beauty

Me, My Skin and My Acne

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Over the years I have always found the topic of skin, particularly mine, to be a really uncomfortable one. It’s been a long journey and is still very much ongoing, but I feel a lot more comfortable discussing the situation with my skin a hell of a lot more than I did when I was younger. So let’s have a little chat about my skin.

I started with spots when I was twelve, perfectly normal as it’s almost puberty stage. My face started to become oily and spots would appear on my chin, nose and forehead. It was only when they started to appear on my back and chest that I became aware that this wasn’t just a case of ‘a few spots’. It was after visiting my local GP, that I was diagnosed with Acne Vulgaris – the most common form of acne. Since then I have had various anti biotics, roll-ons and creams from my GP, taken a 6 month course of Roaccutane from my local Dermatology department, purchased a UV lamp, tried various herbal home remedies, and you find me here thirteen years later. For the purpose of the post, all pictures of my face have been left unedited.

My skin a couple of weeks ago pre products.

My acne did clear somewhat after the course of Roaccutane (it disappeared from my back and chest), don’t get me wrong I still developed hormonal spots, but it was so much better. However, after a year the acne returned. I won’t lie, I was heartbroken. I’d put all my eggs into one basket with Roaccutane, but have been told some will need two courses of the treatment. Even so, I found (and still do occasionally) it difficult to stay positive and put my faith into these treatments after seeing them work for others.  Acne has also made me feel guilty, because my family have been amazing throughout and are always looking into new things to try, spending money, only for past attempts to not work. It’s difficult but they keep me positive.

My younger self did not have a clue about skincare (I’m still learning now!), none of the normal spot brands suited my skin, wipes were a big no-no, and washing my face became a ritual. Finally I feel like I’ve got my perfect skin routine, it’s minimal, but suited to me (I will do a post and show results, but this is only my second week using the products!). I think it’s difficult to understand how people with acne view their skin on a day to day basis. There’s always the hope that the products/tablets you took last night worked their magic and the acne is gone. There’s always the anger that as well as the spots you already have, new ones have appeared on the day of the important event you have. When you’re talking to someone there’s the paranoia of ‘are they staring at my spots?’ Your make-up routine becomes more of a chore because spots are still visible and they’re all you can see. You constantly wonder why you’re skin just can’t be clear like others. It’s tough and it does have an impact on how you see yourself. So much so, that I would constantly touch up my make-up when I was younger, trying to cover any trace of spots, I would dread any sleepovers, the moment where everyone would get ready for bed, it was a massive blow to my confidence.

Today, I’m currently about to finish a course of antibiotics I’ve been taking for six months. Once I have finished those I need to return to be referred for a second course of Roaccutane. I won’t lie, I’m not looking forward to it, but eleven years on, I’ll take whatever I can get. I’ve switched up my skin routine to Environ and am purely using their products as it is a set routine. I count myself  extremely lucky that my acne is non-scarring, and seriously feel for those that have the scarring form – as if it isn’t difficult already. Like many, I have had days where I have been in tears over it and not wanted to leave the house, but you can’t let it stop you living your life. We all have flaws and imperfections, all of which are on a macro-scale only to ourselves, but they certainly don’t define you. Sure, they make us sad sometimes, but that is outweighed by just how beautiful and uniquely individual every single person is.

I think I’ll always have a love/hate relationship with my skin; it always looks like it’s not improving to me. There is still quite a way to go with it, but I’m determined to kick acne’s butt once and for all this time. I will post updates when I have them, and also on the products I am using, but as it is only the second week I didn’t want to include them just yet as they haven’t had much time to take effect. I really enjoyed writing this post and hope it helps others to know you’re not alone in how you are feeling. You are beautiful no matter what is on your skin. Acne isn’t forever, I take comfort in that and so should you. I’m 2 weeks in to using the products and currently my skin looks like this:

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I always like to hear other people’s stories, past or present! So if you have one please comment or contact me below –any tips or tricks are welcome too!

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Book Review

I See You By Clare Mackintosh

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You do the same thing every day.

You know exactly where you’re going.

You’re not alone.

When Zoe Walker sees her photo in the classifieds section of a London newspaper, she is determined to find out why it’s there. There’s no explanation: just a website, a grainy image and a phone number. She takes it home to her family, who are convinced it’s just someone who looks like Zoe. But the next day the advert shows a photo of a different woman, and another the day after that.

Is it a mistake? A coincidence? Or is someone keeping track of every move they make . . .

I couldn’t wait to read this novel after reading its predecessor I Let You Go. If you haven’t read it, I thoroughly suggest you grab a cup of tea and settle down with it as it will keep you reading for hours. Now, with second novels I always try to keep an open mind, as living up to their predecessor can prove to be very difficult. After trawling through some reviews, I noticed most singing its praises whilst others declared it wasn’t as good as the first. To me, they are both completely different stories and should be treated as such. So I started reading I See You with a fresh pair of eyes, and devoured it within a matter of days. It’s gripping, it’ll have you feeling on edge, and most importantly it’ll keep you captivated with each chapter that passes.

