Saturday, 1 October 2016

LADY GARDEN CAMPAIGN

Recently the Gynaecological Cancer Fund and Topshop teamed to raise awareness and money to fun research in to gynaecological cancers which affect thousands of women all over the UK - to do this they released a range of hoodies and joggers on sale in Topshop.

Cara Delevingne is the the face of the campaign, but loads of other celebs have hopped on board to help raise awareness. From models like Eva Herzigová, Erin O’Connor and Poppy Delevingne to iconic names like Margot Robbie, Liz Hurley and Natalia Imbruglia everyone is getting their lady garden on - so this blogger thought it was time to invest in a new hoodie and I've featured it for my Saturday #OOTD.

Lady Garden Hoodie from Topshop (RRP: £28)
Petite Indigo Jamie Jeans from Topshop (RRP: £40)
Harper Boots from Topshop (on sale for £10)
Obviously, I decided that posing without my pants on - like said celebs - wasn't the best idea for my neighbours to see - so I decided on my new Toppers jeans (I wear petite, but they are available in regular and tall) and boots.

It's a brilliant hoodie, not too thick and stylish - though, if you are going to get one, for reference mine is a size 8, so they're pretty baggy.

You might also notice I'm rocking a new scar on my neck from my recent surgery - just in case you thought it was a necklace or something...

It's a great campaign that I think a lot of young women, like myself, need to take heed of - right now these cancers are nicknamed the silent killers. Gynaecological cancers have some of the worst outcomes for women, with a devastating mortality rate of 37% and recent research revealed that over a third of women are too embarrassed to go to the doctor with gynaecological concerns – let alone talk to a friend!

This, frankly, shocked and frightened me. There's so many women that talk of being empowered and independent, but how empowered can you be if you can't talk about your own healthy without shyness or shame.

Let's change this today - support the campaign!

Monday, 27 June 2016

Tackling Proactiv+ scepticism

Proactiv +  30-Day Core 3-Step System
From L to R: 
Skin Smoothing Exfoliator 60ml,
Pore Targeting Treatment 30ml,
Complexion Perfecting Hydrator 30ml
Free items:
Skin Purifying Mask 28g,
Deep cleansing facial brush
 


You've likely seen the television advertisement's where the likes of Jorgie Porter, Nicole Scherzinger, Hayden Panettiere and even Adam Levine have boasted the miracle works of Proactiv + treatments and how it 'transformed'  their lives - so when I ordered from ASOS a few weeks ago and got given a voucher to try a 30 day kit for £20 (plus p+p) I thought: why not give it a try?

So I did, and here's what I think:

I will tell you all now, I was not eagerly awaiting this kit to come though my door to be my skin saviour, I honestly didn't want to go into this with the highest hopes because as a teen I suffered with my skin - I still do now(!!) - and I had it in my mind that the only thing that can really give you fully clear skin is prescribed treatment (which is mainly why I take the pill).

But after three weeks of using it my skin really has improved!

I've been genuinely shocked with it.
I use the three-step kit twice a day and it really has changed my skin.

The three-step kit contains the Skin Smoothing Exfoliator - which I use with the facial brush - a Pore Targeting Treatment toner and a Complexion Perfecting Hydrator moisturiser.

The exfoliator leaves your skin feeling scrubbed, clean and fresh, but not like you've scrubbed your skin raw as the exfoliating beads are very gentle

With the toner you only need a very small amount a it goes a long way - it's an odd sensation as it makes your skin feel a bit tight.

Once the toner is absorbed fully the moisturiser leaves skin feeling smooth and soft.

My only criticism is the moisturiser is heavier than I would typically use day to day and once I wake up in the morning my skin can feel almost oily - it's hard to describe, my skin doesn't feel greasy, but it does feel like it needs cleansed.

Over all I've seen a huge improvement with my skin - I've obviously had the odd blemish when my hormones have changed within the month, but using the products had made it go down quicker than usual.

The mask I got free doesn't feel like your typical face mask that goes hard or drys, it feels more like the Liz Earle Hot cloth Treatment, as a good comparison - and even with it's slight clinical smell it leaves skin feeling lovely and refreshed.

