20 Aug 2017

my week #279

After coming off a mammoth week, I had this week off in return. I spent it catching up with friends, doing some life admin and just relaxing! It's been nice and in a weird way, I'm looking forward to going back to ward work this week.

On Thursday, I met up with a good friend at Dominique Ansel's bakery in Victoria, London. We chose three pastries to share and they were delicious (though pretty pricey!). We opted for the DKA, the Lime Me Up Tart and the Paris-London pastry because the Cronut was sold out by the time we got there. Good company with good food is always a winning combination :)

16 Aug 2017

my summer holiday in canada: vancouver highlights

Last month, I went to Vancouver for a week's holiday. I booked it back in February using some air miles and it was a graduation present to myself for finishing medical school after goodness knows how many years of having this dream. (Though I know that the hard work only begins now...!)

I packed my Instax camera but kept forgetting I had it with me (doh) so only took a few pictures. Here are a selection of them: from the day I left home, to the neighbourhood I was staying in to some amazing views (and botched selfies) on Grouse Mountain.

Tourist Hotspots

My sister leant me her 'Top 10' guidebook and I used it with a pinch of salt. When I went to Stockholm last year, I used it to the T and regretted not doing some random exploring instead. Instead, I only allocated a few days to the guidebook. On one of these days, I went to the Waterfront where Canada Place (the photo above) is. You could see over to North Vancouver from there and little did I know I was also looking at Grouse Mountain - a trip planned for another day.

After wondering around Waterfront for a while, I headed up Granville Road and towards Robson Street where the major shops are. After a spot of food, more walking was done and towards Gastown I went!


Gastown was streaming with tourists and tourist shops. It was a pretty part of Vancouver but I was on the hunt for more hidden gems in the city so it felt pretty underwhelming to me. I'm glad I took the time to visit this part of Vancouver though. 

Stanley Park

I have a few friends from Vancouver and they all said the same thing: Stanley Park is a must-do. A detour was taken into the Aquarium where the dolphins, otters, penguins and sea lions were the highlights! 

The park itself is extremely tranquil. Opting to walk the sea wall, the views were incredible. None of the photos I took did the views justice so there are none in this post unfortunately. 

Because walking the park wasn't a long enough distance, I then walked to English Bay Beach. 

Granville Island

As I was staying in Cambie (a suburb south of the city centre), I opted to take the Sky Train to Yaletown and then walk the bridge over to Granville Island - with regret setting in about halfway along said bridge! It was super windy and super high, and as someone with a fear of heights, I spent the whole walk repeating 'don't look down' in my head to myself.

It was worth it though. Graville Island was, again, another tourist hotspot but it was big enough for it to not feel too busy (aside from the public market). There was also a lovely smell of fresh sea air; very different to the London air I'm used to.

I took the bus back to Downtown after though - walking along that bridge once was enough!


Richmond is where all the East Asian foods and stores are and I'm not going to lie - it felt like I was in Hong Kong. Cantonese was the main language here, though most shop assistants were bilingual. The best part of Richmond? The many food outlets. My friend, who is a huge foodie, recommended countless places and none of them disappointed.

Grouse Mountain

Before I landed in Vancouver, my main goal was to see some grizzly bears. Whistler is the recommended place for nature but the foodie friend mentioned previously said Grouse Mountain is smaller but just as good in the summer.

I spent a good ninety minutes stalking these two grizzly bears (Grinder and Coola) and got a few cute shots, including the one above where Grinder is looking straight at me. (Grinder is the smaller one.) I did catch Coola having a little bathe in the pond too!

The views were incredible from Grouse Mountain - the Sky Ride up was a tense one but so worth it! I even managed to look down which made my heart pound a bit faster but with it only being a few minutes ride, I decided to take that risk of raising my heart rate ;) 

The view you see above is looking south, over the city centre and beyond. 

But the holy grail picture is the next one...

