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My Skincare Favourites

Sunday, October 09, 2016
Finding skincare products that work for me has always been difficult. I'll try something new for a month or two, and then my skin starts to get worse. Over the past few months, I feel like I've found a regime that really works for me, so I thought I'd share the products that I love the most with you.

9 to 5 Cleansing Lotion - Lush

I have tried SO MANY cleansers, but this one just seemed to work wonders for me. It's so quick and easy to use but left my skin feeling wonderful. It's a runny liquid that you massage into your face and then wash off with a hot washcloth. It's made me start cleansing my face in the morning too (which I know I should have been doing) and after a couple of months, I've definitely noticed the difference. I do still get the odd spot here and there from stress/hormones but I think they'll appear no matter how good I get with my skincare routine!

Ocean Salt - Lush

Another Lush product, of course. I picked up a small tub of Ocean Salt about 3-4 months ago now, and loved it so much I went back for the bigger pot when it ran out. Ocean Salt is a brilliant exfoliator to get rid of those dry patches, and it's also antibacterial to help with those pesky break-outs. Lush have gone above and beyond with this product, as it comes in four different versions - the regular, self-preserving, alcohol-free and one that's both self-preserving and alcohol-free! I tend to go for the self-preserving, but go for whichever one suits you best!

Moroccan Rose Superfood Facial Oil - Dr Botanicals*

This gorgeous smelling facial oil was sent to me from the Dr Botanicals team a few months ago, and although I didn't start using it religiously at first, over the past two months I've been using it nightly after cleansing my face. A few droplets seem to cover my entire face, and it soaks in pretty well, which means I don't feel too oily before bed. I've seen my skin really benefiting from it, and it smells so so lovely, which is always a plus! If you're looking for a new oil to try, I'd definitely give this one a go!

Ultra Facial Moisturiser - Kiehl's

This moisturiser was recommended to me by a friend, as something to use before applying makeup in the mornings. Annoyingly, I waited until I went over to the US to get it (they didn't have the smaller size in duty-free) and because of the rubbish exchange rate, it was more expensive than if I'd have bought it over here! I have definitely noticed a difference using it, as although I usually have dry patches on my face, my makeup has been going on top nice and smoothly. It's got a nice smell, applies really nicely and as I said I've definitely seen the benefit. It comes with an without the SPF, but as someone who regularly forgets about applying suncream to their face, the added SPF was ideal!

I've also been using the sample I was given of Kiehl's Ultra Facial Cleanser, and have been really loving it. I think it'll be one to pick up when I'm next in duty-free!

Sophie x

September Reads

Monday, October 03, 2016
At the start of the year, I set myself the goal of reading 52 books. I've had good months, and bad months, and although I'm behind schedule, September was definitely a good month for reading.

A Girl series - Lindsey Kelk

I absolutely love Lindsey's writing and have (now) read all of her books. These three books have been on my shelf forever, and I decided it was finally time to read them before Lindsey's newest book comes out this week. I actually read the three of them in 2 days because I just couldn't put them down. The series follows Tess - the girl that's always had a plan. After her plans go to pot, she accidentally answers her flatmate Vanessa's phone and decides to borrow her identity and fly to Hawaii for a photography assignment.

Lindsey really does have a way with words, as I was completely gripped throughout all three books, which were full of moments that made me laugh, cringe and cry. I loved Tess and was absolutely rooting for her the entire way through. I'm so glad Lindsey managed to create a lovable set of characters, just like in the I Heart series, and it was nice to see the two series intertwine briefly too. I can't wait to get my hands on her next book, and to see her in London next week too!

It's Not Me, It's You - Mhairi McFarlane

This is another book that has been on my shelf for a while too (I actually bought it in this book haul in Feb 2015) and I finally got round to reading it. The event I'm seeing Lindsey Kelk at next week is actually one with her, Giovanna Fletcher and Mhairi McFarlane, so that made me pick it up and give it a read! I am so glad I got round to reading it, as I absolutely loved it and once again found myself crying and laughing throughout. The story follows Delia, who after proposing to her boyfriend finds out he's been sleeping with someone else. After a fresh start, Delia heads from Newcastle to London (and eventually back again) to tackle a new job, new life, and new love interest.

Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

I picked this up at the Penguin Platform stand at Summer In The City after noticing it was part of the Zoella Book Club. I've read some of the other books on the list, and absolutely loved them so I thought I'd try one or two of the others (I also picked up All The Bright Places, but have yet to read it). I read this book in a day, and absolutely adored it. Madeline Whittier is allergic to the outdoors and hasn't left her house in seventeen years. Olly is the new kid next door and wants to find a way to reach Maddy. It's heartwarming, creative, beautiful and has a great twist, and has quickly become one of my favourite YA books to date.

I really loved getting back into reading this month, and am excited to start reading Nina Is Not Ok today, before picking up Lindsey Kelk's We Were On a Break later this week. Let's see if I can catch up and reach 52 books before the end of 2016!

