Thursday, 5 July 2018

Online shopping with Klarna

I mostly shop online - usually lazily from my bed or when I've got time to kill travelling on the tube across London - it's just how I prefer to browse and buy items. Granted it's not the same as shopping in-store, but I just love the ease. Despite preferring to order online I know it can be a bit tricky to know whether something will suit you on, whether you'll guess the right size or just generally like a piece in person. It’s difficult for online shopping to compete with the in-store experience and as a result I have a habit of over-ordering, buying similar products in different sizes and colours so I don't have to reorder when it gets to me.

I've been looking for an option to have that in-store experience of trying on items before committing to buy - but in the comfort of my own home. Klarna* offers that. It's a service that essentially pays the online retailer on your behalf when you order and then you pay Klarna for the goods you don't return up to 30 days later (the time period depends on the retailer). The process is simple to use and safe. Klarna has a buyer protection policy too so you won't have to pay if something goes wrong with your order or if it isn't received. It's available at a number of online retailers currently - including my favourites, ASOS, Topshop and JD - and it's made online shopping a little easier on my bank balance as I only pay for what I keep.

I needed an outfit for casual birthday drinks recently so I ordered a few pieces from ASOS. I wasn't sure which products would fit better or I'd like more so used Klarna when checking out knowing that I'd only have to pay for the items I keep. I actually ended up loving the items for both outfits (which rarely happens) so left it up to Instagram to decide which outfit was best so I knew which I'd be keeping and paying for and which I'd return.

Outfit 1

Outfit 2

Outfit 2 turned out to be the favourite but it was a close poll, which is yours?

*This is a sponsored post - read my disclaimer here

Find out more about Klarna here

Lesley x

Wednesday, 9 May 2018

[Video] Full Face of Glossier

I've posted about Glossier a few times on the blog so thought I'd share how I'd apply a full face of their makeup products

The Video:

Lesley x

Wednesday, 2 May 2018

[Video] Transitioning to Natural Hair

This month marks two years since I've been natural and it's gone so quick. I thought I'd sum up my experience whilst transitioning as it definitely wasn't an easy process and hopefully it can help anyone that's thinking about going natural too

The Video:

Lesley x

Sunday, 29 April 2018

New (ish) Makeup | Hot or Mess?

With the onslaught of new makeup launches constantly it can be difficult to know what to spend on. A massive perk of blogging is a get a fair few samples sent my way so I'll be regularly rounding up my favourite or hyped products new in the beauty sphere I've tried each month and whether I think they're worth the coin.

Benefit Bad Gal Bang Mascara (£21.50)*
With constant teasing that something "out of this world" was coming prior to the launch of Bad Gal Bang a mascara was my last guess, especially as Benefit are already known for two cult mascaras I love - They're Real and Roller Lash. It's been 4 years in-the-making and features aero-particles (a fancy name for one of the lightest known materials) derived from space technology. The idea is that with a light formula you get massive volume and lashes aren't weighed down. The mascara does what it says - adds volume and my lashes look longer - but somehow I'm just not totally into it. I really want to love it (especially as the rest of the beauty world seems to rate it) but the effect is clumpy and the slim ultra long brush just irritates me as it's awkward to use. Bad Gal Bang won't replace They're Real or Roller Lash for me so whilst I won't call it a mess Bad Gal Bang definitely got a lukewarm reception from me.

MAC Dazzleglass (£15.50)*
Not quite a new launch but different and 'returning' shades were recently added to the Dazzleglass lipgloss collection. It's described by MAC as "a lip colour that dazzles with light to bring an exciting dimensional pop to your lips". I'd say the real effect is more subtle but pretty nonetheless. I have 3 shades - Goldyrocks (lemon yellow), Rollergirl (taupey plum) and Tangerine Tropica (coral). There isn't much colour pay-off with the shades I have though Tangerine Tropica has more 'pop' than the other two. The formula is slightly tacky but I think this makes it fairly long-wearing (as much as lipgloss can be). I love these so I'd say they're worth the spend but I don't think any more than a couple of shades are needed as there's not much between them.