A photo with the lumberjacks! There is a thrice daily lumberjack show where two guys compete against each other. There was a fair bit of adult humour and quite a lot of kids in the audience which meant some of the jokes didn't get the recognition they deserved. One of my friends, who had visited Vancouver a few weeks' prior on holiday, told me that I really must get a photo with the lumberjacks so I did! 

All in all, the week in Vancouver was more than enough time to see everything, from the hidden spots to the tourist friendly locations. Other places I visited were the University of British Columbia campus, Yaletown and Queen Elizabeth Park. It was nice to get away from London and the hectic nature of my life here but at the same time, I was also happy to come home. Solo traveling is nice but there's nothing quite like being back with friends and family. 

14 Aug 2017

my week #278

This post is a bit late this week as I was on a mammoth 68 hour week! Anyway, I came off nights this morning and now get a week off for my efforts which is nice.

It's been a tough week as I've been asleep when my friends and family are awake and vice versa. And being the only doctor on dedicated ward cover at night is pretty scary! I'm well supported though as my seniors keep reassuring me that I can ask all the questions I want.

How has your week been?

9 Aug 2017

two books: a little princess by frances hodgson burnett and the problem with forever by jennifer l. armentrout

A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett

As mentioned in last month's review of Goodnight Mister Tom, one of my goals this year is to read three classic novels and here is number two: A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett. Last year, I read The Secret Garden for the first time (I know, I know, I'm having a second childhood with all these books!) and loved it so it made sense to pick this one up.

The edition I own is the Rifle Paper Co edition and the cover design was totally what made me buy it. The inside is just as beautiful with illustrations dotted throughout the book.

A Little Princess is about a young girl called Sara who grew up in India while it was still a British colony. She is sent to a boarding school in England and although she is used to a life of luxury, is actually very down to earth. However, one day, tragedy strikes and she ends being a poor orphan due to the unfortunate and premature passing of her father. We follow Sara as she is forced to work for free under the Mistress of the boarding school.

What really made this book for me were the illustrations and the cover. The plot was okay though I didn't really warm to any of the characters so the only thing that got me through were the beautiful drawings that would appear once or twice in each chapter. Overall, A Little Princess gets 7/10 from me.

The Problem with Forever by Jennifer L. Armentrout 

I'm going to begin with this: I rarely cry when reading. Even when the plot is designed to try and make the reader shed a few tears, my tear ducts still hold strong. The Problem with Forever is one of the exceptions to that rule (throughout the years, I'm pretty sure this is only the second or third book to make me actually bawl like a baby).

The book centres on two teenagers: Rider and Mallory (or Mouse as she is sometimes called by Rider). They are foster kids who have been through a whole load of terror earlier in their childhood. Separated for the last four years after they were 'rescued' from a home of horror, Mallory now lives with new foster parents; both doctors. She decides to brave public school for the first time after being home-schooled and that's where she meets Rider again.

Cue all the feels.

It is clear the love and affection these two teenagers have for each other. I mean, they already had one things in common: arguably the worst part of their respective lives.

As we find out more about how both of them have coped (or not) in the previous four years, we are also led along a path of heartbreak in the present too. Not only for them but for the other characters too. Jennifer Armentrout also does an excellent job of writing about Mallory's anxiety in a realistic manner and in no way glamourises it.

This is one of the best teen/young adult novels I've ever read and I would not hesitate to recommend it if you like something that isn't your teenage romance novel. The last quarter of the book had me in tears! If I could rate this book more than 10/10, I would but for now, it will have to make do with full marks.

6 Aug 2017

my week #277

So, I've somehow survived my first week! There have been more good moments than bad ones so I'm counting this week as a success. I'm really enjoying the added responsibility compared to when I was a medical student. Being a foundation year 1 doctor is just about being organised and well... You guys know how I feel about that! (I do love a to-do list!)

I now go onto a seven day week which entails 68 hours of work (minimum) so wish me luck! I get a week off after though; a week I'm filling with friends and family.

How has your week been?

