TREsemme Instant Refresh Volumising Dry Shampoo // My Holy Grail!

Hey guys!  I know we all like a bit of dry shampoo… for any fellow chronically ill people, it’s an absolute essential, as sometimes standing in the shower to wash our hair just isn’t possible.  I know I used to use it sometimes before getting ill too – it’s nice to give your hair a quick refresh, or get an extra day out of a hair wash when you’re busy.

I’ve tried loads of dry shampoos – the most well-known brand Batiste, to Superdrug own brand and Ruth Crilly’s newish range of dry shampoos, CO-Lab.  Without a doubt, this is the best brand of dry shampoo I’ve tried so far.

Tresemme Instant Refresh Dry Shampoo

Tresemme Instant Refresh Dry Shampoo

TREsemme dry shampoo claims to ‘refresh and revive hair without water’.  You can buy several versions of this product – from basic, to smoothing, renewing and colour care, but I am reviewing the volumising version.

With a lovely fresh salon smell, this dry shampoo is used like any other.  Give it a good shake, lift sections of dry hair and spray into the roots.  Massage in so that it is fully absorbed and then brush through your hair.

I’ve tried many dry shampoos, and often find that they fall short of their claims to make your hair look freshly washed.  If my hair is already greasy, they often make it feel better but it still doesn’t look great.  I find that this TREsemme one does actually make my hair look much cleaner and fresher.  It also feels much better (it is infused with mineral clay and citrus) and smells gorgeous! 

I have black hair and used to buy the brunette Batiste, as normal dry shampoo can make me look like I’ve turned grey!  Although this TREsemme Instant Refresh is white, it doesn’t leave a grey residue on the hair and is invisible once it’s been rubbed in.

Tresemme Instant Refresh Dry Shampoo

Tresemme Instant Refresh Dry Shampoo

If I’m having a bad week and struggling to get out of bed, this dry shampoo definitely gives me another couple of days until I have to wash my hair.  I also love how fresh it smells!  Although it’s a little more expensive, I can’t see me using any other dry shampoo in the future, unless something totally new comes out.

You can pick it up in Boots, Superdrug and supermarkets, or buy it online here.


Do you use dry shampoo?  Which is your favourite?  Let me know!

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Blend Bros // Savoury Blend Protein Sauces // Review & Recipe!

Hi guys!  This may seem a bit of a random post on what is mainly a beauty blog.  Although you may remember a while back, I did do quite a few recipe and What I Ate Wednesday posts.  I’m not sure why they went by the wayside actually… do you guys still want to see posts like that?  Let me know.

I was offered some Blend Bros sauces to try (for free – however all opinions are honest and my own), and to review on here.  The reason I accepted is that I am vegetarian (for over 8 years) and as a veggie, it’s sometimes difficult to get enough protein in your diet.  It’s definitely do-able, but you do have to plan quite carefully and make good choices.  These sauces contain 20g of pure pea protein each, which is a super-easy way to add protein to your diet without having to think too hard.

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I was sent three flavours to try – Mexican Pibil Stew, Thai Jungle Curry and Spanish Tomato & Chorizo.  The one I’m reviewing here is the tomato and chorizo flavour, as that’s the one that sounded most appealing to me.  I miss the flavour of chorizo, as it’s something I used to enjoy.  This sauce gives the flavour of chorizo whilst staying vegetarian by using a blend of smoked paprika and red chilli.

Blend Bros Savoury Blend - Spanish Tomato & Chorizo review

Blend Bros Savoury Blend – Spanish Tomato & Chorizo

Although I’m vegetarian, my husband is not – he eats meat.  We tried this sauce with both regular pork sausages and with Tesco Meat Free Lincolnshire Style Sausages (I use these fairly often). We pan fried some mushrooms, red and yellow peppers and red onion on the hob.  Once they were slightly cooked, we added the sausages/veggie sausages into our pans.  Once they were pretty much fully cooked through, it was time for the sauce.

Blend Bros Savoury Blend - Spanish Tomato & Chorizo review

Cooking in progress!