NARS Natural Radiant Longwear (£35)*
I've become that person with about 15 different foundations but I had to try this new offering from NARS as I have a few of their foundations already that I absolutely love. Described by NARS as "Longwear is finally lightweight—and radiant. High coverage is now super natural" with 16 hour wear and suitable for oily skin. Sounds too good to be true? Right off the bat it is one of the most natural-looking foundations I have and given the medium-high coverage I'm really impressed. It feels so comfortable on the skin too. The wear time is decent on my oily skin but I'm not sure about the 16 hour wear claim. I've worn it for max 12 hours - I rarely want makeup on longer than that - and technically it's still there hours later but there is a little transferring, separation and oiliness. A primer is a necessity too. The NARS Velvet Matte Skin Tint holds up better on oily skin but I love the natural look of the Radiant Longwear so I'll continue to use it. Despite not being so longwear, this is definitely hot and with a little blotting not a mess for me.

Nudestix Rock N' Roller Easy Ink Liner (£20)*
I've never seen a liquid eyeliner like the Rock N' Roller - a "revolutionary roller ball [which] glides ink for easy, straight, smooth lines along the lash line". The tip is a super thin disc which spins around as you move it on the skin. The applicator takes some getting used to but I love the sharpness of the lines it creates. The formula dries quickly too and it doesn't budge. It comes in 3 shades currently Bronze Patina (copper), Golden Rosé (rose gold), Black Moon (black). I have the two metallic shades which are both absolutely beautiful but Golden Rosé isn't hugely noticeable on my medium-toned skin as I think it's too close in tone. I'd definitely buy these if they brought out more metallic shades and maybe some bright or pastel colours.

Smashbox Always On Lip (£19)*
I'm a big fan of the Always on Matte Liquid Lipsticks and now there's 24 new metallic, nude and bold shades making a total of 40 different tones to choose from. Smashbox say they're a "comfortable matte liquid lipstick...created in our L.A. photo studio to stay put all day on set". The pigmentation is beautiful and it's my favourite matte liquid lipstick formula. It applies super creamy and dries matte but not dry. It lasts, not quite as long as the 8 hour claim, but I'm not too fussed about having to touch up my lip colour. I have a few of the bold purple and green shades which are stunning but realistically I'm unlikely to wear them as I'm quite safe with lip colours. The metallics pictured are my ideal with Vino Noir (metallic burgundy) and XO, Vlada (rose gold with gold pearl) being my favourites. The metallics are a softer matte and I love them so much I'll be grabbing the shade Carat Stick (metallic orange).

Shades L to R - Dazzleglass Goldyrocks, Dazzleglass Rollergirl, Dazzleglass Tangerine Tropica, Smashbox Vino Noir, Smashbox XO, Vlada, Nudestix Bronze Patina and Nudestix Golden Rosé

* - samples - read my disclaimer here.

Lesley x

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Hair | Defined Curls [Video]

I get a lot of questions on how to get really defined curls which is really just a matter of the method you apply product so I've gone through what I do quickly in this video over on my YouTube channel

The Video:

Lesley x

Sunday, 11 March 2018

Hair | Natural Wash Day Routine [Video]

I finally got around to posting my natural hair wash day routine on YouTube. I don't always use the same products but this is essentially the main way I wash my hair each week

The Video:

Lesley x

Tuesday, 6 March 2018

Beauty | Everyday Fenty Beauty Face [Video]

Switched up my everyday makeup routine to accommodate mostly Fenty Beauty products seeing as it's one of my favourite beauty brands at the moment.  

The Video:

Have you tried Fenty Beauty? 

Lesley x

Friday, 2 March 2018

Hair | 10 Protective Hairstyle Ideas

I'm protective styling as much as possible for the rest of the cold season to help keep my hair more moisturised (more on what else I'm doing here). Even though it's now March, Spring is currently on hold in London with the arrival of a lot of (surprisingly) snowy weather! I've been looking back at a few ways I've styled my hair protectively in the past as a result and thought I'd share a mix of examples here. This is not an exhaustive list, wigs and extensions are also great protective styles but I left them out as it's been a very long time since I've tried either but hopefully the below gives you a few ideas when you're trying your next protective style.

The key to protective styling is compacting your hair together in some way so it's more protected than if it was left hanging completely free and the more covered the better. Some of the hairstyles here are super easy to do whilst others require a bit more skill but the beauty of protective styling is it doesn't have to be complicated.

I like to keep things simple, so I tend to wear buns the most occasionally switching it up with braids or a mix of the two. My favourite protective hairstyle I've done recently is faux locs (below) which I'd never tried before and it's the easiest wholly protective hairstyle I've done so I'll be more experimental in the future.

Do you wear protective hairstyles? 