2 Aug 2017

beginning a new chapter of my life: goodbye medschool, hello foundation years

Just a mere four years ago, I was preparing for a new degree: Medicine. I still remember my first day at medical school like it was yesterday; from the moment I woke up to the moment my head hit the pillow later that night. And now, I've somehow made it and become a doctor. How time flies? It's scary, yet exhilarating. Nerve-wracking, yet filled with excitement.

Throughout my first two and a half years at medical school, I never thought I'd ever feel ready to be a doctor. Now, with every signature comes responsibility; with every action I do, there has to be justification and with every patient who I care for as part of a team, they'll always remember me as their doctor even if I don't remember them as easily. This is scary. But by the time my penultimate year was halfway through, I began to feel less apprehensive and more appreciative of what a privilege it is to be in this profession. And by the time I came to do my assistantship placements in final year, I felt ready. Even if this is a pretty dark time to start work for the National Health Service (NHS) here in the UK and I touched upon it back in January 2016 here...

A little part of me is sad to no longer be able to say 'I'm only a student' but considering I'm now 26 years old, it's about time I grew up! Over the last four years, boy, have I done a lot of growing. My views on the world have changed considerably, my outlook in life is very different (much more optimistic and less apprehensive of new opportunities) and my self-confidence has increased (though that part of me still has a bit of growing left to do).

These next two years will also fly by; a lot of my seniors reassure (or scare?) me about this. And with them, I intend to grab every opportunity that comes my way; just like I did at medical school. 

For me, I learnt these five things over the last four years that will stay with me forever:

1. Grab every opportunity that comes your way. You may never get that chance again.

2. Say yes to everything (within reason). As a student, if I was asked to insert a cannula/catheter, etc, I never once said no. 

3. Remember to rest. I'm a workaholic by nature and need to feel productive. But I've learned to rein this in from time to time. 

4. You'll never know everything and that's ok... As long as you can admit this and still possess the desire to want to learn more and question everything. 

5. Even in the worst of times, it will be better soon. 

Life is undoubtedly going to get a lot busier for me but I still intend to keep this blog going :)

Above: some Instax films taken when I did a day as a tourist in London; post-finals, pre-foundation programme!

30 Jul 2017

my week #276

This week felt very strange - we had four intense and long days of induction and it felt much more than four days. It was an interesting week though and it was nice getting to know the other foundation  year 1 doctors who we will be working with over the next twelve months.

This weekend has been filled with life admin and just relaxing while I still can...! Tomorrow and Tuesday are 'shadowing' days before the fun and fear sets in properly on Wednesday...

How has your week been?

27 Jul 2017

my study week #25: an old pre-clinicals notebook, part II

This may be my last study week for a while! Though the learning never stops in medicine, because I'm not technically in full-time education anymore, it's quite hard to make it a monthly feature without the guarantee of decent content.

Anyway, last month, I talked about a similar notebook and here is another from the same pre-clinical year. These notebooks were from Artbox. Again, this was used for problem-based learning (PBL) but this one is a lot more colourful with a few more embellishments in the form of cute sticky notes.

25 Jul 2017

my desk: and the studying continues...

Though medical school is now over, the learning and exams never end in medicine. As my elective was in paediatric surgery, it was a good opportunity to revise some embryology and one of the senior doctors I had the pleasure of working with recommended the textbook in the photo below to me. He said it was a basic textbook but that's what I wanted at the time.

This summer has seen a few heatwaves and that's why there's so much water on my desk! I try and make sure I drink at least 2.5 litres of water a day as when I don't, I feel faint and ill. There's also a guilty pleasure in the form of crunchy nut cornflakes in the top left corner...!

How do you like your desk to be?

23 Jul 2017

my week #275

This week has been super hectic - it's the week before work starts on Tuesday (with an induction week) - and it was all about life admin with a graduation ceremony on Thursday.

Graduation was at the Barbican Centre in London - very different to the (ahem, humble brag time) Royal Albert Hall which was my first degree's place of graduation. It was much smaller and more intimate. Now that medical school is pretty much done and dusted with this ceremony, the feeling of being let loose on the wards is scary and exciting in a 50-50 split. Can I please go back to Vancouver where I didn't think about this madness once?!