Sophie x

Boobs, Glorious Boobs!

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Did you know that 84% of women wear the wrong size bra? Yep, 84% - crazy right? I always thought I knew how a bra should fit, but it turns out that up until last week I was part of that 84%.

Last week I headed along to Boux Avenue's AW16 launch, which was also a celebration of their City & Guilds Accreditation for their bra fitting service. To be completely honest with you, I hadn't had my bra professionally fitted in at least five years, but in that time I'd changed my size based on my own judgement, mainly due to a little weight gain. I didn't think I was wearing the wrong size, but clearly 84% of women don't.

I didn't really realise how important it was to wear the right size, until the past week of me wearing one of my brand new bras. Previously, I had gotten back ache if I hadn't had good posture (oh the woes of being a DD+) and my straps would also dig in at times, leaving my shoulders fairly painful.

The bra fitting service itself was such a great experience. I had put off going for one because I'm not exactly confident with my body, but the girl that was doing it was extremely lovely and I remembered that it's their job, and they see women of all shapes and sizes on a daily basis. I didn't feel embarrassed at all, and she started off by checking my current bra, measuring where necessary and recommending my new size. I then put my dress back on (which was also a bad choice on my part, but she offered me some of their pyjama bottoms to wear) before we both went out into the store to pick some new bras to try. I tried them all on one at a time, and when I had each bra on she popped back in to make sure it was all adjusted properly before we discussed how I felt it fit.

Not only did I get to find out my new size, I also learnt the tell-tale signs of a badly fitting bra. Boux Avenue call them their 5 Faithful Features for the best fit, but in a nutshell, you need to check the underband, straps, wire, centre front and the cups. Now, I can check myself when trying on a bra, and know what styles fit better than others.

After my fitting, I went with the gorgeous Bronwen balconette bra as it had the nicest fit from the five I tried. I also really loved the Sofia floral balconette bra, which is one from their AW16 collection, but they didn't have it in my size. As you can probably tell from the picture, I couldn't resist popping to another store the next day on my way home, and I managed to get my hands on it!

I absolutely love Boux Avenue and the service they provide, both with their bra fitting service and just in the store in general. If you haven't had your bra fitted in a while, I'd definitely recommend it!

Sophie x

A Blog & Life Update

Monday, September 05, 2016
So I'm (sort of) back. Did you miss me? I can't believe I've not blogged in almost a month, but at the same time, it was a well-needed break. I honestly barely thought about my blog in that time.

A good few months ago, I started to fall out of love with my blog and I think blogging, in general, to be honest. I'm not sure what caused it, but I felt like I was posting because I had to and not because I wanted to. I got into the habit of forcing posts out and writing things that I wasn't happy with or just didn't love. I was writing a lot of beauty/review posts, and just things I honestly wouldn't read myself.

To be fair, life has been pretty hectic the past month or so, and that's what caused the break, but it's come at a great time. The past month saw me being offered a new job, finishing my previous job and spending lots of time with Kelsey as she was over in England (you can see our adventures on my Instagram).

Tomorrow is my first day in my new job as a US Marketing Executive for Boden, and it's the start of a new chapter for me. I'm nervous, but I'm also super excited for the opportunities it's set to bring!

I thought it'd also be perfect timing to write this and to embark on my new chapter with the blog. From now on, I'm going to write more about things that matter to me, and about things that I'm doing and places that I've been. I'm no longer going to have a schedule, and who knows whether I'll write once a week or once a month.

I hope you stick with me through the changes and fingers crossed you like the content even more so than the previous stuff I've shared!

Sophie x

Restyled for Summer at RUSH Chelmsford

Thursday, August 11, 2016

I love having my hair short, but I'm also really bad at booking an appointment to get it cut. When the lovely RUSH team got in touch and asked if I'd like to pop into the Chelmsford store for a cut and blow dry, I couldn't resist.

I hadn't had my hair cut in a good few months, so it definitely needed doing. I visited a few Saturdays ago, and had an appointment with Louise. Although I did have to wait around for a good 15 minutes or so after my appointment time, once it got started, the service was brilliant.

I told Louise what I wanted - mainly just a little off the length, some longer layers to give it a little more shape and then my fringe sorting out, as it's too hot to go back to a full fringe. She gave my hair a lovely wash, asked if I wanted the additional treatment on it as the ends were a little dry, and got onto cutting. We spent the entire time talking about my blog and what I do with it, and we had the entire upstairs of the branch to ourselves, along with their lovely budgies.

I was honestly so happy with the cut once it was finished. I'd had a bad experience in another branch about a year prior (I ended up going home and crying) so I was a little nervous but am glad I gave RUSH another chance.

Louise also noticed that my scalp was showing early signs of psoriasis, which was an extremely helpful thing to hear from her. I've been looking at products that can help and I'm really grateful that she pointed it out to me so that I can start treating it before it gets too bad!