To make up the sauce, you simply mix 100g of the flavour powder with 300ml of boiled water.  Stir vigorously (it takes a good stir to make sure there are no lumps of powder left).  Once it’s mixed, you can simply pour over your food. We poured half of the sauce into each pan, and warmed it gently through (it doesn’t need actual cooking but we wanted it to be warm).  Although not part of the instructions, I actually added some chopped tinned tomatoes to the sauce.  I found that it was a little too dry at first, and mixing these in helped the consistency and made it go further. Then it was ready to serve!  We popped some fresh spring onion on top for added crunch.

Blend Bros Savoury Blend - Spanish Tomato & Chorizo review

The vegetarian meal!

My husband really liked the sauce.  I quite liked it, but could detect a slight powdery taste (like you can with protein shakes etc, but not as strong as that).  I think that is probably unavoidable, as you can always detect it in any protein powder products.  It did have a nice, fairly deep flavour and I feel like it left me more full than I would have been with a standard sauce.

I think this will be an ideal way for athletes and bodybuilders to add more protein to their diets, as I imagine protein shakes get pretty old and repetitive (which is exactly what Blend Bros created them for).  For me, I will definitely try the other flavours I was sent.  I don’t think I would rely on it as a regular source of protein, but it’s a great option to have in the cupboard.

Other flavours available are Indian Kerala Curry and Sicilian Lemon & Oregano, with more on the way.  You can buy them here.  I think they will also be available in Holland & Barrett stores soon.


Do you use any protein supplements?  What do you think to the idea of high protein sauces?  Let me know in the comments!

Nails of the Day (NOTD) // Orly – Ingenue!

Hi guys!

This nail polish is so beautiful, I had to share it with you.  I had never tried Orly nail polish until I got this one free with Elle magazine.  I would say that might actually be my favourite nail varnish now!

When I saw someone selling this second one much cheaper than RRP (an unwanted gift), I snapped it up!  It’s in the shade Ingenue, which is a beautiful duochrome foil bronze shade, which looks pink in certain lights.

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This is two coats, with Revlon Diamond Gel Top Coat over it.  You could probably get away with one coat if you were in a rush, as it is quite opaque.

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In bright light, it shows up much more pinky in colour!

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Strangely, it doesn’t last on the nails as well as the Rose Chrome Foil shade.  That surprised me, as the finish is almost identical so I thought they would wear the same.  This one chipped on the second day.  I filled in the chip but as it’s so shiny and dimensional, the chip did sort of stand out, as you can tell in the photo above!

Find it in Boots stores or online here.


What do you think of this colour?  Have you ever tried an Orly nail polish? Let me know in the comments!

You Beauty Subscription Box // November 2015 // Review and Unboxing!

Hey guys!

Sorry this post is a little late.  I got the box nearly two weeks ago but life got in the way!  Not only have I moved house, I’ve also been pretty bad with my ME and been stuck in bed a lot and unable to blog.  But better late than never, hey?

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This is now my seventh You Beauty subscription box.  Like always, I won’t go into too much detail about the subscription and how it all works in case you’ve read my other posts, but everything can be found in my original March post.  In case you don’t read it, this box is just £6.95 including postage (the cheapest on the market)!

Here’s what came in this month’s box!


 

Dr Organic – Royal Jelly Eye Serum

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This was the first of the two items I chose myself this month.  I was really pleased when an eye serum came up as one of the options, as my current eye gel is about to run out.  I’ve really enjoyed using it as it’s a serum/gel texture instead of cream and it doesn’t make my eyes sore like most creams do.  If I had the money I would keep using the Estee Lauder one but it’s way too expensive, so this seemed like a great option.  This one does look like a cream but doesn’t make my eyes hurt.

This eye serum contains amino acids, plant hormones and royal jelly, to smooth and nourish the skin around the eyes.  It also claims to help diminish fine lines and wrinkles.  Obviously until I’ve used the product for much longer I won’t be able to tell if that is true, but on first impressions I like it.

Another great thing is that Dr Organic products are all suitable for vegetarians (but not vegans in this case), contain no parabens/SLS/chemicals and they do not test on animals.

Value: £9.49 – we received full size.  You can find this in Holland & Barrett and online.


 

The Library of Fragrance – Gin & Tonic Purse Spray

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This was the second item I chose myself this month.  As a fan of a good old G&T, this really appealed to me! The Library of Fragrance are known for their everyday scents, based on foods, drinks and everyday things such as baby powder or libraries!  If there’s a particular smell you love, chances are they’ve got it!