So, would I recommend Proactiv+?

I think I would, especially for those who are at the end of their tether with skin treatments for adult acne or frequent blemishes.

I wouldn't say it's 'transformed my life' - but then again, unlike those celebs I've not been paid a few grand to do so - but I will say I've seen a huge positive improvement with skin over the last month.

Will I purchase again?

Possibly, the price puts me off, as to repurchase they are a bit pricey.
But the pay monthly option is tempting and it would take off any pressure or stress of going out to but new products when the others run out.

I would love to know if any of you out there have jumped on the Proactiv+ bandwagon, or if you have any other similar kits or solutions you'd recommend, get in touch or comment below!

Ciao for now,
Rachael
xx

Thursday, 9 June 2016

This running girl can!

Ask me six months ago if I’d ever have signed up for the Great North Run and I probably would’ve said ‘yes’, but with absolutely no intention of going through with it. Ask me today and I can firmly say I’m running the Great North Run 2016 for the British Heart Foundation on September 11.

For those of my friends/family that have known me since I was a kid I can completely understand the sheer gob smacking shock you’d have to here this. This is because I’ve never been an exercise lover. I like swimming and things like moky – activities where it doesn’t really feel like you’re doing exercise but the idea of leaving the house to run somewhere and run home was a horrific idea and I didn’t think I would ever have done it!

This all changed last November. I’d just found out I had coeliac disease and I will be truly honest with you all now – I’d gone up to a size 12 and was 10st 7lbs. This is the heaviest I’d been since I was 16. I know this is pretty average for the UK, but when you’re 5″1 like me, the weight doesn’t sit right and – no I was not fat by any stretch of the word- I was fairly chubby and unconfident with my looks.

My confidence had dipped from when I was cyber-bullied by my chap’s ex and her friends for years and my weight suffered as a consequence. So I thought, with the control I had to have over my food intake I would also take back control of myself and not let those bullies get me down anymore.

So I literally got up one early morning while I was studying my MA in Brighton and went for a run around the village I was living in. I still remember my first run – I did a mile in 22 minutes.

As the days and weeks went on I would do a mile in 18, then 15 minutes and eventually around 10 or 11.

My weight dropped I went from 10 st 7 to 10 st 2 in December, then by New Years Eve 2015 I was 9 st 12 and I could fit in my older/smaller clothes.

But eventually it wasn’t about losing weight, my Mam had died of a heart attack and defect and keeping my heart strong really prompted me to push my running from a mile every other day, to every day.

Then my fiancé said: “Why not try and go further.” So I did.

In the meantime I’d done a few charity runs and a couple of 5k’s and I was ready to try and push myself further.

This is when I started looking at a site called Darebee, which had different running programmes and exercises, and saw a 1/2 marathon training and I though ‘yeah, I could do that’ – though, I had my doubts.

With this in mind, I decided I would likely do better at the programme if there was a goal at the end of it, so I signed up for the Great North Run 2016, in memory of my Mam.

As I wrote this I can, with immense amounts of pride, say I’ve finished week 4 of the programme and racked up 58 miles of running.

Because it became part of my daily routine, I can’t imagine a week where I don’t do four or five runs and two workouts – even on Sunday’s. I also didn’t notice how I was toning up until I went shopping and a size 10 was a loose fit on me (this is not saying I’m a size 8 AT ALL just that one item.) and my weight is down to 9st 2lbs.
What a difference a year makes!
Now I’m pretty happy with how it’s going and no, I’m no running addict – in fact I hate it, I despise it, but I know if I get up every morning and do it it keeps me healthy, strong and fit-er than I used to be!

So at the end of it, the bullies haven’t won, because I feel better than I did before they started and I’m working towards something I never thought I’d do!

Just keep running – #thisgirlcan and #runninggirl have now become, to much dismay of others I imagine, my go to hashtags on twitter with all my post-run selfies!

Please follow my progress on Instagram and if you can donate to BHF for my GNR16 1/2 marathon!