If you're in Chelmsford, I'd definitely recommend popping into RUSH, and if not there are plenty of other branches around the UK!

Sophie x

July Favourites & Birthday Giveaway

Monday, August 08, 2016
So here we are again, another month past, and another favourites post. I had actually intended to get this up last week, but I was away towards the end of the week and just never got round to it. Wednesday last week was also my blog's 2nd birthday, so if you manage to read all the way to the end of the post, you'll see a lovely little giveaway for you!

I passed!

I suppose the biggest favourite in July really has to be passing my driving test. I started learning just under a year ago, and with it being my third time lucky, I passed! I've been driving around over the past few weeks, and I absolutely love it. I don't know how I hadn't bothered learning before now! Also, of course I had to treat myself to this ridiculously large rabbit keyring from ASOS to acompany my car keys!

Harry Potter & The Cursed Child

Okay, so I know the book has been released, but I'm still going to #KeepTheSecrets. I was so so lucky to see the show at the start of the month, and I already want to go again. It's honestly incredible. As a big Harry Potter fan, I knew I had to see it, but seeing it so early on in the production was such a treat. I went with my friend Sophie, and we saw parts 1 and 2 in the same day. It was a lot of time spent sat in the theatre, but it was so worth it. I honestly don't think I'd have managed to wait and see them on separate days. We had the cheapest seats going, but the view was perfectly fine and the production itself was phenomenal.

On The Other Side by Carrie Hope Fletcher

I did a full review of Carrie's debut novel here, but I couldn't resist having it in my monthly favourites too! The story follows Evie Snow, an eighty-two-year-old that returns to the body of her twenty-seven-year-old self when she dies. Evie has three secrets that are weighing her soul down, and she must finally reveal them so that she can pass through to heaven. The story itself is beautiful, magical and definitely one I've not seen done before. I loved it, and will definitely be picking it up to read all over again.

Not Yours T-Shirt from Primark

I spotted this t-shirt on Primark's website a few weeks ago and knew I needed to find it. After some searching, I spotted it in the Stratford store and bought two - one for myself, and one for Kelsey. It honestly doesn't feel or look like a Primark t-shirt. It's super soft, super comfy and I really love the design.

Benefit's Goof Proof

Like many people, I grabbed a free Goof Proof in Elle magazine last month, and after swapping my shade 6 with Becky's shade 2, I am absolutely loving it. I have fairly full brows as it is, but the Goof Proof is lovely to quickly fill in the slightly gappy bits, and define the shape a little. It makes doing my brows so much quicker, and since getting it I've been using it every morning!

Now onto the giveaway! The prize is made up of lots of little bits I've picked up over the past few months, including a Whitewash Nano Whitening Kit worth over £30, a gold print from ThatLameCompany and a Yankee candle tea light & wax melt from Love Aroma. There will also be a few surprise items that aren't in the picture below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Terms & Conditions: Giveaway is open to UK residents only. It opens on Monday 8th August and closes at midnight on Sunday 4th September. I will contact the winner within 24 hours of the giveaway closing. The winner has 72 hours after I have contacted them to provide their address for the prize to be shipped out, otherwise another winner will be chosen. Entries will be disqualified if entry requirements are not followed correctly.

Sophie x

HomeSense Chelmsford Preview

Monday, August 01, 2016
Last week I was lucky enough to check out the new Homesense store in Chelmsford before it opened. After work on Wednesday, I headed back to Essex and to the store, which is located in the Riverside Retail Park, to have an exclusive look around the store with a few other bloggers.

I'd known of Homesense for a while, from both going in one in Canada last year, and also through my friend Kate, who absolutely loves it. The store is ultimately the home section of TK Maxx, as it's their sister company, and I knew I'd love it as I love their home section already.

We had a two hour window to shop, and on arrival were so kindly given a £20 gift card to spend. The store itself is pretty large, and is two floors so there was lots to take in. I started up in the stationary section (they have the most amazing collection of notebooks) and then had a quick nose at the bedding/bathroom stuff before I met up with Gem. We looked around a little more upstairs (and had a good look at the food section) before hitting up the candles and wall art downstairs.

I'd been looking for something to go on the wall above my bed for a while, and thought it'd be the perfect place to find something. In the end, after loving a lot of the products, I went for a white wooden sign that has 'faith' on it in a black metal. It's lovely, and was only £16.99 so a complete bargain!

We spent ages in the candle department and had a lot of fun smelling them all and finding ones we liked. In the end, we both went for a Woodwick candle which was £4.99 instead of £9.99. I went for Pineapple, which fits my room scheme but also smelt gorgeous. I absolutely love the way the candle crackles - it's very soothing.

It was great having a look around, especially before the public, and I know I'll be going back whenever I need a new notebook (I honestly can't believe I resisted) or something else for my room! A huge thank you to the Homesense team for the invite!

Sophie x