Lately Loving: Music (Chilled Edition)

Due to a lack of the stereotypical '25 Facts about me' blog posts, you might not know this, but along with beauty stuff, my main love is entertainment; films, books, music*- the lot. Over the course of  the next few months, I'm going to write a few 'Lately Loving' posts encompassing them all, and to kick off the proceedings, I bring you my go-to artists for Sunday chillaxing:

1. SoMo

Okay, I'm going to put out a pretty colossal statement here, but after a few years of listening, this guy might just be my favourite singer in existence (bar Michael Jackson obv) and I am so excited to share this, seriously, he turns songs I hate into songs I love, and that takes some talent. Joseph Somo-Morales a.k.a SoMo is a Texan musician, and he has the sexiest, most soothing, versatile voice in the entire world. It doesn't matter what he sings, he'll make any song sound amazing. In terms of the type of music him and his friend Cody a.k.a Evenyre produce, it is so difficult to describe, it's got a sort of slow jammin' R&B vibe to it, but you really just have to check it out here to understand what I mean; guaranteed satisfaction. Also, it's not just popular music that he releases, he's got some seriously good originals and covers some really interesting songs. In terms of personal recommendations (although I love them all), my favourites have to be his Take Care Medley, Swimming Pools, Slow Dancing in a Burning Room, little bit of Lana Del Ray, Girls Love BeyonceWale- Bad and finally, J-Cole's Power Trip.

I do have a whole load of SoMo's covers and original songs on my iPod for bedtime listening but I'm a much bigger fan of watching his videos on YouTube so that I can catch a glimpse of his face (yes, I love him that much), particularly when he throws some seductive glances towards the camera.. mmhmm, it's too good... Oh, and SoMo posts a new video every Sunday at 7:30pm CT, so every Monday morning for us Brits (that's tomorrow by the way eeek, I'm hoping for predicting a cover of Drank In My Cup- Kirko Bangz but we'll see..). Who said Monday's have to be the worst day of the week?

2. The Neighbourhood

After gradually increasing the amount of songs by The Neighbourhood that have reached my 'Watch Later' playlist, I've come to realise that I like them much more than I originally thought.. might even be getting slightly addicted- oops. Sweater Weather is a current favourite of mine but to be honest I'm actually loving the whole album they've just released. They've also done a pretty cool mix of Say My Name/ Cry Me A River which makes for some pretty relaxing listening.

3. Reload Sessions

Okay, not strictly an artist- oops- this channel posts some interesting acoustic covers of such a wide range of songs, and every video is quite chilled. I like to listen to this as background music when I'm doing work, as it's not too pretentious, nothing too crazy, just a good selection of talented people.. in fact, I know two people that have actually recorded videos for RS! If you'd like to hear some creative interpretations of both chart songs and others, definitely check this channel out.

4. Amber

This isn't so much a favourite of mine as a 'one to watch'. Sticking with the friend vibe, I know one of the members of this band (but I promise that's not why I'm including them here) and their music is just so so relaxing. The entire composition of the music, branding (exemplified above, it's lovely), video production, everything is just so smooth and impressive; they have actually claimed to be perfectionists and it totally comes across as it's so well put-together.. Either way, I'm expecting pretty big things from Amber, so if you've got some free time, please check them out here and here. Oh, and they just did a little thing for BBC Introducing which you can find here

On a final sidenote, I rediscovered an old favourite song of mine this year, and it is one of those timeless classics: Home by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. Every time I hear this I can't help but sing/whistle along, it's that good.

I hope that this has enabled some of you to make some exciting new discoveries, and I also hope that you enjoyed this sort of post! Have you got any music recommendations? Feel free to let me know in the comments below.

*NB: I don't have a particular music taste- classical, pop, punk, rock, indie, hip hop, rap, country- whatever genre, I'll have a favourite, but I do gravitate a little bit more towards the more hip hop/indie/rap side of things in general. It annoys me slightly when people assume that, because I'm not a hardcore fan of one band, I don't care what music I listen to as that is completely untrue- in fact, it's the complete opposite. I listen to different music depending on my mood so if I'm at the gym, I won't be listening to depressing indie music, before bed I won't listen to energetic pop/rock music, but I guess that's the same for everyone. Rant over.