So ciao for now,

Rachael xx

Monday, 16 May 2016

LBD OOTN

As part of my job, as a newspaper editor, I'm lucky enough to be able to report on a lot of events that happen in my local area (and some further afield, like the Press Awards (eeek)).

Recently I had the privilege of attending a charity ball - the charity is a very touching one that was set up in memory of a young girl who died of cancer - and as it was a ball I got to get my glad rags on and look posh for the night.

My posh OOTN featuring:
ASOS Petite Midi Dress with Cross Back Detail
 and
Christian Louboutin Peep-toe gold button detail ankle boots.
Choosing a posh frock was an issue for me because I've lost 1 and 1/2 stone since November, so none that I owned fit me. But when I was browsing the Petite section of ASOS I came across this LBD number.

What I loved about this dress initially, besides it's amazing price tag of £25, was that it was a sleek, flattering simply dress, that is also classy, and has a lovely cross back detail. I also chose the dress because it was one I could wear again in a casual situation or for a fancier occasion.

I took the opportunity to wear one of my favourite pairs of shoes ever - my Christian Louboutin's! My Mam bought these for me back in 2012 for my birthday and they're literally one of the most beautiful (and comfortable) pair of heels I've even owned.

N.B: I checked on the Louboutin site and these aren't made any longer but you can a similar pair at Saks Fifth Avenue.

As for accessories, I kept them simple, my rose gold watch, Pandora bracelet and my 'R' necklace.

I like to think I scrubbed up well for the evening!

Tell me what you think and share links to your fave posh frocks lovelies.

Ciao for now,

Rachael
x

Sunday, 24 April 2016

MAC matte lipstick haul

I was recently very thoroughly spoiled by my other-half when he bought me not one new MAC lipstick - but three! I was keen on replacing my ruby woo which, after almost a year of ownership and using her almost daily, is nearly all used up. But when I was looking I couldn't resist a few other shades. And a new lipstick meant a new lip liner was also a must - so they were popped on the order too.
From L to R: Kinda Sexy,
Steady Going,
Ruby Woo
All RRP £15.50 from MAC
Kinda Sexy - matte:
I fell a little bit in love with a nude lip a few months ago - as I wrote in a in March - but I lost my last nude lippy and jumped on the chance to try one of MAC's famous matte lippy's in nude. I thought perhaps I'd go for velvet teddy, but I really fell in love with the rosy undertones in the kinda sexy. It glides on like a dream and has a lovely coverage. It has a great no-shine matte finish and is really flattering on paler skin tones.

Steady Going - retro-matte:
Since going blonde I opted to stray away from baby pink lipsticks - I've had purples and red's, but no pinks - this comes down not wishing to look like a Barbie lookalike. But I've put my inner-fears aside, channelled my inner-Barbie and invested in this lovely perky pink lipstick. When you initially apply it you don't think it's going to be matte, but seconds later it has a super-matte finish and blends really well with a darker or lighter lip liner.

Ruby Woo - retro-matte:
This shade is my baby, my signature look, the one thing I loathe to leave the house without. I purchased my first Ruby Woo in London May 2015 (I know, why did I wait so long?) and since then I've adorned the red lip. What's wonderful about this lipstick is, it's vibrant, creamy and glides on easily, but it's super-matte and super long wearing. Partnered with a lip liner it can help you take on the world - or at least it's helped me give it a go!

From L to R: Boldly Bare,
Soar,
Cherry
All RRP £12.50 from MAC
It may be obvious to state but I got Boldly Bare to go with Kinda Sexy, Soar to go with Steady Going and Cherry to go with Ruby Woo.

It's not the usual combinations for these lipsticks, I've been told, but I generally have my own way of doing things.

Boldy Bare has wonderful dirty read-brown undertones to it which give an extra layer to a nude lip like Kinda Sexy. Soar also has brown undertones, but it blends well Steady Going, meaning just bringing how pink it is down a notch - without losing that perky fun of it. I always pick cherry rather than the Ruby Woo lip liner to go with the lipstick because I prefer the blue/purple undertones of this slightly darker liner. The slightly darker pencils line my lip's better and allow me to give them more definition and shape - which I unfortunately lack thereof.