Lesley x

Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Style | LFW with Colette By Colette Hayman

I'm the first to admit that London Fashion Week (LFW) used to scare me. No, really. I've never taken fashion (or myself) too seriously - I just wear what I want and what makes me feel comfortable, not necessarily what's on trend. I know that whole last sentence is like a cardinal sin in the fashion world and because of my nonchalant attitude towards what's fashionable I've avoided the shows in past. Having now attended a lot more LFW shows, snooped on some of the backstage action and indulged in the buzz away from the catwalks I've really enjoyed it. It's not just for the fashion-obsessed and the best part for me has been meeting with other bloggers and getting to know them better in person (rather than just through stalking them on the 'gram).

As I've taken a pretty chilled approach to the shows and everything in between, I've not been travelling with much more the essentials - phone, keys, camera, lipgloss (obviously) - and Colette by Colette Hayman came through with a few bags** to keep me covered over the past few days. My favourite style is this red Biana Quilt Backpack which added some colour to this otherwise monochrome outfit.

Full outfit details: Denim Jacket - Levis* | T-Shirt - Ksenia Schnaider* | Jeans - & Other Stories | Sneakers - Nike | Earrings & Backpack - Colette By Colette Hayman 

* - samples
**This is a sponsored post - read my disclaimer here.

Photography - Big shoutout to @bdblggr for grabbing these shots for me

Lesley x

Saturday, 17 February 2018

Hair | Combat Dry Winter Strands

The past month has been rough on my curls. I think back-to-back 'Wash & Go’s’, neglecting my haircare habits coupled with the crisp winter air are the main culprits. I know how to keep my hair in good condition in cold weather but I haven’t lately. At all. In truth I’ve been lazy since I completed my transition to natural in 2016. I rarely use heat and I don’t use chemicals so I was lulled into a false sense of security. How could I have damaged hair? I don’t do anything to it - but that’s precisely the problem. My laziness made me forget the impact a little TLC can do to winter-beaten strands.

What I've noticed is that I was far better at caring for my relaxed hair and in looking back I've realised there's a few areas I’ve slipped up, especially during these colder months. There’s 5 ways I’ll be taking steps to prevent chronically dry strands for the rest of the winter and if your hair is suffering too, give the following a try.

Have a winter routine
Having set steps on how and when to care for hair and switching it up depending on the season will help eliminate dryness. I was so regimented with my routine when I had relaxed hair and during winter protective styles were key, I cleansed once a week with shampoo and never without following with a masque or treatment to keep my hair hydrated, moisturised daily, limited direct heat to no more than once a month to prevent drying my hair out further and spaced out relaxer services for several months. It sounds like a lot but once you have a routine in place it becomes like second-nature. Since becoming natural I gradually lost consistency with what I used or did to my hair and I stopped adjusting for the season but I've now created a new routine for my curly hair which includes most of the below points (I'll share the full details in another post).

Get that daily hydration
I’m just not talking about drinking enough water everyday (which I'm definitely trying to do more of). There’s several ways to inject moisture back into dry hair during the colder months but my main focus has been using a daily moisturiser. This is where I’ve slacked most but being consistent with adding a little moisture each day makes a huge difference by the end of the week during the winter. In general I like to keep any daily moisturising light as my hair gets build up easily so I tend to use water-based sprays and milks. If your hair needs less just use a light oil whilst the hair is damp to seal in moisture and if your hair tends to need more layer products or apply thicker, buttery moisturisers which are longer-lasting on very dry porous hair.

Treatments and masques
When it comes to wash day I’m usually pretty good with sticking to only using gentle moisturising shampoo and conditioning formulas which my hair love. However, what I haven’t been doing as regularly are pre shampoo treatments and intensive conditioning masques after shampooing to counteract the impact of the cold - but these can make the biggest difference. You can do both for maximum moisture or use one or the other depending on your needs. Applying treatments before shampooing tends to work better for fine hair which can get build up easily and masques after shampooing can be more effective on porous or thicker hair but it really depends on what products are being used. I like to use lighter natural oils as a pre shampoo treatment and I’ll mix my favourites together and warm them up - I love Jojoba, Coconut and Avocado. I then saturate my hair in the oils and let it sit for at least 15 minutes or I'll leave it in overnight and wash out the next day to save time in the morning. This means when I come to shampoo my hair feels like butter and detangles like a dream (no, really). It makes my wash day routine a breeze and if I finish off with a hydrating mask it’s the ultimate for a happy hydrated fro.