As a bonus, here is an Instagram photo of myself and two friends at graduation on Thursday :)

How was your week?

20 Jul 2017

ten highlights during the first half of 2017

Now that more than half of the year has passed, it felt like a good time to review the last six months and record ten highlights from this period.

1. Skin goals achieved (for the most part!)

My skin goal this year were to tackle my main complaints (visible pores, breakouts, scars/hyper-pigmentation and dullness). By fine-tuning my skincare routines in the morning and evening, something seems to be working! For the first time in my life, I'm actually happy with my skin in its bare state.

2. A feeling of maturity towards spending

At the beginning of the year, I put myself on a spending ban which meant I couldn't buy anything new until I was on the last of that certain type of product. I've tried these challenges in the past and this is the first time where it has lasted beyond the three months. This is not to say I don't treat myself from time to time, but it has meant impulse purchases have decreased in number dramatically.

3. Reading as many books as nine months' worth compared to last year

Either procrastination got the better of me or I actually dedicated more time towards reading!

4. Stuck to my goal of journaling once a week

One of my '101 in 1001 days' goals was to journal at least once a week. I've kept this up since the start of that challenge and don't intend to stop this anytime soon.

5. Acquired a Lamy Safari Petrol Blue Fountain Pen!

A picture is worth a thousand words and that definitely rings true for this Lamy Safari. I love everything about it!

6. Decluttered most of my life

After exams, I recycled a whole load of stuff, gave a bunch of stuff to charity and threw out things that couldn't fit into the previous two categories. And it felt really good. I still have some other things to clear out (either through eBay or donating to charity) though.

7. Got a job offer for rotations and hospitals I actually wanted!

When applying for the Foundation Programme (the first job most doctors do in the United Kingdom - it is a two year programme designed to equip doctors with the basic skills for whatever specialty they choose at the end), I had an idea as to the hospitals and the job rotations I wanted. Somehow, what I wished for came true which has made me even more excited to start work!

8. Opened a bank account where my salary will be paid in...

This feels and sounds awfully mature so maybe I'm finally growing up a bit now! You know what they say: better late than never...

9. Spent many hours playing pool with friends!

As my time as a student comes to an end, my friends and I have taken to playing pool in the Student Union. I've never been particularly good but the many hours spent playing it over the last few months have seen a little bit of an improvement! Plus, it's really fun to accidentally pot something and see the look of horror on your opponent's face :)

10. Made it through medical school with all examinations passed :)

Not even sure where the last four years went and how I did it but somehow, I did. Being a doctor has been a goal of mine for a long time and I genuinely couldn't imagine doing anything else. There will be a lot of social life sacrifices (some of which have already happened) but based on the last four years at medical school, it looks like I'll continue to feel fulfilled on an almost daily basis. (At least, I hope so.)

18 Jul 2017

planning a summer holiday to... Vancouver, Canada!

Last summer, I made the decision to get a British Airways American Express card for which I'd use for my usual spends. Each £1 equated to one Avios point and I accrued enough for me to afford a ticket to Vancouver (with the help of a few Avios points from my mum too)! With this likely to be my last 'big' overseas holiday for a while, I decided that a little bit of overdraft debt would be worth it as I'll be able to pay it back over the course of the first two months of work. 

So how did I plan this holiday? Well, after the destination was decided, I had to think about how long to go for, where to stay, what the budget was for each element of the holiday and what my itinerary would be. For this, my Pantone notebook from aaaaaages ago was put into good use, along with a guidebook borrowed from my sister's trip to Vancouver a little under a year ago. 

After that, my packing list had to be written along with a flight plan. For my outbound flight, I needed to think about food and snacks along with what to bring in my carry on and also what to wear. Comfort is an essential for a long-haul flight, as are entertainment options! 

In order to write my packing list, I categorised everything. Having a list like this means that when I'm packing for my return journey, it means I can check things off again to decrease the chance to leaving something behind. 

With regards to my actual holiday? Sit tight for a full debrief in another blog post (or two, depending on how long it is!).