Evening Skincare Routine

Ever since becoming a Beauty Mouth worshipper, I've given my skincare routine the big shake up that it always needed. Gone are the days of using *cringe* face wipes and nothing else (read: I needed serious help); I've now engineered a super souped up skincare routine that I think even CH would approve of.. potentially..

Effective dupe/budget buys galore

1. L'Oréal Micellar Solution
First up on the list is pre-cleansing, something I only do when I'm wearing make-up or SPF. I'll take some of this on a cotton pad and just sweep over my face to get rid of the majority of products lurking about on my skin. I've recently done a full review of this, here, but it's basically pretty similar to Bioderma with a more attractive price tag, totalling in at a rather impressive £3.33.

2. Neutrogena Visibly Clear 2-in-1
Next, I'll cleanse my face with this to ensure my skin is as clean as can be; I've never done a review of this (I don't think) but I've not strayed from this since using it. It has a clay based formula and the top ingredients include Glycerin, Kaolin, Bentonite and Salicylic Acid and I've just found this a really lovely cleanser to work with. It doesn't leave my face feeling remotely tight, and the salicylic acid leaves the skin feeling instantly cooled and refreshed; I have absolutely no qualms with this and just love love love it. 

3. Pixi Glow Tonic
On to my favourite part of my routine- after having patted my face dry (note: 'patted' not 'rubbed'), I'll go back to my faithful cotton pads and sweep two pumps of this exfoliating toner over my face. It feels like something is nibbling away at my skin in a really satisfying way, and I can really notice a difference in the texture and complexion of my skin when I use this. If you'd like a more in depth review, here you go.

4. Simple Soothing Facial Toner
I'm not massively excited about using this at the moment, I'm only using this as I'm waiting to go out and pick up a more hydrating toner- it doesn't do anything wonderful but does the job for now, and considering that it's under £5, it's a pretty good temporary substitute. 

5. Eyecare
When my face is dry, I'll get started on protecting my eyes. According to the aforementioned CH, any eye products should be applied before moisturisers and serums as they'll provide a barrier, so eye creams/gels won't absorb if they're applied on top, hence will be less effective. I recently had a bit of a mare with a dry eyelids situation but using Simple's Soothing Eye Balm followed by Body Shop's Vitamin E Moisturiser has had me saying goodbye to dryness, and hello to hydration. I like to apply these Isabelle Bellis style for anybody wondering. 

6. La Roche-Posay Effeclar Duo
The penultimate product in my routine is my serum/treatment sort of thing, and LRP's non-tacky, non-greasy offering has seriously impressed me. A little of this goes quite a long way, and I like to apply this all over the face (ignoring the eye area) and leaving it to sink in pre-moisturiser. I've particularly noticed the effects of this on my cheeks, where my skin used to be a little more rough and red due to wind/snow/rain/horrible weather, it is now smooth and there is no sign of redness; HG product right here. 

7. Neutrogena Pink Grapefruit Moisturiser
Finally, I like to apply this to my face and gently rub in, avoiding the eye area completely- just trust me on that one- and it absorbs into the skin pretty well, and is (like it's cleansing counterpart) formulated with salicylic acid so leaves my skin feeling equally cooled and refreshed.

So that's pretty much it! On Wednesdays and Sundays I like to throw a mask into the mix for a deeper clean but on the whole, that is my entire routine. It usually takes me about ten to fifteen minutes, and I always manage to fit in a teeth-cleaning session whilst products dry, so it's a very manageable time. I know I've done quite a few skincare posts lately- I'm just loving all things skincare right now- but stay tuned for more make-up madness heading this way in the near future..

Have you tried any of the products I've mentioned, and if so, what did you think? 