So here's what they look like on skin.....

Also, because I ordered online I got a free sample of their primer:

MAC Prep + Prime Skin RRP £21.00
This was absolutely lovely to try! It boasts to be "lightweight gel lotion that evens out skin redness and tone while adding radiance." I'm not sure about adding any radiance to my looks, but it certianly was a lovely base to my foundation - which, after using this simply glided on beautifully.
I was really impressed with the lightweight formula and the pore coverage - I would go as far as to say it rivals Benefit porefection and L'Oreal infallible matte primer, and that's saying something!
I may have to buy it on my next pay day!

Well my lovelies, you've come to the end of my MAC lipstick haul - I love lipstick I really think a coat of your favourite lippy can unleash any woman's inner-confidence, so go on, tell me your favourite MAC lippy's and which I should go for next, cos' let's be honest I'm addicted!

Ciao for now,
Rachael

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

90's style OOTD

I was a 90's child and loved everything from Take That and Spice Girls to The Lion King and Are You Afraid of the Dark?, but I was unfortunately too young to have truly appreciated the style for myself - though, my Mam did a good job with the abundance of corduroy trousers, pinafores, dungarees and the famous velvet dress every 90's little girl had at one point.

Now the style has made its way back round the trend circle I've thoroughly jumped on board and stocked up on all things to make me look like an extra on Clueless.
All items I wore today were from Topshop, but the most recent buys were my shoes and, of course, the corduroy pinafore - which was obviously needed to make a true 90's look.

My MOTO pinnywas an impulse buy back in January, but I've worn it enough to justify the purchase. it's comfortable and versatile with styling it. I've also worn it with a long turtle neck and a bardot shirt. The crop top I wore isn't actually on shelves any more, but I recently fell in love with a similar Multi Stripe crop top, which I'm sure will make a fine addition for a spring look.

My sandals I picked up in the sales last summer, but I was overjoyed to see they'd brought similar soft heeled sandals back for the spring season (and there's new colours!). I think they're such a much to give that extra bit of a Clueless Cher look, with the chunky mid-heel.

It's a simple outfit, but it ticks the 90's boxes and a pinny can be very flattering on many shapes - though I must caution you, I purchased a 10 and I feel like an 8 (which isn't really my go-to size) would have fit better. So best to buy in store rather than risk it online.

So this is my fave 90's look at the mo - but I'm on the outlook for so more inspo, so do send over your 90's looks and suggestions!

Ciao for now,
Rach
xx

*All items I'm wearing (besides shoes) are in petite and can be purchased in regular sizes and tall.

Monday, 21 March 2016

BLUE SHAMPOO | How I keep the yellow tones at bay

It may come as a shock to you all, but I'm not as naturally as blonde as I'd like to be. So I often have to combat any yellow tones to keep my locks looking a neutral and natural tone.

So I've picked out some of my favourite anti-yellow toners to share with you all.
From L - R: John Frieda Sheer Blonde Colour Renew Tone Correcting Shampoo (RRP: £5.99), Lush Daddy-O shampoo (RRP £5.75), PRO:VOKE Touch of Silver brightening shampoo (RRP £3.19) and Knight & Wilson Colour Freedom - White Blonde (RRP: £6.99)
Over the years of keep-up with my blonde locks I've tried many a products to tone out the yellow, while keeping them soft and hydrated - because if you're ever thinking of going blonde I warn you now (just like putting any dye on your hair) bleach can be very drying.

First up is the John Frieda Sheer Blonde Colour Renew Tone Correcting Shampoo (I also use with the conditioner). I've always been quite a fan of John Frieda and a friend recommended this to me, so I gave it a try. I was quite impressed, it made my hair lovely soft and silky and after a few washes I could see it had done some toning to my hair. Though I do feel it may have been better for highlighted hair, rather than an all-over dyed blonde.