16 Jul 2017

my week #274

Yesterday, I returned from a holiday in Vancouver and it was a pleasant relief from the craziness of everything else going on back here in the UK. My planner this week is very bare because I bring a separate notebook when I travel. I'll do a proper write up of the holiday soon as I did have an amazing time :)

Now that I'm back, my to-do list is as long as my arm... Can I go back into holiday mode, please?!

How was your week?

12 Jul 2017

fountain pen ink: de atramentis archive ink

Have you ever tried this ink? If so, what's your opinion of it? It's definitely on my 'to purchase' list :)

9 Jul 2017

my week #273

This week was all about getting as much life admin done before I go on holiday! On Friday, I jetted off, away from the United Kingdom, for a week's holiday. Graduation is the week after, and then work starts the week after that (eek!). For now, I'm just going to relax and forget about everything else :)

How was your week?

6 Jul 2017

book: goodnight mister tom by michelle magorian

One of my '100 tasks in 2017' is to read three classic books and that's why I picked up Goodnight Mister Tom by Michelle Magorian. I have a vague memory of reading it, or at least attempting to, when I was in high school.

Goodnight Mister Tom is about a boy called Willie who has been evacuated from the city of London to the countryside. There, he stays with an old gentleman called Tom.

After finishing this book, I did wonder why it took me so long to pick it up! Although aimed at a younger reader, it is quite a harrowing read. The life Willie is used to in London is very different to the one in Little Weirwold with Mister Tom and as you progress through the book, you see a change in Willie's character. From being a timid boy, not used to being shown affection, to a confident and charismatic young man who lives his countryside life to the full.

At first, Mister Tom seems like your typical grumpy old man but when his past is drip fed by Magorian throughout the book, it's obvious that he's not grumpy; he's just heartbroken and Willie did a lot in helping to mend his broken heart.

Overall, Goodnight Mister Tom gets 8/10 for me. I raced through this book and although older than the target audience, really enjoyed it!

4 Jul 2017

graduation gifts to mark a milestone

With graduation just around the corner now, I thought it would be nice to do a mini graduation gift guide. For this gift guide, I decided to look at pricier items (sorry, not sorry).


1. A luxury diary from Smythson
Hit the ground running in your new career with a Smythson planner which'll keep you organised and looking chic. With its cornflower blue pages and contrasting bright orange colour, you'll never forget to take this everywhere with you. The only problem will be that once the year is over, you'll really want another one...

2. Pelikan Souveran M400 Fountain Pen
So I'm slightly biased here as I have this pen (it was a 25th birthday gift to myself!) and it's such a lovely pen to use. It's beautiful, sophisticated and feels like such a luxury each time you use it.

3. Smythson Panama Cosmetics Case (can also be used to store stationery!)
I love Smythson goods (can you tell?) and this cosmetics case would be just lovely in your handbag. It is versatile and if you'd prefer to keep pens and other stationery items in, I'm sure it'll last you a good many years.

4. Pilot Capless Decimo Fountain Pen
Another fountain pen, but this time, a capless one! This is the more lightweight version of the original Capless and if the reviews are to be believed, just as dependable and smooth a writer.

5. Aspinal of London Organiser
If you prefer to customise the contents of your daily planner, this might be the one for you. You can also have the option of having it engraved with your name, initials, your pet's name... Pretty much anything you want!

6. Midori One Year Diary
Finally, a one year diary. When I start my job in August, I plan on writing a few lines every day as an emotional outlet. Also good for those who like keeping a journal :)

Beauty and Fashion

1. Hourglass Ambient Lighting Edit in Surreal Light
A popular palette in the beauty world and a nice luxury gift for someone into their make-up. It also looks very pretty with its marble pattern packaging.

2. Liberty London Silk Scarf
The iconic Liberty scarf :) Good for someone into their fashion and labels!

3. Mikimoto Pearl Earrings
Pearl earrings are a timeless classic and these ones have a clover design to them just above the pearl. A good gift for pretty much anyone who has their ears pierced! They are work safe and will also look good for an evening/night out so they'll get plenty of wear.