Try protective styling
Braids, twists, weaves, wigs, buns - whatever will keep the hair tucked away from the elements will mean it’s less affected by the cold weather and it’ll stay moisturised for longer. I wore a lot of protective styles whilst I was relaxed and when I first became natural and looking back has made me want to try more. I recently installed crochet faux locs for the first time myself just for fun as I wasn’t sure whether I’d like them on me. The process was much easier than I thought, especially as I'm not the best when it comes to styling, but I'd love to try it again. As I often need my hair curly for photoshoots and events it's been hard to protective style as much as I would like which is why the Wash & Go’s have increased. Combine that with leaving the house with wet hair in freezing cold weather and of course my hair was going to suffer. It’s screaming at me to tuck it away it so for the rest of the winter I’ll experimenting with more protective styles as much as I can.

Trim away damage
Knowing how often to trim really depends on hair texture, condition and how it's styled. My hair is fine (but looks thick as the strands are densely packed) and it can knot and split very easily. Dryness worsens this problem so my ends can become more damaged during winter. When ends are split and damaged the only (permanent) solution is a trim and the more regular the better. Every 6-8 weeks is suggested for damaged hair but as hair becomes stronger the time between trims could be as long as 2-4 months. I was obsessed with trimming or 'dusting' (very small trims) when my hair was fully relaxed a few years ago. When the hair is straight it's so much more obvious if your ends are split, thinning or damaged so I would snip at these every month. I didn't take off much hair but enough to keep my ends neat. With curly hair it can look in good condition when it's not and curls are also more prone to splits so you really have to pay close attention to minimise damage. I can usually tell when my hair is off - the ends get super dry and can be difficult to style which I've seen a lot this winter so I got a trim this week. I definitely left it longer than I should have as my last before that was in November. My hair feels so much better already and until my hair is in better condition, I think trims every two months are needed.

Sticking to the above has already started having an impact on my strands so I'm hoping constant dryness will be a thing of the past soon!

How do you care for your hair during the winter season? 

Lesley x

Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Skincare | Laser Hair Removal [Video Update]

It's been while since I've spoken about my laser hair removal progress on the blog (first posts here and here) but I've been continuing to have sessions every 2 months since May 2016. I had my 11th session a couple of weeks ago so decided to sum up my experience so far and answer the questions I've had regarding the treatment in the below video. 

Overall it has been successful but I haven't quite finished having sessions just yet. If you have any questions on the process let me know 

The Video 

Lesley x

Thursday, 1 February 2018

Fenty Beauty Stunna Lip Paint & Mattemoiselle Lipsticks

If you've been following me on Instagram you'll know I've been hardcore crushing Rihanna's makeup brand Fenty Beauty since it launched in September 2017. I reviewed a few of the first products I purchased here and since there's been a few more product drops that have caught my attention - the Stunna Lip Paint Longwear Fluid Lip Color and the Mattemoiselle Plush Matte Lipsticks. The lip obsessive in me meant that I had to buy both types of the new lip products and whilst they’re both described as matte they couldn’t be more different.

(shades left to right - Ma'Damn, Shawty, Freckle Fiesta & Uncensored)

Stunna Lip Paint Longwear Fluid Lip Color (£19/4ml) 
Stunna is only available in the shade Uncensored (red) which is stated to be universally flattering. A big claim but I haven't seen a skintone I haven't loved it on. It epitomises what beauty enthusiasts have come to recognise in the slew of matte liquid lipstick launches in the past two years but of course with Rihanna's unique twist. The super luxe glass packaging gives it a high end feel and upon opening I wasn't totally sure what to expect.

The consistency of the lip paint itself is quite runny but very pigmented and I've found getting a precise line is much easier if a lip liner is applied first. Little product is needed to coat the lips and it's so opaque this can cover even a dark-toned pout in one swipe. Application with the small stiff doe-foot wand takes getting used to as it’s quite short and the product is so liquidy. You have to work with it fast and I’ve found starting application in the middle of the lips first and then working outwards helps with avoiding getting too much product on the edges of the lips. What’s on the brush is usually all that’s needed for one application as whilst the consistency is thin this doesn’t seem to impact on the pigment - I rarely have to dip the wand back into the bottle for more.

I'm so impressed with how it feels on, very comfortable for a matte lip - so no dry or crusty lips! Once applied the product takes a while to dry down so it requires a little patience. It lasts well but it transfers and fades throughout the day faster than some of my other matte liquid lipsticks. The wear-time also decreases significantly whilst eating (especially oily food) but I'm not too fussed about having to reapply lip colour.

