27 Sep 2016

something different: my skincare heroes

** This post may be 'too much information' for some people but I wanted to write it as a lot of women are on the pill and experience these initial breakouts.

Back in July, I went back onto the combined oral contraceptive pill (COCP) as I knew I'd be going on holiday and didn't want to be, ahem, 'on' whilst on holiday. The last time I'd been on the pill was in 2014 but I didn't anticipate the initial breakout that occurred this time around. I knew this could happen and I asked specifically for a pill that I knew worked for me and my skin in the past. However, I also know that it can take a month or two for my skin to get used to the hormone levels so braced myself!

Bit of background: my skin has never quite behaved. It is combination/oily and prone to breakouts during that time of the month. Earlier this year, I'd finally found a skincare routine that worked to keep my skin pretty much 95% clear. That is, until I went back onto the COCP.

Here were a few of the products that helped keep things under control. Prevention is, of course, better than cure, but a few cystic spots were inevitable on the COCP for me (at least, initially).

Left to right: Murad Time Release Blemish Cleanser, Alpha H Liquid Gold, Origins Out of Trouble Ten Minute Mask
Murad Time Release Blemish Cleanser - I've been using this for about a year now and you can see that I'm only halfway through the bottle. I use it once in the evening as I find it dries out my skin if I use it twice daily. There is no scent to it and a little goes a long way. Used in combination with a clean muslin cloth in the evening, it has helped my skin clear up considerably.

Alpha H Liquid Gold - I started using this back in July and I saw a difference almost immediately. My skin was clearer and brighter and my pores were smaller and less noticeable! I follow the recommended instructions and only use it on alternate nights and I don't use anything else on my face after applying this.

Origins Out of Trouble Ten Minute Mask - I use this once or twice a week (depending on how much my skin appears to need it) and it helps keep new blemishes at bay. It also dries out existing blemishes. I'm currently looking for another mask to use straight after this one as it is quite drying and it doesn't brighten my skin as much as I would like it to.

These three products don't come cheap so I usually wait for a discount code before stocking up on a bottle or two at a time. However, I've spent so much money on cheaper products over the years (and with no success), that I'm happy to spend a bit more on my skincare as good skin makes for a happy Angela :)

Mizon All in One Snail Repair Cream
Snail cream sounds gross but it's been great at brightening up my skin. I use this straight after cleansing my face and let it sink in before my night cream. Again, this is something I only use in the evenings as I find too many products in the morning can make my face oily by the end of the day. It doesn't smell of anything and didn't cause any initial breakout. It is perfect for my combination skin with it's stringy/gel-like texture.

Panoxyl Aquagel 10% Benzoyl Peroxide
Panoxyl was a lifesaver a few years' ago when I used it daily. It didn't completely solve all my skin issues but it did go a long way in improving its appearance. So when it was discontinued, I was absolutely gutted. When I heard that it was coming back onto the market, I ordered a tube straight away and haven't looked back since. 

I'm unsure about how safe these products are for long-term use but for now, I'm happy to use them as the results have been worth it. Now that I've been back on the pill for a few packs, my skin is finally settling down :)

Did you experience a breakout when starting the pill? If so, what worked for you? :)

25 Sep 2016

my week #232

This week, my highlight was definitely my early birthday (over a month early!) because one of my closest friends is leaving the country next month and my sister is away for three weeks as of yesterday. We went for ramen and then to a table tennis bar in Shoreditch - talk about hipster! It was a brilliant night and I had the best fun :)

How was your week?

22 Sep 2016

book: the girl on the train by paula hawkins

I'm a big fan of psychological thrillers and when I saw this one in Waterstones, I knew I had to give it a shot. The premise is as follows (from Amazon):

"Rachel catches the same commuter train every morning. She knows it will wait at the same signal each time, overlooking a row of back gardens. She’s even started to feel like she knows the people who live in one of the houses. ‘Jess and Jason’, she calls them. Their life – as she sees it – is perfect. If only Rachel could be that happy. 

And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. 

Now everything’s changed. Now Rachel has a chance to become a part of the lives she’s only watched from afar. 

 Now they’ll see; she’s much more than just the girl on the train…" 

Credit: Amazon.co.uk
The novel is told from the perspective of three women: Rachel, Megan and Anna. Anna is the woman who Rachel's ex-husband, Tom, has replaced her with and Megan is someone who lives on the same road that Rachel and Tom used to live on. Anna and Tom still live in said house on the aforementioned street. These houses back onto a railway line which Rachel takes into London every day.

From the beginning, I found this novel fascinating. Paula Hawkins does a good job of drip feeding you with information about each of the characters, with each revelation being more shocking than the last. How she managed to make each character likeable and then dislikable and then back to likeable, etc is something I can't get my head around.

As more and more of the events unfold, I found myself trying to second guess each of the narrators and I managed to predict the ending about 80% of the way in (something I'm very pleased about as I don't think it was actually that predictable! Maybe I've been reading too many psychological thrillers over these last few years).

If you're a fan of Gillian Flynn and Emma Donoghue, this book is definitely right up your street. I give it 9/10 because it is the first fictional book in a while where I've managed to finish it within a week (and during exam time as well).