A beginners guide to semi-successful tanning

I’ve never been a big tanner. When I was at uni I didn’t fake tan for a night out and tinted Garnier moisturiser was as adventurous as I got. But last year I decided to give the bronze glow a go and fell head over heels in love with the new tanned me. I’ve not got to the point where I crack out the tan for a random Wednesday at work but if I’m going out (not very often) or heading somewhere fancy (also not very often) then I get my tan on. I thought I’d take this opportunity to share my love for the products that make my glow possible, and trust me when I say they are beginner friendly – because I am very much a tanning beginner.

I mentioned in a post last week about the St Tropez Express Tan kit which I think is pretty amazing for the price and is perfect for someone like me who doesn’t tan very often and wouldn’t go through an entire bottle over the summer. It comes with an exfoliator, a moisturiser, a mini bottle of the Express Tan and a mitt. I exfoliate 24 hours before I tan (because that’s what the instructions say and as I’m always terrified it’s going to go wrong, I stick to the steps) and I like the exfoliator because it’s gritty but it’s a fine grit and doesn’t feel like I’m ripping half of my skin off. On D-Day I usually have a quick shower to make sure I’m clean and moisturise my arms, elbows, knees and heels (as I said I go a bit OTT with the instructions). Now, when I apply this tan I literally go over the same areas about five times with my mitt to rub it in to make sure I have no lines and I don’t miss anything. It’s pretty easy to see where you’ve been already with this tan which is why it’s quite a full proof option for beginners. I also like this tan because you don’t have to sleep in it, I just wait three hours for it to get to its darkest and then wash it off, pop a bit of the moisturiser from the kit on and I’m done! By the next morning you look like you’ve spent a few days soaking up some sun and not sitting in a dark bedroom catching up on Love Island…not that I’m speaking from experience.
When I began my tanning journey last year I didn’t tan my face but after there was the whole hype surrounding Isle of Paradise I really wanted to give the Self Tanning Drops a go. I really love this product. Don’t get me wrong, I do find it terrifying to use because I imagine if it went wrong it would go terrible but it’s like magic. I’ve used it a few times and three drops gets me the same colour as my freshly tanned body which is going from pasty white to slightly sun kissed. I just drop it into my moisturiser, really rub it in to my face, including up to my hairline and down my neck, and then wash my hands. Wake up (after sleeping on my back in a desperate attempt to not make it patchy) and my face now matches my body. Hooray!
Are you a serial tanner or a fake bake beginner?

Bumper month for TV | May Favourites

I was sitting down, thinking about what I’ve been loving this month, and it turns out I’ve been watching a lot of TV this month and most of it has been really good! There are also a couple of products thrown in which I can see being long time favourites, so all in all it’s been a great month for favourites!

Glossier. Boy. Brow. Now, will someone please explain to me what magic that is bottled inside this tiny tube? I’ve seriously never used anything like this. I have it in the shade medium and after just a few swipes my brows are full, plumped up and with no need to any powder or pencil. It works perfectly with my brows when they’re tinted and even when the colour has slightly faded, totally natural looking but without making them ‘barely there’ because believe me they still pack a punch! Literally THE most perfect brow product ever – totally a holy grail.

My Instagram has been full of pictures of the new Body Shop Body Yogurts, and because I am an advertisers dream, I went out and got myself a couple – mango and strawberry. Woah are these things good. Usually I’m all about a thick moisturiser if it’s not the consistency of a well whipped meringue then I’m not interested. But during this spell of seriously hot weather, these have been all I’ve used. I use a lot all at once, so the 15 seconds to sink in tagline that this product has doesn’t really apply to me, and I can feel it doing my skin some serious good. Both of the scents stick around for ages afterwards as well, spreading strawberry and mango wherever I go in the house – yummy!