Mattemoiselle Plush Matte Lipstick (£16)
The Mattemoiselle lipsticks have the feel of a typical lipstick but they're much slimmer and smaller than the standard bullet. The packaging is a cute mirrored plastic, not quite as luxe in feel as Stunna but still beautiful. There's an embossed 'FB' on the end of each fresh lipstick too but this disappears after one use. I like the small size but I'm not keen on the rounded shape of the lipstick - I'd prefer a pointed tip for a more precise line. 

These are available in a rainbow of 14 shades which are stated by the brand to suit all moods and skintones. The shades are really varied from a hot pink to lilac and navy so it's clear a lot of different looks are being catered to. I'm quite safe with lip colours and with all of the products I've purchased from Fenty Beauty I've tried to stick to items I'll naturally use most days. Neutral pinks, reds and browns are my favourite tones to wear so I grabbed the 3 shades Ma'Damn (royal red), Freckle Fiesta (spiced terracotta) and Shawty (warm chestnut). 

I'm in love with all 3 shades, the tone and pigmentation I can't fault but they don’t all perform the same. For Freckle Fiesta and Shawty the formula is super buttery and only look slightly matte once applied though this isn't as obvious in the swatches. These transfer easily because of the soft texture which doesn't bother me too much but these are described as 'all-day color'. Ma’Damn has a much drier texture and is harder to apply as it's not as smooth. It feels more matte so I thought this would last longer but it also lacks staying power. The shade of red is absolutely gorgeous but it’s very similar to Stunna. It seems like a more blue-red whereas Stunna is more of a true red in person but once they are booth applied it's only really the finish that gives away the difference as they're almost identical. 

Overall, whilst these are entirely different products I do prefer one type over the other. Stunna is slightly more expensive and awkward to apply, but the pigmentation from such a little amount of product and more long-wearing ability means it outperforms the Mattemoiselle Lipsticks including Ma’Damn which is similar in tone. I feel like you get more for your money with Stunna, especially as the Mattemoiselle Lipsticks are quite small but of course it's flaw is that it's only available in red so I’d love to see more shades of this. I still love the Mattemoiselle lipsticks I have because the colours and pigmentation is beautiful. There are better mattes out there but it doesn't bother me that Shawty and Freckle Fiesta have a much smoother, buttery feel in fact I probably prefer it. I find Ma'Damn a little dry but that's what I would expect from a matte lipstick. I'd love to see some matching lip-liners added to the product collection too, especially as with all of these products a lip-liner would help increase wear-time and make creating a defined lip easier. 

With all the swatches I applied no lip balm underneath, used no liner and applied everything straight from the bullet or wand - I think the colours speak for themselves but I'll let you decide. 

Fenty Beauty is available exclusively from Harvey Nichols in the UK or from Sephora in the US 

Have you tried Fenty Beauty?

Lesley x

Thursday, 25 January 2018

Style | Tommy Hilfiger at Specsavers

I've been wearing glasses since my college days after realising during one class I couldn't actually see what the tutor had written on the whiteboard. After struggling for a few days and asking the students around me if I could copy their notes, I eventually booked an appointment with an optician. My reluctance in wanting glasses stemmed from not liking a lot of the styles offered at the time and I've since been through a fair number of glasses as a result.

Most days I end up wearing contacts and reserve my glasses for when I'm at home as finding glasses that suit what I wear (which generally has a retro-feel lately) and my face shape has been a little tricky in the past. Specsavers got in touch about their Tommy Hilfiger glasses collection* recently and I was instantly drawn to these tortoiseshell glasses. They give me the vintage feel I've been after, work with a lot of my outfits and are comfortable to wear.

Want a pair for yourself? You can find the Tommy Hilfiger collection on the Specsavers website or in-store.

*This is a sponsored post - read my disclaimer here.

Lesley x

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Hair | Easy Messy Bun [Video]

I get a lot of questions on how I shape my hair bun so I've uploaded a quick tutorial on YouTube

The Video
Any requests or questions let me know!

Lesley x

Sunday, 7 January 2018

Hair | YouTube updates [Videos]

I'm trying to stick to weekly uploads to my YouTube channel and these two are related so here's the latest

The Videos:
As ever, if you have any requests or questions let me know in the comments

Lesley x