As with all of my other book reviews there won’t be any spoilers, as it would completely take away the thrill this book brings to the table. In the opening chapters we meet our two female leads, Zoe Walker and Kelly Swift. Zoe is your everyday woman, a creature of habit; she dotes on her family, commutes to work, and finds her picture amongst the classified ads in a local newspaper … wait what? From this moment the story is filled with tension and an extremely chilling reality that all is not what it seems. Kelly works as a police officer working for the British Transport service, but over time crosses paths with Zoe as things turn sinister. The chapters alternate between the two women, and I found myself feeling on edge whilst reading Kelly’s chapters as I immediately wanted to know what was happening to Zoe, and vice versa.

Without giving too much away, one of my favourite things about I See You is the third narrative which addresses the reader directly, intricately laced between every other chapter or so. It is chilling and hauntingly realistic, more so because it all seems so easily done.  One thing is for sure, it’ll have you looking over your shoulder, questioning the glances people throw your way, and clutching your bag to your chest on the train!

Much like I Let You Go, Mackintosh creates a variety of characters, each one integral to the story, and will have you questioning their motives throughout. I think I had been suspicious of every character by the time I had reached the end of the book. I like how Mackintosh has the ability to cleverly take you down one path, only to lead you down a side street and you feel like you’re back to square one again with your suspicions.

On the other hand, I would really have liked more exploration of Kelly’s character. There are numerous references to issues she has, yet I feel there wasn’t enough detail to tie up the loose ends. However, I understand why this may not have been done as it could possibly have taken away from the main plot.

I See You could also be seen as a cautionary tale, as in we are always being watched. We live in a society where everyone likes to know what everyone’s doing, and it’s as easy as typing their name into Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. We also live in a society where there are cameras almost everywhere, for crime prevention purposes, but nonetheless, everyone is being observed. Mackintosh’s book takes these seemingly innocent notions and pushes them to their extremities; it’s a psychopathic 2017 Big Brother that is coming specifically for you.

Overall I did enjoy this book, partly down to its individual plot and its ability to turn the unfathomable into a chilling reality. Mackintosh has produced another winner in my opinion and I cannot wait for her next. If you’re looking for a read which will keep you wanting to go back to it, leave you open-mouthed, and cursing every time you think you’ve guessed who’s behind it, this one’s for you.

Routine makes you feel safe. Routine will kill you.

beauty

My April Favourites 

I’m guessing everyone is thinking pretty much the same thing as me right now, which is how are we in May already? Although another month gone, means more beauty favourites. These were my go-to’s throughout April, so enjoy!

Urban Decay De-slick Make up Setting Spray

One thing I love is a good make-up day. You know those days where it stays on, there’s no smudging, and you just think that you’ve got it all together? Now these days are pretty rare for me, and come the end of a work shift you could mistake me for a very shiny faced panda. However, lo and behold someone introduced me to Urban Decay’s De-slick Make-up Setting Spray, and I’m afraid I’m not looking back. I’m a really big fan of this setting spray, mostly because unlike others I have used in the past, it doesn’t change the look of my make-up and simply just sets it in place. It’s also a very light spray so it dries quickly on the skin. The De-slick Setting Spray claims to be ‘your most powerful oil-control ally’, and aims to deflect any shininess and provide the skin with a matte finish. Being a girl with normal-oily skin, I’m a big fan of this spray. I’ve found that I don’t need to touch up my make up as much because the sprays got it covered. I must admit I was a little sceptical at first, as it seems there are about a thousand different things for your face in the beauty world right now, but this one’s a must and here to stay for me!

 Darphin Soin D’Arome Au Niaouli Oil

Okay so my skin has taken a little dip recently, and I may have completely freaked out (as in the why is this still happening when I’m 23 for godsake) kind of freak out. I have pretty much tried everything in the book for skin, so I thought what is one more product? This product was also recommended to me, and I couldn’t wait to try it out. Now the old me would have been all ‘YOU CAN’T PUT OIL ON THIS OILY FACE’, but you must definitely can and should. Skin produces more oil when the skin is feeling dehydrated and I have learnt the error of my ways. I apply this oil before bed, and use 5 drops for each section of my face. It smells luxurious and sits on the skin once applied. It makes my skin feel lovely and soft, and is helping with my little flare up slowly but surely. It’s a little pricey but worth the money if you’re getting fed up of your skin blues too.

Bobbi Brown Long Wear Even Finish Foundation

Previously I’d posted about my love for Estee Lauders Double Wear Foundation, I thought it was amazing coverage and didn’t think I needed anything more from a foundation, right? Wrong. After using Double Wear for 4+ months, I noticed changes in my skin and they weren’t good. My skin started to dry out pretty badly, yet the acne was coming in thick and fast, I was completely stuck. Not only that, but when I applied my make-up, the slightest touch on my face would create a crack in the foundation. This meant I was frantically caking more on to try and cover it (it didn’t work) or having to take all of my foundation off and re-apply. As much as I love Double Wear, it’s not for me or my skin. I decided I needed a change fast and read up on some good brands and foundations online. I decided to go for Bobbi Brown, as it’s a brand I have loved in the past and is top quality. Since using the Bobbi Brown foundation I have noticed a dramatic change in my skin. There is no dryness to be seen, I can’t feel the foundation on my face, meaning my skin can breathe, and I don’t need to re-apply. I would definitely recommend this product, as I still get the coverage I need from this foundation, but my skin also gets the break it needs.

