obviously a few different versions of the micellar water and my personal favourite is the Pure Active formula. It makes my skin feels super clean and soft, and is a product that I feel contributes to decreasing spots and keeping them at bay. I love this stuff.




Next up is another Garnier product, again from the Pure Active range. Garnier Pure Active 3 in 1 Clay Face Wash is amazing for me. It purifies, unclogs pores and mattifies the skin - ideal if you're on the oilier side and your skin is prone to imperfections. I use this probably about three times a week as a more intensive facial wash than the micellar water. I'll usually just use it as a face wash - it works well to exfoliate whilst washing your face too, which is a bonus - but one every two weeks I'll put it on as a mask for five minutes. This just gives a slightly deeper clean.




One I've spoken about a few times now is the Glossier Solution. It's a game changer. It's essentially an exfoliator with three gentle acids which are intended to help reduce the appearance of pores, spots and redness. And I think it does this really well. It is a little drying, which is the only downside I've experienced, but it's worth needing to work a little harder to moisturise. I've been using this for almost six months now and I'm now at the point where I feel comfortable reducing my usage to every other night as opposed to using it every night, simply because I'm getting very few blemishes now and I'd like to avoid my skin getting any drier unnecessarily.




I've finally found an eye cream that seems to actually do something. Hallelujah. Origins Ginzing Refreshing Eye Cream is the one. I feel that I'm not fully awake in the morning until I've used this product. It feels really hydrating and seems to reduce puffiness nicely. And I'm hoping it's working well below the skin as a preventative means to reduce wrinkly eyes as I get older.




The most difficult product to get right for me was definitely moisturiser. I've tried many a moisturiser in attempts to find one that really works for my skin, from various brands and various ranges within brands. In the end I settled upon the Garnier Skin Active Moisturiser with Aloe Extract. I wanted something light and refreshing that would hydrate my skin without needing an excessive amount of product - which was a problem I was having with other moisturisers: they just didn't hydrate my skin enough. This one is great. I use it morning and evening and my skin has never felt better. It doesn't break me out (another serious moisturiser struggle) and just helps my skin to look it's best.




Those are my main staple products, but in addition to these I will also use face masks twice a week. I will vary the mask I use in relation to what my skin seems to need. A few favourites include The Body Shop Chinese Ginseng and Rice Clarifying Polishing Mask - this one is great for a bit of extra exfoliation and also helps to brighten up and revitalise. For a mask more focused on hydration, my go to is the Garnier Moisture Bomb sheet masks. There are several different versions of this mask and my favourites include the Chamomile mask, the Lavender mask and the Green Tea mask. All great for hydration but they all also work in slightly different ways in addition to this. For example the Chamomile mask is very soothing and the Lavender mask helps relax the senses.


So that's my skincare routine in a nutshell. It's taken a great deal of time to formulate, but it truly works for me. I like that it's there's not a mass of products, and for the most part they're all really affordable, meaning I don't get a little sad every time I need to repurchase something. I think simple, minimalist skincare is definitely most effective for me.


Until next time.



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Email: abbielour18@gmail.com

Thursday, 31 May 2018

May Books



May's been a little busier than usual for me, so my book intake for the month was slightly more limited as a result. Nonetheless, some interesting reads, including a romance from the Victorian era, a recent humorous novel, a diary and a recent text on race and racism. An eclectic selection for the month of May.


The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

Honestly, wasn't a fan of this one. I didn't really like any of the characters and didn't find it to be a particularly stimulating read, with the style just feeling uncomfortable throughout, which made it quite the chore to get through. I never wanted to pick it up and read it, I had to keep thinking, 'oh it'll get better, just do a couple chapters,' but overall it just wasn't for me. It's kind of a historical novel come romance, which even as a genre didn't work for me. Historical novels tend to be something I enjoy, but I think the added elements of romance just didn't mesh well. I appreciate the struggle that the text poses and how Hester is represented throughout the novel - and therefore as a woman in history during the time period - but despite that, I just didn't like it.