Earlier this month I found myself with a lot of time on my hands and what better way to spend it than binge watching a load of shows! After Stranger Things was ticked off my list (although I still have a few episodes of season two to get through) I gave QueerEye a go on Netflix. WHY HAVE I NOT WATCHED THIS BEFORE! People transforming other people’s lives with some sassy comments thrown in, yes please. I think part of the reason I hadn’t watched this before is because I’d heard it was emotional and, to be honest, I didn’t want to be a sobbing mess. In the end I really didn’t care less and I managed to hold it together most of the time, I did find myself ugly crying at one point but I blame the bottle of prosecco I’d enjoyed at home by myself – wow, I really know how to live. Next up on my Netflix spree was The Good Place. I’d heard about this before, can’t remember who from, but thought it would be a good ‘easy watching’ kind of show. Safe to say I got totally sucked in and cannot wait for the third series to come out! If you don’t know what it is, it’s about  group of people who have died and are in ‘The Good Place’ – basically heaven – and what they get up to. I don’t want to say too much because it’ll spoil it, but episodes are only 23 minutes long and it doesn’t take much concentration to get what’s going on. You’ll end up speeding through it.

One I’m currently loving at the minute is Love in the Countryside on BBC. It’s basically a dating show for farmers and trust me when I say it will melt your heart. Each ‘farmer’ has a few prospective candidates to choose from and invites them back to their farm to get to know them a bit better. Not only is it really cute to see people search for their soul mate but there are also some really cute animals! Also, I’ve been loving the latest season of RuPaul’s Drag Race. I’m a massive fan and this year’s queens have been ticking all the boxes for me – excited to see who wins!

Mini shoutout to pink lip products – I seriously cannot get enough, it’s all I’ve been wearing over the past month!

What have you been loving this month?

My recent hand cream obsession

Hello, I’m Abz, and I’m obsessed with hand cream.

Now that may be a bit over dramatic but I’ve gone from zero to 100 when it comes to hand cream. I used it in the evenings after doing my skincare but that was about it. If it was there to use in a restaurant toilet, I wouldn’t use it, free mini hand creams in hotel rooms, wouldn’t take them, I just wasn’t interested. What changed was when I started to use them at work. In the Look Fantastic Advent Calendar I had last year (That’s one of the best things I’ve ever bought, I go on about it all the time!) I got a deluxe mini of the First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream. Already having a hand cream on the go at home but desperate to use something from a brand I’ve wanted to try out for so long, I took it to work. I got into the habit of using it every time I left the room and now here I’m am, three hand creams down in five months and in need of a fourth.

Over the last few months I’ve had chance to test out a few of the skin saviours and the ones I’ve loved have been:
Being by Sanctuary Spa – Chilli Mango and Tonka Bean: It has a really strong smell of mango (sometimes it is a bit too much) and for summer I feel like this will be the one. You just need a small amount otherwise it can get a bit greasy but an all round good egg.
Soap and Glory Hand Food – Sugar Crush: This scent is one of my favourites, like sherbet. it’s really thick so it might be a bit much when the weather gets hotter, but for right now, it’s cracking.
The Body Shop – Coconut: I love the Body Shop hand creams, all scents are amazing and they’re the perfect size. I think the coconut one is my favourite though, it’s the one I keep going back to.

I have one hand cream that’s on my wishlist – the L’Occitane Almond Delicious Hand Cream. I’ve heard good things about it and I’d quite like to give it a go. (look at me getting excited about hand cream!)

What are you obsessed with at the minute?

My basket full of goodies | Empties

Sorry I’ve been a bit MIA – I’ve had serious laptop issues but all resolved now and I’m back with a bang!
It’s taken me a fair few months to gather this collection of empties but I think I have plenty to go on now. Instead of going through all of the products individually, I’m going to put them into three categories – Defs repurchasing, Enjoyed it but could leave it and I’ll pass. A lot of these products are body care and skincare as those are the ones I use up the most.
Defs repurchasing
Starting off with the creme de la creme of products I’ve been using and the Body Shop Coconut Body Butter is something which I would totally repurchase again and again. I love how thick this is, it smells amazing and is everything you want from a moisturiser. I’ve been through three of the Body Shop Christmas Bubble Baths from last year and I love them. All three of the scents were great and they gave great bubbles! Fingers crossed they bring it back this year. Why not keep on the theme of the Body Shop and move onto the Drops of Youth Concentrate. I’m not going to lie my skin is having a bad spell so I’m trying to rethink my routine but I’ve really liked this serum. Not only did I use up the one you can see in the photo but I’m also coming to the end of another in the larger size. It’s not oily and gives my skin a little bit more hydration under my moisturiser. Winner. Body Shop shower gels are great and the Pina Colada was no exception. Great summer scent. I’ve spoken about the Simple Micellar Water before so I’ll keep it brief – love it, works really well, will definitely be buying it again.

