23 Apr 2017

my week #262

Exams all done - now for a nervous wait for results, eek! I've been spending the days since doing a whole load of life admin, visiting a friend and her new baby (best few hours spent ever) and just relaxing as much as possible.

Now that I have a little bit of spare time, I'll trawl through my '101 in 1,001' list to see what things can be achieved before the challenge finishes at the end of September. I've already started writing a new one because the feeling of checking something off a list is a little bit addictive! At the same time, I'll likely go through my '100 things in 2017' list too!

How has your week been?

20 Apr 2017

book: this is now by Ciara Geraghty

In 2015, I reviewed Now That I've Found You by Ciara Geraghty and today, I'm back with a review about her latest offering, This Is Now. This Is Now focuses on four characters: Cillian, Roman, Martha and Tobias. They are all connected through a bank robbery but over the course of the book, you learn more about the backstory of each character.

Like my other review, I think the book is very well written. Each of the characters have their flaws and the author makes no effort to disguise this which makes them all endearing in their own ways. I found myself rooting for Martha even though she was probably one of the more messed up characters! The book could easily have been made up of one or two separate plot lines once the robbery part is over and done with but Ciara Geraghty had a way of keeping at least two or three of them linked at any one time.

I would describe This Is Now as a feel good book about four characters linked by a sliver of a thread. There is just enough drama for their lives to seem realistic but possibly not enough for some readers. Overall, a solid 7.6/10 - this one edges it over Now That I've Found You for me.

18 Apr 2017

my skincare loves on a budget

We all know how expensive looking after our skin can get so if at any point, a bargain can be had, I'm in. Over the last 12 months or so, I've done more research into actual ingredients rather than brands and I've found some, very affordable, products which also work. As always, with skincare, what works for one person might not work for another. All of the following products are under £20 and last forever.

Rosette Ceramide gel, Mizon All in One Snail Repair Cream, Cosrx BHA Blackhead Power Liquid and The Ordinary's Niacinamide 10% with Zinc 1%
Rosette Ceramide gel
The key ingredient in this cream are the multiple ceramides. Ceramides are good for repairing moisture barriers damaged by over-exfoliation and is just as good for making skin a bit more springy. Ceramides are also common in many anti-ageing creams and we all know how much they cost!

For me, this gel is used as the last step morning and evening. In the morning, my skin is much softer and during the day, my skin is less oily too. The gel is extremely lightweight and you don't need much for your face and neck. My tub has been going since October 2016 and it is only about a third of the way down.

Mizon All in One Snail Repair Cream
Snail? On your face? Yes, that was my reaction too when I first heard about this product which is recommended time and time again by people who love Asian beauty products. Although predictable, this is a product that actually works! The snail cream has done wonders for making my pores look smaller, fading scars and just brightening up my complexion. I have no idea what the active ingredient in the snail extract actually is but for a cream that only cost me £13 (back in May 2016, including shipping), I'll take it! Not only this, one jar has lasted me ten months or so!

Cosrx BHA Blackhead Power Liquid
BHAs are acids and the most well-known BHA is probably salicylic acid - a common ingredient mentioned in anti-acne skincare products. I use one pump of this every other morning and leave it for twenty minutes before applying the rest of my routine.

Salicylic acid is an anti-inflammatory which unclogs pores. I started using this in October 2016 when I got fed up of seeing copious sebaceous filaments on my nose (not to be confused with blackheads - google both and you'll see the difference :) ) and since then, my pores have shrunk in appearance and my skin just looks brighter and smoother because there are less of these sebaceous filaments.

The Ordinary's Niacinamide 10% with Zinc 1% 
Finally, niacinamide. An ingredient I've deemed a 'holy grail' in my skincare routine. I first started using a product containing this in La Roche-Posay's Effaclar Duo [+] a few years' ago but at about £10 a tube, it didn't come cheap. About eight months' ago, I found out that one of Deciem were coming out with a new line called The Ordinary and when I saw that they were doing a Niacinamide product which costs only £5 (yes, really), I knew I had to try it. So I did. And I've not looked back. I use one drop for my whole face every night and all I can say is, I hope they never stop making this.

* * *

These are some of the products I've been using which are great value for money when you consider how amazing the results have been. No longer do I look for brand names - I now look for ingredients lists or featured extracts. Like I said earlier, however, though these products have worked wonders for me, this doesn't mean that they'll do the same for you (after all, we are all different!).