Estee Lauder Pure Colour Envy Sculpting Lipstick in ‘Dynamic’

This has fast become one of my favourite shades of lipstick with its rose-tawny shade. Before this I had never tried out Estee Lauder’s lipstick range, but I’m super impressed. So far I’ve found this shade to be long wearing; I can get a good 3 hours minimum out of it before I need to reapply. Unlike other lipsticks I have used, this one feels fairly hydrating with a light glossy finish. I will definitely be buying more shades from the Pure Colour Envy Sculpting lipstick range, although a little pricey at £24 each, they are top quality.

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beauty

My Favourite All Natural Beauty Brand – Tropic

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So up until last year I had never heard of the Tropic brand. A family member of mine had decided to host an evening at their house, which would involve a Tropic ambassador coming and showing/letting us try out the products. It’s a fun filled evening with all the girls, full of games and once over the opportunity to order the products you have tried. Ever since that first evening I have made Tropic products a regular part of my routine (you may have already seen some products featured in previous posts!). I love the organic aspect of the brand, that they’re vegan and do not test on animals, and that the products work with your skin and body, not against it.

For those of you who have never heard of Tropic, here’s a little bit of background. Tropic was founded and created by Susie Ma who had grown up developing all natural beauty recipes. Susie later appeared on The Apprentice in 2011, and impressed Lord Sugar after giving his wife some of the products to try out. Lord Sugar became a 50/50 partner, and together they have started a company which allows others to start their own businesses by being ambassadors.

I’m so happy I stumbled upon this lovely brand, so I thought I would share some of my favourite/wishlist Tropic products with you all:

Tropic Radiance Clay Mask

Since I first purchased this mask the packaging and formula have changed slightly, but still provides the same results. A clay mask is good for anyone who has blemish-prone skin, as it helps to control oil levels and prevent break outs. I loved using this mask twice a week as it felt like a real treat for my skin, and it can be left on for 10-20 minutes so you can relax and enjoy! The new recipe contains:

Willow bark and ginger extracts – Designed to kill any bad bacteria on the skin that is trying to cause breakouts.

Green clay and spirulina – This combination of clay and super food is designed to regulate oil, draw out any toxins with its anti-oxidant properties, toning and tightening pores.

Charcoal and goji berries – Aims to reduce any redness caused by blemishes

I have yet to try out the new Clear Skin Blemish Fighting- Mask as I loved its predecessor, but it’s definitely going on my wish list!

Shop it here: http://www.tropicskincare.com/skincare/clear-skin-mask.html

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Tropic Sculpting Palette

For anyone who’s seen previous posts you’ll know this product has already been featured a couple of times, but I love it! It’s so ideal for popping in your makeup bag as it contains a blush, bronzer and highlighter all in one. I really like the convenience of this product, it can take you from day to night and your make up bag isn’t over crowded –win win. I’ve used both Vintage Rose and Coral Blush palettes, but found because I’m quite pale (verging on a ghost) that the Coral Blush works better for me. All three feel lovely on the skin and have great pigmentation, and it’s probably all down to ingredients like Jojoba Seed Oil, Vitamin E, Carrot and Pomegranate Seed Oil and Vitamin C – to name a few! This is probably my favourite Tropic product so far, and I’ve already repurchased another.

Shop it here: http://www.tropicskincare.com/sculpting-palette.html

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Tropic Luscious Lips Collection

Over the past year I’ve really developed a thing for lip scrubs, particularly in the colder months. My mum, being a Tropic fan herself, bought me this handy little duo as a Christmas present and I couldn’t wait to try it. What made this product stand out for me is that you don’t just receive a lip scrub, but also a nourishing butter for after use. Previously I have used a scrub and then just applied my own lip balm afterwards, but this just feels that bit more indulgent. The Lip Smooth scrub and balm smell really minty and fresh, with ingredients of liquorice and mint extracts designed to smooth and plump the lips. The scrub is blended with Organic Sugar, whilst the balm contains Mango Butter, Vitamin E, and Pomegranate Sterols, targeting dry lips with intense hydration. I cannot recommend this duo more if you suffer with dry lips or just fancy a little pamper treat!

Shop it here: http://www.tropicskincare.com/blog/tropic/luscious-lips-collection

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Wish List:

So I could probably add most of the Tropic site to this post, as there is so many things I want to try and here they are:

Spotlight Cream Highlighter : http://www.tropicskincare.com/cream-highlighter.html

Super Greens Nutrient Boost Serum: http://www.tropicskincare.com/super-greens-serum.html

Wild Mint, Lime, Pineapple Body Wash: http://www.tropicskincare.com/wild-mint-lime-and-pineapple-body-wash.html

Lip Glaze in Pink Champagne: http://www.tropicskincare.com/lip-glaze.html

Ocean Fizz Foot Soak: http://www.tropicskincare.com/ocean-fizz-foot-soak.html

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