4. Viktor and Rolf Flowerbomb Perfume
I'm biased here as I've been wearing this perfume for the last six years and it is my go-to fragrance. However, alternatives could be a Jo Malone perfume or even a custom one made at a boutique perfumery.

5. A Tiffany Necklace
A classic graduation gift here and only included because its so cliché! I'm not a fan of them personally but their simple design means that they are also timeless and go with pretty much any outfit.


1. Fornasetti Profumi Sol Di Capri Scented Candle
Whilst browsing the Harrods website, I found these candles from Fornasetti Profumi. The packaging is just so pretty (there are many other designs) and once the candle has been burnt, they can be re-used for something else, such as storing little trinkets in.

2. Johnston's of Elgin Cashmere Throw
A soft throw is an excellent addition to a bedroom or a living space that is crying out for something a little extra. This cashmere one will keep you warm and look good while doing so.

3. Neom Happiness Reed Diffuser
If candles aren't your thing, how about a reed diffuser? Great for those of us who are too lazy and accident prone to burn a candle!

Note: there are no affiliate links in this blog post. I will not receive commission for anything purchased through these links.

2 Jul 2017

my week #272

So my planner pages are really plain this week which is usually a reflection of how busy I've been. With it now being just over three weeks until the foundation programme starts (eek!), I'm preparing for that, preparing for my holiday (I leave the UK for just over a week on Friday!) and just sorting some general life admin. Everything seems to have come at once which has made things even more stressful!

How has your week been? And how do you cope with times such as these?

29 Jun 2017

beauty empties for the first four months of 2017 & mini reviews

At the end of 2016, I decided to set a box aside for beauty things I finish throughout 2017. This will enable me to see just how much I go through with the intention of preventing hoarding and excessive impulse buys. Here are the first four months and some mini reviews on each finished item.


Baby Foot 
I had high hopes for this foot mask but it disappointed me. I'd read reviews that said they had peeling feet for a good few weeks after but mine didn't even flake! Feet were no different afterwards and I soaked them for the recommended time. 0/10

The Body Shop Blueberry Body Butter
Performance-wise, I'm a huge fan of The Body Shop body butters but not the price. I usually wait until they have a sale and a 40% discount code as you can usually combine the two. They are a luxury and so I try and only use them during the cooler months where my skin is dryer. Smells lovely and keeps my skin soft and moisturised. 7/10

Tony Moly I'm Real Radiance Sheet Mask
I reviewed this mask earlier this month, please see here :)

Liole Super Gold Snail BB Cream sample
I found this was the right shade for me but it didn't seem to go on as smoothly as my Missha Perfect Cover BB cream (my current go-to base). It made my skin look dry and flaky and just wasn't impressive. Disappointing as I do love products with snail in! 1/10

Holy Snails Shark Sauce sample
Holy Snails have some well loved products on the Asian Beauty Reddit subforum and so I found myself eager to try their offerings. I bought the sample pack and gradually made my way through each product. Shark Sauce has Niacinamide in, an ingredient that brightens and evens complexion while fading scars. This product didn't do anything (negatively or positively) so for that, 2/10. There are many who say that Shark Sauce has improved their skin beyond expectations though so you may think differently.

Estee Lauder Double Wear Zero Smudge Lengthening Mascara
Smudgeproof mascaras are a holy grail item for me and this one is perfect in that respect. The price is on the higher end though and though I did replace it (but with the volume version), I don't think there'll be another replacement after that one! 6/10

& Garnier Ultimate Blends Shampoo for Coloured Hair and a Dove Beauty Blossom Body Cream.