The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden by Jonas Jonasson

I was so excited to read this book having loved Jonasson's first novel, The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared, and I can safely say, this one did not disappoint. Jonasson's writing is so fast paced and interesting that you can get entirely lost in not just his stories, but equally his storytelling. His style is so colloquial that it often seems as though he's recounting something that's really happened, which I love and think fits in wonderfully with his stories, as his character leads truly eventful lives. I really liked the character of Nombeko and following her life and literal journey was something I considered genuinely intriguing and exciting. Jonasson seems to has an interest in nuclear weapons, as like his previous novel, this one also follows the goings on during the time of atomic bomb development. But he manages to make this seem like such a trivial task in his texts that it really makes you laugh at the enormity of what's actually going on in the books. I loved this text - I'm usually someone who prefers much more serious themes and styles, but Jonasson's writing is just sincerely entertaining and satisfying.


Go Ask Alice

One of my co-workers lent me this book and I could barely stop reading to take a sip of water. Since reading it, I've actually found out that it wasn't a real diary, as the anonymous author indicates it must be, which in some ways made me feel a little more comfortable about the book. By all means, the content of the text is not something that should make you feel comfortable, but rather concerned and upset and like you're losing a friend throughout - it did make me feel this way, especially whilst I was reading it and thought it was an entirely true story. The book is about a 15 year old girl who develops a drug habit, leading her to run away from home multiple times - some of which she was barely aware of what she was doing. It was traumatic and heartbreaking just as a reader, dealing with a great number of issues that young people in the 70s no doubt endured. It is an extremely well written text, which was what impressed me most whilst reading it believing it was entirely real - I was so intrigued that Alice had such a command of language and narrative whilst at the same time being a drug addict and struggling from one day to the next. I can understand why an author would have taken the opportunity to use a diary structure to comment on drug taking in the 70s, as it is evidently a style that elicits a response, but at the same time it's difficult to know the extent to which the text places itself in the real world, when it is in fact a fiction book. It's one that made me think a lot and feel a lot, but in the end I'm not so sure of what to make of it.


Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge

I picked this book up at the end of last month and was keen to get stuck into it. Reni Eddo'Lodge's Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race has been all over the internet since it's initial release just a year ago. Just the cover of the text itself is so striking, I instantly wanted to know what it's author had to say. The book is spectacular. It is informative, expressive and sincerely important to the modern day discussion on race. I felt that I learned a lot and thought a lot about what Eddo-Lodge offered in the book, and having read it I feel more informed on issues concerning race, such as feminism and class and how race is always interlinked. As a white person, I have, prior to reading this, deeply considered my position of privilege, but this really reiterated that to me and helped me to understand a position I have never personally been in. The book is up to date and yet historical, recognising that we must know where issues of race have stemmed from. I was blown away by Eddo-Lodge's articulation of the topic, simply laying the cards on the table in a way  that's impossible to ignore. I hope that you too will read this text and truly take in what it has to offer, and you too will help the anti-racism movement in your day to day goings on. This book has helped reignite the message in politics and in society generally, so I hope that you and I and so many others can help keep it going.



Until next time.



Social media/contacts:
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Email: abbielour18@gmail.com

Monday, 28 May 2018

Outfit Diaries 001: Barcelona

Although I was in Barcelona for four days, I've only got two outfits of note, considering day one was a travel outfit and day four was a day spent on the beach (not so body confident that I'm ready for bikini pics yet). Nonetheless, I thought I'd share with you my two favourite outfits from the trip.








Top: New Look
Skirt: ASOS
Jacket: Missguided
Shoes: Adidas
Sunglasses: Ray Ban


The first was worn when we went to La Sagrada Familia and Park Guell. It was comfy and practical - considering there is a dress code for the cathedral (covered shoulders / nothing too short). The skirt is one I mentioned ages ago in an ASOS currently coveting post. It was something I was sure I would get a lot of use out of, especially considering the struggle I have with finding skirts that aren't too short on me. Midi is the ideal length if you're a tall girl, as you haven't got to worry that it's too short like a mini skirt or, again, not long enough if it's a maxi style. This one just has an elasticated waist, making it really comfortable and wearable, and also features some pleats, adding a little something to the shape and way it falls.

I paired this with a little came top from New Look. Yellow is my favourite colour, so I love that it's really in at the moment and loads of shops have a lot of items featuring the colour. I like that it's striped so that the whole outfit isn't just blocks of colour and the fit of it is perfect. Then I added my denim jacket from Missguided (via ASOS) to the outfit, so that it was more appropriate for visiting La Sagrada Familia and chucked on my Adidas Stan Smiths - the most comfortable and yet fashionable trainer for a day trekking around the city. And my sunglasses are prescription Ray Bans - the style is Clubround Classic.