Enjoyed it but could leave it
As much as I love the Coconut Body Butter, I didn’t love the Strawberry Body Butter from The Body Shop as much. It was nice and I enjoyed using it but it wouldn’t be top of my list of scents to use. Just to clarify, liked it, but didn’t love it. As much as I liked the scent of the Body Shop Coconut Body Scrub it just wasn’t scrubby enough for me. It was okay and did the job but I do like just a little bit more bitty-ness to my scrub. I’m still yet to find the perfect shampoo duo which is why the L’Oreal Elvive Fibrology Shampoo and Conditioner falls into this category. Nothing special but I used it up. Other products I liked but didn’t love are the Body Shop Camomile Cleansing Oil, Merci Handy in Lollipop (although I would like to try a different scent and the actual product was really good) and the Body Shop Pink Grapefruit Hand Cream (I’d repurchase the product in a different scent).

I’ll pass

Something I wasn’t overly keen on was the Soap and Glory Puffy Eye Attack Eye Cream. Although I really like the cute little pot and the hydration it gave my eyes, it also made them sting like nothing else. They’d start to water before I went to sleep and I’d wake up with quite (incoming TMI warning) ‘gunky’ eyes. Nothing too concerning so I did use it all but looking back it didn’t quite work for me.

What’s your favourite product to use at the moment?

I’ve been spending again | Body and skincare haul

Another day, another haul.
I need to have a serious word with myself because I can’t afford to keep spending my wage within minutes of it landing it my bank account. But I can’t help it! There’s so much I want to test out and that means digging my hand in my pocket and hoping I’m getting the best deals for more Boots Advantage Points. This haul is very much half things I needed and half things I’ve been wanting to try for a few weeks, so no real impulse buys here (for once).

I needed to get some new shampoo and conditioner and I wanted to try one of the new Garnier scents. I’m not 100% sure what my hair type is but I felt that it could probably do with some nourishment so the Garnier Ultimate Blends Coconut Milk and Macadamia was the one for me. Garnier was on 3 for 2 when I snapped these up (and they’re still on 3 for 2 so go troops go!) so I bought the shampoo, conditioner and the hair mask. I’m trying to make a conscious effort to take better care of my hair and hopefully the hair mask will give my hair some TLC. Also it smells amazing! Another product I needed to stock up on was micellar water. I’ve been using the Simple Micellar Water for a few months but when I saw the 700ml bottle of Garnier Micellar Water was on offer for £5 I had to get it. It’s huge! And it came with a free makeup bag! Win, win, win! I’m a big fan of this micellar water and it’s definitely top of my list along with the Simple one so I’m glad to have such a big bottle.

Now onto things I really didn’t need but that I’ve been eyeing up for a little while. First up is the new (at least I think they’re new) Being Sanctuary Spa Body Butter and Bubble Bath in the Salted Caramel and Macadamia scent (I must be having a real macadamia moment). I’m a huge fan of sweet, cake-y scents and this is as sweet and as cake-y as they come. I’ve not had a chance to try the bubble bath yet but I’m seriously impressed with the body butter – it’s thick, hydrating and doesn’t leave me feel super sticky. They were £10 each, which for me is a little on the pricy side but the packaging makes it feel good quality and I’m impressed so far with the product inside. Last but not least in this haul are two new masks by Soap and Glory. I really excited when I saw Soap and Glory were releasing sheets masks because I’ve become a bit obsessed with them in recent months. Every time i go into Boots and Superdrug I seem to walk out with one – I really should learn to buy in bulk! I went for the Puffy Eye Attack Eye Mask, because I’ve always wanted to try out an eye mask, and The Fab Pore Pore Refining Mask, because all of the sheet masks I’ve tried have been for dry skin but this one is for oily – exciting!