Pixi Glow Tonic Experience

My now-empty bottle of GT *weeps and desperately awaits 'available in stock' message*
Eeeek I am too excited about this post. I ventured into central London the other day to visit a couple of universities; one of which (Westminster) was conveniently situated on Regent Street. For those of you that don't know, Pixi's flagship store is in Foubert's Place, which is very very near to Regent Street- I basically could not resist picking up this massively coveted but rather exclusive product. On entering the teeny tiny shop, I was literally ecstatic to see that there were a ton of Glow Tonics in stock; they are often out of stock (more on that in a minute) and I have been dying to get my hands on one of these bad boys for what feels like forever. The lovely shop assistant and I got talking a little bit about the brand.. basically a very miniature interview- in which SA = shop assistant and SB = Student Beauty, a.k.a myself:

SB: I'm so glad to see there are some of these available, I might need to stock up for the future!

SA: Please, feel free to! Haha, the reason why these take so long to make is because each and every product is handmade. We would rather ensure that we perfect our items and take the time and effort to do it right; although it takes more time, we think it's definitely better than mass-producing a not so well cared for item.

SB: Rightfully so, this definitely seems like really good value for money- what's your secret?

SA: We haven't upped the price for any of our products since the shop opened thirteen years ago; we've had no reason to- many brands charge higher amounts every year for the exact same formula, but we don't see the point in that, and that's why we have such loyal customers.

SB: Completely agree. I've not used this before, any tips on how to make the best of it?

SA: Yes! This definitely works best with a hydrating toner over the top; as the product is quite exfoliating, you need a way to ensure that moisture is kept to an optimum level. Using a moisturiser afterwards is okay, but for the best results, use a hydrating toner too. Oh, and this is gentle enough to use day and night, so don't worry about it being too much for the skin- it won't be.

After a chat about Caroline Hirons and how much of a goddess she is, the shop assistant very delicately packaged the Glow Tonic and gave me some samples of their Beauty Primer which I have yet to use and sent me on my way. So, onto the aim of the product and why it's become such an exciting thing to own: I'm not going to ramble on but instead share with you all this post by aforementioned goddess CH (it talks through all of the history/ingredients analysis/benefits). It's an exfoliating toner- wave goodbye to those apricot kernels *cringe* and generic 'scrubs', this is the way forward.

So I have been easing my skin into using this every other evening, taking two or so pumps onto a cotton pad and wiping over my face (avoiding the eye area completely) post-cleanse before the hydrating toner step. Despite the claims that it is gentle enough to use much more regularly, I really don't think it's necessary to use it day and night and may prove to be just a little bit too overwhelming for sensitive skin. Immediately after applying this, it actually does feel like there's something gently eating away at my face- but fear not, although that probably sounds odd, it is incredibly satisfying- there's nothing better than actually feeling a product work. In the morning, my skin just feels incredibly smooth, clear, and a whole lot healthier.. even after just a couple of uses. My skin has never looked clearer; I've heard many a claim that this is amazing in treating acne so if you're blemish-prone, please give this a go!

The smell is a little bit odd and I seriously cannot describe it, I assume it's the ginseng that smells so strong but it fades very quickly and isn't really unpleasant. My main niggle with this is the packaging unfortunately; despite the 'no-frills' attitude (no box, simplistic labelling), the pump can be a bit tricky to work with- best tip is to hold the cotton pad all around the pump to avoid it going everywhere. I suppose it is a bit of a pain that these are only sold in their flagship store, but they can be ordered via mail/phone, at a delivery cost that varies (£4.50 for UK customers). Neither of these things concern me anywhere near enough to outweigh the benefits though.

Overall? amazing. Just amazing. The price alone is very very good for what the product actually is but if £16 sounds like too much for you, particularly if you can't access London, an alternative that I ordered the other day is Mario Badescu's Glycolic Acid Toner which is £12, pretty similar but perhaps not as effective (Mario Badescu actually has quite a few good products so definitely check out the entire range). Sorry for the ramble but this is just such a good toner, hats off to Pixi for creating something that has become an absolute essential in my skincare routine.