Tony Moly I'm Real Skin Soothing, Elasticity and Moisturising Sheet Masks
I reviewed these masks earlier this month, please see here :)

Emma Hardie Vit C Intense Daily Serum sample
Sometimes, when you use a sample, you don't expect much and that's the expectation I had with this one. However, by the end, I was gutted that I ended up loving the effect it had. It brightened my skin and evened out my complexion, seemingly overnight! With the main active ingredient being vitamin C though, I'm hopefully there'll be a product just as good for a fraction of the price. 8/10

Berrisom My Lip Patch
Very disappointing product. Tastes foul and no visible difference after. Fun to use and only good if you want to spend half an hour or so in silence. 0/10

La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo [+]
This was one of those products where you don't notice much of an effect when you use it but once you stop, you then see the difference it made. Just that. I'm too scared to stop using it for that reason. 9/10

Mizon All In One Snail Repair Cream
I'm going to lay this down straight: I love snails. Snails have done wonders for my skin - from preventing break outs to decreasing redness - and this is the product that started it all. It lasted forever (ok, maybe more like eight months) and was great as part of a multi-step routine. I'm currently trying out the Black Snail version and it's not given me the same results unfortunately. 9/10 for this version.

& Arm and Hammer Enamel Pro Repair Toothpaste


Rilakkuma x A'pieu Sheet Mask Patches
This was a weird sheet mask - it came in patches shaped as the two bears: Rilakkuma and Korilakkuma. It was good at moisturising and had an instant brightening effect but the weird sheet mask style wasn't for me. 6/10

Fix & Tox S.Pore Unit Programming Sheet Mask
A steady sheet mask that didn't do anything special for me. 5/10

A'pieu Facial Cleansing Tissue
Good for removing make up and even the most stubborn eyeliner. 8/10!

The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%
This is a wonder product for my skin and I've mentioned it previously here in this post and here too! Not a bad word from me but others have reported pilling when using this serum under other layers.  9/10

Holy Snails Snowbang sample
The key product in this sample were ceramides and Snowbang did wonders for my skin. When I started using it, I did wonder why I hadn't thought of adding in this key ingredient sooner. It was the product that confirmed just how dehydrated I suspected my skin to be. Due to the price and lack of availability in the UK, I won't be repurchasing but have since found an adequate replacement. 9/10

Caudalie Reservatrol Lift Night Infusion Cream
A bit of a 'meh' product. Didn't do anything for me. 1/10

Benefit Professional sample
On the days where I don't feel like wearing a base layer, I sometimes just use a primer. Porefessional did a decent job of blurring my pores but was awful under my Missha Perfect Cover BB cream. It also didn't make my make-up last for longer but I did purchase the full size for those days where I don't feel like wearing make up. 7/10

Missha Time Revolution Borabit Ampoule
Again, one of those products that didn't make a difference. 1/10

Banila Co White Wedding Night Cream (two samples)
Another that made no impact. 2/10 (because I liked the consistency!)

& Garnier Ultimate Blends Shampoo for Coloured Hair and The Body Shop's Passionfruit Body Butter.

A P R I L - a month of samples!

Banila Co Miss Water and Mr Oil SLM Gel Cream (two samples)
No visible difference but I did like the texture and smell. 2/10

Tony Moly Cherry Blossom Whitening Cream (four samples)
Again, no impact. 1/10

Soap and Glory Scrub Your Nose In It
Ended up using this as a gentle body scrub instead. It has a refreshing minty smell to it... and that's as much as my review goes. It doesn't really do anything (at least not for me). 2/10

Fix and Tox Derma Clear System Mask x 2
A middle of the road sheet mask (not dissimilar to the other Fix and Tox sheet mask mentioned in the previous month. 5/10

Estee Lauder Re-Nutriv Ultimate Diamond Eye Cream (three samples)
This cream seemed to brighten my skin (I used it all over my face instead of just under my eyes). I did end up liking it but I don't purchase eye creams as (in my opinion) they are overpriced for what they are. 6/10

Neutrogena Hydro Boost sample
I loved this sample! It was the last step to my evening routine and when I woke up the next morning, my skin was so much plumper and fresher. It is on my wishlist for once I finish my other sleeping packs! I hope they don't reformulate or discontinue by the time that comes around. 9/10

Tony Moly Intense Care Dual Effect Sleeping Pack sample
Meh. No difference. 1/10

Cosrx Ultimate Moisturising Honey Overnight Mask sample
Seemed to have a good effect overnight but not as good as the Neutrogena Hydro Boost. 6/10

The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% and Zinc 1%
This was my second finished bottle and I know the first one is in the month of March so it looks like it doesn't last long! However, it didn't take me a month to get through this; I was using both bottles pretty much simultaneously since October so it probably takes me closer to three months to finish a bottle.