Dress: New Look
Shoes: Adidas
Bag: Topshop
Sunglasses: Ray Ban


The following day I wore one of my new favourite dresses. This one is from New Look and cinches in at the waist before flowing out to a midi length (I'm obsessed). I love how neutral this dress is and I also appreciate that it's more or a cream than a white, as in my pale state white doesn't always look very flattering on me. I can't wait to keep wearing this dress throughout the summer - it's nice and airy and yet entirely elegant. Again, I teamed this with my Stan Smiths for the comfort factor (if we weren't walking around all day I'd have had the perfect sandals to pair with it), and added in my circle bag from Topshop. I love the gold studded detail on this and how it worked to keep the outfit very neutral.


So those were my favourite outfits from my trip to Barcelona. Simple, comfortable and warm weather appropriate. Excited to continue styling these items throughout the summer.


Until next time.



Social media/contacts:
Instagram: abbielour
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Email: abbielour18@gmail.com

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Barcelona

For about four years now, my best friend, Charlie, and I have had a dream. The dream was to go to Barcelona and just be in Barcelona for a few days. It finally happened, and we loved it.

We planned the trip only a couple of months in advance and wanted to have as much time to just absorb the city as possible. We were there for four days, giving us lots of aimless wandering time, which was one of my favourite things about the trip.

Our hotel was the Eurostars Monumental, which was just a couple of blocks away from La Sagrada Familia, giving us the most incredible view from our window.


It's definitely a hotel I'd recommend. The room was perfect, the staff were friendly and really helpful, and the breakfast was phenomenal. Five stars.

We arrived at around midday on Monday, allowing us all afternoon to walk around and explore. We found a cafe for a pick me up and looked online to find out where some of the buildings we wanted to see were located. And then we were off on a long walk across the city. Some of my favourites finds from that day were Gaudi's Casa Batllo and Casa Mila.





We only had one day with scheduled entry times for attractions, which was our second day, on which we went to both La Sagrada Familia and Park Guell. The cathedral was insane. I couldn't believe how much attention to detail there was and how everything had a meaning. It was very special and wonderful to see how committed they still are to making Gaudi's vision come to life. You 100% have to do the audio tour, as it explains all the amazing intricacies of the building. We also went up one of the towers on the Nativity side, which not only gave us great views of the city, but also allowed us to see how detailed the building is even near the very top.









I loved Park Guell. I'm definitely a park person - when I went to New York, Central Park was a major highlight - and so wandering around and see how architecture and nature had been incorporated was one of my favourite parts of the trip. We also went to the Gaudi House Museum in Park Guell, which gave us more of an insight into both the man himself, the way he worked, and how the furnishings of a building were often as important to him as the outer structure itself. A really great place and somewhere I can certainly see myself going back to.










Our third day was more of a central city day. We headed out and down to the Arc de Triomf to start with. It was such a beautiful structure and we spend a good while in the little park there in awe (and also dog watching, of course). From there we headed to Parc de la Ciutadella, which we meandered through and ended up in a rowing boat. We then strolled through the Gothic Quarter and down to La Rambla. I loved the atmosphere in the area and how carefree the whole place felt. We hung out on Rmabla de Mar for a while, soaking up the sun and watching the boats float by.







From there we headed up to see the Magic Fountain, which was enormous?? It was very relaxing to just watch the water and overlook the city below. We also saw the Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya whilst we were up there, which is such a grand building, truly overlooking the whole city.




On our final full day we headed down to the beach - as Brits who live quite far inland, we couldn't help but enjoy the novelty. It was the warmest day of our visit too, so it was very well selected for some time to lie down in the sun and read. On that last evening after we'd had dinner, we grabbed some ice cream and went and sat outside La Sagrada Familia, gazing up at the building that had truly captured our hearts.





We had such a wonderful trip to Barcelona. It's the most incredible city, with beautiful architecture and scenery. We've low key already planned to go back once the cathedral is finished.

Already excited for our next adventure together.



Outfit post to follow.


Until next time.



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