Have you tried an exfoliating toner to rival this one, and if so, which one? Let me know in the comments below!

L'Oréal 3-in-1 Purifying Micellar Solution Review

So there's been a ton of hype about a certain micellar water in both recent and not-so-recent times (can you guess which one? Can you?!); yep, Bioderma hit the blogging scene a couple of years back and has been a solid staple in many beauty bloggers' skincare routines since. Although it's move to the UK via escentual makes Bioderma that little bit more accessible, I wasn't sure whether a micellar water would prove it's holy-grail worth so I've opted for this slightly cheaper dupe for experimentation purposes.

L'Oréal 3-in-1 Purifying Micellar Solution £3.33 (current offer)

Just to sum up super quickly, as I'm sure you've all heard it a thousand times before, micellar solutions are basically waters contain oils to break down make-up and cleanse the skin- according to L'Oréal, their micellar solution "acts like a purifying magnet on the skin's surface to capture and draw out excess oil and impurities instead of spreading them around your face" (like face wipes do). This particular product claims to be a bit of a skincare hybrid, covering three areas; dissolving make-up, unclogging pores/removing impurities, and toning/soothing skin.

I'm usually quite dubious about L'Oréal's hit and miss packaging but this bottle is definitely a hit; simple yet with a luxurious feel to it (just me? yep..) it has a flip lid, great for mess-free application. Thumbs up. Anyway, I use this on a cotton pad or two and sweep over my face before cleansing. It doesn't leave any sort of residue on the face but equally doesn't make my face feel squeaky clean. As for dark eyeshadows, eyeliner and waterproof mascara, that's all taken care of too, just hold over closed eyes for a few seconds and wipe away. If you're in a rush and need something quick and easy, this is undoubtedly one for you.

Overall verdict? I really do like this, the value for money really is excellent, the bottle is going to last me a super long time, super accessible, it's absolutely fine for sensitive skin like mine, and does the pre-cleanse make-up removing job. Having said that, I definitely don't feel like this cleans my skin enough to be used alone, but as double-cleansing is my thaaang, perhaps that's just me... I also wouldn't solely rely on this as a toner. Either way, it's a great alternative for Bioderma and I'd definitely recommend this.

Do you like to use a micellar water, if so, which one? Let me know in the comments below!


Okay, I've been a rubbish blogger lately due to revision and exams but as they're all over, I thought I'd catch up with my blogger of the week posts; it's reached the eighth week now and I'm unfortunately a few days behind, oops! On with the post..

It's innovative, fresh, simple and always on trend. What is it? It's Lillian's blog of course! I actually mentioned Parisian To Be in my blogger related post last week, but I definitely need to go into more detail on this one because it is just such a gem. Overall, I am so over the moon that I managed to find Lillian's blog; particularly as she's from the US, so, as a daily read with a notepad and pen, I can make a note about new releases from over the pond.. but the main reason why I love love love this blog is because it is just so current! If I ever fancy reading more about any hyped up brand/product, this is my go-to place; I actually think I like/want to try every single product that has ever featured on this blog, and that's saying something. Naturally, photography is top drawer (think simplistic with beautiful flowers and general creativeness), every post is personable and it just makes for a really lovely read.

This blogger is definitely one to watch, every time I surf her page there's more comments and more followers- both deserved for all the hard work she puts in! A post went up this morning on how to keep updated with Lillian's posts, so be sure to check that out.

The Summer Edit #1

After a massively long wait, it seems that the sun has finally braced South England (although yesterday did feature quite a bit of rain). Regardless, certain products have been slowly but surely making the edit this year and I'd love to share some with you all! 