Mario Badescu Drying Lotion
Used as spot treatment, one bottle of this can take me months or even years in this case to finish. Because it has alcohol in it, I'm not too worried about keeping it for years. I talk more about it here. 9/10

Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water for sensitive skin
Pretty good as a first step to take off make up. I follow it up with Banila Co's Clean It Zero (up next!) and then a foam cleanser. 8/10

Banila Co Clean It Zero
An excellent sherbet oil cleanser for dissolving make-up. I love the faint soapy smell and how it just melts on my skin. The tub lasted me for a good six months of near daily use and though it is on the pricier side, I'm too scared to try other oil cleansers in case they break me out. 8/10

& Jergens Daily Moisture Body Cream and Garnier Ultimate Blends Shampoo for fragile hair prone to breakage

* * *

My goal this year was to use up things before buying replacements and so far so good! I usually have one, maximum two, samples open at any time. I'm lucky that a bad reaction to something new is quite rare for me (touch wood this continues!) and using up my samples are a good way to add things to my wishlist. Saying that though, I still patch test each sample before slathering it all over my face. This gives me time to see if it really assess if it's something I want to try next or if it was a transient lust.

So far, I've noted that one bottle of shampoo and one tube of toothpaste lasts me for a month or so, sheet masks make an appearance once or twice a month and that buying back ups is something I need to stop because I just don't go through things as quickly as initially thought. I'm already excited to see what the next four months of empties will look like!

27 Jun 2017

beauty review: Benton Cacao Moist and Mild Cream

Benton are a Korean beauty brand; pretty well-known for their snail and bee products. The name 'Benton' is inspired and named after The Curious Case of Benjamin Button where Benjamin Button grows younger with time; and that is the premise of the Benton brand.

Today, we have the Cacao Moist and Mild Cream. It claims to be a lightweight, natural cream whilst still providing moisture to the skin to keep it smooth. The key ingredients are Cacao extract and hyaluronic acid. Both ingredients are already well known in the beauty and skincare world for being good skin hydrators. I currently use Palmer's Cocoa Butter as my body moisturiser so was excited to try this on my face (though I did have a fear of it clogging pores...).

The cream comes in a cute pink bottle and is the size of a hand cream. The box is also a cute pale pink colour and as much as we shouldn't be seduced by the aesthetics of packaging, I can't help but feel an affinity towards this bottle design.

So, how did this cream fare?

Well, there were many positives: it is a light, white-coloured fluid and does not feel greasy. It is easy to apply (so not too runny or too thick) and there was no strong fragrance to it. I half-expected it to smell like the cocoa butter I slather over my body after a shower but nope, nothing with this one.

It claims to be suitable for all skin types and with my oily-dehydrated skin, I was skeptical. Cacao butter for greasy skin? Sounds like a recipe for disaster but I was pleasantly surprised. Benton claims the cacao extract gives the complexion a dewy glow and I can't confirm this. My current routine does a good job of making my skin appear dewy so I'm not sure how much this cream contributed to that.

It didn't clog my pores or cause a breakout and it did a good job of keeping my skin moisturised. However, it was tested during a spate of hot, summery weather - a climate which usually means I don't need much in the way of an intense moisturiser.

Overall, this is a promising moisturiser, given how it has performed so far. It has a pleasant texture with no fragrance, did not clog pores and appeared to give my skin the moisture it needed. Did it outperform my current holy grail moisturiser (Dr Jart's Ceramidin cream - only used when my skin needs some heavy-duty moisture)? I'm not sure it did and probably won't know until the colder months, though I'm sure this will definitely serve me well during the summer months.

Note: This product was provided for review. I have reviewed it as honestly as possible and as if I had purchased it myself.