This is a generous sized purse spray based on the scent of gin and tonic.  It contains a blend of juniper (the thing that gives gin its signature scent) and energising citrus.  The scent is described as being unisex.  It smells absolutely gorgeous!  At first spray it does literally smell like a freshly poured G&T, but settles down on the skin into a really fresh, wearable scent.  I actually gave this to my mum, not because I don’t love it, but she’s a fan of unisex scents such as CKOne and this is quite similar.  I tend to wear more ‘girly’ scents.  I would definitely wear this, but I felt she’d enjoy it more.

Value: £10 for the purse spray we received.  You can find some of their fragrances in Boots, and all online here.


 

I Love… – Perfectly Peachy Bath & Shower Creme

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This 10ml sachet of bath and shower creme was part of this box’s ‘extra treats’ (as in not chosen by me, and everyone receives them in their boxes).  This product has teamed up with breast cancer awareness charity CoppaFeel!  As you can see, there is the charity’s logo on the front of the sachet.  When you turn it over, the entire back is dedicated to the cause.  There is a little message stating why they have teamed up with the charity.  Then there is a large box dedicated to learning the signs and symptoms to look for, such as lumps and puckering, change in skin texture and pain in your breast or armpit.  It ends with the message, ‘And if in doubt… get it checked out’!

I’m glad they have dedicated so much space on the packaging to useful information rather than just turning it pink and adding the charity logo.  Something like the signs to look for is so much more useful for prevention.  I haven’t opened the sachet as I’ll keep it until my next bath, but I’ve used their products before and they always smell lovely!

Find more about the CoppaFeel! charity here.

Value: £2.99 for a full sized bottle – find it at Boots or online here.


 

DHC – Alpha Arbutin White Mask

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This is another one that came in all boxes, not chosen by me.  It’s something I would have chosen though, as I love face masks!  DHC are apparently a cult Japanese brand.  This sheet mask contains brightening alpha-arbutin, mulberry, serine and peony.  It claims to fight dullness and discolouration, providing hydration and leaving the skin radiant!

I only tried my first sheet mask recently, but they’re quite fun – they literally lay over your face like a horror mask of someone’s skin haha. They’re great for scaring people who come into the bathroom!  I haven’t used this yet as I have a few older masks that need using up first, but I’m looking forward to trying it.

Value: £3.75 – find it online here.


This box has been yet another success!  It never fails to amaze me what value for money you get with this box subscription.  For just £6.95 we received around £25 worth of products!  I always love this box and would definitely recommend it to anyone looking to try a beauty box service to see if they like it


What do you think of this month’s box?  Have you tried any of the products?  Do you like a nice, refreshing G&T?  Let me know in the comments or on social media!

Beauty // My Top 5 Autumn Picks // Nails!

Hi guys!

As you’ve probably already realised, I’m doing a series of Top 5 beauty picks throughout Autumn (or fall!).  My first one was picks for lips, which you can see here.  Eyes came next.  Today it’s nails!

I love this selection of darker polishes for Autumn.  There’s a colour for everyone here, from warm berry tones, dusty purples to deep matt blacks.  I hope you enjoy the series!

Top 5 Autumn Nail Picks


What are your favourite nail shades for Autumn?  Let me know in the comments or on social media!

Birchbox November 2015 // Beauty Subscription Box // Review and Unboxing!

Hi guys

I can’t believe another Birchbox has arrived already… this last month has absolutely flown by!  November’s Birchbox is in collaboration with lifestyle brand Skinnydip London.  I had never heard of them, so I had a read around.  Apparently they are a London-based company, launched in 2011.  They are now stocked in Selfridges, Nordstorm, ASOS & Topshop.  Their signature style seems to be fun, young and kitsch.  Apparently Zoella is a fun, which is always good by me!

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This box is themed around the much-loved current phrase ‘squad goals’…described as an inspirational term for what you’d like your group of friends to be or accomplish.  The idea is that this box will contain tips and tutorials which you can share with your friends, together with a chance to win Skinnydip London prizes by sharing photos of you and your best friends.  At 30 and spending most of my time in bed ill, this is not exactly relevant to me, but I’m sure some of the younger subscribers will like this month’s theme.