What’s your favourite bath product – bath bomb, bubble bar, bath salt? I’d love to know!

Boots Haul!

So I had a massive, well massive for me anyway, splurge in Boots yesterday. I have double points all month because it’s my birthday and I just had to take advantage of it! I’d just like to give a little shoutout to my bank account, I’m sorry but it just had to be done.

I was in need of concealer replacements so I picked up another of my Maybelline Eraser Eye Concealer in Light. You never realise how much the sponge absorbs product until you compare it with a new one. I’ve not bought a tube of the Collection Lasting Perfection Concealer in Fair in about 12 months and I have no idea why. I love this concealer and it’s such a bargain. My massive impulse buy of the trip was the L’Oreal Infallible Matte Max Lip Colour in 002 Virgin. This is such a weird concept. It’s a pointed sponge applicator on a spring that dips into a powder at the end. It’s very pigmented and from the little trial run I’ve done it’s not that drying which you’d think it would be. I’ll keep you posted on my thoughts on this one. Another lip product I picked up was the Maybelline Baby Lips Lips and Cheek in Innocent Peach (Maybelline is on 3 for 2, quick run to Boots now!). The shape of the product resembles the EOS lip balms but the product feels pretty much the same as the original Baby Lips. Feels nice on the lips and when I try it on the cheeks I’ll let you know. Last of my Maybelline purchases is the Maybelline Master Sculpt Contour Kit in Light/ Medium. This has been out for a while now and although I’ve been eyeing it up I never thought that I needed contour until yesterday. It seems very warm toned but I’m yet to try it on my face so I’m hoping that it works out quite well. The highlight is very subtle and I think it will work well for everyday. Soap and Glory now and I’ve heard good things about the Soap and Glory Smoulder Kohl Waterproof Eyeliner, especially for lasting power. I having a black line in my waterline so I’m really excited to use this. When testing it on the back of my hand it’s really pigmented but also super soft so it won’t scratch my eye out! I feel head over heals in love with the Soap and Glory Love At First Blush Stick in Pink, Pop and Pearl when I first swatched it. It’s a cream blush stick with a heck of a lot of shimmer and I bet it will look amazing on my cheeks. Finally, and I’m super late to the party with this one, I got the Real Techniques Core Collection. I’m most excited to use the buffing brush and the contour brush but for just over £20 for four brushes I think that it is actually quite a bargain!

Keep posted in the next few weeks because there may be some kind of first impressions coming your way soon!

L-R: 002 Virgin, Contour, Highlight, Superblack, Pink Pop and Pearl, Innocent Peach

How to: Pamper Yourself

The other day I did the best pamper session I’ve ever done. I felt as clean as a whistle and totally relaxed so I thought that I’d share my tips so that I can pass on that feeling of total calm. Without further ado let’s get straight into it!

First up I cleanse my face and I do this quite a lot. Meaning I’ll take my makeup off with the Garnier Micellar Water and then wash my face two or three times with the Soap and Glory Peaches and Clean Cleanser, and when I’m doing this I’m giving my face a little bit of a massage. I love using pore strips because they make my nose feel as clean as clean can be. I use the Tea Tree and Witch Hazel ones, which they now do a two step one with a pore closing cream. I wet my nose first, then apply, wait twenty minutes and then pull it off to reveal whatever disgustingness is hiding inside my face. It really does the job and they’re quite inexpensive. Next up, a face mask! My face hates me at the minute and I have so many nasty spots so I went for the Origins Out of Trouble Mask in the hope that it would help me out. I simply applied it over my face and neck and waited for 15 minutes then washed it up (just like a normal face mask). Now, stop, shower time. Apart from washing my hair I went the whole hog. Scrubbed, buffed and super duper clean. I had a great time. When I got out I slathered myself in the amazing smelling Soap and Glory Smoothie Star Body Buttercream. I love moisturising and making my legs feel and smell amazing! Finally a spot of nail painting. I filed, buffed and painted them with the Topshop Nail Polish in Threadbare. It was the last little finishing touch of an amazing evening.