La Roche-Posay Anthelios XL 50+ Dry Touch Gel-Cream.. phew! £16.50

Ridiculously long names aside, when it comes to the sun, facial SPF is essential- particularly for my sunburn-prone skin. I headed straight to the LRP section of my local drugstore to pick up an SPF and I don't think they could've made it any harder.. seriously. They sell so many different types, tinted, not tinted, melt in, gel form, SPF 30, 50 etc so I just went for the simplest one I could find. No nasty parabens, no white residue, no perfumes, non-comedogenic and recommended for oily to combination skin. I've only used this a few times so far and my first impressions are good; it absorbs into the skin easily and is an effortless rotation into my skincare routine.. I apply it after my moisturiser and before my make up base, as per Caroline Hirons' instruction. Caroline has also mentioned that this will be featured in an upcoming post of hers so watch out for that! I'll be doing a more detailed review of this in the near future too, just in time for that summer sun. 

Gillette Venus & Olay Razor £5.49 (on offer at Boots)

It takes some serious heat to get me to bare my legs, having not quite found the perfect self-tanner for uber pale types like myself, but this razor is definitely beginning to change my mind about that. I know all things fuzz related are a slightly hairy topic (I am too punny, haha) but with summer in mind, smooth and nourished legs are a must for those skirts/shorts/dresses/sunbathing days. Formulated with 'moisture bars', this razor eliminates the need for a shaving cream and ensures that legs get all the moisture they need whilst the 5 blades make for an extremely close shave. I am massively impressed with this product so far, my legs are definitely looking less dull and feeling less dry, though I definitely wouldn't recommend using this without a post-shower moisturiser. 

Rimmel Salon Pro in 'Reggae Splash' £4.49

Oh ma gawd. I've been waiting to get my hands on this since it's release. Every time I've been shopping over the past few months, it makes it's way into my trusty Boots basket before getting chucked out last minute- but I plucked up the courage and bought it the other day. I've not used it just yet as I'm still wearing another nail varnish, but the rave reviews it's been given by some of my favourite bloggers make me so excited to try it out. The muted neon orange/pastel coral shade is a perfect summer pick and they'll be a blog post coming soon on this so keep an eye on this space! 

Have you tried any of these products? If so, did any of these products make it into your summer edit? 

In the meantime, I have finally finished exams *cue happy dance*, which means a massive amount of free time, meaning more lie ins, more blog posts and more of 90210- which is pure Californian summer in a TV show, perfection. Hope you've all had a lovely day!

Revlon Lip Butter 'Tutti Frutti' Review

I cannot believe it's been over a week since my last post- sorry! I'm still in the midst of exams until this Friday and revision has just taken over completely. Anyway, I went shopping a while ago and picked up this lipstick after hearing Estée rave about it in quite a few videos. 

It's a bright coral coloured lipstick (perfect for spring/summer) with quite a strong orange undertone but although it looks relatively intense in the tube, it becomes sheer on application and requires a few coats to really build up the colour. I actually really like the smell of this- the scent is quite subtle but it reminds me of the 'white-chocolate chip cookies in the oven' smell (or is that just me?..). I'm undecided on the packaging; the quilted effect looks quite nice and it does look quite high-end, but I did find it a little bit fiddly to open.. hopefully this will get better as time goes on. 

Unfortunately I didn't get on with this as much as I'd hoped. I found it pulled at my lips quite a bit and really sat in the lines of my lips- maybe this could be remedied with a little bit of lip exfoliation beforehand and other reviews don't seem to have mentioned this so it's probably a personal thing. I also didn't really see any moisturising benefits, in fact, in anything, this actually dried my lips out a little, but using a lip balm beforehand really made a difference. That said, the lasting power wasn't great either (sorry if this just seems like a hate post, I usually love Revlon lip products!) as both with and without lip balm, I found this wore off after a couple of hours or so. 

Hi freckles!  You can pick this Lip Butter up for £7.99 here
Overall, I'd still like to pick up a few more of these (Juicy Papaya, I'm comin' for ya!) to see whether mine was just an anomaly but I wasn't particularly impressed. The colour range really is great though, there is definitely something there to suit everyone. In the meantime, I'm currently road-testing the Effeclar Duo from La Roche-Posay (yepppp I'm super late to the LRP party!) and the In-Shower Body Moisturiser from Nivea, so keep your eyes peeled for a post on those coming up soon.

Have you tried any of these, and if so, what did you think? Let me know in the comments below!