Let’s get into the good stuff – what was in this month’s box!


REN – Wake Wonderful Night-Time Facial

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I have heard of REN but don’t think I’ve ever tried any of their products until now.  This nighttime treatment contains a blend of glycolic and lactic acids to trigger cell renewal whilst you sleep.  Use once or twice a week, applying straight onto clean skin.  Due to the acids, it may tingle a bit at first but that is normal and nothing to be worried about (although it is not suitable for sensitive skin).  My skin tends to respond well to acids, so I think I’ll enjoy this product.

Value: £32 full size, we received deluxe sample size of 10ml.


Lord & Berry- Silhouette Neutral Lip Liner

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I love Lord & Berry lip products and am always happy to see them in my beauty boxes, however I’ll be swapping this with a friend as I already have several similar products.  If you don’t already have something similar though, this is great.  Invisible lip liners seemed to start appearing on the market a few years ago, and are a great idea.  They are basically translucent lip pencils, meaning they line the lips and stop smuding/increase wear, but are not coloured – so you can use them with any colour of lipstick!  Genius.

Value: £9.


Cowshed – Cow Pat Hand Cream

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Reeeeallly not the nicest name for a hand cream, but I get that they’re sticking with a theme!  Cowshed make lots of body products which contain botanical blends, which are naturally paraben and sulphate free.  I’ve had this exact hand cream in the past before and it’s really nice.

Made with rejuvenating essential oils, this cream contains grapefruit to uplift and coriander to soothe.  I’m really not a fan of coriander but I don’t think you can really smell it specifically in this blend (luckily!)

Value: £8.


Number 4 – Lumiere d’hiver Super Comb Prep & Protect

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Ooh I was so excited to see this!!  Birchbox first introduced me to the brand Number 4 when I received a sample of the Lumiere d’hiver conditioning masque, which I absolutely adored, and featured in this everyday heroes post.

This time, we’ve received a leave in conditioner spray, which not only detangles but also strengthens and repairs the hair.  I believe the claims, because their masque is a miracle worker and has improved the condition of my hair no end!  The smell is a bit odd when you spray it, but settles down to be fairly light and unobtrusive.  You just spray into towel dried hair, before drying and styling as normal.

Value: £20 full size – we received a deluxe sample size of 30ml.


Delarom – Creme Acquaconfort

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This is a rejuvenating face cream, containing almond, apricot oils and Vitamin E to nourish and soothe dehydrated skin.  My skin tends to respond well to Vitamin E (I use a lot of the Vit E range from Superdrug) so hopefully this will work well for me.  My skin does have a tendency to be a bit dehydrated due to all the medications I take so hopefully this will help!

You just use this cream like any other moisturiser, after cleansing.  It smells really nice, a bit like a banana milkshake (random, I know!)

Value: £34 full size – we received a deluxe sample size of 15ml.


L.Erickson – Grab & Go Ponytail Holder

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This month’s bonus ‘beauty treat’ item is a metal free hair tie.  Designed to be carried around on the go, allowing you to put your hair up at any time, without risk of snagging it.  I’ll definitely use this, as I wear my hair up a lot.  I don’t think I would ever repurchase though, as they cost over £11.50 for a set of 15, which I think is quite a lot considering how quickly I manage to lose them!

Value: £11.50 for 15 – we received one.


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I’m a bit confused about the overall feel of this box – the design and some of the contents have a really summery feel to me, but of course we’re now in November!  The design is really bright and beachy, and the label on the hair tie says, “it’s hot outside, keep your hair up”…!  Saying that, I absolutely love the look of the box, it’s beautiful.  This photo doesn’t do it justice, but the colours are really pretty and the gold foiled text is gorgeous.  Definitely one of the boxes I’ll be keeping on my vanity!  Overall, another box I’m happy with.  Good work, Birchbox!


What did you think of this month’s box?  Were you feeling the summer vibes?  Let me know in the comments or on social media!

Why I Put On a Full Face of Makeup as a Spoonie // Chronic Illness and Beauty!

Hi guys!  Happy Friday 13th – hope it hasn’t been unlucky for you!