Next is Lush Daddy-O shampoo. I loved the idea of this: an all natural shampoo that's good for toning blonde hair. This was another I was impressed with, like the first, my hair was left smooth and, importantly, hydrated and my blonde was very shiny and toned after a few washes. It's definitely a lovely shampoo to use and quite the favourite of mine, especially knowing it's not damaging my hair. Plus you can't go wrong with hair smelling like Palma Violets!

The PRO:VOKE Touch of Silver (I also use the conditioner) is such a cult product I couldn't have NOT tried this. I got introduced to this first by my sister and it shows sure fast results. It get's to work instantly. My only issue with this is it can be a bit drying to your hair - I would definitely recommend a good intense conditioner for after. But hair is instantly toned.

Last, but not least, is Kight & Wilson Colour Freedon in White Blonde. I LOVE this. I apply this every few weeks and my blonde it leaves my hair shiny, smooth, hydrated-ish and a truly toned to a white blonde. Though I warn you, don't leave it on too long or you definitely risk getting blue streaks in your hair.

So these are my four faves for battling the dreaded yellow tones we all fear when making the plunge to go a beautiful blonde!

I'd love to know what you think and if you have any other recommendations send em' my way, I'd love to try them out!

Ciao for now,
Rachael
x

Thursday, 17 March 2016

Kiss me I'm Irish! St Patrick's work OOTD

Dia duit tú daoine álainn...

It's St Paddy's day and since I'm of Irish descent (my Granda was from Galway in ROI) I picked out the greenest item of clothing I own - but being a (not-as-natural-as-I'd-like-to-be) blonde, as a rule, I tend to opt away from greens and yellows so  it's more of a pastel green! But it's taking part that counts eh?!

This was my chosen work outfit with all items are from Topshop, besides the oversized tartan green and grey blazer which was from Newlook.

The black Leigh jeans are my ultimate faves, I must have about four pairs in different colours, plus they're just my length (extra short-arse!). The top is a simple black vest top (nowt special, but does the job) but the boots are my babies! I love these brown Harper boots, it was actually my boyf that bagged them in the sale for me (he has taste right?) down from £72 to £30. They actually still have them in down to a tenner (!!!) if you fit in a lovely size 8 (some of my besties, I'm looking at you!).

The blazer I actually got way back at the end of 2014, so it's not available any more, but I have had my eye on a couple of similar-ish blazers, all rather affordable, from New Look that I'm definitely looking at getting my mits on.
FROM L to R: Blue Space Dye Double Pocket Blazer (RRP £22.99), Black Check Boyfriend Blazer (RRP £30 (on sale atm)) and  White Space Dye 3/4 Sleeve Blazer (RRP £22.99)
I'd love your opinions on these lovely la'al blazers - send them over.

So that's my St Patricks Day work OOTD. I hope you all enjoyed and please do send me links to yours.

Slán go fóill,
Rachael
x

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Simply nude - FOTD

Much to the disappointment of many, I'm sure, I don't always rock a red lip. I sometimes like to tone it down with a nude lip and that's what I did today.


This look features my Urban Decay lippy I reviewed and you can't really see it above, but I've managed to tousle my hair into a top-knot bow.

I didn't wear much on the eyes, just a flick of my favourite mascara: Benefit They're Real and a light dusting from a new found fave of the Revolution palette essential matte 2. My choice of primer and foundation are currently by L'Oreal in their Infallible 24H range, but as the season's changing I think my skin care and make-up shall be going under an overhaul.

My face hasn't really gone under any contouring today, but I put a dab of my new L'oreal Infallible Sculpt and my Topshop creme blush - but it wasn't the same application I would do for an event or night-out.

My brows are always a bit unruly so I tame them with a combo of a Miss Sporty brow pencil and my L'Oreal brow sculpter and they seem to do the job.

So that's my simple FOTD featuring a nude lip.

Tell me what you think and send me yours.

Ciao for now,
Rachael
x

Monday, 14 March 2016

GRASMERE GINGERBREAD: SARAH'S GINGER HAND BALM

The Grasmere Gingerbread co.
Sarah's Ginger Hand Balm
RRP; £4.95

I'm always on the look out for a new hand cream. I'm so prone to dry hands and I get bored of the scents I have after a while - I like a change. I'm always eager to support businesses local to my homeland of Cumbria. So with this little beauty I've managed to do both.

If you've ever heard of Grasmere Gingerbread you'll know it's literally the best gingerbread you'll ever taste (well apart from your nan's, undoubtedly).

Little did I know when I went to their pop-up shop in Whitehaven (as unfortunately they'd suffered from the floods, like so many, last year) to stock up on Grasmere Gingerbread for the fam (gutted they don't gluten free for awkward people like me) that I stumbled upon they're other ventures of the gingerbread scented variety.

I tried this little beauty, left the shop and actually went back in to order some.

It's a lovely hand balm, with the delicate scent of gingerbread that lingers for ages - I had people complimenting it for the rest of the day.

It's a non-sticky balm so leaves no residue and it's perfect for men or women - I'm pretty sure I've seen both my Dad and the chap dipping into it when I'm not looking!

It's very moisturising and leaves hands feeling soft and smooth.

I'm telling you all about it because at £4.95 a jar, made in the Lake District with natural products, and cruelty free, it's a keeper in my books.

And don't be put off by the thought you'd have to do a trip to the lakes for it, you can order online too! Though, if you simply must have a holiday in the lakes for a break of work for hand cream, there's worse places to go shopping!

If you've tried it, do tell me your thoughts - but what can go wrong? It's gingerbread scented hand cream!

Ciao for now,
Rachael
x

Sunday, 6 March 2016

Reporter with the NUDE lip? Urban Decay Naked 2 and Stark Naked

I'm back my lovelies and for my first post of 2016 I've (VERY TEMPORARILY) traded in my beloved red lip in favour of a flattering nude.

I love red lipstick and I've become known, locally, as the reporter with the red lippy, now that's all good and proper but I fancied a change. This usually consists of a purple, pink or dark/brown red, but never a nude.

I was always a bit frightened of nudes as they always seemed so satin or glossy which made me look like I'd gone back to the days of 2004 discos where I, admittedly, favoured a shiny gloss - which now makes me cringe like no other memory.
Left: Urban Decay Matte Revolution lipstick in Stark Naked and Right: Urban Decay 24/7 Glide On Lip liner in Naked 2.
But I recently came across the Urban Decay Matte Revolution lipstick and after many swatches I fell in love with they're beautiful Stark Naked and had to have it. Of course, I couldn't invest in a new lipstick without a trusty lip liner to match and made the wise investment of the Urban Decay 24/7 Glide On Lip liner.

So what did I think, I head you ask?

Urban Decay Matte Revolution lipstick : RRP: £15.50
I'd been after a nude lip for ages but I couldn't find one that had a nice texture, finish and didn't shine. Having shiny lips is just not for me! I'd had a look at this one a few times, but after eventually swatching for the millionth time I bought it. It had such a cream texture and initially goes on as if a satin lip, but it has a beautiful matte finish which doesn't dry out your lips. The colour is very opaque, so no worries about coverage and it blends fantastically when paired with a lip liner. It lasts about 6hrs before I re-applied - bearing in mind I drink obscene amounts of coffee and tea in this time.

Would I repurchase?
Definitely, it's lovely and definitely competition for a MAC lip.

Urban Decay 24/7 Glide On Lip liner: RRP £13.50
The staying power of this lip liner is second to none, it's fab. the shade I picked is ever-so-slightly darker than the lipstick which is perfect for slightly overlining the lip if, like me, you suffer having thin lips and dare not get lip injections for a fear of needles. Like the lipstick it's very creamy with a perfect matte finish. However I was slightly disappointed with usage; I feel it got two uses before requiring sharpening and as it's so soft I feared breaking it.

Would I repurchase?
Perhaps, it's definitely perfect for use, but I wasn't a fan of the need to sharpen so often. I feel like the value for money there is lacking.

I hope you enjoyed my comeback and my reviews. I'd love to know if you've tried these products and you have reviewed. Or if you can recommend any other nude matte lippy's and lip liners?

tata for now,
Rachael
xx