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This is a subject I’ve been meaning to talk about for a while.  I think people often wonder why I would do a full face of makeup if I’m not leaving the house, or if I’m feeling really ill and struggling with it.  Firstly, if I’m really unwell (with my ME and fibromyalgia), then I’m generally stuck in bed in my PJs, not going anywhere or doing anything.  I remember when a PJ day watching TV in bed used to be really fun and relaxing…but that was when it was a choice, not a result of physically being unable to do anything else!

After a long time of being very unwell and often bedbound (it’s been almost a year for me since I got much worse), you begin to almost lose your identity and everything that used to make up who you were.  I used to think of myself as reliable, efficient, hardworking, always there for others.  Chronic illness takes away a lot of your personal attributes…  Reliable?  Not a chance!  I have to cancel about 90% of any plans I make because I’m simply too unwell to go.  Efficient?  Nope.  I spend most of my time doing nothing more useful than watching TV or sleeping.  Again, no choice – ME makes even standing difficult, never mind getting something like cleaning or work done.

Hardworking?  I’d love to be… sadly I am on long term sick leave from work as my body simply can’t get out of bed reliably every day, never mind get to an office, sit upright all day and actually do something useful that requires concentration!  Always there for others?  Another thing that has changed.  I can still be there over the phone or in supportive texts, but can’t meet a friend for a post-work chat and a glass of wine.  I can’t invite them over for a relaxing dinner to cheer them up.  Sometimes I can’t even reply to their texts until several days later, when I’m actually awake and ‘with it’.

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Now that I’ve lost many of the qualities I prided myself on as a person, it’s up to me to figure out who I am.  What can I offer others?  What is left that I can still enjoy?  What hobbies am I still capable of indulging in, or challenging myself to get better at?  At the moment, the answer is sadly not much.  But one thing that has consistently sparked my interest, cheered me up, made me feel better and sometimes even inspired me is makeup.  Something so frivolous…unneccessary…a luxury… but something I can still enjoy, something I can still DO!

On my worst days, I can still scroll through Instagram and see what’s new in the beauty world.  What trends are going round, what people are loving.  On good days, I can take the chance to sit and do my own makeup; trying new applications, new looks, doing something that ultimately makes me feel and LOOK better!  With makeup, applying it can take as long as I need.  There’s no rush, there’s usually nowhere I have to be.  It’s time I can spend feeling like the old me.  The ‘real’ me.  I often take breaks throughout doing my makeup, sitting or lying down for a few minutes between each step.  Although it’s not easy, and it tires me out, the end result is worth it.  I look in the mirror and see someone who can still DO something, still create something!  I can see a glimpse of the girl I used to be.

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That was one of the main inspirations behind starting this blog.  Although I’m honest about my illnesses on here, I spend much more time talking about what I’m passionate about, makeup and beauty.  I like to think that you readers don’t just see me as ‘that girl who’s chronically ill’, but as a fellow makeup junkie who will tell you about new products and let you know which beauty box is worth subscribing to!

Wearing makeup for me personally is not about hiding anything.  It’s not about pretending I’m not ill or putting a fake front on for people.  It’s about doing one of the few things I can still do for myself, and feeling good about myself in the process.  Makeup makes me happy, pure and simple.  I have a lot of spoonie friends who also love anything beauty related and I know they feel the same.  We’re not trying to hide our pain and disability, we’re trying to let the old us shine through, even if just for a short while.

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One thing that makes me sad is that so often, fellow chronically ill girls will wear makeup or do their hair for a medical appointment, and will instantly be dismissed as being ok just because ‘they look fine’.  I know girls who have turned up at A&E or emergency care wearing cosmetics (sometimes because they just happened to already have it on before getting bad enough for hospital), and have been told ‘well you look ok, you can’t feel that bad’.  If you ever see someone looking great, in perfectly applied makeup, don’t jump to assumptions – listen to what they say instead of just how they look.

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[I saw this t-shirt on an online friend the other week and it just sums me up perfectly!!]

For those of you who are not chronically ill, I really hope this helps you understand why I spend my preciously small amount of energy applying makeup.  For those who are, I hope I’ve helped convey some of what you think and feel.  If you have different reasons and motivations, do please let us all know in the comments box!  I’d love to hear what makeup and beauty mean to you!